Will I Wake Up And Find Out All Of This Has Been A Dream?

I have had very vivid dreams all of my life.  My dreams are in full colour and they contain elaborate story plots. When I wake up I remember all of the details of a complicated story, the colours, the smells, the emotions. 

When I wake up, I also realize it was all a dream.  

This past week, for a brief second, when I wake up I feel life at the present moment is a dream.  The present events are surreal.

I feel I may step out of the movie sets, “The Truman Show” or “Capricorn One” at any moment. 

Then reality sinks in.

When Did We Begin To Take This Pandemic Seriously?

Is it social distancing, social isolating, quarantining, shelter in place? 

Last Sunday, my husband and I made the decision to completely hunker down. 

Up until then, my husband was still going to the gym daily and I was on Day 16 of a 30 day yoga challenge at my yoga studio.

No more gyms, stores, visiting with family and friends.  This is a serious pandemic and we need to take it seriously.

“You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem,” my husband’s quote.  Sometimes he does have something smart to say.

Many Things Have Not Changed

We are fortunate we live in a home and we are comfortable with basic necessities.

Everyone in our immediate family is healthy.

Spring has arrived. We have access to trails and many walking areas in our immediate neighbourhood.

A Few Things Have Changed

We have been advised the Half Corked Marathon will either be cancelled or postponed. We Won the Lottery! The Golden Ticket!  We are staying positive and still in training mode.

 

We had tickets to a James Taylor/Bonnie Raitt concert in April.  This event is also cancelled or postponed.  Cancellations are common around the globe right now. 

My early evening walk is usually filled with the sound of children laughing and playing at a park nearby.  Yesterday, all of the parks were closed. Yesterday, the park was completely empty and eerily quiet.  

 

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I met with my best friend last Saturday, and for the first time in 50 years we did not hug good bye. We giggled and stepped back.

         Inside, I am choked up.

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We usually have a lot of interaction with our daughters and their families.  The grandchildren are 4 weeks, 23 months, 4 and 6 year old.  They are very huggy, smoochy, drooly, and they touch everything.  They would not understand boundaries.  Our goal is to help keep everyone healthy.  We FaceTime and Video Chat.  This is temporary and this is important.  I put on a brave, happy face and I tell them this will only last for a few weeks.  

         Inside, I am choked up.

The Question:   Do You Recognize The Common Denominator?

  • I have continued my yoga practice and I am doing a 30 Day Challenge with “Adriene’s Yoga” on YouTube.   Thank you to Deb The Widow Badass   for this great recommendation.  I love and miss my yoga family at Found City Yoga.  How Hot Yoga Changed My Life

 

 

  • Thank you to Marty, Snakes in the Grass  for your witty, humorous posts, always.  Your last post reminded me how I should keep a thermometer easily accessible.  I hunted through the house and I found the thermometer we keep for when we watch the children.  I tested it twice.  36.6 C each time.  Whew.

 

  • I am going on longer and more frequent walks.  Thank you to Mark, Swinged Cat  for sharing information about the Voice Recorder app and Voice Memo app.  When a bolt of inspiration hits me or I need a simple reminder, I can just press on the big red button and record my thoughts.
  • Janis’s post Retirementally Challenged  “In this time…” contained many gems that resonated with me.  I copy/pasted her last paragraph into a Gratitude/Positives file. Thank you, Janis, for your wise words “….we don’t have to distance ourselves from much that nourishes us.”
  • Pam’s words Rough Wighting  warmed my heart. “I wish we could all meet in a safe place and hug each other and talk for hours. Well, I suppose that’s what we do right here in the blogosphere!”  Thank you, Pam, for reinforcing the importance of connections.
  • Thank you to Laurie Meditations in Motion  for her words “we’ve got this. One step at a time.” 
  • Thank you to Liesbet Roaming About for always reminding me how little we need to lead a happy, simple life.  We are all living “a life less ordinary right now.”  In your last post you discussed the positives, negatives and reality of the present events.  Your phrase “our solution is our flexibility” has stayed with me.  Thank you.
  • Anabel Glasgow Gallivanter shares a great deal of history and information about Scotland.  The photos on her site are breathtaking.  Thank you, Anabel, for helping us plan our next vacation.  You have helped put Scotland high on our list.
  • Jo Restless Jo shares posts containing stunning photography of exceptionally beautiful, historical buildings.  Thank you, Jo, for reminding me how humankind has weathered many challenges over the past thousands of years.

