Gluten Free v.2.0

I went gluten free, mainly to address joint pain,  in January of 2014 after reading the Wheat Belly book.   It was life-changing with regards to the joint pain I had.  Flash forward to last October.  I was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease after a really long journey with my doctors.  More than one of my doctors.  Let me just say that you know your body better than anyone else.  Be your own advocate.  I had to switch doctors to find one that truly listened to what I had to say about my body and how I felt.  I finally found a doctor that ran the right tests and not just a TSH.  What I found was that I would absolutely need to be gluten free.   I was already gluten free. No problem, right!?

Not so fast!  With some thyroid symptom’s worsening still, I was compelled to do a little more research.  Research that led me to a little thing called the AIP diet.  Well, it’s not so little.  It’s HUGE actually.  And daunting.

The Autoimmune Protocol Diet.  It would seem that there are actually proteins found in other foods that are similar enough to gluten to cause a reaction.  Who knew?  Not this girl.  Cross reactivity.  The list of cross reactive foods contains a lot of things I eat – including a few that I’d already suspected that I have an issue with.  Corn is not my friend.  I’ve suspected this for the past couple of years.  I thought it was an allergy but testing showed that it wasn’t.  I still eat corn because really, who can pass up warm tortilla chips and salsa?  But I knew that every time I ate corn I would pay for it later.  Ditto for potatoes.

So when this AIP thing showed up on my radar a few weeks ago I said, “Nope.  Nope.  Nope. Not doing it.”  You see, eggs are on that list.  And I have chickens.  Chickens that live in an adorable coop.  Chickens that I fought city council to have.  Chickens who should start laying in a month or so.  I am clearly committed to eggs.   But as I started to read more and more, I decided that I can try anything for a short time.  I’m not giving up everything on the list at once.  I’m going to do this gradually.  After spending a couple of days getting my head around it, I made a decision.  As of today, I will not be eating dairy, eggs, corn, rice, oats, or potatoes for the next two to three weeks.  Coffee either.  But I don’t have more than one cup of decaf a week anyway, so that’s no stretch.

But breakfast seemed to be an area of concern.  What the heck was I going to eat?

More research.  Google is my best friend.  A few clicks and voila:  Maple Bacon Sweet Potato Hash.  

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Yummmm.

I made a smaller batch and told myself I wasn’t going to eat much of it.  But it was just so good.  And just maybe this is going to be a little easier than I think.  At least if we eat at home.  Eating out may be even more of a nightmare than it was anyway.

So today begins another journey toward wellness.  And you know what they say about a journey:  The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step – Lao Tzu

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Vincent van Gogh, Path in the Woods. Paris, 1887 )

 

 

Kindness Begins With Me

A check list

From Sweatpants and Coffee.  There’s a lot of great wisdom there.

If you’re anything like me, you’re completely  fed up with the downright ugliness of social media.  To me, what it boils down to is this:

Who I voted for (or who you think I voted for)  does not make it okay for you to insult me. Or anyone else either.  If you disagree with me?  Again, it’s not okay to insult my intelligence, my integrity, or my compassion for others.  If asked for an opinion and I give it?  Let’s just say that STFU is not an appropriate response.  Yes, I’m a woman, but please don’t tell me what I should think just because I am a woman.

There’s a serious lack of filters out there these days and I hate it.  Part of it is social media widens our “circle” to see comments, attitudes, and opinions of perfect strangers who are nothing more than a tiny little box beside their name. For the most part, I think many of these strangers are far too comfortable being rude and insulting to people that they don’t know.  I ask myself this question all the time:  If this conversation happened in line at the coffee shop, would they say this to my face?  Or do they gather their boldness from the anonymity of the on-line arena?  I think it’s probably the latter.  The Pollyanna in me likes to find the good in people but lately that’s been difficult.  And it’s not just with respect to politics that I see the sad decline of civility.  Even on forums dedicated to something as wonderful as sharing the love for our pets, a disagreement over  advice to seek veterinary care often ends up with name calling and nasty comments about the poster’s appearance. (I know.  It’s crazy, right?  And mean.  It’s just mean.)  I bite my tongue on a daily basis rather than get involved in the ugly mess.  When I’m not successful and have lapse in judgment and think maybe my opinion does matter, well, there’s usually someone who comes along to set me straight.  In the end, I’m just not offering up my thoughts publicly all that often anymore.  There’s a lot of toxic comments and as a result, toxic emotions.  Hate is strong word, but there’s an awful lot of it out there these days.  And I have to ask, whatever happened to the Golden Rule?  (And guess what??  It’s not just a Christian thing either.)  This blogger has a great post about it and she is spot on when she says, “Stop for a moment and just imagine the impact it would have if every single one of us throughout the world took the spirit of these guidelines to heart and put them into practice in our day-to-day lives.

