Tag Archives: Friends

Dear Friend, Here are my hopes for you in the new year

I resolve to treat myself gently in 2015.

Regular readers know I am a resolutions junkie. I make New Year’s Resolutions every year, and some years they even have themes. Sometimes I even stick to them.

It’s the first day of a whole new year, a whole new chance to make good on the potential endowed to me by the Creator. I love a clean slate.

This year, my resolutions spring from my Best Friend Self, described persuasively by Martha Beck in this month’s O Magazine as the “cheerful, kind, patient version” of me. Instead of constantly expecting more of myself and berating myself with an inner dialogue that sounds more like a jerk boss than an ardent fan, I will be my own best friend in 2015.

I’m sharing my resolutions here for two reasons. No. 1, making my resolutions public is a trick to keep me accountable. And No. 2, phrased in the words of a best friend, they sound a lot more appealing than those horrible SMART-list goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely — ugh) written by a professional in Human Resources. Maybe they’ll inspire you, too.

My 2015 New Year’s Resolutions 

Friend, I’m here for you whenever you feel stressed, fat or lazy. You’re doing great. God loves you and so do I. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You ought to slow down, focus on the big stuff and savor the small stuff.

I’m behind you in your writing goals in 2015. Four new independently published books? You can do it. You have two-and-a-half manuscripts in draft form already!

savor

I hope you savor your adventures this year, and the people with whom you enjoy them. Be present. Listen fully. Follow your intuition.

And reading, too — savor it! Spend that last hour before bedtime winding down, reading paper books, instead of playing mindless games of Scrabble on your iPad. Really, nobody is saying anything that important on Facebook after 9 p.m. Sixty-three books in 2015? You can do it.

And I’d love to see your inner artist take flight decorating your home with images of those adventures and loved ones you’re savoring this year. Time to fill those walls in the house and camper with pretty pictures. You deserve it.

You’ve already taken the first step: You expressed your wishes, releasing them into the Universe. Now reward yourself with a nice cup of hot tea. Mm.

When in a pink funk, phone a friend

And actual conversation with a friend beats social media any day.

I’m writing a memoir about the year I turned 15, and I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time with my diaries from that time in my life, and though I filled pages with “and then she went, ‘totally!'” and “then she goes, ‘for gross!'” and “then she went, ‘gag me with a spoon!'” (nobody every said anything, they all went), I rarely write about how much time I spent on the phone recounting these conversations.

I know I was always on the phone because I remember sitting for hours in the hallway between my bedroom and my sister’s, curled up with the receiver to my ear and the cord wrapped around my arm (it’s true, back in the Dark Ages, teenagers didn’t have their own phones — and if they did, they were very lucky and probably stuck up — and phones had cords back then … I’m sure I was on the phone because I wasn’t allowed to do anything).

“How can you still be on that phone!” my dad would bellow from the living room. “Didn’t you talk to your friends all day?! What more is there to say?!”

Dad just didn’t understand. There was so much more to talk about. I had to recap with my friends every move, every breath, every nuance of every interaction I had with every boy in every class all day long — there was so much to talk about.

Nowadays, I’m happily married and relatively less obsessed with boys (obsessions with boys are never good, but they’re criminally dangerous at my age), but I was reminded how good it felt to recount the ins and outs of my day with a friend when I called one and talked to her. For an hour.

I used to spend hours of every day on the phone with this friend when I worked for her in our respective home offices and we needed to compare notes about the horrible conference call we’d both endured, but we’ve both gone on to greener pastures (watch your step or you’ll be knee-deep in a cow pie!) and less frequent phone calls. 

Still, even with out the common bond of our work, it was so wonderful to vent to my friend about drudgery of my day and the flies in her ointment and whatever else irks us about the quirks and jerks in our lives (and the value of the Powerball … I’d buy a Major League Baseball team, I swear, I would!).

I just can’t verbally vomit like that — politely anyway — on Facebook.

So if you’re having a crap-dap-dappy day, my prescription for you is to call a friend. You’ll feel better in minutes (possibly 60 minutes, possibly more … “will you hang up flippin’ phone already?! What more is there to say?! Do you have your homework done?! Don’t you roll your eyes at me! You’ll be grounded this weekend, and you won’t like that — no phone either, missy!” … oh dear, memories of my 15-year-old hormone fits are strangely echoed by my 40something hormones — what’s a girl to do, but succumb to the riff? … it’s my bloggy, and I’ll dye if I want to, dye if I want to, dye if I want to, you would dye [it pink] too if it happened to you … haters goin’ hate).

“One of the qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.”

~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Note to readers: Best ignore the stuff in pink. Ignore at your peril. Warning: Funks cause extreme sarcasm. This product can burn eyes. Shin pads cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover. This product is not intended for use as a dental drill. Do not eat toner. Do not use orally. Beware! To touch these wires is instant death. Anyone found doing so will be prosecuted.

