Like smells, sounds can retrieve memories from long past or emotion times. A song played long ago at your wedding reception or at a parent's funeral service, or a top-ten hit played on the radio during your high school years can each trigger thoughts of those scenes the moment you hear them. I'll be writing more about music in a future topic.
Sounds can also be therapeutic. Sound and music therapy can help with meditation, relaxation and overall wellness. You might remember the Sounds of Nature displays at many department or grocery stores. I used to love to listen to all the samples they offered. Similar therapies are also being used to combat a variety of ailments, including stress, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, pain, high cholesterol, heart disease and risk of stroke. Even the hearing impaired can benefit from certain sound therapies through visual cues and "vibrotactile" feedback (listening to sound and music through vibrations in the body).
When I asked people what their favorite sound was, the most popular answers were what you might expect -- wind rustling through the trees, bird calls in the forest, babbling brooks and streams, crashing ocean waves and other of nature's sounds. For myself, I would add a few different favorites. Many of the most awe-inspiring sounds I have experienced have indeed been from nature, such as thunder from an approaching storm, a woodpecker pounding a tree in a forest, the freight-train roar of an approaching earthquake and the buzz of an almost invisible hummingbird zooming by. One of the more unusual came from deep inside a glacier in Alaska as a crack in the ice boomed thunderously in the bay to us, a hundred yards away. It reminded me of a frozen lake I was fishing on once as the sunshine began forcing the ice to crack from one shore to the other, only many times deeper in tone and more boisterous in force.
Even annoying noises can become part of your personal memory bank and hearing them again can result in pleasant reminiscing, such as the constant reverberation of a construction site you lived near during your first years as a couple, or the din of a cattle ranch you visited as a child, or even traffic noise outside of your corner office window. Go to a zoo and the cacophony of calls may send you back to a grade school field trip. A baby's cry may remind you of your first born, before you had your parental act together.
The long and the short of it is that sounds can make you smile. That happiness may come from the pleasantness of the tones, the comfort of the harmonies or the memories they conjure. I had some excellent comments about this subject and I'll share a few here. Some have been edited or paraphrased:
EXSSTR- The old babbling brook or a mountain stream is very a relaxing and soothing sound.
Tim and Susie Z.- One of my favorite sounds is chirping birds. They sound so happy, especially in the Spring and in the morning. Usually hubby can identify the bird by their song, so listening is more fun, and it's relaxing to watch the birds fly around, too.
Roving Renwick’s- My favorite is a steady rain on a tin roof with a faint train whistle in the background
P & J Bowen- Two years ago we traveled in the northwest and for four weeks had rain. I had no idea that rain could sound so different every place! It was wonderful to experience, especially coming from the desert!
Warren and Terry of NE PA- I like the sound of a distant train when its raining.
Jojo H.- Love it when tree frogs are chirping in the woods. That sound is very peaceful and relaxes me.
Bob P.- Love the birds singing in the morning and any sound that involves water. Being a Water sign, water seems to bring calm to my life.
Gig's Rig (David and Georgia)- Husband says the rumble of a diesel engine makes him happy. For me, I think, waves lapping on the shore. Oh, forgot wind chimes!!
Ed R. (OCREF)- I love the sound of waves lapping away against the hull of the boat!
BLSMSS- So many but for us, first thing would stop us in our tracks is the roar of military jets. Every time we hear them, we stop and see where they are and just listen. Of course, my husband is retired Air Force, and he says it’s “the sound of freedom”! We also love wind chimes, birds, water rolling in rivers or falls and especially laughter. It's soothing to the ears, knowing life is still going on with all this mess and the love in the hearts.
Dick and Rose K.- I love the sound of a patriotic melody. I love my country, despite it's many problems. I love the band music and lyrics of many of the "red, white, and blue" songs. I love the 4th of July, especially the music. I played in concert, in marching bands and in orchestras for over 50 years of my life. I played percussion and tympani. I love hearing a good band, especially outdoors. It fills my heart with bubbling enthusiasm.
Campingcoops (Andy & Karen)- A baby’s laughter makes me smile every time!
Bill22- The sound of rolling surf crashing on the beach brings me back to my youth living at the Jersey Shore.
Jim G.- An uncrowded beach and a forest so peaceful you only hear the chirping of birds.
Mery Popinz- Waterfalls are soothing to hear, mesmerizing to watch.
Shelley A.- I love the sound of nature. My number one sound that I adore is coqui. All of it is very peaceful to me. [Note: Per the National Wildile Foundation, a “coqui” is a small arboreal frog that’s brown, yellow, or green in color... the term refers to the sound of the call produced by males to attract females and repel other males during mating season. Breeding occurs throughout the year, but especially during the wet season (April to October).]
Cindy V.- I love listening to the sound of a running creek -- each sounds like a note to a different song.
Ayub B.- The sound produced by the wind passing through the trees gives me the feeling as if something had left my heart and is now returning back.
Nadyne H.- I have always loved the sound of wind in the tall pines. It so soothing and sounds like a big exhale.... one day at a time...
Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner astutely observed: "All of nature begins to whisper its secrets to us through its sounds. Sounds that were previously incomprehensible to our soul now become the meaningful language of nature."
Following a treasure map... that is what geocaching is like, except the "X" that marks the spot is given in GPS coordinates and the treasure might just be the thrill of the hunt.
Wikipedia defines geocaching as "an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world." Caches might be a large bin or lockbox, or a small coffee can, and "micro-caches" are often tiny pill bottles, matchboxes, spent bullet casings or plastic film containers. The contents, or "stash," usually consists of a small paper log and pencil for finders to check in and small trinkets, the odder the better. It has always been standard convention for seekers to take a trinket and leave one of their own, but many cache-hunters don't bother with either.
Whether you enjoy solving puzzles, exploring, hiking or just being outdoors, geocaching is something you may love. In these days of social isolation, it is an activity that can bring much happiness. We have found caches hidden inside hollow tree trunks, hanging from tree branches, wedged between boulders, stuck on the side of a steel utility box and stuffed into a support pole of a culvert's guard rail.
You may have heard of the Fenn's Fortune, a hidden treasure of $1 million that wealthy art and antiquities dealer Forrest Fenn hid somewhere in the Rocky Mountain wilderness in 2010. He then published a poem of clues in his autobiography and treasure seekers have been hunting for the cache ever since. It has now been reported that the treasure chest was found in New Mexico. I bring up Fenn's treasure because clues are now being used in geocaching more and more. You use the GPS coordinates to get close and then solving published clues or riddles help you to the cache itself.