Finally, I know that there’s not a lot that I can do about it.  Except this:  I can be kind; kindness begins with me.  And hopefully more people, discouraged by the hate and incivility around us, will eventually opt to be the change they want to see as well.  I fear that without it, we’re sunk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lists. Lists. Lists.

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We all make them.  Or at least many of us do.  The grocery list (which I always leave at home).  The Christmas list.  The weekly meal plan list.  The “honey do” list.  The list goes on and on.  Pun intended.

A.S. Byatt is quoted as saying, “Lists are a form of power.”

I confess that I am a list maker.  I also have a love of blank notebooks and journals.  Not because I’m dedicated to writing down my innermost thoughts, but rather because I write things down that I wan’t to remember.

Quotes.  Books to read.  Books read.  Yarns to try.  Places to visit.  Wines I like.  Gifts to buy.  Brilliant ideas (at least to me).  And all these tidbits are scattered around in various journals.

So it was only natural that about 6 months ago while I was trolling on Pinterest and started to see these journals in my feed, that they caught my eye in a big way.  Lovely, beautiful, filled with doodles, journals that were more like agendas and art all rolled into one.  In case you’ve never heard of it, the phenomenon is called a Bullet Journal, or BuJo for short.  It’s the brainchild of Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer from New York.  I encourage you to look at his website and watch his videos.

THEN go to Pinterest and see what the artsy crowd have done with it. Holy Moly!  That’s what snagged my attention.  I’m a doodler:  I like to play with markers, watercolor pencils, and washi tape.  I admit, that it was a  little overwhelming at first so I started small.  I tiny little notebook that bought at Barnes and Noble.   It’s American-made  (which is a plus) by Gallery Leather in Maine.  I love this little book for its portability.  I used it mainly as a daily log of activities.  Each day I set up the next day’s to-do list and worked from there.  I also added events and such as they happened and played around with some artwork.  It was a small investment to see how I like the BuJo concept.  The only drawback on this one was the pages were lined.

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I used this notebook for just shy of 6 months.  And somewhere along the line I just stopped.  Not sure why or how it happened.  But a few weeks ago I came to the realization that I really was more productive when I had that little book in use.  I decided to give it another whirl:  this time with the “holy grail” of BuJo’s, a Leuchtturm 1917.  It’s a very well made sewn book from Germany that comes in a lot of colors and sizes. And it has lay-flat pages!   I decided to take the plunge and bought the A5 size (dotted pages) in lime green.  It’s a beauty.

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I will start using this journal on daily basis next week.  I’ve only got March set up for now.  I will say that deciding how I wanted to organize it took me quite a while.  Once I’d done a few weekly pages like the one above, they went pretty quickly.

I’m sure as I go along I will find what works for me and what doesn’t work and make some adjustments.   That’s the beauty of a custom notebook.  It’s all YOU.  I saw a somewhat critical reply to a friend on Facebook as she brought up the idea of a BuJo.  Critics will say it’s costly to do, takes too much time, etc.  But for me, like others who enjoy it, the process of making it is part of the pleasure.  As for cost, I only bought the notebook and a couple of rolls of washi tape so I have less than $25 in it.   I had everything else that I’ve used so far.  The pens are a favorite of mine from Staedtler that you can usually pick up at Michaels or Hobby Lobby.  The brush pen I grabbed at Dick Blick in Chicago.  There are few types to choose from online.  And of course, if you check out the website of the creator, his wasn’t artsy at all.  Just functional and tailored to his needs: all he needed was a journal and pen.

And besides keeping you organized. . .journaling has other benefits as well.  Try it!  You might find it’s just what you need.

 

 

 

Alphabet Advice

 

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Ask questions.

Be kind.

Create.  A poem, a garden, a quilt: create what makes you happy.

Doodle often and let your mind wander.

Explore the world around you.

Find happiness.

