gratitude-a-thon day 2067:friends (not the tv show)

There is family. And then there are friends. Family is sort of stuck with you. Like you or not, we band together to help one another, blood coursing through our veins says it’s our duty, plus there are all those shared experiences.(Who else really knows how cuckoo crazy pants your dad was?)

But friends. They are the chosen. Before they become one of your people, they’re complete strangers. And then story by story, one movie/walk/late afternoon coffee/ glass of wine, or two, or three/one thoughtful phone call when the sky is falling/one workout that turns into lunch/one tv show you both adore, and suddenly you have found someone who is like your leg, only without a drop of cellulite.

In the department of gratitude, there is almost nothing (except maybe family and oh, my dog) that I am more grateful for than my friends. Along with potato chips, they are positively what gets me through this whack-a-doodle world.

gratitude-a-thon day 414: saying goodbye, and why we ever said hello to start with

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Today I will go to the funeral of my friend Katie. It will be a hard day.

Some people are surprised I knew Katie, because of the 23 year age difference, and because my kids were older than her son. It’s funny how during the school years, your schedule often only allows you to pair off with the people who are doing exactly what you’re doing, or who have children who are close enough in age, that you can throw them all together while you have an adult conversation, or make a meal, or polish off a bottle of wine (or two).

For a while I thought I might open a store, and for a few years I sort of set up a store in my living room with a mix of what I would sell in a real store, as kind of a test kitchen. It was also kind of a party, with food and wine and girl talk. Anyway, that’s the first time I met Katie. Someone brought her over to shop. And I was literally stunned by how beautiful she was. I think I said to her, “You are gorgeous, Who are you?“She was like 5’9, with long hair and perfect features, and a great body and killer style. Anyway, I talked to her and we clicked in some funny way, and then I saw her at a party not long after, and then we just sort of had this funny little relationship, in which we didn’t spend a ton of time together, but we messaged a lot on Facebook, and we just got each other. There was some sort of no bullshit zone we got into. She told me her whole story, because as she said to me, “You’re so open, it makes me want to tell you everything.” She acknowledged it was odd, that she didn’t really do that a lot. But I understood, and appreciated it. Because that girl had a lot of story. And I could hear it, I could take it in, because I am older, wasn’t her contemporary. And because I have very openly on this blog shared my own difficulties, with my dad’s alcoholism, and how that has affected every part of my life. She liked that age hadn’t diminished me. She liked my kind of 55, and knowing that’s what hers could be like. She appreciated where I’d been and wanted to know what I thought about things she struggled to try and figure out, that I’d already been through, stuff lots of 32 year olds struggle with, and then some. She loved the blog. As for me, I loved her incredible energy, and her quick mind, her take on the world, and the way she worked at her life, to make it good, to make it right. It wasn’t easy for her. She had such a brilliant mind. It was unusual in its brilliance, like the brightest star you’ve ever seen in the sky. Amidst all the serious talk, we would also talk about clothes, and where to get a good blow dry, and girlie stuff like that. It was kind of hilarious to be in the middle of some intense topic, and at the same time discuss the merits of highlighting your hair.

The last time I saw her we had lunch at Rifrullo. She wore a shirt with a big heart on it. And we talked a lot. And I ordered the gluten free bread, which I’d recently had there for the first time. And Katie was on a no carb diet, but she had to taste it, and she went bananas over it,  just like I had a few weeks earlier. I told her  that Colleen the owner had given me the recipe. She messaged me later in the day for it. I sent it. Ironically, It was called The Life Changing Loaf of Bread.

I am going to miss that girl, that sparkly, ball of brilliance. I will really miss those conversations. She had zillions of friends, so I feel lucky she streaked through my life. Because I loved our funny little friendship. It made me think, and made me laugh, and made me better.

gratitude-a-thon day 335: the people who keep you going

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The coldest of nights, or the meanest of moods, or the saddest of circumstances, or the poofy middle of middle age, or the fear of your kids flying out of the nest you so tentatively feathered, or the hair that keeps turning gray, or the bad news that comes more often, or the sick parents, climate changes, bad turns that happen to our favorite fictional tv characters, or the sore back, cancelled plans, revised thoughts, broken hearts, dreams and cabinet doors don’t seem so bad when you have friends. Thanks to all of mine.