Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Man in the kitchen/man on the porch

One of Gerry’s contributions to the family that I appreciate most is his role as social coordinator. Sure, I like people, but I’m not the type to actually plan a get-together, and I often forget to check in with my friends and ask those simple little questions like, “How are you doing?” Gerry never has these problems.

Every few weeks, he’s been gathering half a dozen people at the house for dinner, and it’s a great thing to come home to! It’s always a great guest list … he’s got a knack for picking people who may not know each other yet, but are going to get along just fine.

Last night, we had over three of his coworkers (two are new to the team), two former youth group students, and our roommate. Gerry had cooked up some fantastic spinach/cheese ravioli, and he made sure that there was a serving left over for me. Odd fact: This was my first time to ever have ravioli for a meal. And it was deeeeeeeelicious! Why didn’t I know this stuff existed before?!

Later, after Gerry had gone to work for a late shift and I’d been in bed for a short while, the doorbell rang twice. After finally recognizing the sound, I rolled myself out of bed, threw on a bathrobe, and went to look out the peephole. Whoever had rung the bell was gone, but had left our screen door swinging open. And then, I heard some sounds on the porch, and then there was a guy opening up the screen door and putting his hands on the glass door! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…

…good thing that I recognized our roommate’s fiance quickly. That boy nearly got himself shot!

Since it was him, I went and let him in from the porch. He had just come to check on her since she was feeling ill and had gone to bed early. I didn’t say much to him last night, but apparently our roommate gave him an earful this morning about not sneaking around on people’s porches at night. (Good for her!)

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When my husband and I joyfully accepted the responsibility of planning a party for a friend approaching her 30th birthday, we had no idea of what we were getting into!

Surely it would be as simple as calling our favorite restaurant, making a reservation, and then showing up. And surely her Facebook page would be a good place to glean names for the invitation list, and to get an idea of how many people might attend. She’s a local girl after all, and dearly beloved by all.

Turns out that there are 1503 people on her friends list! Yeeeeeaaaaahhh… So we picked another strategy for building the guest list, and arbitrarily picked the 30 for the number of guests who might actually attend. *fingers crossed*

And it wasn’t as simple as calling a place and putting our names down. We worked with the birthday girl to determine a date and a time, and then I began researching restaurants online and making calls to see who might have space for us. This place? Already booked. That place? Too expensive. Over here? Not allowing groups on weekends. Over there? Can’t take multiple payments. In the air? You can only fit so many people in a balloon basket.

This has been going on for several days now, and I’m continually surprised by how difficult it is to hunt down the information I need to make a choice and book the dang reservation. (How wonderful it would be if there was a one-stop-shop called www.greatpartyrestaurants.com … but nobody’s even registered that domain.)

Arrrrrrr!

Aaarrrrrr! (Sorry, pirate moment here…)

Certainly others in the area have felt this frustration before, and certainly they will in the future. So I would like to share the information I’ve gathered along the way to booking my friend’s special day. When you want to do a little something special, whether it’s a rehearsal dinner or whether it’s a birthday party, start working on it well in advance and then check out these places…

Click here for the restaurants…

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Gather ’round the paella

A most fantastic evening with grownup friends last night! Laughter, smiles, jokes, sound advice, stories, and more … all with some of my favorite Californians. Gonna remember this night for a while. ♥

It all started when Gerry got the bug in his head to cook a paella. But you can’t just cook a little bit of paella … you have to make a lot all at one time. And it’s best fresh. That’s just how it’s done. So then he started plotting who to share this delicious dish with, and came up with a dream guest list:

Bekah: My walking buddy and friend. We’re going to Alabama for her wedding next month.
Mei: Former high school student. She’s still 17, but trying to make her mark on the world.
Jessica: My “boss” in the high school ministry. Also a walking buddy. Oh boy, she can talk!
Ben: Hilarious young fellow who’s bright in business and can tell great stories.
Stacey: Wife to Ben, stalwart junior high minister, and kind young lady I’m getting to know.
Bethany: Gerry’s best girl-friend. She’s also a junior high minister, and incredibly loyal. (‘Cept she didn’t show up.)

Now what would happen when we mixed them all together?!