Go for a run.

Hug your kid often.

Inspire others to be their best.

Jump life’s puddles.

Keep it real.

Love well.

Make a joyful noise.

Never say never.

Open your eyes.

Pick your friends carefully.

Quit whining.

Read a book.  Read MANY books!

Slow down.  Breathe.  Create calm.

Think before you speak.

Use a napkin.

Vanquish negativity.

Write letters – the real kind.  Use a stamp!

X-marks the spot.  Find a place that makes you happy.

Yield when necessary.

Zigzag.  Take time to wander off the path.

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It’s in the cards.

I dropped my little Doxie girl at the vet today for a dental and possible some tooth extractions.  I decided a little “girl time” was in order to keep my mind off worrying about her and I headed to my favorite local coffee shop in the hopes that some friends were there.  What a great way to start the morning – a hug from a friend, great coffee, and a card reading.  I know.  I know.  It sounds so weird to most people.  Even to me – since I hadn’t actually ever done it before. But that said, I did love it.  And it’s not all strange “voodoo” – weird – or “witchy” – or any other preconceived notions that some might have. (I suppose that’s possible, but it certainly wasn’t my experience.)

The deck itself was called the Spirit of the Wheel Meditation Deck.  The cards were covered with beautiful illustrations based on the Native American medicine wheel.  Medicine in the Native American culture isn’t a pill to cure what ails you, rather it refers to a force or power that is inherent in nature.  The wheel itself is many things on many levels.

According to Native American tradition it can be a sacred space, an altar, a centering device for one’s consciousness, a protector, a framework in which to honor the forces of nature, and as an aid to meditation.  If the medicine wheel is new to you, I encourage you to check it out.  There are many ways it can be represented using drawings, totems, stones, etc.  It’s often depicted in art and jewelry.  Used in  some ways it’s a bit similar to walking a labyrinth.  Another cool thing to look up if you haven’t before.

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I shuffled the cards and drew out 6.  Those six cards then refer back to a reading from a booklet that explains that card.

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Isn’t that a pretty card??  So what did I learn?  Some cards validated things that I already know about myself. . . that I’m gifted with instincts about others and that I’m an educator at heart.  Three of the cards I pulled illustrated the attributes of learning, sharing, and teaching.  I spent 25 years in the classroom so I found it interesting that three of the six readings focused on those ideas.  Another touched on honesty and emotion with a caution to slow down before speaking.  One card suggested that I had recently conquered something in my life.  I feel that way about my recovery after breaking my back at the end of 2014.  I’m still getting better, but I do feel quite accomplished and have a sort of “look at me NOW” attitude especially where exercise is concerned.  Other ideas were just nice points to ponder and put to use:  to assist elders with compassion, to share my gifts with others,  to nurture my strengths, and look beyond fears to venture into the new and untried.  Aren’t those lessons we can all take something from?

So my first experience with having my cards read was quite fun and interesting.  And as I told my friend afterwards, I found it to be “food for thought” and  a pathway to self improvement and awareness.  And there’s nothing weird about that at all!

 

Monday Musings

Hello, peeps!  I’m having sort of a lazy Monday morning to finish off a pretty lazy weekend.  I had an acquaintance (notice how I didn’t say friend?)  ask me what I’d “been up to” lately.  I don’t cross paths with this person often so that’s probably a fair question.  A few answers came to mind.

  1.  Well, I’ve spent the last year recovering from a traumatic accident and surgery.
  2. I’ve been solving all the world’s problems like famine, disease, and terrorism.
  3. Spiritually? Physically? Socioeconomically?
  4. I’m alright, slight bruises here and there, nothing i can’t handle (this is probably close to the truth).
  5. Today I’m a rutabaga, but tomorrow I’m thinking I’ll be a coconut.

But what I actually said was, “Nothing much.  Same old stuff.”  This must not have been the answer she was looking for because after few more minutes she repeated the question.  And then followed up with the zinger:

Haven’t you gotten bored yet since you aren’t working?

WHAT?  Bored?  Me?  She must not know me well at all.  Now, you must keep in mind that I have never in 22 years known this woman to “work”.  She stayed home with her children (which is ALL KINDS OF WORK) but did not have a job outside the home.  Then after the divorce, she lived off support from her ex-husband and talked about trying to decide what to do with herself. She did that for years.  And all of that is fine. Fine for her, but apparently not for me because she was all sorts of judgmental about me not working  for the last 6 years.  Never mind that I put in 25 years teaching science to high school students!  In the end, I just shrugged her off and said, “I knit.  I read. I have hobbies. I keep busy.”

