Friend or Consultant?

There are people in my life -mostly those who were once good friends- who call me solely when they want advice, or when things are going wrong and they need someone to turn to, to vent to, or to bounce solutions around with.

And I'm conflicted.

On one hand, I'm happy that people consider me worthy of their troubles, that they consider confiding in me a worthwile experience enough to seek out repeatedly, even if we haven't spoken otherwise in ages. I like being someone people can turn to, for whatever reason. And I'd like to think those I have loved can, years after we've last spoken, call me out of the blue at any hour of the day or night with the certainty that I'll be there for them.

But on the other hand, I never hear from these particular "friends" at any other time than when they want something. And increasingly, I haven't felt any great compulsion to respond to their texts and calls. The ego boost from earlier years has faded into mild, jaded annoyance, and I can't help but start to wonder where the line between the duties of friendship fades into the territory of being used.

Quite often, my male friends will ask me to help pick out gifts for the various ladies in their lives. It's a service which I am happy to render, and do not consider a chore at all so much as a vicarious shopping experience and a chance to hang out with said friend. However, I recently got a call from someone I haven't hung out with in quite a while who wanted my help in selecting a rather nice piece of jewelry for his wife. Now, I haven't even met his wife, I know nothing of her and her likes or dislikes, and nor am I a part of this guy's life anymore. And I found it an incredibly tedius and unenjoyable experience. Probably because at that point, it didn't feel like being a friend so much as an unpaid personal shopper.

The reason why I write this is because that same 'friend' (and the term at this point is at best a loose one) just sent me a text asking if I'm busy. And you know, I wasn't a few seconds before my phone beeped, but I made damn sure I was immediately afterwards. Because every single communication I've recieved from him in the past year has been because he wants a sympathetic ear, or advice, or help of one sort or another. Occasionally, he asks about my life, but only in the last two to three minutes of the call, clearly doing so mainly out of courtesy.

He's the worst offender, but by no means the only one. Where do you draw the line between helping out someone who used to (or still does) mean something to you and just simply allowing yourself to be used? And once that line is drawn, (as it has been made abundantly clear by reading my own words that I'm in serious need of a line...or two) is there ever a nice way to tell people they are cashing in on the benefits of a friendship long disintegrated? I, for one, am doubtful.

Love's Youngest Grandchild

He is Love's youngest grandchild, her favorite of the twelve or so she had at last count. He has curly hair, and the angelic face and mischievous ways classic to the cherubim. When he was six, he would sit on her lap and listen to her tales of great love. Some were tragic, some happy, but most were somewhere in the grey areas. Unlike his siblings raised by television standards of romance, he learned from Love herself of the complexities and compromise that were at her very core. By the time he was sixteen, he watched his friends seek out his grandmother for condoms when they couldn't procure them elsewhere. Love merely smiled sadly, knowing young couples thus inflamed would not be deterred by a lack of protection, and handed out contraception in hopes that today's fancy would not turn into tomorrow's regret. She did wish, though, she confided to her grandson, that they wouldn't keep confusing her for Lust, who lived several blocks down and did not keep her yard nearly as nice.

Now he's older and has moved out on his own, but he still visits her with flowers and looks after her rabbits whenever he can. He tells her the latest of his lovelife, and she knows that in his curret girlfriend he has found his match, even if he has yet to conclude this himself. It doesn't take him long. Later, she will be the first person he calls with the excited news that "She said yes!". He never realizes he's inherited his grandmother's power to heal broken hearts -and coincidentally- will go though life loving and being loved without ever having experienced one for himself. Some would say this makes him lucky, but his grandmother would argue it's the bitter in life that makes the sweet stand out.

More time passes, and of all her descendants, he is still by far the most vibrantly alive with love. Where others of her line love fiercely at first like a short-lived blazing fire, burning themselves out with the sustained effort, he loves simply, strongly and steadily. He is never aware of the profound effect he has on those around him, and for that, Love cherishes him most of all.

When she dies, she leaves to him in her will her collection of old love letters, a journal from when she was but a young girl, and a locket with a faded photo inside, the identity lost to time. He makes sure that on her tomb, there is a simple heart engraved where her name should be. He knows she is not really there.

even The Sims knows my boyfriend is a perv

A few hints that even my computer game can accurately recognize the pervy tendencies of The Boy, as demonstrated by his pixel-based stand-in.

