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Thanksgiving Sets the Pace

November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Sets the Pace

Doesn’t Thanksgiving set the pace for the Holidays? It always does for me. This special day of gratitude gets me grounded in the true bounties of life.  Health, family and friends are the top runners in my list.

Thanksgiving is a prime opportunity for service in our family. My daughters and I plan the meal of celebration with deliberation and intention. Traditions and values abound. Everyone’s “favorites” are taken into consideration and requests are honored. My daughters want sweet potatoes but one likes them with walnuts and the other does not so I am always sure to have both versions on the Thanksgiving table. MargE, my youngest daughter, knows that we will always have pumpkin pie and that it will be Mom’s recipe only. Elizabeth, the eldest, places importance on the quality of our special Bird of the Day. This year she went so far as to raise her own organic, free range turkey for our festive occasion.

While men have their Thanksgiving meal roles, it’s definitely the women’s day to plan and execute. Key to success of the day is our family rituals. We begin with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the smell of giblets cooking on the stove. Cranberries are no longer jellied but smack of a tart fresh taste with just the right amount of sweetness. Experiences of the past unfold almost effortlessly. Piano tunes play in the background. My daughters and I work in harmony to produce the perfect space of festivity and service.

Of course sometimes there’s a snag here or there but the importance of day and its value always wins out. We’re all on good behavior.  It’s a day of Thanksgiving after all.

Appreciating and experiencing the love between sisters, mother and daughters trumps everything though. We are thankful that this celebration brings us together no matter what the distance, physical or otherwise. Our friendship runs deep and can’t be messed with. There is no doubt that we are women growing older together and enjoying the blessings of the relationships.

What is your particular expression of gratitude on the designated Day of Thanksgiving? Please share with us. I know we can find ourselves in each other’s stories and they will enhance the experience and sacredness of the day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Margaret

Women I Grow Old With Blog Now on Our Website

October 27, 2012

Dear Women We Want to Grow Old With:

Our blog has moved to our new website http://womeniwanttogrowoldwith.com/blog/. We hope you will resubscribe and continue to contribute to this conversation about intentional female friendships for a lifetime! You will receive an email to re-optin in order to continue to receive the blog posts at the new location.

Our book is now out and available at http://www.amazon.com/Women-Want-Grow-Old-With/dp/1467917443

Thank you for your support!

Diane & Margaret

Growing Old with Angie Ever Young

October 16, 2012

Guest Blogger: Dana Lee

Recently I traveled from California to attend my first high school reunion in Amarillo, Texas.  It was incredible to lay eyes upon faces that I had not seen since we wore hideous purple and gold caps and gowns 30 years ago.  Some people I simply did not remember until their name spilled miraculously from my mouth as I pressed my hand into theirs.  It’s amazing the memories that lay undisturbed underneath the surface waiting to wake at the slightest provocation.   Others, I had kept in contact with through Facebook and with them it felt like no time had passed at all between the tossing of the caps and that moment.  A close friend of mine had brought a photo album of our high school days and in it was a lightning rod face, my angel and best friend, Angie. She should have graduated with us, but she passed away from cancer when we were still sophomores.  She was my best friend at the time, and the first girlfriend I ever actually verbally expressed love to.  I remember loving her completely and wondering if it was normal to love a friend in this way.  If I told her I loved her, would she understand?  I mustered all my courage one day and told her, “Angie, I love you”.  I thought she would think I was crazy or something.  It wasn’t the kind of love that came with attachment or an expectation of return, it was the kind that meant I would always love her no matter what, that I would be there for her forever.   She simply said, “I love you too”, and paused.  We giggled and just kept on talking about which boys we thought were cute.