But last night at meditation class, a retired friend said, “We are’human beings’ not ‘human doings’.  The meaning of life is to live it fully in each moment.  Our worth doesn’t come from a job.” She makes an excellent point!!  And she also pointed out that they aren’t hobbies at all; they are passions.  And she’s right again!

So here’s what I’ve “been up to” in the last few weeks.

  1.  Hubby and I put in a no-dig fence for  the dogs.  It’s not a tall fence, but it looks nice and works for our two dogs.  The golden is too old and not a jumper or otherwise we would have needed a taller option.
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Shawzy looking out.  She’s adorable, is she not?

2.  I finished up a few knitting projects.  One,  a pair of socks for the hubby (to be discussed at another time) . The other is a baby sweater for a friend.  I think the sweater turned out quite cute.  Entirely made from leftover sock yarn.  One solid gray and the other a self-striping.  Thrifty and cute both.

3.  Exploring local coffee shops.  I take my dog to Pittsfield, IL to be groomed.  While I wait, I support the local economy.  There’s a gift shop, a diner, and a coffee shop that I love there.  Not to mention a few antique shops.   Free Press Coffee and Tea is a favorite.  Great atmosphere (and it’s attached to a historic hotel), good coffee, and even some gluten-free choices (with more to come).  It was pouring down rain last week when I was there so it was a cozy place to kill some time reading and enjoying a breve.  (We did have snow on Saturday though!)

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Free Press Coffee last winter.

While I was there I bought a cup to add to my hand-thrown coffee cup collection.  I love it.  It makes me happy having my tea in it.  Small pleasures.  Isn’t it a beauty?

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Cup by local artists at Crooked Clay Creations.  

4.  Yoga.  I’ve started a gentle yoga class to help improve my core strength in the hope it will alleviate some back pain.  It saddened me a little to feel like the youngest member in the class, but it’s okay.  I like it.  I love the instructor who’s very helpful at guiding me away from moves that might cause me trouble.  She’s one of the those people that you meet and know instantly that you could be great friends. AND, I’ve flexed my stiff spine in ways that it hasn’t been in over a year.  That’s a good thing.  I pay for it a bit afterwards, but that’s getting better too!   I’m only going once a week since it’s a 40 minute drive, but I bought a DVD to try to add a couple of days on my own at home. I’ve committed to 10 weeks and from there we shall see.  Maybe I’ll switch classes or add another class to the schedule.

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A class at my yoga studio.  Not MY class (notice the “youngsters”).  My class would look much more “mature”.

5.  Reading.  Always a given.  But this time I am reading a book that I have looked at many times but always put it back.  I don’t care for the circus.  Never have.  I’m not sure why either.  I just don’t like them. I’m not sure what kept drawing me to this book but I can’t tell you how many times I read the blurb on the back.   We have a locally owned bookstore that I try to support,  so last week I didn’t put the book back on the shelf.  Instead, Andy wrapped it up for me in brown paper.  (I love that old-fashioned nod to times past.)

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Isn’t it lovely?  Sort of like a living room filled with friends.

Anyway, the book that followed me home is The Night Circus.  It’s very well written.  Reads like a dream. . .both literally and figuratively.  It’s not what I expected.  It’s much, much better.  It’s not a dash to the end, it’s more of a slow contemplating read with stops to imagine the magical circus the author has created.  And I think it may be one of those books that I will be sad to see it end.

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6.  Watching Blackhawks hockey with the family!

7.  Getting my pictures in order so that I can begin the scrapbook of last year’s vacation.  I think I’m about ready to start it.  It’s an overwhelming number of pictures to sort through.  Plus the idea of telling the story which turned out so different than we had planned. I know I’ll cry often while I do it.   It’s daunting.  But soon I will get to it.

8.  Laundry.  Cooking.  Cleaning.  Grocery shopping.  And all the other mundane things we do to keep a house running.

9.  Tangling.  Doodling.  And drawing.

10. Cleaning up the yard and raking leaves.  I love my big trees – but oh my- the number of leaves to rake!

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The front yard leaves.  Doesn’t include the back yard at all.  That’s a ditch under there.

11.  Sometimes I just sit in my chair with the dog on my lap.  Small pleasures. (Again.)

So!  That’s what I’ve been up to.  It’s been pretty damn awesome too.  Part of me wonders if that acquaintance can say the same.

 

OMG – The Agony

That would be the agony of grocery shopping.  I detest just about everything about it.   A few random thoughts – well maybe they might be better classified as pet peeves.

1.  When you’re spanking beating your kid’s ass in the aisle of ALDI and he’s laughing like a maniac – well it’s obviously not effective.  Seriously, this mom was thumping on her kid.  She stopped traffic in the store – literally.   He was maybe 5 years old and he continued to laugh, not one yelp or tear.  I get that the laughter might really send a certain kind of parent into a frenzy, but it was completely inappropriate.  Not to mention awkward for everyone else who witnessed it.  And then she pulled out all the stops and said, “I have my phone in my hand.  I’m calling your dad.”  I don’t even know what to say – except it does make me happy that I’ve retired from teaching.

2. People who just stand in front of a refrigerated case and stare like they’ve never seen cottage cheese before?  There are exactly TWO kinds at ALDI – so there’s really no big choice to make.  You can see me waiting for you to move so I can get MY cottage cheese and yet you don’t move.  You looked at me no less than three times while I waited patiently.   And waited.  And waited.  (And their whole entourage actually took up most of the entire area while one person picked through all the yogurt for the right flavors.) Maybe I need to be more assertive and ask them to move?

3.  I actually like to bag my own groceries, but I’d pay extra for someone to come home and put the damn things away.

4.  Is it ever really okay to sample the produce??  I don’t think so.  How do you tell them to charge you for two more grapes?  Not to mention that the stuff hasn’t been washed yet.  Ewwwwwwww.

5.  Yes, I bring my own bags.  Deal with it.  (This isn’t a problem at ALDI, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods where it’s expected and normal – only at other places where they just want you out of there as soon as possible.)

6.  The cart with the gimpy wheel.  You know the one!!  The wheel that refuses to turn and actually works like a brake on the cart.

7.  The way the store might have nine checkout lanes with one two open and people lined up for miles.

8.  Leaving the store to find a shopping cart resting against your car.

9.  Oh, and I forgot the damn list.  Again.

Alright.  Enough whining.  I’ve got to go put the groceries away. . .

Hair. . . not the musical.

Hair, hair, hair.Flow it, show it,
Long as God can grow it, my hair

Over my morning cup of Earl Grey, I read this blog this morning.  It had me chuckling.  And thinking about my own bad hair days.  So rather than leave one long, long reply to her post I decided to just put it here.  So, without further ado, I give you my chronological tale of bad hair days:

1962:  My parents always laughed about how little hair I had and what I did have was almost transparent and stood straight up.  I sported a lot of spit in my hair in those days to try to get it to lay flat.  Not mine.  My mom’s. Ewwwww.

Spit -optional hair.  Finally.

Spit-optional hair. Finally.

It took a few years. . . but I did grow some nice hair (ok, maybe not those bangs – but I can’t take the blame for that.)

This was nice hair.

Vintage 1967. This was nice hair.

1967:  I twirled my shoulder length hair around my finger one too many times causing  my mother to snatch me up and take me to her butcher beautician for the first of many pixie cuts. (The style haunted me for YEARS to come.)  This prompted one of our neighbors to forever call me “Boy”.  But it was the 1960’s and Twiggy made the style at least somewhat popular at the time.  Maybe on a twenty-something in a micro-mini dress, go-go boots and spidery eyelashes (which are back in style again).  On me it was just a boy cut.

Behold:  The pixie cut.

Behold: The pixie cut.

Thankfully, I can’t locate a picture of the “shag”.   Think Brady Bunch mom haircut.  It. Was. All sorts of awful.  My grandmother thought it was silly and cut it off with her sewing scissors.  My mom actually suggested that I should have stopped my grandma from doing this but she fell silent when I asked if she would have stopped her.  It eventually it grew out but maybe not in a good way.

The awkward middle school years.

The awkward middle school years.

High school and college was a mix of the wedge haircut made popular by Dorothy Hamill and swoopy Farah Fawcett hair.

Why so glum?

Vintage 1978 – Why so glum?

And then the 1980’s happened and bad hair was EVERYWHERE.  Seriously.  I’m not sure why I ever thought perms were a good idea.  But it led to what I call my Olivia Newton-John look. Or at least how she looked in Grease. . . only without the hoochie mama black paint-on pants.  Thankfully, one thing I didn’t do was mess with the color of my hair.

I think the dog asked, "Are you my mother?"

I think the dog asked, “Are you my mother?”

It should be noted that In the late 80’s I broke my hand and had trouble styling my hair for a wedding.  My mom suggested that I go the beauty school and let them do it for me. One of the most awful hair experiences of my life. Both the style AND the fact that the mother and child in the chair next to mine were found to have head lice.  (You’re scratching now aren’t you?)  Let me tell you,  head lice cause quite a commotion at the beauty school.  I cried in the car on the way home.  But. . . my boyfriend at the time did the unthinkable and put my hair in hot rollers for me.  And it looked pretty darn good.  But what it showed me was that this awesome guy (who was actually a cop and not a hairdresser) was a keeper.  Next year we will have been married 24 years.

The 1990’s brought marriage and motherhood.  .  . and the return of the pixie  in various forms.  Our nephew recently saw a picture from those days, looked at me and said, “never do that again.”  Lol.  But honestly, I do love the simplicity of short hair.  It was so easy.  Even if it didn’t look great.   Pictures of cute short hair cuts always catch my eye.  I have to tell myself that I’ve waited too long to have enough hair to actually style.

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Vintage 2004. The pixie revisited.

And then we bought a motorcycle.  And what a helmet does to short hair is unspeakable.  So I started growing it out again.  It’s the longest I think it’s ever been and t’s kind of fun now that I have more time to actually mess with it.

Vintage 2014:  Classic.

Vintage 2014: Classic.

There you have it.  My evolution.

And a parting thought:

Truth.

Truth.

Friends are forever. . . or maybe not.

It’s been an interesting couple of days around here. Interesting might not be the best way to describe it, but it’s probably one of the safest words I can use right now to describe them.  There’s a whole host of others that might fit better, but not all are polite.  I know this isn’t my usual kind of blog post but I hope you’ll keep reading anyway.

A group of three of my friends from school get together periodically for lunch and to catch up. We always have a great time and we don’t do it nearly enough. It’s a group that if you went back years you probably wouldn’t find us all together. We weren’t inseparable as kids. Three of us started school in kindergarten together so we go way back. The other I didn’t know until high school. We aren’t exactly “peas in a pod” and you would never call the four of us “besties” or “bff’s. But we’ve all reconnected after many years of casual encounters and it’s wonderful. Truly.  I cherish the friendship of all of these ladies, but am much closer to one (let’s call her Catherine)  than to the others.  Catherine and I go way back. I can still remember her birthday parties when we were both little girls. And Girl Scouts.  And high school theater together.  Lots of memories. Susan and I also started school together.  We were Brownies together.  And we have several common friends but were never really close ourselves.


A few days ago, while trying to coordinate the busy schedules of four women to find a single date we can all meet for lunch, I made a rather innocent comment in a group message. I suggested that if the four of us couldn’t work it out until the mid-November, Catherine and I could get together sooner. We have more flexible schedules and we live in the same town and we do get together more than we all do as a group. Catherine and I also include our husbands sometimes. A date was agreed on by all four of us and everything seemed good. As always, I was excited about getting together with my girls for lunch and an afternoon of chatter. But then Susan immediately came back and said she couldn’t be there. It was odd.  I sensed a problem, but wasn’t sure what it was. A little bit later, I received a message from Susan that was really not very nice. It was childish. It was nasty. And it was full of “drama” – the kind I detest. I. Don’t. Do. Drama. It was implied that I wasn’t a “true friend” or a friend she could “trust” and that the relationship wasn’t “authentic” and that she was only interested in surrounding herself with those kinds of friends. Whoa!!. I took that to mean that I didn’t fit the bill. She went on to say that she felt slighted by me when we were at different gatherings this summer and fall. Mmmmmmmm. It should be noted that this message was sent at about the time I was going to bed. Her message was emotional and irrational. I took the time to fire off what was probably a pretty defensive reply but she did pretty much attack my character and that made me bristle. My gut instinct was if that’s the way you feel, then fine. . . we probably won’t be seeing much of each other. I’m sure she understood that she’d offended me. . .but my reply was steeped in facts and not emotion.


