Category Archives: friends

Another lesson from my daughter

My daughter continues to amaze me with her insight and maturity.

She has been disappointed lately with a couple of friends that she thought were true friends, but according to her, they have “ditched” her. She doesn’t have any idea why. It happened suddenly, without an obvious cause. No fights, no disagreements or anything she can put her finger on. She thinks they’ve just moved on.

For awhile, she just kept thinking that maybe she was overreacting. But they’ve just stopped calling. At school, in their regular circle of friends, they’re polite and cordial, but it goes no further. H asked them both, separately, if she had done anything to piss them off, and they both told her “No, everything’s fine. I love you to death”…blah blah blah. But nothing changed.

Today a couple of things happened at school that made her tell me that she just needs to admit it to herself that they’ve moved on.

I asked her if she still had plans to meet one of them for breakfast (Plans that were made long ago). She said, “Yes.”

I said, “Well, maybe you need to tell her you’re busy. Give her a taste of her own medicine.”

H looked at me and said, “Why would I do that? I know how much it hurts.”

Oops. Once again she’s more mature than I am.

The birthday bash…a little late

I’m writing this post in bed, under the covers, at 1:00 in the afternoon. I’ve been here since Sunday night, with some kind of funky lower respiratory infection that I picked up this weekend. I hate being sick…can’t remember the last time I felt so bad that I stayed in bed more than a day. But my good memories of the long weekend I just spent in Colorado far outweigh the negatives of being sick.

 I turned 50 this past December, and my girlfriends, who never overlook a reason for a party, decided we needed a girl’s trip to celebrate. The fact that I already celebrated my birthday and the fact that it was two months ago meant nothing to them. We’ve done girl’s trips for the last 30 years, but the bonus this year was that I finally talked them into joining me for a ski trip to Snowmass.

Leaving my husband and my daughter for a few days is never an easy thing. Of course, I miss them like crazy, but making sure they’re taken care of adds another layer of preparation for a trip. Cooking extra food for a few days so they have plenty of leftovers to eat, grocery shopping so they don’t run out of anything they need, writing out my daughter’s schedule for my husband so that he knows where and what she’s doing. It used to be a lot more difficult. I had to arrange for transportation and/or babysitting for the times that my husband was working. Now that she drives, it’s a lot easier. I just have to worry about her remembering where she needs to be, and hope that she arrives on time and doesn’t forget anything.

They have learned over the years that I usually come back from my girlfriend trips in a great mood, energized and ready to be the best mom I can be. I can’t explain it, but being with my girlfriends, acting silly, drinking wine, talking until all hours of the night, eating junk food,…just being ME…helps me to be a better mom, and wife. I LOVE my family, and I LOVE being a stay-at-home mom. It makes me happy when I do all the mom things…shopping, cooking, planning, listening, encouraging, reminding, hugging, cuddling…all of it, but going away once or twice a year with my girlfriends is something that I treasure.

My daughter misses me, but she always loves to hear stories about the trip and laughs at our photos. She sees that good friends and memories are something to treasure, and looks forward to making her own. My husband still doesn’t quite understand the attraction of piling a bunch of girls together in a car and/or hotel room, and doesn’t understand how we can hear each other when we all talk at the same time, but he knows that I come back with a renewed appreciation for him and our life together. I’m able to remind myself that underneath the “Mom” and “Wife”…there’s still “Me”.

So far, 5 of 8 of us on this trip have the cough/fever/achy thing. One of us tested positive for H1N1, so it’s likely we all have it. Maybe it was skiing in -16 degree temperatures, staying in close quarters, snowshoe hiking up “terminator” and “anaerobic nightmare” trails, or more likely, sharing a camelback…but whatever it was, it was worth it and we’d all do it again.

Forever can never be long enough for me

Having a birthday two weeks from Christmas means that very rarely do you get a day that’s all about you.  Now that I’m an adult, I even have a hard time taking the time away from the hustle and bustle to stop and celebrate.  It’s not easy for my family members, either, I imagine.  In addition to figuring out a Christmas present, they also have to figure out something for my birthday.  So inevitably I get the Birthday/Christmas present.  Which I totally understand now…as a kid, not so much.

