Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Need to's

I'm a compulsive list maker. I have a day planner, and if something's not written down in it, it more than likely won't happen. Over on TRL, we have a daily random thoughts post. Mine seem to turn into a list of "need to" things.

Do you ever get tired of the "need to's"? i.e. "need to go to the post office", "need to get laundry started", "need to start supper", etc.

Today I'm in a really good mood, but I'm so tired of the "need to's". Sometimes I just want to round file that list and do something fun and spontaneous. I think with Halloween approaching and all the junk that I've been dealing with the past few months, I'm jonesing for some excitement and carefree time.

Does being an adult always have to be about being responsible and meticulous? Why do we let daily responsibilites weigh us down until we're simply spent? Every day shouldn't be filled with only a list of boring tasks. Each of us needs to (ugh, there's that phrase again) carve out a little time every day to let our hair down, loosen that tie, and ENJOY. Take a deep breath, slow down, and do something you WANT to do. Recharge those batteries! Shake things up!

Some quotes on my mind today...

~Carpe Diem!
~Enjoy today, because none of us are promised tomorrow.
~If you're hung up on nostalgia, pretend today is yesterday and just go out and have one hell of a time.~Art Buchwald
~If you have one eye on yesterday, and one eye on tomorrow, you're going to be cockeyed today.
~Life lived for tomorrow will always be just a day away from being realized.~Leo Buscaglia
~Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious.~Brendan Gill
~We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.~Charles Schaefer

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

If life were like the movies

What character would you be? Since I can't really think of any soap opera or tv show characters I can identify with, I chose Scarlett O'Hara of Gone With The Wind.

No, I'm not a wealthy plantation owner's daughter or a flirt who doesn't know what a good thing she has. I see myself as being like Scarlett in other ways.

~Scarlett had a silver tongue and southern charm and could cut a person to shreds while giving them that sweet, southern belle smile. That's a trait I'm told I inherited from my great-grandmother.
~She was a very strong woman. She faced tough times with squared shoulders and a "bring it on" attitude. She carried the weight of her family on her shoulders, did the best she could, and somehow made the best of it when times were really tough. Every trial and tribulation she endured made her that much stronger.
~Many of those around her looked to her for guidance and leadership.
~She was stubborn and determined. She knew what she wanted and didn't let anything stand in her way. Granted that bit her in the butt a few times, but I've suffered that bite before, too.
~Underneath it all, she had a good heart. She truly loved those close to her and would do anything for them.
~There was a side of her that remained child-like. Even though she put up a tough, no bull front, there was a part of her that needed nurturing and consoling sometimes.
~In her younger days, she was flirty and fickle.
~She was a proud woman who wouldn't let it show when someone hurt her.
~She was a bit of a procrastinator when it came to things she didn't want to deal with. Her famous line, "I'll think about it tomorrow...Afterall, tomorrow is another day"? Yeah, that's me.
~She was spoiled. Yeah, that's me, too. I admit it.

*eta...She had a fiery temper. I was reminded that I "conveniently" left that part out. ;)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My Gracie

**I've been trying all day to upload a couple of pics, but either I'm an idiot or blogger doesn't like Gracie. Alas, no pics of her at this point in time.**

It has been said that cats don't have owners, they have staff. Truer words have never been spoken when it comes to Gracie.

August 17, 2000

I was at an all-time low emotionally. In an effort to lift both our spirits, The Hub took me to the pet store and bought me a kitten. She was such a tiny little calico furball with HUGE ears. She made me laugh, and we joked that she was narcoleptic b/c she'd fall asleep sitting up and fall over. She went for days without a name because I couldn't decide on anything that "fit" her. She was this clumsy, goofy, skinny little thing that made me laugh all the time. One night I was sitting on the couch watching "Will & Grace" when it hit me. GRACE! GRACIE!!! Debra Messing's character was like this kitten! Clumsy...check. Goofy...check. Makes me laugh...check. That's how our Gracie got her name.


