Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Olive will be an overnight Web sensation....

Not only do I have a pet chicken, but I have a pet chicken that thinks she is a dog.  Most of you have heard my stories about Olive. You may have seen her picture on my blog back in December when on an especially cold day right after Christmas, I brought Olive into my sun room and she was afraid of a ceramic turtle. For those who are picturing this in your mind and thinking that I have lost mine, I am posting the photo below.

Yes, this is Olive

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hot tea - china or mug?

Yesterday I blogged about curling up with a blanket, a book and cup of tea - the perfect combination for a perfect Saturday afternoon of rainy weather.  I even have a sweet husband who brewed a perfect pot of tea.  However, he poured it in a big mug which made the perfect pot of tea less than perfect in my opinion.  I immediately poured it back in the pot and delicately poured it in a bone china cup which made it once again - perfect.  (I think I'm using too many "perfect" words here.)

When he asked what I was doing, I answered "everyone knows that tea tastes better out of a china cup!".  "It's all in your head", he said.  I immediately went to Google for an answer.  It had to be there - I was sure I wasn't the only  one who wanted confirmation - like maybe a scientific explanation or something. "Tea in a china cup", I typed.  Immediately a long string of  "does tea taste better in a china cup" threads appeared on my screen.  Although clicking the links to each of them was going to be time consuming, I trudged along looking for the "perfect" answer.  There wasn't one.  I found everything from "No, it's all in your head" to "it's the presentation that counts".  But wait!  There it is!  Or at least it was the answer that I liked the best - not scientific but it makes sense - sort of.  Here's the proof:
It really, really does taste better out of a china cup (or mug). I think it's the width of the rim. China is so thin, so the mouth doesn't have to be so 'open' as you drink. With mugs, the rims are so wide, your lips are further apart, so you lose a lot of the taste. Plastic cups, whilst having a thin rim, have a hollow rim, so as well as getting that nasty plastic taste, you drink to the sound of gurgling (as the liquid gets stuck in the rim). It also cools down quicker. A polystyrene cup is just awful to drink tea out of. The whole texture of the thing is dreadful. It's like drinking tea out of a knitted woollen sock!

Well, it's a little of a stretch to say it's the "proof", but it sounds good to me.  At least I'm not the only one who thinks so.  I also think that iced tea or soda tastes better out of a real glass versus plastic and coffee is better out of a mug that turns in a bit at the lip versus out.  But I'm not so rigid about my coffee - just give it to me black and strong and I'm good to go.  But I'm really, really fussy about my hot tea - china or not at all.  On cold days when my granddaughters come over, they want hot tea.  And of course they have their favorite china cups.  Genevieve always wants hers out of the Christmas china cup.

I realize that everyone also has their preferences about what they put into hot tea.  I like mine with a little sugar and lemon but since we don't do sugar at our house, I settle for Splenda or Truvia.  Henry was sweetening his with Sweet 'n Low.  I told him that Splenda is better for hot drinks and Sweet  'n Low is better for cold.  Again, he just shook his head.  "I know, I know, it's all in my head", I say.

But really!  How do you like your hot tea?  China cup or mug?  Sweet or unsweet?  Cream or Lemon?  I would also like to hear from my friends from other countries.  Weigh in on this one with your comments please - it's important that I get some confirmations here.
Photo of me and friends at a Christmas Tea last December

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The many shades of green...

I'm looking out the window and see green.  Glorius green - the "just after rain" kind of green that clears the air and make everything look, well, really green.  It's been a long time since we've seen green - I was getting a little tired of dull brown - brown grass, brown trees, brown moods. 

The ugly yellow layer of pollen has been washed off the cars and it looks like, ta da-a-a!  Spring!  But wait, it's only 48 degrees - still feels a little like winter.  I curled up on the sofa today with a book, a blanket and a cup of hot tea - I was going to go for hot chocolate, but that reminded me too much of snow.  The thing about Southern Spring weather is it's so unpredictable.  One day it's 81 degrees and the next it's 48.  Just when you start to put away the long sleeves and jackets, you find that you need them again.  We have about two more weeks of mother nature being fickle and then we can breath a sign of relief.  If we can still breathe that is.....ah-choo - hayfever season. 