Cache hunters use popular websites and apps like Geocache.com or ExpertGPS (formerly GeoBuddy) to get a list of caches in their vicinity, along with the GPS coordinates, otherwise people wouldn't know what was hidden in their area. These sites are used by the hiders as well so that seekers will be able to look for their stash. Once equipped with targets, hunters use their smartphones, GPS devices or car navigation to go to the coordinates. An included blurb normally gives a brief description of the cache and hints about where you might find it. Also important to us is how long it has been since the cache was last reported to be found. Weather, construction, vandals or other environmental influences can cause a cache to be missing completely, and the owner of the treasure might not know it yet. If something hasn't been reported found within the last year, we know chances are slim that we would find it in our own search.
A few widely-accepted rules help the process. Most geocaching sites will not allow burying a cache and you must not hide one on private property unless it has free public access and you have permission from the property owners. Similarly, it should not be hidden in dangerous spots, like halfway up a steep incline, on a cliff or in the middle of a stream, and parking should be available somewhere nearby. Many of these cache containers are painted green, which is allowed, but it can make it difficult to find in a tree or bush even if in plain sight. Popular sites and apps include a difficulty rating as well.
All of this so we can call out loud, "I found it!" No matter how frustrated we might get from failure, the next find more than makes up for it. Geocache hunting is also one of the few outdoor activities in which social distancing is built in. The search gets us outdoors and I often combine a photo shoot with the activity, doubling my enjoyment of the day.
There were fewer contributors of comments this time around, probably due to the number of people we know for which geocaching is a mystery. Here are some of the comments I've received (I've paraphrased or edited some of them):
Andrea A.- We had one experience at our Gunnison camp out. It was interesting to learn how to use our GPS coordinates to find the "treasure." Because several teams were searching, it was competitive and exciting. The reward is not the trinket found, but in the satisfaction of successfully figuring out the puzzle.
Kathy H.- Now that Fenn's Fortune has been found, I'm done for now! But he did once say that he wanted people to get out and explore nature and that the treasure was an incentive.
Nadyne H.- Geocaching is one of the perfect activities during a quarantine! We enjoy searching for geocaches in various places but since being in quarantine, it's just more interesting! Remember to take cleansing wipes with you so you can clean your hands after looking in each geocache and writing in the log.
Cindy V.- It is always a lot of fun!
Jeanne W.- I’m not good at it! Or my phone’s not good at it. Anyway, I had to cheat to find the one at the last camp out at Grape Creek (in Colorado). It was still great fun.
Kelsey K.- Geocaching has taken us to some cool places that we didn’t even know existed! The grandkids used to love to go with us!
Warren and Terry of NE PA- Geocaching brings you to areas you may not have known about, sometimes even in an area you're familiar with. Also, it gets me out for exercise and moving. I have a back problem that hurts more just sitting or standing in one place, so it's great to move around. These outings have also helped lose about 75 lbs. in 2 years.
Steviegcampingmachine- Been a cacher for 20 years, used to do it as a scout leader teaching kids how to use GPS. Get some miles on and see nature. Do it!
I'll finish with an oft-heard quote from frustrated cache seekers. "I love it when the cache owner says that it's easy to find. Sure, it's easy for them. They hid it!" --unknown
From the first moment I received my driver's license when I was a 16-year-old kid in Southern California, the back roads were calling me. Perhaps that was because of the city life, or perhaps I longed to be free from the congestion of L.A. traffic. One thing was sure, once I took off for my first exploration of the Mojave desert, I always tried to avoid Interstates and major highways.
Now, freeways do have a great purpose -- they get you from point A to point B in the fastest time possible, even if some of that time is spent in bumper-to-bumper traffic. On a long trip, to completely avoid Interstates may add days to the journey, maybe not a problem if you are retired but definitely a consideration if just on vacation. You can always count on gas stations, truck stops and fast food, not to mention bathrooms, along a freeway or highway, not so much on the less-traveled roads. However, on the freeways, what you miss!
Dictionary.com defines a back road as "a little-used secondary road, especially one through a rural or sparsely populated area." The "rural" part is what makes it fun. From forest roads of Colorado to country hamlets of Upstate New York, to Texas' narrow "farm-to-market" routes to Oregon's scenic coastal byways, the pure pleasure of seeing nature, wildlife, country living, farmland and quaint Main Streets is totally absent from a jaunt on I-70 or I-95.
Certainly half the fun of parking our fifth wheel in a new (for us) region of the country, even during the pandemic's "stay-in-place" orders, is exploring from our truck without any destination in mind (we often self-quarantine in the pickup), and our satellite navigation system almost completely insures we won't get lost. The quirky "World's Largest" items in rural towns, the awe-inspiring fields of kinetic sculptures, the pure majesty of a redwood forest or a rugged coastline, the jaw-dropping views of the tallest jagged peaks, or a thunderstorm you can see fifty miles away, all of these things are experiences most likely missed on an Interstate highway. I take most of my photos of landscapes, wildlife, wildflowers and interesting rural scenes on these expeditions on back roads.
Something interesting to do, which we plan on attempting in the future, is to take US Routes 66 and 20 from end to end. The famous Route 66 was one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System and begins and ends in Santa Monica, CA, to the west and Chicago, IL, to the north. Most of us have been on parts of this historic highway already, but few have taken it from start to finish. Likewise, Route 20 is truly coast-to-coast, spanning 3,365 miles with endpoints in Boston, MA, and Newport, OR. Our living in Western New York gave us glimpses of this rural highway and we saw much of the western portion when we camped in Oregon last year. Both of these routes have been usurped in some sections by freeway, and it can be quite a task to try to stay on the original routes as much as possible, but even that can be fun (if you like maps and navigation).
I received several great comments about back roads and here are some of them (I've edited or paraphrased some):
Sonny and Linda- We drive on anything but Interstates. I am retired and I am in no hurry.
Denster- I like the back roads. So much to discover, explore and enjoy at a nice easy pace.
RicU- I used to ride motorcycles. Back roads are more fun for sure.
Nadyne H.- I really enjoy the backroads we've gone on. I admit that some of them have caused me some angst, but ultimately I'm happy that we've done it. There's certainly more to see, places we'd never have seen if we stuck only to the paved roads. I grew up with a father who always had a 4-wheel-drive vehicle and took great joy in the roads less traveled. He even enjoyed making his own backroads!