When she was about 6 months old, I took her to the vet to have her spayed and declawed. One more trip up my curtains and one of us wouldn't have survived, and I cannot live with a cat in heat. So anyway, she had her surgery that morning, and I went to see her that afternoon. The vet and techs were concerned b/c she wouldn't clean her paws. Apparently that's one of those things like "You have to poop before you can be discharged from the hospital." One of the techs said, "I just don't get it. When I walk into the room where the kennels are, she'll sit up on her hind legs, shake her paws, and meow at me." I started to laugh, which made the tech look at me like I'd sprouted another head. I told her, "She wants you to fix it! When something's wrong, she knows that *Mommy* will fix it, and she expects you to do the same." They ended up putting her in a tub with a couple of inches of warm water to force her to clean her paws so she could come home. Even back then, she was a drama queen.


Over the past six years, she's become so much more than a pet. Well, she never was a PET. She's our Moo-Shoo kitty, and she's become such an important part of our lives. She's gone from a tiny thing that would fit in the palm of your hand to 16 pounds of sass. She's learned some tricks over the years and has her routines. Talk about disgruntled if you stray from HER routine! When we go out of town, we entrust one of a select few friends to check in on her every day. This checking in involves making sure she has fresh food and water, give her treats, play with her, and pet her for a little while, and clean her litterbox.

The Hub tells me all the time that she's so spoiled because of me. Don't let him fool you, though. That's his baby. She's got both of us wrapped tightly around those furry little paws.

Some of her quirks and cool attributes...

~She has hearts on her fur
~She LOVES warm blueberry muffins (not cold), olives, Keebler Club crackers, popcorn, and cheese.
~HAS to sniff Daddy's coffee in the mornings
~Has her own furniture and blankets and there's hell to pay if you sit in her rocker or on her barstool
~HAS to have her "Mommy snuggle time" during the morning news
~When she wants a treat, if you tell her to remember her manners, she sits up on her hind legs, reaches with one front paw, and meows.
~Will flop over and roll back and forth and look at you upside down if you tell her to be cute
~Jumps into my arms like a dog.
~HAS to snuggle under the top blanket for a few minutes every night at bedtime
~HAS to drink from the tub if you're taking a bath. Doesn't matter that the water is hot and soapy. She likes "human soup".
~CANNOT STAND to be shut out of a room you're in. She'll paw at the door, reach under with her paw, and meow incessantly until you either come out or let her in.
~Camera shy! No matter what she's doing, if she hears that camera turn on, she's gone. I can't tell you how many blurry pictures have been taken over the years.
~Can be an anti-social little witch. HATES other animals, and isn't fond of small kids, either. Adults are a case-by-case basis.
~Instinctively knows when something's wrong and will snuggle with you to try to make you feel better.
~Understands a lot of what we say. Some may argue with this, but I *know* Gracie understands us.
~Reaches up and her meow sounds like "Mama" when she wants attention
~Tracks and corners a bug until we come to kill it. She learned her lesson about eating them.

We DO have rules and limits, though. She is NOT allowed on the counters, tables, etc. She isn't allowed in the laundry room, either. She doesn't ever go outside. Outside to her means one of two things...vet or new house. No canned or poor quality food for her. She gets brushed whether she likes it or not. She gets annual vet visits.

We love our GracieBelle, and nothing is too good for her. She even gets her own plate at Thanksgiving! Okay, it's a saucer with turkey on it. She gets Christmas presents. Her birthday is celebrated every year.

I can't imagine what life would be like if we hadn't gone to the pet store that day.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I'm no Van Gogh or Monet

but by Jinkies, I'm trying!

When I was growing up, my dad would sit down at the dining table and paint these beautiful landscape scenes. He had no kind of instruction, but he had sheer talent. I have several of those pictures hanging in my house, and they are among my most treasured possessions. I can remember wishing that I could paint like that. I've always wanted to be able to paint the images I see in my head.

Over the past few years, I've tried my hand at painting different things for the house (my daughters' dressers, little decorative things for the bathroom, etc.) but they just aren't great. They're just okay, and I'm not happy with "okay".

Recently I've started really paying attention to the brush strokes, shading, etc. in different paintings. I decided to give it a shot with a little wooden frame I picked up at ACMoore. I'm still not as good as I want to be, but I can see my progress, and I'm proud of myself for it. Whaddya think? I know I still have a long way to go, but just maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks. ;)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

One year ago

Hmm, life was SO different one year ago. Let's see...

