Light. Synthesis. Grace. Gratitude.

I spent the weekend with my 3 bestest oldest friends – Betsy, Beth, Mere. Words cannot express how dear these women are to me. Beth and Mere have been friends since they were 5. Betsy and I have been friends since we were 10. The four of us have been friends since we were 13. And here we all still are. Thick as thieves. Close. We rarely get so out of touch that we have to spend a lot of time “catching up”. I fully realize how lucky we are, how rare it is. It’s a joy. It’s also so fantastic to have friends who truly KNEW YOU WHEN. It helps you keep perspective, it helps keep you down to earth. I can’t really put much past these women. A great gift.

So they left their busy lives, their kids, their husbands … packed up the air mattresses in a car, and trekked down to my hood.

They arrived at 11 on Friday night, after taking a detour through Queens. They called me from the road asking me how to get to the Lincoln Tunnel from “71st Avenue”. Uhm … Avenue? I said, “It should be Street. I don’t know of any 71st Avenue.” Then came another street-name from their end- only it wasn’t of the numerical sort. “How about Continental Drive? How ’bout that?” “I have no idea what you are talking about. 71st Avenue and Continental Drive? There is no such thing.” (At least on the island of Manhattan … but at that point I didn’t know they were in Queens. Neither did they.) Needless to say, we finally figured it out. Sadly, I could not tell them how to get into Manhattan … but basically all they did was keep the Empire State Building in their view, and drove towards it. It ended up working out … and suddenly there they all were, at my door. Betsy had brought five bottles of wine. hahaha I already had three bottles … so we were all set. (We ended up only drinking two of the bottles, believe it or not.)

Yesterday was just a fanTAStic day. We woke up early, we had a vat of coffee, we hung out in my apartment for a bit … the day was glorious. Sunny, warm, mild. We decided to go to Central Park. We spent hours, wandering through the Park. People-watching (we saw multiple weddings going on … brides wandering about randomly, laughing for the cameras), nature-watching … Sadly, I was wearing my new fancy-schmancy flip-flops. They look amazing but dammit. They caused me MUCH problems later … problems that I still endure today.

We emerged from the Park, hours later. We took the train downtown to the Village to do some shopping. We browsed about, we went to a flea market – which was awesome. Lots of browsing. I met a kindred spirit – a lovely man who had an entire display of perfectly preserved old Interview magazines. He is hoping to get MOMA to do a retrospective of the artwork in Andy Warhol’s old mag … Now, I was a huge Interview fan. Not so much now. But the old ones? He’s right. They are works of art. Nobody was really visiting his area, but I hung out there, blabbing with him for a while. I am so excited about his project. I think he was excited to meet someone who was excited about it! I told him I actually wrote an angry letter to Interview a couple years ago, berating them for how their magazine (in particular – their artwork and their photography) has gone down the tubes. It was a very articulate letter, filled with compliments about what the magazine used to be … and they did print the letter. Only a part of it though. They printed a paragraph that, out of context, made me sound like a shrill lunatic. haha I think he enjoyed the story, and in that moment – he realized I was a kindred spirit. In terms of how much we revered the OLD Interview. I hope MOMA puts up a show. I really do. I’ll keep my eye open for this lovely gentleman – I think he’s got some really great ideas.

By this point, my feet were pretty much in agony. I bore up well, but … it took a lot of stiff-upper-lip grinning-and-bearing-it. We passed by a store called Native Crafts or something like that. The kind of place that sells incense, crystals, and has lots of books about angels. In other words: HEAVEN. We spent a glorious time in there, buying a lot of “smelly” stuff. Holding up incense sticks and lavendar smudge-sticks in each other’s faces, commanding: “Smell this.” We felt the rocks, we admired the crystals, we discussed the properties of hematite. Mere and I are the incense-queens (as I have discussed here) so we went a little nuts. She left me some of her India Moon and I gave her some of my white-sage leaves. All’s right with the world. Beth showed me a book that was called something like: SAY YES TO LOVE. FIND YOUR SOULMATE! But the kicker was – the most offensive thing about it was – below the title. It said something like: “By God. As told to so-and-so and so-and-so.” Uhm – you claim God speaks to you? You are arrogant enough to tell me that your book on SOULMATES is really “by God … as told to YOU”???? Right there, in a nutshell, is my entire scorn for the soulmate industry. Beth was so excited to show it to me, because she knew I would fly off the handle. And I did. Standing there in the delicate New Age shop. (My ranting on soulmates here (check out the second to last comment in that post – he pretty much proved my point), here, and here. This will be a continuing series, so strong are my feelings about it.)

Finally, the Sheila foot situation was too much. I needed to SIT DOWN. So we headed back to Hoboken. It was about 5 in the afternoon, a lovely afternoon, with long low rays of sun. A perfect day, really. We got off the PATH and decided to have a drink at the bar across the street, just relax a bit, before going off and having dinner somewhere. The bar is beautiful, cavernous – with high ceilings, a long copper bar. Also, they have these big open windows everywhere – so even though it’s dark in the bar, you still get natural light coming in, and a great cross-breeze. A perfect place to decompress AND TAKE MY SHOES OFF. We drank margaritas. (Actually, Beth had gin and tonics.) We watched the Preakness. We watched the same shot over and over and over again of the horse almost falling. We blabbed to each other. The way we have been blabbing to one another since we were pre-pubescent. About our lives, our jobs, our men, what we’ve been thinking about lately, or struggling with … And can I just say that that margarita tasted so damn good, after our long day of walking in the sun.

We decided to go uptown for dinner, and due to my FOOT SITUATION we took a cab. (Turns out that was the perfect choice, due to the monsoon which was quickly heading our way … although we didn’t know it at the time.)

We had pretty much the best cab ride ever, along the Hudson. I climbed in the front seat, the other three climbed in the back, and we were off. Our driver – a taciturn gentleman with a mustache – was listening to Neil Diamond, quietly. Within the first two seconds of the ride, we heard the beginning sounds of “Forever in Blue Jeans”. You could feel the excitement hit all of us. I could hear Mere start to sing along softly, in the back seat. In the next second, Beth and Betsy joined in. Our lovely driver, taciturn though he may have been, immediately picked up on the vibe in the car. And what did he do? He reached over to the radio, and turned the volume up. WAY UP. We careened along beside the river, New York gleaming across the water, a strange black cloud descending over the blue sky from the north … giving a strange schizophrenic look to the evening … with “Forever in Blue Jeans” BLARING. And we all sang along at the TOPS of our lungs. It was so JOYOUS. At one point, I turned around to glance in the back seat, and I saw all three heads bobbing back and forth, like little happy bobble-heads. hahaha I am sure we made this driver’s night. It was so funny, too … he didn’t say ONE WORD. Just reached over, with this subtle quiet gesture, and cranked that shite UP.

Money talks

but it don’t sing and dance and it don’t walk.
And long as I can have you here with me

I’d much rather be
forever in blue jeans.

Honey’s sweet.
But it ain’t nothing next to baby’s treat.
And if you pardon me

I’d like to say we’ll do okay

forever in blue jeans.

Maybe tonight

maybe tonight
by the fire all alone you and I;
nothing around but the sound of my heart and your sighs.

Money talks.
But it can’t sing and dance and it can’t walk.
And long as I can have you here with me

I’d much rather be
forever in blue jeans
babe.

And honey’s sweet.
But it ain’t nothing next to baby’s treat.
And if you pardon me

I’d like to say we’ll do okay

forever in blue jeans.

Maybe tonight

maybe tonight
by the fire all alone you and I;
nothing around but the sound of my heart and your sighs.

And money talks.
But it don’t sing and dance and it don’t walk.
And long as I can have you here with me

I’d much rather be
forever in blue jeans.

And long as I can have you here with me

I’d much rather be
forever in blue jeans
babe.

Oh GOD, we all were like: I have not heard that song in years, and here I am – I remember EVERY WORD, and it makes me SO HAPPY. The song ended right as we pulled up at our restaurant, we gave him a huge tip, he still didn’t say a word, but I saw this twinkle in his taciturn eyes. We all gushed at him, “THANK YOU, THANK YOU!” He couldn’t smile … he was too taciturn … but I knew he was smiling in his heart.

We sat down at a table at Liberty. Within 30 seconds, Mere exclaimed, “Is that rain?” We looked outside, and not only was it raining, but it was an apparent sudden hurricane. Rain batting against the windows in sheets, people struggling with umbrellas, trees bending to the side … damn. We just missed that one. We had spent the entire day outside, gloriously, and here we were, safe at dinner, and all hell breaks loose.

