“Make New Friends…But Keep the Old”


Unless it makes more sense to drop them (old friends, that is.)

Shakespeare Said It BestpoloniuszzzThose friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade

From Hamlet…”Polonius’s Advice to His Son”

In Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” Polonius tells his son the importance of long-term, tested friends and why one should never dispose of them easily.

The opposite of that good advice seems to function these days, however, as some folks topple decades-long friendships due to silly misunderstandings. And they appear to do so without batting an eye.

I personally lost a many-year friendship without my friend even attempting to bridge the gulf . She merely quit. I floundered in the dark for a while and tried to reach out—to no avail.

It happened some years back when I was in the real estate business. She asked me to help her 26-year-old son buy a bar, but since I don’t work with commercial property, I connected her son with a colleague who has commercial property experience.  He’d act as the son’s buying agent, a sweet scenario since that realtor’s fee generally comes out of the selling realtor’s commission, meaning the buyer pays nothing.

In their time together, my realtor friend visited the bar with this young man; he’d put him into a purchase & sale contract, but then, the young man began to work alone with the seller’s agent.

I asked my friend if there’d been a problem and she answered:  “Yeah, your realtor friend did nothing, so Jimmy decided to go it alone (with seller’s agent.)”  I told her that her son’s working solo could be dangerous for him:  Buying commercial property is notoriously risky (city records do not reflect true legal status.) I suggested purchase of a bar is tricky, as one must discover whether the liquor license conveys.  Finally, there are all those inspection issues that need be negotiated. A realtor knows the code of expectations.

What happened?  My friend exploded, saying:  “My son isn’t stupid….He knows what he’s doing.” Now, I’d never suggested that.  I merely confirmed the obvious: The fiduciary (legal loyalty) responsibility of seller agent lies with the seller…not the buyer. Then, too, an unscrupulous seller’s agent would love a situation where he didn’t have to split the commission (as they have to do in most cases.) But the buyer should realize:  He’s got little protection in that situation.

Bottom line?  The incident became our Waterloo. Gone were the shared hilarity of childhood memories…the commiserating as single parents (she and I were the original working Mom’s, raising kids, alone.) I’d attended concerts she was in, over the years (she’s a musician), I helped her move—twice.

Yet, now, our friendship was over.

If I’m honest, I should have seen the warning signs:  She’d cut off other friends, for little discernible reason, in years prior. Then, too, she got increasingly agitated when I mentioned the most-innocuous topics: I told her fellow URI alum Christiane Amanpour was hosting a program about major world religions on CNN, but she shut me down…didn’t even want to hear Amanpour’s name.  Why? She felt her too left-leaning. It appeared the subjects of our conversations were becoming increasingly-limited.

In the end, it was obvious:  She never took Shakespeare’s words to heart:

Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;

It’s never easy replacing long-term, committed friends.  Oh, sure, in life there are some you’ll kick to the curb but to allow a long-term friendship to flounder on the rocks, due to some silly misunderstanding is sheer lunacy.

Good friendships take too long to develop…One should never cast them aside easily.

But there are those times, too, when it’s painfully clear:  You must move on.  Perhaps your friend wasn’t the caliber you thought.  Sometimes, too,  you outgrow a friendship.

My question:  Have you had a friendship that ended, leaving you in the dark?

In the words of an Asheville friend on this subject:  “Sometimes you’ve just got to weed your garden (of friends).”  I like that, for “weeding” allows you to take out those who choke.  By removing them, you allow the rest to breathe and grow.  What do you think? Done your own garden-weeding lately?

Posted in Meeting Life's Adversities, relationships | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

The Exam You Never Want to Have


colonoscopy runwayBut you might want to start, with your first exam (if you’re an average healthy person) around the age of 50…Here’s what you’ve got to look forward to…

They were all lined up, each on a gurney, groggily coming out of it, being asked “What do you want…apple juice…cranberry…cranberry/grape?” And I sat, taking it all in. Machines were blinking all about with occasional hazard warnings…someone’s blood pressure dropped…This one isn’t reviving as quickly.

