These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

my friend marla

my wife decided we should start a newsletter and i thought it was a great idea. so we wrote it up. february's came out a few days ago and it was pretty nice.

dawn and i have different people in our address books, so we usually send out two e-mails with the links.

i've found that i get replied from friends i hadn't heard from in awhile and i think it's great.

after sending this last one, i checked my e-mail and found a reply from my friend marla. i was happy to have had an e-mail from her. it had been more than two years since we'd exchanged e-mails and even longer since we'd chatting on the phone.

she ended up giving me her number and i decided to call her and catch up.

it was wonderful. it was as if we'd not been interrupted in time and we picked up where we left off, although i had to bring her up to speed on my dad's situation and our situation up here and she caught me up on her life in calif.

i've known marla since her best friend in high school was dating my brother back in the early 1990s. we've stayed in and out of touch since, ostly in touch, even attended a smashing pumpkins concert and saw the musical the phantom of the opera with her and some friends.

the reason i bring this up about connecting with marla again is that friends are terribly important to me and i dislike losing contact with them, which does happen sometimes for whatever reason. i think life's too short to just let friendships that i or you or she or he or whoever has established just simply go by the wayside.

also more recently i've reconnected with two other friends, mike and karin. i hadn't talked to mike since right after hurricane katrina. one day after new year's eve, i decided to call him. i didn't hear from him. i tried again and he called back. we've connected and it's like nothing's changed. we're still buds.

karin, well, i've known her since college. she used to be my boss at the paper. now she's with the navy. that's how we started talking again. one of the guy's being deployed was from here. she helped me out and now we chat frequently. with her it's easier to call her than to e-mail. good rapport. good friends.

i still have a few friends yet to reconnect with that i'd really like to just sit down with and chat on the phone with. maybe soon. i miss them.

here's to old friends.

riding in cars with mexicans

last week i my friend krista took me to shop for dawn's birthday present. since i don't drive, i needed help and she was gracious enough to offer.

i will preface this by saying my friend isn't a big advocate of the seatbelt, much to the chagrin of her husband (and her friend who rides with her many times in a week). but it's her perrogative.

that morning started out fine. she picked me up and we were off. we made it nearly to the antique mall when she says, "there's a cop..." she's looking in the rearview. she then says, a tab upset, "he's turning around."

sure enough, the county officer turned around to follow us. we were at the light right before the place we were to turn into. even before she said what was up, i knew what the problem was with the cop.

it was useless to try and put it on slowly. yes, it would attract much more attention. so we pulled into the parking lot. she got her info. the cop came forward and retrieved the papers.

we discussed whether or not he would ticket her. i think we were in agreement that he would. it just felt like it. he really didn't sy anything except ask for her info.

so he comes back and he's got a ticket in hand. $65 smackaroos. the cop was cagey, though. he kept the amount hidden behind her info, which he was returning. it wasn't until after he'd walked back to his cruiser that she found out hte amount.

now, this might not sound amusing, but there's a reason why i titled the blog the way i did.

i'd say about a year and a half ago, krista and i left the office to go down the street to an ice cream place that was giving away free scoops. instead of walking, we drove.

we got there and found out the line was waaay too long. so we decided to forget it. or was it the time that we actually got something? i'm not sure.

either way, we got back into the car and cut across eighth street. that did it. a city cop turned the flashers on. no seatbelt.

this cop was nice. he did ask her about the seatbelt and she said we were just going a few blocks back to work and she forgot it. he gave her a verbal warning. so she got off.

she did get a ticket a previous time, during a click it or ticket time period, oddly enough. i was not with her at the time. but perhaps she was thinking of her friend (me) and wondering how i was doing and then bam! she got stopped.

what's going on? am i a curse? do they think a crazy mexican boy has held a good-looking redhead hostage or something? can't a mexican boy ride in a car with a nonmexican?

all purely silly explorations. i just think it's funny that she's gotten stopped twice while with mein the car.

then, there's the time she (and alan) were parked up in front of our house and were ticketed for staying beyond the 2 a.m. time limit. i was indirectly involved in that one.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

long-distance birthday greetings...and more

dawn celebrated a birthday friday. since i arrived after midnight thursday, i gave her the present then (some nice depression glass selected with help from krista). she loved it. i gave her a nice card friday night when i got home from work. we went out to eat saturday and will watch a
cool movie (zodiac) today.

but it wasn't always like this. the first birthday i celebrated with my wife was when she was still an unknown, phyysically, anyway, to me, back in 2001.

she was still in maryland and i in texas. we'd been exchanging e-mails since january and i wanted to get to know her more and had wanted her to download instant messenger for us to chat on to try and further the relationship. i was digging the girl, you know.

somehow i found out her birthday was coming up. i don't know if we told each other our birthdays or what, but it was coming up and i wanted to show i cared for her. but there were problems. i couldn't send her anything because i didn't know her mailing address.

i decided to do the next best thing (within my means) and send her an e-greetings. it was a difficult thing for me to do. i was late in getting into computers and at that time had really only been online at home for a little more than a year. i had received e-greetings but i don't think i'd ever sent one.

i found a spot on the yahoo page that had them, struggled to find the right one. i wanted something subtle and not one that advertised i'm a psycho and wants you badly or anything. i found one. then i had to make it simple. i just wrote that i remembered her birthday and wanted to wish her a good birthday. nothing elaborate or anything.

the week before i sent the card, i made a mental note to remember her birthday and send it thursday night. her birthday was on a friday. i wanted her to get home from work and read it. and so it happened that late thursday, i went through my struggles and off it went.

the following day, i was online. i wrote her an e-mail saying try and get instant messenger so we can talk in real time. i clicked send. it was gone. two seconds later, i get the familiar chimes that designate an instant message. it was from her. holy crap. she was downloading the IM stuff as i was e-mailing her about it. i had tried in the past for her to do it and she hadn't. this was going to be my last attempt.

she told me she'd gone out to eat dinner with friends from work and then come home. i thought she deserved more than that, should have someone to celebrate her birthday, and wanted to talk and try to make it a better day.

i got online with her at about 10 p.m. we talked until 4 in the morning. we learned so much about each other that night. it was wonderful. she opened up like she hadn't before, me stepping on toes and asking stuff i didn't know about (like her father, who had died a few years before). i cursed at myself for stupid things like that. i wanted our chat to go perfectly. i guess it didn't go too bad.

that's how we spent dawn's birthday that first year we began to know each other. it was unconventional but fun, intimate and personal. it was one of the best nights i've had and i'm glad i spent it with dawn that night. it was special and i have fonds memories.

we talked again online saturday night for a similar length of time. we did it again sunday morning and that's when i decided to be bold and push the slowly evolving relationship ahead. i said maybe one day we could talk on the phone some time. i said she could call me anytime and gave her my number. she then gave me hers. i took the opportunity and said maybe i could call her that night. she agreed. i called her promptly at 10:30 p.m. central time.

it was magical hearing her voice for the first time. she was shy; i was nervous. her dog, duffy, was yipping because he heard the phone ring. we talked for hours that night, too.

i'm getting ahead here, so i'll stop.
happy birthday, dawnie. it was good giving you the presents and card and a kiss in return. xx oo