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Archive for the tag “friends”

The Faulty Side Of Loyalty

I wrote this blog last week and planned on finishing it before something happened.  It directly correlates to this thus I am going to preface my blog on what happened.

On Wednesday I was attacked by a dog.  I was working, my dogs kept barking and I looked outside to see a large dog running up the street. Many of my neighbors are elderly so I went outside to help.  The dog saw me and began running toward me.  I was elated at first. But then I noticed something different.  He wasn’t a pup and was not coming to play.  He quickly went for my left leg and luckily bit my pants.  He then lunged and bit my right leg.  I kicked him in the jaw. He was not fazed. He continued to lunge while I kept eye contact, yelled NO and kicked while taking small steps backward.  I got to the front door of my house by the time the owner and neighbor arrived to leash him.  The owner apologized profusely. The other neighbor helping her got angry and told her, “This is the third time your dog has bitten someone. This dog needs a new home.” The dog’s owner dismissed him because she is loyal to a fault.

Back to the original blog:

I have been thinking about the idea of loyalty for the past few months.  Loyalty is an attribute everyone identifies with.  Have you ever met a person stating otherwise? Loyalty is tossed around like most adjectives- Also fun, friendly, outgoing and of course kind.

Loyalty can apply to myriad situations.  It could be in friendships or relationships. It could be family, pets, job, or a political party.  People really like touting themselves as loyal.

The reason I have been thinking so much of this lately is quietly watching others display their loyalty in various areas while not tending to others.

My Dad always spoke about being loyal to a fault.  Over the years I admired this quality and followed suit.  As an adult I found that loyal to a fault is flawed.

When we say we are loyal humans at what point are we not?  Is it when beliefs do not coincide? What happens when friends don’t want the best for us? How long do you stay when your partner continually mistreats you?  Or support a family member making poor choices? Do you stay loyal to a job or person that doesn’t value or celebrate you?  What about the animal you love that continually acts out?  Most recently, what do you do when your political party leaves you unsatisfied?

Do you stay? Do you remain loyal to a fault?

My thoughts are what loyalty really means to you.  Everyone is quick to hold on to the word and describe themselves as such.  But what if being loyal to a fault isn’t the best option?

Mike and I have had time off this past month and we have talked at length about the same questions.  Loyalty is something to be cherished in the right circumstances.  However when does a person decide, “I am not loyal to dysfunction?”

More than anything I am interested in your insight.  What makes you loyal?  When do you decide to NOT be loyal?

Best,

Marianne

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The Evolution of Friendship

In 5th grade our teacher tasked us with an in class assignment.  Whom do you admire and why?

My first thought was my Mom.  She was and still is the best mom and friend a girl could ask for.  However instead of writing an essay about my mom I looked to the girl seated next to me and asked who she was writing about.

“Madonna! Of course!” stated the popular girl wearing head to toe Esprit, oversized plastic hoops, and three layers of color coordinating socks.

Instantly I was insecure about my choice.  Perhaps Mom was the wrong role model.

I replied, “Oh cool, I’m writing about Cindi Lauper.”   Esprit girl nodded in approval and smiled at me.

The problem was I didn’t know anything about Cindi Lauper.  I knew “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and I had definitely belted out an impressive version of “Time after Time” in the shower on numerous occasions.  The front of my cassette tape indicated Cindi liked crazy hair and lots of bracelets.  She wore neon colors and her MTV videos were cool.  Other than that I knew NOTHING.

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Luckily I have always had a ferocious imagination and managed to write an entire essay expressing my devotion to a complete stranger.  I received an A.  I still remember the sick feeling in my stomach when my Mom saw the title of the essay and then the reaction of my subject.

5th grade is my first memory of choosing friends over family.

Looking back I can remember disappointing my parents with my consistent worship of school girls.  I would fight to spend time with them, sneak out at night, and put virtually all loyalty aside to be accepted.  I consistently made poor choices and changed who I was to be accepted and part of a group.

Fast forward to my early 20’s and I began flourishing at making girlfriends.  We had a BLAST.  I had lots of best friends and I loved them dearly.  I picked them for holiday getaways, nightly phone calls, and even developed an official (almost famous) group people called a Blonde Coven.   Luckily I could always dump my pesky responsibilities on my parents so I could devote more time to “my girls”.

By my mid-twenties I thought of myself as the life of the party circuit.  I had scored an amazing job working for Budweiser and they paid me to make friends and buy cocktails.  My expense allotment had no ceiling.  I could spend 10,000 dollars in one evening and would be given a pat on the back for doing a great job.  Can you imagine how many friends I made with an unlimited bar budget?  People followed me everywhere.  I always had tons of girlfriends wanting to hang out with me and everyone was so accommodating!

