Monday, May 15, 2006

The joy of friendship

Today I'm home after five days in Memphis, visiting friends. I'm so very happy to say that it was absolutely wonderful. :) Sometimes seeing people, especially people whose friendship means a lot to me, is very difficult -- I avoid it at times for fear of rejection. You know, the old "I'll avoid you first so I don't have to risk you not wanting to spend time with me." But this week was stellar, in that no one was avoided, and I was rewarded by wonderful times and a lot of shared affection.

First, there was dinner and a taped comedy show at W's house. (No, not THAT W -- *my* W is about as far as you can get from the other one) We (my friend K and I) had filet mignon, cooked with much flourish and accoutrements, and also slaved over by my umbrella-wielding friend due to the giant rainstorm that came up during the cooking. Still, everything turned out well. His partner, N, made his famous guacamole and salsa, which we devoured, naturally. They had also made roasted potatoes and Greek-style green beans, which were also delish. K & I had brought a cake from TCBY, which was almost totally gone by the time we left. Just FWIW, those cakes are yummy and very light! I think I'll be buying them more often now!

Thursday we tried out a new restaurant, called The Soulfish Cafe. Catfish is as Memphis as BBQ, and this place seemed to do great justice to it, though K & I both settled for something different. This is another restaurant I would highly recommend, though there are so many in Memphis it's hard to keep track. Afterwards, we worked with a little 8 year old girl K has worked with for several years. This precious little child has several severe disabilities, but is quite bright and very loving. There was a time when I, and many others, believed she'd never even talk so you could understand her, much less be able to attend school, but surprise surprise!! She liked to pretend she was talking on the phone, and at one point told the "person" on the other end "Why don't we shoot for next week?" She also, surprisingly, mimicked my "blah blah blah" when I couldn't think of anything else to say, so I hope her parents don't mind that she's added that to her vocabulary. :) She hugged me numerous times, which filled my heart with great joy, and I truly, deeply appreciated the opportunity to get to know her better through play therapy.

That night we had dinner with P, A & P, who made a delightful gourmet meal of Tuna steak with a seasoned butter glaze, fried rice, and yummy spinach salads. For dessert we had mango sorbet, raspberry sorbet, and Mayan chocolate ice cream. Everything was wonderfully prepared, visually and culinarily. Talk about being pampered!

Friday was a bit of a rest day, though K & I did make it to the greatest breakfast place in the universe -- Brother Juniper's College Inn. You can't help but have a good day if you start it here. Brother Juniper was St. Francis of Assisi's cook and a devout follower. Breadmaking is one of the skills he was known for, and Brother Juniper's follows this tradition by having a breadmaking school to teach young people a worthwhile skill. All I can say is try the biscuits. Trust me.

Hubby joined me Friday night, and we opted for deli sandwiches and such at K's home that night. On Saturday, we drove down to the new Farmers' Market, a much needed addition to downtown. Though we didn't stop, it looked packed, which is an excellent sign. At noon we joined L, J, M, and D for a birthday lunch for L at The Brushmark, part of the Brooks Museum of Art. It was the perfect day to sit out on the patio, and we all had a marvelous time. Afterwards, we retired back to L & J's house for L's homemade Ponchatoula Strawberry cake, my all-time favorite! We enjoyed a lot of interesting discussions, good music, and the fun of watching L open her birthday gifts! All of these folks mean a great deal to me, and I was so happy to see them all and spend time with them without stress or pressure.

Saturday night we met J & C for dinner at Abuelo's. We had about an hour's wait, so we got to hang out at the bar and talk. Unfortunately, I can't drink liquor due to some of the meds I'm on (boooooooooooo!), but, fortunately, that's not required for me to have a great time. :) We all had a delicious meal, and continued to chat it up for some time after. I'm sure they were glad to see us go when we finally left, due to our loud laughter and raucous demeanor. ;) Kidding about the raucous demeanor, but only slightly. We truly had a great time. It was so good to see J again -- I've missed her terribly, and getting to reconnect did my heart and soul a lot of good. :)

On Sunday, we attended Neshoba Unitarian Universalist Church and got to hear what appears to be their future settled minister. In UU churches, a delegation of church members previews ministers who are looking for a new, permanent position, and then, based on their recommendations, the congregation calls a minister to be their candidate. Usually that means that the new minister spends a week or two with the congregation, preaching once but usually twice. This was the new minister's first sermon there, and we were both very impressed. He is a young man, married, and from the Chicago area. He seems to have a lot of energy, which this congregation will clearly need, as this particular church has a large number of children and young people. I hope it works out that he becomes the settled minister, and I look forward to visiting this church when we visit Memphis in the future.