It's wonderful to have seasonal changes.  To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heavenEcclesiastes 3:1.
found this at: http://www.etsy.com/listing/67429976/to-everything-there-is-a-season

Friday, March 25, 2011

Our backyard in Spring

This 100 yr old tree has Wisteria all the way to the tip top

Flowering Crab Apple tree

Underneath looking up

The full length of the "Wisteria" tree


Wild violets
I love Spring!  It brings out the best in all of us.  I don't have to write a thing today.  Pictures tell the story.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Living in the Land of Here and Now

"With your nose in a book, you see so little."  I hear Henry say this in some far distant recess of my mind as we ride down the road.  I'm sure that earlier I also heard him say something about the purple blooming trees and a '52 Ford truck - both times I probably looked up briefly and said "uh-huh", my favorite words for feigning interest in what he's viewing while I have my "nose in a book".  I look up again and see nothing that I haven't seen before, but in the book I'm reading I see Africa through the eyes of Jane Goodall.  If I look out our car window, I won't see apes and chimps and rivers full of crocodiles.

As I stop reading my book for a moment and look at the scenery passing by, I realize he may be right.  By living in Jane's world, I am missing part of mine.  I see blooming dogwood trees, fresh new green growth on the pines and I see the newborn baby asleep in his infant seat in the car beside us at the stoplight.  I see life unfolding as he sees it.  A life that we share - the here and now.   It dawns on me that we won't always have the here and now together.  We all know that life is fragile.  My dear friend, Annette tells me to treasure every moment together.  She lost her sixty-three year old husband recently to a brain aneurism.  Another friend our age died last summer of a heart attack.  My friend and cousin who was recently diagnosed with cancer has learned to treasure her here and now moments with her husband of forty-five years.

As we continue our drive through the country, we talk companionably about the kids, grandkids, what we're going to have for dinner.  A mundane conversation - one like Annette would love to be sharing with Dillon right now.

I slide my book back in my purse.  "You can wait Jane Goodall", I say quietly to myself.  "Stay right here until I get back.  While Henry's watching TV tonight, I'll ride with you in the bush plane over Tanzania.  I'll sit at your campfire in Gombe.  I'll watch as you research the violent behavior of chimpanzees and I'll help you mourn the loss of your husband - your soulmate, Derek.  But for now, I'll step out of your book and live in the Land of Here and Now."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Don't mess with Mother Hen...

Gen and I were busy watering and feeding the chickens today after I picked her up at the bus stop. There's been one hen missing for several weeks now and today she showed up.  And with her were four tiny chicks - they had to have only hatched out today.  So sweet and soft and yellow.  Of course, I wouldn't know how soft they are - I only judged by past experiences with baby chicks - because the mother hen started clucking and ruffling her feathers when I tried to get close to them.  A vivid memory of being attacked by a mother hen when I was a child was enough to make me do a back walk.  Seriously, they can be downright mean - I carried a few scars from the chicken encounter back then. They don't mess around - they go for the kill (grin).

This happens every Spring.  The hens start hiding their nests so we won't find them.  That's how our chicken population got so out of control last year.  We were down to two roosters and four hens before this little brood hatched.  Looks like I'll be rounding up a Mama hen and chicks pretty soon and I think I know just the person who would want them.

Mother hens are a lot like mothers everywhere.  We will do anything to protect our children.  It also brings to mind Psalms 91: 4 - He shall cover thee with his feathers and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.  I think of this verse every time I am fearful.  It's a pleasant thought.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Opening up a can of worms

Did anyone ever promise us that life would be packaged up all nice and neat and folded into a Belk's Department Store bag?   No.... it's more like those things that we take apart and can't get back together.  Like taking a man's dress shirt out of the plastic with all those little pins in it - and then trying to put it back in when we find out that it doesn't fit. Or fitting Pringles potato chips back in the canister after pouring them out in a bowl. Once something's out of the bag, you just can't just seal it up and pretend you never opened it.  I guess that's where the expression "opening a can of worms" comes from.  And regretfully, we can never take back words and actions that we say or do in anger no matter how much we want to.

