Taco Night in America

So your friends are coming over for dinner. They have two kids, ages 6 and age 4. Hmmm, what can you cook that’s kid friendly? Pizza, sure.  But my home made pizza is a lot of work, and just not as good as the stuff you can get delivered. Cross that off the list. Hot dogs? Okay that works. But I actually don’t even like hot dogs. Definitely cross that off the list. I don’t want to have to cook a ‘kids’ meal as well as adult food.  Pondering, pondering. Ahhh, yes Taco Night in America! Yes! One of my all time favorite meals, and it’s kid friendly too, BONUS!

Afterall tacos are the perfect food. They have protien (meat), dairy (cheese & sour cream), grain (shell) and veggies (lettuce). Okay so it’s a stretch they aren’t the most healthy food on the planet, but man they sure are good. And what a great way to make friends with kids.  Tacos followed by ice cream is even better!

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Furry Friends Count Too

I’m not much of an animal person, plus I have allergies. So when I was asked if I would house sit a dog, I was a caught off guard.  The request came from a friend struggling financially, who had to move into a small apartment. Not only did she have to move, but there was a gap in time between when she had to move out of her house and into her apartment. Thus the dilemma about what to do with her pooch Kaylee was created.  She found someone to watch the dog for week one.  I was the absolute backup plan for week two. And I accepted the task.

Due to my allergies, the plan was the dog would stay outside the entire time.  I didn’t feel good about it, but it’s summer, the weather is warm, and I have a nice big yard for a small 20 pound dog to run around in.   I don’t want dander and fur in my home, so this is the only option.

So my friend’s husband brings over Kaylee one Saturday afternoon.  Along with Kaylee comes a kennel, water bowl, food bowl, and small kennel.  Kaylee enters the back yard, immediately sniffs the perimeter and begins to make herself at home. I’m liking this already, she’s pretty cute.  She’s entertaining to watch as she chases bugs and gets distracted as squirrels enter her peripheral vision.  So I hang out with Kaylee a bit, I talk to her and try and get her to fetch a tennis ball…not her thing. She’s no retriever.

As nightfall approaches she’s outside, I’m inside. And then the whining starts.  I go outside to see what’s going on. Nothing apparently, just whining.  I give her a few pets on the head and scratches behind the ear and go back inside. More whining. Uggh.  I attempt to ignore her. The whining continues for another 15 minutes. I go outside, place her in her kennel, lock the door and viola, peace and quiet. I learned something there. It never occurred to me she wanted to be locked up. But it worked.

Over the next week Kaylee and I took a brief walk in the morning and a longer walk in the evening. In between I’d go out and play in the yard with her a little bit. Or just read the paper outside. She just seemed to like to have someone nearby.  Kaylee is back with her owner now. I kind of miss her. Who knew an allergy person like myself could become friends with a pooch?

 

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Snobby Tennis Chics

Why is it that female recreational tennis players and snobbiness seem to go hand in hand? It’s so weird. I recently started playing tennis, and wow what a fun sport. What a challenging sport. It looks so easy. But looks can be deceiving. Getting control of the backhand is tough to master. And some of my forehand shots are unintentional lobs.  But that’s what’s fun about it. The challenge of mastering the perfect tennis stroke.  The challenge of running all over a court and then having enough skill and coordination to get the sweet spot on the strings to meet up with the ball. It should be such a fun time.  And it usually is. But then.

Here comes little miss bossy pants know it all trophy wife who smiles even when she makes rude remarks.  You know the one. The gal who will insist you are on a court reserved for her, when she is the clueless idiot who is misinformed.  The gal who buys a wardrobe of tennis skirts and matching tank tops, wears heavy makeup and her diamond jewelry during a match.   The one who is insecure enough to tell you all about her husband’s fat salary and their yearly two week Hawaii vacations. Yeah her. The one who you can’t wait to beat in straight sets.  The snobby chics seem to flock to tennis leagues like worms coming out of the grass during a downpour. What is it about tennis and snobby girls that seem to go hand in hand? I suppose it goes back to the aura of country club elitism where only the wealthy and dignified played tennis.

