Posts Tagged 'Friends'

When Reality Hits….

A lamppost on Railroad Square.

For the last four years, at least, I have been corresponding with a beautiful, talented, hilarious young lady from England.  For me, this is a big deal, because I can’t even keep in contact with someone who lives the next street over, let alone someone who lives on a different continent.  But for some reason, I have managed to stay in contact with this girl, exchanging emails, Facebook messages, whatever, almost every day for over four years.  For privacy reasons, I’m going to give her the name “Belle”.

I meet Belle through my ex-boyfriend on AllPoetry.com.  No, my ex was a real person, but he was friends with her on this website, so I was too.  I loved Belle immediately, but then, I am always one to trust sooner than I ought.  Her poetry was always full of passion, which is how poetry should be.  She was a quirky, interesting individual with a bad home life (her mother is unstable, and her parents kept getting divorced and remarried, one moving back and forth from South Africa to England) who was afraid of geese and loved to run.

I can’t, for the life of me, figure out where the downhill run started.  Only about a year ago, everything was still wonderful and normal.  She had a friend die… maybe it was there that the problems began.  She met her fiance shortly after that incident, and everything seemed okay, still.  But then the next thing I know, she is complaining about how she can’t even finish a yogurt because it makes her feel fat, and the doctors are putting her on special diets, and her mum is force-feeding her.  Then she goes to University, and suddenly she pretends to be taking a lot of showers, just so the sound masks her purging.

A few weeks ago, she was eating better.  I thought maybe, after working for so many months, she had conquered bulimia.  She was running again, and was living in a new flat, and seemed to be generally enjoying life.

About a week ago, I get a simple three-sentence email.  It basically said that she hadn’t had time to write because she was in the hospital, but she would soon.  Cryptic much?  I waited and worried.

This morning, I got another email.  Belle thoroughly believed (and still believes) that her skin isn’t her own, and was trying to scratch it off.  But it hurt, so she took a painkiller.  And another.  And eventually eleven, and nearly killed herself.  And here I am, knowing that she’s in the hospital, or was, for delusion-driven attempted suicide… a thousand or so miles away with no way to get there… and I’m at a loss.

What do you say to something like that?  How do you make it better?  How can you save a life, and convince the owner it’s worth saving?

Writers live so often in their imaginations that they become absorbed in their fabricated worlds.  Then reality hits, like a brick to the head.  And I stand here, helpless.

Tastes Like Melting Plastic

The lake at Robin Hood Park

Very impromtu last night, I went to a co-worker’s house for a bonfire.  I’ve never spontaneous, but it was fun.  We got marshmallows and graham crackers and Hersey Bars and made s’mores.  Well, sort of.  It was mostly people from work, but they’re all nice people.  Parker played his music and even though he’s big into rap and hip-hop and I’m not… it wasn’t that bad.  Zachary, our host, was a terrible host in the sense that he’s just not experienced at it.  He provided the bonfire pit, but couldn’t find matches or a lighter to start it.  Luckily, someone else had a lighter.  He also offered us “lemonade” which was really Arizona iced tea.  He’s a good kid, but a little flighty sometimes.

He didn’t like getting too close to the fire because it was too hot, so his marshmallows either took forever to roast, or burnt to a crisp, which was kind of funny.  We all showed him the proper way to make marshmallows.  I’m a pushover and it pains me to watch someone do something wrong, so I made him a bunch of marshmallows.  See, I enjoy making them, but not eating them.  I’m weird.

Zach found this old-school retro chair-thing.  You know.  The lawn chairs with the plastic weave and metal frames?  The first time someone tried to sit in it, it broke right through.  Teehee, whoops!  We ended up throwing it in the fire later that night.  The plastic arms were interesting to watch cook, because they melted slowly so it dripped down and stretched out like bubblegum or melted marshmallows.  We just threw it on the fire because it was something to throw on the fire.  It was fun, and I wish I had my camera with me.