I remember once when I told my mom a bit of gossip about someone we both knew.  I was in my twenties and knew better, but hey - it was just my mom.  These are pretty much the exact words she used, because they have stayed with me all my life. "Now why did you think I needed to know that? Even if you know this to be 100% true, which you don't, what good could it possibly do to tell it and if it doesn't do any good to tell it, don't."  I was rightfully reprimanded and have always been grateful for her words of wisdom.  I lost mom in my thirties but her words are still stuck like glue just like she said them yesterday.

There are events in my life that I can look back on and be ashamed about what I said or how I treated someone - words of anger or just plain immaturity.  And it's so weird how they just pop in my mind when I least expect them to. I'm pretty sure it's called "guilty conscience".  The first one that I can remember was on Valentine's day when I was maybe nine years old - and this popped into my head today for some unearthly reason.  There was a boy in our class that was very unkempt - always dirty, wore dirty clothes and I distinctly remember his dirty ears ( isn't it strange what you remember - so always keep your ears clean or I may remember it :)  And at nine years old, it was common knowledge that all boys had cooties and if you had dirty ears, you had double cooties.  We all handed out valentines at school that day and I'll never know why but this kid gave me a valentine card and gave no-one else in the class one. On the bus everyone was teasing me about it and I was mortified although I was pretty much mortified about teasing in general.  To show my disdain, I tore up his valentine up and made a show of throwing it out the window.  But I was totally unprepared for the look of hurt I saw in his eyes and how shabby, rotten I felt inside when I saw how I made him feel.  And did I apologize - I'm ashamed to say, no I didn't.  And has that look haunted me ever since?  Yes, and it's probably kept my actions in check a number of time.  I think this event in my life has helped shape how I've treated people ever since.

Do you have any such events in your life?  Come on, 'fess up - I can't be the only one.  Biting words that were meant to sting, a little gossip that was not meant to hurt anyone, bits of paper tossed out a bus window.  But the good news is, we learn along the way and we ask forgiveness of the people we hurt - and if we're lucky, we're forgiven.   It doesn't heal all the wounds, but it gives us a new beginning - and a fresh start - like folding that shirt up and putting it back in the bag.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Slowing down - walk, don't run.

We took yet another trip this week - this time to Baxley, Georgia.  We took our time and instead of rushing, we spent the night in Vidalia, Georgia.  It's famous for their sweet, mild tasting onions.  It will be May before the onions are ready to harvest, but we saw fields and fields of them planted.

The hotel we stayed in (AmericInn) was so nice!  It had a nice veranda on the back that overlooked a small lake.  The rooms were nice with comfy beds and pillows and was exceptionally clean - a little pricey, but worth every penny.

A book I read recently about writing gave me some very good advice.  Not only about writing, but in all aspects of my life....Slow down.  I'm taking that advice and running with it.  Or maybe I should say "walking" with it - I'm supposed to be slowing down you know.

All in all, a very nice trip.

Laughter is good for the soul

Riding for hours in a car this weekend gave me time for reflection of other trips I have taken over the years.  I especially thought about one trip last fall with friends - maybe because laughter and GPS devices were involved - just like this weekend.  A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about friendships and how they evolve over time.  I wrote about childhood friends, work friends and just friends from all walks of life.  This is a story about church friends and a trip we took.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

She didn't even stop to say hello

It is a rainy, dreary morning and even the daffodils in full bloom are doing little to brighten the late winter landscape as we speed our way down Highway 74 this morning.  This should be a relatively short trip as long as we don't follow our Garmin's inclination to take us into Cheraw to pick up Hwy US 1.  It's trying hard to get us to do that.  And it keeps saying "Recalculating" when we don't do what it wants us to do.

