Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<

Trillian McMillian
Trillian McMillian
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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?

"50 First Dates"

Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Find State Officials
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or Search by State

Contact The Media
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or Search by State

Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)



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11/17/13 12/1/13 - 12/8/13 12/15/13 - 12/22/13 12/29/13 - 1/5/14 6/29/14 - 7/6/14 9/14/14 - 9/21/14 9/21/14 - 9/28/14 10/12/14 - 10/19/14 11/23/14 - 11/30/14 12/7/14 - 12/14/14 12/28/14 - 1/4/15 1/25/15 - 2/1/15 2/8/15 - 2/15/15 2/22/15 - 3/1/15 3/8/15 - 3/15/15 3/15/15 - 3/22/15 3/22/15 - 3/29/15 4/12/15 - 4/19/15 4/19/15 - 4/26/15 5/3/15 - 5/10/15 5/17/15 - 5/24/15 5/24/15 - 5/31/15 6/14/15 - 6/21/15 6/28/15 - 7/5/15 7/5/15 - 7/12/15 7/19/15 - 7/26/15 8/16/15 - 8/23/15 11/6/16 - 11/13/16 6/24/18 - 7/1/18

Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue


It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations

Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"

Mail Trillian here

Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)


Alliance for the Great Lakes

Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras

The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.

Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.


Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto


Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.

Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Life(?) of Trillian

Friday, July 20, 2012  
Amidst the stuff that was unearthed in the purging of my parents' house were several stories I wrote for school and for fun. I also went through a phase of making my own comic strips and comic books when I was 8. I assume most kids do this. If they don't, then call me a born geek.

My parents didn't save everything I ever wrote, drew or assembled. I was the youngest of three kids. By the time I started finger painting and fashioning construction paper into collages and gluing macaroni tableau my parents had seen it all project-wise. My brother was an especially hard act to follow because he had mad skillz when it came to repurposing paper grocery bags, string, aluminum foil and boxes into vehicles, buildings, catapults... But, between school projects, extra credit projects (yes, I was the kid who did the extra credit assignments (can you say diorama!) even though I didn't need the extra credit, go on have your way with me), scouting projects (including copious arts and crafts projects from camp), and illustrations and book reviews for our local library's "Reading is Fundamental!" contests and programs, I was a prolific kid project-wise. My parents kept the highlights. And the highlights were, apparently, my writing and illustration projects. No surprise there. (Although there were a few of the smaller, collapsible dioramas and a plaster of paris turtle that speaks to an interesting fascination with googly eyes and Picasso.)

The content of these written and illustrated childhood projects ranges from funny to surprisingly insightful to, mostly, innocent stuff of childhood. We could get into "what it means" and the foreshadowing (or conspicuous by its absence: a lack thereof) and a lot of child psychology hyperbole.

But as I sorted through the stuff and attempted to make a chronological timeline via those projects, what emerged was a shocking discovery about myself: My current penmanship is a disastrous abomination and an embarrassment to my parents, my education, and myself.

Blame computers. Blame apathy. Blame laziness. Blame whatever you want, but the appalling conclusion is that when it comes to putting pen or pencil to paper, I have let myself go. Badly.

Some people never really come into their own penmanship-wise. I have a cousin who struggled with penmanship in school and never fully conquered the art of writing legibly. Once that cousin started using email, and everyone could actually read what he was writing, we were all a bit shocked at some of the things he wrote. Looking back at holiday greeting notes sent pre-email, it explains, well, a lot. He's not writing manifestos, but...well...let's just say if we'd been able to decipher his hand written letters years ago we might not have been so surprised to learn about some of his, um, "hobbies."

Before I even thought about starting school my parents set me up with that line - dashed-line - line paper to practice my letters and numbers. I had alphabet flash cards. Alphabet and numbers with arrows indicating the process of creating those letters and numbers (not unlike dance-step instructions) adorned the top of a chalkboard/artist easel in my bedroom so I could refer to them any time I wanted to practice my letters and numbers. So. I had a lot of resources and support for learning proper penmanship. I'm pretty sure this is when my love of typography was born.

Penmanship, legible, proper penmanship, was never an issue for me. I did all the practice worksheets in class and worked on it at home, too. I remember being pretty driven to master the art of printing perfectly formed letters. I routinely got "nice penmanship!" comments on my school assignments. Looking at a few of those assignments my parents kept, I agree, yes, for a 6-year-old, I did occasionally display a nice penmanship technique. At the very least I obviously grasped the concepts of capital and lower case letters and how to properly form them.