We took a cab back to my place, and were so so excited to get into pajamas and comfy clothes. It was 9 pm. Yeah, baby. Saturday night. My feet were in a deplorable condition. I got out my foot-bath kit (yes. I have a kit), and began the ritual of tending to my poor piggies. I am a bit ashamed to admit this, but my feet were so swollen that I basically had developed cankles. I said, “Guys. LOOK at my feet.” They all stared at the swollen balloons that only 20 minutes before had been teetering around in the flip-flop platforms … and were shocked. Beth couldn’t stop staring at them. I was puttering about, doing other things, and every time I glanced at Beth, she was staring at my feet. hahah Like someone entranced. “I’m sorry … I can’t stop staring … they don’t even look like feet.”

I soaked my feet. We turned on the Red Sox game, watched it. I lay on my bed, with my poor balloon feet on a pillow. Mere glanced at my feet at one point and burst into hysterics. I exclaimed, “I KNOW, okay? They look AWFUL, I know!!” She said, “No, no … it’s not that … it’s just that … you have a match stuck to your foot.” Somehow, I had a match stuck to my big blow-up-doll cankle … it really can’t get more pathetic than that. And you know you’ve got a good friend when she picks a match off your cankle.

We all fell asleep simultaneously at 10 pm.

This morning, we went up to my roof. It was raining a bit – a drizzle, and yet across the way, the sky gleamed openly over Manhattan. Spectacular.

Oh, and we did Angel Cards. (We bought them at the New Age shop we went to. For anyone who has no idea what Angel Cards are … here.)

It was wonderful – we spread them out on my bed, and each picked one. The words we picked, individually, make up the title to this post.

I think they perfectly describe the weekend as a whole.

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15 Responses to Light. Synthesis. Grace. Gratitude.

  1. peteb says:

    “fancy-schmancy platform flip-flops”, eh? BTW Hallmark want that line for their Best Friend range.. “you know you’ve got a good friend when she picks a match off your cankle”.. indeed.

    And now I’ve got Neil Diamond echoing through my head for the rest of the night..

    I’d much rather be…

  2. red says:

    Catchy tune, right?? hahaha

    Hopefully the shoes won’t always cause cankles and this was just one of those casualties of brand-new shoes. Keeping fingers crossed.

  3. peteb says:

    Probably the brand-new shoes effect *fingers crossed*

    and it’s definitely a catchier tune than any of the ones I’ve heard recently.. *ahem*

  4. red says:

    “Here we are, broadcasting from Dublin … again …”

  5. Just1Beth says:

    Two things. First, I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!! Second, the best part of the taxi ride was when Mere leaned back in and said to the driver, “Thank you, and I hope you enjoyed the show!” Third, (ok, I lied) until right now, I always thought the words were, “Nothing around but the sound of my heart in your side”. Like an Adam and Eve thing. Anyway, that is what I sang at the top of my lungs last night. oops.

  6. red says:

    beth – hahahaha “my heart in your side” BWAHAHA

    Hope you had an uneventful ride home.

  7. peteb says:

    Hahahaha!! Yup.. We sent another crap song on purpose.. honest.

  8. Betsy says:

    Good times ladies – I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I am blessed to have you all. It is now 7:12pm and I will be getting to bed in about … 10 minutes. The kids loved their pooping pigs. Good night.

  9. Alex says:

    Cankle. Cankle.

    I can’t stop saying it. I never will.

  10. Just1Beth says:

    Oh.My.God. I just had Tom pick an Angel card. He picked…..synthesis!!!!!!!!!!! WHOA! I had them laid out on the table, he grudgingly chose a random card as he walked by, with me babbling about WHY he should do it…and he chose FREAKING SYNTHESIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. red says:

    Beth – wow. You know what, though? I’m kind of not surprised!! Synthesis, after all! :)

  12. mere says:

    I KNEW it couldn’t be “heart in your side” !!!
    hahahahahaha…

  13. Just1Beth says:

    Well, it COULD have been heart in your side. But it wouldn’t have made sense. Then again, money talks but it can’t sing and dance and it don’t walk makes no sense, either. I mean, if my quarter suddenly got up and started doing the cha-cha, I would totally freak.

  14. David says:

    I live for the recaps of your life!!

  15. Weekend catchup

    Sheila had a heck of a weekend with old friends. Having had a great weekend with Old Friend, I have to agree that old friends are the best friends.