It’s such a shame it is that way.  I don’t see it nearly as much in other sports, actually I can’t think of a sport where I see it at all. Perhaps it exists in golf, but I don’t golf, so I’ll need to get some feedback on it.   My plea to women in recreational tennis leagues everywhere: Please stop the condescending crap.   It’s just like you tell your children, play nice.

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The Joy of Making New Friends

A couple months back I was thinking I really need to get some new people to hang out with.  I made an intentional effort to do some different things and step outside of my box.  I spent an afternoon volunteering, I took a tennis class, and I smiled and said hello to just about everyone I encountered.

Well the volunteering was fine, it felt good to put forth effort that went to a good cause. I talked to a lot of people. So many people in fact that I started to lose my voice. But no real connections were made.  Tennis class was nice and I got to know some of the people in my class, but I didn’t pursue things further with anyone I met, yet anyway. There is a possibility I’ll run into these people in the future and they could transition from acquaintances to friends. I did however make a couple new friends while practicing tennis by myself.  Both times I was hitting solo against a tennis wall and someone invited me to play on a court. Well after each of those experiences I exchanged numbers and now have two new people to play tennis with.   Awesome! It made me consider that hanging out by myself made me  more approachable for others.  I would never have met either of those people had I been practicing with someone else.  Smiling and saying hello to everyone I encounter hasn’t gotten me too far yet, but it feels good to receive smiles back. I think it almost catches people off guard to have a stranger say hello.

My venture has been a success so far and has motivated me to continue to step outside my comfort zone more and more. It’s nice to meet new people, get a different perspective, and participate in activities which I normally wouldn’t take part in.

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What It Takes To Be A Good Friend

I have a lot of friends in my life, and I feel fortunate to have them. When I think about the friends I’m truly close with the list narrows down quite a bit. As of this moment I have four friends I consider Lifetime Friends. They’re great to have in my life. I can pick up the phone and chat with them, see them in person and have a great time and I truly care about how they are doing.  I also have many other friends who I have less of a connection with, but I still enjoy quite a bit.  These friends I can see at birthday party or a backyard BBQ and have nice conversations with, but that’s about as far as the friendship goes.  I’d like to add to the number of Lifetime Friends.  So it got me to thinking, how do I go about this?

I think the way to obtain more friends is to be a good friend. I should try to be the person I’d like others to be for me. I came up with a list of qualities I look for in a friend:

1.       Interesting. I love a good conversation, and not everyone knows how to maintain an interesting conversation. Some people can’t even make small talk to kill the silence. So this is a biggie for me, I love friends who know how to engage in a two way conversation. It’s even better if it comes naturally and isn’t forced, but that can take time to develop.

2.       Not Flakey. There’s probably a better word to describe this quality, but until I think of it, I’ll be using the term, not flakey.  Unreliable people who flake out on getting together, returning phone calls and the like drive me crazy.

3.       Loyal. Have you ever had a friend who you trusted betray you in any way shape or form? Yeah, this doesn’t feel too good. Enough said.

4.       Positive. Generally, I like to be around people with an upbeat nature because it’s contagious. We all have down times, and I’ll touch on that next. But, by and large being around people with positive attitudes is so much more pleasant than being around a ‘Debbie Downer’.

5.       Sympathetic. Everyone needs a shoulder to lean on at some point. Good friends are there in times of need. They will listen attentively, provide advice if requested, and keep quiet if someone just needs to vent.

6.       Mutual Effort. Friendships can’t be one-sided. Both parties need to initiate phone calls, emails, texts, and get-togethers. Otherwise one person will feel they are being taken advantage of.

7.       Shared Values. People tend to gravitate to others who share their same beliefs and values. Obviously this isn’t something that can be changed, but an important factor nonetheless.

So in my quest to increase the number of “Lifetime Friends” I’ll be conscious of these traits and try to enhance some areas where I may be weak.

