Saturday, April 30, 2011

Juliet or the Happy Ending

Love means nothing in tennis, but it's everything in life.  ~Author Unknown


We seem to be a bit schizophrenic when it comes to love.  I find the best songs about relationships seem to be the ones that are about doomed romances. Same goes for movies, plays, poems, books, etc....this seems to have been so since time immortal.  We tend to diminish and classify as "light" any story about people who fall for one another and end up together.  Do we really like a "happy ending" or do we prefer the angst?


After watching the coverage and the conversations that occurred with the Royal Wedding it really made me wonder if we are all romantics in cynics clothing or vice a versa.  The hardest part of course is that we have a whole host of issues with lust.  Love, lust, attraction, commitment words that can work together and be used against one another.  The wedding led to a discussion in my office on the merits of monogamy....and please do not tell me about some small brained bird that follows this dogma as that is not exactly inspiring.  We talked about how monogamy is not really natural while agreeing that no matter how liberal your views on the subject most people would not be "ok" with knowing you were in the arms of another.  Best Friday discussion around the "water cooler" we have had in a long time....overall consensus was natural or not the "open relationship" is something no one wants to be on the receiving end of and both my male and female colleagues agreed the wedding was more fun to watch than usual rants of lunatics, killings, and other unhappy subjects usually on the news at that hour. 


So do we love a happy ending or do we really enjoy watching the drama that inevitably unfolds when it is betrayed or denied?  I have no answers....sorry this is not Wikipedia,  this is one woman's random thoughts.  I may love the blues and yet had a great day watching 2 people yesterday tell the whole world they were committing to one another.  I scoff at the idea that women cannot separate the physical from the emotional as much as that men can. I know that without these emotions life would be less intense and our books, movies, music less interesting.  You cannot deny this emotion or who you have it for, how the mere thought of them can evoke a physical reaction, at most you will just spend a lot of energy trying to suppress it (that in itself says how powerful this is). Maybe it is the tension between the romantic, the lust, and the break up that makes this emotion one that drives more of our lives than not.  Most of us will spend a lifetime protecting our heart from being broken but maybe we should not.  In the end is not better to debate about love than to agree on violence?!

"And when two lovers woo ...they still say I love you....the world will always welcome lovers as time goes by"....oh do play it again Sam

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Music is what feelings sound like (author unknown)

I grew up in a house where my Father loved music, almost all kinds (at some point he really hated some of the kinds I liked but never stopped me from listening to the "shit" as he called it).  He had a great collection of records that included everything from Romanian music, jazz, rock and roll, classical and even some pop music.  I can recall going with him to a record store from a very young age where he would spend what seemed like hours talking to the guys there about all sorts of music that they had or could get.  This was a small, independent store about a block away from our apartment in Astoria.  The same people worked there for years, funny I can picture the whole place so well including the employees.  They had a cash register with record players in back of them and were known to play a 45 for you if you were not sure that was the song you wanted.  For those who do not know, I cringe at how quickly I have gotten to the point where I am referencing obsolete technology, 45s were the best thing to be able to buy for the starting music lover.  They were inexpensive and contained 2 songs, one on the front of the record and one on the back.  Sometimes the back, B side, was better than the front.  


My Mother liked a lot of the music he liked, not so much the jazz and blues, and also instilled in me an appreciation for opera.  At some point I was obnoxious to her, my birthright as a teenager and my destiny to have it done to me as a mother, about how much I disliked it.  I have come to love it, particularly the Italian operas.  We always also had a lot of Italian contemporary music, great scratchy male voices that carried emotions that required no translation, just closing of the eyes and you know they loved and lost.  I still can love a song in a language that I can barely piece together.  My parents had a lot, my Dad could have done this daily but wiser heads prevailed (Mom understood budgets and work), of parties with friends both here and in Romania.  They also attended quite a few of these.  The memories are great, they chose friends with kids my age so we could entertain ourselves.  My Dad was always in charge of the music.  He loved to dance and he had a knack for mixing music (he spend hours making tapes), he would have done well if he was reincarnated now as a DJ.  The first thing I did for years when I woke up was turn on the radio, still the first thing I do as I get into a car.  My taste in music is very varied and I still love discovering new (or old but new to me) artists. I have been really lucky to have friends who keep sharing music with me and push me to sounds I may have otherwise missed.   I try to keep an open mind and even when I do not like it I take a moment to be happy that there is music.  


