Tag Archives: Friendship

Views from the Patio, 7/23

View from the patio
My view from the patio this morning.

It’s a patio type of morning for me. The weather is predicted to be hot today, and for nearly the entire country, not just here. So, I am spending some time outdoors before things heat up. My trusty canine companions are with me, except for Shelby who opted to stay in the house.

Due to some recent rains, I have been able to skip watering for the past several days saving me hours of work. What a treat! Except for the container plants. They look droopy by afternoon and long for a splash of water on their roots. We oblige them because we do not want unhappy hibiscus, mandevillas, gardenias, and such. They make views from the patio so much better!

Patio view
Patio time!

I have been thinking about the nature of friends in current times. Relationships have changed. I’m not sure if this is for good or bad. Probably a little of each as most things are or maybe only different.

I ponder why they have changed. My first thought is, we live in an electronic age. My second thought is we live in the time of Covid. Both have certainly changed things. People have cell phones and computers. Even most television viewing is by streaming rather than a live broadcast so we don’t even all get our news at the same time. We no longer use face to face interactions for the majority of our communications unless you count Zoom meetings and Facetime. We text, we email, and occasionally call. I am a believer that texts and emails can make life easier, but they also cause problems. Some emails are lost, but the sender doesn’t know it. If the message does arrive, vocal nuances and facial expressions do not accompany it so the meaning may be mis-taken. Sending, “That’s great”, does not convey the sarcastic tone that may, or may not be implied. Irony and a questioning lilt that is implied with a tone of voice is lost. Misunderstandings occur and feelings get hurt. I imagine this must be something we have all experienced. I do believe that electronic communication is a beneficial and powerful tool. We just need to take care with how we use it.

Keeping in touch with friends electronically is the new norm. I don’t feel that I have as many close friends now because we are texting and Facebooking, but not really visiting. This is exacerbated by Covid protocols. I am just as guilty of this as anyone. But it does make for a different type of relationship. Or maybe part of it is the natural progression as we get older, we don’t have the same intensity of friendships because we all have our own families and lives to take care of.

When I was younger, I had friends that I frequently spent time with. Even entire weekends. We went places and did things and were a regular part of each other’s lives. Fast forward to today. Does this still hold true? Not so much. Admittedly, two of my closest friends of my adult life have both passed away. So, it’s beyond my, or their, control that we don’t hang out.

On the flip side, I have many more friends than I ever did. These friends are more of the acquaintance variety. I have made most of them virtually. Or I may have met them in person once and we became friends via Facebook. I have made friends through other friends, at parties, at animal rescue events, and through other activities I have been involved in. People that I would only have had contact with one time, have been converted into regular acquaintances.

Some of my friends, I have never met in person at all. We hooked up through different Facebook groups or maybe as friends of friends or we find we share common interests. I have even had some of these virtual friends for years. And these friendships are important to me. I care about these people, and I believe they care about me. We “like” each other’s posts and frequently have conversations about life experiences and day to day life. In times of trouble or sadness, we offer each other words of comfort and support. One of my Facebook friends that I have never met in person was recently diagnosed with an aggressive and rare form of cancer. (Don’t give up, sometimes the doctor’s prognosis is wrong and there is more time to be had!) I am saddened by my friend’s diagnosis and think of her several times a day. My point is these types of friendships can have great value and be meaningful too.

I am blessed to live in an age where I can have friendships with people that live far away from me in distance, but we are close in spirit. I have reconnected with childhood friends and classmates, relatives that live far away. People I wouldn’t have the chance to be in touch with otherwise.

Now don’t get me wrong. I still have some friends that I visit with in person. Even a few new ones since I retired. And family members that I hang out with regularly. In fact, one of the best things is being friends with your adult daughter and your considerably younger brother and all the extended families that now come with them. I also know I am blessed that I love my family members and love spending time with them.

So, what is a friendship? I think it means different things to different people. May your friends be as dear to you as mine are to me.

Peace be with you!

Garden Gate
Appreciate all your friends!

Books Read December 2020 (The Blessing of Books in a Pandemic World)

The blessing of books in a pandemic world.
The Blessing of Books in a Pandemic World

Getting library books turned into more of a challenge this month due to the increased number of Covid cases in this pandemic world. My local library has once again had to shut its doors to the public, but I persevered. I was still able to get books by doing searches, placing the books on hold, and picking them up at the library’s drive thru window. And so I was able to get a new supply of books. That feeling of driving home with a new bag of books on the seat beside me never gets old. My reads for the month follow.

