Smiles and Friendships from Editor Bob


We’re into the second month of the year already! Hey, I haven’t even got over the New Year hangover! Anyway, as things may have it, there’s a lot of stuff happening around me and with me. It’s high time the positive vibes in the air translated into some serious action. With that hope, let’s begin the new month!

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Guess who called me the other day? The answer goes back to the New Year Eve’s party at my place. Remember one of Irina’s friends passed out at my place? Yes, Martina was her name. After the party got to its closing stages, I crashed in with exhaustion and when I was up the next morning, she was not there anymore. I think she left early morning. I didn’t hear from her for an entire month, neither did I ask Irina about her because I was too busy trying to build an umbrella that can get all my readers and their friends together on Facebook. A little time out here: do you and your friends want to be part of a reader’s community spanning multiple countries? Join me on the 123Greetings Fan Group and the Bob Lawrence Fan Page.

Getting back, I was trying to get a technical glitch fixed with Steve’s help when my phone rang. Ideally it would have got a frown from Steve, but now that he has bent his strict laws a little to accommodate his mystery friend, he didn’t object to the phone call. A throaty female voice came through. It was a little muffled, as if someone was speaking in whispers. I had a hard time trying to place that voice, because I didn’t know the number on my cell. “Can you be a little louder please?” I think she was speaking with a cupped hand on her mouth. The voice was crystal as soon as she removed the obstacle.

“Hey Bob, this is Martina!” She sounded tentative. For a couple of seconds I couldn’t place the name and then I knew. “I got your number from Irina and called to apologize for the party thing. I must have been a worry for you and your friends.” I tried to reassure her that it was okay and it was not that big an issue that she was thinking it was. But she would hear none of it. At long last, I told her that I would like to treat her to coffee one of these days to assure her that I did not hold anything against her. She liked the idea and asked me when that would be. Again I was in a fix. With my crazy schedules, it was difficult to commit to a time right then. I bought time and told her that I would get back to her soon.

I have fixed a time but I am yet to inform her. I’m not sure if I should let it remain a “meet-over-coffee”. Do you think I should take her to a nice place and turn it out to a sort of date? I mean, she sounded very interesting over the phone and very different from the carefree person I had met on the New Year’s Eve. Then she had come across as brash and bratty, but on the phone she sounded very sober and serene. I would like you guys to help me decide on this. I’ll keep you updated on my blog. Stay with me.

When It’s More than Friends…

It’s not just me who’s caught in an intricate web. Steve has joined this club too! He is in a sort of a dilemma over how to approach his relationship with Natalie. He looked worried and that came to be evident when he dropped a hard disk drive on the floor. It was a cause for concern because Steve is very protective about the parts that make up a computer. Once he told me how every computer has a soul and possessed a spirit of its own. I thought he was just being a geek who’s trying to double up as a mystic. My friends can combine anything should they want to put their head to it. But the pull of the gravity on the hard disk winning over his love for it, alarmed me and I made a mental note to talk to him. I got my time at lunch.

He was hunched over a sandwich, still pondering over the incident, I’m sure. When I walked up to him and sat with him, he looked relieved. “What’s up Steve!” I tried to sound normal but he was not insensitive to subtlety that some of my other friends were. So he gave me a look of disapproval for asking the obvious. I waited for him to speak. “Ya know Bob, I think this part about Natalie is making me lose focus. I’m torn between the desire to be her special friend and the fear that I might lose her friendship if she even got to know what’s on my mind. I’m feeling lost.”

Trust Steve to cut out the frills and take you to the point in a matter of seconds. I understood immediately. Now I have to try and make a suggestion. “I think you must let things take shape themselves. Relationships are like food that you have to cook properly before you can have them. And that needs time. If you try to push things, it won’t help you, or her.” I was amazed at my own words of wisdom, but I didn’t express it! We had a discussion on that, which was more an assimilation of ideas. I convinced him that if his friendship with Natalie had to graduate to the level of ‘special friends’, he had to take it easy and play with abundance. “Besides, you need to give her some time and space. Being a single mom is not an easy thing ya know?” I counseled. I think he got it that however hard he may furrow his forehead, it wouldn’t really cut any ice with having Natalie as a special friend. Being ‘more than friends’ from ‘just friends’ was never an easy transition for anyone. There is always that element of uncertainty and doubt. What do you think about this? Have you been in such a situation? I’m looking for such stories to publish on the newsletter and on my blog. So get back to me real soon!

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  You Don’t Have to Be A Model to Smile [Feb 8]

After driving herself and us cuckoo over Michelle Obama’s fashion statements over the days, Irina has found a new interest. I don’t know who it was, probably the new guy in her life, that told her that she had a photogenic face! She took the compliment in the most serious way possible, and now is looking for a photographer to shoot her new portfolio. She got in touch with everyone on her contact list trying to hunt down someone who can give her a spanking new set of photographs and more importantly, feed her vanity and tell her if her left profile is better than the right or vice versa! I have given up reasoning with her. And, the icing on the cake is that she has her own ideas about how it should be shot.

“Have you noticed Bob,” she took up with me one day, “how modern photographs of models don’t find them smiling anymore?” Yes, she had a point there, though I have never noticed the lack of a smile in these photographs until she mentioned it. I nodded my head in a way that can indicate anything between acceptance and denial. She didn’t notice anything peculiar in it. She continued, “I think it’s a very stupid trend! Why can’t they smile when the smile enhances the beauty of the face so many more times? I fail to understand really.” I thought I had the heard the last on the topic. I was wrong.

