tell it to me tuesday – friendship

Your arm's hairier than mine!When I was a little girl, friendship meant we liked to play together. It meant sharing toys and playing mermaids in swimming pools. Into adolescence, it became about understanding. In the midst of all that teen angst, we sought out people who really got us.

Then you get older and they say a true friend is someone you can always count on, and you begin to really get that. Moving through the trials of life, it becomes important to have friends you can rely on to be there time and again.

Now, when I look on the friendships that really stand the test of time, I see that’s only part of the story. There are a lot of wonderful people in this world. Amazing people who will hold out a hand when you are falling. People who seek you out and shoulder your deepest pains. They will wipe up your tears and tell you what you need to hear. Not always what you want to hear – but what you need to hear. People for whom you might always feel grateful and lucky to have known.

But for me, true friendship comes when that trust goes both ways: when both sides open themselves to vulnerability, when both sides trust each other. True friends are people who stand by your side when the rest of the world turns on you, but they also come to you when the world has turned on them. Not only do they shelter you, but they come to you for shelter too. True friends shield and shepherd each other, coming together no matter which way the rain blows. It begins in a moment, but it’s a thread that can only be woven by the push and pull of each strand across time.

What is friendship to you?

The Rules
I think there is real power in the human voice, as flawed as it may be. And when the voices speak together, when you have a multitude of voices speaking, patterns begin to emerge and there you can begin to understand truth. So in the spirit of the personal narrative, I am hosting a weekly challenge every Tuesday morning, where I will post a topic (ranging from the banal to the intimate) and ask readers to respond. I would love to see everyone’s answers and how similar and different they all are.

You can respond in any way you choose. You can give a fictional response or a true one. You can use words, sentences, and/or photographs. If you have a blog, you can link it with Mr. Linky below. Please be sure to include “Tell It To Me Tuesdays” in the title, and link back to this post. Feel free to use the “Tell It To Me Tuesday” button available to the right. If you don’t have a blog, but want to join in, you can just leave a comment. Please follow the rules. I don’t want to have to delete links. I like links! Don’t make me delete them.


Next week’s challenge: Time

You Capture – Friends


After months of lurking around Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry’s website and checking out the various contributions to her You Capture challenge, I finally decided I would up and take that challenge. When I saw this week’s You Capture was Friends, I thought to myself, “Sweet!” We had a slew of friends visiting this weekend, and even better, a bunch were coming up to collaborate on a project: the birth of the Spearmint Dino art car for Burning Man. What better opportunity to capture true friendship than a bunch of friends putting their heads together to create a communal art project?

Goes to show, what works in your head doesn’t always turn out on film. So we’re just gonna have to make do with “happy accidents”, m’kay?

I wouldn’t say these are the most gorgeous pictures I’ve taken aesthetically, but oh, I do love them for their irony.
You can see here, the guys are contemplating the art car because they have effed up have been presented with a challenge. Having built the majority of the art car, they (yes, apparently just now) realize they need to get it from the shop to the house where it will be stored and they hadn’t quite planned that far out in their schemations. Trouble is: with the dino coming off about a foot on either side of the golf cart, it no longer fits in the bed of a truck. Being a golf cart which zooms along at a stunning 25 mph, it can’t exactly be driven down the 101 – lest even slow-ass old grandpas be reduced to gesticulating rudely in our general direction. Built for the playa, it’s meant to be outpaced by passing butterflies. And the guys, as proud little papas of their new baby, are loathe to dismantle it for transportation.

So what do they do? They call AAA.
This picture makes them look like a Christian rock band. ‘Cept they’re burners. Which is pretty much the antithesis of a Christian rock band.

AAA is entertaining the idea and asks for the addresses of pick-up and drop-off. My husband is negotiating with AAA, but doesn’t know the address of the guy’s house where it will be stored. Jeremy, the guy who does know the address has gone to the loo. So our friend, Jaime, is calling the guy in the loo for the address on one phone and relaying the information to Toby, who is on the other phone to Triple-A.
They’re talking to each other while on their cell phones – just not on the phone with each other.

So while this week’s You Capture was supposed to capture friends, and I was going for collaboration, what you see in the pictures is anomie. And a whole lot of technology.
Oh, the irony. (But hot dang, my man – the one in the black top – has a hot bod. Mm. Sorry. Easily distracted, I am.)