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During the peak of my social career I stumbled. Literally.  I was dressed as Rainbow Brite for Halloween and had found fabulous stripper height rainbow shoes.  With my entourage behind me I managed to crack the heel and fall face first into the gutter.  Luckily my “friends” picked me up and graciously offered to carry me to the cash only venue boasting the best Halloween Party of the year.  I felt so lucky to have such amazing people supporting me.   It never occurred to me the 5,000 dollars in my purse and pre-paid VIP area could have been the motivator.

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The next day my ankle was blue and I could barely walk.  I grudgingly went to the doctor who immediately told me it was broken.  I was given a cast and strict orders: Stay off your ankle for 8 weeks.

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After one week of replying to texts and phone calls with, “I broke my ankle and can’t go out” my phone fell silent.  Really silent.  Some days it never rang or pinged an incoming text.  Most of my friends disappeared.  My own roommate (who loved the perks of my job) became annoyed with me and started leaving things in the way so I couldn’t get down the stairs or in the kitchen.  It was horrible but enlightening.  I didn’t get angry with the people who left me.  I have never been good with grudges and my anger dissolves quickly.  However I did learn the lesson of true friendship.

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Shortly after my realization I met Mike.  He became my best friend and the center of my universe.  I left my job and moved on to a better position albeit less money to spend in bars.  The pseudo friends I had disappeared into the beach bar scene and probably attached themselves to the next alcohol funded wallet.  When Mike and I married my mother was my Maid of Honor.  Two of my three bridesmaids were from my childhood.   Our wedding was small, only 49 guests.  I had learned my lesson and although I had groups of friends I knew how fleeting it could be.

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I became a bit more cautious with making friends.   I had girlfriends but began focusing my energy on starting a family and spending time with my core group.

Over the past eight years my social circle has been quietly rebuilding.  I have a few small circles of friends encompassing every facet of my life.   It isn’t flashy.  I don’t talk to most of my friends daily. Some I speak with weekly-some even monthly and everyone seems fine with this.   I used to pride myself on being the leader or social chair of all of my girlfriend groups.  Now I am thrilled if someone can squeeze in a coffee date.  Priorities change.

Last Sunday I wasn’t feeling well.  I didn’t sleep most of the night and knew something was wrong but couldn’t decide if it was the flu or just a bad case of cramping.  It continued through Monday and at my mom’s urging (It might be Endometriosis! It runs in the family!) I made a doctor’s appointment for Tuesday morning.  My doctor took one look and said my abdomen was swollen and I needed to go to ER.  I thought she was crazy and drove home first.  After all I had the girls’ car seats, needed my work laptop, and should probably pack a lunch.  By the time I got to ER I was annoyed and embarrassed.  After all who shows up to ER with their laptop, a packed lunch, and Starbucks?  Granted I didn’t feel like eating or drinking but I certainly wasn’t on my death bed! After hours of waiting I was ushered into a room, given a CAT scan and told my appendix needed to come out.  Immediately.  I was in shock.  Mike was home with the girls and we both assumed I would be coming home.  I was hooked up to an IV and a few hours later was wheeled into surgery.

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Aside from Mike and my parents only two people knew.  My lovely Hannah (who is almost 9 months pregnant) and my bestie Molly who I had been chatting with earlier in the day.  Hannah wanted to come to the hospital and kept texting me.  Molly wanted to pick up my children.  I kept telling them no and they bugged me all night.  I didn’t need their help but their insistence tickled me.  I kept imagining my hugely pregnant Hannah pacing away in ER grossed out by all the nasty sick people and demanding to know what was going on.  Meanwhile Molly and her husband Scott would be wrangling our children in their fabulous penthouse apartment.  My kids would definitely be negotiating ice cream and all night snuggles with them and their doodle Sandy.

After the surgery I recouped and then Mike brought me home.  My friends heard the news either through me or a mutual friend.  My phone began ringing and my text message pinging.  Friends called to check in but also asking if they could take our girls on play dates.  Friends offered to drive them to school.  Friends wanted to know what they could do!  Dinner gift cards arrived.  Flowers.  Desserts.  I was loving the post-surgery weight loss but luckily my friends felt I needed to fatten up by sending sugar cookies, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, etc.  My FRIENDS are still checking in to see what they can do.  My group of friends range from single mid-twenties bikini models to experienced mothers of 5.  Everyone has contacted me to see what they can do.  Over the past year I have made friends with a few phenomenal women in our neighborhood.  These women immediately jumped in to help with my children and offer their support.

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What a difference.

I have never felt more blessed than the circle of people I know now.  The friends I have made over the past few years have encouraged me.  My best girlfriend Eva had always been suspicious of new girlfriends. Looking back she was probably right.  She never liked a large group and told me not to trust others.  I didn’t listen and was often burned.   She still loves me and sent me cookies thank goodness 😉 Lately she has found a group of girlfriends who cherish her.  We don’t live near one another so our journey is an individual experience.