1. From Alaska With Love-Ally James

Sara develops a relationship writing to a soldier stationed overseas. Will things work out when he comes state side, or will the reality be too much? A fun read.

2. The Summer Deal-Jill Shalvis

Brynn strives to make a new life for herself after surviving a breakup. She moves back to her hometown and rekindles relationships with family and friends. I love anything written by Shalvis.

3. Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies-Vicky Zimmerman

Kate Parker’s nearly 40 year old life is going down the tubes. She begins volunteering at a home for old ladies. The friendship she makes with one of them changes her life.

4. Sealed Off-Barbara Ross

A murder mystery that takes place on an island in Maine. The Snowden family business is to put on clambakes. Relations between two of the employees go bad, or do they? A hidden room is also involved.

5. The Jane Austen Society-Natalie Jenner

This is a book about a group of people who become friends through their love for Jane Austen and her works. There was a lot of groundwork to lay so it took me a while to get into the book. It was well worth reading to get to the surprise ending.

6. One Thousand Gifts-Ann Voskamp (Non-fiction)

I only read a chapter and a half of this book. The writer talks about life struggles and described them so well that they were quite painful and stuck in your mind. Making you feel is the sign of a good writer and I’m thinking she over comes her problems given the title of the book. It is not the kind of book that I want to read right now with a pandemic going on. I may return to it sometime in the future.

Of this group of books, the one that is going to stick with me is #3) Miss Cecily’s Recipe for Exceptional Ladies. It shows the beauty of new and unexpected friendships and how they can improve our lives.

Happy New Year, fellow readers. Hoping your 2021 is a wonderful year and that your blessings exceed your expectations.

Be Kind, Always

I’ve been struggling with something recently. I like to think that I’m a nice person. I try. But I’m not so sure that I succeed.

I had a friend that I used to talk to from time to time. We would do a few things together. We had some things in common. Dog causes and activities, go figure.

My friend made a few political comments and I discovered that we did not share the same political opinions or support the same politicians. I still cared about my friend but decided it would be best to avoid her for a while, until the political climate changed and such issues were not hot topics.

If I heard from my friend, I was always polite, but we didn’t do things that we had done before. Well, I learned recently that my friend died. This should not have come as the shock to me that it did. This friend was not a young person.

This gives me cause to ponder if perhaps I am not the kind of person that I thought I was, and have strived, and failed to be. I think now that I should have still gone places and done things with my friend. If the subject of politics arose, I could have said “let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk about something else.”

People are certainly allowed to have their own opinions. They don’t need to be the same as mine. I don’t need every one of my friends to think exactly like me. It would be a boring world. Another thought-how will the world solve various issues without discussion and multiple insights?

I do not have the answers to these questions. But I have learned that I need to be a better friend, and more tolerant. Maybe not accepting of some ideas, but caring enough to still be there.

I debated whether to share these thoughts as they are rather personal. I decided that maybe someone else can benefit from my experience. How will you feel if you discover that it’s too late to make a different choice?

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. – The Dalai Lama

Thank You For Being a Friend

The girls and I lost a friend this week. Nikki (above), Shelby (below) and I have been visiting at a local nursing home for a number of years. This gentleman, Bob, was one of our favorites.

I visited with Bob the two times a month that we went to the nursing home for the four and a half years that he resided there. He always greeted us with a smile and a quick wit. I could tell everyone loved him, workers and residents alike.

He always had a kind word, words of comfort or a joke to share. As we got to know each other, I found out that Bob was from the same small community that I live in. I live right down the street from a business he once had. Over the months, Bob taught me a lot of local history of the area and tidbits of information about what times used to be like there. I learned from him about local landmarks and points of interest, and just what times were like over the years.

Bob could talk about anything. We talked about “our Cavs”, gardening, current events, historical events, his family, my family. You name it, we probably talked about it. We shared life. I felt closer to him than any grandparent I ever had.

Bob lived a good, and long life. He was 94. Still, I cried when I saw his obituary in the paper. I didn’t think it was time yet. Thank you my friend, my life is better for having known you.

Until We Meet Again


Today was the end of an era for me. My best friend from college was laid to rest. This forces the issue of mortality in my mind. Becky and I were friends for 35 years. On one hand 35 years is quite a while. On the other hand I did not have her in my life for nearly long enough. In another 35 years I will be close to 90 years old. I guess it just points out that we need to make the most of our times together.

