Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Stand-Up Kind of Gal

Sometimes I only get the chance to blog once a week. And since I can't always get up the motivation to think of a topic, it's nice to have other friends to blog with so we can take turns. I enjoy being challenged to write about stuff that might not normally come to mind and also reading everyone else's thoughts on the same topic. Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about a year now, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week I chose the topic: Tell us about a time when you were fearless.

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic:
Darwin Shrugged
Froggie
Moma Rock

"When I was little I thought I would be a big comedian on late night TV." Nah...I'm just quoting Avenue Q again. Really, though, I love seeing stand-up comedians perform. I am all about humor and laughter and if someone can have me doubled over with tears in my eyes, I know they've got it made. When Last Comic Standing first premiered, I was totally into that show. I liked the fact that people actually had to do more than just sing or dance to win. Stand-up comedy has so many facets...writing, delivery, ability to make people laugh, etc. It's a very intense art form. How do I know this? Well, I tried my hand at stand-up comedy once.

There was this restaurant in the Chicago suburbs that was similar to Portillo's or Dengeo's in terms of the food they served and how you had to get it up at the counter. However, they had live bands performing upstairs, and on certain weeknights, they had a comedy club downstairs. At this comedy club, there was an amateur night every week. I first learned about it from a friend who had performed there a few times and invited us to see him in action. Then I decided to give it a go. I took improv comedy classes over the span of a year and wasn't so afraid of being on stage and trying to make people laugh. However, I wasn't about to "wing it" when it came to doing a stand-up routine. There's really a lot that goes into making it just right. I can't even remember most of my routine, but I definitely had fun writing it. I even ran it by the friend who had experience at these amateur nights and he helped me fine tune it a bit. That was definitely helpful. Then I rehearsed it until I had it memorized and wasn't tripping over my words. I do remember starting off by singing "Dancing Queen" and then saying that I thought I was at the live band karaoke that the restaurant had going on upstairs. I think I also talked about how Y2K was a total let-down and about my upcoming 10-year high school reunion (shows how long ago this was). Everything else is a blur to me. Apparently, people thought it was funny. My BFF even brought it up when she visited, and even though she's probably biased, it was nice to hear that I was able to make people laugh.

These days, I am not into public speaking all that much, but I like to put humor into my writing and I still like to make people laugh, even on an individual basis. I'd rather be told I'm funny than that I'm attractive. I recently took a quiz to see which female comedian I am and the result was Tina Fey:
Creative, reserved, and highly intelligent, you are most like the darling of the entertainment writing world, Tina Fey! Others see you as shy and a bit naive, and you may be at times - but at your core are a deeply intuitive and wise individual. Others seek comfort in your advice and company, and you're just glad to have the companionship. You give a lot to everyone and are ok with little in return.

Even that description says I put my humor into my writing. Validation! It's definitely an honor to be compared to Tina Fey. I respect and admire her comedic talent. I also wouldn't mind having comedic writing talent on the level of Mindy Kaling, but one can only dream.

So maybe I won't jump out of a plane or go deep sea diving, but writing a comedy act and performing it in front of a mix of friends and strangers is the most fearless I have ever been.

Side note: Since stand-up comedy is a hard field through which one can become famous, I wanted to give a shout-out to a comedian I saw a couple of times in 2012...Brian Parise. He was just hilarious and had great material and delivery. If he's ever performing in your neck of the woods, you should definitely go see him! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Girls' Night Out

Sometimes I only get the chance to blog once a week. And since I can't always get up the motivation to think of a topic, it's nice to have other friends to blog with so we can take turns. I enjoy being challenged to write about stuff that might not normally come to mind and also reading everyone else's thoughts on the same topic. Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about a year now, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week Moma Rock chose the topic: Tell us about your first homecoming/prom/formal... and don't forget the photos! If you didn't go to any high school dances, why not? What did you end up doing instead?

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic:
Darwin Shrugged
Froggie
Moma Rock

A few years ago, I was asked about something I regretted from the past. I decided to talk about not asking a friend of mine to go to prom with me because I was hung up on what people thought. You can read that post right here.

This time around, I will share about a positive memory that came out of not going to a dance. When I was a senior in high school, I did not end up going to the Homecoming dance (amongst the many others I didn't attend). Instead, I went out with two girlfriends for the evening. One of them was a close friend of mine from school. The other was a family friend who had moved to a nearby neighborhood. We saw For Love or Money and then went out for dinner. I just remember hanging out for a while at the restaurant and laughing about random things. The family friend did a great impression of Jack√©e from 227 and my high school friend and I found it hilarious. It was just a pleasant evening overall and I didn't even feel bad about missing the dance. I'm still friends with both women, even though we mostly talk through Facebook these days.