Lady Garmin (or L.G. as I will call her from now on) has been a little misleading lately.  I think she wants a new dress and a pair of new shoes.  She's sulking that we haven't changed her wardrobe since buying her in 2007.  I guess it's time to bite the bullet and upgrade her with a new map.

 This time we're heading to the little town of Benson - about halfway between Fayetteville and Raleigh - to pick up another car.  Our neighbors think we have opened up a car lot on our corner.  I prefer to think of it as finding a stable environment for homeless cars.  The homeless shelter inhabitants won't stay long though because Henry has a knack of rehabilitating them and finding them a new home for a small adoption fee.  He considers this work he's doing as his modest contribution to saving the planet.  This intense rehabilitation gives these little gas-sippers the opportunity to muscle their way through and give the gas-guzzlers a rest.

Many of these broken little cars are finding their way to the junk yards to be crushed because the price of metal has risen.   Car crushing is a form of recycling, but if you can recycle AND help save our natural resources, it's even better.  I'm sure if they could talk, they would be grateful.  They get great gas mileage.

As we cruise on down the road, we realize that L.G. is definitely out of sorts today. We would have been much better off printing Mapquest directions.  We must get her worked on!  She's taking us through downtown Fayetteville which we really wanted to avoid.

We're here! Four friendly little miniature donkeys are here to greet us as we get out of the truck.  I'm thinking about seeing if we can buy one of these instead of the car - riding a donkey would really be a gas-saver - although a little slow I suppose.
The four friendly little donkeys

Hooked up and ready to go home

L.G. decided she wanted to go home a different route.  We let her have her way.  We stopped in Lillington at a cute little restaurant overlooking the Cape Fear River to eat after which Henry promptly excused himself to the bathroom to be sick.  Which goes to show that cute little restaurants are not always good.  I was fine which means my constitution is a little stronger than his.  Probably from all those years eating in the school cafeteria.

We're now passing through Sanford.  Excuse me.  Was that church we just passed really called Barbecue Presbyterian Church?  I wonder how it got it's name?  OK, I googled its history:  "Barbecue, mother church to all the early churches in this area, possessed with a dignity and heritage all its own, was formally organized in 1758."  With a name like Barbecue, it must have been hard to maintain its dignity.  The Fayetteville Observer said this about the church:  "The church itself got its name not from pork, but from property.  An early settler to the area named “Red” McNeill saw steam rising from a nearby creek. It reminded him of the meat-cooking pits he had seen in the Caribbean, and he named the creek Barbecue Creek. The name became official in the early 1750s, as settlers began moving into the area".  Their website shows a rich and interesting history and ends with "and surely God is in this place".  That's what it's all about.

L.G. has sought redemption by bringing us home through Pinehurst and Southern Pines - a much nicer route than by way of Fayetteville.  But she has gotten a little flaky on us at times leading us down some little narrow streets that are barely wide enough for the car dolly to manage. 

We were glad to get back home again to South Carolina where all our animals came out to greet us.  Except little Olive, who I had left in her coop and when I un-cooped her, she came running down her little steps and ran to her normal nesting place and promptly laid an egg.  She didn't even stop to say hello.
Olive's egg.  I used it to make our whole wheat pancakes for dinner.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Grandiosity - plain and simple....or is that an oxymoron?

Each Sunday I come away from our little church in Van Wyck with much better stuff than I took in.  I always take in worry, disappointment, bitterness, stubbornness and sin.  And I usually don't even realize that I'm carrying these things on my back until I get inside and they start slowly melting away.  A little bit of it melts away during the Prayer of Confession; a little more during the music and children's service.  Then it starts melting furiously like a snow cone on the beach during the sermon, and it's just a drip by the final prayer.

