Category Archives: Friends

A Facebook hiatus does people good.

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This past Sunday I made the decision to temporarily de-activate my Facebook account, just for a few days.  It was a personal litmus test, to see if I could go about my day without obsessing about a virtual application that has seemingly taken over what little social life I have.  Often times I found myself grabbing my laptop and logging in simply to see what was “going on” on Facebook, only to find myself still “online” four hours later.  The problem is once you’re logged in, the warm laptop buzzing away in your lap as you lay on the couch in the early afternoon, it’s easy to meander over to other websites, click links, watch videos……..and the next thing my entire afternoon is wasted. Can we say addicted, much?

John Lennon once said “Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted,” which is a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with.  However, more often than not I was bored with surfing the Net.  Facebook would rope me in and I would aimlessly meander from site to site, hoping to find something interesting to capture my attention.  I would not define that as time wasted that I enjoyed.

It was a gradual decision to de-activate Facebook.  First I cleaned out my “friends” with whom I have no real semblance of a friendship – acquaintances with which I exchange a hello every now and then.  Or people who know me via other family members.  I don’t really know them as people – I just recognize their faces.  There were teenage girls that played basketball with my sister on the local team, for example.  A hello in person seemed like it was enough – having them as Facebook friends didn’t really add any quality to my life. Did I really need to know whether they were single, in a relationship, sad, or happy?  I wasn’t really interested in their love proclamations either.  I grew out of my teens long ago, and would never want to re-visit those years.  Bogging down my day with the inane, self-obsessed thoughts of teen girls was making me roll my eyes to the point where I’d be on the floor looking for them because they dropped out of my head.  No thank you.  NEXT!

My clean-up then moved on to people who I knew socially in another life, who were nice enough people but the only reason I kept them on as friends was for the trolling satisfaction of keeping up to date with their life without really caring about it.  They’re not my friends.  I don’t really know them and I don’t hang out with them.   See ya later!  My Facebook list is now composed of actual friends and people I like and appreciate; and most importantly, people with whom I can’t feasibly keep regular face-to-face or phone contact with – for this sliver of people’s lives Facebook is a good tool to stay in touch.

Eventually I made the decision to go for temporary de-activation – my motivation was to allow myself to get back in touch with myself.  (How new-age does that sound? I’m not a hippie, I swear.)  But that is the truth.  I spent countless hours in a virtual world without giving enough attention to my actual life and it caused me to feel anxious and frazzled.  I felt that I needed something more – spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

The honest truth is that I didn’t really miss Facebook much.  And I was able to do much more enjoyable things with my time: I took some awesome afternoon naps.  I went to the gym. I went out to coffee with my family.  I read a book (which I hadn’t done in what seemed like the longest time…I was too busy browsing the Internet.)  I did yoga.  I meditated.  Because I focused on doing things that were good for my mental health, coincidentally I smoked less weed, too. Taking a break from social technology, it seems, did me good.  Moving forward I’m going to try to use it in a more conscious way, although saying that feels like an oxymoron.  Social networking doesn’t breed consciousness, but it’s up to us to use it in a way that enriches our lives rather than bog it down with frivolous information.  (Aaaaaaand that is your life lesson for the day, people.  You’re welcome.)

The de-activation lasted three days.  Apparently I was missed.  And let’s face it; these conversational gems can only happen in the social networking world.

I'm taking suggestions on what my answer should be to all of them.

Think before you answer.

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I stopped by the nursery today to buy some plants and saw my friend Lalou, who coincidentally works there.  We hadn’t seen each other in a while and she looked at me and said:  “You look SO good, what are you doing?  You’re GLOWING!!!”

My answer:  “Well, the glow ain’t from  sex, so it must be the gym.”

GROAN.  Must I always be the weirdo that takes it to the next, unnecessary level?

Drunk and sore in Seattle.