Janelle: hey honey, look! Those clouds look like a pe....
The Boy: bewb. mmmmbooooooob. *drool*

Random Hussy: Heeeeey, room for one more?
The Boy: *stretches out* Of course! There's always room for more lovely boobies... er, ladies. *eyebrow wiggle*Janelle: *superglare*
The Boy: feck. >.< The Boy: Hehe, I can see up your towel. Ah, you shaved today. Niiiiice.
Janelle: *superglare version 2.0*

And now, a small segment called, "Things Iwould call the cops for if it were anyone but The Boy", aka TIWCTCFIIWABTB.

moment 1:
Janelle: dude, that's totally creepy. I can feel your eyes on me.
The Boy: boooooobs.

annnd moment 2:
Janelle: ooh, I see Wells Fargo stock is up. My portfolio is coming along nicel.....what the bloody hell is poking my paper?! That had better be your finger. Oh please tell me that's your finger.
The Boy: *innocent face*
Janelle: THAT IS NOT YOUR FINGER POKING MAH PAPER! Okay. Okay I am cancelling our subscription. Because I'd rather give up the paper than have this experience ever, ever happen again.

And those are our TIWCTCFIIWABTB for this week.

In other news, my sim-self seems to have none of the issues with PDA that my real life self does:

Janelle: C'mere you tasty lil Irishman!
The Boy: *is both surprised and aroused by this turn of events*

And apparently this lack of shame extends to making out mere inches away from a visiting coworker. I blame my pixel self's lack of decency on Boy Pixel's clearly corrupting influence.

But, somehow at the end of the day...

whatever those two crazy kids are up to, it works for them. And really, that's all that matters.

For now. Myah ha haaaaa.

things recently in my mouth

My cookings, I know you want them.

Braised turnips in mustard sauce. First time I can ever recall eating turnips, and they were quite nice- very mildly flavored and slightly sweet. I used a mild, better quality whole-grain mustard for the sauce, and tweaked according to the family taste preferences. It turned out to be quite a subtle sauce that didn't overpower the turnips but did add a lil extra something nice. I can't wait to try the turnips mashed with butter next time. Move over mashed potatoes, I never really liked you in the first place. True story.

Amaretti cookies
. Never thought myself much of an almond fan, but I've discovered I like the flavour when divorced of the unappealing texture of the actual nut. These are definitely best the day you make them, they loose a bit of their chewy charm on day two, but still pack an intense punch of flavour. Like eating marzipan in cookie form. But better. Cause they're cookies.

Delishus rice pudding. So, the first time I made this, I skipped the almond extract, because- see above. But overall, it was a little bland, although I discovered the arborio rice does make substantially better rice pudding than other kinds. Despite the mediocre results, I made it again because I get intense rice pudding cravings that demand satisfaction, and this method is faster than the baked varieties. I added a teensy bit more sugar to kick up the flavour, and added in the almond extract at the end. However, the recipe was perfect as initially written, (aside from scaling back the milk) and the almond added that missing pizazz, but the extract plus extra sugar made for one intensely sweet final dish. Really good, substantially better than last time, but too sweet for my tastes. However, my mother loved it. Devoured it, in fact. And she's usually apathetic at best about my cooking, so... yay?

Buttery, moist scones. As someone used to scones as dry triangles of crumbly baked good that one dunks into tea to both soften and flavor, this was a revelation. They take only a few minutes to make, they're flaky, oh-so buttery, and very moist due to the holy hell so much butter. Actually, these upstaged the peach tea I'd brewed up to accompany these. They have too much presence to play second fiddle to some lowly leaf's bathwater.

I've also made peach ice cream, parsnip fries, green lentil soup, stewed parsnip, tomato, and red pepper compote, and Failcookies of Ultimate Failure. But I refuse to talk about those. It's still too soon.

As for other things I've had in my mouth.... honey, what's the timeframe on "recent"? ;)


I've had a bit more thinking time, a smidgen more introspection since writing this, and I've realized that the main issue I have with his lack of previous relationships actually has nothing to do with him.

I've realized -slowly, painfully- that my fear is that he has only chosen me because he doesn't know what else is out there. That he has decided to buy the first car on the lot without having looked around at other cars enough to know it's a clunker.

And that's the crux of it. In my heart, I think I'm a clunker. And that once he's more aware of the type of girl he could be dating, I'll be kicked out of this happy little existence faster than you can say "scrap heap."

At what point did I start to think of myself as worthless?

And how do I make it stop?