We used to screw around in PE class and wait until the PE Teacher wasn’t looking so we could cheat on Duck Squats.  Duck Squats are miserable exercises, and I’m pretty sure they are outlawed now in every PE class across the nation.  They are especially brutal when you don’t know you have cancer and are inexplicably tired.   Eventually Angie’s parents cut off her contact with friends and it was hard for me to talk to her or see her.  At the time it didn’t make sense, but my adult brain suspects that she had been having a hard time with her treatment and energy levels. At last I was allowed to visit her and we listened to Peter Frampton’s song Do You Feel Like We Do, over and over, and talked about the boy I liked and had recently kissed for the first time.  I felt terrible that no boy was calling her, and I realized that she would never feel a boy’s lips against hers in that urgent teenage passion.  She still glowed with excitement at the thought of a cute boy.  She relished my stories as if they were hers, and never cried for herself.  She taught me in that moment what real friends do. They rejoice in each other’s  experiences with no thought of their own misfortune.  I noticed that she kept scratching at her temple in an irritated fashion and I asked her if she wanted to take off her wig.  That wig was damn ugly and it fit her terribly.  It was a cheap black short haired puffy thing that made her look small and positively pasty.  She said yes that she wanted to take the itchy thing off and her big doe brown eyes flashed insecurity, fear, and relief at the same time.  She had not removed it in front of anyone.  She trusted me and reached up and slipped off her wig with a tiny smile and I tried not to gasp at her bald head, edged with long wispy hair around the bottom where it was stubborn.  I told her she was beautiful and that I loved her.  She relaxed when I held her hand and I transferred my warmth to her cold fingers.  She felt more comfortable and we just sat together for a while, changed.  Her mom made me leave after a little while.  Peter was tired of repeating himself and Angie was tired.  She was already asleep when I turned around at her door to say goodbye.

When she died I found out in the hallway at school from someone; I don’t even remember who it was.  The loss overwhelmed me and I passed out right there on the cold linoleum before first period class.  Her funeral was my first funeral.  She was adorned in a peach nightdress beaded with translucent pearls.  It was the most beautiful nightgown I have ever seen, even to this day.  She simply looked asleep, like an angel in a cheap black wig.  I went to the visitation and stayed a very long time alone with her.  There was an air vent directly over her casket and it rustled her gown from time to time, making it look like she was breathing.  When she was buried I watched them lower her into the ground and believed she was still breathing.  It took me a very long time to overcome this image, but today I have reconciled it to the fact that she is still very much alive in the spirit and in my memory.  She taught me what it is to be a really great girlfriend, and that when you tell someone you love them, if you really mean it, it is always worth the risk.  She is forever someone I love in the present tense, forever 14, and forever a woman I will grow old with.

   

Friends Through It All

October 6, 2012

This blog is dedicated to those who stood by my side even before I even experienced any real problems in my life. It is to those who have talked sense into me when I was wrong, jumped for joy with me in times of happiness, and comforted me in times of sorrow. While friends come in and out of your life as time goes by, some people are lucky enough to have the same group of female friends for a lifetime.

  • I have known the majority of my best friends since I was five years old. We all met as kindergarteners at St. Martin of Tours Elementary School. There, we spent nine years building a foundation to a friendship that I can still count on to this very day. Together, we have experienced major life events knowing that no matter what has happened, we will always have someone to turn to. These women know me better than almost anybody. They can tell when my smile is a hoax or when I am genuinely happy. With close to seventeen years of strong female friendship, we have committed to staying in touch and always finding time to hang out with each other whenever we can.
  • Then there is my best friend Kelly. Kelly and I met in Pre-school and have been inseparable ever since. It was as if I grew up with a sister who was only a week older than me. I can tell Kelly things that I cannot trust with anyone else. As we have grown up, we may have gone our separate ways in regards to school, but she is the first call I make if something major happens in my life. This past school year I watched as my father said goodbye to his best friend and immediately I turned to Kelly with my irrational fears. I informed her that she was not allowed to do anything dangerous until we were old, gray haired, and each had families of our own. Kelly may have laughed at that comment, but I was serious. I couldn’t imagine a life without my best friend.

While we all have gone our separate ways and are located all around the United States, one thing remains the same: no matter where we are, who we are with, or what time it is, we will always be there when one of us is in need. As you get older, you really find out who your true friends are. These are the women I want to grow old with.

 

Guest Blogger: Felicia Gonsalves

 

Healthy Habits & Healthy Friendships

September 30, 2012

When is the last time you went for a walk, took a quick jog, or burnt off some steam in an evening yoga class?  Do you incorporate exercise into your daily routine or do you lack the time and motivation to participate in these activities?  This month I have a call to action for you!  Instead of simply calling your girlfriends to talk about your day, go for a walk and share your stories.  Research has shown that exercising with girlfriends not only increases motivation but it also adds a commitment factor.  Just like you commit to a lunch date, you can commit to a healthy lifestyle by going for a run together or taking a spin class with your friends.  The time you spend together will help you share your stories, update each other on your everyday lives, and improve your health both physically and emotionally.  Here are 10 ideas on how to get healthy with your girlfriends this month:

  1. Go for a Walk along a trail or Run the park
  2. Take a Yoga Class at a local gym
  3. Try out a Water Aerobics class
  4. Show off your dancing skills in a Zumba Class
  5. Sign up for a Marathon and Train together
  6. Perfect your inner core in a Pilates Class
  7. Tone your muscles in a Bootcamp Weekend Class
  8. Enjoy a Bicycle Ride up a mountain trail
  9. Swim at a community pool testing out a new swim set
  10. Check out a Martial Arts class to find your inner strength

Overall, the most important goal is to get healthy and be happy with your friends.  Exercising together is am amazing way to incorporate connecting with your girlfriends into your daily routine.  Maintain these female friendships and maintain your health!

Margaret & Diane

Values in Friendships

September 23, 2012

Guest Blogger: Kellen McAvoy

As a senior in college, I have had many different friends impacting me in many different ways.  I have had friends for a few months, a few years, and friends since birth.  Though some friendships have faded away, others continue to remain strong.  This strength in our friendship stems for a consistency in our shared values and beliefs.  I have come to realize that the friends I have a healthy relationship with are the same friends I share common interests and experiences with.

  • My best friend from home and I have a common childhood.  We both went to the same schools until college which is where we hit a speed bump in our relationship.  The distance created a challenge in our friendship where we needed to take other means to stay in touch.  However, to get over this hurdle, we always make an effort to see one another each time we come home for the holidays.  We have a shared history and a lasting friendship that we work hard to maintain.  We value the struggles we have overcome together with our families and friends which is why our friendship is so important.
  • My best friend from college is someone whom I share the same work ethic with. We both understand that it is our responsibility to support ourselves and we share the struggles being in the workforce while continuing to pursue our education.  We find humor in our jobs and come home to discuss both the good and bad times we had in “the office”.  Thus, our value and pride in our work ethic is something that we understand about each other.
  • The third person I consider to be my best friend is my sister.  She may be miles away, however, she is the first person I would call at the end of the day.  We have not only grown up together, but we have also found strength in each other.  We have been through the hardships of overcoming divorce and we have relied on one another to face these issues.  Our interests in cooking, spending time together, and continuing to pursue our education completes our bond.  We trust one another and always make time to discuss our concerns or everyday topics of conversation.

Without these friendships, I would feel alone.  These are the people that keep me happy and healthy.  They are the people I turn to and enjoy spending time with.  We surround ourselves with each other to find comfort and laughter in everything we do.  These are the women I want to grow old with.

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Sharing Special Places

September 3, 2012

Sharing Special Places with Special Friends

My husband and I share an appreciation of the desert. Several years ago we bought a timeshare in Palm Desert. Living in San Diego makes it so easy to spend time there. For us the desert is a way of interrupting the everyday pace of life. We particularly like to share our desert get-away with friends and family.

The conversation “Women I Want to Grow Old With” coupled with the majestic, grounded feeling of the desert mountains leaves me present to the gift of my female friendships. The mountains stand tall and ageless. Their quiet beauty surrounds me with a feeling of strength and power. While unique, each peak and terrace reminds me of the women in my life and their contribution over the years.

I’m thankful that I have this special place to share with them, to design special moments inside of and to create memories that will carry us throughout the years to come.

One visit to the desert with a dear friend resulted in the two of us buying a condo together. She had always wanted to own her own home but hadn’t been able to work out the details and do it by herself. We decided on that special desert get away to buy a place together and we did! What a joy to support a friend in making a dream come true.

Margaret, Sandy & Penny in Greece

What are the “special places” in your life that you like to share? What aspect of friendship gets magnified in that “special place”?

We love hearing and learning from each other. Thank you in advance for being someone willing to share and contribute.

Margaret