We have a wonderful pastor at our church, Randy McSpadden.  He's smart, witty and most importantly, he preaches the Word of God.  Today's sermon title was Face to Face with Sin and the scripture was Romans 5: 12-19.  As it was being read I thought to myself - this is a very boring scripture reading - how wrong I was.  It was very repetitive, but Randy pointed out that Paul was trying to drive a point across to these people who had always had their Old Testament scripture that they followed - the rules and regulations.  The scriptures were their instruction sheet!  You know, for the people of those times to be told they should stop following all the rules that had been handed down to them for so many generations, would be like someone telling us to throw all our beliefs away and start believing something else.  I wonder how we would all react to that?  He was trying to get them to understand a simple message - that although Adam brought death, Christ brought Life!  How wonderful is that??
This message made me realize how little things that I don't see as sins, really are.  Randy gave an example of grandiosity and how it applies to him sometimes.  I looked up the definition of grandiosity.  I know what it means, but wanted to get someone else's take on it - like Wikipedia - I always love their definitions.  Their definitions are a little more out of the ordinary.  Wikipedia's definition of grandiosity is:  "impressing, or imposing.  Kind of like in your face, so you have no choice but to like it, unless it's something you don't like in the first place."  Plain and simple, I felt a little tug in my heart that that's what I've been doing with my writing.  I've been excited about finally getting to write after so many years of putting it off - what with having children and a full time job to keep me busy and now I am imposing it on others.  Am I grandiose?  Probably.  

If I've been putting my writing "in your face", please forgive me.  I'm going to continue to write my blogs, but I will be try to be more subdued.  This is going to be hard since I tend to think and dream grandiose things, lol.  I sometimes wonder if this is a trait that all writers have - if not, would they write?

Not all scripture readings are exciting and full of eventful happenings, but they are God-inspired and each verse is something that we need to know.  It's wonderful to have a church where scripture comes to life from the mouth of the minister.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

he was lookin' for a soul to steal...

We're on the road again.  I'm pretty much writing this as we go along, so bear with me over the bumps and potholes that have made South Carolina's roads famous.  This time we're going to pick up a whole car, not a car part so we're pulling along this little car dolly that goes 14 inches up in the air every time we hit a bump.  Oh, did I mention that Henry has taken up a new career in his retirement?  I encouraged him to find a hobby so he wouldn't always be in my "space", and as always he goes whole hog into everything he does.  He is now a "specialized" mechanic in the import car industry.  That's a fancy name for grease monkey.  Seriously!  He buys those cute little Suzuki Samurais, Sidekicks, and Geo Tracker convertibles that were made in the 1980's and 90's.  He buys fixer-uppers, fixes 'em up and sells them for the sole purpose of having something to do - and making money.  Did I also tell you that he thinks a hobby that you can't make money at is a waste of time?

Unfortunately, these cars are hard to find, so we will be going far and wide to find them.  Today we are on our way to Cleveland to pick up a car.  No, not Cleveland, Ohio - that would not be on my list of places to go before I die.  We're on our way to Cleveland, Georgia, and yes, I realize this doesn't count as one of my "back roads trips to South Carolina towns".  But we are taking the back roads anyway because that's the way we enjoy traveling - enjoying "the one less traveled by", as Robert Frost would say.  We just went through Fountain Inn's main street  - not much to see except a great old mill - turned into an auction barn.  I love auctions!  Then we come across a neat old place that sells every kind of garden statue imaginable!

Old Mill Auction Barn - Fountain Inn, SC

Garden Statue Heaven - near Pelzer, SC

Thirty seconds or less - that seems to be Henry's new goal of driving through South Carolina towns, but you must remember I'm riding with a clone of Richard Petty - but people say he looks more like Junior Johnson.   He finally feels like we're getting somewhere when we roar across the Tugaloo River and cross the Georgia state line - leaving South Carolina as just a fleeting memory.

The rain has set in as we drive into the foothills of Georgia.  We should have checked out the weather forecast before we started out to pick up a convertible with no top!  I'm having to listen to a little grumbling and muttering about that - apparently Henry doesn't share my distaste for bad words.  But after a delicious meal of Citrus Grilled Chicken at Longhorn Steak House, spirits are lifted.