Sorry this is so short, but I figure that since I said a lot in the post from a few years ago and I don't really have any other positive or negative memories of what I did instead of going to a dance. I probably just babysat when I was younger or stayed home and did nothing. It's all a blur to me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Let's go to the movies....or not?

When I wrote my post last week about stuff I enjoyed in the past but don't enjoy now, I didn't include "going to the movies" as one of the items. It's something I go back and forth about because going to the movies these days is nothing like it was when I was younger. I still enjoy going to the theater--sometimes--but there's a price to pay, and I don't just mean from my wallet.

Back in the day, movies were reasonably priced. Usually about $4.00 for a matinee. And if you had a coupon from the Entertainment book, it was $4.00 at night too. The only time it's $4.00 to go to a movie theater now is if you get some major deal from Groupon for Fandango. Otherwise, it's $12 for an adult to see a matinee. At least it feels that way. It's not any less expensive for kids. Maybe $10 instead? There are NO second run theaters out by where I live. We have the big name ones like Regal and AMC. When I lived in Illinois, the dollar theater was around the corner. I loved it there. Sure, we would see these cheesy ads before the movie started and the seats weren't super comfortable, but it was nice for a date night where we didn't feel like we were spending a fortune. It reminded me of being in college and all the inexpensive options for seeing a movie on or off campus. Also, snack items were way more reasonably priced back then. I don't even bother getting snacks at the theater these days. After spending my life savings to see a movie, I am not inclined to go into debt over snacks. What bothers me the most is that theaters show a billion ads before the movie starts, but they're somehow not getting sponsorship for these ads or they would be able to charge more reasonable prices overall.

The next factor is how RUDE people are in the theater. They get up and walk around. They talk during the movie itself. They kick my seat. They play with their cell phones and text all their friends. And I won't even begin to tell you what one of my friends caught someone doing when she went to the theater once. I'll just say that the movie should have been rated X for the behavior it elicited. I also hate when people bring babies or small children to a movie that's clearly for adults. Someone brought a BABY to Les Miz. Seriously! And even when I'm at a family friendly movie, people practically encourage their kids to talk and scream. If your kid is screaming, TAKE THEM TO THE LOBBY!!! I didn't pay half my college tuition to see a movie where the soundtrack is someone's child throwing a tantrum. I'm sorry they're throwing a tantrum when the parents probably paid just as much as I did to see this movie, but if they weren't ready for the theater, they shouldn't have brought them. And now that they did, ignoring them is not going to stop the tantrum from getting worse. I was a kid once too and I remember not allowing my parents to see Mary Poppins in the theater because I was too scared of the dark. That was when tickets were 50 cents though....

I'm still somewhat traumatized by an experience I had while watching Monsters Inc. the first time in the theater back in 2001. Some man came in toward the end and was looking for his wallet. Instead of waiting an extra five minutes for the movie to be over and the lights to go up, he decided to get into our row and practically lean on top of me to look behind me for his wallet, blocking my view of the screen. He ruined an emotional scene for me and also freaked me out considerably. He was breathing really loud the whole time he was leaning over me, so you can imagine why that would be super uncomfortable.

It's also a matter of how great vs. how much of a letdown the movie is. More often than not, I have been disappointed by the movies I've been excited about seeing in the theater (i.e. Les Miz, Frozen, Brave, Avatar, etc.). Maybe one out of every three times I go, I actually enjoy the movie throughout (Monsters University, Wreck-It Ralph, The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted, Turbo). Still, there's an imbalance of movies I didn't like vs. movies I enjoyed. I do want to see Into the Woods and The Last Five Years in the theater, but worry about being disappointed by both.

I still like the feel of being in a theater, where the screen practically overtakes you and the sound fills the room. I may not like the ads before a movie, but I'm a trailer junkie. I love finding out what movies are coming soon and getting a glimpse into them. I like the comfortable chairs that are way better than the ones I sat in at the theater when I was a kid. And stadium seating is amazing. I resent when a theater doesn't have stadium seating and I have to look up from below the screen. There's something intoxicating about the smell of popcorn as you're going into the theater, along with the lights, colors, sounds, etc. It's something that the price, rude people, and caliber of movie can not take away from me.