Music has changed  (blues and jazz became rock and roll which became heavy metal, pit stop in punk, alternative, moved on to grunge, disco became house music then dance then club now freestyle or maybe back to dance, rap, country, pop) and even how it is available (records in 33s and 45s, eight tracks, cassettes, boom box, Walkman, CD, iPod, AM - FM, music videos, satellite) and through it all we listened, we went to clubs, concerts, karakoed, we loved the stuff that preceded us and await the stuff we have not yet heard.  It is for many of us the background of a first kiss, a first dance, the time you got to press yourself against someone and felt them in your soul, what you listened to over and over to help with the pain of a breakup, the moment you fell in love, the moment you fell in lust, the times you made love, the times you destroyed that love, the laugh track of a silly moment, the commencement to a wedding and even the last chord to say goodbye to a loved one. I love good lyrics and could write about my affair with music forever but instead will end here and go listen to some.  My boys have inherited this generational love of music and though there may come a point when I beg them to "turn that down" I will always remember how much music has always turned me on!


Ah, music. A magic beyond all we do here! JK Rowling





Saturday, April 23, 2011

Yes we will be there for (insert holiday) lunch/dinner....

Ahh holidays...a time to get together, to share meals, to catch up with family and to carry on traditions. Oh yeah that's the Hallmark version.  For most of us the holidays are all of the above but they are also laced with guilt about where to be during them, the dysfunctionality of all families, and a lot of stress. Is it worth it ? At some point you will ask yourself this question, unless you are heavily medicated and just trying not to drool while getting through them. For me the stuff that makes me shudder is nothing compared to the memories I have from these gatherings.


 If you have a mixed family, and let's face it in the US and particularly New York this is likely, the jumble of cultures and cuisines leads to "spirited" times.  In order to be able to not have to decide between one set of families or another I have taken on some holidays.  My Mother really did not let this go gracefully, who am I kidding she often has a second of the holiday at her house the day after complete with all the Romanian dishes I did not have at my gathering. My sister-in-law once asked me why do I ask about menu preferences, her theory is what you get is what she made with the best intentions so if you do not like it, there is always bread or dessert.  She is a gourmet cook, brilliant, and lives at least 3000 miles from any of the nearest family to her or her husband.  Many of my family gatherings have only a smattering of non-Romanians. I have to say the Romanians are welcoming and insist on talking to the "Americans" (they will probe about your nationality at some point in the evening as they are not a reserved people) in English (no matter if they can actually speak it well or not), translating jokes that often are only funny in the mother tongue or the best part - asking the person who brought the American why their guest is not eating enough while using obvious head gestures to indicate they are talking about that person. I usually try to also caution those who may be from more reserved cultures that if you ask how they are they will tell you even if it is bad, will give unsolicited advice and they will hug, kiss, and maybe even shed a tear or too at some point during the get together.  They are also not big believers in moderation, they eat, laugh, drink and yes even smoke more than they should and assume you are going to join them if you are there.  The smoking has moved to outside quarters for the sake of the children since I was a child (irony not lost on me either).  It has also led to many moments that have become family lore.

Among the favorites is one involving my cousin's husband.  He is a soft spoken guy which right there tells you he is not Romanian. He was over one year and my mother served a lovely baked good for dessert (she is a killer baker).  He asked her what it was called.  My Mom speaks English well but with an accent so her response was "Not stroodle"...he looked, smiled and said "it's good so what is it?"....she gave him a puzzled look and said a little louder "Not stroodle"....now we were paying attention and he in his best non-aggravated tone said "can you tell me what it is? I thought some sort of strudel but you said it is not "...the look she gave him is classic Romanian "what is wrong with you" and his said "she's off her rocker with this"....and she said "NOT STROODLE"...so we intervened and in Romanian asked her what was in it ...my cousin then translated "it's nut strudel"....we all laughed and my Mother walking away said "that is exactly what I kept saying".....with that I wish you all who celebrate something on this weekend to remember that the times you spend with your family, friends or both are what the best memories are born from.  Thought it may not always easy the traditions you pass on are priceless, and so are the stressful moments you inevitably learn to laugh about when re-telling.....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The "C" Word......

