Update on Summer Friendship Endeavors


Summer so far has been a whirlwind of family visits, hectic finals, and frantic attempts to fit time for friends in between work, travel, house projects (we built a pergola!), and my efforts to remember how to cook (buy food, prep food, cook food? Who has time for that?!)…

Progress on the (Ohio) Friendship Meter has been slow, as much due to my schedule as to those of my friends, but the season has not been wholly unproductive in terms of the Friends Forever Friendship Endeavor.

Counting the Blessings in Life

There are never enough minutes in the day (or days in the weekend!) to get as much done as I would like. I am a miserable Facebook contact, I seem to have forgotten what phone calls are, and I still haven’t sent my thank-you notes from Christmas (so snail mail communication is pretty much out of the running for keeping in touch). Regardless, I have had some wonderful developments this year in the world of friendship.

I have also read that counting your blessings can improve your outlook on life and even keep you healthier. So instead of whining about how I never get to do as many social activities as I would like or moaning about how modern life is too busy to allow new friendship bonds to form, I would like to count my friendship blessings from the last month or two.by BrianHolm, http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Meat_g88-Grilling_Steak_On_BBQ_p87171.html

  1. Close friends from AZ visited for several days in June; we laughed, we played Scattergories, we drank craft beer. Who could ask for more?
  2. Another AZ acquaintance of mine (high school friend of my hubby’s) got a summer internship in the area, and I will benefit from her limited local social network by being able to show her around town. In fact, I can use her visit as an excuse to see more of the city myself, since I’m still pretty new!
  3. Wedding bells, they are a-ringin’. Three friends tie the knot this summer. The wedding we already attended allowed us to explore Lake Geneva, WI with some great buddies from AZ, while celebrating the union of two other great buddies from AZ! The two weddings to come will be a nice reminder that the FFFE has been successful enough to earn me an invite to a very important day for two new friends. I suppose that is proof-positive of progress on the Friendship Meter.
  4. We bought a grill. I am aware that this is not a friendship blessing on its face, but so far we have used it as an excuse to BBQ with the neighbors and a few school friends, and even hosted a get-together for the 4th of July. Oh, sweet grilled meat and corn, to you do we owe our summer friendship successes.

And so, it is with a grateful heart that I report these few, but special, events in the Friendship Endeavor’s summer session. The final phase of the year-long endeavor has gotten off to a pretty decent start.

June, July, and August will complete the year’s endeavor, so I will draft up the plans and get them out ASAP. Things are looking up, and I don’t see why the FFFE shouldn’t continue on indefinitely!

Fun Summer Activities to Do with Friends


Looking for something fun to do this summer? Make a “Summer Bucket List” of sorts and see how many items you can cross off by the time Fall rolls around!

Summer photo from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

On my Summer Friendship Activity List (June-August Friendship Plans!):

  1. Check out a live outdoor concert
  2. Buy yummy produce at a farmer’s market
  3. Take a nature walk/hike/bike (maybe all three!)
  4. Throw a BBQ Bash (with veggies from the garden!)
  5. Make some jam/pie/salsa with fruit from my peach tree
  6. Celebrate a wedding (hooray!)  :)

That should be good for starters…I’m not even sure how many of my friends are staying in town for the summer. The weather has been great, and the season promises a host of great outdoor activities that I’m willing to try – summer should be the time for friendship fun!

What are your plans for summer activities with friends? 

Guest Post: The Importance of Healthy Eating for Cancer Patients


I am pleased to introduce FFFE’s first guest blogger, Jillian McKee. Her fabulous post reminds us how important it is to hold onto (or start building!) healthy eating habits when cancer rears its ugly head.

Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.

As an addition to the great information below, social support can also be crucial for cancer survival. In a study of women diagnosed with breast cancer, those with higher social support ratings were significantly more likely to recover and less likely to have a recurrence of the disease. One more great reason to find and keep some Forever Friends

Here’s Jillian!:

When you are diagnosed with cancer, it can be a life-changing experience that affects many different aspects of your routine. During cancer treatment, there are a number of things that you can do to improve your chances of beating the disease and living a healthy life. Eating healthy is one of the most important things that you can do in this situation. Why exactly is eating healthy important when you are diagnosed with cancer?