There's a theater by my parents' house (in the west suburbs of Chicago) that does something awesome...every Tuesday, they charge a flat rate of $5.00 per ticket all day, along with FREE popcorn. We saw Mr. Peabody and Sherman there and got to sit in this auditorium that had really comfortable lounging chairs with lots of room between our row and the row in front of us. It was probably one of the best theater experiences I've had in a long time and I enjoyed the movie too!

I long for a day when we can get back to old school prices for seeing a movie (even just once a week), or at least have some second run theaters established nearby. I don't think either will happen anytime soon. Until my fantasy becomes a reality, I'll just hang out on the couch and watch a DVD in my pajamas, with a bowl of microwave popcorn. That's the ultimate movie experience for me these days!

Friday, September 12, 2014

I'm too old for this "stuff"

Sometimes I only get the chance to blog once a week. And since I can't always get up the motivation to think of a topic, it's nice to have other friends to blog with so we can take turns. I enjoy being challenged to write about stuff that might not normally come to mind and also reading everyone else's thoughts on the same topic. Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about a year now, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week Darwin Shrugged chose the topic: Write about 3-5 things that you used to love, enjoy doing, etc., in the past but now you don't like. Or, write about stuff you used to not like but have grown to enjoy. And feel free to throw in one thing you've always loved and always will.

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic:
Darwin Shrugged
Froggie
Moma Rock

This topic got me thinking about stuff I wouldn't normally give much thought to. I've come to realize that as I have gotten older, I have less of a tolerance for certain things. Sometimes it's just due to a lack of patience and other times to a lack of interest. Since I can't think of anything I have grown to enjoy, I will share things I used to love and now don't like.

Side note: My subject line has to do with an episode of How I Met Your Mother, where Ted is telling his kids about some behaviors he has outgrown. However, instead of saying the "S" word, he says "stuff" each time.

A pic my older son recently drew
Drawing: When I was a kid, I loved drawing pictures. I had this huge pad of paper on my desk at home and would spend time drawing scenes with people, backgrounds, etc. I wasn't necessarily good at it, but I found it relaxing. I would even doodle in my notebooks at school when I got bored. As an adult, I have absolutely no desire to draw anything. My older son likes art and it's fun to see his drawings, but I just can't share his enthusiasm for the activity.

Riding my bicycle: I mentioned before that it took me a long time to learn how to ride a bicycle. Once I did, however, I would ride it all over the place. I always felt so free and it was great exercise. The last time I rode my bicycle was shortly before I became pregnant with my first child. Now the only bicycle I ride is stationary and sits in my basement.

Me at 14 with our first two cats
Having pets: At one point in my life, my family had four cats and a dog. I loved having them around and especially treasured the time I spent with our beagle, Buddy. I even had a cat of my own until my son developed allergies. Thankfully, we found her a new home. And now I actually like having a pet free home. My kids keep asking me if they can get a pet that won't cause allergy problems, but I don't even want that. There's a lot of responsibility involved and if they get attached to the pet and it dies, I know they'll be devastated. And really...I just don't want a pet in the house. I just don't have the patience to worry about it. After reading Moma Rock's post about her new kitten, I stand my ground even more. (Not saying ALL pets are that much work, but still...) I love other people's pets though. I don't know if this will be set in stone as I get older, but this is where I stand for now.

Me at 15 with Buddy


Going to the mall: Unlike Robin Sparkles, I do not want to go to the mall today...or any other day. The only reason I go to our local mall is for Target. Being spoiled by thrift store prices, I see no point in going to the mall anymore. The malls these days seem overwhelming and I find most of the stores to be pointless or even sketchy looking. When I was a kid and even through my college years and a bit beyond, I enjoyed going to the mall and had certain stores I had to visit each time. I think after moving out east, the malls just don't have the same feel they did in the midwest. (And some of my favorite malls have changed so much since then.) I don't even know how to explain that, but just take my word for it. Even so, when we were in Chicago and went to Water Tower Place, I was just so unimpressed and wanted to spend as little time in there as possible.

Carnivals: The only reason I go is for my kids. The exciting feel I had over carnivals when I was a kid is replaced by annoyance at the prices, how loud and crowded they get, the fact that I get sick from rides that go any faster than a carousel or ferris wheel, etc. I remember when I'd love to go to the local carnivals or state and county fairs as a kid and ride the craziest rides and eat lots of junk food. I probably romanticized them at the time. Now I just get overwhelmed.