Sunday was a big birthday for me.  As in five decades of big. It is actually not that big of a deal, but everyone else wants to make it a big deal.  I mean, I already had my 50 year old physical, mammogram, and teeth cleaning.  I felt like I was there already, and I’m feeling pretty good.  But last week was jam-packed…with Christmas shopping, wrapping, making Apple Jelly, Pear/Apple Preserves, Strawberry and Blueberry Jam.  I was so glad to be able to go to dinner Saturday night with 8 of our best friends for a really fun night of good food, good wine, and laughter.  I went to bed with a smile on my face.

The next day (my actual birthday), J gave me a card with two tickets to the Train Concert at the Jingle Ball in Tampa!  I’ve written about Train before…I’m embarrassed to say I think I’m a groupie.  I love their songs…all of them.  The ones before they broke up and came back to record their latest album, “Save me, San Francisco”, and the ones that no one has ever heard of.  But I love their new stuff, too.  J said that when he walked in on me watching the CMT Crossroads show featuring Train and Martina McBride, and I was crying…(I have no idea why I cried-they just move me that way), that he knew he had to do it.

I was over the top excited…and after a quick tearing through my closet to figure out what to wear, I was ready to go to the airport, when four of our best friends walked in the front door.  They were going with us!  It was a perfect day, other than the rain and snow that we were beginning to get, which had been forecast for days, and which had kept my fearful flyer husband awake for the past week.  But we took off with no problems, and the landing in Tampa was smooth as silk.  A car picked us up and whisked us to the arena, where we were early, so we stopped in at the hotel next door for a drink and to freshen up a little.  I was on my way to the ladies room, when out of the corner of my eye I spotted the back of a bald head at the bar.  He was next to a column, so I couldn’t really see his face, but I was convinced it was Jimmy Stafford, lead guitarist extraordinaire for Train.  I ran back to J, breathlessly telling him Jimmy was at the bar.  He said, “No way,” and promptly walked over and tapped him on the shoulder.  He turned around (with a smile, luckily), and sure enough, it was him!  I normally speak in nonsense when I meet a celebrity, especially one I admire as much as Jimmy,  but for some reason when J introduced himself and pulled me over to tell him it was my birthday, I actually put together a couple of sentences that made sense!  Jimmy was very sweet, and spoke with us for a few minutes.  He told us he bought a home in Brentwood, so that his 10-year-old daughter could go to school here. He also said, after finding out we flew down for the show,  “You know we’re only doing four songs?”  Oops.

The show was a radio show…put on by a local station, and there were seven bands.  Ready Set, Mike Posner, Bruno Mars, Train, B.o.B., Enrique Englasias, and Maroon 5.  I guess I realized they would do a shorter set, but FOUR songs?  But you know what, it didn’t matter.  I met Jimmy, and I was with my friends and my sweet husband, and it was a magical night.  What I didn’t know was we had tickets to a pre-show…an acoustical set by Train.  They played three songs there, and ended up doing five songs in the show.  We got herded through the meet and greet line, and got our picture taken with the band and a bunch of girls I didn’t know, but I ran over next to Pat.  He looked at my skirt and said, “That skirt’s pretty hot.”  (swoon).  Of course, I was tongue tied and didn’t even say thanks.  Just smiled and leaned in for the shot.  We had floor seats, and I decided to sit on the end so I could stand up and dance, which ended up being a good decision.  When they did “Marry Me” (which they also did in the acoustic set and during both performances someone got engaged..), Pat left the stage and walked around the audience.  He walked right by me!  I could see the glistening sweat and the guy-liner on his eyes, and he is just as handsome up close as he is onstage.  I could have touched him, like everyone else was doing, but I was frozen in place.  Afterwards I was mad that I didn’t even take a photo.

It’s now a week later, and I’m still walking around on air.  The fact that J did something so generous and loving and outside his comfort zone (flying in bad weather), is something I will NEVER EVER forget.  Even if they only did one song, it would have been great.  I am the luckiest girl in the world (do I have to call myself a woman now that I’m 50?).  J and I are like yin and yang…we just fit together.  We’re definitely not the same in many ways…but I think that’s just the “whatever”…Pat said it first in these lyrics from “If it’s Love”…

But I’m afraid when I hear stories about a husband and wife
There’s no happy endings, no Henry Lee
But you are the greatest thing about me

If it’s love
And we decide that it’s forever
No one else could do it better

If it’s love
And we’re two birds of a feather
Then the rest is just whatever

So to my sweet husband…I love you.   I’m looking forward to spending my forevers with you.  And thank you.

