Recognizing the evolution of friendships

A girlfriend from my early 20’s posted this on Facebook this morning.

As I was responding to her, I was thinking about friendships. Today is the birthday of a friend who no longer circulates with me in the physical world because he passed on 11 years ago. He’s the kind of friend that still visits with me often in my thoughts. I often wish I could “gossip” about something with him or hear his “oh gurl” one more time but I understand how lucky I am that so many things in my present life call him forward in my mind and I know he will always be with me .

I used to have a poster in my “teenage Nina” room that had a picture of a butterfly on it and the words were “if you love something set it free, if it was yours it will return and gently land on your shoulder”. That was my anthem for teenage boyfriends and crushes. It may have been a quasi spiritual knowing even back then….

I dreamed last night about a good friend who moved away. I woke up recognizing that this is what life is about. All of the important personalities moving in and out of my life when my soul needs a charge. I have a tendency to hold onto people. If you’ve been my friend, chances are You will never be free of me…I very seldom burn bridges. But life happens and we move around just as we are supposed to….and then there is that blessed, surprise contact you receive. It feels so good…often I long for everything to go back to the way it was…but the relationship of the souls has changed…we are still grounded in a history of love and trust but it is just different. I’m learning to accept the difference and embrace these dear souls in my life without expectations. The connection is strong, it’s how we choose to engage right here and right now that makes the difference.



Being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness or the enduring fear that there is something wrong with me. Allowing authenticity and vulnerability to surface is actually an indication of knowing who I am and making no apologies for who I am. In fact, by being authentic, I save myself that inner discomfort that someone outside of me can define me!

By working through some (childhood into adulthood) triggers in my life, I know I have often hidden who I am with defensive behavior by going on the attack before I am attacked. We live our life assuming that everyone but me has it all together. We see the weakness in someone else which feeds our ego and that sense of being superior bolsters our self esteem by searching and/or finding vulnerability in others…. manifesting unkind words/actions or irrational anger.

By healing the victim mentality within ourselves and by understanding that nothing outside of ourselves has anything to do with our divine nature allows us to be genuine and authentic in our relationships. One moment, one interaction at a time!

The bottom line for me is the quote from the pen of the Maya Angelou: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better”


Connecting with old people

This afternoon I received a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize… normally I wouldn’t answer but today I did….

It was a phone call from Bill….we were classmates elementary through high school. We have not see each other for 45+ years although years ago we became friends on Facebook and his posts about old bands often makes me nostalgic and his “Bill” posts often make me snicker. His wife and I were also friends but we had lost touch after high school so I had no idea that during those lost years she and Bill hooked up and have been living happily ever after.

Bill didn’t want anything in particular today…said he was just sitting around drinking beer and calling old friends… Lori explained later on Facebook that Bill had in fact called a lot of us …. he started at 11 am and ended when it was time for dinner.

I have been grinning and feeling great since that phone call. Bill made an effort that surprised many old friends…I’m sure he has no idea how that effort touched our hearts…. serendipity.

Cheers, Bill!


So..after all these years I’m not lonely?

That needle in a haystack…that feeling of loneliness that is like a thread with no knot that pulls through the eye of the needle?

I can’t really say I never recognized the loneliness…I know it has always been there but I’ve always given it a different name and excuse…but today, TODAY I had one of those revelations that will change me.

As an only child with older parents and with the only first cousins living 2 1\2 hours away with the youngest first cousin being 11 years my senior, I didn’t have the Facebook shared idyllic family….about siblings and cousins…but I had the absolute best neighborhood to grow up in. While so many of those neighborhood friends had siblings to share the disappointment of the street lights coming on in the summer signaling time to call it a day, for the most part I went in the house alone. But because I had Lennie (whose siblings were older and out of the house) and other neighbor kids my age, I didn’t really feel I was missing anything. The first holiday that I remembered I was a lonely, only child was when my bff roommate went camping on the 4th of July in the late 70s and I didn’t have the energy or the confidence to find something to do without her. I felt like everyone else had a fallback…there was always a sibling to glob onto.

I surrounded myself with friends who became family during my adult years. I married into a large family that I didn’t fit into when I thought a large family would be the answer to my loneliness! But, I always enjoyed deep and fulfilling friendships….unlike many of my sibling rich friends who are recovering from their own painful broken relationships with family.

It didn’t hit me until this morning that the silent grudge I held against my parents for not providing me with a perfect sibling nor the loneliness that I was positive I alone owned was all in my head…ego..totally controlled by what I THOUGHT was missing because I made it a thing! Had this life role I’m living played out differently, would I still feel lonely if I had blood siblings rather than my chosen friends who became family? I’m going to post this blog and then take a moment to breath into the reality that I am loved, I am exactly what I am supposed to be in this moment..because this is all there is…right here and right now.

Until next time….

