Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Physical Manifestation of Friendship

If you've read my blog before, you might have heard me talk about my life-long best friend, Mary. (Click here to read our story) We've been best friends since third grade and until college, it was rare that you saw one without the other. 

Best friends often do activities or sports together. Mary and I joined the figure skating club about the same time, but other things interested her more. 

She went into gymnastics - the girl was super flexible. (I have memories of her putting her foot behind her head <from the front of the body> and me telling her to stop that!) So while Mary was in gymnastics, I was at the ice arena. 

Mary studied ballet. I took ballet, too (to help with my skating), but while I was learning the five positions, Mary was on pointe. 

Mary was in band. I was in choir. 

I've always wondered what it would have been like if we would have had interest in the same sport and trained together. 

Recently, I saw what that looked like. I saw the physical manifestation of friendship. 

Two young women, friends since they were toddlers, Syd and Bryn have played basketball together for about as long as they've been able to dribble a ball. When they are on the court together, there's a certain amount of synchronicity to their play that isn't as dominant with the other players. 

Maybe I see it this way because I don't know as much about basketball as others (didn't play it - hard to dribble a ball on ice skates), but that doesn't mean I'm wrong. I would guess that their coaches, and maybe their parents (who are sometimes both), would say it's from years of practice and playing together. 

Nope, not buying it. It's not just about practicing. There are plenty of people who practice, practice, practice and never master this. 

  • In their playing, I see trust. Trust that the other person will be there when they need them.
  • I see knowledge. Knowledge of what the other person is capable of and how to help them succeed. 
  • I see confidence. Confidence that their friend pushes them to be the best they can be. 

I see the physical manifestation of friendship. And it's pretty cool. And I could sit and watch it for hours. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Don't bother unpacking that box

My current apartment lease ends this summer and all the signs are pointing to me moving. Where? Don't know yet, but the current landlords have been dropping hints that they might be going in a different direction soon. (I think back in the 1980s it was called "going condo.")

The complex I live in is comprised of five buildings and some of the units are owned by individuals and the rest are rented as apartments. It was built as condos, but the market tanked about the same time and only a few were actually sold. So instead, the unsold units were handed over to a property management company to be rented. 

This past November, I found a notice attached to my door from DJ Properties, the group that owns the building (not quite as dramatically done as Martin Luther, but effective nevertheless). The flyer was an offer to current residents to buy their apartment via contract for deed. It didn't provide much details as to terms or interest rates, but I didn't care because I'm not interested in buying my apartment. Too small, no dining room and not enough storage. 

The rent is near the top end of my budget and I'd like to build up some savings for a down payment, so I can rejoin the wacky world of home ownership. It's a couple of years off, but if I don't save money, it could be much further off (or never).

If the November notice made me a tad bit suspicious, the last two days have sealed the deal. Yesterday, another flyer appeared on the door with news of a photo contest. All you have to do is send in the best picture of your apartment to the property manager and you could win $100. While it's optional, if you do submit photos, the photos MAY be used for marketing purposes. (I guess marketing could mean the same thing as listing.)

Today, another flyer was stuck on the door advising residents that a "representative of the owner will be in town on February 19 and would like to inspect all rental units." And, it bluntly states, please make sure your condo is clean. Seriously? Has my landlord morphed into my mother? 

The whole thing reminds me of medieval times when the landlords terrorized the serfs who worked their lands. Granted, my vision of medieval times have been severely warped by Monty Python and The Life of Brian, but still applies.

All this means that I have another adventure to look forward to and another opportunity to learn how to back-up a trailer. Which is why my lease end date is so generic as I don't want to give advance notice to my relatives that they "get" to help me move again. It'll be a special move - Number 25 since I graduated from high school in 1979. (Special award to my sister Sue, who has participated in at least 1/2 of the moves - Way to go!)  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dang! When did I get old?

I've been worried about looking old for about going on 32 years and I have seriously been working to prevent it in every imaginable way. 

I can distinctly remember, at age 21, standing at the bathroom sink and pushing my face closer to the mirror to check out my eyes. I wanted to be sure that there weren't any crows-feet starting to show. I was twenty-one frickin' years old. I had bought into the Mary Kay fantasy and had sworn on the pink jar of youthfulness that I would be ever vigilant. 

Inside my often shallow heart, I would feel vindicated any time a high school classmate would tell me how I hadn't aged since high school. It just fed into my fantasy. 

Last month, while looking for an old document, I came across a photo of me taken in 1990 - at the ripe old age of 29. I just stared at the aged newsprint photo and the walls of my "I'm-not-aging" fantasy world started to tumble down. (And I realized, I sort of like my hair longer...)

Tonight, as I got ready for bed, I realized that nothing I can do will stop the aging process. There are no magic creams that will keep the wrinkles away forever. (Although, I've heard there are surgeries) 

I guess it is some relief that others are aging, too, but not much. (Remember this is all about me)

I looked in the mirror and accepted myself for who I am. At least for now. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Experiment

I grew up in front of a television. I knew the jingles for every commercial (better than my multiplication tables) and I was a media junkie soon after being potty trained. 

I remain a media junkie to this day. It's this reality of who I am that makes last month's decision so surprising. 

Like everyone, I'm trying to watch my spending and each month, there were two bills that really, really irked me; the cable bill and my cell phone bill. Something had to give.  In the battle between television and the phone, the phone won. I called Charter last month and told them to discontinue my cable TV. Everything was unplugged on January 20th. 

I'm sure you're wondering how I've managed to make it through the media withdrawal. How have I survived without my connection to the outside world? 

It's called Apple TV. It's not the be all and the end all, but it's darn close. 

There were only a handful of shows that I watched on a regular basis and through iTunes, Hulu Plus and video podcasts, I think there is only one that I haven't been able to watch. I get Law & Order: SVU, The Daily Show and Glee through Hulu Plus ($8.00/month). I can watch NBC Nightly News, Morning Joe and the Rachel Maddow show via video podcasts (free) and the only one I have to pay for is NCIS via iTunes (at a whopping $2.99 per episode for HD)

Anything I can watch on my iPad, can be fed onto my Apple TV. All of my iTunes music can be played on the TV. 

It's not perfect, I can't watch live TV shows like the Super Bowl or the Grammys, but via Twitter and Facebook, I know if it's good or not and I'll be able to see the highlights on YouTube the next day. 

I'm also getting more work down around the house. I don't spend all night in front of the television. Ideally, I'm hoping to spend more of that non-TV-watching time at the gym, but one step at a time. 

And this is an experiment with potential end date of July 1st. That's when my lease is up where I'm currently living and when I move into a new place (location TBD), I can make the call if I'm going to sign-up for cable tv again or not. 

As for now, I'm not as much fun around the water cooler because I don't know what happened on Gray's Anatomy last night, but then again, I have never watched Gray's Anatomy anyway.