Friday, November 30, 2012

Girlfriend Reunion 2012

What is more fun than a family reunion? The annual girlfriend reunion! We girls (actually mature women acting immaturely) know how to let off steam. When we get together each year we leave all the worries of family, work, and life in general at home. For brief periods we may console and council each other, but for the most part it is time for food, wine, music and laughter.

 This year we rented a fabulous estate among the vineyards of the Napa Valley. Once we passed through two levels of security gates and secured them behind us, we located our enchanting wine country villa. The first order of business was to scramble for the best sleeping quarters. Our general rule is the camp director for any given year gets first pick of bedrooms. The rest of us work it out between us and once settled the good times begin to roll.

This is such a special time for this group of six friends who have known each other most of our lives. If asked what we did while in the wine country, I don’t really have an answer. We don’t do anything. We don’t go anywhere, we eat in, and really, we could be anywhere. It is a time for being together, for reminiscing, strengthening bonds, and learning more about each other. It just so happens we are laughing through most of it, an occasion tear, but mostly laughter.

I am very lucky having these friends in my life for going on 50 years now. I hope you have special relationships that give you a sense of security that a long-term friendship can give. If you have lost touch with people from your past maybe it is time to reconnect. Reach out to an old friend and see what happens. If this turns into a renewed friendship, I would love to hear about it. Leave a comment and I will share your story.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Family Reunion 2012

August brings my family reunion, and this year we met in the High Sierras to camp near the shores of the gorgeous alpine Lake Tahoe. I am always excited to revisit the Sierras where I spent many childhood summers, but tent camping is becoming less and less desirable.

 I used to love sleeping outside in the mountain air listening to the forest sounds, but now, the sound of flush toilets, and heat or air conditioning, are more attractive. However, my husband and I were good sports and joined most of the family at the campsite and slept in a tent. Thankfully there were hot showers and toilets nearby so it was doable. I still love the romance of sleeping outside, but these days we are up several times a night and climbing up off the ground in the freezing cold is not so romantic. I am voting for a lodge next year.

The lake was stunning as usual and hiking and biking in the mountain air was refreshing and restorative. Getting together with my family always results in a lot of laughter and story telling around the campfire, and I wouldn’t miss it for anything.

As the years pass our family is getting smaller making it more important to stay connected to the ones who remain. My family includes friends who are not related, but who have been connected to us for most of our lives and they are as loved as the blood relatives. I am grateful for the love, support, laughter and joy they bring into my life. 

Once the camping trip was behind us, it was time to prepare of one of my favorite events of the year. The Girlfriend Reunion 2012 will be remembered in my next post.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Houston in July?

Today I am making reservations to spend Thanksgiving with family 500 miles away. Thanksgiving? Already? Where did the summer go? It is true that time flies when your having fun, and a fun summer/fall it has been for me with 5 trips in as many months.

July found us in Houston, Texas. Who goes to Houston in July you may ask. We asked ourselves that when we received a wedding invitation from family we rarely see. I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to catch up with long distance relatives all in one place. I had to convince my husband who was not very enthusiastic to travel to a hot, humid, crowded town to be with people he hardly knew. We were both glad we made the effort.

Upon arriving in Houston, we were greeted with unseasonably cool weather and a welcoming party of my delightful cousins. All the out of town guest (and some locals) checked into a trendy downtown hotel where the reception was to take place. Every little detail was planned and executed to perfection. Even distant relatives were warmly welcomed and included in all the family events. What a joy to reconnect with cousins I rarely see and make new friends as we joined with the bride’s family. I wondered which family liked to party more and determined it was a toss up. It really was a spectacular event.

 Once again my theory of always making the positive choice is reaffirmed. I am so grateful for my extended family and now know that the effort to stay connected is more than worth it.