“So I was telling Bob,” she went on, “when I get my portfolio done,” Oh God, not again, I wanted to yell! “I’ll make sure I’m smiling in them! I think that will be a better idea than to pose as if I am standing in front of the firing squad!” I was not sure if smiling in these portfolio photographs was a great idea but it certainly was not a bad idea either. Before I could say anything, she took over. “Ya noticed how people are not smiling that often these days? I think they should do that more, not only because of themselves but also because of people around them. A smile diffuses stress and tension immediately.” She wanted to say more, but her phone rang shrilly. She threw me a quick wave of the hand and left. I was getting used to this!

But, the things she said, did they make sense to you? I need you to help me figure that out. I think this is a long conversation that I’ll be having with her, so stay tuned.

Send a Card to a Friend Day [Feb 7]

I spoke to my friend Lisa D. McRoberts on Facebook about having a family in the military. She gives excellent advice on what you should be doing BEFORE you join the military. I think all of you should know, especially the ones who are considering joining the military. This is the Facebook correspondence between Lisa and me.

I am a military spouse. Joining the military was the best thing for our family. When my husband joined the military, almost 20 years ago, he was almost 30, we had a baby girl and were having a tough time financially. After he graduated from boot camp, he quickly moved up with a gradual increase in pay and opportunities for us as a family to see the world. We had health care and a regular paycheck as well as pride in being a part of the supportive military community. My husband did not graduate college and was not a good student but he is an excellent sailor. He thrives in the structure and discipline. He is now a Sr. Chief looking to retire soon.

Joining the military service is NOT for everyone. It requires some level of lost independence enjoyed as a civilian (you can’t just call in sick, decide to take a long vacation, or yell at your boss). If anyone wants to join, they should first talk with someone who is actually in the military now (close to their own age and NOT the recruiter) to get a sense of what they would gain and lose – weigh them carefully and then decide. Don’t make it about the economy – do it for the right reason, to serve and protect. All the other benefits are superfluous.

To which I replied:
Hi Lisa,
That’s a really well-written response. Can you tell me more about those tough days when things were not really going your way? The story of your family is really inspiring and I really want to publish that on my newsletter sometime soon, with your permission, of course.

Waiting to hear more from you soon.

Take care and best wishes to you and your incredible family!

So Lisa said:
Those days when things were not going my way BECAUSE of our decision to join the military, is that what you mean?

I would have to say long separations without any regular communication. Those were the days that I missed my husband terribly because of his support and kindness. His last six months deployment was tough. He was out of contact for weeks at a time when I was dealing with two teenage daughters who were, to say it lightly, not so nice to their mommy. Without his presence along with working full-time, school, and generally overwhelmed, those days stretched into an eternity. I missed having a sounding board, a partner who was a shoulder to cry on after a sleepless night (likely tearful because of a fight with the girls) followed by a long arduous day at work. Those were the tough days.

Of course feel free to publish anything I have written. I’m only one of the few military spouses who wage a ‘battle’ on loneliness and fear while our husbands or wives are away. Many handle it much more gracefully than I have and anyone married considering joining the military should approach it as a couple and a joint decision: 50/50. It will effect both significantly. Ultimately the war is won when divorce is diverted. Right now, I’m thankful my husband is home and we are together after more than 24 years.

Thanks for your kind words,
Lisa D. McRoberts

Thank YOU Lisa for sharing your words with the rest of us! I think it’s just incredible that Lisa and her husband kept things together. It really amazes me when I hear stories of the human connection and bonding. Even when we’re really far apart, we can still stick together and stand against any storm. Do you have friends and family in the military? Or folks you love who are away from you? Now’s the time to just say hello, and tell them that you’re thinking about them. I think that makes all the difference in the world.

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  Have a Great Weekend with the Stars!

It’s not just Adrian who’s crazy about the AMC Awards. Irina has added fuel to the fire, as well. Though she has her own set of motives, of course. They have become the best of friends and she’s dropping by more often than ever just to talk about movie stars. My living room looks totally alien since Irina keeps on bringing all these magazines, and decorating it with the so called “trendy” stuff. But I’m not complaining, beats hiring a maid! It is very amusing to watch two rather laid back people talk animatedly about topics that they hold close to their hearts. Of course Adrian is interested in the actors, not just the famous ones. Irina’s interested in the costumes and who designed them and in what magazines they’ve been featured etc. The topics may be different, but they have a common thread running through them: the AMC Awards. It’s like an Oscar recap for them. So you can see the movies that won the Oscars in the past years. I can’t believe Cathy, Adrian, and now Irina is gearing up for this. Who knows Irina’s new boyfriend might show up, too. I might be throwing a party that I don’t know about!

Adrian is more excited about what the Awards night is going to be like in terms of winners. He’s already starting the Oscar pool for some of the categories. Irina, however, is all excited about the clothes and designer gowns that she can see on the red carpet. She has a keen eye for fashion and who knows, next time when we see her, she may have got herself a dress designed on the fashionista who’ll be strutting the red carpet. I wanted to add my two cents to the discussion, but they would not allow me. What do you think about the movies? Let me know if you’re going to be following the awards shows too!

To round it off, let’s go for this quote by Charles Gordy: “A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks.” It more or less sums up what Irina tried to tell me. It also tells us how we need to keep smiling to ward off that frown that is a step backward.

Keep smiling. Keep loving.

Editor, 123Greetings

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2 thoughts on “Smiles and Friendships from Editor Bob

  1. Hi – just wanted to say I did enjoy reading your email,received today 6th Feb 09 – my first one. As I signed up in Dec 08 I was wonderng if I was ever going to hear from you!!! I sent it on to a friend and took some quotes to post on a chatline – the ones about SMILING – thought they were quite good. Cheers!

  2. This is an ENORMOUS THANK YOU for the service 123 offers. I use it often and am very grateful for your wonderful cards which give so much pleasure to the recipients.
    My very best wishes to you all, Colleen.

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