Ayub B.- Back Roads bring forth melancholous thoughts, a mysterious feeling of being in harmony with the surroundings, as if this is where we had originally come from!
David V.- I love to see what's there and where it takes you!
Canadian Hellie- I love riding the back roads for the nature, the slower pace, less traffic and more things to view and to discover. But, at this moment; it's to relocate a groundhog. This is the second one and we have also relocated a skunk. Critters; they love it here.
BLSMSS- Back roads were where I learned how to drive as well as teaching my kids to drive. No traffic, had to go slow due to dust. Also loved to find beautiful flowers like Blackeyed Susan’s. The smell of the trees, such as pines and nature in general. Just calm and relaxing.
Al G.- I love riding the back roads and 4X4 roads, especially in Colorado. My last off-roading was near Tin Cup, if I remember correctly.
Tom & Trish- Off the beaten path, dirt roads are a complicated mixed emotions for me. June 10th is my mother's birthday. She would have turned 90 this year. The reason I bring her up is because of an eight-mile stretch of well-graded dirt road we lived on in the Ozarks when I was growing up. One of 22 places we called home in 6 states by the time I turned 16. That dirt road cut through a 300-acre farm in Sheepskin Valley. Our nearest neighbors were an elderly couple a mile down the dirt road, back toward the blacktop, town and school. You could sit on the porch on a cool, calm evening and listen to the conversation they were having a mile away. We were the last house on the school bus route, the party line phone, and electric. I think of that 8-mile stretch as an impenetrable barrier to the outside world, often impassable after heavy rains or winter ice storms. It separated me from my friends. In turn that 8-mile batch of dirt brought me and my family to one of the most pristine places I've lived or visited. And I've visited most of the lower 48 states and Puerto Rico. So now when I see a dirt road leading off the blacktop I wonder where does that lead? Who lives down that road? What's down that dirt path to explore, discover, be amazed by? And happy birthday, Mom. I know you hated that unforgiving dirt road you wrecked the beautiful '57 Buick wagon on -- the one dad used to haul the little travel trailer behind -- to escape down that 8-mile stretch of dirt road, out to another world, a world I wished we explored more when I was growing up.
Pat M. S.- Your blog photos prove that you can't get "lost" when you have a full tank of gas. I adore driving on back roads. Nature and wildlife abound on back roads.
My ending quote for this topic comes from Down Under, where Australian writer Robyn Davidson said, "By taking to the road, we free ourselves of baggage, both physical and psychological. We walk back to our original condition, to our best selves."
Hardly any waking moment goes by when I'm not using the Internet in some way. That got me to thinking about it, my 30+ years in IT notwithstanding. Life as we know it would not be possible without the Internet. First, a short history might be in order.
[Some of the following was paraphrased from Wikipedia]
Early packet switching networks [a "packet" of data is what computers use to communicate with each other and around a network] such as the NPL network, ARPANET, Merit Network, and CYCLADES in the early 1970's researched and provided data networking. The ARPANET project and international working groups led to the development of protocols for inter-networking, in which multiple separate networks could be joined into a network of networks, which produced various standards.
Research was published in 1973 that evolved into the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), the two protocols of the Internet protocol suite. [You've probably seen "TCP/IP"]
In the early 1980's the National Science Foundation funded national supercomputing centers at several universities in the United States and provided interconnectivity in 1986 with the NSFNET project, which created network access to these supercomputer sites for research and academic organizations in the United States. International connections to NSFNET, the emergence of architecture such as the Domain Name System, and the adoption of TCP/IP internationally marked the beginnings of the Internet.
Commercial Internet service providers (ISPs) began to emerge in the very late 1980s. The ARPANET was decommissioned in 1990 and the NSFNET was decommissioned in 1995, removing the last restrictions on the use of the Internet to carry commercial traffic. Commercial entities began marketing Internet access, content design, telephone and communications platforms, search engines and sales platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, and all the other hugely successful web companies all owe that success to the National Science Foundation and ARPANET.
Today, the uses of the Internet are as numerous as the number of people on the planet. The top dozen most common uses, according to several reporting sites, are email, research, downloading files, discussion groups, interactive games, education and self-improvement, movie/music/video streaming, friendship and dating, electronic newspapers and magazines, politicking, job hunting and shopping. Specific uses can be inferred from this list, such as virtual health appointments, maps and navigation, virtual meetings and teleconferencing, social media and long-distance family interactions.
Like most people, there are times when I think the Internet is a pain, allowing anyone with a brain and access to spout any ideology they see fit, and the brain part may seem lacking. However, just maintaining long-distance family relationships can make all the difference in someone's life. The COVID-19 pandemic and the latest social injustice are two examples of events that bring us together utilizing the one communications service that seems to have been developed for just such occasions.
Would I be a published author without the Internet? Chances are slim. How easily could I share my 30,000 photos with the public? I've often referred to the Internet as my virtual memory, with nearly everything I would ever want to know at my fingertips. My blog would like never have happened either, nor our supplementing our income while living in an RV on the road. Like I said, life like we know it would simply not be possible.
Like always, I received some interesting comments to include in this article. I've edited and paraphrased some of them:
BLSMSS- The Internet makes me happy when it works! We have some tech tools that we use and if our internet isn’t working like it should, nothing gets done.
Kevin, Yvonne & 4 Doxies- We love the availability of information.
Becca R.- The internet makes me happy because we can stay in touch more face-to-face (via screen viewing) with family and friends during our traveling adventures. The internet has been really important during the ‘Rona as it has also allowed working from ‘home’ on a special project for Telehealth patients in need.
See Spot Run RV- The Internet just makes things easier. We use it on a regular basis for directions and to find attractions in new areas. We move to new locations every couple weeks so it helps us find things to explore. The Internet also allows us to share pictures and adventures with friends and family. I can send an explanation of what we did for the week with pictures to 50 people with one click. It can help us find people or places. We can get medical advice or advice on how to fix our coach and other information. It is just very useful.
Habadabeer- How did we tackle maintenance issues before the Internet!? I’ll bet there’s a dozen YouTube how-to videos for every repair I’ve had to make! Water pump, water heater, pilot light, generator starter solenoid, dually differential seals, pleated shades strings... you name it, I found somebody to walk me through the fix! The extensive knowledge base is something younger generations might take for granted, but it sure gives a level of freedom, confidence, and independence to what is already a daunting enterprise. You don’t have to be an expert in all fields, just good enough in the field of information searching to find an expert for your current problem. It’s hard to beat the feeling of accomplishment from completing a challenging task. Like Brian from “RV With Tito” says: “I fixed it my damn self, and it works!”