The Hub and I owned a house that we absolutely loved in a town we absolutely loved in SC.
I had a pool and palm trees in my backyard paradise.
I got together with my friends every week.
My mother was staying with me for a while.
The Hub had just left for his second tour in Iraq.
We planned on being in SC for a LONG time.
We owned 2 vehicles and a boat.
I went fishing, shrimping, and crabbing on a regular basis.

We're renting a house we don't love in a town we hate in NC.
We're getting ready to move *again* in a few months.
I have ONE friend here. Although she lives like 2 miles from me, I don't see her often. She's a busy, busy woman.
My mother is back in MS and now sees that my asking her to go back was the best thing for her.
The Hub isn't deployed right now, but that's only because WE'RE MOVING AGAIN.
My oldest daughter is coming to live with us at Christmas. Hopefully the youngest will, too.
We now own THREE vehicles AND A HARLEY. No boat, though.
I can't remember the last time I went fishing, shrimping, OR crabbing.

So, some things are better. Some are worse. That's life, I guess. I'm *really* hoping things will improve drastically after this move. Sorry to be a downer with this post, but I miss home.

Peas in a Pod

Yesterday's topic for our TRL blog challenge was "Attatched at the hip? Two Peas in a Pod? How did you meet your s.o./best friend? Tell us about that first time meeting them. Did you hit it off instantly or think they were stalking you?"

I've told the story about how The Hub and I met many times, and some of my closest friends read this, so y'all already know how we met. ;) Instead, I decided to blog about my "ya-ya's". That's what The Hub named us. When I first met this group of ladies and started getting to know them, they reminded me of the characters in "Steel Magnolias", but The Hub swears that we're the Ya-Ya's instead.

When we first moved to SC, I was a hermit in the worst way. One day I got an email from a lady who had just moved to the area and was looking for other scrapbookers to get together with. She called and we made plans to meet up at Starbucks, bring some of our albums, and get acquainted. We hit if off instantly, and over the years, she's become like a sister to me. That's Michelle. Crazy, funny, beautiful inside and out. She's a bundle of energy who burns the candle at both ends. At any given time she has so much going on at once that it'd make a normal person's head spin.

After meeting her, I decided to go to one of the weekly crops at the LSS. The store owner (Janet) seemed like a nice lady, and The Hub kept nudging to get me out of my shell. When I got there, the store owner and these three other ladies were laughing and cutting up and having such a great time. They weren't actually scrapbooking, but they were having fun! Because they aren't the quiet, shy type, they introduced themselves, asked me all about myself and had me laughing and having a great time before the night was over. That's how I met Lorrie, Sharon, and Paula. How do I even begin to describe this group? They're funny, amazing, kind, loving, crazy, wonderful women. They're the kind of friends who welcome you into the family for life. While my relationship with all of them is wonderful, my friendship with Janet is different. Janet and I became very close and confide in each other about so much.

Several months later, Amy joined us. She and I didn't hit off so much when we first met. She was quiet, reserved, very religious, SAHM to four kids that she home-schools and kept to herself at the opposite end of the room for a long time. The first night she came to crop, I think she thought I was the devil reincarnate. I was wearing my HIM t-shirt, baggy carpenter jeans, black clunky combat-style boots, several bracelets and rings, my leather cord necklaces, had four earrings in each ear, and had short, red spiky hair and dark blue fingernails. Me being the kind of person I am, found it very amusing. She eventually came around and we became friends, too.

Whenever a new person would reserve a spot on crop night, Janet would always tell the five of us to "Behave". We could be a bit loud, talked about everything under the sun, and would break into song at any given moment. Oh, and we rarely got any layouts done on crop nights. Dinner beforehand was a must for us. By the time we all got done eating, it was 7:30 or 8pm and the crop was supposed to be over at 8:30. We NEVER left that store before 10 or 11pm.

I can't imagine my life without the "Ya-ya's" in it. Even though I live over 300 miles from them now, we still keep in contact. As soon as we can, The Hub and I will be moving back there, and they'll once again be a part of my daily life.

*Since Blogger's being a PITA right now, I can't upload a pic. grrrr*

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Reading lists

Before I became a mom and when my oldest was an infant, I read *all* the time. Back then, I had two favorite authors with VERY different writing styles. Stephen King held my attention b/c I love a good, scary story. I'm still a King fan. I think I've read almost everything he's ever written. My absolute fave short stories are "Popsy" and "The Night Flier", and "Misery" is still my fave novel of his. My friend Tracey introduced me to VC Andrews' stories when I was around 19, and she remained one of my favorite authors thru my early 20's.