I had an ulterior motive.

By the time I was born my brother and sister were all cursive, all the time, so I was itching to master printing and move into cursive earlier than a lot of the other kids at school. I wanted to crack the code my brother, sister and even my parents used when writing. My brother and sister used to taunt me with their elite cipher of cursive writing. They passed notes back and forth across me, read them, and laughed knowingly at whatever was written on that piece of paper. My brother was especially sinister. He'd affect an overly cloying tone and say, "Oh, I'm sorry, that was rude of me, I should have let you read it first. Here, read it, it's really funny. You'll love it." Asshole.

Occasionally I intercepted a note and raced to my mother and begged her to read it to me. She'd give it a cursory glance and say something like, "It says your brother and sister are going to do the dishes tonight while you watch Gilligan's Island." I'd run back to my siblings brandishing the note, all sanctimonious, and say, "HA! I figured it out! You have to do the dishes and I get to watch Gilligan's Island!" It pains me to admit that it took me a really long time to figure out that's not what the notes said. It really pains me to admit it took me even longer to realize I should have known my mother was creating a bit of subterfuge, because why would my brother and sister write a secret note about having to do chores while I got a special privilege of an extra half hour of television, and then laugh about it? There's nothing funny about a little sister getting out of chore duty and being allowed an extra half hour of television.

One of two things happened: Either my parents were satisfied I mastered printing and could move onto cursive, or, they were sick of the whole note written in cursive game my siblings played. Whatever the reason, Santa gave me a cursive writing practice book for the Christmas of my 6th year. I was thrilled beyond sanity, and that wasn't just the candy canes talking. I may have wet my pajama bottoms a little. That is, until I saw the note he paper clipped to the cover of the book. It was written in, you guessed it, cursive. My parents were not assholes. A little unorthodox, perhaps, but not assholes. That note was all part of a plan. Anticipating my elation and subsequent confusion and disappointment upon seeing the cursive note from Santa, my father said, "Oh! A cursive writing practice book! That's exciting! Oh! And a personal note from Santa!" He read the note to me, which basically said that Santa was looking forward to next year's letter to him presuming it would be written in cursive.

And so, I diligently took it upon myself, with my parents' tutelage, to learn cursive.

The next year in school we started learning cursive and I was ahead of the curve - literally. The notes between my brother and sister diminished. The thrill was gone. We were growing up.

I didn't naturally have "a lovely hand," but I formed the letters according to proper procedure and more or less wrote with neat, concise, legible penmanship.

Somewhere along the way, in college, I believe, my penmanship began to deteriorate. I guess I took less pride in it, focused more on content than style. And then computers, email, all that...apart from occasional thank you notes, birthday and holiday cards, a postcard here and there, I didn't actually hand write much other than scribbled notes in meetings.

I'm not alone in this, I've heard other people lament the decline of their penmanship, and without fail they blame technology. Then they admonish themselves and shrug it off.

Which is what I did, too. But deep down it bothered me. Me! Me of all people! I pore over fonts and typography and proper typesetting as part of my career! Meanwhile, I can barely write a legible five-word message on a Post-it note. It's embarrassing and inappropriate on professional and personal levels.

But, I'd reason with myself, a lot of schools don't even teach cursive writing anymore. It's a useless and outmoded skill. It wastes classroom time. It wastes developing childhood gray matter. That classroom time and gray matter can be better spent on teaching and practicing keyboarding skills. In a few years kids will be graduating from high school without ever having done cursive writing drill, or even having laid eyes on the cursive writing reference cards that used to be standard elementary classroom decor. I don't know how they adorn the space above blackboards anymore, heck, do they even use blackboards?

I also wonder, frequently, how these non-cursive writing children will develop a signature. Sure, with online banking and debit/credit cards, very few routine financial transactions require a written signature. But occasionally there are legal documents to sign, you know, mortgages, licenses, job applications, marriage certificates? Will these cursive-less adults of tomorrow be reduced to making an "X" on signature lines like Dickensian illiterates? Probably not, probably printing and electronic signatures will suffice.

So why care about my penmanship?

