Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Getting Together with the Goddesses

“Nothing is more exhausting than cheerful companions,” said Sandra Boynton in her Recycled Paper Products cartoons, fluffy little cats holding paws, dancing in a chorus line, with one of the cats taking a misstep. I love that cartoon. The heck with keeping up with the Joneses! Just keeping up with my small troupe of girlfriends for a weekend is a challenge. There’s enough energy there to be captured and used for other purposes.

B.G., Kaye, Ronda, Julie, Lisa and I started hanging out together about [ed., date removed to protect the innocent] when we all decided that a Big Girls’ Slumber Party sounded like a great idea. We started our get-togethers at Ronda’s house, sleeping in sleeping bags on her living room floor. Over time we’ve gotten more sophisticated in our “Goddess Weekends,” extending our frequency of flings from once a year to twice a year. In order to save any one of us from the trials of being hostess, we moved to a couple of alternative sites, had a bad experience at a local hotel and settled in on a long string of good times in wonderful places, like Stinson Beach and the Russian River. Hard times hit us all, so while we were not interested in giving up the frequency of fun, we went back to home-hosted fun and the occasional “scholarship.”

It’s such a restorative for all of us. Oh, sure, there’s always the usual banter about who snores the loudest. (Hey, I think of it as my own personal White Noise. I even brought earplugs for everyone one time although we never distributed them.) We share our stories of What’s Happening in Our Lives. We’ve been through a divorce, family illnesses, family deaths, personal illnesses, job losses and gains, kids graduating from high school and college, kids going to war, kids coming home from war, kids starting their own businesses, Little Sisters and errant rugby players, saying goodbye to beloved pets and hello to new pets. We’ve included a guest or two from time to time as we think the guest and our core group can stand it. Sometimes that works and sometimes that doesn’t. We’ve battled dangerous wildlife, like a big fat scorpion on the kitchen ceiling. We’ve compared the various features of automobiles, men, real estate, corporations, musical performers, television. We once watched first in eager anticipation, then with growing dismay and finally with a chorus of screams of derision and flung popcorn as a highly touted Chick Flick turned into a case of emotional dreck and idiocy. We’ve had guest psychics and a massage therapist join us for entertainment. Once, quite by accident, we were entertained completely by a fireman who came to our rescue when one of us sustained a kitchen injury that was a bit more than a band-aid in severity.

We usually do something creative, too. We’ve beaded bracelets, painted flowerpots, been our own manicurists, and even tried and pretty much failed at karaoke. (Kaye, I thought we did pretty well, actually.) We’ve gone on nature hikes, tried a little canoeing and walked beaches. I once got us nearly completely lost looking for a wonderful rose nursery nestled among vineyards; we did find it, eventually. I think I’ve been forgiven for most of that. And I did buy the most luscious and fragrant climbing rose there in just the perfect shade. This year we read to each other, either from our own writings or from fascinating reading we’ve found. One item was a transcript of a deposition from years ago, a clear character study of the deposed coming through.

I usually do a tarot reading for everyone and this year was no exception. Family, jobs, romance, finance and health were prevailing themes. We even read my cards together since I seldom get to read for myself. It said I need to get out more. This is a good thing.

Food is certainly something that we’re constantly improving on. We usually err on the side of caution. After all, what IF we were stranded in the weekend house for, oh, say, a couple of months? You’d need all of what we bring. We’ve had our share of food emergencies, learning what foods are relatives of the nightshade family and what foods are chemically related to poison ivy. We’ve set the smoke alarm off and been unable to clear it in the middle of the night, all due to a simple pizza. We’ve vowed to go out to dinner and then found we just had too much food and too little initiative to leave the house. We had lots of fruit this year and excellent breakfasts, salads and sandwiches for dinners. We even squeezed in visits to wineries and had lunch at the Korbel Cellars deli under the redwoods. The thinner ones have complained that they’ve gained. The less-thin have vowed to walk it off. Soon.

What’s most important is that even if we rant, laugh, squabble, tease and embarrass each other, we share a bond of friendship that has lasted many years. That friendship is like family for us, sometimes better. We had our 3 of Cups times two for a great time with six of us. We celebrated a birthday. We bought hats. We cooked, we cleaned, we performed a miracle of parking. We considered going to the Fireman's BBQ but decided against it when we reasoned they weren't really going to barbecue a fireman.  We tasted the wine. We smelled the flowers. We celebrated life together. And we can’t wait to do it again. Ladies, here’s to looking forward to the fall!

Best wishes.

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