One FOF did something wonderful for 50 of her dearest friends and relatives. Another is treating herself to the same thing, 12 times! We asked about your most expensive purchase of 2016, and the answers were as varied and interesting as you are!
“I retired and bought myself a horse, brand new truck and horse trailer so we can travel together! All told $62k. Aaarrggghhhhh!”
“2 puppies @ $300 each. In my defense it was also my dumbest purchase! One would have been enough work but nooooooo, like a genius I had to double that.”
The movie Manchester by the Sea won’t only give you a gigantic lump in your throat; it will make you see life just a little more clearly than you did 137 minutes earlier. And that can be an especially good thing during these unsettling times all over the world.
Casey Affleck hauntingly plays Lee Chandler, who returns to the community where he was born and raised when his older brother dies, and is shocked to learn that he is the sole guardian of his 16-year-old nephew. We don’t know much about Lee at this point, except that he’s a loner handyman for an apartment complex in Boston; he’s depressed, and he’s terribly angry. But, as the story unfolds, we learn about the unspeakable tragedy that made him leave Manchester by the Sea, and we struggle along with him as he is forced to face his deeply troubled past and decide where to take his future.
Every single character in the gut-wrenching film, as well as the dialog and storyline, are so unpretentious and realistic that it seems at times to be a documentary. I held my breath when Lee’s nephew Patrick (beautifully played by Lucas Hedges) visited the hospital morgue to see his dad, and cheered him when he was clumsily trying to hook up with a girlfriend before her mother knocked on the bedroom door. I sided with Lee’s wife Randi (played by Michelle Williams), when she confronted his rowdy and drunk friends to get out of the house in the wee hours of the morning. And my heart broke when Randi, this time as Lee’s ex-wife, apologizes to him, saying “I should fuckin’ burn in hell for what I said” (after their tragedy.) In the book of most memorable movie scenes of all time, that one definitely should be on page one.
It happens the same exact way every single year: The holidays are over but the cleanup is just beginning.
Despite your best intentions, it’s impossible to keep the house organized and tidy once the non-stop festivities begin. But now that the guests are gone, you’re facing everything from a yucky, greasy oven and your toddler grandson’s grape jam fingerprints in the kitchen, to countless dustballs, cookie crumbs and candy wrappers on every floor and rug. And even if cousin Carole’s Chow Chow puppy is captivating, the hills of fur she left behind definitely are not!
Some of us have been lucky in love (very lucky); others, not so much. But whether we’ve been there, done that, or swear by the state of matrimony, we’re a resilient bunch of women!
“Came within three days of marrying my high school sweetheart in 1988, but we were very young and I broke it off for very valid reasons. I married someone else five years later. That lasted 17 years. I’ve been divorced since 2011 and recently have reconnected with my high school sweetheart. I am very hopeful that the past will be set right. He is my soulmate.”
Life-changing events, are, well, life changing, whether they’re helpful or heart breaking.
Here are some that changed FOF lives.
“The day I discovered Chung King was not real Chinese Food! But on a serious note, when I lost my husband to cancer and then lost my younger brother to cancer 8 months later.” Lori Logan Goniwicha
“With my husband’s blessing, I finally had enough of my bosses BS, got sick of the supervisors playing God in their own little kingdom. I walked into work, collected my things, turned in my badge, drove away and never looked back…Life is good and my husband is wonderful!!!” Lyn Gunselman
We asked you how many times you’ve been in love, and you gave us a delightful spectrum of answers (as you always do!) First, we invite you to read this beautiful essay on love by Bob Marley.
“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”
“My incredibly outstanding grandmother Germanía, my mother’s mother. My grandma was a widow (as she lost the love of her life, my grandfather) with six small children, by age 35. Sadly, two would die before her, including one on Mother’s Day.”
“Grandma had a very tough life. She had very little education growing up motherless and, basically abandoned, in the slums of Puerto Rico in the 1920s and early 1930s. Yet, she managed to raise her children well with very few resources and no husband. She worked in a factory and was a caregiver to the infirm in order to make ends meet. That was backbreaking work! Later, once her kids were grown, she was able to save enough to buy her own beautiful house. It was big and she earned money renting the apartment and rooms on the third floor! Grandma also became a New York City auxiliary police officer. I remember seeing her in her uniform for the first time. We were very proud of her.”
”She was the consummate cook and her gardens were masterpieces! Grandma was a humanitarian and never turned away those in need. I love her so much and miss her deeply. Sadly she died of cancer at age 59. She left a tremendous impact on my life. She was a warrior woman and forever my hero!”