As time went on, my second child came along, they both got older, and life got in the way, I didn't take time to read. I figured seeing the movies would suffice. In the past few years, as I've gotten older and (I hope) wiser, I've started taking time again for things I love.

What jumpstarted my reading again was actually a movie. The Hub had read many Dean Koontz books and told me he thought I'd really like them. I always used the excuse, "I don't have time to read a book." One night "Intensity" was on TV, and he told me that I should really sit down and watch it. I became so enthralled in the story that when Koontz came out of left field on me, I couldn't disguise my shock and surprise. That instant, I became a fan. I went out and bought "Whispers" and read it cover to cover and couldn't get my hands on another Koontz book fast enough.

The Hub got a huge kick out of my reaction to the last Koontz book I read. Several people had told me "You just HAVE to read 'Life Expectancy' if you like Dean Koontz." I did and got SO into the story that it was too late when I discovered there was a murderous clown in it. I have a HUGE dislike of clowns and always have. Why? Because THEY KILL PEOPLE! ~When I watched Stephen King's "It", I had nightmares. Don't Like Clowns At All.~ But, I finished "Life Expectancy", and it was a GOOD book, in spite of the clown.

I became a Nicholas Sparks fan when "The Notebook" came out. It's SUCH a great love story! As rough and tough as I can be, I still have a mushy side. ;) After I saw the movie, I *had* to read the book. I borrowed it from my mom and started reading it on my way from SC to NC when The Hub deployed last time. Normally I can't read in the car, but I was so into the story, I somehow escaped the usual car sickness that accompanies even trying to look at a map. I finished the entire book in less than five hours. I've read a few other Sparks' novels since then and plan to read "True Believer" next.

A few years ago, I bought "The Witching Hour" by Anne Rice. I thought, "Hey, the vampire movies based on her books ROCKED, so this HAS to be good!" To date, I've *tried* to read that thing about 4 or 5 times now. It was so slow in the beginning that I just couldn't get into it. I'd put it down, read something else, and come back to it after I'd forgotten what I'd read so far. This last time I got farther than ever before, but once again I put it down. This time, I was into the story, but I couldn't get past my revolt of the incest in it. When the one witch held her father prisoner so she could have sex with him to have a child of "pure blood", I knew I couldn't keep reading. So once again, I put it down. Who knows if I'll pick it back up again.

My grandma has tried to loan me some of her MANY Danielle Steele books over the years. Although I've never actually read one, I don't think they could hold my attention. If I could get a review from someone other than my very sweet and *still* naive, 78-year old southern belle grandmother, I might give one a chance. I couldn't love the woman more, but she still turns about 12 shades of red when "an ugly word" slips every once in a blue moon.

Today I picked up a non-fiction from the library. It's "Daddy was the Black Dahlia Killer" and is based on one of the co-author's memories of childhood that she had repressed for 40+ years. She claims that she witnessed her father murder Elizabeth Short, "The Black Dahlia" in 1947. Not sure if I'll like it or not, but I'll let you know.

Monday, September 04, 2006

What's in *your* wallet?

Okay, guys carry wallets. Chicks carry purses. Today's challenge topic was taken from the Capitol One commercial. Purses come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Sometimes I wonder what these women have in these teeny tiny little purses. Some women carry purses that could double as a suitcase. Those make me curious, too. I'll admit that I LOVE purses and have quite a collection. Cute little evening bags, giant, heavy duty ones, a sporty little "Nike" purse, and even one trimmed in feathers all have a home in my closet. Okay, I've NEVER used the feather one, but I keep it anyway. It was my mom's first knitting project after I taught her, so she made it for me.

My current fave in the group is a smallish, camo messenger bag-type purse with red and white embroidering and silver nailheads on the flap. It even has a nifty little pocket right there on the outside. It *would* be perfect for my cellphone if its leather cover didn't have a mondo belt-clip on it. Oh well, the little pocket holds my really bad habit instead. ;) I'm trying to design a new one in my head. I'm thinking a pink one. *gasp* I just realized that I don't have a PINK PURSE! *gasp, gasp* Or a PURPLE ONE!! Oh, that has to be rectified!