Flipping over Speed Bumps

Just got back from a week in Snowmass and Aspen, Colorado. I had to drag my husband, kicking and screaming, away from Lake Toxaway for our little visit to the mountains out west. If he had his way, we’d park it there and never leave. Don’t get me wrong, I love it in North Carolina. I love it so much I’ve agreed to build our “retirement” home there. We actually broke ground on it last week. If all goes as planned, we’ll finish building it when H graduates from high school, and we will move our “home base” to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

But I’ve wanted to spend time in Colorado ever since I first visited in high school. The mountains, the crystal clean air, the activities both winter and summer, and the whole vibe…I just love it. There was a 75 year old man in line behind me at the grocery store in Snowmass, talking about his mountain bike race that weekend and his triathlon the next weekend. I wanted to be him. Being active and outdoors in Colorado is the norm, not the exception. I could definitely be comfortable there. But the extremes of weather make it difficult to live there year round, so we plan on spending a few weeks there in summer and winter, hopefully.

We met our goods friends from Dallas…T and P. They are so much fun and we love them so much, it was a really great week. We hiked, swam, did yoga, ate great meals and drank great wine. Our two hikes were incredible. The first day we did the Rim Trail in Snowmass…which ended up being 8.5 miles, but had incredible views, and enough flats to let us recover from the uphills.

After recovering from that one, we did the 6 mile round trip to Cathedral Lake…from 9,400 feet to almost 12,000 feet altitude. The altitude definitely did a number on us, but we made it, and it was spectacular.

After T and P left, J and I decided to do the bike ride we’d been looking forward to all week. We drove up to Snowmass Village and bought bikes, helmets and gloves, so we can store them here and won’t have to mess around with renting every time. We took off and made it about 200 feet to a parking lot with speed bumps. NOTE TO SELF: DON’T BRAKE HARD WHEN GOING OVER A SPEED BUMP!!

My bike stopped hard, but I didn’t. I flew over the handlebars, and my bike stopped, upside down, looking like I was getting ready to change a flat. J heard me fall, but no one saw it. (That I know of). Even though I feel SO stupid, I think it must have been hilarious and wish I had a picture. Since I don’t, here’s a few bike crash photos, so you can use your imagination.

Anyway, I survived, but my arm is broken. Bummer.

Snowbound with my girls!!

Once upon a time, twenty-eight years ago, I was a Junior at the University of Tennessee, and my boyfriend at the time introduced me to two girls, CH and CR. They’re going to kill me for posting this lovely 80’s photo of them, but unfortunately, this is how we ALL looked back then!

He thought we would get along, and that it would be fun to double date with their boyfriends, who were HIS friends. Today, boyfriend is long gone, but the friendship I have with those girls has blossomed into a beautiful relationship that continues to multiply and enrich my life. Not only are they like my extended family, but as the years have gone by, the seeds of that friendship have produced many more friends…brought into the circle at different times, but are as deep rooted as the original three. Some have come and gone…but there is a core group that is closer now than ever before.

Through the years we have taken many trips together, celebrated countless birthdays, (especially the milestone 30 and 40th!),

been bridesmaids in each other’s weddings,

planned wedding and baby showers,

attended funerals, prayed and held hands through chemotherapy, and we treasure each other like rare diamonds. We don’t see each other nearly as often as we did before families, jobs, and life stepped in, but we do carve out a few times a year to get together for birthdays, graduations or whatever reason we can think of for a girl’s night out. But we also try to take a trip once or twice a year.

Trips are difficult to plan…everyone has such varied commitments. Our children are all different ages, so they’re at different stages in their lives, and have their own busy schedules, our spouses have to be open to stepping in while we’re gone, and our jobs and volunteer commitments have to have openings, and all this has to happen on the same weekend. Luckily, for the last almost 30 years, we have been able carve out a long weekend for some much needed bonding, silliness and girl-talk. CR has a house in Sandestin, so for several years we’ve gone down there for the beach, but for the last 2 1/2 years I’ve talked them into coming to North Carolina, my version of heaven. The first trip, only five of us made the long, 6 hour drive. But after seeing the photos, last year we had seven. It was off-season, so there was no boating, no fishing, no golf, no swimming, but we had an incredible weekend. With a little excitement at the end.

