Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Weekend at Connie's

This past weekend I spent four glorious days with fifteen dear friends at the beach. Yes, you read that right: fifteen. (And around eight could not make it.) We've been doing this for almost twenty years now. It started the Labor Day we all finished Converse. Though some of these precious women may not know this: we have my mother to thank. The summer after I graduated in 1991, she suggested to me that we get together at our house at Pawley's Island to catch up and reconnect. Over the past years, our group of Connies (what Converse girls/women affectionately call themselves) has gotten together almost every year at one location or another: Pawley's, Camp Rockbrook in N.C., Cape Cod, and for the majority of the later years, Murrell's Inlet. How blessed we are to have these wonderful places to choose from!

But really now, it never has even truly mattered where we were. This is the year we all turned 40. At first we thought of the most amazing weekend we could plan to celebrate the Big 4-0. Plenty of ideas were proposed, including spa packages and the like. We all just realized that we didn't even care: we just wanted to be together.

I can't even begin to explain our weekends - or our friendships for that matter. I am beginning to feel my eyes water as the emotion builds. When I think how much these women mean to each other, I am overwhelmed. It continues to amaze me that I have a support system out there completely removed from my day-to-day life. None of these women live in Aiken. However, I know that they are only a phone call (or Facebook post LOL) away. These women will drop what they are doing and be there when needed. I've witnessed it.

I only see these women once a year. And yet, we pick up exactly how we left off. It can get incredibly hysterical. Just a few bottles of wine, a trashy magazine article (not from our staples of Southern Living, Real Simple, or Traditional Home), and the "Atomic Fart" application for an I-Phone, and we are all rolling on the floor. Here are a few other highlights:

We learned how waxing isn't just for women anymore. Apparently (and according to previously mentioned magazine article), the male species is beginning to enjoy the "benefits" of waxing their privates. I just can't make myself say "waxing their balls" -- OOPS! I said it! Yes, it's true...

There are many fun applications one can put on their I-Phone. There are large bulbous batting eyeballs you can put over your own eye. Farts you can record yourself. A WHOO-HOO button that I dared my friend Laura to set off when her minister says something really inspiring during his sermon. And the Facebook app is just to die for. My piddly Treo can't hold a candle to the Almighty I-Phone. Yes, I admit it. I do covet it.

The best advice on bras, panties, and summer reading come from your friends - especially when they model/show them. (But remember, we are 40 - not 20!)

The best possible way to go on a sunset boat cruise is to dress up and wear really big, dark sunglasses. Remember that a sunset is VERY bright - especially over the Black River. Carrying about 3-4 cameras between everyone is is good idea too. The more pictures taken, the better. Two or even three of the same group of girls makes no matter. Make sure there is lots of wine and yummy hors d'oeuvres. Also, your hostess's sweet daddy, driving the boat is important too. Thank you Mr. Johnston! All these factors are important, because when you head back to the marina, people will stare at you and wonder who the important people are on the boat. And face it, sometimes we all love a little attention!

Pictures of children and family are never boring. Remember, we see each other only a few times a year if we are lucky. And even though FB and Shutterfly are great, there is nothing like holding photos in your hands and having a happy mom gush about how proud she is of her children. And we are always so shocked at how grown-up everyone else's kids are. Like we expected them to just stop growing?

Captain Morgans is very, very YUMMY.

Improv dancing is certain to be the next big reality show. Putting on trashy hip-hop that someone's husband put on her I-Pod as a joke is the premier background music for dancing "Life Changing Moments in a Woman's Life": getting your period, turning 21, first marriage, giving birth, second marriage. You go, Liz!

I am laughing now... so re-energized from the time I've had with my Connies. I love you all so much and realize it more with every year. More musings to come...


Monday, September 14, 2009

Rest in Peace Orry

Just came home from the boys’ football games – which they both won. Thank-you-very-much. Sad news came from numerous Facebook posts that Patrick Swayze died. (Isn’t that sad that I find out news from Facebook???) I really am quite sad. Almost as much as when I heard that John Hughes died.

My first encounter with Patrick came when I watched The Outsiders.

That movie was so great. It had all those hunky Brat Pack guys before they were Brat Packers. Patrick was the older, responsible brother to yummy Rob Lowe and C. Thomas Howell a.k.a. Pony Boy. Wait, he played that role again in Red Dawn.

Of course there was that great movie Dirty Dancing.

It came out my freshman year at Converse, and we all went to see it. “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” Oh, how we loved Patrick Swayze and “Dirty Dancing”! Here was this total hottie who could act, sing, AND dance and was straight! And a true south’n accent to boot. Ahhhh…

But my favorite role of all was that of Orry Main in the mini-series “North and South”.

My sister, Anne Stuart, and I taped it (on VHS, remember those???) so that we could watch him again and again. We literally swooned as he galloped over to that awful Justin LaMotte’s (David Carradine) plantation to rescue his true love, Madeline (Lesley-Anne Down). And when he spoke, we hung on every honey-dripped word. Oh, if we could only find our own Orry Main.

So rest in peace, Patrick Swayze. You will be missed.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What is a Golden Day?

Looking up I see a bright blue sky with not a single cloud. The temperature is a pleasant 82 degrees with low humidity. A few leaves are falling, teasing me that autumn is right around the corner. (But I'm not falling for that.) I am sitting on my back porch listening to Sumter, Jackson, and the little girl from across the street laughing as they wash Mike's new car. The house is clean (except for the boys' rooms, of course). I have found a great new recipe for chicken and left-over potato chips. For me, this is a Golden Day.

I call my grandmother Muz. It's nice being the first grandchild because you get to choose the name that everyone else calls the grandparents. Even the great-grands call her that. They just put a "grand" in front and call her "Grand-Muz". Anyway, Muz is the one who came up with that saying, "It's a golden day!" She would say it, and we would all wonder what she meant. I think it meant that it was a day that nothing could go wrong. Of course something always did, but she always tried to look for the best in it. And she was right... if something is truly golden, it must be the best.

I started saying "It's a Golden Day!" to my friends in college. I was a bit jaded, I guess. I said it all "Mary Sunshine", but with a little sarcasm in my voice. I mean, how golden is a day with, for example, a biology mid-term over your head? As college went on, however, I started to really mean it. I started to look at life more as life is golden. Some of my college friends tell me that when they think of me, they think back to that girl at Converse College wearing pearls and Birkenstocks (I couldn't figure out whether I was a debutante or a dead-head. The debutante won.), the first thing coming out of her mouth every morning: "It's a Golden Day!" It kind of became who I was.

I now realize I need to say that more often. Life throws you lots of curves: divorce, remarriage with it's own set of issues, learning a child has dyslexia, losing those EXTRA pounds (Yippee!!!!) and then gaining half of them back again (that really stinks!!!!). But each day can be golden. Sometimes is as obvious as it is today. Sometimes it is quiet and sneaks up on you.