…….and then she was gone

I assume everyone who has lost a beloved will find truth to these words to some degree…depending on our spiritual beliefs or organized religious domestication…when someone transitions from life to death, we feel them in our sorrow….we miss them… I know some of us remember and mourn the loss of the relationship and how they made us feel. Others believe that someday in our transition, the beloved will be waiting, in a place called heaven, with arms outstretched. Some of us believe the energy from our beloved is with us every day and that we can call upon that energy for guidance. Sadly, because we can’t agree on the path, often it divides us and we take issue with each other and completely close roads down rather than offer a detour.

These thoughts of mine were triggered this morning because my calendar notified me that next month will be the birthday of a beloved that transitioned in January of this year….and the moment I noticed it on the calendar, I said in my head…your birthday is coming up, Jen, how are you feeling about that? Because our less than a year old relationship was not one of my normal friendships of experiences and enmeshment before she passed, I seem to think it is necessary to dissect my feelings. I think what I have figured out that our connection was concrete in spirit before our personalities had time to gel over coffee once a week or really to even know about each other in the typical friendship “way”. Being newer to this “we are all one” spirituality In relation to my history of dogmatic teachings through the various Christian churches I attended, I think I can answer my own question about Jen and me.

I, seriously, question at times whether she actually existed…our souls seem to have danced together each taking and giving generously to one another without words. Words were not needed…she was my early lesson in what it means to just “BE” and honor and bow to the Devine in her. Namaste!

Until next time….


In September of 2007, I started a blog on Xanga and used the moniker, Ninasusan.  My old friend Jeff aka Ground Hog (ghog) brought me to the table.  I had no idea how that decision would change my life.  Somehow in the huge blogesphere a blog written by a woman named Tracy caught my attention.  At that time, she blogged on a regular basis about her daily life.  I connected with her…and the rest is a love story of friendship.

He and I spent the weekend with Tracy and her husband, Corey and her sister, Erin (who I also met through Tracy on Xanga).  We joke that we are sisters from a different mister AND mother.  It is the only way to express the affection, respect and joy we soak in from our mostly internet relationship.  Here we are:


and here is Toledo



Tracy’s beloved Frankie


My very favorite room in Tracy’s house


and Tracy and Erin several years ago during a meet-up in Chicago.  One of them is going to kill me for posting this.


…and the story of Holy Toledo goes like this.  Back many decades ago, apparently Toledo had (and still has) an inordinate amount of churches per capita…thus Holy Toledo.  Thankfully progress has not bulldozed the beauty of many of these old churches.  Minus the ridiculous road construction which makes it difficult to even get to Toledo, we found it a nice, comfortable city – kind of like Des Moines…reasonably quiet, midwest feel with the opportunities of adventure a car ride away.

Much love to my Toledo girls!

Until next time….

I have this friend, Groundhog

He and I have known each other since the early 70’s.  I have no idea what really connected us back in church youth group…I, at one time, thought maybe it was because we are both only children…but, I don’t know…it’s deeper than that.  We never had any of the boy/girl type complication although there was a little while that I thought he was really cute…and then I just thought him to be my adorable best friend.  We went to different high schools – he could have gone to my high school but he had a vision and ended up at the technical high school.  We went our separate ways after my graduation in ’74 and his in ’75 and we lost contact with each other off and on.  When I met Gena, Groundhog fit right into the triangle.  They both loved tropical fish…I, of course, didn’t like tropical fish…and of course, I was the one at home alone when one of the mama fish started giving birth and the babies were being eaten…that’s terrifying blog material for another day.  We all traveled together to Cincinnati one time to see a Red’s game….she and I went to visit him one time when he was in Cincinnati at the bible seminary.



She and I went to visit him in Abilene, TX when he went to the college there.  He was an usher at our wedding



Again we went our separate ways……and again we reconnected.  He is the one who actually inspired me to start blogging – in those days it was over on Xanga.  There is no one on this planet who could be more my opposite…there are so few things that we agree on that a rare moment when we both say yes – gets written on the calendar.  We used to argue – I like to say debate – over EVERYTHING!  He is a libertarian and I’m a moderate liberal and all the garbage to go with that…he is a strong Christian man…I’ve backslid into calling myself spiritual.  I trust him with my life and I think the feeling is mutual.  I have his back.  period.



His mom passed a few years ago.  She was his rock.  I didn’t see his mom often after we all went our separate ways – but when I did see her, I adored the way she would look at me with a smile and gently say, Nina.  He has now moved in with his father who has dementia.  Doing the right thing?  Perhaps.

I awoke at 5:30 this morning – I don’t do anything at 5:30 in the morning other than sleep.  I picked up my IPAD and went to google+ and there was a 16 minute video he had posted.  A video taken from 8mm of him as a youngster.  One little scene of him as a toddler at a park and his mom calling to him and he began to run to her and she swept him up into her arms.  It hit my soft spot very hard.  Everytime I think of him today, I tear up.  I can’t imagine the day when we don’t have the relationship we have…when one of us is dead.