But I am getting ahead of myself. Paella has specific ingredients that aren’t easily found at the corner store, so on Wednesday I had the day off work and Gerry and I drove around town to various ethnic markets looking for goodies. And rumors are true … we did buy organic saffron at the cost of $912.86 per ounce. Yikes! (Might as well chew on some gold while we’re at it, right?!)

Gerry cooked all day on Thursday. Scrubbed the clams. De-veined the shrimps. Marinaded the chicken. When I came home, the apartment smelled delicious!

Soon our friends had arrived, and we had a gay ol’ time around that paella. I may not have an official adult small group to be part of, and I may not see these people as often as I’d like, but I appreciate every moment all the same. And after it all was said and done, Gerry unexpectedly cleaned up. Whaaaaaaaat?!

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Sitting on my butt in front of the computer all day here at work. Blah. I’m forgoing 30 minutes of sitting on my butt in the breakroom for lunch so that I can get out of here a bit earlier … Gerry’s best friend Jaime is getting married, and we’re going to dance the night away!

You know, I have been involved in weddings as a guest, a coordinator, a caterer, a photographer, and a bride. But I have never been a bridesmaid, which I think would be one of the most joyful jobs at a wedding. I would love to have this role someday!

Around the year 2000, my best friend asked me to be in her wedding along with her sister and our other best friend. Our dresses were flowing pink cotton-candy things. But then two weeks before the wedding, the wedding was called off and the dresses went into the back of her mom’s closet. Several years later, I was a guest at her wedding (to a different guy) and felt a twinge of envy as another girl walked down the aisle in “my” dress that had been retailored for the occasion.

Yeah, that’s as close as I got. How is it that some girls get to be regulars down the aisle? Are they prettier, kinder, more extroverted? Probably, actually.

Went on a walk around the lake last night with my friend Bekah. I appreciate that woman so much. We’ve only known each other a year, and our friendship is casual, but we’re still able to open up and talk about whatever’s on our hearts whenever we go on these walks. It would be nice to keep the friendship after she marries and moves this fall … but realistically, I think I am going to have to find a new friend who’s local.

And maybe one day I can wear a cotton-candy dress and be her bridesmaid. *crosses fingers*

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Another water dream

I have a lot of dreams about tsunamis and violent floods, and since last night, rogue waves are on the menu as well.

A friend, Melody, and I were on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, watching ice skating on a rectangular surface next to the water. There were nice theatre seats with an aisle down the middle, and if you were to follow the aisle, you’d go out onto a jetty sticking into the lake. Performers and friends from The Holy Land Experience were out on the jetty in their Scriptorium robes, practicing for a dance. It was a nice day to be outside, and when I wasn’t chatting with Melody, I was surfing the web on my laptop.

But a storm must have been coming in, as the lake was getting all choppy and black. Suddenly, a towering rogue wave crashed down upon the jetty, sweeping all the performers off to who knows where. Water from the wave spilled onto the shore and knocked over carts and vendors who had been setting up for the evening’s activities. It was about chest-high here on the shore.

I threw my laptop into my bag and ran into the water to help the vendors closest to me. I held onto a woman who was gripping an important bag that had her life’s work in it, and a man helped to grab the bag as well. We struggled to pull it up to dry land, but then another freak wave came and crashed over us. Now we were in water well over our heads, and the swirling water threatened to smash us into rocks or hold us under until we drowned.

I don’t remember how we got out, but we did, and then I was running up the hill to a telephone to call 911 about everything happening. The dispatcher didn’t seem to believe me as I described the scene, but I stayed calm and on the line with him.

Soon, everyone who’d survived the waves was evacuating to a passenger train. I kept the phone with the 911 operator pressed to my ear. The train wound up-up-up the steepest mountain I’ve ever climbed — it was dizzying to look down at the lake and at all the destruction below. At the peak of mountain, the train stopped as attendants ensured that we were buckled in and that everything was secure, because at this spot on the track they had to fling the train off the mountain in a sideways arc, one car at a time. Not every car was expected to make it, and some of us would crash down the mountainside in an ever-crumpling box of aluminum. I hung up with 911 for this.