Elsiesmom (Candy)- My purse used to be the thing. Five minutes after getting rescued from near death I discovered that the smart phone is now the thing and the Internet made the smart phone possible. I love the internet because of the little computer in my pocket that can be replaced and restored within hours if necessary, unlike the contents of a purse which takes apparently two decades, give or take.
MieschLyn- Zoom app gets my vote. Recently had a 99th birthday party/family reunion with my Mom in a nursing home thru Zoom. It was the only way we could visit her! How awesome is that?
Ed R. (OCREF)- The Zoom app is a great tool! From computer internet, to smart phone, I'm able to host and do weekly meetings with all my managers, in my business, my Kiwanis Club members, members, officers from other clubs and my monthly Kiwanis Division, District and Membership meetings. Like I said, I think it's a great tool!
John And Debbie M.- Search engine!
Brenda and Bob- Taking a Fork in the Road- The internet does not make me happy, however having access to local information does. I need a haircut and found a local salon that is open, yeah! We also try and find local hiking/biking trails in the local area that provide behind the scenes natural and geological beauty.
WeMustRV- The Internet allows me to have my office anywhere in this beautiful country.
Mark & Anneliese H.- Well, I have learned a lot since I got a PC and Internet, one being that I learned to spell English and or translate it to German, major feat, plus that is how I got my hubby, he had to fix my total mess all the time, so he said it would be easier if he just married me!
Nadyne H.- I love the internet for the many ways it has enriched my life. *I got to know my husband in the early years of the Internet. We got to know each other for over a year only on the Internet and phone. *When our youngest granddaughter was born in England, she knew who I was by our Internet visits everyday. I even enjoyed hugs and kisses via video visit. *Internet access enables us to work from our RV while we travel all over the US. Without Internet access we couldn't live our dream. There are many other reasons I love the Internet but these are huge! The personal, life enriching ways it has helped me live some dreams.
Ayub B.- The Internet is the kind of net with which we feel simultaneously handcuffed and also free.
John H.- Being able to look up the thing you sort of remember but just can't quite recall more than the tiniest detail.
My closing quote for this topic is from Tom Wolfe, an American journalist, who said, "Once you have speech, you don't have to wait for natural selection! If you want more strength, you build a stealth bomber; if you don't like bacteria, you invent penicillin; if you want to communicate faster, you invent the Internet. Once speech evolved, all of human life changed."
Decorating and redecorating has been a passion of mine for decades. One of the most exciting things about moving into a new house (or new to us) is the prospect of a clean slate and letting my creative juices flow. We've lived in almost a dozen apartments, townhouses and houses since we've been together, and each one needed decor.
It's not just the end result that is satisfying, it's also the process leading up to it. I never had formal training in home decor or interior design. It's something that seems to come naturally to me, somewhat like my photography.
Moving into our fifth wheel full-time was a real adventure in home decor, having to juggle space and comfort and create a living space. That's quite different from using an RV for weekends.
Some see redecorating as a personal project to design and implement, some as a relief from a boring or stale existence. There are those who see it as a tedious task that might be slightly more than a necessity. Others see decorating as a totally creative endeavor. No matter the purpose, beautiful outcomes can be exceedingly rewarding.
I received a few terrific responses on this topic from friends and followers,. Here are some of those (I've edited or paraphrased some):
WendyJo S.- The first thought in my mind about replacing my flooring is that I would be happy because then my floors would be as I prefer. The second thing to make me happy would be potential added value to my house. Third, then my dog could be in house more because I have white carpet, and I love my dog. Fourth, it would give me a sense of accomplishment, which always makes me happier than being stagnant and or settling for things I don’t care for!
Pat H.- My favorite part of redecorating is emptying a room of clutter and starting fresh. The polished feeling after all the hard work is so calming.
Nadyne H.- I like the new, clean, feel of the redecorated space. I love the results of new paint, or eye-wash, best. Everything feels new again. Since moving into our 5th wheel, I have missed moving the furniture around.
Holly C.- Change ... change makes me happy
Mary Ann S.- My daughter and son in law just installed new flooring, stairs and all of upstairs. When they're happy, I'm happy! Family matters a lot especially when times are tough.
Shelley A.- Knowing I did iit myself makes me happy. Making the updates to something fresh and new is good for the soul!
Donna B.- I love the design process and then seeing my vision come to fruition.
Linda H.- There is nothing brings me joy like decorating a home. It makes it a home that fits my personal likes and comforts. When successfully completed it should make living in the home welcoming and comfortable for uniquely you. When I bought my place in 2018, I knew the layout fit me but it needed cleanup and updating. My whole goal was to accomplish a place I want to come home to, settle in and never want to leave. I have just that! I thank God every day I get to live here. It brings me peace, comfort and security to be here. That's what decorating does for me. Unlike most, I'm very spacial and know just what feels right to me when I find it, so it becomes very personal and satisfying. Ten years from now I'll feel the same way about it as I do when I got done. Then I'll hate any change -- when it's right for me, it's right.
Ayub B.- Home decorating or redecorating is like watering a sapling in your garden which brings freshness, multiplies joy and kills the boredom.
BLSMSS- We love our Toy Hauler, but things have changed in the way we were doing things, so we will be redoing our kitchen and living room. We want to make it more ours and not like our neighbors. We need little more storage and an easier flow. We will be bringing more color. We put up curtains and added carpet for that, but need touch more. We have replaced door knobs as they were hitting each other.
Kevin, Yvonne and 4 Doxies- Simple decoration is best for us -- full length over the door hanger mirror with Command Strips or double sided Velcro to steady.
Patte M.- I love the results of redecorating. My background has been in fabricating home decor stuff like upholstery, window treatments, pillows, etc. What I love most and what makes me happy is the bonding time with my sewing machine and manipulating fabrics. The results are a side effect.
D. Clark- Happiness is building a RV from empty trailer. Creating something from nothing is very satisfying.
See Spot Run RV- Several things I like about remodeling -- the challenges that come with a project, then the learning process of what it takes to do the job with quality. The change is always exciting and the final project is rewarding. I will say they usually come in over budget but we have always been happy with the results.