Anyway, getting back on track now. My purse is my lifeline. I'd be totally lost and never make an appt if not for that thing! I've referred to it as my source of power. Even though we've been married for almost nine years now, The Hub WILL NOT go into my purse for anything. Even if I ask him to bring me something out of it, he'll bring me the WHOLE purse.

So what's inside?

Well, aside from the usual wallet, checkbook, and keys, there's a whole conglomeration of miscellaneous "necessities" lurking in my purse.
~First and most important is my day planner. I tried keeping up with things on a palm pilot, but it was simply too much of a PITA. I have notes, lists, appointments, finances, and contact info for all my docs in there.
~Said palm pilot still hangs around in my purse, even though the cover broke off. It's basically a glorified address book now. The calculator comes in handy at times, and it has a few games, too, so it's worth hanging onto. It keeps me occupied if I find myself waiting somewhere unexpectedly.
~Compact and lipstick even though I rarely wear make-up.
~Breath mints AND drops b/c you can't go around with stinky breath.
~Ink pens (at least 3 in case two decide to die together)
~Feminine products, no matter what time of the month it *actually* is. I have a fear of being out in public when the much dreaded "Aunt Ruby" shows up. Plus, you never know when you might need to help another damsel in distress out!
~My Leatherman tool is an absolute MUST. It's a tool; it's a weapon for self-defense. What's not to love? Every woman should carry one.
~Cigarettes and a lighter. Even when there are no cigarettes, there's a lighter. You never know when you might get into a bind and need some fire. ;)
~Inevitably, there's always some piece of miscellaneous jewelry hanging around in the bottom. (a necklace, ring, or bracelet that was driving me a little bonkers or an earring that broke or lost its back)
~My cellphone. I NEVER leave home without it.

So there's a glimpse into my source of power. What's in yours?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Do we really want to re-live the '80's?

Today's blog topic is the 80's (or 70's or 90's, depending on your age). I was a child of the '80's. Looking back, the fashion and hairstyles were laughable. Yet, I see some of it sneaking back into the mainstream. *eek*

I wore my fair share of oversized rugby shirts with those pencil-legged jeans, WIDE belt at the hips, fluorescent shirts with matching socks and door-knocker earrings, and a watch to match every outfit. I never did the parachute pants, Michael Jackson leather jacket, or "Members Only" jacket, though. With my head lowered in shame, I admit that I did attempt the "Valley Girl" speak for a short time, even though I lived in southern Mississippi. I'm not proud of it, and hearing the "young girl accent" these days reiterates how absolutely ridiculous my friends and I must've sounded.

My absolute FAVORITE parts of the '80's were the hair bands and those Brat Pack movies. St. Elmo's Fire, The Breakfast Club (had a HUGE Judd Nelson crush), Pretty In Pink (*still* love Jon Cryer), Sixteen Candles (although now I wonder what the big deal was about "Jake Ryan"), The Outsiders, and Red Dawn all bring back so many memories. I still watch some of them EVERY time they come on TV, and I *still* think Patrick Swayze is way yummy. ;-D

When Pretty In Pink came out, Molly Ringwald's style meant that I had to have a whole new look. I'd describe an outfit or article of clothing to my mom, and she'd make it for me. Thank goodness she was (and is) such an amazing seamstress! If I couldn't find a pattern that was close to what I wanted, she'd MAKE a pattern and then the outfit. Thanks, Mom!

And those hair bands...I'll admit that I have one of those "Monster Ballads" CD sets, along with several other compilation CD's of Twisted Sister, Whitesnake, Great White, Motley Crue, and so many others. On the Pop scene, A-Ha and Tears For Fears were the be-all, end-all of bands in my eyes. It makes me feel old to find out that the soundtrack to my teens is now "Classic Rock".

The very first concert I went to was Whitesnake and Great White. It was 1988, and I went with a guy that I'd had a major crush on for about 3 years. Although I wasn't allowed to wear make-up, I had to look just right for that night. The wings and mile-high bangs were shellacked to the point that a hurricane couldn't move 'em! We had a great time, but I decided not long afterwards that I was little more than an ego boost to this guy. We never went out again.

I have good and bad memories of that decade, but who doesn't look back on their teen years that way? There's no way that I'd ever want to re-live those years, though. It was hard enough the first time!