And then I laid there all night thinking about how horrible her message had made me feel. It was awful.
Susan had made it clear that after 48 years of knowing each other that I didn’t meet her criteria for a friend. And yes, it made me sad, but what are you going to do? It’s not what I wanted, but I can accept that and move on. I’m an adult.
In the wee hours of the morning she sends me another note accusing me of having “disposable” friendships because I acknowledged that I wouldn’t be seeing much of her. Sheesh!  Does this not sound like junior high??? At that point, I took the gloves off and laid it out there. . . she was the one who had decided that I didn’t measure up to her friendship benchmarks and she was the one saying, “please don’t invite me to lunch”. But in her eyes I was wrong for accepting that. I realize that maybe there is something going on in her life right now that might be coloring her views, but she hasn’t shared that so I really don’t know for sure. But what I do know is that her behavior and attitude is unacceptable to me. I grew up a long time ago. I learned that you shouldn’t say things that can’t be taken back.  To treat people like I want to be treated.  And that life is too short to waste it squabbling about stupid stuff.


She eventually apologized (it was extremely curt and brief compared to the  rather lengthy diatribes she’d sent earlier) for what she said. I accepted and thanked her. And then I took the high ground and also apologized for any intentional hurt that I may have caused her (even though I really didn’t do anything that should have upset her). And then?
SILENCE. Nothing. She didn’t even read the message (isn’t technology a marvel – that I can even know that) , let alone reply to it. I’ve decided that I’m not going to worry about it. I can’t worry about it. It’s her problem and I’m not going to let her make it mine. But all this stupid, childish, drama got me to thinking about friendship and what I value in a friend. (That was a rather round about, long-winded intro and I’m sorry for that.) And because hindsight is ALWAYS better. . . and I’ve had two days to think about it. What I would like to say to her is this:

Dear Friend,
I can go days, weeks, or even months, without seeing or even talking  to you. It shouldn’t change our friendship if it is as you say true and authentic.   It doesn’t mean I don’t like you or that I like other people better. Don’t feel slighted and please don’t make me feel guilty. We all lead busy lives and sometimes it’s just not easy to get together when you juggle work, family, church, etc. This happens with many of my friends, but when we do get together, it’s like we were never apart. If I’m that kind of friend, you know exactly what I am talking about.
Please understand that you are not my only friend. There are others – some like you, some different. You need to have other friends too. An “obsessive” friendship isn’t a healthy one. I’m going to have lunch with only Catherine sometimes and I’d like to not be made to feel bad about it. I promise not to be upset when you see other friends without including me. I’m not keeping score either.
Friendship is a two-way journey. Don’t say, “you never call me” when, in fact, you don’t call me either. For me, trust and loyalty are important. I hope they are for you too. I believe the only way to have a friend is to be one. I’m a little bit of an introvert. To me, more is not merrier. I prefer cozier, one-on-one’s to a group. I always have.  Even though my Facebook shows that I have hundreds of friends, I am blessed if there are only a hand-full that really “get me” and embrace my shortcomings, faults, and quirks and still love me in spite of it. I think the best friendships should be comfortable and relaxed. . .like my old flannel pajama pants: They have a history. They may look a little worn and have some flaws. But they are soft and warm and make me feel great. Friendships should be like that. Real friends should make you feel good and not bring you down.
So if there should be a time that you feel hurt, I would hope that you would take stock of our history as friends before you meanly lash out and ruin any hope of sustaining our relationship. I get that you think that not squashing down your feelings is important, but please understand that hurting mine won’t really make you feel better. And if it does, then we probably shouldn’t be friends anyway.  I recently saw a quote that said, “Two things you will never have to chase: True friends & true love.” I think that’s true.  And right now I feel like I’m being asked to chase something that I would be better letting go.

There.  I’ve said it.  I’ve dug the metaphorical hole in the yard, tossed it in, and covered it over.  I’m done with it.  (And it feel pretty good to get that off my chest.) If she comes to lunch next week, I will be cordial, but without expectations.  And honestly, a part of me hopes that she  won’t come because it will just be awkward, weird, and will probably cast a shadow over what should be a great day with friends.

Everyone has a best friend during each stage of life only a precious few have the same one.
Old Friends