Friday, July 17, 2009

Life Is Good

Life in general is pretty darn good. Things at work are a little busier, which helps me feel more productive and valuable. Social life has been very busy, always picks up in the summer. Lots of fun with friends, and lots of good music. Romantic life remains static, but that has a tendency to work out best when I don't pay it a lot of attention. Rebecca is enjoying her summer, a good combination so far of busy times interspersed with down time. She's a great help around the house and a joy to live with! Meanwhile, ...

...we're heading out for our second annual trip to Radford to attend SUUSI: Southeastern Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute -- church camp. But not just any church camp. For seven days, UUs from all over the country (and some from outside the country...) gather together to share joys, sorrows, fun, worship, discussions, music, dancing, art, and community. For those seven days, we will be the only folks on the Radford campus besides the summer staff.

Last year, I took a yoga class and did one hike. I attended a couple of worship services (done by some of the who's who of UU) and did a whole lot of late night tipping and dancing. Rebecca and I roomed together in the family dorm, and we both made new friends and had a great time.

This year, I plan to do a fun run and three hikes, and am working in the nursery part-time. Rebecca will be staying in the teen dorm with a friend she made last year, and I will be staying in the adult dorm :) We are both looking forward to the freedom and fun.

SUUSI has been the answer to what has been a difficult decision for us each year: what to do for vacation that engages both of us and allows us each to have fun with folks in our peer groups. It is perfect. Life is good.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Charlie Bean

And speaking of friendship, just heard from my old friend Chuck yesterday. Chuck and I go back to high school, Norview High School in Norfolk, VA. He dated one of my best friends. He was one of my best friends, too. We knew he had a temper, since one night after he and Denise fought he put a hole in the bedroom door where she was staying at my dad's house. Dad was none too happy about it. Chuck was one of those whose mouth and temper got the better of him when he was drinking.

Chuck also lived in Houston for part of the time I was there. We lived in the same apartment complex. I remember one night, after having a few (okay, several) drinks at the bar next door (I believe it was called Amore...), we started walking home in the rain. We ran into someone I knew, and we started chatting. Apparently Chuck stepped into some mud, but whatever the case, the whole time I was chatting with the neighbor, I could hear Chuck floundering around in the bushes, and I'm chatting as though nothing in the world is wrong. The neighbor moved on, and Chuck and I laughed our asses off all the way back to our apartments.

Anyhow, about 11 years ago Chuck got himself into trouble. This wasn't his first brush with the law, but it's the one that put him into jail for 20 years. Apparently his temper and drinking set him off once again, and he drew a knife on some guy at a party. Bad enough, but when the cops came, Chuck brandished the knife at one of them. You just don't do that. So, Chuck has been bouncing around between various Virginia correctional facilities, depending on how well he behaves. He's currently not too far away (near Farmville) and I may try to go and see him.

Meanwhile, Chuck's daughter has grown to be a young lady of 15. She hardly knows her dad, he hardly knows her; in fact, he hasn't seen her in a year. Chuck wrote that his mom is coming to visit, and will be bringing his daughter with her. I am so glad he gets to see them both.

Do I feel sorry for Chuck? Yes, I kind of do. He never got the help he needed, and he wasn't enlightened enough to know how to get it. He'll never get that help in the system. He will supposedly get out in nine more years. Wow. I can't imagine losing 20 years of my life, not seeing my daughter grow up, realizing my mother is old and has serious health problems, not seeing my siblings, or my friends. I know he 'brought this on himself', but I also know his problems were fixable, and I think it's a shame he will have served 20 years, when there are so many out on the street now who have done so much worse than Chuck did.

So, I heard from "my favorite convict" (as Chuck likes to call himself) yesterday, and I owe him a letter, possibly a visit. He's still my friend, Bean as I used to call him (short for Charlie Bean, not sure why...) See you soon, Chuck.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fickled Fate of Friendship

It's about friendship. You see, I'm a sensitive girl. I know, I don't come off that way, that's a defense mechanism, and you know it. But some friendships really matter to me. So when a friend goes away or disappears, I tend to feel a tad blue and worry what happened. I know, don't take it personally. But what if it *does* have something to do with me? I think I'd like to know. I think I'd want to make amends and/or talk it out. When we're not given that explanation, then the ends are left hanging, dangling out there. That's unpleasant. I'm a believer in open, honest communication. I don't like games, or mixed messages, or unanswered questions. It makes me feel confused and frustrated, and sad. Ugh.

But on another note, also to do with friendship, I have some amazing friends. Spent an excellent weekend with lots of them, old and new. Come Monday I was exhausted, but it was a lot of fun right up through midnight Sunday. And my daughter had a fun weekend with a friend and her family at Westmoreland, so Sunday night when we finally got together again, she was all chatty about her weekend, and we talked and talked, just like friends. Obviously I love my daughter; but I also really, really like her. She is turning into a pretty awesome human being, and I am so very blessed to have her in my life.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Organizational Therapy

I'm a neat person by nature. I've always been a 'picker upper' -- I don't like clutter, it makes me feel muddled and out of control. So, I pick up and put away...a lot. When people come to my home, they usually make some comment about how clean my house is, and I always correct them. Because my house isn't clean; I hate to clean. But I'm usually putting things in their place, which gives the appearance of clean. And I'm okay with that.

One of the things I thought I might do as a side business involves helping people get rid of the clutter in their lives. I would call it Organizational Therapy, because it can be therapeutic to get rid of clutter. However, I realized that helping someone get rid of clutter can be a delicate matter. You have to be very aware that their clutter has meaning to them, and getting rid of it can be a slow and sometimes painful process. So, I shelved (pardon the pun) that idea for a business, because I need a better awareness into people's psyche than I actually have.

So, I stick to my own clutter. And I realized, when I started blogging, that writing is my mental clutter clearing: putting the jumbled thoughts on paper is my way of clearing out the clutter. Kind of like making a list when you have so many things to do you feel like your head is going to explode. Putting it all down on paper helps ease that feeling that your brain is bulging at the seams. At least it does for me.

And this morning my head is a jumble. Some of the words tumbling around today: friendships, relationships, competition, jealousy, caring, laughter, solitude, sharing, withdrawing, understanding, misunderstanding, wanting, fearing, asking, telling, listening, hearing, healing, growing, aging, breathing, thinking, overthinking.

Whew, that feels better.