It was supposed to rain last night, but it didn’t, and it looks like it’s going to now!  Yikes.  Hope I get to work before it starts!  Still, the bonfire was a nice chance to see people I like at work in an outside-of-work setting.  Besides Zachary and Parker, Kate and Ben were there.  I work with Kate later this afternoon, actually.  Bryan was there too, of course (can I go anywhere without him?  Rarely), but he spent a great deal of his time and energy making fun of Zach.  …  I think all him tormenting is one of the reasons I feel the need to be so nice to him.  I mean, I tease him too, sometimes, but not over the top.  I just feel kinda guilty.  Everybody jabs at him a little (he jabs back, too) but none as hard as Bryan.  …  It’s sad.

Anyhoodle.  I had a lot of fun last night and I needed it after some of my customers, but you will hear more about the rude people of the world in tomorrow evening’s update!

Until then… ciao!

Sweet Summer Camp

Tube Tug

The summer after seventh grade, I went to summer camp for the first time. I thought I was the luckiest kid in the world- I never, ever thought I would be able to go to summer camp. My family was always poor, and we couldn’t really afford it. But somehow, some way, that summer, I got to go.

It was a religious camp, and I went with my youth group. I loved that group of people. The people who ran it were wonderful human beings, and they cared about each one of us as though we were their own children. I was friends with everyone there, both male and female, no matter how much older they were than me. We were like a small family, which is how any group should be.

First, each youth group was split into boys and girls (this was a religious camp remember, totally NOT co-ed) and we were put into the two separate dormitories. That year, the theme was military. Our girls were on the Navy team, and the boys of the Army (in future years we would be Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk; The Cunnighams or the Bradys). The entire week was a competition, smattered with everything from the evening activity, to daily bible verses, to daytime events. But all competition aside (the Navy won), the big deal was the End-of-Week Banquet.

The Banquet wasn’t so much a banquet as it was a barbecue. It was the only year I attended summer camp that we had one. The older girls in my youth group were absolutely determined to set me up with one of the boys – one of their brothers, in fact. I felt like Princess Mia in The Princess Diaries, the way they dolled me up. I didn’t mind being set up with Joshua; at the time, I was completely in crush with him. In the end, I think we only sat together, and we may have chattered awkwardly. It wasn’t one of those “sitting by the bonfire, sweet first kiss” kind of things (I wouldn’t get my first kiss for almost another four years).

There were other things that happened every year that made the camp awesome. There’s a game called Eniliation where everyone is on their hands and knees in the dirt and mud, trying to get a greased volleyball into a hole. And Tube Tug, which is pretty much what it sounds like; that was my favorite. The second and third year I was there, they had a mud slide and I remember competing with one of the boys from my youth group to see who could get muddier (because all freshman girls do that, right?). The last year I was there, we even had a mechanical bull.

And those are just the events. There are definitely a few people who stand out in my memory, too. Matthew, who was my pen pal for a year. Kaitlyn, who was deaf, but sung like an angel. Jessica, who was just crazy, goofy fun. Andrew, or “The Fonz”, who scared us nearly to death one night at activity when he got a concussion.

Summer camp at the Monadnock Bible Conference in Jaffrey was one of the things that kept me going through the year. Every summer, in the last week of July. If I wasn’t counting down to the next Harry Potter book, I was counting down to summer camp. In the end, not all memories are perfect. I remember being frustrated to tears with the girls I was staying with. But I wouldn’t trade a single moment for anything. Because those weeks, and with that group, I felt totally and completely accepted and loved for who I was. And I needed that feeling more than anything. It’s how every human being should treat one another, only we don’t.

If not for summer camp, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Thank You (Now Get Out) – 06/22/10

Heather covered in frosting at Caitlyn's sweet sixteen.


If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~ Dalai Lama


So.  I have some good news!  This week was really sunshiney!  The only negatives I have had this week were today: It’s You (who didn’t understand there was nothing on the drive) and Actually, I Don’t Want to Talk to You (who figured he could climb up the ladder and get someone else to create his thing while I waited.  When I left 45 minutes later, he was a happy camper).  But rather than go into detail about their ignorance, I’m going to let the angels sit in the spotlight:

Iguana Man
I was walking down the street on Wednesday and I walked past a man with an iguana or other reptilian creature wrapped around his neck.  It made me giggle.

Miss Jinx
Not to be confused with a Pokemon, Miss Jinx is a character who I am friends with, but see rarely.  She is eccentric but talented and her energy and quirks are really uplifting.  Basically?  She rocks.  I got to spend a little time with her on Thursday.  I learned that she is one of the few humans I know who approves of Hawaiian pizza.  My love for Miss Jinx has grown because of that fact.

