I have been so lucky, all of my friends everywhere have given me so much love and support, I credit them with my continued good spirits and can do attitude. Today I was happily surprised with these beautiful flowers, adorable teddy bear and chocolates from a childhood friend who lived next door to me, Annie. She was older than I and I remember looking up to her as a positive role model. She was always so nice to my little sister and I, always had time to talk to us despite being a part of the older crowd. I wasn’t expecting these flowers and when I read the card, I felt buoyed by friendship and connection. The ties and connections cemented in youth and continue to adulthood are tremendous gifts and I cherish them. Keeping my spirits up is so much easier when I see and feel the support and love from my dear, dear friends.
It is so interesting to watch this wonderful friendship develop and blossom. Now that Lulu is quite comfortable with us, her surroundings and Jack, she has gotten very playful and Jack who has always been very playful, has taken full advantage of having a new playmate. He is not one to be fazed by her size, he is a little lion and he knows how to play his cute card that is for sure.
These pictures show how when you cuddle with one, you are going to cuddle with two and if Jack is going to take a break from Lulu; it’s only to take the time for a good long, deep stretch; you have to stay limber when your playmate is much more than twice your size.
Do you have a good friend or close relative with whom you disagree on a major issue (political, personal, cultural)? What’s the issue, and how do you make the relationship work?
I have a very good friend who used to live next door to me, he is married to one of my best friends and we disagree on all things political. It makes for very heated conversations which get diffused when I say something that makes him laugh. Laughter truly is the best medicine.
He is a staunch republican, a war hawk, he did his military training as a Marine though he never went to war, he did boot camp and came back home. I, as most of you know, a progressive and I have always been since I was in elementary school. I majored in International Relations; took courses in American Imperialism, Middle East affairs and politics, SOuth Africa, Japan and Soviet Union, Oil and Strategic relations. The whole messy business of why the American government does what it does and for whom took up much of my last three years at N.Y.U so to say that I am opinionated is perhaps an understatement.
I do not for the most part try to talk politics with him because he gets so angry and defensive about it, but whenever I am visiting with Debbie and he is still awake; he can’t help himself and he will say something that is trending on Fox News and I have to respond if only to defend the poor people, those on welfare and food stamps, who have’t a voice and are the scapegoats for all of the evils of the world as conjured up by Fox News.
I refuse to allow easy and mean-spirited assumptions of others to color my worldview; poverty is so much more complicated than a simple case of laziness and bad choices. My friend refuses to see that, he judges others by his own personal choices and reality which is not fair to the other.
I think that we need to reach further beyond judging, we need to understand and not only sympathize but also empathize.We do not exist in a vacuum, we are all interconnected if it could happen to someone else then it can happen to you. Compassion is a beautiful thing and it should not be handed out in a miserly fashion, it should be handed out generously.
Today being the second Tuesday of the month was our French Club meeting at the library. It was only two of us, Bonnie and myself, so perhaps calling it a club is a little much but I spent a delightful hour speaking French with Bonnie nevertheless. She is leaving this Friday for France, she rented a house for two weeks and she is looking forward to it. Her rented house is in the Dordogne region, not too far from Bordeaux so she will be awash in duck, pate, goose and wine.
We spoke of many things in French, the wacky weather which isn’t just here in Blandford but also in Paris and Bordeaux. We weren’t complaining about the 70’s, we are very content that it isn’t too hot yet, but the excessive rain is a bit much and Paris and Bordeaux are experiencing the same weather patterns which is quite odd. We also talked about rhubarb, Bonnie asked me if I wanted some of her rhubarb and I had to confess that I have never tasted rhubarb before. I had always thought that it was a purely American staple but it isn’t, rhubarb is found in France as well, just that my family didn’t cook it during the summer. I found out that my family had eaten so much rhubarb during the war that they didn’t want to eat it anymore. I can’t say that I blame them. Anyway Bonnie will be dropping off her extra rhubarb so I will be experimenting with rhubarb.
I was happy despite the fact that it was only the two of us because Bonnie is so easy to talk to and she is such a kind person. I am so glad to have made her acquaintance and I’m sure that we will become good friends being part of the Blandford French Club.
Today my baby girl and I had some time to visit with my best friend Debbie, her hubby and her grand kids at her house. It was great to see her in person rather than over the phone and e-mail. We talk just as much, no holds barred, but in person it’s always infinitely more satisfying. She got her haircut, just as I did, and it looks fantastic on her. She complimented me on my haircut as well. What was funny is that we both decided to get rid of our longish hair because it was making us look old and our new haircuts have made us look a lot younger but we did it without knowing that the other was doing it as well.
Her grand kids have grown so much, they are still little; five, four and a year and four months old, all very cute but still a handful, so my Debbie is exhausted by the end of the week after babysitting all three of them. Even with the oldest in all day kindergarten, she still has the younger two to contend with, and did I mention that she also takes care of three dogs and a cat. Wait, I forgot something, oh yes, she also takes care of her mom and her hubby as well. I am exhausted just typing this part of what she does. When I pulled into her driveway, I told the baby girl that I hadn’t needed the GPS after all, I couldn’t have missed her house at all, it was the most decorated house on the block.
One of the things that I miss about not having her next to me is precisely that; her very special way of decorating her house into a Christmas winter wonderland. Now for the past two Christmases, my corner of the world is much darker. The new next door neighbors don’t put out all the stops like Debbie did, they try but it is very tame. The neighbors on the other side are pretty festive, but Debbie was famous in our town for her decorations.
I also miss just having her there. She was great to cook for; I would often make cauliflower gratin for the kids and I always made sure that I took over a bowl for her because she loved it so much. She never made it because her hubby wasn’t a vegetable man; he is a solid meat and potatoes guy, so I really liked to make her things that I knew she wasn’t going to make for herself. Whenever I made chicken pot pie, she got enough for her and her hubby. The same went for pies, cookies and cakes. I was often knocking on her door and entering with some kind of goodie for her to eat. Good times.
Part of the reason I loved cooking for her was obviously it made her happy but also because she did do so much. She is the hardest working person that I know, so I was happy to help lift a small load even if it was only a meal.
I miss having her next door.