This year, we had ten girls. I warned everyone that we had three bedrooms, so some people would have to sleep on the floor. In our 20’s, that wasn’t a big deal. Heck, spring break in Ft. Lauderdale we had 12 girls in one hotel room! We’re a little creakier now that we’re nearing the big 5-0, but no one minded. We had a lottery for bed space, and no one complained about having to sleep on the pull-out sofa. (Well, not much, anyway).

Again, it was off-season, there was one restaurant open in the area, so we brought groceries and made chili, vegetable soup, and chicken tortilla soup and just hibernated in the house, other than a couple of breathtaking hikes.

We knew snow had been forecast. But we’re from Nashville, where they predict 7 inches and get 1/2 inch, and they still close schools. Plus, the temps had been in the 50’s even Friday morning, the day the snow started. We had driven to Gorges State Park to hike the Rainbow Falls trail…a 3 mile round trip to a breathtaking waterfall. The trailhead is deep within the park, and we were the only cars there. We made it to the falls, many photo opps along the way, and about 1/2 mile before we were out of the trail, the snow began to fall.

Almost immediately it was pouring snow. It was a very wet snow. Almost rain-like. We weren’t worried. The temps had been so warm surely the roads were fine. So we piled into the two cars…one a four wheel drive, and one was CR’s big suburban-like truck with rear wheel drive. The snow was coming down so fast the road out looked confusing. We took a wrong turn. Then on the undulating hills, our tires started spinning. We all got really quiet. CR’s jaw got tight, her hands squeezing the steering wheel so hard they turned pale white. KE started praying, and the four wheel drive vehicle slid off the road. Somehow, we made it out of the park. The main roads were clearer, because they had been brined the day before. But we left CR’s car at the convenience store where we had parked our other two 4 wheel drives. We barely made it back to the house. We decided to leave one car at the bottom of the street (my house is on a huge hill), and shuttle everyone up to the house. I drove the first group up, dropped them off, then as I went back down to pick up the others, my car slide all the way down. So we parked them both at the bottom. In retrospect, that’s probably why we were able to get home on Sunday.

The snowstorm kept us inside, and our planned evening at the Brown Trout for dinner never happened, but it was probably one of our best trips ever. We watched movies, played games, drank really good wine, and hiked in the most beautiful winter wonderland I have ever seen in my life.

Our friends from Cashiers drove in to see us on Saturday night and got snowed in, so we did have people who slept on the floor, but it was an incredible weekend. It was not without drama…you can’t get 12 girls together in close quarters without having some drama, but it was all good.

I am so blessed to have these friends in my life. I know that finding close friends as an adult is not easy. Life changes such as having babies, starting new jobs, getting married, moving, etc. make it difficult to make new ties, or fray those we already have. This group of women has done all those things, and through them, we have continued to make our friendship something that is important to us. We’re fortunate that our spouses support our friendship. I could write another post about how my dear husband has come to appreciate my bonds with these girls, when at first, he was a little threatened by them. I know we will have many more life changes in the years to come, but I hope that we will always have this connection, and that we will always find time to get together to re-charge.

Benefits of Friendship

This weekend was another one for the books. H had a three day weekend, so we scooted up to North Carolina to soak up the beauty, and to spend time with friends. H brought a girlfriend, and J and I invited a couple, who have been our friends for 20 years to join us. It’s so much fun for us to share our little bit of paradise with friends. H and her friend started chatting from the moment we picked them up at school on Thursday, and didn’t stop until we dropped her off at home on Sunday.

J came up with S early to play golf, and T and I came up on Thursday with the girls. We played cards, hiked, read, knitted, laughed, drank good wine, and had an incredible weekend. Didn’t sleep much, but I feel energized whenever I spend good quality time with friends. I think J and I learned about the benefits of quality friendships from his mother.