Well, my car made it. As we wound down the other side of the mountain to town, I logged onto my computer and there was a message from about how to restore everything after a sudden power loss. The password he gave me was a match.

At this point I think a second dream started, but with some overlap. I was still soaking wet and still had my computer, but now my brother and I were walking through town with another friend. Passing the house of a coworker, our friend decided that it would be a bright idea to steal my coworker’s car. Zoooooom, he was in the car and off — just as my coworker came walking down the sidewalk toward us. “Hi guys, howzit going?” Oh boy, did I ever feel guilty. Couldn’t look him in the eye.

So…

An odd thing about this dream is how it was packed familiar names and faces. Every role was filled by a person I know, from the passengers on the train to the vendors at the lake, to the 911 operator, and more.

I remember thinking during the dream about how God has promised not to destroy the earth again with a flood — so I really have nothing to fear with all of these water dreams. (Now, earthquakes, meteorites, and fires? That’s another story.)

Painting: Jersey Jetty by Pete Maier

Edit 5-4-10: Wow, I just found a picture and description of this place — and it’s a real place! Interlaken, Switzerland.

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This afternoon, Rick Warren added me to his Linkedin network, and I went snooping around to see what connections this auspicious event would gain me. Surprise, surprise, President Barack Obama showed up first on that little sidebar that shows you popular profiles that you’re connected to.

But the bigger surprise was that it wasn’t just Pastor Rick who connected me to POTUS … I clicked on “Show more names” and a whole list appeared!

What the heck?! Tell me your secrets, oh favored ones. How are you brushing with fame so suavely, with nary a word escaping your lips about this illustrious achievement?!

Okay, those three paragraphs truly are a bit of silliness on my part — just in case you were wondering. I am not starstruck that easily. However, seeing this list of names has given me a reason to pause for a moment and think about what these friends and acquaintances of mine do have in common — other than a second-degree separation from the President.

With the exception of three people whom I just don’t know well enough to speak for, everyone here is a big-picture person. These ladies and gents really do think they can change the world — or at least their world. They’re hard working, ambitious, and somewhat quietly humble. They don’t clamor for praise or demand recognition — but it always comes to them in due time.

The youngest on the list is teenaged Tevyn. He came onto my radar at the inaugural Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey back in 2008. Tevyn was 13 at the time, and he had already launched his own line of clothing called “School Me.” Everything in his line depicts an event in African-American history, and it’s his attempt to get his classmates and other students in depressed areas of the nation (Detroit, Compton, etc.) to think about their past, to think about their future, and to find pride in something other than gang involvement. He brought a stack of tshirts to the Dreamers Academy and handed them out to every businessperson and celebrity that he met. Many stayed in contact, and now he has a lineup of endorsements that would make Ryan Seacrest envious.

More later on my connected friends… I have to do some closing tasks here at work.

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Since I was a small girl, it’s been my family’s tradition to watch the Rose Bowl parade on television every January 1st. Mom and I would ooooh and ahhhh over the floats and bands, and get upset when commercials came on, or worse, the camera shifted to the commentators for too long and we missed part of the parade.

I’ve read books from the 1950s about people spending the night on the street in order to get front-row seats, and entertained the thought in the back of my head as something I’d like to try one day. But c’mon, it’s the Rose Bowl parade. It’s big. It’s on TV. It’s on the other side of the United States. I never actually expected my dream to come true … much the less my very first year in California!

But over the weekend, I was there. Yes, sir’ee! Some friends from church arrived at 8:30 a.m. on the 31st and staked out a prime spot at the corner of Catalina and Colorado. Gerry, Bethany, and I joined them around 10:00 p.m., and at 11:00 p.m. when the police came by and gave the all clear, we rushed into the street with our chairs and bags.

There was such a celebratory feel on the street! Music was playing, people were toasting with sparkling cider, the block police were chatting with the people in their sections, and teenagers were hurling tortillas and marshmallows at passing cars. There was a marijuana dealer, a homeless guy with a ferret, and lots of Jesus tracts. At midnight, confetti, horns, and birthday cake for our neighbor on the street!

Click for more of New Year’s Eve, and pictures of the parade…

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