We just crossed over the Chattahoochie River.  Uh oh, isn't that the river where the movie Deliverance was filmed?  It's spooky through here with the rain and fog and I'm looking to be accosted by a bunch of crazies at every bend in the road.  What's scarier still is we're only five minutes from our destination.  Do we dare get out?

We're here, and no crazies here unless you count me and Henry.  This torrential downpour has half the parking lot under water!  But we don't have to worry about this little car getting wet - it already is.  I can tell our delicious lunch mood wasn't going to last long.
The object of our trip - a car minus the top

But hey, it couldn't be all bad.  Right across the street is BabyLand General Hospital - Home of the Cabbage Patch Kids.  When we first pulled up, I thought it was an actual hospital that only delivers babies -that's my "blonde" showing through.   They actually have a new BabyLand just a few minutes away - this was their original one, but it's still full of Cabbage Patch Kids.  During a lull in the storm, I ventured over.
The Original BabyLand General Hospital

It's still raining.  I won't go into the details of getting the car on the tow dolly, but I will tell you it required wearing earplugs and prayers of intervention on my part.  I was beginning to think the devil went down to Georgia....and he was riding in the backseat of our car.

It was rainy and foggy and a beautiful blue mist hung over the mountains as we drove back home.  And finally we were heading back out of the hills of Georgia and pushing our way back into South Carolina with a little blue car on our bumper. I felt a little like Richard Petty's wife - pulling our new race car behind us.  And I'm glad to report there was no serious profanity used - just a few of the four letter "s" word which Henry scatters into his vocabulary when he's not happy.  If the devil did happen to be riding with us, we left him in Georgia because.....well, you know how the rest of the song goes.  It's in the title.  He was lookin' for a soul to steal, and some of those crazies down along the banks of the Chattahoochi might just have one available.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kickin' it into second gear...

I’ve always said that I need to be in three places at the same time and today I really mean it.  But maybe I just need to be three people at the same time – that would work better.  Just for a day or two, anyway.  This morning I’ve been to town to run errands, hung curtains that I bought six months ago, put a load of clothes in the washer & dryer, swept and vacuumed and done maintenance on my Ebay listings.   And I have so much more I need to do.
On a typical day, my first person would do laundry (where did all this laundry come from anyway?).  She would cook a nice, nutritious lunch and serve it on china instead of paper.  She would create a Martha Stewart worthy atmosphere making my home picture perfect.  She would go to the bus stop, help Genevieve with her times tables, feed all my animals, fix the girls an afterschool snack and then have a gourmet dinner ready at 6 p.m.   I like this person already.
My second person would be concerned with money matters.  She would get busy taking pictures of all the ebay things I have stacked on my shelves waiting for time to list them.  She would print my shipping labels and go to the post office with all my packages.  She would reconcile my bank statement, pay my bills on time and finish getting my tax records ready to take to the accountant.  While she’s at it she could find a little extra money to deposit in my bank account. 
With these other two versions of myself hard at work, I will have time to write and do other things I like to do.  My book is beginning to take shape again and I feel like it’s a child that I need to feed all the time.  When I feed it, it grows – when I don’t , it kicks and screams.  But after a prolonged period of self-doubt and self-criticism, I think I am finally kicking into second gear.  I hope this roll I’m on will last.  But, I need those other two versions of myself - badly.  My children would probably argue that they are already here.  After all, writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia – or so says E.L. Doctorow.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Life's too short to fold the fitted sheets....

I subscribe to Writer's Digest, a magazine for writers.  It gives some great advice to established writers and aspiring writers alike.  We also get the benefit of on-line mini-workshops and assignments designed to get the writer's creative juices flowing.  Occasionally they give you a prompt to write about.  Sometimes I feel like I’m in elementary school taking  North Carolina State’s 4th Grade Writing Test.  If you live in North Carolina and have had a 4th grade student in the last twenty years, you will know what I’m talking about. I remember those prompts well as I tutored a number of students over the years in writing.