 

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Remember Your Fallen Friends

First and foremost, this is not at all a post making a political statement. It’s a post about doing the right thing. Making someone else feel good and possibly yourself at the same time. It’s a post to serve as a reminder that we should remember the friends and family who have fought for our country and lost their lives. The U.S. has been at war for several years now and it’s likely that we know someone, or know of someone who lost their life. This Memorial Day 2011 is a great day to pick up the phone, yes the phone, and make a call to a friend or a family who lost someone. Let them know you remember their fallen soldier. Let them know you respect the generosity and the gift they gave for us all to have our freedom.

A simple phone call can go a long way and can make what may be a difficult day a bit more pleasant. You can still find time to get in the gardening, the backyard BBQ and holiday sale shopping. But just make sure you make an effort to reach out today. Someday the gift you bestow may come around and be given back to you.

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Friends With Benefits

Can men and women ever just be friends without sex getting in the way? Or what about friendships with benefits? You know, where sex isn’t in the way at all, it’s considered part of the deal. Sex without commitment. Although No Strings Attached, starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, came out earlier this year, a new movie starring Justin Timberlake will tackle the subject for us once again. Let’s hope it’s a better flick! It’s due out this July. Check out the preview.

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The Friendship Machine, Cool!

Awesome idea, good job Coke. Way to get people interacting.

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The Race To Be First Among Your Facebook Friends

Has anyone else noticed the similarity between social marketing and journalism? By this I mean the race to report news or get the scoop. Journalists have been doing it for years. It’s one of the things that gives them an edge over their competition. It also keeps fans coming back for the most current updates.  But I’ve noticed my friends on Facebook do it too.

For instance yesterday there was breaking news that appeared on television announcing Osama Bin Laden is dead.  I was watching TV as news reporters interrupted coverage on the major networks to make the announcement. Now that, I expect. That’s their job.  It seemed as if in less than two minutes several friends had made the announcement or left a snarky remark in their Facebook status updates. They couldn’t have even watched much of the news report or paid attention long enough to learn any details.  But they heard the report from a professional journalist and then they wanted to be the first of their friends to relay the news. I guess it’s their way of playing journalist for  a day.

Facebook Journalism

Rediculous

I’ve seen the same pattern whenever someone famous dies. I’ll see a flurry of status updates within a short time period making statements along the lines of:

Leslie Nielson, Roger Roger,  Rest In Peace

Barbara Billingsley was my TV mom. Aww, I’ll miss you tons!!!

Gary Coleman Dead? Whatchu talkin’ bout?….

 

To my friends I say, calm down. In a wired world we’re all gonna hear the news quickly anyway. I still like you. You don’t need to be the first to report breaking news.  It’s not your job, focus on your own work, spend more time with your friends IN PERSON, or work on being a better parent. But really, there’s no need to pick up your smart phone or login to Facebook every time something major happens…chances are I already heard about it elsewhere anyway.

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Do You Have A Bestie?

A ‘bestie’, in case you don’t know is a friend who means the world to you, a best friend…but better! Someone you know you’ll be friends with for a lifetime. Oprah recently had a show about best friends and named Gayle her bestie. Naturally, anyone who pays even remote attention to Oprah’s life or watches her show from time to time already knew Oprah and Gayle are besties. They’ve been friends for over 35 years, talk every day, and Oprah even hired Gayle to work in her media empire. That’s not meant as a slight to Gayle, Gayle had a successful career in journalism before Oprah, and that’s actually how the two friends met.

Do you have a bestie? I do. It’s great. Now my bestie and I don’t talk everyday like Oprah and Gayle, but we’re still damn good friends. My bestie is definitely a lifetime friend. As a matter of fact I have four people who I consider lifetime friends and I’d be really surprised if my friendship with any of these friends didn’t last a lifetime. But my bestie and I, we’re tight. It’s great to have someone to just hang out with, call and chat about nothing, or call and chat about everything. Understanding, laughter and compassion are always present.  Thanks bestie!

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