At the Beach!

Really. I'm at the beach! So, no stories from me this week. I'll write them in my head while I'm on the beach exploring the little nooks and crannies in the rocks for sea life. In my younger days (like just four years ago), I was a death-defying adventuress and climbed cliffs, and hung onto trees while taking pictures of lighthouses from above the lighthouse lens. That is until the thought flipped through my brain that if I ever fell from one of these precarious perches (and I would do this with only my camera as my companion), I would never be found. Ever. Anyway - I'm off to the beach. And I won't be thinking about work, blogs, chores, duties, tasks, to-do lists, etc.


Friends and Soul Mates

Friendship is such a powerful thing. Do you ever think about it? Do you think about who your best friend is? Do you have one main special friend or several?

I have four friends that came together as an informal spontaneous "support" group. It started more than 30 years ago, when I was working two jobs to help ends meet and raising my two sons alone. I cleaned houses as a second job – I cleaned four police officers' homes and one of them was one of the first women on the Spokane Police Department. She is integral to this story because we all were brought together by her: She has a sister, and then an ex-sister-in-law (ditched the husband but kept his sister), and then her best friend whom she met while they were attending Alcoholics Anonymous for Spouses, and then me, her part time house keeper. (She hates when I introduce myself that way!)

We met because we all were single mothers; we were all around the same age (I'm the baby); our children were around the same age; and we were in-between relationships. We have religiously met for dinner once a month, and rotate who picks the dinner. We have individually only missed a dinner for whatever reason keeps us away, however, the group itself has NEVER missed a dinner in all these 30+ years.

We were front page news (well, Section C front page) of the Spokesman Review in 1992, where we were crowned "The Diners' Club" by the S-R writer, Rebecca Nappi. Thank you, Becky! The most amazing thing was the number of MEN who read and commented on our ariticle! {smile}

We are alike.

We are different.

We have been at each others' weddings and held each other through divorces; we have gone through teenage traumas with each of our children, together; we have taken on the ailments that pester people as they get older and we do it with aplomb and humor; we have supported our children in their struggles stepping into adulthood; we have survived all of our parents and now are 50-60-ish orphans. We cry on each others' shoulders, rant and rave about whoever is wronging us, share deep and private secrets that go no further than the table we are sitting at, laugh and giggle, weep, cry, commiserate, sympathize, and empathize – sometimes all of this several times in a two-hour period.

We started a "mad money" pot several years ago where we would pitch in $10 a month to fund something, anything, to get out of Dodge for a night or two. Our "mad money" pot has paid airfare, hotel, and food on two trips to Seattle, one trip to Yakima for the Spirit of Seattle dinner train that was stationed there (before it moved to Seattle); we spent a Christmas night in Coeur d'Alene overlooking the lake, with Santa's Village visible on the other side; another Christmas in Sandpoint for an absolutely magical snowy Christmas. We have a group Christmas card that got started in the mid-80s that we pass around on a rotational basis and we each take turns summarizing the year we have just finished; we have had pages added to it; I finally scrounged card shops for a new envelope to replace the frayed one. We each have had the card during a year that invariably is one of transition – literally – where the Keeper Of The Card is moving to another house and at the same time tries dutifully to keep in mind which box has "The Card." I personally would hyperventilate over it for 365 days until I handed it over to the next person at our Christmas brunch, with a huge sigh of relief that I didn't lose it. (Or throw it away.)

Our best trip by far was to Disneyland – twice. We saved enough to pay for several days in the Park. Our first trip, we piled into a taxi at the LA airport, five of us "old" ladies chattering and giggling at once and the driver fell in love with us. He happened to be going off duty for the weekend, but he "adopted" us and became our driver for the weekend. He got our plane schedule and then faithfully picked us up at 6:00 in the morning, took us to breakfast, drove us to the Park, told us to meet him here at this spot at 1:00 to take us back to the hotel for our "naps" and then drove us back to the Park for the rest of the day, picking us up at 11:00 at night and delivering us back to the hotel, watching us c-r-a-w-l up the steps to our room, only to start it all over again the next day. He figured out that our plane left at 5:00 in the evening and calculated how many play hours we could spend at the Park, and he picked us up and delivered us to the airport in plenty of time for our plane ride home. Thank you, John!!!!

We have talked about everything you can imagine from men, to menopause, to teens, to men, to independent women, to old age, to men, to ….. hmmm, well, MEN. We have all been through serious illnesses and without the support of each other, we would have flailed cluelessly through it all. One of us is a breast cancer survivor, one of us has Lupus; one of us has kidney disease; one of us has been diagnosed with Parkinson's. We hold each other up, lift each other up, and brighten each other's lives. I don't know what I would do without these four women in my life.


Where O Where is Spring!

Ok, we've had the winter from hell and then we have had flirtatious teasers of Spring. June 8, I wore my coat and turned on my space heater. JUNE 8! This is supposed to be pretty much summer time. We should be swimming and water sliding and baking in the sun.

My Spring is filled with moments of critters – tiny ones and big ones. No sun – just lots of other "live" things.

First - it was the bees in my bathroom (kind of catchy huh). I have a bees nest in a wall in my bathroom. The bees aren't healthy either - they are mutated, kind of like space alien bees. They are sickly and have a terrible time flying, usually hovering for a little while above the bathtub and then slowly winding down to drop dead on the bathtub floor. Every now and then, one will muster enough strength to make it to the living room rug (which is bee colored). I have gathered up about a dozen corpses from the bathtub in the last three weeks. eeeuuuu.

Then my mother-in-law's house where I have moved to, has ants. On the kitchen counter. Dozens of them. Searching on the internet for methods of getting rid of ants only tells me that I must be a very poor housekeeper. I took everything off the counter and cleaned like crazy and then put everything back. I repeated this about six times - they are coming up behind the cabinets and out from a corner at the back of the counter. So I did some more research and discovered a home remedy: 40% water, 40% alcohol, and 20% dish soap. Kills them on contact! That's fine - but they would still manage to straggle in sparingly. So - another home remedy was to sprinkle a trail of cinnamon along the little opening in the corner - and THAT stopped them. They hate cinnamon.

Then I came home a couple nights ago and my partner/Significant Other, said "I've had an adventurous day. I've got a marmot!" So he's spent the last two days trying to get the marmot to leave the area, short of pulling out his pistol. He has an airgun and has popped it at the marmot - but with each episode the marmot has gotten smarter. One morning the marmot was out between the house and the garden (a cyclone fence in the way). This little guy is about the size of a big house cat. Plump and fluffy - looks an awful lot like a rabbit (marmots are of the squirrel family - but they are also part of the rodent family (like, as in rat)). I prefer to think of him as a squirrel cousin. Anyway – my SO made one pump with the air gun and that little guy streaked through the cyclone fence so fast your head would spin. I don't know how he got his fat little body through the tiny opening in the gate. He ate all of our radishes that had JUST started sprouting. Little nibbler. He's kind of cute, though, and I am tempted to call "here, kitty, kitty." If only he wouldn't eat the garden.

So here's my Spring Song:

Bees, Ants, and Marmots, O My!
Bees, Ants, and Marmots, O My!
Bees, Ants, and Marmots, O My!

May summer just get here.