Mini-golf: It was so much fun to do as a kid (I especially loved this one course by Randhurst Mall in Illinois) but now I find it boring. If I can't get my ball into the cup after a certain amount of taps, I just give up. I don't even keep score anymore. A few weeks ago, I just let my husband take the boys mini-golfing at a park while my daughter and I did other stuff.

* * *

As for something I'll always love...well, isn't it obvious by now?!? If not, visit my other blog.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

You had to be there....

Sometimes I only get the chance to blog once a week. And since I can't always get up the motivation to think of a topic, it's nice to have other friends to blog with so we can take turns. I enjoy being challenged to write about stuff that might not normally come to mind and also reading everyone else's thoughts on the same topic. Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about a year now, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week Froggie chose the topic: Those that get it will understand.

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic:
Darwin Shrugged
Froggie
Moma Rock

Before I go on, I wanted to share links to some posts I saw recently where I felt like people had access to my mind.

*A recent post about motherhood by Scary Mommy. (Warning: There's a swear word in the title, so don't open with kids around)

*A song by Garfunkel and Oates about wishing people "Happy Birthday" on Facebook when you don't really know them.

What Froggie's topic really made me think of, though, is inside jokes. Oddly enough, Moma Rock inspired this post idea, as well. Her recent post about friendship, along with a post about her new kitten (and the joke has nothing to do with that), got me thinking about this even more.

Most of my friends and I can find stuff to laugh about together. And I'll send things to certain friends that I know will specifically interest them. However, most people would understand that stuff I'm sharing with these particular friends. And then there are friends with whom I have inside jokes that no one else would ever understand except the two of us.

My BFF and I have some inside jokes. Twenty-seven plus years of friendship is bound to generate a bunch of them. I think ours are more in the sarcastic way we respond to each other and some of the silly things we do during our Google hangout sessions. (Like I'll message her the next day that I "might" forgive her cat for interrupting our conversation or we'll take pictures of each other's face on our screens. And our "sign" offs to each other are classic and can't be forgotten at the end of each hangout!) Aside from our humorous moments, we also share a mutual understanding, especially now that she's having some experiences in her life that allow us to relate to each other even more. Even so, she's the only one who truly appreciates the Ed Debevic's radio commercial I made in sixth grade.

When I met my friend A.S. at a Jewish youth retreat during freshman year of high school, we instantly had inside jokes. We'd send each other drawings and tape recordings that made sense to only us. Most of our jokes revolved around Barbie and McDonald's, as well as people who annoyed us. I can still post random stuff on her Facebook page and she'll remember exactly what it's related to. When we got together this past May, we had so much to laugh about.

There are certain jokes I have with some friends from both high school and college. We still find these things funny. I shared some great inside jokes with the friends I lived with in my last semester before graduating and fondly look back upon the night we spent carrying an old grandfather clock (that was lighter than we ever expected) into different rooms of my condo so we could take weird pictures of it. There's also Mr. Aah. A lot of the laughter in college came from my junior year, when another close friend and I would talk about Lino all the time.

The cake my friends from college got me for my
birthday because of Waiting for Guffman.

"Will" and I still have a lot of random inside jokes from high school and beyond. He can tease me about my nickname for IHOP while I can tease him about his bicycle stationery. Later on, our inside jokes came from experiences at the gay clubs or at some of the Pride Parades we attended. ("Rod! You're so cute! I voted for you!") And there's the never-ending debate over whether Buffalo (a restaurant in the Chicago suburbs) should have an "s" at the end or not. I haven't seen him in person in over five years, but our inside jokes keep us close.

I have the most inside jokes with my husband, hands down. I keep lists of our jokes and will look back on them sometimes and laugh all over again. He totally gets my sense of humor and knows how to make me laugh so hard that I can't even see straight. I'll admit that I can make him laugh too, but he's just the master of comedy in our house. He always tells me that he could only be a comedian if I were cloned many times to make up an entire audience. A lot of our inside jokes come from our favorite shows and movies. He also does great imitations. No one would be able to make sense of most of the stuff we joke about. Sometimes we'll have inside jokes with our kids and they love laughing with us. One of my recent favorites is when I put a picture of the Fonz on a bottle of lotion because the brand was related to a pyramid scheme, which we equated with a Ponzi scheme....and Fonzie rhymes with Ponzi. It took him almost a day to notice the lotion bottle and then he posted on Facebook about it instead of saying something to me first.