Lil’ Miss Gaga
Named for the fact that she idolises Lady Gaga, Lil Miss Gaga is technically one of my students, but she presented me with a music CD on Friday that has been brightening my days ever since.  She introduced me to several new artists as well as reintroducing me to new songs I haven’t heard in ages.  The only down is that I’ve had Ballroom Blitz stuck in my head for days.  But nonetheless, Lil Miss Gaga is also someone who comes off as being in complete control of her life, and I don’t worry around her.

HappyPC
HappyPC is a character who will probably show up a lot.  He’s a bundle of smiles and always, always lifts my spirits when I’m frazzled.  He sure did on Saturday!  Thanks a bunch!

Hey, ‘Sup.
Hey, ‘Sup is one of the people I work with, and whenever he’s not in a bad mood, he’s a lot of fun.  Great personality, and always helpful.  Sunday, he gave me a while into which I could escape, which is always nice at work, when I’m getting overwhelmed.  And the conversation is distracting in a good way; it’s helps me hit reset on his brain.  Hanging out with him on Sunday was tops.  Also, he gets my Captain Courteous award this week, because he always opens doors and lets me pass first, picks up stuff when I drop it (unless I get to it first).  He’s a gentleman in the old-fashioned sense.

Master Chief
Ah, Master Chief.  He came in to look around and say hello in Sunday and he was also a wonderful distraction.  Master Chief is a wonderful human being, though.  He’s a very patient, understanding type of guy, and a great listener.  A pleasure to have as a friend.

Inconceivable!
Inconceivable is an old friend of mine.  In a sense, we’ve been through everything together.  We’ve known each other for about half my life, and I know he’s got my back.  He was one on the ones that went with me to the drive-in Sunday night, and he made me laugh through everything.  I’m so blessed to know him, because he’s just one of those people that I could go a year without seeing, and we’d pick our last conversation up right where we left off.  Seeing him is always a blast.  I get that nagging reminder sometimes that we are moving in different directions with our lives, but it’s coupled with the knowledge that neither of us mind taking a couple steps back and having a good chat.

It’s A Beautiful Day
When doing calls for some of our customers, I try not to be too robotic, and I happened to mention to one customer that it was a beautiful day and I hoped he was at the beach.  He came into the store just to tell me that it made him smile, and he appreciated my perky personality and customer service.  I blushed.  Totally appreciated.

Strawberry Sorbet
Strawberry Sorbet is one of the girls I work with.  I generally get along with her fairly well.  She was particularly nice to me on Monday, maybe she was in a good mood, I don’t know.  But that isn’t what struck me.  What stuck me was that she did a job for a customer who she knows from outside of work, and coming back for the job would be an inconvenience, so she told him she’d bring it to him on her own time in the evening.  He lives about a 40 minute round trip from her.  I thought that was a really nice, selfless thing to do.

Th-th-that’s all folks!  Come around for more next week!  Got anything to add… good, bad, or ugly?  Post it in the comments below!

Don’t Rain On My Parade.

Kids dressed up as an elepahnt for the Children and the Arts Day parade in Peterborough, NH; June 22, 2010

“Don’t tell me not to fly, I simply got to. / If someone takes a spill, it’s me and not you. / Who told you you’re allowed to rain on my parade?” ~ Barbara Streisand singing Don’t Rain on my Parade as Fanny Brice in the musical Funny Girl.

So this morning all my plans got condensed and smooshed into teeny-tiny crumbs too small for a mouse.  Sammy’s lovely, furnished basement flooded last night, and the poor dear spent many, many hours with her family containing it.  It was muchos sad, and or plans got pushed back an hour.  But I completely understood, and in her position, I probably would’ve cancelled, so I waited patiently.  This morning, I decided it would be a good plan to try to work on chapter five anyway, so I was feeling good about life.  I pretty quickly forgot about the brief lapse of disappointment and continued my day.

