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We Didn’t Know We Were Making Memories

“No!! Peggy died. Noooo!!”

The text from my friend Sue jolted me awake. I fought to make sense of the words as I wiped sleep from my eyes.

Peggy. Gone.

How could that be? We had chatted through Facebook before I left for Africa. And now there would never be another chat again.

I met Peggy through Sue–the two of them met in college. Through the years we stayed in touch, always waiting for that proverbial “Someday” when the kids were grown and we could have more time together.

The three of us shared a love for John Denver songs. Despite being deaf, we were able to enjoy his music. One year, I made a CD of my favorite John Denver songs for Peggy and I introduced her to songs she hadn’t heard him sing before.

Last year, we got together to attend a small-town production of John Denver’s music. It was just two days after my mom died. I needed that time away to handle my sorrow. What better way to spend the day than with music and friends.

After the last song ended, we took a walk in the woods, soaking up the beauty around us. We paused on a bridge, grabbing a snapshot.

“We didn’t know we were making memories, we were just having fun.”  ~Unknown

Peggy took us to the river. As we gazed at the water, an eagle flew by. John Denver loved eagles and immediately, the song “The Eagle and the Hawk” flowed through my mind. I felt my mother’s spirit at that river. I ached for her.

And now I ache for Peggy.

Here are the words to her favorite John Denver song, The Wings That Fly Us Home:

 

“I know that love is seeing all the infinite in one.

In the brotherhood of creatures, through the Father, through the Son.

The vision of your goodness will sustain me through the cold.

Take my hand now to remember when you find yourself alone: you are never alone.

And the spirit fills the darkness of the heavens.

It fills the endless yearning of the soul.

It lives within a star too far to dream of.

It lives within each part and is the whole.”

~The Wings That Fly Us Home, John Denver (Peggy’s favorite song)

The guys put up just two pieces of drywall and called it quits.

So we spent the night gathered around the kitchen table yakking and laughing.  The kids were off playing somewhere in the house-- we didn't hear a peep from them.  We talked about everything under the sun:  the stinking economy, the difficulty of keeping a business going during hard times, our kids, our future-- and our childhoods.

[caption id="attachment_958" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Connecting with Kent from Colorado"]Connecting with Kent from Colorado[/caption]

It was getting late, probably near midnight, when we decided to call our friend Kent from Colorado.  Kent was part of our deaf investment club which disbanded not too long ago.  So Kent joined the party virtually through the Z videophone. 

"Damn, I wish I was there!" he said.

"Dude, you are here!" I said.  We passed the Z-340 around and yakked some more.  After Kent hung up, Julie and Jim Chavez called at one a.m.  So we planted the Z in front of us and chatted away with the Chavez's while munching on potato chips.  There were grease marks all over the Z-340 from being passed around.  Earlier in the day, the Z survived an encounter with spilled milk.  I sat back and watched the conversations around me-- marveling how neat it was that friends from far away could join us and be involved.

I think we've got a new slogan for Z:  The next-best-thing to being there.

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Z, The Next-Best-Thing to Being There

“Impromptu gatherings are always the best,” said Karen Calvin on Saturday night.  It was nearly two a.m. and the last of our friends were about to head out the door. 

It started out as one of those weekends where we planned to work on the basement with our friend Mike.  Mike had been coming over with his kids for several weekends and tackling the basement with Joe.  Joe emailed another friend, John Sullivan.  “We need a tall guy to hold up the drywall,” he said.  Tempted with free beer, John said yes.

Another friend,  Dennis O’Brien volunteered his labor and joined us after installing some Z’s all day.  His wife Laura and son Shawn came over.  Laura texted the Facebook Queen, Lori Krakora, and told her to come on over with her kids.   Lori brought her kids, and three other friends of ours–Todd and Karen Calvin and Mark Riedel.

The guys put up just two pieces of drywall and called it quits.

So we spent the night gathered around the kitchen table yakking and laughing.  The kids were off playing somewhere in the house– we didn’t hear a peep from them.  We talked about everything under the sun:  the stinking economy, the difficulty of keeping a business going during hard times, our kids, our future– and our childhoods.

Connecting with Kent from Colorado

Connecting with Kent from Colorado

It was getting late, probably near midnight, when we decided to call our friend Kent from Colorado.  Kent was part of our deaf investment club which disbanded not too long ago.  So Kent joined the party virtually through the Z videophone. 

“Damn, I wish I was there!” he said.

“Dude, you are here!” I said.  We passed the Z-340 around and yakked some more.  After Kent hung up, Julie and Jim Chavez called at one a.m.  So we planted the Z in front of us and chatted away with the Chavez’s while munching on potato chips.  There were grease marks all over the Z-340 from being passed around.  Earlier in the day, the Z survived an encounter with spilled milk.  I sat back and watched the conversations around me– marveling how neat it was that friends from far away could join us and be involved.