     This too shall pass.

Ten minute walk from our house

The Answer:  “You” Are The Common Denominator.

I am sharing a quote from Suzanne, Picture Retirement  “I have always been grateful for my connections throughout the blogging community, but now, more than ever.  There is so much sharing, caring and outright humour being delivered to my inbox daily.”

I strongly agree with Suzanne.  I am entertained.  I learn something new.  I laugh.  I cry.  You touch my heart.  

This Is Not A Dream

I realize when I wake up in the morning, all of this is not a dream.  This is our present day reality, changing by the hour. We are also in the early stages of this pandemic.

I have a great deal to be thankful for always and especially right now.

People have been very kind and thoughtful.  Almost everyone in our neck of the woods is respecting the social distancing, social isolating guidelines. 

We are going to get through this together. 

I appreciate the connections in my personal life and in the global community.

Please continue writing, sharing and connecting.  You will not always know when you have made a difference in someone’s life.

         Thank you for making a difference in mine.

 

How are you connecting with friends and family?

Has someone recently made a difference in your life?

 

Postscript:

I shared only a few posts from blogger friends.  I could easily include gems from every single post I read.  

I just finished listening to a very good, empowering podcast.  “The Tim Ferriss Show #414:  Jack Kornfield – How to Find Peace Amidst COVID-19, How to Cultivate Calm in Chaos.”  

A Bonus Gift:  People Be Weird”  

Kate’s witty posts Coffee Kat Blog often bring a unique perspective to daily life and the human condition.  She sometimes adds  a “people be weird” in her post.

I was walking by a house yesterday and a couple, likely husband and wife, were quibbling about whose turn it was to take their dog for a walk.  The husband yells out how “the dog had better not poop.  I am not picking up dog poop.  If the dog poops, I am calling 911!”  No humour in his voice.

Likely cabin fever and too much togetherness already setting in.

Yes, Kate, “people be weird.”

I still can’t stop giggling.

 

If This Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right

I feel pangs of guilt.  

Am I a terrible Mother and Grandmother?

Family Day

When our two daughters were very young, Sunday was always Family Day for us.  Nowadays, the kids call it Sunday/Fun Day.  Same day.  New name.

We carved out Sundays as a day we would spend together as a family.  We would go swimming, cross-country skiing, or hiking, depending on the season and the weather.

We would often take our girls on long Trail Hikes.  Nowadays, we call it Forest Bathing.  Same walk.  New name.

  • We would have fun, relaxed family time.
  • They would learn to appreciate nature.
  • We would all get some exercise and fresh air.
  • The goal was simply to be together.

 

Hiking With Very Young Children

It all sounds like a great idea.

For the first fifteen minutes.

How do you keep young children walking on a long hike, having fun, with minimal complaining?

My husband and I can only carry a thirty to fifty pound child for a short period of time.  We want to tire them out, not tire us out.

One Sunday, a spur of the moment decision resulted in the

               Birth Of A New Adventure! 

We Will Search For Licorice Trees 

Thirty-five years ago I packed some licorice candy strings along with healthy snacks in my knapsack for one of our hikes.

I began to discretely hang licorice strings further ahead on our path.  I did have an accomplice to distract the girls and keep an eye on them.  My complicit husband.

Finding the licorice trees did energize the girls and now they were running along the path.  They would squeal with delight when they found licorice strings hanging on a tree branch. 

              Long hikes became a lot more fun for the entire family.

 

Fast Forward Three Decades

My two daughters were recently reminiscing about our Sunday adventures when they were young girls.  They began giggling about the licorice trees.

I found out they believed for many years afterwards, licorice strings grew on trees.

A fleeting pang of guilt.  Am I a terrible Mother?

 

Last Sunday, A Funday

My husband and I took our two granddaughters for a hike last Sunday to a pretty area called the Kinsol Trestle.