Impressive bright pink seeds

My best friend, Jill, is the sort of amazing hostess who can prepare a complicated dish from a two-page magazine recipe, while simultaneously chatting about life, work and spouses and drinking a glass of red wine.

She’s multi-talented like that.

I admire her for tackling all kinds of Bon Appetit-esque recipes I would never be willing to try.

One time several years ago, she made me a fancy salad with pomegranate seeds because she knows I like entree salads, and she was willing to tackle seeding a pomegranate, a complicated six-step procedure involving cutlery and a bowl of water (interested in the how-to? You won’t find it here on Minnesota Transplant because though I watched Jill successfully accomplish this task, I’ve never tried it myself. But check it out here.)

All this to say: I found pomegranate seeds at the farmer’s market on Sunday. Not pomegranates, just the seeds. Someone had already done the hard work.

So I enjoyed them on my oatmeal yesterday, and it was delicious!

The yummy oatmeal has raisins, chopped pecans and cinnamon in it, topped with plain yogurt (sweetened with Splenda). Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

The yummy oatmeal has raisins, chopped pecans and cinnamon in it, topped with plain yogurt (sweetened with Splenda). Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Good friends make food good, too

Today’s news you can use: Dine in good company.

My latest secret indulgence is listening to Oprah Radio in the car on SiriusXM satellite radio. A girl can take only so much hate news from Washington, D.C., Libya and Wall Street.

The other day, Oprah Radio rebroadcast a 1993 interview with Dr. Deepak Chopra who described how your mood affects how you digests food. Here’s a quote from the episode:

Your mental state will even influence the way your body metabolizes.  Dr. Chopra tells of a study done in Ohio State University where they were feeding rabbits diets extremely high in cholesterol.  To their amazement, there was one group of rabbits that never develop high cholesterol levels.  Afterwards they found out that the technician who was feeding this group of rabbits was not just feeding them.  The rabbits were actually being stroked and kissed and cuddled before they were fed.  And due to this pleasurable, happiness factor, the rabbits produced chemicals in their bodies that actually turned the cholesterol into a completely different metabolic pathway!

Chopra suggested you should never eat when you’re upset. When I think about my worst, ugly binges, I’m alone and lonely/angry/sad. Not a good time to actually enjoy the food that’s going in my mouth, and according to Chopra, my food is not having a good time in my body then either.

In the past four days, I’ve been blessed to dine with a couple of pairs of good friends from former places of employment.

Friday night, I sat outside on a sidewalk in downtown Chicago, laughing until my cheeks hurt with Lynn and Ang, with whom I traveled on many overseas business trips. Spending that much time together, eating many meals together, turns colleagues into friends, and reuniting with them, however briefly, was a gift.

Tonight, I dined al fresco again (at least until it rained) with Rebecca and Cheri, who worked with me in a company dedicated to bringing families around the dinner table to eat and talk. We shared lessons in love and life as we caught up, and it reminded us how important relationships are.

Besides the blessings of fellowship, my body was probably working like the well-oiled machine it’s designed to be. Cheese and alcohol were turning into energy and sinew — not a fat cell in sight! These were meals consumed with a side of laughter and a dessert of love.

May you eat well. And in good company!

Food, fellowship and honey mustard cream sauce

Human fellowship around a meal is as old as Genesis. Back then, Eve was being naughty when she shared an apple with Adam, but it certainly provoked a conversation.

More recently, like 33 B.C., Jesus of Nazareth shared his last meal with his buddies, and 2,000 years later, we’re commemorating that meal in communion every Sunday.

These days, one hears a lot about the benefits of sharing a meal with your kids on a regular schedule — kids get better grades, teens refrain from doing drugs, and girls experience puberty later in families that eat dinner together regularly. 

Yesterday, I broke bread with three good friends from my last place of employment. None of us work there anymore, but we still maintain a connection of friendship. I’ve been living in Illinois for three years, but we took up like no time had passed at the same booth in the same restaurant where we last had dinner a couple of years ago. One shared news of her children’s engagements, one passed around pictures of her grandson’s county fair accomplishments, one talked about her son’s proclivity for the Chinese language, and they commiserated with me about my stepson moving away to live with his mother. And, of course, we gossiped about our former employer and traded requests for out-of-production product.

Food and fellowship are as necessary and indispensible as breathing and sleeping. And so satisfying. Here, here, friends! Thank you for the wonderful evening. (And to those friends who I missed seeing: We will get together again, I promise, and it will be like old times!)

On a note related to the food: I ordered a big plate of angel hair pasta — even though pasta doesn’t always agree with me, I’ve had a craving for it for two weeks, and I finally succumbed. It was different from anything I’ve ever eaten! It came with a honey mustard cream sauce — sweet, tangy and creamy. If you live near a Grizzly’s restaurant, check out the Bear Creek Pasta. It hit the spot!