Until next time…

The breakfast of champions….

I have shared a couple of these blogs on my page recently.  Actually I can’t remember now how I found her wordpress page…she has a wonderful take on dementia and alzheimers and should be a regular read for anyone who is living with someone with the disease.  I have a 6 degrees of separation with the author although I didn’t know it when I started following her.  I worked with her father-in-law for many, many years – he is a Lt with the Newton, Iowa Police Department and I was his dispatcher and loved to tell him where to go on a daily basis.  I love these small world events!


Here’s my breakfast.  He made me the juice this morning with Kale, spinach, cabbage, carrot and apple.  It is actually quite tasty and I find the more good green food I eat, the better it tastes.  Next to my juice is my 1000mg Turmeric from Dr Piva, my chiropractor and acupuncturist, my starbucks from my keurig and my great protein two handful almond breakfast.

I sometimes wonder if the universe brings the people with cancer diagnosis together.  I recently learned a friend of mine now has a cancer diagnosis.  We have been messaging each other with the details of our individual cancer fights…and our disbelief that this could happen to us.  She is a fighter and these little connections with like minded friends really helps keep the attitude positive and like a 3 mile walk – keeps me energized.

It’s a beautiful sunny day today!

Until next time…..

Are people just not curious or do they just not care?

I had a dream last night that I inadvertently ran into a group of girls I went to high school with…they were all friends with each other – I was on the fringe..we went to a mall of restaurants.  The old friend that i probably knew the best seemed to want to catch up with me so we sat down at a table and talked…the rest of the group went somewhere else.  When she and I decided we needed to find the group, we searched each little cubbyhole of restaurants and finally found two of them walking hand in hand toward the bathroom and were directed to where the group was sitting.  Upon taking my seat, I suggested that we go around the table and introduce ourselves and briefly talk about our lives after high school.  They told me to go first.  Everyone seemed to person questioned why I thought it was important to tell how old my girls were because they were obviously older than the last time we had seen each other.  When I was through, everyone went back to talking about “things” and no one else shared about their history.

Which leads me into:

I’m a curious sort…old friends, new friends…I want to connect and know about them.  I ask questions because I want to know what makes them tick, what they think, what their life has been like, do we have things in common, do we have friends in common with 6 degrees of separation.  I don’t really like small talk.  If we are going to talk, I want to talk about things that matter.

At one time in my life, I was part of a group of people who would naturally seem like they would care about me.  I can remember sitting around and listening to story after story from a couple of them about their lives, their jobs, the people they work with, every mundane thing that occurred during their week.  No one really asked questions.  Everyone just sat around and listened.  I attempted to ask questions every now and then to show an interest but they didn’t seem to need to know I was interested so I retreated.  I couldn’t figure out why no one ever asked me a question…not about my opinion but asked me questions to get to know me.  Even questions about my job as a 911 dispatcher.  I, obviously, had the most exciting job of all of them and no one cared enough to even say…what was your most interesting call, what was your hardest call or basically – what is it that you do?  I’ve worked through the bitter ballerina phase although occasionally it rears its ugly head.

Am I just overly curious about people….or do people just not care about other people.  I’m not sure why it just doesn’t seem important to others to make a connection with  other people?  Am I wrong?  or is it just me?

Until next time…..

The belly laugh….

There are few things that can cement a friendship for me faster than someone who can totally let loose with a belly laugh.  Especially women.  The belly laugh of two women in downtown Kansas City today still rings in my ears and brings a smiling memory to my face.

It was mother-in-law day – the 3rd annual.  Today was the 3rd anniversary of my Jenny and Her Justin’s mothers having lunch, and attending the Trans Siberian Orchestra playing at the Sprint Center just off the Power and Light District in downtown KC.  We have decided it is a mother-in-law day until Jaxon is old enough to go with us then we will have to rename it.

We had a nice relaxing lunch in Liberty, talked all the way into the city.  We parked the car in the ramp and walked over to the Sprint Center and chatted, sat on a concrete slab that holds a light pole and talked.  The concert was due to start at 4:00 and at 3:15, she looked at her watch and said I wonder why the doors aren’t unlocked?  I said, I wonder where all the people are, we meandered over to the door and she said – its strange they don’t have the gates up to usher the lines in – We both knew something was wrong – we were at the wrong door???  So I pulled the tickets out of my purse and realized that the concert isn’t until Tuesday afternoon at 4.  That’s when the down deep belly laughing started.  I felt horrible that I had screwed up the day…but she was laughing so hard……..

We payed $5 for parking with thoughts of just going somewhere to have a drink…because after all he and John weren’t expecting us home.  She decided that our story to the husbands was we decided to just say screw the concert, we want to shop!  The world was our oyster.  We went to historic city center, did some shopping, she took me on a car tour and pointed out places and things which had been important in her life.  It was a remarkable day.

….and we still have TSO to look forward to!

Thanks, Brenda for a great day!

Until next time..