I told four-year-old, Abby, and six-year-old, Sadie, to keep a lookout for licorice trees and licorice strings. 

They both gave me a puzzled, curious look. 

Sadie brought up a good point.  They had no idea what to look for?

Until they came across rainbow-coloured licorice strings hanging over a tree branch.

 

The Rest Of The Afternoon

Sadie and Abby searched high and low for this rare treasure growing in the forest.  For the rest of the afternoon there was no stopping the two of them.

We finally had to insist we turn around and head back to our vehicle.

Promises were made to return in the Spring to continue looking for this tasty treat. 

Our granddaughters did not question the existence of licorice trees.  They looked up at me with trusting eyes.

Is this wrong?  Have I gone too far?

A fleeting pang of guilt.  Am I a terrible Grandmother?

 

Perpetuating The Myths

Licorice trees belong in the category of the Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.  Fictitious, imaginary characters and fantasy brought to life by adults. 

I do have fleeting pangs of guilt when I bring these stories alive.

I also hear the squeals of laughter as Sadie and Abby run along the trail.  I see the joy and delight in their eyes when they find the licorice strings.    

My husband and I share a secret, knowing smile.  A moment in life where we are in this together.

                  Sharing memories.  Creating memories.

At The End Of The Day

We return Sadie and Abby to their parents late Sunday afternoon. 

They were bubbling over with excitement sharing the adventures of their day.  They also shared their bag of licorice strings with their Mom and Dad.

As we were leaving, Sadie yells out, “The Best Day Ever!”

                              

If This Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right 

Sadie and Abby will eventually find out the truth about the licorice trees.  I suspect they will giggle when they reminisce about their Sunday/Funday adventures.  

Three decades from now they may take their own children on a forest hike looking for licorice strings.  They may want to share the joy and delight of a new adventure.

They may want to spend a fun, relaxed Sunday, simply spending time together.

                              “The Best Day Ever!”

 

 

Have you played games to make long hikes fun for children?

Did you believe in imaginary characters when you were a child?

 

Postscript: 

About the Kinsol Trestle:  The Kinsol Trestle is also known as the Koksilah River Trestle.  It is one of the highest wooden railway trestles in the world. It provides a spectacular crossing of the Koksilah River. (Weblink)

Your visit:  If you come onto The Island  Vancouver Island Link   and visit the Kinsol Trestle, be on the lookout for licorice trees.  Please keep the rainbow-coloured licorice strings our little secret. These trees are very rare and we hope to find some licorice strings in the Spring on our next Trail Hike. 

Warning:  We make sure the girls do not touch anything or put anything in their mouths they find in the forest unless their parents or grandparents have given their approval.  They have received strict warnings in the past to not touch any mushrooms.  We do have poisonous mushrooms on The Island.

How An Iceland Adventure Led To Midlife Blogging

I am honoured to be a guest on Leanne’s inspirational and informative blog, Cresting The Hill  as part of her Midlife Symphony Series 

In my post I am sharing why the second half of my life is the best half of my life.  Choices I have made in the last two years have completely changed my life.   For the better!

Click on the link below to read the story.  I look forward to meeting you there!

Via     How An Iceland Adventure Led To Midlife Blogging

 

Myvatn Nature Baths, North Iceland

When Blogging World Meets Real World

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A magical evening at Butchart Gardens.

I was very moved by a recent comment I received on my blog.

I was asked whether “all was well” since I had been silent for more than a month in the blogosphere. 

Life Happens, To All Of Us

There are many reasons we may hit the pause button or stop blogging for a period of time.

  • We may need to be quiet to divert our time and energy to pressing concerns.
  • We may have health complications.
  • We may need to replenish our body and our spirit. 
  • We may not need a specific reason.  Just time for a break.
  • In my personal life?  An unexpected family crisis.  Then Christmas came along.

After all, blogging should be a fun part of our lives.  Not a self-imposed chore with a strict timeline.  

Yet, I respect how many bloggers set different writing goals and parameters.