To complete this discussion, I'll quote American businessman Gary Hamel, who said, "As human beings, we are the only organisms that create for the sheer stupid pleasure of doing so. Whether it's laying out a garden, composing a new tune on the piano, writing a bit of poetry, manipulating a digital photo, redecorating a room, or inventing a new chili recipe - we are happiest when we are creating."
When I was ten, we moved across the city to a house on a triangular lot with plenty of back yard. When I was twelve I convinced my mom to let me take the far corner space behind a fence and grape vines, overgrown with weeds and the neighbor's ivy, and till it for a vegetable garden. I grabbed my ten- and eight-year-old brothers and my seven-year old sister, leaving the younger kids out, and we all went out and worked that dirt until it was clear and and ready to plant, making sure we didn't disturb the old rhubarb plant. My mom told me how to make raised rows to plant seeds in, leaving lower rows for watering and we excitedly bought the seeds at the hardware store.
We planted radishes, zucchini, carrots, iceberg and green-leaf lettuce, bell peppers, sweet corn and pumpkins. The two weeks or so waiting for the first signs of growth felt like the week before Christmas -- like it would never arrive. When it finally did, all us kids kept it weeded and watered until we began harvesting our bounty. Did they ever taste great! A couple of months after the final veggies were taken, I was looking through the garden, reminiscing and planning for the next planting, I noticed something odd under the zucchini bushes. I reached down and pulled out a the biggest zucchini I had ever seen, probably two feet long and six inches wide. Evidently every one of us had missed this one on our multiple picking sessions.
Over the years I've lived in several houses, planted many a garden and grown dozens of fruit trees. The satisfaction of successful blooms and the birds, butterflies and hummingbirds they draw to us is like no other feeling. It is especially gratifying when you have selected the perfect mixture of colors, heights, and duration of flowers, shrubs and grasses for the intended space. Even full-time on the road I put out feeders to draw birds to us, and when we finally settle down in a home base, gardens will be cultivated.
I received several great responses on this topic and here are some of them (I've edited or paraphrased some):
Ayub B.- Gardening is a pleasure, be it for food or otherwise. Seeing the plants grow and unfolding new mysteries with every passing day is always no less an excitement. Gardening takes one close to nature, a feeling of being one with nature, a silent dialogue with nature.
Cathy R.- I love the smell of dirt. Pulling weeds is cathartic for me -- I can't do it with gloves. I need my bare hands in the dirt. My mom used to hate that I stayed so dirty all the time, but that's when I was happiest. Standing in the sun, wiping the sweat from my brow, admiring the work I've accomplished, kinda makes me feel like a pioneer woman. My mom used to use pulling weeds as punishment. I got in trouble a lot, sometimes on purpose.
Phyllis J. G.- Dig in the dirt. Plant a seed. Watch it grow. So satisfying.
Don L.- We garden for food, although it's not cost effective. The tomatoes are flowering and the green peppers are growing nicely. We also grow a lot of mint types because, well, just because. Keeps the bugs down.
Theresa W.- Gardening is just in my blood -- I don't know exactly how to explain it. It's therapeutic, a way of life for me. I am at severe unease if I can't be piddling in the yard. There is nothing that can beat digging your bare hands into the dirt and preparing it for planting, whether for flowers, veggies or herbs. You walk outside and you just can't help yourself. It brings so much peace.
BLSMSS- Right now I have one plant, but when I had my house, I had a beautiful garden. I had roses, glads, bleeding hearts, several types of lilies, mums, irises, and also a small garden with peppers, cucumbers, beans, squash, tomatoes, cilantro, basil, and around the corner, pumpkins. I miss the beauty and smell of the flowers, the hummingbirds and butterflies searching for nectar. The only thing I disliked was the bees. We did find a new species of moth we never had seen, just before we sold our house. It’s called a hummingbird moth -- strangest thing. I had to look it up. It brings back memories of helping my mom plant her flowers and garden. We had an handmade cultivator we sat on for weight as my mom would pull it to make rows. My mom's gardens were massive. Great memories.
Elsiesmom (Candy)- I garden for food when I’m stationary. I gotta have flowers for pollination -- flowers are food for bees and butterflies. It’s the rhythm and quiet of being in the garden I enjoy most. The beauty of cultivating the garden always draws me back in.
See Spot Run RV- When we had a home we loved garden. Different things made us happy about gardening. First, we just loved to get in the dirt and make something out of nothing. Flowers always added beauty, veggies are always better when grown yourself and my favorite was the herbs. I can't believe how much better, more flavorful, that home-grown herbs are -- you use so much less. They all create a sense of accomplishment and pride. All this doesn't even take into account the nutritional value of home-grown food. Love to garden!!
Dawg House- Ah, the house days. Never could do the gardening for food thing -- the squirrels were faster at harvesting than I was. I did like to plant with a mix of elements just to keep the yard interesting year round.
Outofsightadventures- I tend to enjoy things that flower throughout the year. At our sticks-and-bricks house our back and front yards were full of many tropical flowering plants. We also had a pretty extensive orchid collection. I guess I love the feeling I would get when my plants would thank me with a gift of blooms. I brought a few of my plant babies with me on the road... I couldn’t help myself!
Pat S. K.- I love flowering plants. They bring so much color and joy to a yard. When I travel I have two tiny vases that I try to pick little flowers for when I'm staying somewhere. I also have a portable vase that lies flat when not in use and fills up like a regular vase when you need one for a volume of flowers. I love it.
The word "photography" comes from the Greek phrase “Drawing the Light”. We all know that photography in the 19th century was cumbersome and time-consuming, and required technicians trained in the art form. But the photograms and photographs taken in those decades have provided an incredible and invaluable window into life back then. Color photos began to be produced by the mid 1880's and the first widely-used color process hit the market in 1907.
When cameras were developed that used roll film, photography became more widespread and amateurs were able to experience the joy of the hobby. Some were good enough or wealthy enough to go pro, which required more elaborate and expensive equipment. That's still somewhat true today, with the biggest difference between talented amateurs and professional photojournalists being the cost of their camera ensemble. Of course, today nobody uses film. For the younger readers, film was a medium that was placed inside of the camera, which was subjected to the light from the camera lens to produce either a film negative or slide positive image. Film then had to be developed to produce paper photographs. Now, the use of digital photography is prevalent everywhere -- cameras, phones, watches, tablets, even dashboards in cars and trucks.
