Sunday, May 19, 2013

365 Challenge

Jennifer: Ok, A couple of months ago I bought myself a half way decent DSLR camera so that I could unlock my creative artistry that supposedly exists within us all. The camera is pretty neat, and I find myself enjoying taking pictures. So as a way to keep up with the pictures taking, my instructor suggested I participate in a 365 picture challenge. A picture a day of just the ordinary and the non ordinary...just a means to forcing me to pick up the camera each day. So I'm going to commit to posting pictures on her so that I can keep track. Besides, this blog is not being used for any thing else.:)


Flower in grandmother's yard

The view on my way to office, everyday


Neat statue on bike path on the way to Old Town Alexandria

Saturday, April 6, 2013

It's Spring!

Holly: I can't tell you how excited I get each year to say hello to Spring! It's the rebirth of the earth, a sign of new beginnings and most pressing, marks the time that you can't hide behind the wool sweaters; thus time to get back to the gym.  Anywho, the change of seasons (I really consider this the new year) had me thinking: how many of our Winter associates/friends get "renewed" for the new season?  There's that saying that we all know...but do we practice this without even knowing?  There's a couple of folks that I likely won't hear from or reach out too until the next time I'm stuck sitting around the house eating soup and watching TV.  Does that file me in that category of "non a good friend" or just a cyclical associate?  I'd like to think the later.

Now that its Spring, I'm looking to take the indoor activities to the outside (child and all strapped to back); so for me, Spring time transitions my communication from texting emoticons to actually having face to face time with others, where they can see my actually smiling face.  Wine festival season is upon us, outside concerts and oh yeah, that every year struggle of becoming a distant runner.  Goodbye trash tv (ok, just some, who am I kidding RHOOC just started), and hello green grass.  Goodbye fun and friendly trash talking associates/friends that I haven't physically seen in a year, and hello to those new folks that pop out of the woodwork looking to add me to their "jazz in the garden" summer series!

Jennifer: I know Spring started officially on March 21st, but we all know Spring means more than a date on the calendar. I'm personally waiting for the pastel colors of cute skirts and cardigans to finally sprinkle the landscape of outdoor cafes and parks. Where the excuse of it's too cold to get out of bed to go to gym is countered by warm air and the need to shed the extra layer of winter fat. People are excited for the warm air and ready to show some skin as witnessed by people wearing shorts and rocking flip flops while it's still only mid-40s.

I think it's typical human behavior to "hibernate" during the winter, become a recluse and have your name called only by the Chinese food delivery man as he compares your name to the credit card receipt. During this hibernation period, its hard to keep up with friends as everyone is hard pressed to leave the warmth of their temperature controlled homes. Life changing events like weddings, baby showers and events with free alcohol being the only things that could pull me out this winter to see friends. Spring makes everything look attractive and easier to accommodate. Friends seem more charming and attractive in the warmth of May or June than the harsh lighting and cold of January and February. I can't say that I don't think of my friends or talk to them during the winter, but agree with Holly in that face to face contacts are more of a surety in the upper 60s and 70s. The literally translation of fair weather friend may apply.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Group friendships....worth it?

Jennifer:

New Year, new blog....ok, granted it's March and the New Year was two whole months ago. The blog still lives though I feel our posts are kinda of like a spotted owl sightings. We were inspired to write as we spent the past weekend up at Deep Creek Lake, MD with a group of women who have known each other for sixteen years. They met in college and through the years have created a cohesive group that have been able to survive the superficial petty things that sometimes end relationships and have managed to forge a tight true bond of sisterhood.

So how did they do it? Is there a secret formula only available by years of meditation and training in the mountains of Tibet? Hmm..I don't think so. From my observations, this weekend I would say that the reason that this group has survived while other groups of friends fall apart is that appear to genuinely like each other and make an effort to be present for each other. They were very open with each other about personal issues that they are facing. this group of trust strengthening itself from the inside each time a person opens up and reveals a part of themselves. Like most groups of friends there are stronger players who are the "hubs" of the groups, the people that other members of the group go to first for support. The Carrie Bradshaws of the groups if you will. Without those key members, it is next to impossible for a group to survive even if there is  love there.
The other part of me kind of feels that I'm not a large group person. I like my loosely interconnected groups of friends whose only connection is me. It allows me to pick and chose depending on my mood and activity....specialization in friends if you will.  Large groups can be draining and takes a lot of effort. And for me personally, I like taking the easy route.

