This week, I have two thoughts. One, is that for Lent I have given up social media (blogs to be honest) of people that I do not know. This is because I often find myself envious or comparing myself to families that seem to have it all, and have it all together. (Blogs of people I know are okay because, well, I know they don't have it all together). I am going to focus on being present in my own life and happy to be here.
Secondly, M has been having some foot problems for the last few months, which means that my chore list has increased, I am the permanent chauffeur and our funtivities have been limited. And it also means that he has been feeling pain and frustration. I am trying to handle it with grace and humility. A good friend reminded me that M and I have decades together. Meaning that it will be me next time that needs extra kindness and patience. Give and take, its the name of the game. That and recognizing that we will not always be in this moment (for better or for worse!). And the best part about this is, again, we have decades together.
(here we are sporting our new boots at the theater this weekend, and looking good)
I have been thinking about my fab friends lately. I have been blessed with more than a few of them and I was thinking on what advice I would give past-me about making friends.
I am perhaps the most loyal person you will ever meet. Did me wrong in the past? Chances are if you show up at my door tonight, I will invite you in for dinner and give you just one more chance to prove yourself. I have had to learn over the years to protect myself from a few personality types that just are not going to work for me. I am not saying that I am a perfect friend or that I am completely unforgiving (or not in need of forgiveness) when we all fall into one of these traps. I am just learning to follow my gut a bit more.
Dear past-me, please avoid these five people...
1) The Out-Bummer-er
You know the type. She likes to one-up your misery. You have a cold? She has tonsilitis. You had a rough night sleep? She hasn't slept in a week. You are fighting with your husband? Hers spent the entire family savings on a motorcycle.
You need a friend who listens to your bummer moments without trying to out-bummer you. We are all struggling with something, big or small. Look out for this phrase after you tell your story - "Well, at least you don't.... like me"
2) The Rainbows-and-sunshine-vortex
This guy, known as Debbie Downer, sucks all the positive juju out of a room. Nothing goes right, and there is something wrong with every moment. They just can't wait to rain on any parade, remind us of all the danger out there, or recite facts about oh, say, genocide, the bad economy, or how the meal was just a little over cooked. I consider myself a positive person and love to spread the rainbows-and-sunshine and it is just simply exhausting to be with someone who makes it their job to remind us of the downside (and there is one).
3) The Whats-Your-Name-Again?
I am definitely the giver in relationships, that is my status quo and I am totally okay with that. There is definitely give-and-take in all good friendships. However, the friend who is all about her her her all the time time time is just a no no no. She is so self absorbed that she can't really remember any details about you, maybe even your own name. If they follow up the question "so, how have you been?" immediately by bringing back the subject to themselves, this is a big clue. These friends ask too much and are unable to understand they are taking all of the relationship energy for themselves.
4) The Flake
This has to be a top-five pet peeve of mine. You really are only as good as your word, right? Didn't someone famous say that? If you say you will be there, be there. This goes beyond simply making your appointments and goes into knowing when you are in need of a friend. A good friend doesn't shy from a tough moment, but instead is there when you need a little extra love.
5) The Holier-than-Thou
Okay, you want friends that you admire. But you don't need friends who make you feel bad about yourself. I do a good enough job at putting myself down, I don't need other people to do that for me (am I alone in this?). Chances are they are making you feel small because they themselves are insecure. You don't need to be the stepping stone for someone else to feel better about themselves. (Because, psshh, girl, you are fabulous!)
Bottom line, past-me: Make friends with people who have the same idea of what a friend is as you do. Understand some friends are forever and some are just for right now. And that is okay.
What friends do you make? What are you looking for in a new friend? What are your friend deal breakers? And what is with this chimp and leopard?
In case you haven't caught on, every Sunday I am taking time to be thankful for something. This is my way to combat the stress of a year that is already bringing its fair share of holy-cow-what-are-we-doing-here and a bunch of oh-boy-what-now. And I think that the best way to deal with not knowing is to remind ourselves of what we already know - that we all have many many things to be thankful for.
This week we are celebrating Holly, my mamma-in-law, who is celebrating a birthday. Her 39th, I think.
When they say you marry the whole fam-damily, they are totally right. But not many are as fortunate as I am. Not many get such kindness, patience, loyalty, and laughter.
I admire Holly for seeking places in the community to provide support and love to those who need it and for being indiscriminately compassionate. She has shown me how to do small things with great love.
We have a lot of fun together too. Its great to have another strong woman in my life. And what a good lookin family you have!
A few years ago, a friend who shares my love for all things TJs gave me a cookbook that is entirely recipes made from things that you can find at Trader Joes. If you don't have a Trader Joes near where you live, move immediately and in the mean time go to your local grocery store and buy the substitute for the following ingredients.
This recipe is quick (about 45 start to finish), easy, and super delish. I served it with homemade wheat bread and some sort of rice pilaf from a box. Hot Toddy Chicken
2 lbs chicken thighs
2 tsp olive oil
1 tube Trader Joe's chicken savory broth concentrate
1/2 c. water
1/2 c orange marmalade
2 Tbs whiskey
1 Tbs honey
pinch of red chili pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
2. Heat oil in large saute pan over med high heat and brown chicken on both sides, in batches if needed.
3. Return the chicken to the pan and pour in the concentrated chicken broth and water. Cover and simmer over low heat. This is about 10 mins for boneless thighs and 25 for bone-in.
4. Combine marmalade, whiskey, honey, and red chili flakes and pour into the pan and stir to combine. Simmer until thickened and thighs are well coated and cooked through.
I had a bit of a tough time making good friends here in North Carolina, mostly because when we first moved here I didn't have a steady job and it was hard to meet new people. In particular, I was in need of girlfriends as I was learning the hard way that my husband was certainly not my girlfriend (a lesson I am sure all girls learn at some point)
So this week I am thankful that I have a group of girlfriends that I can watch the bachelor with every week. Now, I feel morally obliged to say that we don't actually watch the show, but rather snort over the ludicrous things the girls say, judge the pretty girls for never eating a cheeseburger in their lives, and roll our eyes over the premise of meeting your husband on a show like this. But it is fun to get together and talk about our real lives, our real dates (that unfortunately don't involve helicopter rides or private islands) and in general lounge around in our sweats each week.
Who do you watch the Bachelor with? (Cuz I know you do)