Personal mantra(s)

Okay, I haven't been keeping up with the daily topic challenges over at The Red Lily. Bad Dee, no cookie. (Inside joke). Instead of trying to catch up on the last several days, I decided to pick the one topic that spoke to me the most, so here goes.

What is your Mantra(s)? How did you come by them? What mantra(s) did you have in the past that you have changed?

I have a few, and at times it seemed like repeating them was the only way to get thru things.

1. The Good Lord won't put more on me that He knows I can handle.

I've faced some really tough challenges in my lifetime. Rape, divorce, betrayal, being a non-custodial mom, my husband fighting in a war, loneliness, health issues, death of loved ones, and cancer, just to name a few. There were times where I felt like "I can't do this" and "I'll never get thru this", but telling myself this one little quote made all the difference. I don't go to church, but I have faith in God and I pray daily. In my younger years, I had the attitude of "Why me?" when difficult times came about.

Now, I look at each challenge and rough patch in the road as a chance to grow, become a stronger person, and hopefully set a good example for others. As my friends can attest to, personal strength is a HUGE thing to me. I know now that I could've never become a strong person without facing difficult and challenging times. Sometimes, I jokingly say that I wish the good Lord didn't have so much faith in me. But I know that He'll never bring me to something that He won't bring me through.

2. Bloom where you're planted.

I saw a cutesy little flowerbed decoration once with this quote on it, and it struck me as so profound that I never forgot it. As a matter of fact, I took it to heart and live it every day. Being a military wife, changes and moves are inevitable. There have been duty stations that I absolutely loved and others that I hated from the beginning. But because I'm the type to make the best of whatever life throws at me, this quote suits me to a "T". Our current duty station is a perfect example. I absolutely despise this town, and there are times when it feels like it's literally sucking the life out of me. I've had to repeat this mantra so many times over the past few months. I *make* myself look at the positive things this town/base have to offer. It's taken me longer than usual this time, but I'm determined to BLOOM here, not wither away.

3. The most important things in life aren't things.

I even painted this one on a wooden sign and hung it over my kitchen sink. In today's society, so many of us get wrapped up material things and keeping up with the Jones' that we forget what's *really* important. What's that old country song about "a 4-car garage and we're still building on...maybe it's time we got back to the basics of love"? In society's rat race and pursuits to have more and be more, family, God, and simple pleasures in life fall through the cracks.

One of my fondest memories of this past summer was sitting in our back yard watching The Hub jumping on the trampoline with our daughters. Another one was sitting on the floor at my Grandma's house and playing dominoes with my mom and my daughters. That's four generations of our family laughing and having a good time just *being* together. Another was walking along the beach looking for shells with The Hub.

Those who know me know how I LOVE landscapes, the sky, and nature. I have TONS of pictures of different landscapes I've seen in my life. The beauty of it all sometimes stops me in my tracks. When's the last time you stopped and really looked around you? Can you remember the last time you saw a gorgeous sunset and stopped to watch it for a while? Have you ever just picked a direction and drove just to see what was there? The Hub and I took off from South Carolina all the way to just outside Bristol, TN one weekend just because we'd never been there. We ended up in a small mining town that was tucked away in the mountains, and it was beautiful! If we'd never gone there, I'd have a few less mental pictures of quiet, serene landscapes decorating my memories.

How often do you get a chance to be totally alone in peace and quiet with your thoughts? So many people are so caught up in so many activities and going in twenty directions at once that they never just STOP and listen to their own breathing. We've become so rushed and hectic that we (in general) don't take time for ourselves. Do you really know YOU? Do you take care of yourself? I do. I like the woman I see looking back at me from the mirror. She's a pretty cool chick. ;)

I could go on and on about what's important in my life, but in an effort to not write a novel, I won't.

And last but certainly not least...

4. Friends are the family we get to choose.

We are born into and marry into our families, and often our relatives drive us absolutely bananas. But we love them and they ARE family, so whaddya do? But what about our friends?

I see my friends not simply as people I like and have things in common with. We confide in each other, cry on each other's shoulders, lift each other up, laugh together, hang out together, and so much more. We have our ups and downs and don't always agree on things. But we respect each other. We're there for each other NO MATTER WHAT. We love each other. These friends are my family that I *chose*.