Staff wheeled occupied gurneys into inner chambers and returned with vacant ones.

In the recovery room, I heard the same old mantra:  “Now, Mr. So-and-So, you’ll feel the desire to pass gas…” I want you to go ahead and do that. You need to get that out of you…It’s a result of the colonoscopy when we pumped air into you.”

All the while I am sitting there, thinking “No, please don’t pass any more gas. Right now, this place is like a tinder box…a magazine of potential and lethal explosives, waiting to be activated. If a spark is set off in here, we’re all goners….”

Such is the reality of the colonoscopy world.

My husband later asked:  “Why would a doctor specialize in this, when he or she has so many other choices?” For instance, why not go into treating ear, nose and throat problems or something equally banal (Note I didn’t say  ‘anal’?) “Why a career in looking up people’s butts all day?” he wondered “What’s the lure?”

I offered it could be that a doctor in this line could control his hours.  After all, colonoscopies are set up in advance; they usually perform those procedures earlier in the day (cut-off around 3:00 PM?), etc. But to tell the truth—I really didn’t know why someone would select this particular area of concentration.

But I know this—Colonoscopies are BIG business.  Ever since TV star, Katie Couric’s oh-so-public procedure several years ago, stressing the importance of having them as regular care.  Her husband had died of colon cancer.  But even cute Katie Couric can’t put a pretty face on something that looks into the deepest part of one’s anatomy.

My husband lay all hooked up when they brought me into him. You see, he worried them. When everyone else has blood pressure spikes, following surgery, his BP descends and staff were keeping him, to elevate it, before they discharged him. 

His last reading?  98 over 41 and they look concerned….The doctor came in, noted it and said he’d return to check him again, shortly, before he discharged him.

I knew what that meant:  He had another colonoscopy on the runway…I knew, too, it’d be at least an hour before we were out of there.

But I’m bad….I’ve promised us earlier that we’d go to our favorite breakfast spot to get a waffle topped off with strawberries and powdered sugar, along with a side of well-done bacon, after this procedure.  The problem? That breakfast shop closed in an hour.  The clock was ticking.

I asked the nurse:  “Can’t he recover in the car?” Answer—A strange disbelieving look, from her, suggesting I don’t care about my mate’s safety.  So, I told her the waffle plan…

I also informed her that a low pulse is “his thing”….After all, he’s the same guy who heads over to the BP cuff, in drugstores, ramps up his sleeves and then calls out for all to hear:  “It’s 110 over 60,” with as much pride as if it’s a high IQ.

I don’t do that with mine…In fact, I steer clear of all monitoring equipment.

Years ago, he and I checked each other’s pulses (we’re strange with the things that pique our interest) and his went bump………..bump……….bump, while mine went bump.bump.bump.bump….4 pumps to his 2.

Meaning?  His system’s way more efficient than mine. Then, too, he’s been an athlete all his life, mostly jogging and keeping fit. He’s lean (170 lbs and that stays same all the time-a maddeningly reality, for me who’s added weight over the years.

So, I wasn’t too concerned about his low pulse…..But the hospital refused to be placated…Finally, when his reading reached 101 over 59, they waived us free (hospitals are like that—They have a threshold they’re waiting for.)

Anyway, he’s cleared for 5 more years before his next one.  By that point, the crush of Baby Boomers will hit the medical market, and the colonsocopy runway will be more crowded than ever. 

Then, they’ll really need those flag guys that stand out on airport grounds, directing, when they bring the bumper-to-bumper gurneys through….And you Millennials?  They’ll probably devise self-scoping instruments like home pregnancy tests, by the time you need….

Question:  Had your own colonoscopy? Your thoughts (keep ‘em clean, please♥)Paddles_ww2_bw

Posted in Health and Well-Being, Medical | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

“The Wedding– Part 2″: When the Misspoken Word Brings Down the House

(Girls in the pic saying “Did she REALLY say that?”No Bouquet Toss...What do you mean)


I told you about the wonder of my younger daughter’s wedding. No surprise:  She’s a detail-oriented person and every bit of planning allowed her to showcase her talents. What I never told you was one absolutely hilarious out-take of the glorious occasion.

