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…Run Out of Friendship Tea

Something about the November rain fills me with the certainty of change. Leaves relinquish their tenuous hold on branches trembling in the wind, tumble across yards mown for a final time weeks ago, and gather in soggy corners. The sun rises and sets with a shorter span between those hours. Blustery winds drive us to the closet for warm jackets and gloves. The year hastens to its close, with a burst of holidays to keep us from minding the weather too much.

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking, ‘Where’s the sass?!’ You’re thinking, ‘I read this blog for the humor!’ You’re thinking, ‘I thought these posts were about the foibles and fun of friendship!’

Yeah, yeah, yeah. ‘Hold yer horses!’ I’ll get there.

As I was waxing nostalgic about the season’s change and my advancing age and the grey November that leads, as it always does, to the sparkle of December, I realized, ‘dang!’ it’s cold in this house!’ I’ve already donned slippers and an extra sweater, and the damp chill lingers. What’s a girl to do? Make more coffee? Mmmm – tempting as that may be, it just didn’t feel right.

Then I remembered. ‘Friendship tea.’ The spicy, citrusy, warm-your-hands-around-a-mug of wonderfulness that never tastes right in July, but warms

friendship tea

friendship tea

 

you from noes to toes in the midst of the Autumn drear.

You’ll note, I trust, that the jar is nearly empty. This is unacceptable. Friends don’t let friends run out of friendship tea. It simply isn’t done.

Why?

Because. Because friends don’t let friends go through crises alone.

Friends get us through the summer crisis of buying a swimsuit that we can wear outside the dressing room, reminding us that we can’t see ourselves when we’re at the beach, so who cares what it looks like, really?!

Friends get us through the crisis of making the Thanksgiving gravy, bringing a jar of already made ‘just in case.’

Friends get us through the crisis of raising kids, commiserating, cajoling, comforting us by turns as we slog through the toughest job we love more than anything.

Friends get us through the crisis of the empty nest, bringing a jar of freshly made ‘Friendship Tea’ and filling up the empty rooms with warm laughter, shared stories, and reminders of how good it is to embrace another season of change, together.

A nearly empty jar of ‘Friendship Tea’ hardly qualifies as a crisis. Still, the jar reminds me — friends don’t let friends run out. Not out of the dressing room scantily clad in an ill-fitting swimsuit. Not out of the kitchen when the gravy doesn’t ‘get.’ Not out of the nest it’s taken a lifetime to feather. And friends don’t let friends run out of ‘Friendship Tea.’ The tea merely symbolizes the friendship. And these days, with change we can hardly believe, much less believe in, well… we need our friends to help us weather that.

So, put the kettle on. Don’t let your friends run out…

 

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…Ignore National Poetry Month!

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I just have to be a literature nerd for awhile. Sure, the expected advice would be “friends don’t let friends be nerds. Of ANY kind.” Frankly, that’s dreadful advice. I can’t get behind it. My profession won’t let me. My heart & mind won’t let me either. I love Jane Austen. I love CS Lewis. I love John Steinbeck. My thesis work, for cryin’ out loud, is in late Renaissance drama (Shakespeare et al, y’all). And so, when April rolls around, I get my literature nerd on. Why? Because April is National Poetry Month. (OH!……)

And so, I don’t want any of my friends here to miss out on the poetic fireworks going on at commonchapters, a little blog I nurse along when I’m not making public service announcements. 🙂 Seriously now. Friends don’t let friends ignore National Poetry Month.

You might have hated poetry in high school, but that doesn’t matter anymore. (and it doesn’t count!!!) If you love love, fear the unknown, marvel at the moon, hunger for beauty, wonder about life, then poetry is for you. If you like words, if you value wit, if you have a pulse, then poetry really is for you, because, well:

Poetry. It’s not just for nerds anymore.

Come and visit me at commonchapters. A poem a day. All April long. You’ll love it. Guaranteed.

…Get Caught in the ‘Web of Deceit’

I don’t like spiders.

I’ve heard that some folks do. That they actually buy them, keep them in glass cages, provide them with food…  SPIDERS. Seriously. You can find websites filled with helpful instructions that include what to feed your spider, how often you should ‘play’ with it, how to water it and give it a ‘safe’ place. You can’t make this up, friends.

Since this is a PSA blog, I feel compelled to add this: Should you find yourself wanting to keep a spider as a pet (REALLY!?!?!?), just, just — well, you need help, first of all. But, in the spirit of giving, visit here for spider-care dos & don’ts. (EGAD! I just wrote ‘spider-care’ like it’s a thing worth thinking about.)