Books won't stay banned.  They won't burn.  Ideas won't go to jail.  In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost.  The only weapon against bad ideas is better ideas.  ~Alfred Whitney Griswold, New York Times, 24 February 1959


Censorship sucks...okay now I can concentrate and continue this like an adult. As I was writing my blog on Judy Blume in was shocked to see how censored she was. What was even more interesting to me was that on her website she has a section on censorship. It appears that censorship movement has really become organized and able to actually have a legal impact only in the last 20 years. It moved out of the fringe and has been very successful at achieving their goals. That is potentially one of the more frustrating and sad discoveries for me.


I blame this on both sides of the fence.  Though an easier target, due to their lack of tolerance, the extreme Right has found a partner in censorship in the extreme Left.  These groups feel they can decide for us what we should read, listen to and believe.  The Left does this under the guise of political correctness (Mark Twain books come to mind).  Golda Meir brilliantly said 
"One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present."
  The Right censors under moral indignation.  Interesting, this same group that shouts as loudly as possible at how big government needs to be abolished, how they do not want government in their lives seems to have no issue with pulling out the lawmaker card to dictate what can be read, seen, heard, felt. They try to push their principles on everyone else with every arm of the government that they can get their claws in.  They imply that if we do not agree it is un-American while I think I am most American when I speak up.  Here is a little news flash for both sides let us be the judges of what we want to read, let us speak with our children of how to make the best decisions in life. Let us take responsibility for our actions and teach our children to do the same. 



Americans are not the only ones guilty of this, but as I live here I will only concentrate where I can vote.  I am a child whose family uprooted and left a place where even a joke could get you thrown in jail (true story happened to my father's cousin).  We left behind the place where your thoughts had to reflect only what the government deemed appropriate.  It makes me shudder to read of these types of crusades in my chosen land of freedom.  That Communist system, in all the countries it oppressed, left behind a legacy of distrust, of corruption, and a serious brain drain.  It offends me that there are groups out there who think they are far superior in their knowledge of what we need, often without every asking us.  Their lack of respect for our ability to make decisions is dangerous. Their ability to decide for us frightening. I was all righteous indignation when I first thought of writing this and then realized I struggle with this a lot.  Think of websites where they call for death and destruction, where they embrace hatred, books that diminish people because of their sex, who they love, who they are.....they appeal generally to the disenfranchised, the poor, the ones without hope. Rather than censor I wish I could eliminate those things so these sites would lose their appeal but until then do we have to collectively decide to shut these down?  When am I a hypocrite or when is it common sense? 


The worst part of censorship is the fact that it makes people afraid, fearful to create something that may get banned, labeled, shunned.  Censorship was dominant in the era that we now refer to as the Dark Ages, always during dictatorships, during the McCarthy era, usually it gets toppled but only when people stand up and say "enough". This type of censorship and domination by a few is now toppling the Middle East governments who employ it. I will not be fearful to ask who the hell are you to tell me what to do? I will not be fearful to ask any questions....that is the death of democracy and progress.  Most of all do not censor your beliefs through apathy....

We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values.  For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.  ~John F. Kennedy

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's all Greek to me

Since I grew up in Astoria it is not surprising that some of my best friends and many of my experiences were with Greeks.  It is after all an area that houses many Greek immigrants and it is also a nationality that has many similarities to my Romanians.  The 2 countries share a religion and they share a sense of "why do today what you can put off until tomorrow" attitude...and no I did not write that backward that is exactly what I meant. They also tend to be people who love to have a good time, good music, and usually fight over paying a bill (everyone wants to pay and the common joke is that they will spend the money they do not have to make sure everyone had a good time)...they are both loud. They differ in many ways but those similarities are what always come to mind.