Healthy Food photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.netImprove Quality of Life

Eating healthy will not necessarily cure your cancer, but it will improve your quality of life. Many people who are going through cancer treatment lose weight, and feel very weak throughout the process. This often leads to discouragement and a negative attitude for the patient. If you take the time to eat a diet full of healthy foods, you will generally feel better. Going to your treatment may not seem so bad when you have a good attitude. Eating the right foods can make you feel better and keep your treatment up.

Boost Your Energy

One of the problems that many cancer patients have to deal with is a lack of energy. They don’t feel up to doing a whole lot of anything. If you make a conscious effort to eat healthy, you’ll be able to improve your energy levels and do more with your time. People who eat right are able to enjoy lifestyles that aren’t that much different than they were before. When you have more going on in your life, you have more to live for, and you can fight the cancer harder.

Avoid Malnutrition

Most cancer treatments can be very hard on your body. If you don’t eat the right types of foods, you may eventually suffer from malnutrition. When you suffer from malnutrition, your cancer treatment may lead to a number of problems. Many who are going through cancer treatment have weakened immune systems. If you have a weakened immune system and you are suffering from malnutrition, it will be very easy for you to get sick. By eating healthy foods, you may be able to avoid sickness and improve your chances of survival. For example, the mesothelioma survival rate is much higher with people who eat right because it reduces the risk of other complications.

Overall, there are a number of benefits that come with eating a healthy diet when you are a cancer patient.  Eating right could be the difference between losing the fight and ultimately beating the disease.

Ideas for Finding Time for Friends


If any theme exists in this blog, it is likely that of too little time – too little time for meeting new people, too little time for trying new things, too little time for blogging!

In an effort to find more time in the day, I rounded up these time-saving strategies.  Enjoy!

by HealingDream

Ways to Save Time During the Day

1. Learn to focus. Stop multi-tasking or leaving yourself open to distractions when you are working on something important; concentrating on what you are doing cuts down on time spent getting into and out of your activity. Reducing start-up time means you start and finish without delaying yourself for unimportant activities, and have the chance to accomplish more in less time.

2. Make technology time count. Don’t mindlessly browse the Internet, slow your progress with school work by half-listening to the TV, or text non-stop while you try to get something (anything) done – back to the multi-tasking idea. If you are going to use technology, use it for what you planned to do and only that – checking out one site or status update after another ends up equaling a whole lot of wasted time.

3. Learn to say “No.” Being overcommitted and never saying “no” to offers and requests fills your time quickly and unnecessarily. Prioritize and only agree to participate, volunteer, or step up to the plate when you can realistically accomplish the task without stressing you or overwhelming your schedule.

4. Delegate. Whether at work or at home, don’t feel like you have all the responsibility. Make the kids wash the dishes, ask the hubby to take out the trash, and don’t do unnecessary work at the office. Above all, don’t do others’ work for them – if it is someone else’s job to print reports or answer the phone, don’t make a habit of picking up the task for them.

5. Prioritize your activities. If you can’t convince yourself that drinks with friends is worth another day of an un-mopped floor or that lingering over dinner is more important than hand-washing the stemware, then don’t complain about having no time for friends!  Sometimes a healthy response to a houseful of clutter is to leave it while you go dancing – after all, it’s not going anywhere, so it can wait!

6. Stop procrastinating. No excuses, no delays. If you can get it done now, do it. This especially goes for quick tasks – save yourself from adding them to your to-do lists the next five days by just crossing it off right now. Breathe easy with a new sense of accomplishment and all of your extra time!

The Friendship Meter Beyond FFFE


So I was doing some review of my site to find out how on earth I ended up getting ANYBODY checking out my blog, and it turns out quite a few of my visitors come for the term “friendship meter.”

As it turns out, mine is not the only one (and probably not the most interesting one, either!).

There’s an App for That

Apparently, Facebook has a friendship meter to help you keep track of who posts on your wall or interacts with you on Facebook the most. Doubtless, this will be an infallible guide to who your most intimate friends are.

Friendship Information from Tarot Cards

If Facebook isn’t a trustworthy enough guide for who matters to you, perhaps the stars can provide the answer. Astrological predictions for who your true friends are can be used on a variety of websites and are invaluable to those who want a neat horoscope-based read about compatibility.

Online Games and Friendship Meters

The Sims fans among you will also be familiar with friendship meters – aka Sims Social – for computer games that measure who you associate with online and how friendly your characters are with each other.