Adult Friendships are AWESOME!!!

Holy moly this is what all knowing adults talked about!   I have friends who want to hang out with me without alcohol or my expense account.  I have friends who offer to help with my children, my health, and my mind.   For the first time I have friends who help me more than I help them!  To be honest I don’t know what to do.  I am not accustomed to people giving without any type of expectation of reciprocation.

For those of my friends who read my blog, thank you for everything you do.  I feel so blessed to have a support system in my life and know I am beyond lucky.

While writing this our two year old has been organizing plastic cups.  Every few moments she says, “LOOK MOMMA” seeking my approval.  It is adorable and I cherish the short amount of time we have while our girls care most about our opinion not their peers.   My hope is we can try to impress the importance of family and character on them during the impressionable years.   I know people will hurt them and it tears me up to know it is inevitable.  However I am filled with happiness knowing if they put forth their best there will be a day real friends will be there.

Happy Friday!  xo Mari

friends

I Know Too Much

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I know your wedding anniversary was last week and the lasagna you ordered was phenomenal.  Your child has pink eye, a stutter and likes purple.  Your husband has horrific gas in the middle of the night and often it keeps you up at night.  The neighbors on your left are loud and annoying and the smoke from their partying comes into your window. You have lost 6 pounds on your new weight loss program and typically work out at 6:30am before work.  Your youngest child has the flu and the vomit is horrible.  You and your best friend are fighting over the girl’s night out last Tuesday.  Your job sucks and you were late last week because of traffic.

You are my Facebook friend and I don’t have your phone number.  We don’t hang out; in fact, we met in passing.  When you are down the street from my house and check in at a local bar you don’t realize how close you are.  Even if you did I wouldn’t be invited.  After all, we don’t know one another and I don’t want to be real friends with you.

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I have almost 500 “friends” on Facebook and have relationships with possibly 75.  I check Facebook throughout the day and peek into people’s lives knowing details about their family, their day-to-day activities and their life.  I know their religion, their political affiliation and their music tastes.  Many of these people I haven’t spoken to for more than 5 minutes in my entire life.

For the few real friends I have my feelings get hurt when I see a post and realize I wasn’t invited.  I can tell when someone is annoyed with me because they don’t like my picture or comment on a post they would normally comment on. I worry I might make someone feel excluded when I update a picture or event and may have forgotten to invite a friend.    Before Facebook I wouldn’t know when a few friends had an impromptu get together or quick coffee date.  I would be oblivious to a friend’s mild annoyance with me.

I have been thinking a lot about Facebook and the impact it has on my days.  More important, I worry about the time I set aside to read update after update from people I barely know.

Having aged from a young single girl to a mother the updates are equally annoying.  The constant competition of other parent’s boasting their child’s advanced skills or perfect post baby body will leave any person insecure.  On the flip side I receive notes from people commenting on the person without the perfect body or phenomenal child.

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Then there is my favorite area.  Friends I might not be real friends with any longer but don’t want to unfriend on Facebook.  After all it would be childish, right?   I read posts of them boasting their best night ever with their newest friends or vacationing down the street.  According to Facebook their lives (or ours) is much better now and the passive aggressive dance ensues.

What is happening? Why has social media become the dominant presence in our lives? I have always defended my Facebook membership as a tool to keep in touch with family and friends who live far away.  However, I spend much more time reading updates about people I don’t interact with!  Why do we care so much about reading what people are doing? I find myself delighting in the mortifying admissions and the horrific posts people write.  I hear my disappointment because a friend forgot to invite me or another friend is annoyed because I missed an outing. This is not who I am and I am quickly realizing I have no interest in knowing so much.  Facebook creates insecurity in my friendships and encourages me to post nothing but what I want people to perceive is my life.

I am not done with Facebook. Yet.  However downsizing is part of my phase out program.  I don’t want to lose the years of previous posts because I think it will be fun to include in my kiddos scrapbooks.  Also our blog reaches all of my contacts.  But I am tired of too much information.  I am bored of worrying how I look in each picture to prove I am still a hot mom (thanks Photoshop).

For my real friends please just let me know when you are upset with me or just love me.  Please begin sending photos to my email address because I cherish them.  Remember I might not be available but invite me! Mostly, think about what you post on Facebook.  Know people are reading and might be hurt, offended or excluded.

