The strange world of Facebook …

Facebook is even stranger than real life, which is saying a mouthful.  I’ve been rattling around its environs for years now and I think I’ve seen Just.About.Everything.  I realize I’m being silly in even claiming such a thing, however, as there’s always something even more mind-blowing around the next corner.  People never fail to amaze.  Most anyone who spends any appreciable amount of time on social media knows it’s a distillation of daily life in the world … every mindset is represented, every problem magnified, every personality laid painfully bare.

Let’s talk about “friending” … an intriguing concept in every way.  It’s hard for me to let people into my life, and yet I’ve met fabulous individuals from around the globe whom I would never have had the opportunity to know otherwise and we carry on funny, fascinating, engaging conversations nearly every day.  I also have a raft of family members on my friends list, most of whom rarely talk to me … but I don’t take it personally.  We’re family, after all, and one sticks with family … at least in ours.  And we share an industrial-strength genetic makeup … we tend to be quiet and introspective until someone hits the right button, and then just try to shut us up.  I’ve received a lot of friend requests from people I used to know in a passing sort of way.  Sometimes those work out and we strike up a comfortable relationship that’s better than anything we could have claimed in the past.  Sometimes I authorize the request and never hear boo — not a hello, a comment in a conversation thread, a simple “like.”  In those instances, I usually assume the whole thing was motivated by curiosity (have I gotten fat or fallen on hard times??), give it a few weeks, hit the delete button, and move on.

The first time I was unfriended, it was like a kick to the gut … it happened to be someone I thought was a close friend, someone who’d been by my side during life-altering events.  I considered myself safe, accepted … in other words, in my mind it was a true friendship.  Not so … my political and spiritual convictions, only mildly hinted at during those innocent early days, rendered me unfit for that particular relationship.  Revelation having dawned, I tucked it under my belt and marched on.  I’ve since been unfriended by a handful of other people for the views I hold, and the only thing that would make that an untenable situation is if I changed my thinking in order to keep people happy.

Interestingly, Facebook has succeeded in teaching me far more about friendship than I was able to learn in the rest of my life to this point.  I’ve met lovely people to whom I feel very bonded … some of the truest friendships I’ve ever known.  Thus, in some ways I’ve grown softer toward people … more accepting of personalities and the endlessly varied ways in which they express themselves.  Inevitably, however, I’ve developed a thicker crust about some things.  I do not tolerate prejudice, particularly the kind based on skin color or a person’s station in life, and I do not willingly subject myself to incivility.  I’m all about keeping it real these days.  If you pass me in the grocery store without a glimmer of recognition, I have to assume we aren’t actually friends.  If you take me to task for the things I believe in and try to shame me into adopting a different mindset, I’m quite sure we aren’t friends, as no quality relationship operates that way.  If you requested to join my friends list and we’ve never had a conversation or any sort of interaction, you’re probably not there anymore … or won’t be tomorrow.  What’s the point?

Stay tuned … Facebook isn’t finished with me yet, nor I with it.

A snow day …

Keeping watch out my big office windows this morning … wondering if we’ll actually get the 12 to 15 inches of snow that are forecast for here … hoping we do.  We need it and I love it.  This is an obvious day for inspiration, and I’ve done my part by nearly emptying the coffee pot.  While we wait, I’m bringing forward the last post I wrote for my original blog, with a few modifications … (it’s the Facebook one).

Trees

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Give me a reason, I dare you …

act my age

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Ten things …

Ten Things

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I love Stephen Wright

“I’m writing a book.  I’ve got the page numbers done.”  ~Stephen Wright

Quote

There’s just one …

Wild and Precious

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No comfort …

Comfort Zone

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Heroes

In one of my file cabinets there’s a folder labeled “Role Models” which is filled with clippings, photos, and articles about people who have continued to do physically and mentally challenging things far past an age when most of us tend to be ready for a break.  A man who learned to read at age 98.  A 73-year-old woman who continues to work as a pilot and flight instructor.  A Nashville surgeon who still practices medicine at 80.  A beautiful Broadway dancer who’s 78 and looks no older than 48.  Bessie Doenges who, in 1995, was still writing and getting published at age 94, and brooking no nonsense, thank you very much.  You get the idea.  I’m in awe of all these people and so many more … but I don’t necessarily consider them personal heroes.

