Friday, April 30, 2010

Post Performance Jitters

Deb: I have had to resort to drastic measures when watching sporting events like the Olympics or Hockey.  I can no longer watch them live on TV.  It is just too much.  With the invention of PVR and TiVo, I am––THANK GOD––able to record it and watch it after the fact. But here’s the rub.  I am still just as friggin’ nervous!  I record it, go to bed, wake up in the morning, see the results in the newspaper, and then sit down to watch the taped event.  Cut to: sweaty palms, pounding heart, panicky brain.  The house still rings with shouts of “NO!” and “OH!” and “WHAT?”  My husband will calmly walk by and say, “You already know who won, right?”  Yes.  Yes, I do.  Doesn’t matter.  “OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” 

Barbara: Really? You can’t watch sports live? I understand your stress––oh yes, I do! But there’s something so primal about competition, isn’t there? I was never an athlete. Or athletic. Tried out once to be a cheerleader and failed MISERABLY (had to invent a cheer for the tryouts and my ace-in-the-hole was supposed to be, “We’ll never settle for defeat” during which I pas-de-chaseed and pointed to … yes, de feet. Oy. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, I choked and pointed on the next line!) 

I discovered the joys of (watching) sport as a grown woman and I looove a good game. Maybe it was my daughter’s soccer games that converted me. Maybe it’s the thrill of living vicariously through talented champions. Either way, love it. 
But it does need to be live, in the moment. Even better in the stadium, obviously. Live, live, live. Once the moment is over, it’s kinda over for me. And I’m bored.

Deb: I guess because I was active in sports and on teams and a cheerleader, I know the sicky stomach feeling of competition and it stayed with me. Sort of like a "Pavlov's Mascot". And fresh from my days as a grade 8 cheerleader (ahh, the old orange and black) comes this gem: "I saw a cool cat walkin' down the street. I said, Hey cool cat, I don't dig that beat. He said, Oooooh, what a square that's ever been seen, why don't you get on the BRIDLEWOOD TEAM! Yayyyyy Bridlewood!!!”

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Aging Gracefully...

Barbara: a total conundrum for me. I mean, what does it even mean? I don’t like to think about my age or feel my age, or god forbid to REVEAL it. And yet I feel this nagging responsibility to society in general to embrace the aging process, hey, to celebrate it even, so I can maybe feel optimistic while the clock is relentlessly a-tickin’ and sucking with it energy and capacity so I won’t actually be able to accomplish all those ambitious dreams I hold so dear. No, no, I’m not bitter––just freakin’ terrified!!! 

But then after I wrote this “lament”, I found this article in the Globe and Mail. And it says: “According to [new research], from the teenage years until 40 happiness declines. It levels off until 46, and then starts to increase until peaking at 74.” 

So, I guess it’s all uphill from here … phew!

... And I’m 46. There I said it.

Deb: I agree that life starts after 40. Because in your 40s you still look great AND feel great! But here’s a tip for after 40––NEVER, ever allow your picture to be taken unless you are smiling! When one is younger and one has an unsmiling picture taken, one tends to look either mysterious, pensive, or serene. Unsmiling after 40 is a celluloid glimpse into old age––pensive now looks JOWLED, mysterious now looks CLUELESS, and serene looks like you are asleep or––even worse––DEAD. So after 40, take heart and be glad you are alive!
And keep smiling. Not only will it make you feel better, but you will look great in pictures. 

Barbara: So true!!! Now, if I catch my neutral look in a mirror, I look downright pissed-off. Trying to train myself to wear that faint hint of a smile my yoga instructor advocates. It’s supposed to make you feel better (and it does), but it also lessens the blow of those unexpected (and horrifying) glimpses from reflective surfaces.

Deb: Remember as a kid, you’d laugh and laugh when you saw your reflection in a kettle? Now some mornings I look like that. Not laughing.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Thoughts to Share

From Deb: "Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends." Virginia Wolf

From Barbara's cousin: "What's great about THE MIDDLE AGES is that what comes next is the RENAISSANCE!"

From both of us: NEW: WTF?!  and SIDE OF SLAW!

And the pic? Just had to share this beauty taken by Deb's accountant, Lorne. Yes that's a fish (Nemo!) among the anemones.

A sweet video about friendship

Friday, April 23, 2010

First sign of insanity?