Butchart Gardens

The First Post I Read in 2020

I read Shelley’s recent candid post  Quaint Revival   on why and how she continues to blog.  She brought up the concept of clicks as “fly-by clicker types” and other categories of superficial followers. Not a new topic in the blogosphere.

Shelley’s wisdom helped me reflect on the blogging friends I have made and the reasons I blog.

Are they Real People who treat me like a Real Person?  Do they  actually read my stories?  Do they read my comments on their site?  

My Aha Moment

Just like in Real Life, I prefer to hang out with Real People who genuinely share and care.  Blogging friends who truly make a difference.

You impact the Real World in more ways than you may realize.

Five Ways The Blogging World Entered My Real World This Past Month

1.   Thank you, Donna and Richard, for a fun lunch date.  Retirement Reflections    We are long past the introductory Blind Date  (Link)  stage when we met last Spring.  It feels as if we have been friends for a very long time.  It was also a real treat to meet your son and his girlfriend visiting from overseas.  We look forward to many more future get-togethers.

It feels as if we have been friends for a very long time.

 

2.   Thank you, Annika,  Annika Perry  for writing a beautiful children’s book.  I received “Oskar’s Quest” just in time for my granddaughter, Abby’s fourth birthday.  A beautifully illustrated book sharing a message of courage, kindness and friendship.  Abby loves to follow along and she is already reading (memorized) part of the book, especially the sound effects.

 

 

3.    I met Joanne Tracey on her blog  andanyways.com   Joanne’s book, “Happy Ever After” was a finalist in the 2019 Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year (Ruby) Awards. I can see why Joanne won this honour.  “Happy Ever After” is an engaging and compelling story about the nuances and challenges of relationships, marriage and happiness. Suspense, too.  I am almost finished reading this book and I still have no idea how the story will end.   

 

 

4.   Thank you, Yvette,  priorhouse blog  for your inspiration on my title for this post.  I have always remembered a sentence on your blog that resonated with me.  “Don’t you love it when blog world meets the real world?”

5.   Thank you, Suzanne,  Picture Retirement  for commenting on my “radio silence”  and “hoping all was well.”  You entered my Real World and you touched my heart.  

An evening stroll at Butchart Gardens.

I Appreciate The Blogging Community and The Friends I Have Made

  • I learn something new from every post I read.
  • I have the opportunity to vicariously experience parts of our planet through your adventures.
  • I see the world through your lens.
  • I am informed and I am entertained.
  • I learn lessons when you share your vulnerabilities.    
  • I appreciate when you share your wisdom.

Most of all, thank you for your Humanity. You make a difference.

Especially, when you touch someone’s heart.

   

Have you ever been emotionally moved by a comment on your blog?

Have you ever hit the “pause” button and taken a break from blogging?

Erica or Erika? Which Name Should I Keep?

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Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, James Bond aka 007 was filmed here, twice.

I Am Living Under A False Name.

An alias.  A pseudonym.  A false identity.

Not intentionally.

Although, this could still have serious repercussions.

 

I Have Been Called Different Names In My Life. 

  • My husband often calls me “Sweetie” or “Dear.”  He likely has a few more names for me (under his breath).
  • My daughters call me “Mom.”
  • My parents used to call me “Friedchen.”  It is a term of endearment using my middle name.
  • The last few years I have had the privilege of being called “Grandma Erica.”

 

When Did Erica/Erika Begin?

When I began school, my teachers always wrote my name as “Erica.”  I learned to write my name as “Erica.”  

My signature on all of my paperwork, wedding certificate, driver’s license and bank cards is “Erica.”

Much later in life, a glance at my birth certificate revealed “Erika.”  I did not think it really mattered at this point.

                      I was wrong!

 

9/11 Was Pivotal.

New passport regulations carefully scrutinized the spelling of all names.  I had to make sure my passport name, birth certificate and signature were an exact match. 

I now had to sign specific documents with the spelling “Erika.”  I was not at all used to writing this “new” name.

 

My Wonderful Boss With A Great Sense Of Humour.

I was fortunate to work in a very progressive dental office for almost twenty-five years.  We often had the opportunity to take continuing education courses and attend conferences.  Some of the conferences were held in a different city and out of the country. 

