Friendly or Not?

To me there are two types of people in the world:

1. People who go out of their way to be friendly to mutual friends/strangers
2. People who aren't friendly to mutual friends/strangers.

Last night I went to a party for my dear friend. I wasn't really looking forward to it because it really is a group of people that I barely know. However, because I love this friend I went. I knew it would mean a lot to her, and I know she would do the same thing for me. And truthfully I had a great time and I'm glad I went. Interestingly when I asked her to introduce me to some of the people I didn't know, I really got the cold shoulder from some. Weird that we have such a good friend, as a mutual friend and all I got from some of these people was a half smile, and a wave. Really? I've heard my friend refer to you many many times. I was actually interested in meeting you - but this cold shoulder thing? Odd. I will say that about 1/2 of the other people there were really great. I found myself wishing that I could maintain friendships with them. Realizing that our mutual friend is moving though makes me realize it really won't happen. Sure I can "friend them" on Facebook and maintain some surface conversation but the odds of a real friendship developing are slim.

I am a mixer. If I want to have a party I have no fear to mix the groups of friends up. While I am sure there are people who won't really mesh I don't care. I figure, we are all adults. You don't have to be friends with those that are like you. You can meet people who may drink if you don't, or have children if you don't, or have tattoos or wild hair. I love a good mix of people. I think it keeps things exciting.

I do have a bit of trepidation and will make sure I ask certain friends to sit next to someone who may be new. I also cringe when the new people get put next to my "not so friendly" friends. In the end though I hope it all works out. I know that at any party or gathering that I throw, some of my friends will go out of their way to befriend the people they don't know. I also know that some of my friends will only go so far as to introduce themselves to people they don't know and will leave it at that. Actually, I take that back. They will only learn the other friend's name if I introduce them. Smiling and saying hello does not make you friendly. Taking time to sit by a person and ask a little about them makes you friendly.

I never really thought much about this until I moved to Boise. I was surprised at how friendly most of the people there were. It was shocking that people seemed genuinly interested in me. I got used to being the "new girl" at events. Being new in a group is never easy. Trying to find a group of friends in a new place is hard. In Boise, I remember being invited to bunco with 15 girls I didn't know and was terrified. I had to go because I was desperate for friends but I was shaking when I rang the doorbell. Yet there were a handful of girls that made me feel totally at home. There were girls that I really wanted to be friends with. Of course there were a couple of girls who seemed annoyed that some stranger was infringing upon their night. Again, two types of people.

I haven't always been the one to reach out and get to know people but being in my new job at KUER I am forced to. It's my job to get to know our members and donors. In fact, I'm leaving in about 30 minutes to take off to an event where I won't know anyone. I'll make my way around the room, introduce myself and learn as much as I can about the 30 people there. It's awkward for sure. In fact, I am not necessarily looking forward to it. Yet I do know that after tonight, when I see these donors again, I will be excited. They'll remember me, I'll remember something interesting about them and we'll be comfortable together. Plus when I send them an email or ask them to renew their donation, I'll be fine doing it because I know them.

My grandma is amazingly good at befriending people. Actually I take that back, she is the queen conversationalist. I love that my grandma can say, "How are Britney & Sean liking their new house?" or "Is Sarah's husband still in Afghanistan?" I love that she knows them after meeting them just once or twice. She knows them because then she asks me about them and I fill her in. She is always interested in my life and friends. I want to be more like her. I have watched her and learned that to be a good conversationalist you ask a lot of questions.

You learn what you can about people. I often find myself talking ALOT about me and not asking enough questions about the people I am with. I try and stop and turn the tables when I do this. You guys know how awkward it is to go to lunch with an old friend when all they do is talk about their life, house, husband, kids and then you leave and realize "Wow, they didn't ask one thing about me or my life." It's kind of insulting.

That's my two types of people theory. I hope to continue to get better at this and to learn about new people that cross my path. I don't want to be the "cold shoulder" friend at a party. I want to be the "oh Becky was really cool. I liked her" girl.

May 12th, 2011

Here we are again, my 12X12 for May. While this may not be an exciting blog post, I think this will be a really fun thing to look back on in a few years. So I am excited about that at least!

1. Yard work! We decided to hire a guy to help fix up our yard. It's coming along although Seth has had to redo about 1/2 of the work.

2. Biking day! I rode 20 miles tonight. 80 more to go and I have my century ride. Ugh...

3. I love Spring. I love biking in the spring because I get to ride through sites like this!

4. Old Make-A-Wish friends. It was so good to see these cute girls!

5. I rode to Make-A-Wish to hear about their new Urban Challenge event. I miss that place. I hope the ghost children were happy to see me. Even if I was in spandex.

6. More views from my bike ride. I couldn't get enough!

7. Krachel & Lex, who is getting so big. Love them.

8. Yes I wear a shower cap sometimes. And yes it is a panda bear.

9. Thursday = Costa Vida day at KUER. And by KUER I mean "Nastaran and I"

10. I bought these adorable file folders. Sometimes a girl needs something that isn't "manilla"

11. Me recording a spot for the radio. I am still not used to hearing myself on the radio while driving home, sitting in my office, etc.