Deb: When I was growing up, my mother would pass my bedroom and say, “Who are you talking to?” to which I would respond, “Myself”. “You know that’s the first sign of insanity,” she would say. Of course, she also said the same thing when I bit my nails or twirled my hair. I quickly realized that it was her way of stopping me from doing anything she didn’t want me to do. I was sure that before I knew it, a messy bedroom, kissing boys and listening to records at top volume would be added to the long list of these harbingers of insanity. 

I find myself thinking about this because as I get older, I...well...find myself talking to myself. Every day. Sometimes in an animated fashion. And I have to say, it’s great. I love it. 

Sometimes when you’re alone and something out-of-the-ordinary happens, being silent just doesn’t cut it. A well-placed “Good for you, Deb!” or even “Stupid git, now you have to go back upstairs for your lipstick,” makes me feel like I am on it!!! 

I had to make a couple of difficult business calls this week and found myself saying, “Well, that’s over, wasn’t easy, but it’s over.” After saying that out loud, I was able to let it go. When the brain just thinks it, you can so easily think, “No, it’s not over, not NEARLY over!” But when you say it out loud, it’s done––stamped it, black magic, God, no rub-outs. Done. 

I keep telling myself that there is nothing wrong with me just because I engage in verbal solitary intercourse, is there? I mean, at least I haven’t started arguing with myself. But I still bite my nails.

Barbara: I so get the “when it’s said out loud, it’s a lightened load” thing. Totally believe in that. Never tried it on myself, though. Maybe you’ve converted me to “therapeutic insanity”, Deb….But then, on second thought, I’m definitely the type to end up arguing with myself …. Except, I could force myself not to argue, couldn’t I? I could be calmly reassuring, right? … Except, when have I ever been able to calmly reassure myself? Other people, sure, but myself? ….I don’t know…exhausted already…. 

PS: “Stamped it, black magic, God, no rub-outs”….Huh?....

Deb: From when we were kids. “Stamped it, black magic, God, no rub-outs!” The phrase of a kid laying claim to his or her proposal! 

I remember like it was yesterday the day it all fell apart. Two kids and the language of the streets at stake: “Stamped it, black magic, God, no rub-outs!” 

“You don’t need to say ‘no rub-outs’ cause God’s highest!”

“Okay then, God...Infinity!”

“Infinity doesn’t top God because God INVENTED infinity.”

“Did not, ‘cause infinity was there first. ‘Cause it was infinite!”

“Doubt it, ‘cause God INVENTED infinity and then decided to FILL it!”

“Well I call ‘Black Magic’ cause I’m an ATHEIST!”

“Doesn’t matter, ‘cause God INVENTED atheists.” 

“Doesn’t count ‘cause I don’t believe in Him.”

“You said HIM so that means you know He’s real so that means you believe in Him...So GOD’S HIGHEST!”

You couldn’t argue with that so we all cheered and, just as we started to play again, the streetlights came on and we had to go home. 

Barbara: I love that.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blahbedy Blog

Barbara: So if you look at the date of our first post, you might notice that it says April 1, but you might also notice that we are only really going “live” this week (April 19). And you might ask yourself, Boy, what took them so long to get going? And I might––but probably shouldn’t—tell you that we’ve actually been trying to get this baby up since February!!!! And these blogs were written that long ago!! Apparently this is exactly how long it takes for two tech-illiterate middle-aged women to acclimatize themselves to the confounding worlds of (in no particular order): the internet, setting up a blog (we actually designed 7 different ones on 3 different sites before settling on this one), learning and sort-of using html (what even IS that??!!), writing blogs, and tentatively but excitedly exploring the outside world of other sites. Hopefully, our poor taxed brains won’t self-combust in this new venture! Wish us luck …

Deb: I don’t see what the hell you’re complaining about. It was EASY! I sat here quite content in my bloggy ignorance while you did all the work. Easy. Then I took time out of my very busy schedule so you could drive to my home and explain it to me. Easy. 

Barbara: No, that’s absolutely not the way it was!!!! ... well, um … maybe it actually kinda was …

PS We have received several private emails with amazing insights into friendship––but it seems Deb and I aren’t the only ones hesitant about the blog-world because none of these people were sure how to comment and join, and several people HAVE joined and commented and can't be seen! So … I’ve changed the comment setting to “anyone”, meaning you don’t need to sign up to comment. But if anyone can give us more info about these other settings (that look so damn professional on the screen, but have confounded pretty much ALL of us), we’d be eternally grateful!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Best Friends

Barbara: As this is a blog featuring two friends, I feel compelled to examine female friendship for a moment—and might as well start with the divine Ms. M, my blogger buddy.