I've started to form inside jokes with some of the friends I've made since I moved to Maryland, as well as some I met through my book blog. It's cool to know that there are some people who just "get" me without ever having met me in person or even having known me a long time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

You win some, you lose some....

I recently entered my first fiction writing contest (well, at least since high school, even though those were entered for me by my amazing creative writing teacher). I didn't win, but I'm not disappointed about it. The winning story was really good! I'm glad I had the opportunity to compete and that Every Free Chance Books allowed me to share my story here now that the contest is done.  (I wasn't sure if it would become their property whether I won or lost.) I want to thank Samantha Stroh Bailey for helping me with editing and for her support and encouragement!

Keep in mind I had to write this in 1000 words or less. Not so easy....

Side note: I did win a caption contest on Facebook recently and got a $10 Amazon gift card. It was a picture of an empty toilet paper roll and a full toilet paper roll right next to each other on the same holder and I said "This is how we roll." I apparently made the author who was running this contest giggle...a lot.

The Destiny Do-Over

“And you're Mary Tyler Moore. I don't care what they say about us anyway. I don't care…”
I reach out to whack my snooze button and notice that my clock radio isn’t where I normally put it. I somehow manage to whack someone in the face instead, as I hear a stream of expletives behind me. Except the voice doesn’t belong to Dan, my boyfriend of two years. And my room looks like it has thrown up a 1990s shrine, complete with Backstreet Boys and Friends posters.
“Okay, if this is some sort of surprise fortieth birthday prank, it’s not funny!”
“Aren’t you aging yourself a bit there, Jackie? You just turned twenty-one.”
The voice sounds familiar, and not necessarily one I want to hear first thing in the morning. Especially since it belongs to Bryan, my ex-boyfriend from college. Either I got really drunk on my last night of my 30s or I’m having a nightmare that I just can’t seem to snap out of. I squeeze my eyes shut and roll over, hoping that when I open them again, it will be March 11th, 2014.
I slowly open them. Chandler, Monica, and the gang are still looming over me from their spot on my ceiling. And now “Wonderful” by Adam Ant is playing on the clock radio that I still have yet to locate. “Did I tell you that I was wrong? I was wrong…”
As I look around my dorm room from junior year of college in 1995, I can feel my heart racing and I suddenly have trouble breathing. There’s no way this could be happening. No way. As I try to regain composure, I brush some stray hairs off my face, noticing that they’re much longer than the sleek brunette bob I recently got used to.
“Deep breaths, Jackie. You didn’t miss your Business 201 exam. You still have a few hours to study. That’s what’s wrong, right?”
“That’s far from what’s wrong at this moment. I’m supposed to be at work. And you’re not supposed to be here.”
“Slow down. What are you talking about? You signed me in last night when you were too drunk to get back up to your room alone.”
“I know this is going to sound absolutely insane but humor me for a moment. Today is my fortieth birthday and last night I was celebrating with my boyfriend, who I’m sorry to say is not you. When I went to bed, it was 2014, but now I’m somehow supposed to believe that it’s 1995. And that I’m twenty-one again. I don’t even have my iPhone here to prove that it’s true.”
“Is that like a phone you use with your eyes?”
“No. It’s half the size of what you would call a cell phone and you can do e-mail, surf the web, text, take and post pictures, Tweet…”
“Tweet? Text?” Bryan scratches his shoulder length blond hair, reminding me of how much I used to like running my fingers through it. I quickly snap out of my daze.
 “Look, I don’t have time for this. I need to find a way back.”
“A way back to what? Is there a secret time portal in your closet?”
It suddenly hits me that I gave up on my plans for the future to follow Bryan to Los Angeles so that he could follow his dream of writing the next big Hollywood film. And when he achieved that dream, he tossed me aside like the crumpled up scripts that made their home on the floor of his dorm. Something inside me snaps this time. I’m not going to live that life again. If I want to live in L.A., it would be on my own terms and I’d have a successful career to show for it. Who knows if it will lead to meeting Dan this time around, but if we’re meant to be together, we’ll somehow find each other. All I know is that I’m breaking up with Bryan now, before I waste my life on him again.
“Bryan, I can’t go out with you anymore.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Absolutely….not.  I have plans for my life and can’t waste them to focus on your big goal. Find another girl to follow you while you find yourself. I’m done.”
“Look, I have to run to class. Why don’t you sleep off your hangover and when I get back, we’ll talk about this.”
“There’s nothing more to talk about,” I say as he shuts the door behind him, a little too aggressively.
 I curl up in my bed, content in my decision, and doze off while “Zombie” by The Cranberries plays softly on my radio.
*****
“You're my end and my beginning, even when I lose, I'm winning…”
As I hit the snooze button, the smell of pancakes and coffee drifts into my room. It actually makes me feel slightly ill. I must have had more to drink than I thought.  I reach for my iPhone to check the date and to my relief, it says March 11, 2014.
“Happy birthday, sweetie!”
I turn to the voice that doesn’t sound anything like Dan and discover, to my complete shock, that Bryan is still here. But he’s an older, even more attractive version.  And he’s holding a tray with pancakes, hazelnut coffee, and a small bouquet of roses.
“How…how did you…how are we…”
“I’m guessing that when you had your weird time travel freak-out and decided to break up with me, I did some thinking.  So here we are…you, the hotel magnate and me, the Oscar nominated screenwriter. Now get yourself ready for work and then prepare to be wined and dined tonight!”

Either 1995 or the other version of 2014 was a dream, but after looking at my slightly rounded belly and feeling another wave of nausea come over me, I realize there’s no more going back.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Six degrees of Merrylandgirl

Sometimes I only get the chance to blog once a week. And since I can't always get up the motivation to think of a topic, it's nice to have other friends to blog with so we can take turns. I enjoy being challenged to write about stuff that might not normally come to mind and also reading everyone else's thoughts on the same topic. Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about a year now, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week I chose the topic: Tell us about a time you were "set up" for a friendship with someone. Or a time you matched two friends together. (Or both.) Please keep it to "in person" friendships only since it's way too easy to connect people online these days.

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic:
Darwin Shrugged
Froggie
Moma Rock

My friend Denise (different from Darwin Shrugged) changed the name of the famous Kevin Bacon game so that it applies to me instead. This is because she claims I know everyone. I don't think I know everyone, but I happened to bring a lot of friends together at once. After I graduated from college, I decided to bring some of my friends together because I felt they would be a good fit. I had some friends from college who lived nearby and could easily hang out with some of my friends from high school. Back in 2001, Kris (from HS) reunited me with Lauri and Denise. (They later reunited me with Dawn.) Around that time, Kris, Lauri, and I started bowling together and I invited Jenny (from college) to join our team. From that point on, she started hanging out with us more often, even though we had different circles of friends in college (for the most part...she introduced me to some friends with whom I am still in contact, as well). I also remember seeing Little Shop of Horrors at a community theater with Cari, Rob (both from college), along with Kris and Lauri. I think this is the first time I had seen Lauri in forever and thus Cari and Rob's first time meeting her too. They all hit it off though. Soon enough, we had this group of my friends from both high school and college. I was really the link between both groups or they never would have met. At some point down the road, Denise became close with Betsy and Jenny. I especially love her friendship with Jenny. I mainly see them interact through Facebook, but they also take all these fun pictures together and I just know that they're good for each other. If I lived closer, I'd be hanging out with them way more often. Nowadays, I'd introduce one of my closest friends in my neighborhood (along with her husband) to this group of friends, as I feel they'd also get along well with them. Their personalities would blend in well.

Just because I like bringing friends together doesn't mean that I am excluded from being matched with friends too. One of my favorite friend matchmaking efforts was from my mom. She introduced me to Sheila, who worked with her at the time. We are the same age and my mom thought Sheila was really friendly. I think I came with her to the office once so she could introduce us. From there, we would get together for dinner sometimes and eventually started hanging out more often. I find it ironic that the one friend my mom introduced me to was the first person to buy me a drink when I turned 21. We also danced together on top of a bar at Boogie Nights (an 80s dance club). She even took me to my first gay club (a few weeks prior to going with "Will" for his 21st birthday.) Sheila has always been really easy to talk with and I've enjoyed her company when we got together. We've since both have outgrown our "party girl" ways and are now moms of three kids each. When I was in town back in 2012, we got together and I got to meet her first two boys while she got to meet my daughter. It was great to see her again and I hope we'll be able to get together the next time I'm back in town for a visit. I'm definitely thankful that my mom thought to introduce us!

I'm always glad to connect friends with each other if I feel they would be a good match (for friendship, that is). In turn, I'm open to making new friends, so if you think I'd get along really well with someone, please don't hesitate to make an introduction.