Photographs, whether paper or digital, are useful for documenting family history and events, for capturing memorable times and places, for documenting a person's life from birth to death. It is also quite valuable in capturing moments in nature, often providing views few individuals would ever otherwise see. Landscapes, cityscapes, oceanscapes, and skyscapes make up an incredible library of earth-based galleries, and for the past 50 years, outer space has provided a plethora of planet shots and other scenes from the universe.
I once wrote a blog piece about why I prefer still photos over video. (See "In many ways, photos can offer more than video") In that article I explain that video is spoon-fed to viewers, always making them focus on the movement and thinking about what the videographer intends. Photographs give a viewer time to think, time to explore the picture, time to remember similar sights, time to see what they can see. Even though I've been recording video lately, I continue to feel it's true.
My favorite? I love historic photos and magnificent landscapes, and I love to shoot abandoned buildings, birds, wildflowers, sunrises, sunsets and vivid shots of nature. I like family photos for their nostalgia, but still prefer nature.
As usual, several of my friends and followers have offered their opinions and memories on this topic. Here are some of the great comments I received (I've edited or paraphrased some):
Shelley A.- I like the memories, although I rarely take photos.
Cindy V.- Love the unique. Ones that only an artist sees the beauty.
Jeanne W.- Photos take me back to times of joy and fun. They also keep me connected in a way to family and friends who are far from me. Seeing their pictures connects me emotionally with them and usually thoughts of love and good times. Of course they sometimes bring back sad times as well, times of regret. But all of that is part of life and photos remind me of a life well lived.
Sharon M.- My family has always taken photographs of everything, a big part of my life. I only realized just how important those photographs were after losing almost all of my family photographs in a fire. The only 'survivors' were in a box of loose photos/negatives and miscellaneous items that got put in the travel trailer rather than the storage unit they were supposed to have been in. I truly treasure those few photos and am so thankful for those survivors. My favorite, I think ... my grandfather, when he was 80 years old, on the last horse he had raised and trained at the ranch. I would have been 12 when I took his picture with my first camera, a Brownie box camera.
Andrea A.- I love people photos. They're a timeline for the ones I know, giving insight to who we were in the former stages of our lives. They're often a vision of human emotion and experience, even of people I've never met. Portraits can capture joy, pain, love, grief, kindness, evil, despair, strength with no words necessary.
Cathy R.- I have a favorite pic of my youngest. It was when she was finally healed after her kidney transplant. Such joy!
Tony P.- I love the landscapes that I shoot, a reminder of where I've been. Sunrise's and Sunsets, like one particularly beautiful sunrise on Key Largo back in November.
Nadyne H.- Photos that are current - our kids, grandkids, great grandkids - whether current or from the past, bring me immediate happiness. I find myself smiling so hard it almost hurts. That immediate joy is especially important to me now with all the uncertainty in my life. Photos from my past of my parents, siblings, grand parents, cousins, aunts and uncles give me a nostalgic peace. Happy memories yes, but also can bring me some sadness as I miss those people and the times we spent together.
L.D. Clark- Remembering how much of it I remember since I was a child 70 yrs ago.
BLSMSS- Looking at older pictures makes me happy that I had the picture to bring back those happy times of who I was with and what I was doing -- seeing joy, fun and adventure with my family and friends. It also brings a sadness of who I have lost in those pictures, but great memories.
Kevin, Yvonne & 4 Doxies- Looking at the pictures evoke memories of the time the picture was taken, usually good memories
Tami and Barry “Cruising in Our Cabin”- When I look at a photo of days of old, it draws me right back to the sounds and smells of that moment, me in my scarf, the squeal I made when I caught my first fish, the smell of that fish on my hands, and how gross it was to gut it. The memories just flood back in and it’s as if it just happened yesterday. Yes, a photograph really is worth more than a thousand words.
Habadabeer- My favorite photos are the ones that captured moments I’d completely forgotten. The sudden “oh my God!” moment of shock of surprise and is for me as joyful and precious as an uncontrolled belly laugh! It beats the typical nostalgic reaction hands down.
TheClearyClan- Pictures can be sorted into two categories: 1) pictures you take, so your memories, and 2) pictures others take. The second category could be news photos, historic photos, other people's vacation photos (all 10,000 from the last two weeks that YOU WILL SEE after dinner). For me the pictures I take help refresh memories. Pictures others take I find interesting because they take me to places and times I have not been.
Maui_Boy (Earl J.)- My love of photography began in 1973 as a means to document places and events that I visit with my wife-to-be... It has grown to be helping others share and remember their own adventures since I have grown to love capturing images of people having fun and offering to share it with them... for free. I call myself a Good Will Documentarian, but not accepted by all, it appears.
My initial visit to Brandon, Florida, to visit with my daughter and grand-daughter, took me to a public park where I offered my photos to a young couple with three or four children having a grand time. They took exception to my efforts, called the police and demanded I delete the photos from my camera. A policeman arrived and tried his best to walk me to my car, but I stood my ground and indicated I'd rather stay. He tried his best to get me to admit it was a bit creepy, except that I was wearing an international orange long-sleeved shirt, a photo vest, and carrying a DSLR with a 200 mm lens on a monopod. So, yes, I admitted that it might seem creepy to some but anyone who saw me shouldn't have had any doubt about why I was there. He finally left me alone and had to exit the park with me accompanying him. My granddaughter and I met that same officer in a sandwich shop later in the day. In our banter I told him that I had finally figured out why the couple had reacted as they did. The park I was in was a park for disabled and handicapped kids. He didn't realize that himself. I told him I'd find another park... so, no more calls about me, in that park anyhow.
There is no one better to quote about photography than the ultimate landscape photographer and environmentalist, Ansel Adams: "To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces and record the qualities of nature and humanity which live or are latent in all things."
Devil's food cake with dark chocolate frosting -- that's my all-time favorite dessert. Like most people, I've had a love affair with the cocoa bean as long as I can remember. Why do we love chocolate so?
Quora.com explains it this way: "The basic fact that chocolate tastes good and we enjoy eating it means that the body releases dopamine during chocolate consumption. ... Chocolate also contains theobromine, a chemical known to increase heart rate and energy, as well as arousal." Dopamine is the same chemical our brains release during sex, an adventurous experience or an especially gregarious laugh. Enough said.
