Monday, June 25, 2012

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

Last Friday I set out to drive from California to Missouri with my mother and my two kids.  2070 miles, 7 states, 3 days.  Throughout the journey I made random observations, mostly to myself.  I thought I would share twenty of them with you.

Random Thought #1:  Plane tickets are expensive.
Random Thought #2:  They are worth every penny.
Random Thought #3:  I wish we had enough money to buy plane tickets.
Random Thought #4:  Built in DVD players are the bomb diggety!
Random Thought #5:  Hooking up the X Box to the DVD player was the best idea my son Aidan has ever had in his lifetime.  I mean that, E-VER!
Random Thought #6:  You can never have enough snacks.
Random Thought #7:  My mom comments on everything she sees while travelling.
Random Thought #8:  My kids could care less about any of the things my mom points out along the way.  Welcome to age 10 and 13, Grandma.  If it doesn't have a cord, they aren't interested.
Random Thought #9:  So, this is Nevada.
Random Thought #10:  So, this is Utah.
Random Thought #11:  So, this is Wyoming.
Random Thought #12:  So, this is Colorado.
Random Thought #13:  Uhg!  Kansas.
Random Thought #14:  More Kansas.
Random Thought #15:  Yeah, we made it to Missouri.
Random Thought #16:  I have really gotten used to low or NO humidity.  I rather enjoy it.
Random Thought #17:  Driving 80 legally is pretty cool.
Random Thought #18:  Driving 65 after driving 80 feels like we are in a covered wagon.
Random Thought #19: Plane tickets are expensive.
Random Thought #20:  They are worth every penny.
Hope everyone is enjoying their summer trips!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Lap Dance Says A Lot

Making new friends is relatively easy when you are all in the same situation.  Thrown into the college setting, everyone is new and away from home, so it's easy to bond over a shared new, scary, exciting experience.  Later in life, you bond with colleagues at work over the daily stresses of balancing work and home.  Not all of these friends will stay your friends as life moves on and in new directions.  But, the ones that do are all that matters.  I have clung to my friendships from these times in my life for the last 7 months as I tried to navigate a new life here in California.  I am so grateful for these women who have listened to me on the phone whine and vent about my strange new world, who have sent me cards that made me laugh and cry, who have just, well, been my friends even though we are 2000 (or more) miles apart!  I couldn't have gotten to the place I am now without that support.  I value and love each and every one of you (you know who you are)!

Throughout this experience, I've been reading a book called "MWF Seeks BFF:  My Year Long Search for a New Best Friend" by Rachel Bertsche.   While I wasn't necessarily looking for a new best friend, I was looking for good girlfriends to hang out with and talk to about, well, all those things that girlfriends talk about.  The book helped me see how alike we women can be. It helped me brave new waters-making new friends at 41 totally OUT of my comfort zone.  I mean, WAY out of my comfort zone, people!  I didn't go as crazy as Rachel did in her search (she did a friend date every week for a year AND is much younger than AND has no children), but I think I did it in my own way.  And guess what?  I've made new friends.  They are as diverse and wonderful as this new place that I now call "home."
They are beautiful women of all ages and we have fun and talk about all of those things that girlfriends talk about.  At first, friendships are tentative.  It's a dance as you get to know these brand new people.  But, I listened and they listened.  You can't be a good friend and not be a good listener.  Believe me, I met some people who I thought may be friend material here that didn't make the cut!  I don't have room in my life for people who aren't straight forward, honest people!  No time for that crap!  But, the ones that did make the cut:  AWESOME ladies and I'm so glad I got the chance to meet them.  And so happy they took the time to get to know me and let me into their lives.
Don't get me wrong, it takes time to get to different levels of friendship.  My college roommates and PSE friends have dirt on me that will bond us for life (and give us many memorable things to laugh and talk about when we get the chance).  These experiences ARE what make the friendship become stronger and live on long after you are in different states and different phases of life.  I didn't break out the non filtered version of myself right off the bat.  Didn't want to scare anyone off.  It takes time to get to a place where you can truly be yourself with people.  (I've been married to my husband for 15 years and I STILL don't fart in front of him if I can help it.  Sometimes I can't, help it, that is)!  So I wasn't about to throw out a slur of 15 curse words in true Jen-style right away.  That shit takes time and trust.  But, I'm getting there.
Last night we went out for a "going away for awhile" send off for my friend Heather.  She's going into witness protection for a little while, just until the trial.  Really, she's just moving to Alameda to renovate a house and it's only a 35 minute drive from here.  But, she won't be here every day, so a send off was in order.  So, seven women, ranging in age from 30's to 50's went out for dinner and then to a dueling piano bar.  If you know me at all, you know I'm not much of a bar person.  But, you do things that are out of your comfort zone for friends, am I right?  It was truly a blast!  Yes, things got a little crazy and I got home WAY too late, but the crazy and the late-that's pure friendship bonding time!
At one point, Heather (pictured here on the piano) broke into spontaneous lap dances.  I was the lucky recipient of one said lap dance.  Yep, we both ended up falling off my bar stool and her beer got spilled-not pretty!  But, you don't just meet someone new and hop up on their lap (well, maybe Heather would with enough Corona in her).  That type of behavior is usually reserved for someone who knows you well enough to not run away screaming.  So happy to have gotten to that point here in Cali with my "newest" friends.  Yep, people, a lap dance really does say A LOT!