I’ve always been a tad creeped out (totally off my writer’s game with that poor excuse for descriptive prose) by spiders’ long hairy legs. I don’t know quite why hairy legs are so repulsive in spiders and women, now I think of it — but, they are. Think of all the creatures whose legs boast hair. Jack, (the family dog) has hairy legs. Lions and tigers and bears have hairy legs, and not a soul gasps in horror, ‘O, my!’ over it. Horses have their furry fetlocks. Heck, almost all of the men I know have hairy legs too. Oh, sure — some guys shave their legs for aerodynamic reasons (cycling fanatics come to mind), but most just let the hair go. We American women don’t so much ‘let the hair’ go, er — grow. Our cultural norm kicking in I suppose. The hair-covered arachnid with his very hairy legs clings with ease to smooth surfaces.(Ladies, your hairy legs won’t help you out in this endeavor.) Spiders wouldn’t shave if they could. There’s an image for you…

The overall hair factor probably contributes to our unease (okay, irrational FEAR) where spiders are concerned. Exactly why we’re afraid of creatures (albeit hairy ones with more legs than seem strictly necessary) that we can quite easily crush with one foot is a bit of a mystery, given our size, superior strength and ability to run, if not quite faster than a speeding bullet, at least fast enough to outpace a damn spider.

So maybe it’s the fact that they trap unsuspecting creatures in their sticky webs, inject said unsuspecting creatures with a neurotoxin, wrap them up in silk (ah, irony!) and then liquefy the dead remains for easier digestion. You can read all about it here. Fascinating stuff, really.

You have to be wondering why I’m bothering to write about spiders at this point.

It’s their webs.

No friend I know lets a friend get caught in the spider’s web. When heading to the porch for a morning cuppa joe, friends — the ones we simply can’t do without — will wipe away that deathtrap drenched in morning dew before we find it sticking to our faces.

Friends don’t let friends get trapped in the spider’s web. They watch out for us. They know that we sometimes forget to shave our legs. I mean, it’s winter time, I’m wearing pants, who CARES!?!?! Friends remind us that our husbands care. Friends remind us that smooth legs are beautiful legs. They say, ‘what are you, some sort of hairy spider?! Shave your legs, girl!’

Friends don’t let friends get trapped in the spider’s web. They know it’s a tricky, death-trap of a world out there. They know that sometimes we not only forget to shave our legs, but that we forget to use our heads! They know that we don’t always read the road signs clearly saying ‘STOP! BRIDGE OUT AHEAD.’ They know we sometimes forget to listen to the lyrics because we’re so caught up in the beat. They know that sometimes we’re just not paying attention…

Friends don’t let friends get trapped in the spider’s web of deceit.

I know, I know, you thought I was just writing about the eight-legged, hairy, fanged creatures that kill their supper with poison. But, bard-like (no, not that Bard. Another one – Sir Walter Scott), I practiced a bit of deception here (you know, ‘oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive’) to make a point.

There are spiders out there. Sure, they look like people. They walk, run, skip and dance – all on a measly two legs. They have bicuspids, molars, incisors – no fangs anywhere. They really enjoy just hangin’ out. But they’re poisonous. They masquerade as pals. They pretend to be friends. But they can’t quite manage it. Driven by, well, who knows what they’re driven by? Killer instinct? Survival of the fittest? Kill or be killed? Self-preservation? Superiority complex? Hunger for attention? Whatever it is, those ‘spiders’ are out there. Weaving a web sparkling in the morning light, designed to kill. And they’ll get us, every time. Because they don’t ‘really, really like us.’ Nope. They’re just hungry. And they’ll kill our spirit if we’re not careful. And this is why we need friends – the tried and true ones. The friends who know all about our struggles with spiders.

It's a beautiful death trap

It’s a beautiful death trap

 

…Do DIY Alone

We have a wedding soon. And by soon I do mean next week. Of course, the final two weeks before a wedding are the perfect time to accomplish all those DIY projects that could have been done earlier in the calendar year. But we wait, and let other things, like watching 4.5 seasons of “Breaking Bad” on Netflix rule our lives. Then one day we wake up and realize, holy hell! — the wedding! People are coming! They’ll need a place to sleep!! The floors! The wallpaper! The stuff!!!!!  And so, it goes. A mad flurry of ‘getting the house ready’ means husbands and wives get to practice their ‘can’t we just get along?’ skills. News flash. They can’t. Tempers flare. Each accuses the other of ‘not doing it right’ — and the ‘it’ is widely variable, ranging from taping the woodwork to running the paint roller, to hanging a picture, or even putting fresh sheets on a bed — nobody does anything right during the crunch. At least, that’s the story in this household. Maybe yours is different? Suuuurrre it is…

And when the crunch is nearly unbearable, who do you call? The lifelong friends who can’t say ‘no’ when the SOS goes out. The lifelong friends who send out their own SOS occasionally, and you go running. Because friends don’t let friends really do a ‘do-it-yourself’ by yourself. EVER. Nope. They work the problem, people. They stalk, they measure, they sweat, they laugh, they keep the nervous nelly wife out of the way and do what they do. Friends. They never let you do DIY alone.

And aren’t you glad? I sure am…

DIY with Friends

DIY with Friends