And as it turns out, AAA has no problem towing a recreational white and pink dino. What they do have a problem with is the fact that it is unregistered. No unregistered white-pink dinos for Triple A. Their dinos must come with papers. So after all that, the boys had to rent a U-Haul to tow it. Then the U-Haul turned out to be about 4 inches too short and they had to dismantle the dino anyway.

Because this happened:
Dino upload FAIL.

But it’ll all be worth it once that dino hits the playa.

The Fidgety-Fidgets

I started off the week feeling blue, shifted quickly to anxious, relieved, happy and productive, and now I’m on to fidgety. I am so female. I suppose the fidgety-ness comes from the fact that it is FRIDAY(!) before a glorious holiday weekend that will be spent in San Francisco with fabulous friends. Some of whom are moving to Morocco (booo!…except that I might get to visit, maybe even as soon as next spring as my husband and I are talking about doing a trip to Syria and Morocco…YAY!).

I’m very much looking forward to festivities and good times with the friends. But a large part of me is very sad that I cannot be in Australia right now. Well, okay, I almost always wish I could be in Australia, but I do have a very particular reason today. My cousin, with whom I’m very close, like almost-sister close, is getting married. It’s a quick and small wedding due to extraneous time and budget constraints. But all of her family is either in Thailand or California, and because of the timing, none of us can be there with her. I feel…displaced somehow, not being able to witness this moment in her life and stand by her side through it. I want to see her glow; I want to see her radiantly happy. And pictures, no matter how well-captured, are but pale imitations of the real thing. I feel a loss, not being able to be there, and I only hope she does not feel alone on that day. I will be thinking of her, as will all of our family.

But I can’t succumb to the fidgety-fidgets for very long. I have much to do today! My manuscript is, I think, about 99.5% done. I have just one last read-through to do, mostly for cosmetic changes, and this makes me excited, nervous, and proud all at once. Even if it gets rejected, I feel proud that it is complete. (Well, I’m sure it will get rejected. Probably multiple times. But all it takes is that one yes, right?)

In the meantime, I also have laundry to do, survey data to enter, weekend items to pack, and a multitude of other various and sundry tasks to complete. So, as the French would say, “On y va!

Happy Fourth everyone!

Musings on a Friday Blessing

There are a lot of things going on in my life right now that I could complain about: it’s a rainy day, with plans thwarted, mini-stresses, and plenty of inconveniences that should make me grumpy. But when I woke up this morning, I felt inexplicably happy and at peace. Maybe because it is Friday, I feel more like celebrating than grousing. I have many reasons to feel blessed and thinking of those blessings seems to me like a good way to start the weekend. So, instead of the rain outside today, I take a picture of a sunflower rising.

Today I must focus on finishing my theory chapter of my dissertation. I’ve set a deadline for myself to finish it by Sunday night so I can give it and my Intro chapter (which is already more or less complete) to my committee. Such relief it will be to have that finished, because once it is complete, I’ll be doing data entry for a (long) while. While that probably sounds tedious–and it is–it’ll be a nice break from the craziness that has been this past year. Plus, it will also give me the requisite mental space for getting back to my manuscript in the evenings. One more set of revisions await completion, and once those are ready, I can send my manuscript off to agents and publishers!

On Saturday, I’m holding a Thank You BBQ for my students and I’m really looking forward to it. They’ve done fantastic work this quarter as research assistants and they deserve a little party in their honor. Plus, I really do enjoy my students as people. I’m looking forward to an opportunity to know them better as individuals, and let my hair down so to speak, so they can know me better too. At this stage in their careers, they should know I’m rooting for them and happy to support them any way I can.

I have an awesome, amazing, wonderful husband who brings me joy and giggles every day. This little slice of bliss has become even more important than I imagined. It gives me a safe foundation where when everything else in my life goes to sh*t, there is a space where I can come home and say, “Life isn’t so bad”.

I have amazing friends. Even though almost all of them are far away–and one is due to leave soon and another is going halfway around the world!–they are all incredible people to know and love. I feel extremely happy for them as they embark on their new journeys and I feel lucky to have them in my life. I’m looking forward to the celebrations in their honor, bitter-sweet though they may be.

Now that the data collection phase of my research is done, I can work almost entirely at home. This makes my little heart go pitter-pat. Working at home is the shiz-nit because you can wear whatever you want.