And Becky and I did have some most awesome times! The picture above is from our trip to Maine, most of which was spent in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. We hiked, we ate ice cream and lobster, we shopped, camped, went to the beach, and hiked some more. We discovered on this trip that I can make a 180 degree turn in a full size pickup when I see an ice cream stand! Totally worth it. Becky laughed about that for years.


This picture is from our hike to the summit of Gorham Mountain. We were quite proud. Although this trip is one of the highlights of our adventures, there were so many more.

Our group of college friends had annual Christmas parties, even as families grew. Becky spent many, many weekends with me when we were both single. Through all the years and life changes we always kept in contact. At some points more often than others. It was always as if no time had passed when we got together again.

I’m sure that will be the case when some day in the distant future we are hanging out together again. Becky will live on as a part of me. Just like a quote I saw somewhere. Death ends a life, not a relationship. Until we meet again my friend.



I love to take my dogs visiting at the assisted living facility. There is a feeling of joy you get when you see the people petting and talking to your dogs.

Most people think it’s a very kind and giving thing to do. It may have started out that way, but now it is more of a two way street. I guard my scheduled time for these forays. There are very few things I allow to interfere. I  get to go spend time with my dogs where they are the center of attention. They are fawned over and folks want to listen to me talk about my dogs and know all about them.


You might say these visits are a very selfish thing to do, soaking up all this attention for my pups. One of the ladies even gave us her dog’s toys that she had kept after his passing.  Now that is selfless.

Not only do we talk about the dogs when I visit. I have been going there long enough that we talk about many things. I  dare say these folks have become my friends. I spend time with them more regularly than I am able to do with most of my other friends. We make time for each other. That is a special gift that is shared.


When the dogs and I must miss a visit for some reason, usually only for illness, we all feel short changed. I care about these people who have become my friends. I think about them in between trips to visit. I wonder how they are and what they’re up to. I know the dogs are eager for our visits and the time spent together. I believe this would be one definition of friendship. Thank you my friends.

I do not show faces in my photos to protect the identity of the individuals.

My Three Mothers


I have been fortunate to have the blessing of multiple good mothers. “Multiple mothers?”, you may wonder? Yes, there are three. They have overlapped in time so that most of my life I have had more than one at once. Lucky me!

First there was my biological mother. She passed on last week and that is what got me to thinking about the whole concept. She, obviously, gave birth to me and raised me. She was a good mother. Always looking out for my best interests and preparing me for life. I have many fond memories of her even though she had been ill for some years now.

Then came my second mother. She is a strong woman who does good things in her community. She loves all the furry creatures and on this we certainly connect. She started out as my mother-in-law, the mother of my first husband. He and I parted ways some years ago. But his mother, I kept. (Along with some of his other relatives.) We are still in contact and love to visit with each other and catch up. So, in my mind, after the divorce his mother “graduated” to become mother #2. You know the saying, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water? Applies here. The ex-husband goes but the family stays. I made out pretty well in that deal. I love them.

And then there is mother #3. I was fortunate enough to gain her as my mother when I married my current husband. What a wonderful lady. She is kind and caring and understanding. Not just with me but with the world in general. She also serves her community in many ways. I can learn a thing or two from her about forgiveness and tolerance. From my experiences in life I have learned a thing or two so she has already “graduated” from mother-in-law to mother in my life.

These mothers have all been a blessing. Some people do not have the benefit of knowing even one mother in their lives and I have been given three. My cup runneth over. They have all loved me and helped to guide the course of my life. The old mother-in-law stigma has not been true in my life. I have received positive experiences and acceptance. I look at the list of “Gandhi’s Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World” hanging by my desk and realize that each of my mothers has been an example and helped me realize multiple insights on the list. Here is the list:

Gandhi’s Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World

1. Change Yourself

2. You Are in Control

3. Forgive and Let Go

4. Without Action You Aren’t Going Anywhere

5.Take Care of this Moment

6. Everyone is Human

7. Persist

8. See the Good in People & Help Them

9. Be Congruent, be Authentic, be your True Self

10. Continue to Grow & Evolve

If I were to write about the examples each woman gave me in regards to this list, the pages would be many. I would have enough material for a book. There are lessons to be learned from people all around us if we take the time to learn them. I hope to honor these women by the life I live.