I have two real heroes in my life — my husband who kept me from dying of grief anorexia and loves me unconditionally … and my son.

John is an only child who ceased being a kid long ago.  I knew he was an old soul from the first moment I laid eyes on him and in many ways it seems like he raised himself.  He was always quietly settled on who he was, and the opinions of others didn’t cause him to waver much.  He’s unfailingly polite, kind, and tactful, and if you need someone to really, really listen to you, he’s your guy.  I can’t count the times in conversation when his spot-on discernment has gone through me like a laser.

He paid the price to get a five-year degree in Industrial Design and had a career for about a dozen years in which he was steadily moving up.  Then 2003 arrived, bringing crushing loss — his dad and both grandfathers.  A year of self-examination followed, and another year spent on college prerequisites for a career change.  He then earned his RN degree in a grueling 18-month period instead of the usual three years, and it didn’t kill him … although the possibility existed.

He now works in the Oncology/Renal unit of an Atlanta hospital and was recently made Clinical Coordinator on the night shift.  He may do hospice care someday, and if that happens the people he ministers to will have landed in a good place.  He is uniquely gifted to help people leave this life with their dignity intact.

John is my flesh and blood and yet I often find myself wondering where he came from.  As his mom I feel very humbled by him … proud … grateful.  The way he’s lived his life to this point, and especially the way he handles adversity, along with so many other things, makes him my true hero.  I could write a book …

Oh, and PS … he has a wicked sarcastic streak that will knock you off your feet.

John with puppy

John RN

Dear little me …

dear little me

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Skinny Artichoke Dip

My sister and a friend made the Chicken Chipotle Bites for lunch today and it reminded me that we haven’t had a recipe for a little while.  So here’s another for the Playing for Time Test Kitchen!

hot-artichoke-dip

Skinny Artichoke Dip
Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes 
Servings: 10 • Serving Size: 1/4 cup • Old Points: 2 pts • Points+: 2 pts
Calories: 73.7 • Fat: 4.0 g • Carb: 4.8 g • Fiber: 0.7 g • Protein: 4.5 g

Ingredients:

  • 13.75 oz artichoke hearts packed in water, drained
  • 2 tbsp chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat bread crumbs
  • olive oil spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°.

In a small food processor, coarsely chop the artichoke hearts with the shallots.

Combine artichokes, yogurt, mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, mozzarella, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Place in an oven-proof dish and top with breadcrumbs. Lightly spray the crumbs with olive oil then bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes, until hot and cheese is melted. Serve right away.

Can be made one day in advance without the breadcrumbs and stored in the refrigerator before baking. Add breadcrumbs before baking. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Your unsuspecting guests will have no idea they are indulging in lightened up party fare. Serve this with baked pita chips, crostini or any low fat chip.

Yes!

cape and tiara

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Milestones …

I spent several hours in my car today.  I spent most of the remainder at a funeral.  It’s complicated.  My sister married a great guy.  My brother married a great girl.  The great guy and great girl are brother and sister.  So there are a number of double cousins in the family.  That’s where it starts to get complicated … and doesn’t stop.  Don’t ask.  The father of the brother-and-sister-by-marriage passed away this week.  I went to his funeral mass today, and his graveside service, complete with very moving Navy Military Rites.  And I hung out during a beautiful lunch with people I love and am almost related to.  And some that I’m very related to.  It was a sweet day and a sobering one.  I think one of the things that keeps us from becoming officially “old” is that if we keep our eyes and ears and hearts open, there’s always something to learn in this life.  And the first lesson to learn is that we will never know it all.  And that everybody — everybody — has a story.  And that every one of those stories is worth hearing.  And that whatever we may think we know about any given person, there’s always much more we do not know.  And that everyone in this life is or has been loved uniquely … and appreciated.  Sometimes the appreciation from assorted and sundry others comes late … but it’s no less real.  Today was a pilgrimage of sorts … a memorable one.

everyone has a story

USNavy

Happy Valentine’s Day

Like a Seashell

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Life’s little instruction book …

“Instructions for living a life.

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.”

~Mary Oliver

A heads up!

Celebrate Everything

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