In my twenties one of my most memorable trips was to Greece with a group of 10 friends, most of whom were Greek.  There was a 12 hour boat "from hell" trip to get to the island of Kos, funds limited and cigarettes, dancing, and drinking were priority spend, and arrived in the middle of the night.  There was a very confused hotel clerk who even in his native Greek could not seem to understand that there were boys and girls until we physically separated from one another and then he promptly put us in different parts of the hotel.  There was no air conditioning except for the very inventive putting of one's face in the small minibar as needed.  There were fraps and naps, love a good frappe.  Our girls' bicycle boat trip which turned into the broken pedal boat and push hoping that we were not crossing into Turkish waters adventure of a trip....still annoyed by the guys we were there with who waved at us from the shore while smoking as if we were not obvious in our distress waves (ok so maybe we weren't).  There was way too much smoking.  There were nights spent running from drunk Finnish men.  I remember a very naughty monkey who loved himself in the cafe by our hotel.  There was my birthday and what happened in Greece well some of it will need to stay there.  The skirts were short and the good times were lengthy.  We even took a trip to Turkey where we actually argued with a customs person and told him we had seen "Midnight Express"...as our being Romanian and Greek were not endearing enough qualities to a Turk! Oh yes because she will read this Julie and I did try to barter Elli for a nice pair of leather jackets...what she wound marrying a Turk (super nice guys I might add) in the end anyway so where are our jackets I say??? There was the long, very cold, cigarette "borrowing" from passed out heroin guy who we did not know, boat trip back.  All of it great memories and moments that I would not upgrade to a four star hotel. Oh yeah there was "god"....whom Elli and I admired from afar while he worked his magic on the island with every woman much older than us.  He never knew we existed and I still have his picture, taken clandestinely as we were watching him daily on the beach!

I also had the pleasure of returning to Greece to see my best friend married there.  I am still not so sure of her and her husband's pleasure at finding us (group of friends) in Mykonos, they were on their honeymoon while we were  paying tribute to Dionysus. I do know that the hills back to our hotel were up going back after our nights out and the return trip always led to singing and laughs. If you have not had the pleasure of going to Greece well you should ...it is amazing to see things built thousand of years ago still standing majestically and understanding that so much of what we call "civilization" started there.  It is a country full of sun and people whose first priority is to enjoy their country.  I have come to really enjoy a lot of Greek music...may not understand the words but can definitely feel the emotions.  I can bumble my way in Greek to a hello, goodbye, how are you, love you, come here, some very savory curses, and to get myself bathroom, fed, and of course a good frappe.  I love my Greek friends and if being Greek is part of the reason they are so amazing well then I am glad it is all Greek to me.....

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Are You There Judy? It's me Juliana

After writing my blog about how I love being the mother of boys I realized there is one thing that I cannot share with them...my Judy Blume collection.  Guess I could tell my Mom after all these years that she can donate them. Those books really were important to my life.....if anyone has the equivalent of a boys' series send them my way, however, I think it may be Treehouse, Goosebumps and other adventures for us.


These books  made you realize that you were not the only one going through something and also gave those of reading it (who seemed like every girl at the time) a way to bring up these topics.  In "Blubber" I found another girl who struggled with weight.  I totally related to her struggles to fit in a size 2 world with a size 8 body. In "Are You There God It's Me Margaret?" Margaret had many of the same questions and doubts and by the end of the book we both had a better understanding of "God" and puberty. It also spoke of first periods, big topic at the time I was reading it, who had it, who was hoping to get it, what it meant.  The book talked about the debate on getting a bra that you were bound to have with your Mother. If this is making you uncomfortable you may want to read her book it will show you that periods and boobs are just as natural as wondering what God is and that belief does not have to be defined by long dead authors in ancient spaces.