Unearthing all those childhood projects, the neatly scribed stories, book reports, infographics and comics hit me like a punch in the gut. An artfully crayoned George Washington seemed to implore me from his Delaware River diorama, "People died for the right to write anything, any way they want, and this is what you do? Have you looked at the US Constitution lately, missy? It's legible and neat and speaks to a level of educated articulation. I weep for you and our nation." Neptune Natalie, the star of my serial comic book, cast me a smirking "pfft" over her shoulder as she rocketed through panels of the comic book. "We had some good times, you and me, blasting through the galaxy, but now I can't even decipher my own name when you write it. How am I supposed to act out the story line if I can't even read it? Cosmo the Cat writes better in his glitter box than you do on paper!" Caesar, vignetted against a backdrop of Egypt rendered in construction paper, colored pencil, and repurposed gold candy wrapper foil just motioned limply toward the carefully penned hieroglyphics on the pyramids, hung his head and said "Et tu, Trill, et tu?"

My penmanship was better when I was nine-years-old than it is currently.

That's when I decided: This stops now.

Why care about my penmanship?

Because it's a skill I mastered and I let it deteriorate.

So I devised what I call:

It's a three-pronged approach to bettering my penmanship. I would like to get back to at least my nine-year-old penmanship abilities. Basically I want to make a more conscious effort to write something other than the hurried scrawl that is the abomination I'm letting pass for penmanship.

1) At least twice a week practice sessions writing lower and upper case letters according to proper cursive technique.
2) Once a day write, in longhand, something I normally type.
3) Take the time to pay attention to my writing technique when jotting lists and notes to myself.

Guess what? It's not easy. Apparently I have lapsed into some very deeply entrenched habits. In order to check my progress I am writing the same lyrics at the start of each practice session: Once written in my "normal" writing, trying to not think about it too much, just writing a note; the second with concerted effort to write in proper cursive. In doing this before the practice session I'm hoping I'll be able not only track my progress on my cursive technique, but also to see if it's seeping into my "normal" writing. By using the same lyrics I have a baseline on which to compare other factors.

I don't know what this is, it's not printing, it's not cursive...prinsive? Whatever it is, it's what I let pass for hand written communication:

And this was the best I could muster when I gave my full effort to writing the same text in cursive:

I know. I mean, I knew it was bad, but I had no idea it was this bad. 

I found this super neat website that generates text into proper cursive writing. Try it! The site is great for my purposes, lots of cursive writing worksheets and lessons. So, this is what those lyrics should look like:

I know. I have a long way to go. And no, I don't want to lose my penmanship personality, I don't want to write in a typographically perfect script, but, a little more legibility and uniformity is, you know, desirable. And the discipline required to improve is good for me, too. And using the learning sector of my brain can't hurt, either. But I especially love the brain ==> hand aspect. Writing is the only physical activity other that speech that gives physicality to the thought process. That's pretty darned cool and I figure it can't be a bad thing to redevelop the brain muscles required to guide my hands to proper writing.

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10:32 PM

Wednesday, July 18, 2012  
I swear, promise, solemnly vow...that I am not going to beat a dead horse.


There are a few lessons to be learned and some words to the wise from the one who's in the midst of it, so, in the interest of public service I am offering a few "this happened to me...this is what I did...maybe it will work for you" insights.

The whole stupid thing with my friend is, well, stupid. I'm above it and so is she. And yet, it happened.

Insight #1: It's inevitable. Life happens, people change, friendships fade. We used to be good friends, really good friends. She moved on (literally) and lives a completely different life than she did when we were friends. I, on the other hand, still live pretty much the same life I always have. Neither one of us is right or wrong, good or bad, we just went on very different life paths. And we no longer have much (anything?) in common. The reasons why we even attempted to maintain the friendship after she had a baby, quit her job and moved to a starter mansion in the suburbs alludes me, now. I suppose she was trying to convince herself she wasn't one of "those" women and maintaining a friendship with a friend from her single in the city days was evidence that she was not a typical "I quit my career, am completely reliant on my husband and moved to the suburbs and joined a country club because we have money and I have no interests beyond making sure my 2 year old mingles with the 'right' sort of toddlers" woman.  And for my part, I'm loyal to a fault and once someone is my friend, they're my friend. Period. And, yes, I suppose I was a little worried, even then, that I would end up a spinster and I would need all the friends I could get.

