Thursday, December 26, 2019

Imaginary Friends - A little bit different of an I Like/Love #36 Post

I've been writing this post in my head since I was in England. You know, I still want to pinch myself that that is a true statement. I was in England. Only a little over a month ago. It seems surreal. And I need to write a post or ten about the entire incredible trip. But not now. The title of this post comes from the husband of my good friend Sue with whom I met up and shared lunch whilst in England this summer.
I just noticed something interesting: we both love our dogs, and look at the card above us on the mantle!

This is also an I like/love post because it is filled with people and things and events for which I am most grateful. I am linking up with LeeAnna at Not Afriaid of Color, where you will find other like-minded grateful peeps. I haven't mused much in recent posts, so this is one of those posts. For newer readers, my blog was originally just called Musings of a Menopausal Melon because I started it when I was in the full throes of menopause and wanted to write down my thoughts at this new stage of my life along with my quilting adventures. Then, when I wanted the blog to be known as mainly a quilting blog, I came up with a more à propos name, but with a nod to the original with the acronym and double entendre (love them) of 'mmm', having the extra meaning of, 'yum!' or 'so good!'

So...friends, both imaginary and real....
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, but I had no idea, none, that writing this blog would take me where it has. Yes, I've recorded the quilts I've made, both during the blog life and pre-blog life (see the Throwback Thursday tab; maybe join us on November 7 for the next one). However, I also now have a journal, albeit public, of my life over the past six years, which is not new, as I've kept a journal for a huge chunk of my life. I love to write.

What is new is the richness and new experiences this blog has added to my life. I've had the opportunity to sew for Henry Glass Fabrics, for Benartex, and for Island Batik. I started designing my own quilts, and have had them published in ezines and magazines; I opened up an Etsy shop, and I've got several patterns for sale there as well as quilts. I've learned so much, and as a lifelong learner, this is important to me. And, one of the most unexpected things that has happened is the friends I have made through this blog.

Which brings me to the term 'imaginary friends'.

Lots of people will argue that friends you 'meet' online are not real, as in those you would encounter in the course of your real life, perhaps in a coffee shop, in a course you are in, at work, and so on. However, much of our 'real life' does take place online through various forms of social media, of which blogging is one. Things started happening when I joined in to linky parties, and got more comments on my blog. I have always responded to comments, and what I found was that a conversation would quite often start up. One of the first online friends I made was Judy of Quilt Paradigm. We've now been friends for about five years. We've talked on the phone and on Skype, texted, and emailed. Have I met her in person yet? Nope, but I know it will happen one day. We've talked about waaaay more than quilting, though that was the bridge that first connected us, well, that and a deep love of dogs, big ones especially. She no longer blogs due to real life demands, but I know she will be back to it one day, and please do check out her blog; her quilting is amazing. Here is the last one she blogged:
Judy encouraged me to join in with the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop, which led to several more friends, some of which I actually have met in real life. Those of you skeptics, such as my husband, the not-so-famous MacGyver as he will only be known online, will think wait what? You'd meet up with someone you've only known through a blog?? What, are you crazy? Maybe a little.

Tish and I go back nearly as far as Judy and I, and yes, we've met up a few times, even though she is 7 hours' drive south of me in West Virginia. Again, we talk about waaaay more than quilting, and like Judy, the bridge between us was at first quilting, but strengthened as well by our love of dogs, especially pit bulls, aka pibbles, which we each own, or maybe it's more they own us!

Others I've met IRL (in real life) are Cindy, Preeti, Beth and Julie, and now Sue, all of whom started out as online friendships but all of whom I have met, some more than once, as is the case with Cindy. We've shared good food and conversations, and quilting-related activities!

Sue lives not too far from my mum's hometown of Bolton, England, so that was another connection or common thread, to use the obvious pun. We, too share a deep love of dogs, big ones especially; we are both owned by big ones, and we share a love of knitting, though she does a lot more than I do these days. So when I was going to be in Bolton this past August, we arranged to meet up. We had a wonderful lunch at Smithills Hall, "one of the oldest and best-preserved manor houses in the Northwest of England."
Behind the hall in the gardens
The last time I was there I was 12. It turns out that Sue's wedding reception was held there! Crazy. Like my MacGyver, her husband thinks we are crazy to make a point of meeting up with people we know from online interactions, be it Instagram, blogging or others. However, both men got along very well, finding their own common threads! I think those men started to see what we women just know about trust, and common threads and friendship.
I remember as a 12-year-old, being struck by the low doorways, but people were much shorter then. I am 5'2", so this certainly is a low doorway!
Sue and I exchanged gifts, something we did not talk about doing, but just did. She gave me the lovely set of three half metre cuts you see below. We both love blue. She made me a little bag, which I used on our day trip in Iceland. It has a cork bottom, so cool, and, as our mutual friend Helen would say, spots as the lining. I love that she again used our favourite colour, blue, and that the fabric is 'Good Neighbors' by Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts. She also made me the doggie pin. I like to think it's Rocco, before his tail had to be amputated, which was not our choice. I gave Sue a little pouch too, blue of course, and some fabric too!

Sue brought me a gift from Helen of Midget Gem Quilts. I believe we three are within a year in age of each other, really interesting. Each of us is from a different country but we connect on so many levels, it's uncanny. Helen had hoped to meet us too, but it was just not meant to be. This time. Helen had mailed Sue and I each a little gift, so she was with us in spirit! Funny, but not so funny, as we are all three so very much on the same wavelength on many levels, love of blue probably the least of them, but she had also made us each a bag! She used a vintage Ulster tablecloth, vintage ribbon, precious Liberty of London fabric...
and...
spots as the lining! I love it!