My mother-in-law is the picture of health. She exercises every day, eats well, has an occasional martini or glass of wine, and when she wakes up every morning she takes about 20 vitamins/supplements with a glass of orange juice. People who meet her are drawn to her personality. She looks at least 15 years younger than she is, and has the energy level of someone younger than me!

And she also makes friends everywhere she goes. Her friends are found everywhere…of course, her peers, her family, the co-workers from her job, but also from less expected places. Her hairdresser, manicurist, housekeeper, alterations lady, shopkeeper…are all considered friends to her. She will strike up a conversation with a stranger and in the process of five minutes will already know their name, family situation, and whether they need a job referral, or even a date.

If you ask most people, they would say that her “healthy lifestyle”, the exercise, diet, supplements, and moderation is what keep her young. But a 10 year Australian study shows that it’s the other thing, the thing that comes as easy to her as breathing, her ability to form close friendships.

And her youthful figure? Of course, her exercise and diet are considered key factors in keeping her in great shape, but a recent shows that her circle of friends can also play a role in preventing obesity. In 2007, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study showing that the risk of obesity increased by 60% when your circle of friends gained weight also!

And that’s not all, Harvard published research last year showing that social integration with friends, children and neighbors delayed memory loss by 60%!

I’ve always felt that time with my girlfriends gives me a boost of energy, and even though I don’t get to spend as much time with them as I did before marriage and kids, I treasure the time we do get to spend together. It’s great to see proof that it’s both physically and spiritually rewarding!

I wonder if the benefits of friendship outweigh the late night, oreo cookie-eating, red-wine drinking, chat-fests?

Never a Dull Moment!

Just got back from another fabulous girl’s trip in the mountains. This time of year, Lake Toxaway is pretty deserted…most of the homeowners are away, the club and golf course are closed, the boats are stored away, but it is still beautiful and relaxing and breathtaking.

Seven of us met at the airport for an 8:30 flight to Asheville, then drove over to the Biltmore for the day.

We toured the castle (unbelievable!) and the winery, then I went for a short run on the trails that run all around the property. It’s winter and the leaves are down, but it was still so beautiful. I can imagine how incredible it is in the spring and summer. We had dinner at a spanish Tapas restaurant in Asheville, called Zambra, that was phenomenal. That night, at the Biltmore Inn, one of the girls decided to make coffee in the room. When she lifted the lid of the coffee maker, there was a big baggy of pot stuck inside! Someone must have hidden it there and forgotten about it. I can imagine how upset they were when they got home and realized they’d left it. We decided to mess with one of the other girls in the room, and put the bag inside her makeup case. That night, when she went to get ready for dinner, she discovered it inside. At the same time, we grabbed a guy who was walking down the hall and had him go to the door and shout, “Police!”

Even at this advanced age we are easily amused.

Friday we drove up to Lake Toxaway and spent the rest of the weekend at the house. It was so great just to be together with the girls. We’re all so busy with work, kids, and life stuff, that when we can really get away like this it’s just such a fantastic, inspiring, relaxing time. We built a fire, made vegetable soup and chili, went for a long hike to the Toxaway River falls, and spent the evening drinking wine, telling stories, playing games, and dancing.

Around 1 a.m., the smoke detectors started going off throughout the entire house! We all jumped up and started running around, trying to figure out what was going on. It was probably pretty comical, seven girls running around like crazy, trying to fan the smoke alarm, turning off the house alarm, until we figured out that someone had set a fire in the downstairs fireplace without opening the flue. She thought it was open, I’m sure, but when we figured out what was happening, we couldn’t find the damper. My friend, T, who is a little neurotic (but I love her), kept insisting I call the fire department, but since they’re all volunteers and it was late I kept saying we didn’t need them. This fireplace had never been used, and I think the wood had been in there for a couple of years, so it was old and dry and it was smoking like I’ve never seen anything smoke! The fire was so hot it was almost leaping out of the fireplace, so I started to panic, and called 911.

Well, those boys must not get called very often. They came roaring up with two huge fire trucks, along with what must have been the chief’s pick up truck. The second before they got there, we had finally gotten the damper open, and the alarms had just stopped, so we felt pretty stupid. The head guy told one of the trucks to go back, and came inside to check things out. He was explaining some things to me and his eyes were watering like crazy. I asked if it was from the smoke and he said, “No, I just woke up.” We felt terrible for dragging them out of bed, but honestly, they were all grinning, like they were enjoying themselves. They’d probably never had a call from 7 (slightly inebriated) women in their pajamas…I can imagine they’ll at least have something to talk about now.

Other than that, it was a perfect weekend with girlfriends. It just doesn’t get any better.

Teenage girls, boys, and DRAMA…Part 2

It was bound to happen. Putting 105 girls in one age group together, and no matter how wonderful the setting is, there will be DRAMA.

H is still very glad she made the change to this school. The opportunities for girls, the comraderie, the class participation, class offerings, extracurricular choices, and the abundance of girls to hang out with are all still good. She’s been rolling along, staying super busy, meeting a few new girls and gradually getting included in some of the outings, so far so good. But as I mentioned in the previous post, the Winter Formal is coming up, and she is having to step outside of her comfort zone if she wants to have a “date” to the dance.

She got over the initial problem of her friend wanting to invite the same boy. The friend changed her mind and gave her blessing, so all was good there. Then she just had to decide when to invite him. Not too early (looks desperate), and not too late (he might get invited by someone else). Then she had to decide how to invite him (text message, instant message or gasp! an actual phone call?)

So this week, she asked me to sit with her while she called him. (Never mind that I was shocked,amazed and happy that she asked me to witness it). You have to understand, that for her to call a boy was a major step into the unknown. I don’t think she has ever actually initiated a text message, much less a phone call. So the call was made, he picked up and she asked him…almost as much in person (in these days of texting) as if they were face to face. He said “Yes”, and she got off the phone so fast it was as if it was burning her skin! Whew. The smile of relief on her face said it all.

So, the next day she floated into school, only to enter the den of gossip. Evidently this boy was a popular choice. He went to lower school with a bunch of girls who have been at H’s school (together) for four or five years. So you know, those cliques are well established and exclusive. One girl in particular was horrified that H had asked this boy, mainly because she was planning on asking him herself. And she let everyone in close vicinity to her know it. She thought it was “weird” and “wrong” that H had asked him…how dare she? She didn’t even know him very well! H wasn’t close to this girl, but now the girl won’t even look at H in the hallway.

This was very upsetting to H. She’d never been the subject of so much hateful gossip. And it was made even worse by the drama of the “group”.

The GROUP is almost as important as the DATE. They never go to the dance as a couple, it’s always as a group. And the makeup of the group is very important. The girls all get together at someone’s house to get dressed together, then the boys and their parents come over to take pictures. Who is in the pictures is crucial…plus, the boys should know some of the other boys, so they’re not uncomfortable.

This didn’t seem to be a problem for H at first. Her friends were inviting his friends, so they were all going to be in her group. They just had to decide who else to invite. That whole situation became another point of contention. Someone wanted to be in the group, someone else didn’t want them to be, and H was stuck in the middle. She didn’t want to exclude anyone, but she didn’t want the others to be uncomfortable. All this combined gave H stomachaches, and she just didn’t want to even talk about it.

Time makes everything better. The girl who was angry that H had invited the boy was told by one of her friends that she shouldn’t be mad, H didn’t know she was planning on inviting him, blah, blah, blah…that died down. The group sorted itself out, so as of now, with the dance four weeks away, everything is copacetic.

But you know, four weeks is a long time. I’m sure more drama is coming. And with four years of high school, it won’t be over for a long time.

The Power of Friendship

Last weekend, my girlfriends (CR, KE, VB, and CH) and I hit the road for a “girl’s trip” to North Carolina. CH and I were college roommates, CR and I met in college when we dated two guys who were best friends, and I met VB and KE around that same time. We started counting back and realized that we’ve been doing girl’s trips for 27 years. It doesn’t really matter where we go, (and we’ve been to a lot of places: Gatlinburg, Ft. Lauderdale, Destin, Orlando, Boca Grande, Acapulco, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Memphis, Asheville, Lake Toxaway, Myrtle Beach, West Palm, Los Angeles…and probably more places that I can’t remember right now) we always have such a wonderful, bonding, relaxing, laugh until your stomach hurts, fun time.