This dentist was finalizing the travel arrangements for a conference.  He was initially puzzled about the “new” name, “Erika.”  Our passport and ticket information had to be accurate.

He had a great sense of humour.  From now on, he would address correspondence to me as “Erica/Erika.”

                        It aways made me smile.

                 

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Landmannalaugar, Iceland

Beginning the WordPress Blog.

I watched YouTube videos and I went to “how to start a blog” websites. I did not want to overthink the process.  I might change my mind.

Behindthescenery” domain was already taken.  Therefore, I chose “Behindthesceneryphoto.” 

I had to type in a username.

                    I typed in “Erica/Erika.” 

I did not want to interrupt the flow of setting up a WordPress blog.  I could always finesse things later. 

 

Almost Everyone Has A Story Behind Their Name.

They may have a name in honour of a family member.  We were advised to name our first child, “Donat.”  We politely disregarded this suggestion.  You are welcome, Sara.

 

 

Some people choose to change their name for various reasons.

Some people prefer to use their middle name or a nickname.

A glance at a birth certificate may reveal a name different from the one they have been called all their life. 

 

My Thoughts This Moment In Time.

Most of the time I use the name, “Erica.”

Specific documents necessitate the spelling, “Erika.”  My hands may shake when my signature requires this “new” spelling.  I play by the rules.

In today’s world of minimalism and simplifying, “Erica/Erika” is now six syllables.  Am I taking up too much room?  It is cyberspace after all. 

Readers in our blogging community have also been using “E/E.” 

 

Do I Change The Name On My Blog?

I do not mind what I am called.  “Erica” sounds the same as “Erika” to me.  

I like and answer to all of the above.

As for the name on my blog?

                 I am keeping “Erica/Erika.”  At least for now.  

                                It always makes me smile.

 

Do you have a story behind your name?  Would you like to change your name?

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“Friedchen”

The Story Behind The Story

I had just completed a draft of this story about my name(s). I was not sure when or whether I would click “publish.”

This week my blog crossed paths with a blogger new to me, Annika from  Annika Perry’s Writing Blog 

Curious to learn more about her, I clicked on her blog site.  Her most recent post:  What’s in a Name? Book Review.

Immediate goosebumps for me. 

Annika writes an in depth, engaging review of “What’s in a Name” a book of short stories written by Sally Cronin.   Smorgasbord Blog Magazine   Behind every name there is a story.  

                             Synchronicity?  Coincidence?

I especially like a quote from Yvette,  Priorhouse Blog  “Don’t you love it when blog world meets the real world?”

                           Does this ever happen to you?

 

 

Does Every Two-Year-Old Put Something Up Their Nose?

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The Magic of Childhood

 

Road trips with a two-year-old and a four-year-old can be a lot of fun.

Most of the time.

 

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What do you do when the two-year-old starts crying and we decipher through the sobs,

                       “A Tic Tac is in my nose!

The car is in motion on a busy Vancouver highway.

I abruptly swing around in my seat.

“Are you kidding me?!  Are you sure you have a Tic Tac in your nose?!”

I see something up her nose.

I calmly shout blow your nose!”

Flashes of first aid courses run through my mind.  I try to remember all I have learned about head anatomy and the sinus cavity.

I am thankful my daughter, their Mother, sent me a text this morning containing a copy of their Medical Care Cards.  

                        Where is the nearest hospital?

 

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Do not play with knives!

 

Papa Chuck screeches to a halt at the side of the road.  I jump out of the car and attempt

                       Tic Tac Rescue Mission!

I cannot even see the Tic Tac now.  A bulge is visible high up on her nose.  I apply pressure to one nostril amidst the two-year-old’s advanced cries.  I tell her to blow her nose.  No success.

Again, blow your nose!”

A Tic Tac with much mucous flies three feet out of her nose.

The wide-eyed two-year-old stops crying.

I return to my seat and we resume our road trip.

Along with a five minute lecture on

                      “Never put a Tic Tac up your nose!”

 

It could have been worse!  It could have been a Nerd!

 

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Double Trouble!