Can I just say she is everything a girlfriend should be and I love her for it. Thanks to Deb and my other best friend, Charlotte, I have discovered the joys of what it’s like to have a truly great girlfriend, which as it turns out is someone who listens to you, supports you, celebrates you, and believes in you one hundred percent WHEN THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE TO (ie: like your parents or husband).

And they actually and truly MEAN IT (you can always tell when someone is faking their support, right? It’s that artificially high pitch in their voice. Or maybe they never inquire about your life at all…). The thing is, though, the presence of these super gal-pals in my life has also made me realize just how ignorant I used to be when it came to friendship with women.

I grew up very independent and self-sufficient (just ask my mom), and while I had female friends, I always kind of (and for this, of course, I blame myself) held them at arms’ length while I focused on my personal pursuits and romantic love. I never shared deep secrets with my girlfriends, never sought them out in times of trouble, and always tried to be the “strong one” when things were difficult.

As I got older and had kids and struggled with my own aspirations, I felt myself become fundamentally lonelier and lonelier despite having a loving husband and daughters. With no real girlfriends around with whom to commiserate, I had painted myself into an emotional corner. And I had let it happen for all the usual reasons: the women in my life had become on the one hand more like “progeny” I felt compelled to mother (who, in my mind, couldn’t possibly bear the weight of my own disappointments), or on the other hand, turned out to be the kind of women who “shocked me with their selfish behaviour”, or were “bitches” or “whiners”, or worse, threatened my world.

It took me to hit rock-bottom before I realized I had left myself without that precious life-preserver: a true girlfriend. That’s when I made the conscious decision to pull up my boot-straps––at the ripe old age of 37––and begin to unabashedly troll for a best friend, coyly “interviewing” potential (and unwitting) candidates. Yes, I even joined a coffee klatch! I knew I’d know her when I saw her, and I certainly wasn’t going to settle—and this time, I was going to invest: time, energy, unconditional love, reciprocal support, and no-holds-barred honesty. Well, my efforts paid off with not one but two of the best friends a woman could ask for.

Thank you, Deb and Charlotte. Thanks for raising the bar and revealing the magic.

I still encounter many women of the “other” ilk, but no matter, you have both opened my eyes to the many rewards of non-judgmental companionship and girly fun. And, as if that wasn’t enough, you’ve also brought with you an even wider circle of satisfying friendships as well as helping me become a better friend to the fascinating women already in my life. Through you, I have also learned to bring my “best friend” skills (listening and sharing) to my dear and wonderful sisters.

Now that I know what I was missing, I ask myself: how could I have gone so long without this???!

Never too late to make friends

Deb: First of all, through tears, I have to say how touched to the core I was by this blog. So nice for us “straighties” to get a love letter from a straight sister. I am sadly lacking in lesbian love letters.

It was different for me, this friendship thing. I was the girl in school who had a gang. Old-school gang, which meant we called ourselves “The Roger Ramjet Club” and we would eat candy rockets and blackballs at recess and recreate moments from the previous nights “Laugh In” episode.

I always had gobs of girlfriends and they would fit into various categories from “nearest to my heart” to “good for gossip” friends. But mostly they were and remain dear to me. I still have lots of friends from public school, high school, college, neighbourhood, work and travel. I treasure them and I really work at my friendships.

So when I met Barb late in my forties doing a film together, I was not looking to add to my roster! As it was, I was hard-pressed to serve each friendship with support and time. Barb was not even being considered for membership. I thought we would end the film and go our separate ways, as actors often do.

Then something surprising happened. Behind my back and without my knowing, she became a soulmate. Without lobbying she worked her way into my heart and my life. I don’t think even she expected it to happen. But chemistry works for friends as well as lovers. Her purity of spirit was so compelling and is the thing that I love about her most to this day. And she came with perks in the form of her husband and daughters who have enriched my family’s life more than we can say. And she did it quietly and with grace.

She came and she stayed without even trying.

Barbara: Aw, Deb! See what I mean about supportive and loving?!

But straight on the heels of this uplifting “love-in”, I read this article by Leah McLaren in the Globe and Mail about loneliness.

Funny how even the “popular girl” suddenly finds herself unmotivated to reach out––on the one hand, knowing she kinda needs her friends, and on the other, unable to work up the energy to join the troops. Just reinforces the realization that effort is 50% of the end-result. Loneliness begets aloneness and vice versa oftentimes (but not always!).

Just wanna say again, it’s so worth the effort when you finally find “the one”(s). And keeps that ol’ lonely wolf at bay.

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