Insight #2: Loyalty or doormat: Is there a difference? Good times and bad...Hell or high water...friends 'til the end...leave no man behind...Liberté, égalité, fraternité! Loyalty is pommeled into us as a supreme virtue, from religious parables to Disney movies to college ethics courses, loyalty, in some form, is lauded as a virtue we should all possess, or, at least all of us who want to be nice people who have friends and a decent life without regrets. What's the opposite of loyal? Treasonous. Fickle. Deceptive. False. Untrustworthy. Disrespectful. Impatient. Selfish. Shall I go on? You know what I mean. Loyal = good. Disloyal = bad. Some of the most universally hated people are detested for their disloyalty: Judas. Mary, Queen of Scots. Benedict Arnold. The French. However. When you've proved yourself to be loyal, you are vulnerable. People who know you'll stand behind them no matter what have two choices: Respect you and treat your loyalty like a precious commodity, or, take advantage of your loyalty and eventually lose respect for you. Guess what happened to me and my friend. I wasn't a complete doormat, but, in my attempts to rise above and remain loyal (out of respect for her and our friendship) I let her sling some sharp arrows at me. Over the years there have been a lot of backhand compliments, passive aggressive digs and a lot of hurtful comments that I chose to assume were unintentional jibes that came out because of the comfort and familiarity of the company. The whole "we've been friends a long time, we know each other, we don't have to be polite or guard our conversation" thing. That's not true. Thoughtless remarks are thoughtless remarks no matter how long you've known someone or how good your friendship is. They're disrespectful and hurtful and will eventually cause resentment. But. Out of loyalty I, and most other people, laugh off the comments, forgive and forget. Truly forget. But. As I'm learning, eventually all that forgiving and forgetting, especially when it's not reciprocated, takes a toll. And it doesn't feel good. And you question your friend's loyalty because their words and actions don't speak to any level of loyalty. And that really doesn't feel good. And you start to feel like a doormat. And that is a sign things have gone too far. But, you reason, taking a stand for yourself will mean slating your friend, and that's not you, that's not how you are, that can be perceived as playing tit for tat. And that's not loyal. And, if like my friend, your friend hurls the verbal arrows in group settings it's difficult (if not impossible) to defend yourself without making your friend look bad in front of others. Which is inappropriate, rude, immature and...disloyal. So. How do you maintain respect (from your friend and for yourself) if you repeatedly let hurtful comments slide? What I'm learning, now, is that you don't. 

Insight #3: If this were a marriage or romantic relationship it would be called abuse. You've probably witnessed a disturbing facet to a friend's or family member's romantic relationship. A nice girl being submitted into a shell of her former self by a jealous control freak boyfriend/husband. A really good guy being taken advantage of by a very bad girl. A naive friend being swindled by a smooth talking con. A woman who nags and puts down her husband, and/or a husband who's critical of his wife's intelligence, appearance or family. Or two nice, normal, intelligent people who for inexplicable reasons turn into volatile demonic versions of themselves when they're together, yet they stay together arguing and pushing each others' buttons all the while. As we observe these couples from the outside we think, "Wow, that's an abusive relationship...should I say something to my friend because they're too blinded by love to see how abusive this relationship is?" Or, if we're the ones with a partner who's exhibiting those behaviors, we break up with them because we will not tolerate being treated that way. But when the same behaviors are exhibited in a friendship we laugh it off or chalk it up to brutal honesty among friends - even being thankful for our friends' honesty. "Wow, my nose is huge, I should get a nose job. I'm so lucky to have a good friend who's so honest with me because I never would have noticed that my nose is not perfect and that it's the reason men don't want to date me." We even laud it in movies - watch either of the Hangovers or anything starring Kate Hudson to see examples of friendship behaviors we would never tolerate in romantic partners. We put up with stuff from friends that we would never tolerate in a romantic relationship. Why? I have no clue other that the aforementioned loyalty. And unlike movies where characters learn and grow into more emotionally aware and mature people in 110 minutes or less, in real life if people grow and mature emotionally, they do it very slowly, over the course of a lifetime. So sticking around and toughing out abusive behavior from a friend will not likely result in a moment of realization and redemption followed by a warm soft focus scene where you hug it out with a swell of music and roll of credits. 