Then when I was still far off from having this type of relationship "Forever" made it's way around our school.  I think most people I know read it at least 4 times, okay mostly for some of the passages.  I do not remember the boyfriend's name but do remember Ralph, if you are smiling then you too read that book, if you are not well ....it was a part of the boyfriend, smile now.  I also remember the heartache and the fact that it had one of the best lines about relationships ever "Have you thought about how this will end?". Toward the end of high school I had some back problems and was diagnosed with scoliosis. "Deenie" and I had so much of those same fears, the idea of a brace was devastating to a teenager, luckily I have such a mild case the only brace I knew was in Judy's book. I read most of her books including her adult book "Wifey".  The common theme in them was the fact that we are all different and yet we all feel much of the same things.  That we should question religion, convention, sexuality, "norms", and make choices only after we get answers and understand the consequences.


In writing this I decided to look up info on Judy and am sad and angry.  Her books are some of the most challenged books and censored.  In 2005 "Forever" was the most censored book and "Are You There God It's Me Margaret" is on the list of 100 most challenged books in America. The idea of censoring books is so abhorrent to me, so against the very basis of what freedom means that censorship itself should be the only thing that makes that list.  Blog on censorship coming....definitely and as we say in Queens "censor this".  How frail is your belief system that you feel a book can topple it? The other thing I believe I got from Judy Blume was a desire to write.  I still am toying with the idea....if you are a reader think of the books or authors who have changed you or captured you or transported you.  For me there have been others after Judy but growing up she really was more than just a name on the front cover of a book she was the voice I needed inside my soul.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Divorce

"For some reason, we see divorce as a signal of failure, despite the fact that each of us has a right, and an obligation, to rectify any other mistake we make in life." Joyce Brothers


Before we go any further this is not an announcement and my husband and I are not getting divorced at this time.  However, our neighbors are. It has led to a lot of questions and discussions in our house with our boys, particularly Max. People should not call it quits without trying, hard, but as the song says "sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts (Adele)".


I grew up in an era where divorce no longer carried the stigma it had in previous generations.  That is not to say that to many people it is still not negatively viewed.  I knew a number of people who got divorced who never saw it as an indication of failing. There were plenty of people around my family who did not divorce but instead chose to live unhappy lives with the person they were married to, usually ensuring that their spouse was equally or more miserable.  I am also lucky to know a lot of long-term happily married people (some domestic partnerships, some "traditional" all right for one another). My parents got divorced after 23 years of marriage, I have been known to say they should have divorced probably after 23 months of marriage ....but then they would  not have had me and well as an only child it always is all about me.  My early memories in Romania were of them fighting, then they were gone and when I got to the States they were fairly happy for a while. My Mom says that when they had no one else and they were struggling with their leaving from Romania they depended on each other and were actually probably at their best in their marriage.  My parents' divorce left me with a keen sense of disappointment in people (those who judged and were unkind to either of them after) and a good instinct for the difference between real friends and those who will not accept you for what you were. Many people could not understand how my Mother could leave my Father, he was the life of any party, charming, funny, intelligent, well rounded, too bad that wasn't all he was at home. At home he could be moody, depressed, angry and all of the above, sometimes in the same day. Many years of therapy later I realized how he could have used many years of it himself.  My parents were right to separate and no one should judge them for it....including me. They chose to spend what time they had in this life not being miserable with each other and content apart. My Father had multiple girlfriends and wives after my Mom. Some of were nice, some were not, most were there for him and I was happy that he was not alone. My Mother has been remarried to the same man for over 25 years. My relationships with each of them was independent of their relationship with one another.   I applaud my parents for never fighting through me and for always reminding me that they divorced each other and not me. 


In our house trying to explain our neighbors' divorce I found myself telling my kids that it is something that happens when people are no longer able to live together.  I hear myself telling them that people marry because they find love, kindness, good times with someone and when that ends it is better to be apart but that it is never the kids fault that they cannot stay together. The break-up is never the way we imagine any relationship to end but to be together and no longer able to be civil to each other is not  a benefit to anyone in that family. Being with a person you no longer feel anything for is lonelier than being alone. Over the years I have heard really scary stories of how people have drained themselves to focus on destroying the other person after they were divorced, what a waste, all that energy could have been used to move on and maybe find someone who could have redirected your passions positively. I have told my kids that divorced parents love their kids as much as married parents do and refuse to make false promises to them about our family.  I do not think we will divorce but who does?  Divorce....marriage....it is not easy either way but we all should have the choice to take either path, to use the time we have on this earth and make the most of it...the decisions we make as parents are difficult but teaching our kids to be happy is one of the greatest gifts we can give them.