And last but not least, it’s FRIDAY and I’m just about to enjoy a good cup of coffee. Sounds like bliss to me.

Transitioning to Tweens

Yesterday, I attended a younger sibling-in-law’s sixth grade graduation. The principal gave the typical speech about “the challenges ahead”, advising them to always think critically, be themselves, and not be pressured by their peers. As an educator and socially responsible person, I’m nodding “yes, yes, of course, sound advice that is”, but as someone who has suffered through and survived junior high, I found myself thinking I could have used an entirely different set of advice before embarking on that adventure/tragedy that is junior high. Oh, the social awkwardness. So this is the non-parent/principal-approved list of advice I wish I had gotten when I was 13. To the adults out there: what advice would you like to have gotten before going to junior high? Feel free to add your own to the list!

The (Alternative) Guide to Junior High School

1. Don’t pop your zits – As satisfying as it is, you never know when you’ll pick the wrong one and just get a bloody mess and scars for your efforts.

2. Yes, it’s true. The social hierarchy does depend almost entirely on the clothes you wear. The sad truth is it is so easy to move up the hierarchy but the kids at the top almost never deserve it and yet the kids at the bottom don’t realize how such tiny, inconsequential, superficial things determine their fate. It’s not a matter of “following the crowd” like your parents warn about; it’s a matter of social survival.

3. That said, it’s not worth caring much about the social hierarchy in the long run. Most of the popular kids end up barefoot and pregnant before adulthood, and the nerds and geeks come into their own and end up being the really cool people you want to know right around college.

4. Avoid being in photographs at all costs. You’ll only want to burn them later because a) hormones and braces are evil, and b) 7th & 8th graders are just not the best judges when it comes to make-up.

5. These are the years you discover sarcasm, rolled eyes, ineffable boredom, the joy of cussing and general negativity. Embrace it with your peers, but realize every one else finds it supremely annoying.

6. To the A students: If the choice is between doing homework and hanging out with your best friends, more often than not, opt for friends. You only need to test well to get into advanced classes in high school (and even without that, you can petition)…other than that, NOBODY looks at your grades from junior high. Fun times and hilarious memories are far more worthwhile.

7. Guys, as much as it might seem cool to act like a badass, you’re not fooling anyone. Except maybe yourself and other wannabes.

8. Girls, ALWAYS have an extra tampon/pad, even if it’s not that time of the month. You never know when emergency or disaster will strike you or a loved one.

9. Eighth grade dances are not like the proms you see on TV. Imagine all the girls on one side and all the boys on the other side, insert awkwardness and music compiled by people three sheets shy of cool, and you have the first half of an eighth grade dance. In the second half, when people start actually dancing, awkwardness increases exponentially as everyone realizes they have no clue how to dance. Successful slow dancing requires being able to rotate slowly in a circle, while weaving from side to side, without stepping on anyone’s feet or dress. This can be hazardous when people’s feet and arms are out of proportion from the rest of their bodies thanks to growth spurts and when boys are a head shorter than girls but girls must still find a way to rest their heads on the guy’s shoulder.

10. Romantic relationships will probably be the most dramatic, soap operatic, and short-lived of your entire life. Two survivor rules: 1) Dating your best friends’ (ex)boy/girlfriend is so not cool. No, it’s not like they’re not going to get married, but it is a code-of-honor issue among friends; 2) Don’t freak out when your friend gets a bf/gf and spends less time with you. They’ll be back eventually when they discover how much of a dweeb their bf/gf was.

And above all:
Nothing that happens in junior high is the end of the world (though it all seems like it), and so remember: This too shall pass.

My Closest Friends Are All Far Away

There is something indescribably wonderful about having friends with whom, no matter how close or far away, no matter how much time has passed, you can always pick up the threads as if you were never apart.

This weekend I spent time with some of my closest friends. I haven’t seen them in almost a year, yet when I am with them, it is almost like it was only yesterday we last saw each other. We can laugh and joke and fall into an easy rhythm. There are no awkward silences because you love each other so much, just being with each other is enough. You talk about the big things, you talk about the little, insignificant things and all of it is important and meaningful–something to remember.

And who knows where we all shall go? Some may fly off to foreign lands, some moving for career opportunities, and some finding their home in which to settle down. No matter where our paths will lead, there is never good-bye because we know we will always find ways to touch base, to reconnect and pick up as if we never left off.

There is something so indescribably comfortable and sweet in that.

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