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The past couple of days I’ve been busy visiting Seattle with my friend Evi, traipsing around the city by foot, bus and monorail to all the wonderful tourist traps that Seattle has to offer.  I’m in love with this city, its cleanliness, its organization, its transportation system, but most of all I’m in love with its people.  Seattle’s native folk are a lovely bunch y’all.  I couldn’t be more definite in my recommendation to get a visit to the Emerald city in your travel calendar. But definitely not in November, unless you enjoy bitter cold winds and rain.  Especially if you’re arriving from an unusually warm week in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Going from 80-degree weather to 40-degree weather can give you a bit of a jolt.  But Evi and I have made the most of it.  I’m pretty sure we’re the only two people in the city with beanie hats covering our heads and scarves covering the rest of our faces.  Some dude even went so far as to describe us as members of the IRA. We certainly know how to leave an impression…

In the past two days we’ve taken probably over 500 photos but the ones below are my favorites because either (a) I’m kind of drunk from the excellent selection of ales I’ve been finding, or (b) Evi and I are so deliriously sore and tired from all the walking that we are past the point of taking thoughtful, elegant photos.  Also, (c) our little beanies make our heads look like the tip of a penis.

 

The ale speaks for me now...

A sandwich short of a picnic basket...

 

The penis-heads are out in full force.

 

Members of the IRA or innocent tourists? You decide.

An afternoon to remember.

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I had an awesome afternoon yesterday.  In fact, I can confidently declare it was the most awesome afternoon of the summer.  I realize it was September 18th, but hey, fall doesn’t technically commence until September 22nd, so my awesome day still falls within the summer parameters.  And when the afternoon boasts a temperature of 90 degrees F your mind doesn’t stray far from summer mode.  

The scene:  an afternoon beach trip.  

The partners-in-crime:  Mom, sister, San Diego and Fak.  

My afternoon started after my jail shift work shift with a fabulous dip in the nearby beach of Plaka.  Plaka in Greek means “a large plate,” and so in Plaka the pebble-covered beach has these large rocky plates in the water – a geological aberration that is not really a hassle, but they is just enough of a deterrent to keep most of the tourists away – or at least the tourists that you don’t want to deal with.  

Behold the beauty of the Argolid coastline:  

A sloth invades the view!

 

Let’s try this one more time without the unwanted intruders…  

Blue skies, blue sea, blue perfection.

 

Marvelous, fantastic, refreshing, gorgeous, perfection.

 

I can't really explain just how great this feels.

 

The sea water was so clear, you just wanted to drink it all in.   Or simply stay in the water until your skin was as wrinkled as a raisin.  It was simply marvelous.  And after our swim it was time for sustenance.  

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California love.

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So last night I finally had the house to myself.  When you live with your mother those rare nights are like a little treasure; they’re like a stolen diamond, destined to stay in its hiding place save for those few times when you can take it out of its hiding place and spend all night admiring. And so that’s what I did.  I invited my sister and our friend Athanasia over for a girl’s night – a Californian girls’ night, to be more specific.

Athanasia, who a GA (Greek-American for those unaware) is from San Diego, California, goes by the name of – what else? – San Diego.  Aren’t we clever?  My sister, naturally, goes by the name of Oakland, and I guess I’m just too special to have a nickname like that.  Let me correct myself – I was given a nickname but can no longer remember it…. Anyways, you know the nickname situation is out of control when calling your friend by her nickname seems more natural than calling her by her actual name.

So we spent a nice evening in my yard talking in English – and what a beautiful feeling it is to let the English just roll off your tongue – truly it is.  We had homemade guacamole and tortilla chips and for the first time ever we attempted to make frozen margaritas with much success.  Basically we recreated an evening out at Chevy’s.  We instituted a two-drink minimum and it was delicious. And we supported my sister (who can’t drink due to pregnancy) by drinking her share of margaritas.