The Friends Forever Friendship Endeavor’s Friendship Meter

Perhaps bland in comparison, the FFFE’s Friendship Meter tracks me on my journey toward finding and keeping friends of the lifelong quality. If it had a visual representation, it would look like a fundraising thermometer, but with all of the measurements in single digits! Perhaps like this:

I am sorry to say, it certainly would not look like this!:

Making lots of friends!

So alas, if you have come in search of one of the other friendship meters, I am sorry to have to direct you elsewhere. My Friendship Meter comes from the world of Microsoft ClipArt Galleries.  But I’m happy with it all the same!

Coffees and Parties and Lunches, Oh My!


I was on a roll for a bit, with hosting two parties in two weeks (one was the ladies night of wine and chatting, and then we hosted a party for my husband’s law school classmates, a few of whom have some potential for the FFFE as well. The only problem there will be how to get them to hang out when they ever have any time!

In addition to the parties, I was grabbing Sunday coffees, doing mid-week biostats phone consultations, and generally living it up for a while – effortlessly doing the FFFE thing, living the goal (or trying to) of networking and meeting people on a regular basis and building relationships based on that.

But now what?

Busy, Busy, Busy

Where has my time gone?  Where have the invites gone?  Where has the will gone to keep checking MeetUp.com for a chance to spread my wings a bit?  And again, where has my time gone?  Work, school, an internship, some volunteer work, a house, a husband, and a dog are surely time consuming enough for two people, but before it was working out relatively well…right?

Is it too much to ask to have time for friends and everything else?

Taking Stock of the Friends Forever Friendship Endeavor

How feasible is it to have routine outings with friends when life is so hectic? I feel like this project has helped me adapt to a new city and find friends perhaps more quickly than I otherwise would have. At the same time, however, trying to plan and organize the endeavor of finding and making friends can add stress to an already overwhelming schedule.

So after all of my hemming and hawing, I want to know what you all think about undertaking a concentrated, organized effort to be active in the friendship world. Enter Quiz #1 for the FFFE.

Missed Opportunities for Friendship


To catch you up on the last few weeks, I must report that in the friendship department, things have been going along swimmingly. We’ve done a few dinners and a coffee outing or two, but some of the interactions I’ve had with other students and some of my husband’s friends have led me to consider something rather unpleasant.

Perhaps by focusing on the Friendship Endeavor in the way that I have (searching for female friends almost exclusively), I have missed opportunities for rewarding friendships with men.
In the past, I have found that some of my strongest friendships have been with men; they are generally easy-going, friendly, and often very funny. Unfortunately, a troubling incident based on mistaken understanding by a male friend’s wife led me to be extremely cautious in forming new friendships with men, married or otherwise. I suppose I reasoned that women are the most appropriate and least risky option for friends.

Can Men and Women Be Just Friends?

by photostock
Friendships between men and women seem to be forever at odds with platonic behavior, at least in the media and pop culture. Consider the fact that entire movies are based solely on this issue: think When Harry Met Sally. In spite of the fact that, historically, men and women can’t be “just friends,” I find that some of the friends I have most consistently identified with have been men.

And yet, what did I do upon embarking on my mission for lasting, rewarding friendships? I left men out of the picture! The fact dawned on me when I realized how many of the girls in my classes at the university had become good friends with the guys; they had taken an effort I had entirely neglected.

The full realization of what I had done truly sank in when we started socializing more with some of my husband’s friends from law school – at least half of whom are women.

“Reverse” Sexism: Guilty or Not Guilty?

What had I been thinking? That only women could become my lifelong friends? That it was only safe or appropriate to be open to friendship with women, men be damned? That it wasn’t even worth my effort to develop friendly acquaintances with men because of the potential for awkwardness? Did I have a subconscious idea that spending time developing friendships with men wasn’t going to help me reach my goal of abounding in rich friendships?

In the first two quarters I have been at school, I have perhaps inadvertently snubbed half of the students in the degree program simply because of their gender! What a shame, to think of all the time I wasted fretting over the next girls’ night when I could have been developing equally satisfying friendship with some of the guys in the program.

So I here vow to be prejudiced no more; to not be averse to conversation, jokes, and friendship with men; to not allow the world of pop culture to dictate my relationships; and to not let the past detract from my future.
I want a life full of friendships, and I don’t care what background or gender my friends have. I am determined to renew the Friendship Endeavor with acts of sociability to men and women alike. Maybe I can make up for lost time – if not, there’s always next quarter!

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