12. Today was a big day. Today will go down in infamy as the day that I demoted Johnny to my #2 spot. Welcome boyfriend Jon Hamm to #1.

Momma Mia!

It seems that every blog post lately comes to me in the late hours of the night. So here I am again dear blog readers. I should be sleeping but I can't. This usually helps.

Lately it seems that everywhere I turn my friends are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or have just had a kid. In the world of Facebook and Twitter we can now follow along not just with your old high school friend's pregnancy but also her delivery - thanks to status updates from the hospital - and then the pictures following the birth. Then comes the blogging and all of the cute pictures and details of the little baby growing up. I think to myself, "Wow, they have the life. I want to take care of a darling baby. I want to pack a picnic and spend the day at the park with my child. I want to take them to the zoo and read stories to them before bed! That sounds amazing! Someone sign me up for that!"

Then there are the days when I hear updates and posts all about sick kids, too much laundry, lack of sleep, temper tantrums, etc....and I think - oh hell no! I don't want that! What are these girls crazy!?

And yet here I am - thinking a lot about it.

Turning 30 has been a big deal for me. I don't think it is necessarily the age thing, but I think it's now feeling like if I am going to have kids that I have to get going, and soon. My husband is 36 after all. I have friends with 4 children now. 4!!! And while I am actually really glad I don't have 4 children right now I am starting to feel the pressure to at least have one. My sister had all three kids by the time she was 26 or something. Oh man - I am way behind.

Since I was a little girl I have loved babies.

I have always loved kids. I have never been the girl that has been awkward holding a newborn. Instead I crave it. I have been known to ask complete strangers to hold their babies. I love it, it feels natural. If a child is crying or upset there is an internal pull from me that makes me want to comfort the baby.

I actually thought that it was a "female" thing, and that most women were like me. Then I met Seth's family and nearly all of my sister-in-laws have said that they never have had the desire to hold other people's children. I was floored. That seems so odd in my family where we fight over holding the newborn. Whether or not I would have children has never been a real question to me. Of course I want children.

But when???

Seth and I have a pretty good thing going right now. I love my career. I love that I am challenged at work. I love that I have 10 good years of nonprofit work under my belt now and a Masters Degree to show for myself. I love that I can go out any night I want. I love that I can come home and take a nap if I want. I love that my biggest time consumer outside of work is training for a triathlon.

I love that I can make whatever I want for dinner. I love that Seth and I can pack up and go on a vacation if we want. I love that Seth and I are currently "DINK"s. Which I have learned from my coworkers means "Dual income no kids." I love that I am 30 years old and that I feel like I have lived a good life up to this point. Yet the pressure to "grow up" is building.

A couple of months ago (again another Facebook pisses me off story) - I had a cute friend mention how she felt judged being pregnant with a few kids in tow. While this post didn't bother me one bit it was the comments that absolutely infuriated me. Comments such as "You should be looking at them. How crazy to be 30 and have no kids! They must be so bored!" or "they are just jealous because they don't have a fulfilled life like you."


I know I am now 30 and have no kids but I think my life is damn fulfilled and very worthwhile. I contribute to society in many ways and that doesn't lessen me as an individual because I haven't started procreating yet.

Truthfully being a parent scares me to death. I worry about losing my identity as Becky and becoming just a "mom" - not that being a mom is a small task. I see how hard it is for my close friends with children to really have a conversation with me when their kids are around. I see how hard and frustrating it gets for them to not be able to come and do something with friends at the drop of the hat. I also feel nervous that I won't be the amazing mother that I think some people expect me to be. What if I can't pull it off? I'm not creative, or crafty. I already envision googling "fun Halloween craft ideas for a 2-year-old" because there is no way I can come up with that stuff myself. Just because I am good with babies doesn't mean I'll make a good mom. I have all these ideas and visions of what kind of mother I will be but who knows if any of that will actually become a reality. And then I worry about Seth and how having a child will change our marriage. I have no expectations that having a kid will make us more happy than we are now. Oh no, I know it'll just make things harder. That worries me a lot. Even when I do have kids I don't anticipate being a stay-at-home mom. I just don't think it's in the cards for me. I get cabin fever if I sit home for one day. Really. I've really found my place in the nonprofit world and I don't want to walk away from my career for 10-15 years.

So here I am. Ready but not ready. Scared and excited. Who knows when this will happen but I anticipate the kid thing will be a "sooner than later" kind of thing. No, this is no kind of announcement. Yet the fear of change is a big reality for me. The fear of waiting too much longer is overriding that fear of change.

If I can have a Lola, Livie, Oscar, Drex, Calvin, Daniel, Henri - I think it'll all be worth it. You guys have great kids. I'd be lucky to have any half as cute! Someday....

What Happened to Civil Discourse?