Afterwards, we had lunch at The Commissary, home of the BEST BBQ in Memphis, with Lance's brother and sister-in-law, whom I love very much and with whom I'm still close. Their one and only daughter is pregnant, something I learned on the anniversary of Lance's death this year, which I thought was lovely. :) She is an agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and is a forensic chemist. She's probably one of the coolest, most unique young women I've ever met, always secure in the knowledge of who she is and who she's not. She has never followed fad or fashion, and has always been delightful. Her wedding two years ago was beautiful and perfect, and I'm sure she and her husband will be exceptional parents. I can't wait to be a Great Aunt (though I would say I'm already a great aunt! Hahahaha!).

The best part of this visit was seeing so many friends and having such a wonderful time with them. Though it may not seem like it to those who know me, I do get shy when I think of being with people I think a lot of. I do worry that I'm not valued by them, or especially in the case of those who live in my old hometowns, that I'm forgotten (out of sight, out of mind). But this weekend did a lot to dispel those fears, and I truly hope I've grown enough that I will not experience that kind of distress in the future. I believe my friends who say they will visit me here at my home, and I look forward to entertaining them and showing them my surroundings and adopted city.

On a different note, I spoke with my mother and baby sister today -- it appears as though sister is leaving her hubby AGAIN. She spoke with me for a long time, talking about his newest refusal to go to counseling, saying they don't need it. His reasoning for his not needing to attend sessions was that there were important things they could be doing at home, like studying for something related to his job. I asked sister if he ever does that -- she said no. He begged her not to leave, not to take the kids away from him, etc. He claims he'll do anything to keep her, he'll change, etc. I asked her why she would believe this when he's showing clearly already that he's not willing to even go to counseling, or Al-Anon again, while she's right there? She said their counselor asked him to read "Codependent No More", and he got through half of it, saying he wasn't co-dependent and didn't need to read any more. At the second session, the counselor kept confronting him about co-dependency issues. He would respond with other issues, and the counselor would stop him and try to redirect him to the issue at hand, but he would continue to try to distract. This is very typical behavior for him and I reminded her of other examples of this in previous incidents. She agreed, but obviously has some conflicting feelings regarding this latest breakup. I pointed out, too, that she has to have left him at least 100 times, including before they were married, and she did admit that that was true. So, it looks as though we'll be having some company here this week, and that's fine with me.

It's so good to have better boundaries! Knowing the difference between ME and NOT ME is crucial to self-preservation, especially in my case. I spoke with my therapist about that today. I also told my sister that she needs to realize that SHE did not cause my recent illness, though the experience I had with her husband did have a catalyzing effect. I assured her that I love her, and I am very proud of her willingness to go to daily AA meetings, to have a sponsor, to do this very difficult personal inventory and to try to figure out the best way to live her life, for herself and her children. There's nothing I would like more than to see her healthy and whole. I'm hoping that this is the turning point for her, and I will continue to keep that thought in my prayers.

So, it's been a great week or so, and I'm looking forward to good times ahead as well. I see my psychiatrist tomorrow, and will find out what I need to do about continued pain which doesn't seem to be completely resolved by PT and Neurontin. I suspect my new PCP will order more physical therapy, which is fine with me. It does help, but I just don't think I've had enough of it. Still, I can tell there's been progress, and that means a lot.

Until next time...progress, not perfection is my mantra. :)

Love and peace,


neuroticillinifan said...

So glad to see you back posting. I check regularly and hadn't seen anything new for a while so I was a little concerned, though not entirely because of comments you left on my blog.

Glad you had a good time in Memphis. I can so identify with your feelings about old friends. I just somehow feel like people tolerate me more than like me so always approach with some level of fear.

Take care.


Capriquarian Girl said...

Yay - I'm glad you had a great time in Memphis and that you got to see so many friends!

I'm keeping your sister in my thoughts. I really hope thing work out for her this time.

Love ya,

Genevieve said...

Wow, a whole post about Memphis without even one mention of Elvis. :D Seriously, I would love to be a tourist in Memphis. We've passed through the city a dozen times since moving to Kentucky, but we're always in a hurry.

Julie said...

It was so great to see you, Hubs and K again! I have so much love for you - I hope you know. My best memories are of us hanging, doing A LOT of NOTHING at your place - just enjoying being together. You have a very special place in my heart. Good thing you and Hubs are married cause I'd take you both in a heart beat!

RunAwayImagination said...

It was a great visit, made so by your great friends. I am truly blessed to be a part of your life.