I sat down at my desktop.  I really like my desktop.  It’s a useless piece of crap if you want to actually do anything with it (i.e. games, internet?  Slow as a snail) but for writing, it’s ideal.  No distractions.  I sat, crossed-legged in my office chair and… nothing.  I sighed.  I spun around in circles.  I poked at the keys until eventually (five minutes later) I made a paragraph appear.  That was about all I could handle, so I tottered off to check my email on my laptop, and eat a bagel, and play two rounds of Pokemon with my brother, and play two-and-a-half hours of Rock Band.  All, naturally, incredibly productive for my writing life.

At 2:30, I left for Keene, arrived at my destination fifteen minutes before I was expected (yeowch), achieved a scoop on delicious, different mango-raspberry sorbet from Friendly’s (Free Ice Cream day for the win).  I would like to take this moment to note that I could have had anything on their menu, and I picked sorbet, which is significantly healthier than Mocha Chip or whatever yumminess I usually get.

When I got back to Sammy’s things were still a little chaotic, but I still did get to spend a little time with her.  It wasn’t as much as we were expecting, but I really enjoyed it.  I brought my typewriter for her to play with and she seemed delighted with it, and I liked to see her that happy so I’m loaning it to her for a week.  I trust her.  I know it’ll be returned in tip-top shape. Oh yeah. And I got a page of writing done, too. It wasn’t the whole chapter, but it was important progress.

After that, Bryan took me to Panera Bread (yummy!) where I tried both the Cuban Chicken sandwich (not bad, but I’ll stick to my Smokehouse Turkey) and the French Onion soup (delicious).  Today was a day of trying new things.  We spent some time together and had a delightful evening.  I felt very close to him tonight, and that was nice.  Sometimes, I step back and ask myself “what the heck am I doing with this moron?” but tonight wasn’t one of those nights.  We played half-a-game of Nightmare Before Christmas Monopoly and we sat on the wall beside my driveway and chatted for a while.  It was nice.

So today?  Today presented me with grumpy friend’s parents, a shortened visit due to water disaster, parental badgerings, heat, a troublesome too-social-for-his-means brother… and I worked through it all, had a great day, and I’m in a fabulous mood.  Tomorrow I get to tell Mattie the good news that he’s been waiting for, and you know what?  I’m really happy today.  When everything tried to go wrong, we all made it go right.

So you know what, life?  Don’t rain on my parade.  Because I can capture every drop into a great big, shimmering blue swimming pool, splash around, and have a blast.  Nothing’s going to keep me down today.  It’s a great feeling.

“Nobody Here But Us Trees.”

Middle School lunch with Jon and Andy

“Always the innocent are the first victims…. So it has been for ages past, so it is now.” ~ J.K. Rowling in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could hide away from the world, and have it dismiss you?  Have it say, “oh, that’s okay, I guess you’re really not here.”  The title of the blog entry comes from the movie Bunny Picnic.  Another Jim Henson masterpiece, I grew up on that movie.  It was mine and my brother’s Easter movie (though we were firmly reminded that Easter had nothing to do with bunnies, that was the Roman’s bright idea).  Bunny picnic is about a colony of rabbits preparing for the biggest holiday of their year.  You follow the character Bean, a ragamuffin brown rabbit who is always breaking things.  Purposefully, the other rabbits keep sending him somewhere else- they don’t want his help, he’ll break something!  Eventually what ends up happening, is a dog ends up at the Bunny Picnic!  Everyone is terrified of the dog, and they’re all hiding, and he’s going to not only ruin their holiday, but eat them all!  Om, nom, nom!  They need to make the dog go away, so a lot of the rabbits hide in the trees, and when the dog asks if there are rabbits there, Bean and the other tree-ridden rabbits respond “Nobody here but us trees.” and the silly dog believes them.  Wouldn’t it be nice if life was just that simple?

Only the sad fact is, life isn’t that simple.  Everybody wants something of us.  One of my managers usually spends Sunday running around complaining that everyone she talks to wants something from her.  I can’t really argue with her- it’s absolutely true.  We really don’t have our own lives.  It’s funny, the idea of independence is incredibly ironic, because in order to become independent from our families and go out into the world on our own, we have to heap on a bunch of responsibility.  Suddenly we have rent to pay, car payments, insurance payments, groceries, utilities, things like that.  Those are financial commitments, and by the time that we’re done paying off things, we have measly pennies left to ourselves.  And what of time commitments?  Working forty hours a week, if you’re lucky.  If you’re like most people, you have a second job because the first doesn’t pay enough or the hours are inconsistent.  Usually you work between forty and sixty hours a week between the two jobs, just trying to make ends meet.  When you get home, you’re too exhausted for anything.  Or, if you’re like me, you try to pursue your passions in the little free time you have.  Maybe you’re part of community theatre.  Maybe you volunteer somewhere.  One way or the other, your calendar is full.  It’s to the point where spending time with friends is just another time commitment, and there’s no end in sight.  Whatever happened to recess?  Summer vacation?