What do you think? What is your social media pet peeve? I would love to hear your comments while I check Facebook 😉

Xo Mari

 

To all you bitches, hoes and all that shit

I never thought I would be able to use Too Short as a title. Admittedly, this will be the dirtiest song I will ever reference. But it was the “shock me” title I was going for 🙂

Awhile ago I begun hearing girlfriends call their friends “my bitches” and “my favorite whore/slut/hoe.” I didn’t get it. I probably used the terms once or twice to fit in but it definitely didn’t resonate with me (except for my friends who actually were whores. And proud of it– I think they preferred the term “facilitator” though).

Thankfully my oldest “foundation” friends (BFFs Eva and Rachel) never subscribed to the idea of putting down girlfriends so the trend affected me little. When I moved to San Diego I met tons of fun girls and saw the affectionate name calling spike. Again, I met smart powerful women who were not interested in put downs as an example of endearment (Love you Char).

Last week I received a gift from a group of 5 women I consider some of my closest friends. It all begun with an amazing idea from my friend Megan, for our lovely friend Keri. She thought up the idea of making a “snaps cup” so we could share all the attributes we loved about her. Of course, we loved the idea (and a reason for bedazzling) and quickly went to work. If you read my blog you know what a snaps cup is. But just in case:

When we saw the effect our gift had for Keri, we realized every friend in our group deserved one on their birthday.  After all, it was so easy to write a few compliments about why we loved our friend!!  

My birthday was earlier this month and last week I received my snaps cup. Honestly, I didn’t think it was a big deal until I poured myself a glass of wine and opened mine. 30 something compliments from my girlfriends ranging from our friendship, to my hair, to wild adventures, and even my ability to help a drunk friend in need. A leading snaps trend was my friend’s perceived ability to think I am a great mother while having a career and maintaining my friendships and marriage. Guess what? I cried. I felt so special and loved. Mike is my best friend and compliments me all the time. But to have my girlfriends candidly tell me what they loved about me made me feel amazing. Just writing about it brings tears of happiness to my eyes.

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It made me think- Why doesn’t everyone treat their girlfriends with the love and compassion they deserve?

If you are lucky enough to have a friend or two who think you are tops, let them know.  In a place where “bitches and hoes” is a term of endearment, we can be the women who choose different.

If you don’t…

My next blog will be on why it’s ok to break up with a friend who doesn’t make you feel great.

xoxo,

Mari

Where’s my imaginary twin?

 Twins

The last few months, I have been doing a lot of introspective thinking.  I have been quietly (well, as quiet as a talker like me can) listening to others, hoping to learn a bit.  After sitting on the sidelines, processing, not blogging (oops), I am ready to discuss my observations.  There has been an overwhelming theme invading my life, through friends, social media, even Mike. 

The dreaded go to, ever popular and increasingly powerful word, offend.

 Before beginning this article I looked up the dictionary definition.

Offend: Verb. Cause to feel upset, annoyed and resentful.

UGH, I don’t like any of those words! Who wants to be annoyed, resentful, or upset?

Apparently, a large number of people. Since being offended has been a predominant nuisance, skulking behind every tree I skip by, I thought I would take a closer look.  My findings? The verb “Offend” is being vastly overused, and in my humble opinion, largely misused. 

Mike is typically my go to in all areas of grammar, wrong definitions (see https://ranchandsyrup.com/2013/02/20/my-grammar-bes-ebonics-gin-tonic-and-chronic/) Whenever he explains an annoying misuse of a word, I always ask him for an example to ensure:

1. Clarification

2. To see if I can pat myself on the back for not being the guilty party.  That being said, examples are my favorite way of furthering my point.

 Examples of correct and incorrect uses of being offended:

  1. “Hey Mari, your dress makes your butt look huge.  Don’t worry though, your makeup looks fantastic!”
    1. I’m offended!
  2. “Mari, your rant about women’s rights was really offensive.  You should really think about what you say.”
    1. Offensive??

Luckily, neither of these are real, but you catch my drift.

When did different opinions elicit the term offensive?  Politics tend to be the most often referenced, but religion is the same hot button.  Of course, offended parties tend to span the usage across even the most trivial areas including table manners, music, television etc. 

Not only are people offended, they are encouraging me to be offended.  The other day I was chatting with a friend who prefaced with, “I am sorry, I don’t mean to offend you”, before making a statement.  Her statement was not my personal belief, but certainly not offensive to me.  If I chose to be offended every time someone said, did, or acted in a way not perfectly aligned with my beliefs, I would be offended most of the time.  Why? Because everyone is different! Do you know anyone who believes EXACTLY the same as you, in all areas? I don’t.  The chances of knowing someone who agrees with every sentiment in your life is slim to none.  And yet, so many people are unconsciously seeking their imaginary twin. 

Why are we so afraid of living peacefully with differing opinions?  Why is it a “Cause to feel upset, annoyed and resentful”?

Unfortunately, I do not have the answer.  I have ideas, but would like to hear your opinions.  More to follow…

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