I think we’ve got a new slogan for Z:  The next-best-thing to being there.

Twitter. At a family gathering recently, even a relative mentioned how boring my recent posts had become. My reaction was simply to shrug.

The house had been slipping over the summer. I couldn't remember the last time I mopped the floor. (Mom, cover your eyes.) In the last two weeks, I struggled to maintain some sense of order as the kids went back to school. I woke up each morning with a horrible attitude of, who cares? Friends didn't really know, or notice, because they assumed that I was busy at the desk, hammering away at blog posts and articles.

The only time I found some joy was barreling down the lake at full throttle on the jet ski. Speed, glorious speed took the edge off and set my heart beating with excitement. Ah yes, the jet ski-- the midlife solution to a crisis.

I sent out an email to my BookHands club. How's everyone doing, I wondered. Anything to start up some conversation-- to connect during a time when I wasn't really connecting with anyone. One by one, they chimed in with updates. I didn't realize it, but my replies didn't really reveal anything that was going on with me. The funk had me too buried to notice. One of the BookHands gals dragged it right out of me. "Karen, I don’t know if u’re aware of this. But lately in most of your emails you pepper people with questions, but don’t volunteer any information about yourself or day to day experiences. We sincerely care about you and want to know what u’re up to."

So I unloaded. " I've been in a gawd-awful funk for the last two weeks. It isn't depression, it's what I call 'in the rut' feeling. Seth Godin calls it 'The Dip.' I call it a "I don't give a rotten crap" feeling. It's where you let everything go and then feel overwhelmed and have no idea what to tackle and at the same time, you don't care about tackling anything. Ack."

And as it turned out, others were struggling too. The Life Plateau. Emails shot back and forth. Suggestions. Tips. Support.

And I began to feel better. Things began to shift and change.

I woke up and recited five things that I was grateful for. I started the day with some light yoga. One of the BookHands gals chided me for not having some heart pumping exercise in my routine. So this week, that's on my agenda.

Other things happened-- I reconnected with the Loopies-- a group of online friends that began eight years ago. We met through AOL's Home VS Hospital Birth Forum. Some of them are grandmas now. It was a wonderful blast through the past to reconnect and see how everyone is doing. It made me aware that time is marching on--much faster than I'd like it to.

There's a lesson here-- for all of us to reach out to one another, most especially during the low times when we feel most alone.

After all, that's what friends are for.

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In a Funk? Grab Some Friends

I had been in a funk for the last two weeks. A gawd-awful funk. Last week, I whined about writer’s block over on Twitter. At a family gathering recently, even a relative mentioned how boring my recent posts had become. My reaction was simply to shrug.

The house had been slipping over the summer. I couldn’t remember the last time I mopped the floor. (Mom, cover your eyes.) In the last two weeks, I struggled to maintain some sense of order as the kids went back to school. I woke up each morning with a horrible attitude of, who cares? Friends didn’t really know, or notice, because they assumed that I was busy at the desk, hammering away at blog posts and articles.

The only time I found some joy was barreling down the lake at full throttle on the jet ski. Speed, glorious speed took the edge off and set my heart beating with excitement. Ah yes, the jet ski– the midlife solution to a crisis.

I sent out an email to my BookHands club. How’s everyone doing, I wondered. Anything to start up some conversation– to connect during a time when I wasn’t really connecting with anyone. One by one, they chimed in with updates. I didn’t realize it, but my replies didn’t really reveal anything that was going on with me. The funk had me too buried to notice. One of the BookHands gals dragged it right out of me. “Karen, I don’t know if u’re aware of this. But lately in most of your emails you pepper people with questions, but don’t volunteer any information about yourself or day to day experiences. We sincerely care about you and want to know what u’re up to.”

So I unloaded. ” I’ve been in a gawd-awful funk for the last two weeks. It isn’t depression, it’s what I call ‘in the rut’ feeling. Seth Godin calls it ‘The Dip.’ I call it a “I don’t give a rotten crap” feeling. It’s where you let everything go and then feel overwhelmed and have no idea what to tackle and at the same time, you don’t care about tackling anything. Ack.”

And as it turned out, others were struggling too. The Life Plateau. Emails shot back and forth. Suggestions. Tips. Support.

And I began to feel better. Things began to shift and change.

I woke up and recited five things that I was grateful for. I started the day with some light yoga. One of the BookHands gals chided me for not having some heart pumping exercise in my routine. So this week, that’s on my agenda.

Other things happened– I reconnected with the Loopies– a group of online friends that began eight years ago. We met through AOL’s Home VS Hospital Birth Forum. Some of them are grandmas now. It was a wonderful blast through the past to reconnect and see how everyone is doing. It made me aware that time is marching on–much faster than I’d like it to.

There’s a lesson here– for all of us to reach out to one another, most especially during the low times when we feel most alone.

After all, that’s what friends are for.