Divorce is probably of nearly the same date as marriage. I believe, however, that marriage is some weeks the more ancient.
Voltaire

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Boys, boys, boys.....

I am a minority....in my house at least.  I am the only woman. This is not that odd for me as someone who has always had a lot of male friends who often forgot I was a girl, think they still don't usually notice.  I have always liked boys...smirks understood, comments should be kept G rated...and never gave in to believing in stereotypes.  That nursery rhyme about boys being made of puppy dog tails is just down right obnoxious and I thought that before I had my own. 


I remember when I was pregnant, both times, people kept asking me what did I want to have. Having worked in health care for most of my life I really meant it when I said that I just wanted a healthy baby.  I could not imagine what the baby would be like so the sex was really irrelevant.   I wanted to find out the sex because I wanted to plan clothes and room, yellow and mint green should be left to Miami Vice re-runs.  I remember going with my Mom to the sonogram where they can determine the sex.  This is also the sonogram where they measure and ascertain if the development is going as it should be.  I told the doctor "Please let me know if the baby has all the stuff in 2s that is supposed to be that way and one of everything else that should be a single"....he laughed.  After what seemed like a much longer time than it actually was he told me it all was in order and it was a boy.  Many people felt the need to console me, not sure why, and tell me how much cuter girls' clothing is.  Most people told me that boys love their Mothers.  I remember the first time I saw Max and immediately loved him, never for a millisecond wishing he was a girl.  When I was pregnant with my second child I got a lot of assurances from people that I was carrying a girl....guess with 50% odds this is a pretty good bet.  I had no idea, carry high or low, front or back, you get ugly or not...I really looked the same but had a very different pregnancy. I found out the sex again and once more was relieved that the exam was within normal limits and oh yes I was having a boy.  Cole was just as beautiful and fit perfectly into my heart and life also without a moment of wishing for a girl.


I grew up with a Father who as pretty vocal at times about the fact that his greatest wish was that he had a boy. He had been so convinced that he and my Mother were expecting one they picked out only a boy's name....so when I came in July there was my Mother (back before Fathers made it past the waiting room during delivery) looking desperate for a name for what was most certainly not a boy.  Lucky for me Queen Juliana of the Netherlands was visiting Romania and it was July so name found. There are a lot of opinions on how you will interact with different sex children but for me I just don't buy into this.  Yes, I know more about Star Wars and killing each other playacting than I could have ever imagined.  Yes, I have sat on a cold seat in the middle of the night because the toilet seat was left up.  Yes, they are very active.  Mostly though they are loving, funny, smart, great children and we love being together.  I am the minority who has to dress in "private" and whose "booby covers" have become masks and weapons. I also am the one who is the most beautifulest Mommy ever, the girlfriend of choice for both boys and the one who gets lots of little kisses and big hugs.  I am a minority but treated as a precious treasure by my boys and I would not have it any other way.  I love my children for who they are not what they are.  To the people who were in favor of my having girls I am sure they would have been amazing but I believe in spending my life appreciating what I have and not pining for what I won't get.  Oh and by the way .....there is some seriously cool, rocking clothing out there not in the frilly family.



This is a man's world
But it wouldn't be nothing
Nothing not one little thing
Without a woman or a girl .....James Brown

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

You have a Friend request

But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold.
Oliver Wendell Holmes


As an only child friendships have always been very important to me.  I have been very lucky in my life to always have made really terrific friends.  I tend to cultivate these friendships and keep them for many years, four of my very dearest friends have been in my life since I was 8 and 9, my best friends since college.   After all if you find people who share your interests, who care for you, who will be there when you need someone, understand when to be silent and when to remind you that you are an ass (my two best friends are so good at all of these) it is worth dedicating the time to be a friend for these people as well.  Recently I told someone that I thought the definition of a good marriage is being friends with benefits (and since I am a married woman those FWB of my past shall remain there and not find their way into this blog).  I learned so much from my friendships with men (your secrets are still safe with me) and found strength in my female ones (your secrets are also still safe with me). A few years back I finally gave in after some prodding from one of my close friends to try Facebook.