This was my writing prompt for today:  Pretend you have won a contest and the prize is having the day off from life tomorrow. Someone else is going to step in and be you. Your substitute has already been briefed on the basics: your routine, where you work, your schedule, your general lifestyle and responsibilities. He or she will take care of it all. However, your stand-in doesn't know your idiosyncrasies, your quirks, your foibles, your eccentricities. You need to fill the substitute in on the peculiar details: Since you're going to be me tomorrow, you'll need to know the following… 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


The terms "girlfriend" and "girl friend" are used by different people to mean different things. For example, when the term "girlfriend" is used by a girl or woman about another female in a non-romantic context, the two-word form "girl friend" is sometimes used to avoid confusion with the romantic meaning; however, this is not a rule. In this sense of its usage, "Girlfriend" is used in terms of good friends.  And it doesn't matter how old you are.  I'm sure there are people who would argue that a 60 year old female is not a "girl"; however I beg to disagree.  I feel like a girl, therefore, I am a girl and I will call my friends girlfriends - so that's that.  It's not necessarily the long established friendships that qualify as girlfriend - I have recently re-connected with high school friends on Facebook and I now call them girlfriends.

Since retiring, I've had the opportunity to spend more time with my girlfriends.  There's the high school friends who recently met for lunch - some of us had not seen each other since high school and I won't say how many years ago that's been.  It was a time to catch up and we found similarities in our lives that I don't think we would have found so many years ago.  We all have spouses, children and grandchilden.  We share a belief in God, family values and a zest for living.  We agreed that these are friendships that we will feed and grow and I look forward to more outings with these girlfriends.

Then there are my "girlfriends" in my community who were having fun without me until retirement forced me upon them.  We have grown closer by sharing lunches, exercise activities, club meetings and trips together.  These girlfriends are close to home and we are always there for each other.  I have some funny stories to share in future blogs - blonde jokes (usually about me) and driving mishaps (usually about Camille).

There are my sisters - who are also my girlfriends.  We love being together and enjoy a relationship like no other.  My oldest sister Jean thinks she's my mother - tells me to stand up straight, stop shuffling my feet, etc. My middle sister, Gerrie who I would always spy on when she was dating and who has become such an important part of my life. And my closest to my age sister, Martha who always took me and my friends to the beach when we were teens and has been with me through ups and downs all of our lives.  I'm so blessed to have sister girlfriends.

There are the girlfriends that I worked with who think I have abandoned them - I have only managed some short visits here and there.  They can't go out for lunch since they are "married" to elementary school - but we find a way to visit - girlfriends always find a way.

Then there are the "true blues" that I have had since our elementary school days - Marlene, Linda, Brenda, Gloria.  We have shared the closest bonds throughout the years because we grew up together.  We knew each other when we were wearing pigtails and crinolines and we built bonds that were made to last.  The growing up years - especially the teen years are a narrow, difficult slice of life -and to come out of those years with the same group of friends is somewhat short of miraculous - but we did it.  Thank God for those friends - they have kept me sane.

As we get older, friendships get better.  We girlfriends are not jealous of each other's friends like we were in our younger years.  Back then, three was a crowd and all vying for each other's attention, but as we mature, we readily accept new ones into the foal.  I watched my daughters form friendships growing up - some tenuous relationships based on classes or activities they shared - but each of my daughters still have at least one true girlfriend from the past with whom they will always share a bond.  Now I'm watching my granddaughters do the same.  Friendships tend to be filled with complications and drama during childhood but they always seem to figure it out.

We never outgrow our need for girlfriends.  We share laughter and tears.  We know each other's flaws and confide our deepest thoughts.  We're always there for each other with a box of tissues, a cup of tea and chocolate.  To all my girlfriends - God brought you into my life and for that I will be forever grateful.
Sisters - left to right - Jean, Me, Martha and Gerrie

Church / Community girlfriends - Pat and Camille

Church / Community girlfriends -Lynn, Linda, Annette

Childhood girlfriends

High School girlfriends: Linda, me, Sandy, Vicki, Brenda & Marlene