There are many 'imaginary' friends like Helen, who I haven't yet met in person, but hope to one day. As you may know, Helen has a son in Pennsylvania which is literally on the other side of the Lake Erie from me. So our get-together is imminent, I know it.

I fully believe that things happen for a reason; that there is a purpose to everything, and that once you open yourself to possiblitieies and take time to notice how The Universe or whatever you may call the omniscient force of pure love, lines things up for you, then many many things start to fall into place, and your life takes off onto another level of amazingness.

There will be more installments/musings on imaginary friends, but for now, I will close here. I wish for all of you to find these gems of friends, and to be able to meet up IRL one day. I know a ton of us quilter/bloggers do this, and I think it only strengthens our worldwide community. I will say it again: politicians NEED this kind of open heart feeling, as it brings understanding, I feel. I know that's a bit rose-coloured glasses simplified way of looking at things, but it's a step towards trust and acceptance, and just love, in the end.

Here is one of the wood panels in Smithills' Hall. I see a quilt idea... I loved all the wood work and intricate detail in this beautiful old manor.

I hope your Christmas was merry, and I wish you a Happy Boxing Day, which, like Britain, Australia and New Zealand, and other Commonwealth countries, we celebrate here in Canada.

20 comments:

  1. I am hoping that one day you and I will meet in Mexico. I have found that those I like online, I generally like in person - and we are just like old friends in minutes of meeting.

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  2. I’m thankful we met in blogland, Sandra! I agree that the world would be a better place if people took time to unite around commonalities.

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  3. Judy, wow haven't heard from her in ages! Is she still quilting? Although we haven't met in person, I am glad we have met through our blogs:)

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  4. Happy Boxing Day, Sandra -- I am convinced that someday we will meet. It just has to be. I'm so glad we have met through our blogs, and our squirrel projects! What a thoughtful and good post to read!

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  5. I have met several of my blogging friends. I even flew all the way to Australia 5 years ago to go to a quilt show to meet my friend Carol of Quilter on the Hill.

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  6. I feel the same way about my "imaginary" blogging friends! You are all precious to me, and I know we would like each other in real life, too. Enjoyed reading this post, Sandra!

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  7. Also, Kathy of Slow Sunday Stitching organized a one day hand stitching retreat back in Oct and I met up with other blogging friends.

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  8. Lovely post today--I'll bet England was lovely to visit; I am a big fan of English novels, mysteries etc --would love to see those landscapes in person...
    thanks for sharing hugs, Julierose

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  9. Online bloggy quilty friends are just as real as the Velveteen Rabbit! It's one of the reasons I strive to be kind online, all the time. Behind every photo, every post, every snippet on Instagram, there is a real person. I'm so glad you had such a wonderful visit to see Sue in England :)

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  10. A wonderful and delightful post to read! Blogland friends are as precious as any other friend. Quilting and blogging may have made the first connection but I am so happy that we have had the opportunity to meet in real life and hopefully we will again soon.

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  11. What a beautiful post Sandra! I still find it amazing that we can make such strong bonds with our online friends... I have had no qualms at all about meeting them in person - although one OL friend's son was a bit concerned I might be an axe murderer coming all the way across the world to stay with them :-) You and Sue chose an inspiring place to meet (in real life!).

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  12. I think that bloggy friends are real friends too :) Great post!

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  13. Hi Sandra! Imaginary friends as in not real or existing only in the imagination - I feel like I have collected a few of these myself. Thankfully. While they may live further away than some of my 'real' friends, the bond we share is just as strong. It seems to me that a person's style and inner being is exposed through their writing and even the activities they share. Like-minded people are just drawn to each other or so it seems. Lovely post and rather a deep subject for this day after Christmas. {{Hugs}} I'm among the many that are so happy that they've stumbled upon your blog. ~smile~ Roseanne

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  14. Friends from near and far - not really imaginary as they are real! I am so happy to have met you and can't wait for that time when we do get to meet in person; I know it will happen or we will have an online meeting...something and I think it will be sooner than we expect!

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  15. Oh the sights you see and friends you make via a blog. Rather than imaginary, we refer to those I know via their blog as invisible friends. It's always fun to see what's going on in your sewing room. Wishing you the opportunity to meet many more bloggy buddies in the New Year.

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  16. Well, I consider you a real friend, just one I meet with online. But one day, when Canada is ready, I am touring your beautiful country! :) I think meeting people online has upsides as well as the obvious downsides.... for instance, age gaps disappear online, so a friendship that may never have started in real life, due to innocent subconscious choices, can flourish. I have met an online friend in real life in a neutral setting, and it was an amazing experience. Quilt blogging concentrates the like-minded people in one place, and gives you access to people in the same headspace... a real gift.

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  17. I am happy to call you a friend, Sandra! And this summer, when we're in Ohio, I'll wave to you across the lake :)

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  18. I am happy that we met. It was an absolute blast of a weekend with you in Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Remember when my shoes got wet and we had to go shoe-shopping in Macys? I think of you when I wear those red sandals :-) Fun memories.

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  19. Hello unmet friend! Love reading your words today, and those of some of your followers as well. Living in the (outback) of NE Central Oregon now away from the quilt guild I helped found, and the friends I had there it is wonderful to meet up with all of you here on the internet. You help keep me from feeling alone in my quest to make quilts, talk of our lives, etc.

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  20. Great post. I was at a meeting last month, and it was suggested that we all need more neighbours - someone to talk to, check in on, etc. What a better world this would be if we all cared for every one else.

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