Holly:

Is is true, are we really back writing?  Yep, inspired by a girls getaway weekend, Jenn and I rekindled our co-dependency, within a larger group and made us remember that we still are passionate about a few things in life: us. and other women's relationships (not necessarily in that order of course). Don't get me wrong, I'm mostly a glass half full kinda girl, but when it comes to large group long term dynamics of women, I'm often skeptical...does it really work?  Can you really be a "best friend group", or even a "good friend group?".  This past weekend tested my theories.

16 years of friendship, started by a "thrown together" group of a sorority (which Jenn and I also belong so definitely no knock on sisterhoods); various personalities, but the common theme is that not only did they respect each other, from all appearances (which I think cooped in a house together without cable or other distractions allows you to see the "real" nature of others), seemed to enjoy each others company. This was the first time I had placed myself in an environment of being the "guest", and I enjoyed their company too.   It was apparent that there are sub-groups of larger group, but definitely doesn't enter the realm of falling into dangerous cliques.  What can I say, sometimes the magic just is there and works.

Other times though it just doesn't; and I think that's OK too.  On the Myers Brigg spectrum of a whole lot of letters, mine always begins with an E...supposedly that's for extroverts.  I am supposed to draw my energy from others and enjoy the social nature of it all...truth be told, it drains me too.  Maybe its because I have yet to find that group that is totally OK with who I am, and I when I don't feel like being Mary-Sunshine, no judgement is passed?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Forgiveness--How to move on.

Today's topic: Forgiveness

Holly:


I'm all new age these days (ok not new age, just slightly cable obsessed), and been following Oprah's Soulful Sunday's on OWN. Lots of warm fuzzy, deep thought, occasional Ah-ha moments that we love Oprah for, and even more one-liners I like to text Jenn and take into my week. This week something touched on forgiveness. Forgiving others that may or may not have even asked for it. How many times have you or should you have to forgive a friend? Or does by nature of calling someone your friend, there's an unlimited pass...as your love for them is unconditional? (Insert bible story here, but I'm not well versed enough to do it myself) I can't decide where I land on this issue. I wholeheartedly want to believe that I love without condition? But I also believe at some point you have remove yourself from habitual situations/people? Yeah, I'm still very gray on this one...

I believe in the power of forgiveness, especially understanding that forgiveness in no way has to equate to forgetting. I also believe in forgiving when it hasn't been asked of you. What I've come to learn is that the power of forgiveness is allowing yourself to be free of the headache and occasional heartache that someone caused around you. (Thank you Oprah Lifeclass). People will disappoint you, by nature of just being human. I'm confident I've done my share of disappointing others, and maybe some of those folks still consider me a friend?

I've had limited occasions where friends that have done really foul things that violated the unspoken code of girlfriends. I can't say that I'm still friends with at all. (Old Holly)

I've have a  friend that continues the same pattern of unspoken code violations. I hate the act, I love the person. We're still friends, because I love her. (New Holly)

Please forgive me for being human, yet give yourself permission not to forget the experience(s) that got us there. (Holly's new mantra)


Jennifer: 

 For me, the ability to forgive a person wholly relies on the depth of the relationship you have with that particular person. Of course, there are unforgivable things and for me they are the things that align with the Ten Commandants. The good Lifetime movie favs... murder, adultery, coveting stuff, etc.  My feeling is why not forgive. It makes you stronger than the person and the situation.  

The spirit of giving and loving a person, aligns with forgiveness. If you truly love a person, you can forgive them of anything. You may not forget, but you can forgive. The inability to forgive is a litmus on the depth of feeling that existed in the relationship to start. If we are close, close to the point where we are inextricable part of each other than forgiveness should be natural. The alternative is to remove a person so entwined to your own being, which would be impossible without causing permanent damage to both sides. Forgiveness makes such damage unnecessary. It prevents you from coloring future situations or events with the same residual anger from prior slights.

For me, personally and fortunately, there have been no unforgivable acts. I have issues with family members and myself (personal forgiveness, is harder) that I'm working on, but I know that  at the end of the day to forgive is to find peace. Not being able to forgive is to hold onto an anger that will wear you down. My peace of mind and heart far outweighs holding onto resentment of another person.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Friend List

Holly:


Ha, remember us? Yep, it's that time of year again...time to make the pre-new year resolution that we will do better on our blog. (We hear you Germany, we LOVE you too!) Just like prior break, Jenn and I continue to basically blog via text (yes, still rocking the unlimited plan, and we could be a big reason AT&T placed a limit on data); its time to get off of text and back to blogging.


So, its post election day-AWESOME. For many reasons with the primary being, there's no more dayum political adds interfering with my trash TV and free Pandora listening.

While its been a few months, and many things have changed, the core has remained the same. Friends are damn hard to come by...for me. Jennifer has a plethora of good friends she proudly claims. But we've decided we need another one of "us"; like that third or fourth person to balance out our energy. I'm big on lists, and here's my wish list in no particular order, of course

1) Good sense of humor-can laugh at themselves as much as they can laugh at others

2) Attractive-not that I'm looking for a girlfriend in the traditional sense, but c'mon, lets be honest, friends take pictures together (filed under most vain)

3) Flexible-this goes a long way in all areas, just someone who's not so structured and rigid, that's the total opposite of me

4) Grounded-If you have all the above qualities, its easy to think you're awesome; looking for a friend that allows room for others to tell them how awesome they really are

5) Smart- formal education is important, preference given to anyone who's attended ACC football undergrad, it makes for better fall football season. And maybe, just maybe if we found this person, we'd actually make a roadtrip to a game.

Jennifer:

We do not have a great track record of being consistent through this thing. Rest assured though gentle reader,  like Holly said we are still logging on average about 30+ texts per day, a couple of phone calls a week and minimum of one face to face per week(which is very important so that I can see my godson). In a world of inconsistencies and uncertainties, my daily text exchange with Holly is the one thing I can and do count on.

I think I have good friends, some just friends, and then some people who I have friendly associations.  I will say that I'm definitely a lot quicker to give a person the title of friend than Holly. And for the most part, I'm okay with it.

There was just a segment on the Today Show just the other day on how today's Americans are actually short on friends. We are not fully rounded out in terms of having multiple friends.  It's great to have that one great relationship, but what if that one person is busy or has other things going on does that mean that your life should be put on hold. Heck, no! (Future blog topic: Can you cheat on a friend?) That's why I personally feel, along with research shows, that having multiple friends makes you a more well rounded socially active person. Now to find a person, who matches in with your established group dynamic....that's another thing...like winning lottery, getting struck by lightening and marrying after 40 all in the same week. It's the difference between having a meshed circle group, a la "Friends," (or Martin, depending on your ethnicity or television preference) or interconnected points with no connection outside of you(credit: Holly). I'm part of a couple of difference points, but no real circle, which can make for a lot of awkward interactions and personality clashes.

If Holly and I are successful in creating a group of friends...women and men then future activities would be a breeze to plan. No going through a list of points of friends to think who we can and can not have on certain outings. My ideal third person to this group would be someone like Aisha Tyler...she's cute, smart, funny and doesn't seem to take herself to seriously. I like a person who can be silly, but can also discuss the latest 'Through the Wormhole" episode. I'm more of a chemistry person....you got the right chemistry then everything else will fall into place.

Wow...that was a long post...see, I really do need this outlet.




Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Close Encounter of the Ex-kind




Jennifer: There is definitely a weirdness that comes from running across someone you use to date. The quick inventory you take of yourself, " Does my hair look good?" "Do these clothes make me look fat?" "Why didn't I put makeup on before leaving the house?" You pray hope that you look better than they do and that they don't have some tall, thin 20-something on their arm, while you are standing there wondering if that spinach dip you had for lunch is still in your teeth. It's the game of one-upness....you want to be "one up" on the ex-. It's an unsaid competition. It's not just you, your ex is most certainly running through the same checklist in his head. Even if you broke up with them, you still want them to want you. I don't care what anyone says, you may want them to be happy, but you also want them to still pine after you (a little, nostalgia, not full on stalker-mode) or have more than a twinge of regret they let you go.

The last run in I had with someone I dated was last year. I was working with a group of kids and ran across a guy I dated for a couple of months. In our dating, I drifted off from him, becoming less and less available, until completely stopped taking his calls. Not very mature, I admit, but still super effective.  The day, I ran across him, I wasn't looking my complete best (hard to believe, yes, I know).  Yet in this encounter, I was in the "power position", because I ended the relationship. He was alone, no Harvard graduate/model on his arm, and after an awkwardly long hug, I pulled away. We exchanged pleasantries...work, family, life in general.  Even though, I was in the technical power position, I felt awkward and wanted to get away.  He was a sweet guy, just not the right guy. He gave me his card and asked me to give him a call. I didn't.  For me regardless on what side you are on (the dumper or dumpee), its' always weird to see someone who's seen you naked. Universal law.

Holly: What is the statute of limitations on ex's and weirdness? Like, when do you really stop caring what you look like if you ran into him?  In random occurances, I was in Orlando, FL for work a few weeks ago and mingling in my usual spot: the lobby bar.  Sidenote: this time, as a married woman with child, I was just hanging out with co-workers at the bar.  Since I was there for a larger meeting, there were hundreds of people there, many of whom I've never met, so running into strangers was a high probability.  However, I looked to my left, and there he was...this kid who I haven't seen in 19 years! (you know, since pre-school).  I'm not sure if due to timeline it's valid to call him and ex, I mean honestly, I was a freshman in high school and he was a graduating senior when we were close friends; hadn't seen him since then.  In an odd, out of normal, behavior for me, I approached him and totally didn't care what I looked like, didn't check out a mirror to make sure broccoli wasn't in my teeth, or my lips stained purple from wine.  Maybe it was overconfindence in looking at him sitting alone at a bar with a glass of hard-liquor?  Maybe it was was overconfidence of knowing that no matter what he thought, the past 19 years since our last encounter, life has treated me well?  Or maybe it was because it's been 19 years and who in the world really remembers anyone for that long?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ok, let's try that again

Jennifer: Ok, I didn't have the heart to pull the plug on Pearls of Amicus. Sounds corny, but I kinda of felt like closing the blog would have been closing a part of Holly and I's friendship. Granted our friendship existed before the blog and sure, it wouldn't have disppeared with the delete of a button. Nevertheless, this blog has been a definite outlet for us to discuss issues that have affected us and other friends of ours...for better or for worse.  So here we go bringing you back to regular programming....definitely not at the top of the Nielsen ratings, but looking to be around for a while longer.

Where to start..in the last couple of months not too much has changed. Keeping busy, with work and trying to maintain a social calendar so as not to become a cat lady sans cat...due to cat allergy and apartment pet policy. I've joined a softball league with some co-workers and have discovered that in softball years 36 is old. After the last practice, I found myself sprawled on the couch with bag of frozen corn on my shoulder, and peas on my knees. I was tempted to use the leftover Oxycontin from my surgery last year, but decided that it wasn't wise as my health insurance wouldn't pop for a really nice rehab facility. So went to the back up and took three Tylenol PMs with my Snapple and fell into a restful sleep that was undisturbed until 7 the next morning. That's kind of my life now...work and home, spotted with random social events.

As always, new friend issues and situations come up and hope to address here on this blog. It seems like almost everyday something pops up in that fits into the friend-relationship arena. So instead of my usual of just texting Holly while I should be working, I will attempt to regularly write here. I think due to our schedules sometimes I will write, sometimes Holly will write, and sometimes we will both write.

All in the name of progress, and being somewhat timely with posts.




Holly:  Wow, it's been so long (too long) since I've logged on to write a post, that Blogger system changed.  Yep, that's just embarassing.  I'm so glad we renewed, it's the very least we could do.  I mean afterall, we still blog...but I believe in real life time, people call it texting.  Yes, that right...still keeping my unlimited plan, as Jenn and I continue to text back and forth a zillion times a day, from light humor topics to downright arguments.  How many of you can say you've solved a problem via text?!?

I think of this renewal of the blog similar to renewing our vows of friendship.  Not in a weird "friend contract" kind of way; yet more in a we decided we would do this together, so let's see it through-kind of way.  Since there's probably a lack of applause thats occuring with this announcement, I'll take the time and say "WELCOME BACK GIRLS OF PEARLS!"

The past few days, er, weeks, er, months?!? has brought on a lot the same and a lot of changes.  We must introduce you to our new life as we know it, Holly as a mom and Jenn as a reluctant diaper changing auntie.  Fun times, ahead.  I promise.