Lovers give chocolate when jewelry just won't do. Rich chocolate pairs with red wine splendidly, each enhancing the other and bringing an almost euphoric reaction to the taste. For good reason, a box of chocolates ("You never know what you're going to get.") is a staple for Valentines Day and for any husband in the doghouse. Only chocolate or chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream will do for binging after a break-up. Attend any convention's social hour and watch the crowd gather around the chocolate fountain with glee.
It's been proven that white chocolate does not affect the brain the same as its brown counterpart and that you generally don't crave sweeter chocolate more than other types. In fact, chocolate that is less sweet also has less calories, and dark, smooth, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate can change your outlook on your whole day.
All I know is that were Hershey, Ghirardelli and Mars were to all shut down at once, no pandemic could match our collective reaction.
Several of my friends and followers have offered their thoughts and favorite chocolates for this post. Here are some of the great comments I received (I've edited or paraphrased some):
Pat B.- Chocolate Molten Cake from Chilis. It’s soooo good.
Kathi B.- Chocolate, how do I love you ? Let me count the ways. It pairs great with red wine or berries or oranges or make a mole sauce richer. So decadent and makes any celebration that much more special.
Nadyne H.- While I'm not a huge fan of chocolate, I have a couple great chocolate memories! I remember my dad always had a little crystal candy dish next to his chair filled with semi sweet chocolate chips. He snacked on those all day! The last time I saw my mother alive was at a nursing home I checked her into to rehab her hip. I had a hot fudge sundae waiting for her when she was rolled into her room. I think she was happier seeing that than seeing me! When I said good-bye, I turned around and looked back at her sitting there with her bib on, her smiling mouth covered in hot fudge! I remember thinking that I'd never see her that happy again. I was right...
Jennifer C.- I like all chocolate no favorites it all depends on my mood, but having a birthday on Halloween you know we ate a lot of chocolate!!! My brother and I share that birth date and we always got more candy because the neighbors all knew it was our birthday.
Campingcoops- I’m not picky, I love all things chocolate. It is my COMFORT food. Makes any day better!
Lindsay (The Photographic One)- Chocolate always got me through tough times at work. Whenever I had particularly challenging projects, the company president would bring me bags of Dove chocolate. For me it is a major food group.
Outofsightadventures- I am not a huge fan of chocolate, however, I do occasionally enjoy a square or two of 72% chocolate... It’s like a fine wine.
Bruce & Linda (Omnibus)- Linda likes a small piece of good quality dark chocolate; me, not so much. I prefer chocolate as an accompaniment -- chocolate dipped strawberry, apricot, or pineapple; chocolate sauce on a (vegan) ice cream sundae; almond M&M; etc. A friend used to make chocolate drizzled popcorn as a holiday gift, equal parts dark and white chocolate drizzle.
Ladybugg- I love most things chocolate... but my absolute favorite is Ferrero Rocher in the gold wrapper. It doesn't get any better than that for me!
BLSMSS- I have a chocolate dessert when I do my wine parties -- it is as fine as wine, and both are better!
Donna H.- My favorite is chocolate meringue pie! My grandmother used to make this and it reminds me of her and her cooking skills each time I eat a slice... or a pie!!
My ending quote for this topic comes from British comedian Tommy Cooper: "My wife said, 'Take me in your arms and whisper something soft and sweet.' I said, 'chocolate fudge.'"
According to Wikipedia, "the first known agricultural show was held by Salford Agricultural Society, Lancashire, in 1768." Lancashire is a county in a far northern section of England. Agricultural shows evolved to country fairs and in America, they are mostly state and county fairs. These fairs usually include a livestock show and auction, a trade fair, competitions among local residents, and entertainment, including live music by local artists and headliners, a carnival and what is now called "fair food." Often a rodeo is held in conjunction with the fair, and we've even seen auto racing, monster truck shows and demolition derbies get in on the event calendars.
We usually avoid state fairs because they are usually quite a bit more crowded than their county cousins. It is especially fun to visit rural, small-town fairs. The entertainment is not normally national headlining acts, but I have seen Roger Miller, the Smothers and Righteous Brothers (awesome combination), Little River Band, Anne Murray and other previously big-time artists in the smaller venues.
Otherwise, my favorite sections in the fair are the animals being shown and the collections of all kinds, including the most random things you can think of. Besides the usual (rocks, gems, quilts, stamps and coins), we've seen Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind memorabilia, antique camping gear, and even dryer lint. You just never know what you're going to see. The locals yearning to win a ribbon is not just a cliché. Many spend all year to compete in their chosen hobby, be it baking, sewing, pickling, floral arrangement or other skill, and it usually shows.
Fair food has created its own genre, and many fairs compete with the craziest things they could batter and deep fry. The last one we attended had just begun to serve deep-fried beer and deep-fried butter. Often, though, fair favorites are fresh corn-on-the-cob, funnel cakes, corn dogs and the always popular barbecued turkey legs. Some people attend fairs just for the food.
When my kids were young, the carnival at the county fair was in the front of their minds from the time it first showed on TV commercials during summer until we took them in September when it was finally open. These traveling shows were a bit scary to adults, especially the carneys working the rides and booths, but the kids always had a blast, getting on as many amusement park rides that we could afford.
If you don't mind neighbors, animals, walking or high-calorie food, there isn't much that is more enjoyable than a day at the fair. I highly recommend it!
As usual, I received some great input about country fairs by my friends and followers. Here are some of those comments, though I have edited or paraphrased some of them:
Carolynne S.- I have always liked fairs they are great to see.
Jennifer C.- Fair food!!!!! Going to the fair as a kid was always fun but as an adult I only go for the food and to see the animals
Karen E.- My favorite a few years ago was the Sterling Fair in Massachusetts watching an ox-pulling contest where additional cement weights were added to carts strapped to oxen.
Rod G.- Music! My wife and I attend 2-4 country music concerts at the Washington State Fair every year. The fair is large enough that there are interesting exhibits and the concert-goers usually arrive early to walk the grounds and eat interesting foods that they might otherwise not even try. Also the concert-goers are a large enough percentage of the total crowd that they create an air of excitement and electricity to make the experience very enjoyable. The fair always books some of the biggest names in country music.
BLSMSS- Visiting county fairs bring back many memories as when I was younger and taking my children to them and watching them have fun. My fondest memories are seeing old friends from school and near towns and their families. It’s a time to catch up on old friends.