Insight #4: Friendships need care and cultivation. This is a big lesson for me. It ties into loyalty. Once a friend, always a friend, right? No matter what, good or bad, we're friends. But that doesn't mean friendships are effortless. They often seem that way, the good ones seem to happen spontaneously and grow and flourish organically, even magically. There's a danger zone, though, and that's apathy. I don't mean apathy toward your friend, I mean apathy toward your relationship. Again, like a marriage, you have to commit/dedicate yourself to the effort it takes to maintain and grow the friendship if you want it to withstand the test of time. I'm not saying my friendship no longer matters, but the reality is that I am irrelevant in my friend's life, and, she's irrelevant in mine. That doesn't mean we can't be friends, because, let's face it, how many people do you know who are truly relevant in your life? A spouse, children, your parents, maybe siblings, maybe your many people do you know who are absolutely, truly relevant to you? Right. Friends don't need to be relevant but when they're not, it's easy to let apathy creep into the relationship. To be fair, my friend and I both put effort into staying in touch and socializing, but even though the thrill wasn't entirely gone, beyond a few moments of camaraderie neither one of us was exactly tending the garden of our friendship. This also ties into the inevitability of the demise - she got married and had more money to do pricier activities and go on more exotic, longer vacations. She started shopping at designer boutiques on shopping trips to New York and Milan. I was still scavenging end of season clearance racks at outlet malls and eating Ramen noodles to save money for a long weekend in Minneapolis. Our divergent lives turned into a chasm of indifference. I'm not competitive and didn't/don't aspire to her lifestyle and I'm not jealous of her money. (I am envious of her happy marriage and children and lack of financial stress, but not her money or what she does with it.) So her new life in the upper echelon of prosperity didn't/doesn't bother me. But I know I don't fit in with her new friends and her life. I didn't know how to cultivate that friendship because I couldn't afford to do the things she wants to do, or go the places she wants to go. And she didn't cultivate the friendship with me because she is no longer interested in the things I do or places I go. Could I put on my nicest outfit and spend an afternoon at her country club? Yes. Could she get a sitter and spend a couple hours slumming it over cheap pizza and a bottle of cheap wine? Yes. And at first we did just that. But eventually that effort faded. We proved that our friendship could survive her marriage, children and suburban flight, so why bother making that kind of effort? We're friends, we don't need to force it, right? Wrong. 

Insight #5: Online activity is telling. Guys, you probably don't know anything about what I'm about to say, but I'm sure there are guyquivelents to this. There are two types of women: Those who read and/or are members of, and those who do/are not. I do/am not. That's not to say I haven't visited iVillage. I have read, or at least seen, several "articles" on iVillage. Why? Because my friends send me copious links to "articles" on iVillage. Most recently, this damaging bit of online hyperbolic advice made it's way to my in box, sent from three well meaning friends. Or, perhaps I should say, "friends." Because after slogging through the definitions of 20 people you need out of your life I'm not sure these three women are my friends, or if they even want me to be their friend. I'm truly not sure how to take the link they sent me. Is this their way of breaking up with me? Are they trying to tell me that I fall into one or more of the categories of people they need out of their lives? The mere fact that my friends a) read iVillage, b) admit it, and c) follow iVillage "advice" as professional gospel says more about the divergent paths our lives have taken than any example I could give. If you don't want to slog through the slideshow-cum-therapy (and why would you?) I'll encapsulate: Isolate yourself from every person you know because people are bad for you. Yes, the 20 personalities they detail are exaggerated extremes, but, keeping it real, here, everyone who's ever lived, including Mother Teresa, falls into at least one of these types. As the title suggests, it's written in absolutes. And includes some obvious influences to avoid. (If you don't know that the ex who wants nothing more than sex is bad for you, then you need more than a slideshow on iVillage. You need professional counseling.) And if you think the hundreds of people on Facebook who you've never met or talked to in real life are friends, you, too, may want to consider some professional counseling. 

Speaking of Facebook...many of my friends communicate solely via Facebook. I'm supposed to log onto Facebook several times a day to check my friends' status updates. This is how they now communicate. Oh sure, there's an occasional text, but you know what those texts say? "Check Facebook!" Or, "Did you see Liz's Facebook today?" Call me old. Call me cheesy. Call me outmoded. Call me sensitive. But. I actually like human interaction. My friends are my friends because I enjoy their company, I like their insights, sharing actual conversation helps us sort out life or at least make it bearable because we have friends with whom we can discuss it - with inflection, feeling, body language, eye contact..., we have fun together, they're reliable and there, literally, for me in good and bad times. Ever have a friend with whom all that's needed is an exchange of a certain look to break into fits of hysteric giggles? I hope you have a friend like that. That's a good friend to have. I'm fortunate, I have a few of those friends. No matter what you post on Facebook, it cannot capture or induce that feeling or invoke that kind of giggle fit. 