We’re getting older, I guess. Our laugh lines are a little bit deeper, but I treasure each one. I love these girls. We don’t see each other as often as we used to, because we are all married, with kids, and live on opposite ends of town. But it’s
funny, even when we don’t see each other for a long time, whenever we’re together we pick up right where we left off.

CR is the party planner. I can put together any group of people, throw CR in the mix, and it will be a great time. She is so beautiful, but has no hesitation in making herself look ridiculous. In our single days, when a guy was being obnoxious, she’d rummage in her purse, find an eye pencil, and black out her teeth. Worked every time!

I know, with VB, she will always tell me the truth…about anything. “Esa, you’re hair color is too dark”, or “Esa, those pants are a little tight, don’t ya think?” She is the “supermom”, “super-friend” and “super-organizer”. She works full time, has three incredibly busy kids, and volunteers for EVERYTHING.

My college roommate was CH. She loves to be the center of attention, and always says whatever comes into her mind (which has gotten her into trouble a few times), but would stand up to anyone to defend a friend.

Look up “pure goodness” and you’d find KE. She is truly the sweetest person I know. I have never, ever, heard her say anything negative about anyone. She knows more about the bible than anyone I know, but is never judgmental or preachy. She’s a business owner, and is raising her niece, and I admire her so much.

This group of girls, along with a few others that we’ve met along the way, has been a source of laughter, support, encouragement, cheap therapy, stress relief, and comfort.
Studies show that having a network of friends, especially girlfriends, will help you live longer, have healthier bodies and reduce stress.

More than one study has proven that social connections decrease the risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. You can cut your risk of death by 60% just having a greater number of friends over a 9 year period. These findings are so incredible that studies have concluded that not having close friends or confidants was as damaging to your health as being a smoker or overweight!

I’m so thankful that I have these girls in my life. We’ve been through college, dating, break-ups, career changes, children, illness, surgeries, marriages, divorces, and through it all we always find time to be there for each other. I know that some so-called “friends” can actually add more stress to your life, but not these women. Even though everyone has families, responsibilities, and crazy busy lives, we have maintained a special relationship that just keeps on giving back. I came home from this trip re-energized, focused, and ready to take on the world!

Ahhhh, Summer!

I took a few days to pretend I was actually on summer break, with nothing to do but sleep late, watch TV, go to the pool, eat popsicles… Then I remembered-I’m a mom, mom’s don’t get breaks. Oh well, back to Mom reality, driving H all over the place, packing for basketball camp, motivating (nagging) her to start her summer reading, grocery shopping…

It’s not that bad, really. Since H is out of school, everything is more relaxed. We can actually linger at the dinner table, unlike during the school year, when she has to cram some food in her face and do homework for the rest of the night. She must be in some kind of crazy growth spurt or something, because she has learned how to sleep late. She never was a late sleeper, but she is loving that bed this summer.

Basketball tryouts were this week, and I was so nervous! She was too, I guess, but I really wanted them to go well, so that she’d meet some girls from her new school before school starts in the fall. They have three weeks of summer practice, workouts, and camps before the “blackout period” starts at the end of this month. She did a little bit of spring basketball, and worked out a lot with a private coach we found here, who we LOVED. She is an ex-WNBA player, a point guard, and was a high scorer at The University of Oregon when she was in college. She did some really great things with H, and it paid off. The high school coach at the new school told H it was obvious she’d been working hard in the off-season. When I picked her up after the first day, she almost skipped to the car, with an ear-to-ear grin. She is having a blast, and loves the players and the coach.


Anyway, I’ve been enjoying the summer so much that I haven’t written in awhile, so here are some pictures of some of the things we’ve been doing.

Spent a few days in Florida for my Mother-in-law’s birthday. She had a dinner party with 25 people, and H gave an impromptu toast. She was so poised and said such beautiful things that my mommy heart almost exploded with pride! (that’s sparkling grape juice in her champagne glass, by the way)

H’s friends (and their parents) had a “going-away” party for her:

J’s gardens were so beautiful this year we invited a few friends over for memorial day:

And last weekend, J’s college roommate from Chicago brought his 11 year old son down to North Carolina for a boy’s fishing trip (but H and I couldn’t stay away, so we joined them for a few days). J taught H and her friend how to cast, and we fished all afternoon.

This weekend I’m taking four of my college friends back to North Carolina. To be continued…