Childhood is where it’s at.  It was an age of innocence and joy.  Mum and dad fed you and clothed you, and the worst thing you had to worry about was bullies.  Your world was the playground.  When you were on those swings, you pumped as hard as you could until you reached the top and you felt your swing bounce just a little and you knew if you went much higher, you’d flip over and get hurt.  But it was the rush of the wind that made it all worthwhile.  You go through your school work because there was the promise of recess, of weekend, of summer vacation on the other side.  That made it worthwhile.  Elementary and middle school were dream worlds.  Oh yes, I said middle school.

Middle school is what you make of it.  It could be the awkward pimply hormonal stage of life, or it can be magnificent.  You wouldn’t have to pay me to go back and relive my middle school years.  I loved them.

Sixth grade I ended up with what I anticipated was going to be the worst teacher ever, and ended up to be one of my favourite teachers ever.  I ended up with none of my friends in that class, but I was at an age when I had no issues making new friends, and I ended up with Caitlyn, who to this day (goose, ten years later) is still very dear to me.  From her, I gained Jon and Andy.  And others.  In sixth grade, we were the most popular people in school.  I can’t even begin to describe all the memories.  Shutting Jon’s finger in the window (oops, teehee), listening to Andy sing the Beach Boys all the time (he’ll deny that now), signing things to Caitlyn in class one letter at a time (to this day, I still don’t know anything more than letters in Sign Language).  That’s just the tip of the ice berg.  I could honestly keep going forever, and just about sixth grade.

Seventh grade was just as good.  Some crazy person put all of us in the same homeroom (thanks Ms. Cass and Mrs. Gitchell!!!!) and I couldn’t’ve been happier.  There were always the lonely moments (I still have a grudge against my parents for letting me go to neither Nature’s Classroom nor Sergeant Camp, but I understand now that we really just couldn’t afford it).  But there was also yard-stick battles before school started, and Groovy!  The Musical, and all the little moments.  Superrally was fun, even with our vagabond group of friends.  In seventh grade I went to see the Attack of the Clones primere at 2am, and went to school for testing the next day (I’m stubborn).  I remember walking into the classroom and Jon looking up from his test and mouthing “how was it?”.  Teehee.  And of course the marriage project.  Oh, that may have been eighth grade.  Either way, it was funny.

In eighth grade someone remedied our sixth grade teachers’ kindness and put the four of us in different homerooms.  There was orienteering, which is probably the highlight of eighth grade for me.  The looming prospect of high school.  High school changes the innocent things.  I’d still rather redo high school than be in college, but nonetheless… it made everything separate.  Everyone put up walls.  We didn’t like each other- we tolerated each other.  It could have been the beginning of the end.  If we let it.  I think that I let it.

One of the rules of high school is that you start over.  It’s a bad rule.  It should be changed.  Friends in high school are sewn together by deceit and desperation.  In middle school and high school, it’s because of commonalities and genuine interest.  After you graduate high school, you laugh and reminisce about your middle school friends, but you kindly avoid and secretly dislike your high school friends.  At least, that was the case with me.  Of the few friends I made in high school, I tolerate them.  I don’t dislike all of them, but they all feel awkward.  Like a shirt that’s just a little bit too tight.  I’m much more inclined to want to reconnect with my middle school friends.

Then again, I’ve always been one to hold on to the past.  I like my concept of innocence.  I like freedom of mind and heart.  If I could get it back, I would, but the funny thing about innocence is that it’s exclusive to children.  I can be silly all I want, watch Disney movies, hang out with people younger than me.  Those things are fun and I enjoy doing them, but they won’t give me innocence back.

Memory Lane

Caitlyn and Ali lounging around.

May 23, 2010; Spofford, NH: Caitlyn and Ali lounging around.


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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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