When my dad died a few of my friends didn't call or send a card or even an email. They posted, "I'm sorry about your dad" on my Facebook wall. I guess that's, you know, something. But. I mean, really? Facebook? And these are not casual acquaintances. I was a bridesmaid for one of these women. A bridesmaid. Expensive ugly dress and shoes dyed to match, airfare to a shower and a wedding, gifts from the registry. And when my dad died all she could deign for me was "Sorry about your dad" on my Facebook wall? I don't expect much from people, I truly don't, but...oh I dunno. Maybe I do expect too much. (And yes, I realize some people can't/don't handle death well, and kind of clam up or shut down when a friend is grieving, I understand that. Slack was and is cut for that, but come on, a Facebook wall condolence? Not even a private message? Or, just nothing? Nothing says, "I can't deal with this, I freak out and shut down when it comes to death and grief, I know I have issues and I know I need to deal with them and I'm sorry I'm not able to say something, anything, but we're friends and you know I care and I'm sorry but I'm saying and doing nothing because I don't know what to say or do." My mother had a friend who infamously never attended a funeral and didn't want one for herself. A month or so after the funeral she'd send a "thinking of you" card or take a casserole to the grieving family or invite the recent widow to lunch, but she didn't do funerals or the usual funeral stuff. Her friends knew this and accepted it. Sometimes saying or doing nothing is okay.) Anyway. I knew our friendship was in jeopardy when I missed her status update announcing her third pregnancy and so I knew nothing about it until I got a shower invitation...and she was six months pregnant. Ooops. I hadn't really paid a lot of attention to the copious blurry Instagram photos she posts on Facebook (there are hundreds...weekly) and in fairness to me, she hadn't really gained a lot of weight and wasn't wearing what appeared to be maternity clothes. But still. Do I really need to scour every post on Facebook to find out a friend is pregnant? And, another friend's mother has some serious ongoing illness issues, and so I now feel obligated to check their status at least once a day to make sure I don't miss an "obituary" announcement. She posts a lot on Facebook and Twitter, and I find it difficult to keep up with her many posts, so I take time a couple times a day to keep up with her posts just so I don't miss something important like, "Mom died." Because she will not call or even text anymore, her life is one long Facebook post and Twitter feed and her friends are just supposed to follow her every move on Facebook and Twitter. Her daughter accomplished something pretty huge a few months ago and you might think she'd call a few friends to brag about it, but, nope, if you missed the Facebook and Twitter posts and photos you missed the big news. On the rare occasions we do talk and I ask questions, she gets all indignant and admonishing, huffing a dismissive, "I posted that on my wall a couple weeks ago." Oh. Right. Okay. End of conversation, then. And death of the actual friendship. Why? Because I (and her other long time friends) are now the same as the hundreds of strangers on Facebook. Our camaraderie and emotional intimacy is trivialized and given no more significance than complete strangers who "like" her comments and photos. She tells the entire world everything to the point that nothing is reserved for close friends. We're not special. We're just a few of hundreds of people who read her status updates. You know this woman: She's the one at every event who sits there either gazing into her Smartphone or holding it up to take photos and then gazing into the Smartphone. Instead of you know, actually participating in the event or conversation she's posting it to Facebook and keeping up with other peoples' posts. Because, you know, watching a video of a baby laughing that a "friend" in Boise posted on Facebook is way more crucial and important than watching your own child graduate from kindergarten. And it goes without saying that laughing baby video is more important than sharing conversation and laughs with friends you've known in real life for years. That's sarcasm, by the way, something that's increasingly lost on people who live their lives online - the constant lack of inflection and eye contact apparently sapping their ability to detect it. Maybe that's a good thing. I'll leave that one up to you to decide. 

Insight #6: Life continues so maintain perspective. I am forcing myself to avoid going into grief mode over the demise of this friendship. I'm sad about it, but the reality is that I have "missed" our friendship for a long time. Not having her in my life is nothing new. Life has continued and it will continue. There's a void, but the void has been there. The void had fuzzy edges and now they're sharp. I don't know what she's doing or how she feels, but then, she doesn't know what I'm doing or how I feel, either. And perversely, that gives us more in common emotionally than we've shared for a very long time. So other than blogging about it, I'm not dwelling on it. I don't feel "relief" but I don't feel burdened by it, either. The sun keeps rising and we're there to see it, laws of gravity remains in place, no one's spinning haplessly into orbit. 

11:35 AM

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