You see….groom Eric O’Connell has a delightful sister, one Debbie O’Connell, who lives in Myrtle Beach, and she came to the wedding, even spoke at it, twice… once at the exchange of the vows and a second time, at the toast to the newly-wed couple. 

She promised older brother Matt she’d be his back-up at that second toast because, according to her, the family is supposedly ‘short on words’…

Well, ‘short on words’ doesn’t mean their words don’t pack a punch.

Anyway, the darling girl got up and did her part.

She proceeded to define “marriage,” but she kept having trouble with the faulty microphone that cut out at the worst times. Suddenly, we all heard her say:  “Marriage is not just about f……ing.” Because of the cut-out (she tried to say “finding” and “luck,” but the combined  word came across like the other F word (the crass one.)

Here’s what happened next: A giant pause by guests as they wondered if they really heard the worst word possible emanate from that lovely young woman’s mouth.  Such a possibility seemed incomprehensible, yet there it was! 

Finally, somebody clued the poor girl in as to what we all thought we heard….

What next followed were protests on her part…”I didn’t say that…” “I’d never…”

At that point, my son-in-law, sitting next to me, hung his head down and doubled over, exploding in laughter he could no longer contain.

Then, the entire room erupted, as the ripple effect took hold.

Poor Debbie….We all really know she merely attempted to give a sweet toast, but due to faulty equipment and a savage crowd ready to pounce on any opportunity, she brought down the house.

That’s right—The Debbie O’Connell Dinner Toast will be remembered—always– for what a young woman never said (but we all laughed howling-ly at the mechanical forced error).  It’ll be forever considered her greatest contribution to the festivities.

No matter…She handled the situation like a pro.

The whole thing reminded me of my talk, a few years back, on Pink Night at Magnolia Beauty Salon, in Cranston, RI, where I got up in front of a large crowd of women, telling them of my special connection with my hair-stylist of many years, Donna (a woman who works at Magnolia.)

It was a beautiful night organized to remind customers of the our combined fight against cancer and to get contributions for breast cancer research.  Being a survivor, I was doing my best to whip up the crowd so they’d give to this worthy endeavor.

In my telling of my long-standing relationship with my hair stylist, I offered “No one gives a better blow-job than Donna” (Read the entire account here.) pink night

At first, mouths hung open…Then a lone male hair stylist in the back of the room burst out laughing…and then the whole place dissolved into hysteria.  You see, they all knew I was really talking about “hair,” but in the process, I’d inadvertently delivered the best laugh of the night….

So, Debbie O’Connell “Thank you” for just one more wonderful memory of a truly great wedding…all the better for the fact you never planned it.

Then again, I wonder:  “Did you? (“plan it,” that is).

Here’s Debbie O’Connell’s Facebook picture. Her hot pink wig suggests she most definitely has a madcap adventurist spirit that could’ve enabled her to pull off such hijinx.…

I’ll have to see if she accidentally ‘misspeaks’ at other occasions.

Now, please, if you’re on Facebook,  “Like” Biddy Bytes, here…

Or sign-up, top right hand, above to “subscribe”…

That way you won’t miss a single post.  Who knows?  Maybe you’re the star of a future one (Debbie didn’t know she was the star of this one…).

debbie o'connellsam with maskYep, that’s Deb in the red wig and below her are twin nephews of the bride, playing at being a totem pole. Do you see two of them? One of them flaunts the mask, again in celebration of Day of the Dead…(If you have no idea what that means, go to top right hand of this blog’s “Recent Posts”…then click on “The O’Connell Mellor Wedding” immediately preceding this one)…Biddy Bytes is still in celebration mode for the wedding of her younger daughter, Amanda Mellor.

Posted in Just-Plain-Fun, relationships | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments