Grown Up Girlfriends

girlsweekendAs a grown woman, one of the things that I treasure most in life is the friendship of my girlfriends. I am still close with my childhood girlfriends.  These are the girls who knew me before puberty. They vacationed with my family. They had crushes on my brother. We knew each other before we had ever kissed a boy or had experienced peer pressure.  We had no secrets.

I recently went on a trip with these childhood friends.  Nothing can replace the casual intimacy of 37 years of friendship.  We talk, talk, talk. We talk about our kids, our husbands, our sex lives, our health issues, our disappointments, our hopes. It’s always supportive. It’s often accompanied by alcohol, and it’s always accompanied by laughter. As soon as the trip is over, we can’t believe all the things that we forgot to talk about.

I wish I could spend endless lazy summer days with these ladies, but geography and our grown up lives prevent that.  But the bonds that we share carry through until next year.  We already know our plans …  eat, talk, drink, stay in PJ’s, laugh.  We just need a date.  I’ll be there!

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The Wild Birthday Ride

grand torinoI am all about modern safety features in the car … I always wear my seat belt, I think airbags are a brilliant invention, and I don’t speed excessively … but one of my fondest memories involves none of the above in a moving vehicle.

Twice a year (for my birthday and for my brother’s birthday), my parents would put all the seats down in the back of our Grand Torino station wagon – creating a flat, slippery surface in place of seats. All the birthday kids would pile in the back – an unlimited number because, obviously, there were no seats.

My dad would speed through our narrow, hilly neighborhood streets. He would evoke screams of laughter as he would slam on the breaks or take a turn too quickly. We would literally tumble over each other in the back – bodies flying forward or towards the side of the car. We thought this was hysterical. My mother would put a nervous hand on my dad’s shoulder, but they both knew that this was part of the birthday ritual. We loved it.

We now know more about car safety and this birthday ritual would never happen. When my kids had birthday parties, we had to coordinate car seats, booster seats, enough seats. I have passed down many of my family’s traditions, but (sadly?) the wild birthday ride has been retired!

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The Fun House

school-friends-clip-art-school1When I was a teenager, I never gave my parents much credit.  My house was the fun house – the one where my friends wanted to hang out.   My parents always made sure that the house was stocked with munchies and with soda.  They imposed no curfew.  They let us hang out in the basement and they very rarely came downstairs.  The only rules were that my friends had to enter and to leave through the front door and they had to say hello upon their arrival.

Did my parents know that we would occasionally sneak the beer around back?   Did they care that my friends came over on a regular basis – eating and drinking and staying into the wee hours of the morning?  I doubt it.  But I am now the parent of two teenaged kids and I now know the brilliance of my parents’ plan – they knew who I was with and they knew where I was.

I guess I should give my parents some credit (I was actually paying attention!) … because now my house is stocked with goodies and the door is always open.  Kids spend the night or hang out in my basement until all hours.  Although my kids appreciate the open house, I suppose I will have to wait until they have teens of their own for them to give me credit for my brilliance.

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Auras and Past Lives

blue auraApparently, I have a tall, blue aura. And I was brothers with my friend, Anne, in a past life – in Egypt. Huh?? When I write that down or say it out loud, it sounds nuts.

Anne and I went out to dinner on Friday night. We sat next to an older lady and her husband. I noticed at times that she was looking at me and smiling. I just thought she was entertained by our laughing – but really, I didn’t give it too much thought. I did notice that throughout the night, the waitstaff kept coming up to her. Each time, they would hold her hand and say hello. Each time, it was a very warm reception with genuine affection.

At dessert time, this lady couldn’t help herself. She interjected herself into our conversation and she recommended a dessert. We were in an agreeable mood, so we went ahead and ordered her suggestion. That opened the door for a little conversation, but not much more than idle chatter.

When it was time for her to leave, she couldn’t help herself. She came up to us and held our hands and said “I just have to tell you that what I am seeing is something really special. You two have a very deep, spiritual connection.” Anne and I just looked at each other … we were indeed very good friends. College room mates. Thirty years of friendship. But what was she talking about? She kept smiling and holding our hands and you could tell that she was trying to decide whether or not to tell us.

She must have sensed our openness, because she just said it. “You two have known each other in a past life. In fact, more than one past life. At one point, you were brothers in ancient Egypt.” Huh? She went on to tell us about our energy. Our connection. She told us about our auras. We were fascinated and we asked her so many questions. She was a psychic. She shared some stories. The energy was palpable. Finally, she had to leave. Her husband was waiting.

Anne blurted out “I want to have coffee with you.” Debbie said that would be lovely. She would bring her tarot cards.  They exchanged phone numbers. Debbie left and Anne and I just stared at each other. What had just happened??

We spent the next hour trying to remember and to decipher what she said. Was she for real? It FELT real at the time. I completely believed her. But when Anne called her husband from the car, he affectionately said “Annie, can’t you just meet normal people?” And when I told my husband and my son, they just looked at me with blank stares. I believe the response was “I don’t understand what you are talking about.” Saying it out loud did make it seem less credible.

Anne has Debbie’s number. Will we actually arrange for a coffee date? It might be weird … such a leap of faith. The further I get away from our dinner, the more skeptical I become. I have replayed our conversation again and again — could she have said those things to anyone? But it felt very real at the time. My cautious side tells me that I’m crazy, but my intuitive side tells me this is real. A little research into my blue aura tells me that I am very open minded and that I have intuitive energy. So, I guess I’ll take my coffee with cream and sugar and a little magic.

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Stealing Glimpses

fathersonI spent an hour in an airport the other day.  I quickly lost interest in my phone, so I did the old fashioned thing — I people watched.

There was the usual hodgepodge of folks – young lovers saying goodbye, grandparents greeting the youngest additions to the family, anxious travelers staring at the departures/arrivals boards.  But my eyes were drawn to a young man.

He was with two ladies and a young boy.  I tried to piece together the puzzle.  I quickly surmised that the ladies were probably mother and daughter.  The boy was about five. How did he fit into the mix?  The young man was staying behind and he was saying goodbye to the other three.

I watched the young man say goodbye to the ladies – perfunctory hugs.  But with the little boy, he got down on the ground and took off his baseball hat.  He hugged the boy tight and looked directly into his eyes and smiled broadly at him.  He tousled the boy’s hair and then turned to leave.  At that moment, I saw a very vulnerable young man.

His face flushed and a wave of emotion passed over him.  He paused for a moment and stared off into space.  Something brought him back to reality and he quickly composed himself.  He put his hat back on his head.  He adjusted his hoodie.  He strutted out of the airport.  But I knew.  I knew he wasn’t the tough guy that he wanted everyone to believe that he was … he was a young man who just said goodbye to his younger brother or to his son – and despite his swagger and his clothes, Mr. Tough Guy was feeling pretty vulnerable at that moment.

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My Virtual Friends

tvI love Netflix.  I love my On Demand TV channels.  They provide me a portal into exciting worlds.  I mean, how else would I be able to fight terrorists in Pakistan or to live along side a crime boss in New Jersey?  I have felt the pain and the elation of coaching a high school football team.  I know what it’s like to be a soccer mom and to secretly deal drugs.  I know how the mind of a serial killer works.  I know what it’s like to be a Soviet spy living in DC in the 1980’s.

I know so many things!  I know that I actually miss these people when the series is over.  I also know that my real life is pretty boring compared to my virtual friend’s lives.  But that’s ok.  In reality, I don’t want to deal drugs or to carry a gun or to be in the mafia — but for a few hours at time, I certainly enjoy the ride!


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Cats and Puzzles Do Not Mix

zoe and puzzleCats and puzzles do not mix.  My kitty, Zoe, and I have a difference of opinion as to what is helpful.  While I like to match the pieces and lock them together, she insists that sweeping them to the floor is the objective.  I am aware of the discrepancies in our methods, so when I leave, I try to remember to cover the entire table.

Last week, I forgot to cover the table, and upon my return, my husband’s comment was “looks like we need a broom to sweep up all the pieces.”  Hmm.  Zoe had not been very helpful.  But then, three days later, I heard her playing with something under a cabinet.  Upon further inspection, it was revealed that she was batting a puzzle piece across the floor like a hockey puck.  See, she really was being helpful.  She pointed out the piece that we failed to find when we swept the floor.

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Rich for a Day

Eastern AirlinesLast night, I needed a deck of cards.  I came across a relic … “Eastern Airlines.”  It made me smile.  I got those cards on a whim – probably 30 years ago.  Eastern Airlines was going on strike.  I don’t remember the details, but I just remember that they were offering tickets from DC to NY for $12.  Yes, $12.  First come, first served.

Since we were impulsive college students, we headed to the airport.  The lines were long – but who cared? We were going to New York, on a plane, for $12.  The airline employees were trying to keep the customers happy, so as we waited in line, they handed out cards.

And it got better.  Once on the plane, they gave us free drinks.  Keep the customers happy!  So at this point, we had a $12 ticket, a deck of cards, and a beer in hand.  This was good.

We had about 6 hours to spend in New York before we needed to be back at the airport for our return flight.  We made our way to SoHo and said hello to a friend’s sister.  Then we went to Little Italy for dinner.  Then it was back to the airport.

Eastern Airlines ended up going out of business.  But we were thankful to them for making three college girls feel rich for a day … giggling about flying to New York for dinner.  The planes have long since been grounded or sold to another company, but I still have those cards and those memories.  Thanks Eastern Airlines!




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Snow Days

snowmanoneI am a grown woman, yet I have an unreasonable obsession with snow.  I know where the “problem” began.  I grew up in Virginia.  It snows here … sometimes.  It’s a major “close down school and flock to the grocery store” event when there is a chance of more than 3 inches of snow.  The news media goes bonkers.  They have “storm team coverage” at every turn.  I have been inculcated.  I buy into the hype.

When I was younger, it was all about school closing and then spending the day sledding with my friends.  We made snow ice cream and we watched TV during the day.  Now that I have kids, I see that nothing has changed.  Cancelling school honestly doesn’t affect my day, but it affects theirs.  I see how incredibly happy it makes them – sort of a psychological victory – so I fall back into the old habits and stalk the news and hope for school closings.

I no longer spend my snow days sledding, but I do still make an occasional bowl of snow ice cream.  I find great joy when I see ten pairs of shoes at the front door – evidence that my kids like to have friends over to our house when it snows.  I love the excited chatter.  I am happy to wipe up the water puddles on the floor and to provide hot chocolate for all.  In the end, they won’t remember what they might have learned on that one day in school – but the happy feeling of staying home and playing in the snow – that’s the memory worth keeping.

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A Chameleon

people2I love moving in and out of different social circles and calling each group of people my friends.  I start my week off with a yoga class.  I consider these to be my open minded, liberal, earthy crunchy friends.  Everyone there is just so kind.  I move to different sporting events –  and these are my competitive friends.  They are cut throat, tough.  Mostly conservative.  But I participate in both – so which am I?

Do the yoga folks know that I love fantasy football and that I am rather astute at gambling?  Do the sports people know that I love poetry and foreign films?  Probably not.  But that’s ok.  I’m a little bit of everything.  I like knowing that I can move in and out of all these groups with ease.  It’s nice to be a chameleon.

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