Tonight I was wracked with some severe anxiety. I was lying in our spare bedroom, watching America's Next Top Model, eating thai food when BAM - anxiety rendered me useless. I would like to apologize to Sean and James, who were over at my house, hanging out with Seth. I was a total nightmare tonight, and completely unsocial, which isn't like me. I partly blame PMS (lets face it, sometimes it just plain sucks being a girl) but it was mainly anxiety. Not a good mix.

After a minor freak out which included prepping my room for proper sleep (all the pillows were in the right place, my face was washed, teeth were brushed, etc) I crawled into bed. Seth came in and for 30 minutes rubbed my head. Initially I couldn't pin point what was bothering me. This happens periodically. I have been known to wake up during the night gasping for air, very short of breath but no real reason why. I can't always pinpoint WHY I am having a bad day, why I am emotional or why I am anxious. During the head rub I think I figured it out. Seth and I started talked, and soon the real issue surfaced.

Tonight on my way to pick up dinner I was listening to "Democracy Now" - a liberal radio program on another local public radio station. They were talking about the freedom riders of the Civil Rights Movement. For those who don't know, the Freedom Riders were a group of white and black people that rode buses into the deeply segregated south in the early 1960s. They shared seats on the bus, the whites would use the black restrooms in bus stations, the blacks would use the white drinking fountains, etc. in order to bring attention to the issue of civil rights and segregation. They were arrested and nearly all of them were nearly beaten to death and nearly burned to death in their bus. I was sick listening to this. I didn't know much about this but I was struck by the horrible atrocity that they faced simply for making a stand. I thought, "Wow, our country has come a long way." I can't believe law enforcement allowed a group of KKK members 15 minutes to assault the Freedom Riders without arrest. They were nearly killed because they chose to do what we now see as humane and normal. I can't believe there were people that actually thought this merited murder. To whites and blacks, men and women.

I was relieved that our country not only is desegregated (at least by law) but amazed that after 50 years we have a black man in office. It really is remarkable.

But then I got to thinking. How much have we really changed?

This week has been hard for me. Like most of you I was thrilled with the news of Bin Laden and was glued to the TV, my phone, and the internet for nearly 3 hours. I watched in delight as groups of citizens gathered together to celebrate, an emotion that soon turned to embarrassment when some of the celebrations seemed to turn into a giant USA frat party.

It seems odd doesn't it? Celebrating the death of a human being? I felt my emotions turn from being glad, to feeling rather sad that I was so glad to hear of another person's demise. It doesn't feel right, no matter how evil he was.

One thing I did feel on Sunday night was relief that for awhile our country seem united in happiness that a war that we started 10 years ago to find Bin Laden was finally feeling hopeful and perhaps more worthwhile. I honestly never thought we would find him. We did though, and that is progress. It took a group of incredibly brave men to bring this hope back. Well done.

It only took a few hours before the mood of our unified country shifted drastically. Fights and debates broke out almost instantly. Who should get the credit - Bush or Obama? You know what - who gives a flying crap. They both deserve some credit in my book. The good news is that he is no longer the face of the Taliban. Facebook once again turned into a partisan fight match. Facebook "friends" started going at it. Mean spirited posts were made left and right. Then posts pleading for a truce started popping up. I wanted to scream and throw my computer out the window. Instead I deleted a couple people and hid a couple more. Now all the talk of "is he really dead?" is surfacing. Now the question of torture is back in the picture. I can't help but wonder how far we have really come as a country.

Where has our comment decency gone? Where has civil discourse disappeared to?

Today when I read that the White House would NOT be releasing pictures of Bin Laden I was relieved. I don't want to see something so gruesome. I know he's dead. We don't need to forward pictures of a man shot in the head around our email. I think it's a wise choice.

However, reading the comments after the story made me sick. There was horrible name calling - finger pointing and yelling. Conspiracy theories and story after story reporting on what Sarah Palin thinks, or Dick Cheney, or Boehner about Obama not releasing the photos. No matter where I look, Facebook,, the Deseret News stories, Yahoo News, - all the comments are the same. People are rude, extremely rude. Rarely do you see a post of value. Rarely do you see a thoughtful comment. It's just negative and hurtful and frankly I am tired of it. I may sound like a broken record but most of these comments have no intelligent backing. They have no valid points. They are just heartless and mindless and it's really depressing.

I feel like 75% of our country is crazy and downright rude. It's very disheartening.

But are we? Is it just the internet and the "hidden" nature that it provides for us? I have to believe that. I have to believe we as a people are better than this. I have to believe that 90% of the comments I read online I would never hear someone say out-loud in public.

I have to believe this because it is really making me sad. What have we become? Or have we really always been this mean spirited? This issue is what is keeping me up late tonight. This issue made me take a Xanax so I could breathe. That isn't good people. Common decency toward each other shouldn't be so difficult.

The wise Martin Luther King said, "Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation."

Here is my plea, that we knock it off. That we realize most people are inherently good. That we give people the benefit of the doubt. That we stop name calling. That we stop judging. That we stop fighting with one another simply because we have different political parties. That we stop making horrible and rude accusations. That we stop making rude or condescending posts and comments.

I'm vowing to work on it. Will you?

MLK sums it up best, "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."