Sunday, February 14, 2010

You'll want a cup of tea.

It has been silent in the land of Laureen's blog, in case you haven't noticed.

The reason is this!

Cheryl and I had a huge deadline to get this to the Artistic Committee at The Theatre Arts Guild (TAG) by February 8th and by golly gosh we did it. I don't want to talk about it too much, in case there really are jinxing pixies out there. Yes, the evil witch is reaAAALLLY evil and reaAAALLLY hungry. We have a marvelous dame with a bosom a mile wide and long, who manages to fall in love with a stinky bear and still save the day and of course, we have Hansel and Gretel with their parents. They are there mostly to give the Evil Auwfulla and the Dame (Sugar Plump Fairy) a reason to be on stage. Cheryl and I are planning a reading through workshop next week with folks who aren't likely to want to act in the play but who can give us good feed back on pacing and if we've goofed up anywhere. I will keep you posted.

February 8th was a few days back now and you'd think I would have sat right down to write you all a letter but I was immediately thrown into crisis in Volunteer land and unhealthy kitty land. What happens in the Board room stays in the Board room, but holy Hannah, what a lot of meetings. So the blog flew out the window. The cat has gingivitis and while his breath smells like a stinky raccoon died in the garbage can that is a month old, he's fine. If you stay a long distance away from him. He's off for dental surgery next week and that's a whole other story mama.

That doesn't mean I wasn't thinking of things.

Like this. Is that not a fabulous image of women? It's from Threads Magazine, feb/March '99, drawing by Christine Erikson. Consider it a non-sequitur.

I was also distracted by my brother Vincent's life accomplishment.

I came across an idea about what the hell is Urban Farming anyways – too much time needed to research so it will have to wait; the Knitting Olympics – see the Yarn Harlot site or Ravelry site and this seems cool. I am considering participating but also wonder if it wouldn't be simpler to embed a hatchet in my forehead. I have also been thinking on the nature of friendship and decided that's where I'll head today.

Do you remember your first true friend? I think I found my first true friend in my 40's, not including Steve, who is the best friend of all. How can I not include Steve, since he taught me what being a friend is all about and continues to be the bestest of all. But I was thinking more of women friends. Maybe that's limiting the thought process, but these days, it's good to keep things simple or the brain melts.

I recall friends from childhood and being intensely convinced that these were the kindred spirits that would inform my life until eternity passed. I had read “Anne of Green Gables” many times, along with a few British novels about boarding school friends and loyalty. Boy, a good story can still lead a gal astray. I was always upset when the family moved and over time, I had to reconcile my ideas of true friendship with the nature of middle class mobility. Perhaps these other young girls weren't aware of their duties, but there weren't any sobbing letters or phonecalls claiming undying affection once the moving van had left and the icecream cones (bribes to get in the car) were finished.

There were always the girls at school, but those were mostly friendship of proximity and convenience and that was the pattern for the next 30 years or so. Who lived close by, who had a cuter older brother, who had a baseball and baseball bat (see cuter older brother) and then, who in my class wasn't a complete bore, or who had a car to drive to and from parties, or who had a house where parties could take place. Then in University, things became more sophisticated. Who wasn't a complete bore (never realizing it could have been me), who had a car to drive to Toronto from Waterloo, and who had a room I could rent the next term. Work and do I need to repeat myself? Babies and a slight variation, who was as bored as I was and willing to admit it, who had a wagon to drag the kids to and from the park, who was likely to have a party my kids would be invited to? Certain shallowness pervades this paragraph doesn't it?

I had a few good chums along the way, Barb in University, who was a great room mate and is still a buddy, but 2000 miles away, Susan in Toronto, but she is a terrible writer and that 2000 miles does get in the way and Mimi who often lives half a world away and makes Susan's writing look manic. As the moving around didn't seem to be ending, I was always hesitant to invest myself in anything too thoughtful. Being a giddy and foolish creature, I was always connected to people and events, looking to have an engaging time. Except for with Steve, who is a powerful brain on legs, there wasn't much depth to any conversation or relationship. I also realized that other women would pack up and move just as quickly as I did, if it meant something better for their families. Friends weren't on the list of reasons to not move.

Halifax and my 40's and a certain convincement that priorities and values that are important to me are allowed to be important in decision making in the family. And with that, confidence came that gave me permission to take a chance on building real friendships and hoping that they would last. I have been very, very, very lucky in Halifax. I have 8 great lady friends, they are all close by, they are all unlikely to move willy nilly, and best of all, they all seem to genuinely like me back. Jamie, am I allowed to name everybody? Thanks. Here ladies, you are named: Linda, Jane, Barb, Alex, Catherine, Jamie, Cheryl and Sandy. What a gift you all are!

Amongst and between those nine women friends, I met and found a flock of other women who are connected to me by our mutual love of textiles, art, music, good conversation and laughing. One of the women's partners called us the Quilt Mafia and here we are, gathered for a day of show and tell and food in Mahone Bay.

The group has grown since the smaller mafia began, as all good illicit things do. Some of us make dolls, some quilt, some focus on the surface of textiles and some of us like to knit while chatting so as to focus on the very important moments of sharing.

What is the nature of friendship? After all these years, I have discovered it really isn't based on convenience. I knew that, but going beyond it was too risky. We fall into this trap through work, or through our kid's schools or sports or who lives in the neighbourhood. Real friendship is based on a mutual respect and love for something that connects us. It is based on a willingness to take a risk and be honest with our affections and our trust that the other person will have enough affection for us that our ugly bits will go “unnoticed” until we can reign them in again. It is mostly based on a willingness to stick our necks out to give to others a part of our hearts and to be willing to accept what is given back, even if sometimes it is a bit rough around the edges.

Having moved much too often, I think “being” where you live is another ingredient. I know there will be moves in the future for my friends but one of our family decisions is to stay where friends are. Community can happen anywhere, but friends are rare and worth the stay.

Group hug!

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