 

Our friends had to take their daughter to the hospital to remove a  “Nerd” from her nose.

The first thought that may come to mind is the computer coding, highly intelligent, mathematical whiz.

                      Not this child, on this day.

This little girl had somehow managed to put a popular candy of the 1980’s up her nose.

Her parents reluctantly sped to the hospital.  After a few embarrassing looks, they managed to explain the problem to the emergency team.

                      The Nerd was expertly removed.

The hospital staff has likely seen worse.

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She looks soooo Sweet and Innocent

Not every child will put something up their nose. 

Two-year-olds have a reputation for testing our patience and creating anxious moments. 

They can also make us laugh.  Especially when the Tic Tac or the Nerd is safely removed.

An embarrassing story may unexpectedly surface one day.

                        Possibly at their Graduation, their Wedding or even on a Blog.  

            

Have you had any scary moments with a toddler?  

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A Reason to Smile

Postscript:  

Deleting a Blog Post? – One Year Later

 “Tic Tac Rescue Mission”   was the original title of the above story.   It was unedited, written directly on the WordPress site and I immediately hit “publish.”

                   I won’t do that again.

I was tempted to delete my first few blog posts. 

They were practice pages to see whether this WordPress thing works.

             Will the post even show up in cyberspace?

I consider August, 2019 as my official One Year Blogiversary.  

I have found a fun, challenging, creative outlet.  I have met many inspirational people in this supportive community.

The initial practice pages remind me how much I have learned this first year of blogging.

          I am glad I did not delete my first blog posts. 

Have you gone back and deleted any of your Blog Posts? 

  

 

 

Do You Have Different Friends For Different Seasons?

 

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Holland Creek Trail, Ladysmith, British Columbia

 

What happens when The Widow Badass, Retirement Reflections and Behind the Scenery meet up?

You guessed it!  A whole lot of shenanigans!

I am sharing your word, Joanne .  Thank you for sharing your friend.

 

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Two Beautiful Ladies on a carpet of leaves

We Have Three Types Of Friends In Life

  • Friends for a Reason. 

  • Friends for a Season.

  • And Friends for a Lifetime.

 

 

The Reason

Deb  The Widow Badass Blog  was visiting The Island.  Donna Retirement Reflections Blog  plus Deb and I met at “The Old Town Bakery” in Ladysmith thanks to Donna’s recommendation.

I know only a few things about Ladysmith.

  • Pamela Anderson was born and raised here.
  • The Christmas Festival of Lights is a huge event.  
  • It is worth stopping at The Old Town Bakery, voted as having “The best cinnamon buns on the island.” 

The constant flow of people coming in and out of this bakery and my taste buds agree with all of the praise. 

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The Season

Autumn.

A beautiful, peaceful time of year with changing colours and cooler temperatures.

Perfect for going on a hike and exploring The Holland Creek Trail in Ladysmith.  Another great recommendation from Donna.  Donna shares more detailed information and beautiful photos here

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect for spending time with these two amazing women. 

That evening, at home, my husband asked me about my day and my new friends.

 Searching for words, I told him,  “Donna and Deb are More.”

            “They are More interesting, More witty, More kind and caring, and More beautiful inside and out than you may imagine reading their blogs.  We had a lot of fun!”

 

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Walking into a Fairy Tale

Friends For A Lifetime

Most of us have made more than one Friend in our lifetime:

  • The going to the movies Friend.
  • The work Friend.
  • The foodie Friend.
  • The fearless adventurer Friend.
  • The pour your heart out and share your soul Friend.  
  • The very wise Friend.
  • And more recently, the Blogging Friend.

 

If we are fortunate, we will have Friends for a Lifetime.  Priceless.

 

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The Salmon Whisperer
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Pretty in the Rain

The Autumn of my life

I am truly grateful for all of my Friends.  

You have enriched my life beyond measure.

I cherish our precious time together.  An irreplaceable gift.

We share hobbies.  We share stories.  We share a part of ourselves.

                  

                      Our life becomes More.   We become More.

 

Do you have long term friends?  Have you recently made new friends? 

 

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Obligatory Selfie of three goofy (oops, intelligent) women