And of course to set the mood we played some music – Eminem’s new CD, “Recovery.”  Because you know that’s the top music choice for three white girls.  And a white girl singing hip-hop lyrics is probably not the best thing to experience.  Especially a white girl over 30.  And especially these lyrics:

“Can’t wait to get you in my Benz/ Take you for a spin/ What you mean we ain’t f**kin’/ you take me for a friend?”

Blame it on the alcohol.

What are friends for?

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“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival.”  – C. S. Lewis

I don’t make friends very easily. It’s not a recent development; I’ve just always been like that.  Even as a young child in elementary school I recall being the “outsider”.  Hanging out with the girls in my class during breaks I would lay low and just listen.  Always the observer, rarely the participant.  It makes it hard to create enduring friendships.  I guess I’ve always appreciated having a few good friends that I know well rather than a big group of friends that I don’t know much about.  Often times I get bored with people’s bullshit. I’d rather entertain myself than listen to their crap. Maybe there’s an anti-social gene in me, who knows…Then again if those people were actual friends then I wouldn’t get bored of them, would I?

Here in Greece I’ve found it really hard to make good friends. Outside of Athens people tend to get too involved in your business, gossip about you, bring out jealousies and envy and generally act like passive-aggressive biotches.  It’s that small town mentality.  The city, as ugly and hectic as it is, offers a layer of protection from the ugly side of the “acquaintance” – everybody is too busy and stressed to deal with inconsequential things.  And I say acquaintances and not friendships because if it is a friendship then the jealousy, the gossip et al. shouldn’t even surface.  Perhaps frenemies is the word I’m looking for.  Yes – all I see here are frenemies, not friends.  I haven’t met anyone save for a handful of people that are worth pursuing friendships with.  We just don’t click. There’s no chemistry.

Living in Greece has made me appreciate my friends back in the States.  I miss my friends that I’ve known since high school, people that know you so well they can finish your sentences (Hi Noms and Lou Lou!); and I miss the friends that I made through work, lovely people that are joyous and happy and are just nice, and you can have a normal conversation with them about Grey’s Anatomy or food or the movies and you don’t resort to shit talking (Hi TT gang!). It took a while to reconnect with them, I must admit. I moved and kind of disappeared for about a year.  I got caught up in my new surroundings, the new people – it was not the most honorable behavior on my part, I must admit.  Looking back now I really truly hate that I was incognito for so long.  But my friends took me back with so much joy (as much as they could muster?) and really, I appreciate it more than anything.

 

 

So here are some pictures of some of my friends! (I hope said friends don’t mind!)  It’s not all of them, because unfortunately a lot of my pics with them are currently living in my PC back in California.  DRAT!

What I do know is that the friendships and connections that I have really do mean a lot to me. I may disappear into my own little shell at times, but at the end of the day, without those connections there really is not much to life, is there?

My little Lou-lou, aka Kate the Great

You can really only do this shit with friends - otherwise people think you're a weirdo.

Famous Raymond at his best - at a bar with a drink in his hand.

DB Sweeney and JL never looked so good...

Friends don't let friends party alone on the party bus. Manolicious and Byrony to the rescue!

Friends also are there to help you get through the stress of family weddings! Kate, Naomi and Noni out to keep us sane...

Sorry Yols, I love this picture of you too much not to post it!

Random funny.

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I’m sitting here at my sister’s clothing shop browsing Facebook as some customers are taking their sweet ‘ole time trying on clothes.  My FB browsing takes me across my friend Raymond’s page.   As I gaze at his ever-smiling face my mind wanders to one of the special moments that define Raymond.

The scenario:  Me, Raymond and my friend Kate are driving to the Castro for a night of bar-hopping.  This is the first time Kate has ever met Raymond.  All she’s heard are the notorious stories.

Me:  “Kate, Raymond is in nursing school.”

Kate:  “Oh wow, that’s great. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever experienced in nursing school.”

Raymond (without missing a single beat):  “PUSSY.”

And that’s why I love Raymond.