Sonny and Linda- When I was a kid, my parents would go to the county fair. Our county was a farming county and I actually liked the smells of the livestock barns. The canning displays with the ribbons was a sight to see. I liked the horse-pulls and the tractor-pulls. At some point, my dad would buy me a corn dog and hot chocolate. Yum, yum!
Kay G.- My fondest memory was watching my younger brother and his friend playing dueling drums (instead of dueling banjos of popularity). They both set up their drum sets and they won. My favorite was the barns with the animals and the exhibits and the fairway with the food.
Ray & Ann- When we had a fiber farm we did the county fairs. It always amazed us when teachers brought the kids through, they didn't know what they were talking about, and I guess they didn't want to ask questions in front of the kids. My wife was spinning and the teacher told the students she was weaving, but the best was a male teacher who pointed out the size of a Billy goats "udder" :(
C Farmer- We have gone to fairs since I was a baby. My son now shows pigs and will do pigs and beef next year. Hopefully the fair in August is still going to happen.
RandDtouring- Growing up you had to go to the fair. L.A. County Fair was mine. I loved all the smells of ALL the foods, drinking the over-priced beer and getting crazy with friends. Of course, it was always fun working there, too.
Steviegcampingmachine- Visited one in Great Falls 7 years ago, just happened to be there at the right time. I absolutely loved the livestock show and the deep fried ... everything! lol
Rick & Christine B.- Oh, I loved the fairs -- the smells, the sights, the animals, the exhibits. I hope to visit more this year.
It just so happens that Roger Miller wrote a song or two about country fairs. My ending quote is from one such song, The Tom Green County Fair: "Well, a Sunday at the fair can make a memory more valuable than gold, especially when you're ten years old."
One of the common threads between people of all walks of life is that of having one or more best friends. It is quite possible to maintain this type of connection throughout one's life, even as other types of relationships come and go. Most of the outstanding marriages I have seen are between best friends.
With most people, their first bestie comes along very young, possibly in Kindergarten or first grade. Life is difficult, as are older siblings, if any, and sharing good and bad times with a friend is as natural as breathing. I'm no psychologist, but I imagine that the tendency to seek out a best friend is hardwired into our collective psyche.
Life happens, and sometimes very young friends are separated by moving, a falling out or simply growing apart. This happens with grade school friends, too, even with high school friends, but the older they get, the more best friends are apt to stay in contact. College or adult life, work, recreation and other natural gathering places may supply multiple very good friends and the ones that stick it out through bad times often become your favorites.
The one prerequisite "best friends" seem to have is to support one another despite the circumstances -- always having each other's back. You don't owe one another any favors. In fact, you don't even keep count. Fair weather friends just can't compete for your time and attention. When a best friend calls, you drop everything. Maybe this is why best friends make such good married couples.
My first best friend was Kenny Hakida when I was five years old. He lived next door to my grandparents, which was a long walk from my house. We moved 40 miles away when I was ten and I never saw Kenny again. I later learned that his parents were interned in World War II after Pearl Harbor, and I was never able to talk to them about it.
I had a few other best friends in my adolescence and in high school in Southern California, but many of them went to out-of-state colleges while I got married and had kids, then moving a thousand miles away meant the end of any of those relationships. In Washington State, my younger brother filled that role, through bowling, karaoke, camping, fishing and other activities we both enjoyed. He's the taller one in my karaoke photo below. After a few years I moved across the country to be close to, and eventually marry, my present and last best friend.
I envy the friends of today, with all of that technology available to help stay in touch. In my younger days, even long distance phone calls were very expensive, let alone seeing one another. If we had had the Internet, free long distance, Facebook, Skype, GroupMe or any other of the seemingly magical communications they have now, maybe my old friends wouldn't be strangers today.
Thankfully, my wife and I have each other to lean on in close quarters during the pandemic lockdown. If it weren't for that relationship, who knows how well we would survive it.
I had some interesting comments to share this week, and many seem to have also married their best bud. Here are a few of those comments (and I've edited or paraphrased some):
Nancy & Jonathan- My best friend is Sue. We met in the eighth grade at a private school in Massachusetts; she lived in New Hampshire at the time. Her mom had died when she was eight and my mother became like a second mom to her. We shared many joys and sorrows, many ups and downs, and many laughs and tears over the years. Considering that I am an Air Force brat, that we lived in different states, only went to school together for two years, went to different states after high school (my family moved to Germany; I went to college in New Jersey; she was in Connecticut for awhile), it is amazing that we managed to keep in touch over the years. We still write real letters to each other and try to see each other several times a year. It's easier now that we both live in New Hampshire about an hour apart. In 2018 we celebrated fifty years of friendship by taking a river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam.
Dennis & Lorece H.- My best friend is Lorece. She had a crush on me in high school and I didn't even know. I fell in love with her 41 years ago and we are now growing old together. We are still in love and she is still my best friend.
Mark & Anneliese- My best friend is my husband. We were friends before we got married and still are. We have gone through thick and thin. Mark is my prayer-partner -- we have been praying together since before we got married. We are totally silly, like teenagers, and don't mind showing our goofy side to one another. When I have troubles I can always text/call him to ask for help or pray for me, and he faithfully does.
TheClearyClan- I met my wife while we both worked for the same company and in the same department in 1972. We became best of friends and got married in the 70's. We have four daughters and seven grandkids (so far). I remember many things my grandparents and my parents did with me and my four siblings. I am the oldest and I have been doing my best to create memories for my kids and grandkids. This includes things like trips to zoos and camping trips.
John And Debbie M.- My closest best friend is my husband. I have three best friends from elementary school and one current best friend in Texas. We are all blessed if we can count our best friends on one hand.
Traveling Doberman’s- My best friend is Wanda. We met the first day of kindergarten and have been friends for 57 years. No matter what or how far away, we are always there for each other.
Nadyne H.- We all have best friends at different stages of our lives and they come to mean different things to us at those times. In the 7th grade in Tucson AZ, I met a few girls in band. We all played the clarinet and we became very close. To this day, 54 years later, these ladies are still very dear friends - family really. A s an adult, I've met friends over the years. Some are still so close to me that we can talk as if no time has passed even after a few years! I consider these friends "family" as well. "Friends become our chosen family," it is said. That is so true! I love all these family members of mine and I don't mind telling them so!
My ending quote comes from an Israeli psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, who said, "Friends are sometimes a big help when they share your feelings. In the context of decisions, the friends who will serve you best are those who understand your feelings but are not overly impressed by them."