I pooh poohed it at first as "why would I want to write when I am brushing my teeth" and why would I need to connect to people who I have not seen in years?  I was at the time, and still am, surrounded by   fabulous friends.  My two best friends were not yet on Facebook, Elli said "if I did not keep in touch with you it is for a reason" and Julie may have thought of or actually just joined.  However, Charlie who told me to check it out, is someone who I have been friends via correspondence with for longer than we were actually friends in person. The other person who sent me a few invites to join was my friend Diana.  She is a childhood friend who went away to college in Switzerland and never came back, yet we kept in touch either via mail or email later, since HS graduation.  In some ways they were the perfect examples of why a site dedicated to connecting friends who may or may not be near was a place I would want to check out.   I set up my account and was overwhelmed by the amount of people who were on there.  People who I wished I had kept in touch with because our friendships were part of my defining moments in my life.  People who I had shared way too may laughs, too many drinks, too many cigarettes and definitely a lot of tears with.  Sometimes all of those within hours.  There are also current friends on there who I see regularly as well as people who I was just socially acquainted with but we share a common history and enjoy catching up and chatting with. It has become my means of keeping in touch with people who I cannot see regularly. 


Among the people I "found" is a group of girlfriends who are today even more fantastic than they were back in HS and they were pretty amazing then.  Our lives took us in many directions and now we are able to share the occasional dinner,  though we laugh at how long it takes us now to sync our schedules. I was amazed how easily we could sit down, after so many years and pick up our connection as if only days had passed.  I reconnected with a friend whose exquisite taste in books and music just electrifies me.   There are my friends from grammar school and those who ones who moved throughout the globe that now are easily accessible and I get to exchange a laugh or an interesting story with. This blog may have not been started or kept up with if it were not for the encouragement I get from friends (most on FB).  It is easy to dismiss going on Facebook as just a waste of time but aren't friendships one of the best way to pass the time in this hourglass of life? So to  Charlie who once introduced me to a whole new genre of music (check out his music site wellroundedradio.com) and who to this is day is still my favorite Friday night movie friend (though that has not happened since the last millennium and I believe we both now have traded indie/foreign flicks for animated movies with our kids) I thank you and Diana for pushing me to be part of the social networking phenomena.  For now my status is "Friendship, friendship, just the perfect friendship..when all the others have been forgot ours will still be hot".


Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.
C. S. Lewis

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Royal Wedding...Feast for All

The Royal Wedding......At first I thought it seemed so outdated, an antiquarian notion to pay any homage to a monarchy.  It's not like the Royal family actually has any significant power politically anymore.  There is so much going on in the world that such a use of funds for this event seemed really out of touch for the people involved.  However, the more I read about this young couple the more I have been converted.  He is a man who uses his sphere of influence wisely and, as anonymously as his position allows, to do charitable work.  She seems very much to be the type of woman who will embrace her new position for much of the same.


I, much like the rest of the world, do not know this couple except for the public clippings but the talk of their wedding is much like that of a family member, very personal and opinionated.  In a world where there are so many wars, terrorism, natural disasters, poverty and a host of other depressing events this wedding maybe what we need.  A marriage is a beginning, a celebration of love, of progression.  It is the place that we are reminded that the greatest of all our gifts is the connection to another human being.  This wedding has captured so many because it is about that scary, volatile emotion...love.  For a brief moment even the most cynical will be quieted as they say "I do".


May all who find love and want to marry get the ability to do so.  Let us not judge those who chose to celebrate their love and marry only in their hearts nor those who chose all the pomp and circumstance they can find, be they queens of any kind.  Love and passion should be what we strive for and not what we criticize or restrain.  Yes, the money could be spent on a host of needy causes but they have enough to do that and still spend on what makes them happy as well.  For a brief moment during the, what I am sure will be, mass media coverage of this event, in the country where Romeo and Juliet were written to be apart maybe love will conquer misery (for a brief moment at least).....and look pretty gorgeous doing it.