Pictures of my life, Part 1

spork

plastic

disposable

recyclable

multi-purpose

tool

scoop

pierce

scrape

ladle

measure

spoon + fork

priceless

treasure

picnic

—-

This is the first of what I want to be an ongoing series of random observations of my life.

Today I pay homage to a humble spork, which Girl from the East will not let me throw out/recycle. While on vacation in California, we frequented a deli near our hotel. It was our delicious little ritual to walk there, peer through the glass to decide what we’d have that day, then take our bagged food and utensils outside for a picnic.  It didn’t matter what we had, it all tasted so good as we sat on the grass or a park bench, under an unmarked blue sky with sunlight warming our skin. So this spork came back to Michigan with us and serves as a wonderful souvenir of a series of picnics in January.

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IRL

Here's a picture of me all by myself in Santa Monica. I do not have a picture of my meet-up with Chris @ Dharma Bum because I am lame like that.

So, who is this person you’re meeting with tonight?

My husband is asking this, in our hotel room in downtown Los Angeles, as I’m slipping into heels and grabbing my cell phone to go out alone to met this guy, whom I’ve known online for the past three years.

Actually, my husband knew exactly what I was doing. When I decided to tag along on his business trip, I had a goal of meeting at least one, if not more, of my California blogging friends.*

Mostly he was teasing me, that husband of mine. The whole reason we were in California was social media and building online relationships.

He wrote a book about it.

He gets it.

Still, this was something a bit different. It wasn’t a blogger shindig or even a small gathering. It was just two people from opposite sides of the country. This was new territory for me.

Preparing to meet someone who up until now was a two-dimensional image, a string of words, an illusion in some ways, was totally unnerving. But also I’m a bit of a thrill junkie, so doing this seemed all kinds of fun and challenging at the same time.

Have fun on your date, my husband says as the door slips closed behind me.

As I wait for the elevator, I consider the dynamic of online relationships. Are they authentic relationships? What is the difference between an intimacy of words across the miles, and  shared space and experience that maybe does not include deep dialog? Is one more valid, more enriching than the other? Do I know some of my online friends better – perhaps more intimately – than the friends I have in real life? You bet. There is safety in distance. Could I have the same one-on-one fun and ease of self in real life with online friends I’d just met, especially without the benefit of a big blogger event? That is the unknown quantity.

When I started a blog almost four years ago, I was on a quest to change the course of my life. I had no idea where the road would take me. Chris’s blog — Dharma Bum — was one of the first few that caught my attention. (Thank you, Foolery. ) He has inspired me in some wildly unexpected, life-changing ways. He continues to do so.

The nature of personal blogging is to share, vent, educate, inform, illuminate — you name it –something with your readers. If I crack open my carefully sealed shell and reveal some things about myself, in return, my online friends do the same and thus if we find common ground, something builds.

So, you ask, how was my Internet date – the first one involving air travel and a leap of faith?

Pretty damn fantastic.

Thank you, Chris, for not being a serial killer or some false persona. Thanks for asking the questions and listening to the answers. Thanks for the inspiration, the motivation, the ideas, and the great dialog. Thanks for feeding my crazy caffeine habit.

I think I found a kindred spirit.

California was pretty nice, too.

*MamaMary Show and San Diego Momma, damn the distance and clogged freeway systems. I do hope our paths cross someday.

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Awake

Random notes from California:

We slipped away in the death grip of pre-dawn, the 13-degree air biting our faces and seeping through our light clothing. I knew that by the time I reached my destination, these same clothes that did little to fend off the painful cold would become sweat-inducing extra layers.

It’s been a wonderful respite to see a dome of deep blue overhead instead of the endless gray blanket. It’s been refreshing to splash and wade in the Pacific Ocean surf at Santa Monica, to feel — feel! the sun on my skin. In the north, even if the sun is out and overhead, it has about all the warmth of a 25-watt lightbulb.

I have not coughed, hacked, blown my nose excessively or had to use any OTC products in order to breathe. Additionally I have not had to repeatedly slather Aquaphor on my hands, elbows and knees.

Is it possible to believe that the drivers here in Los Angeles and surroundings seem nicer than in Detroit? I’ve heard about the traffic out here, and it does appear to be clogged and grid-locked on the expressways. Yet, people here actually allow us to cross a street without threatening to plow us down. Red lights actually stop traffic. Is this an anomaly? Am I hallucinating?

All the walking, fresh air, sunshine, clear skies, greenery and life moving about freely is an awakening. Being a creature of the north who never, ever goes away in winter, I simply grow accustomed  to the hibernation state of the dark months. We stay indoors most of the time, acclimate to the gray dimness and seeping cold. We accept the near-depressed mental state.

For a few days I imagine a different life.

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