Here are a few pics of our dine in/dine out group. You hear me blog about this motley group of friends quite frequently.
We've had a friendship with most of this group that spans a 20-25 year time frame. That's long enough to count them as family. They truly are like family...we all quibble, snipe, and sometimes even conspire taking no prisoners. But all in all...it's a history that is...well...like family a true love/hate situation from time to time. Entertaining at most and dysfunction at low times...but on rare occasions like last night fun, supportive, and entertaining.
Maybe it's the holiday season...but mostly I suspect because the one little French rabble rouser was absent, invited by the hostess, invitation accepted, place set at the table, then at the last possible moment a call in for a 'no show'.
It's kind of sad, you want to give someone the benefit of the doubt..and believe me I truly have bent over backward to help this little woman...but although my heart is as big as the state of FL once I've been used and abused one to many times...it's over...FLAT out Capricorn strong will cut to the chase over. I've blogged about what an irritation this little lady has been to almost every single person in the group. Yet she is SO good at manipulating you through guilt (how do you defend yourself from someone that controls through the "feel sorry for me" my life is SO bad) defense? I guess I'm a little slow on the uptake but it finally occurred to me that this is a darn good cover story for control and flat out selfishness.
Like I say...this group is VERY good for me in illustrating important life lessons I need to learn and she was one of the chief intervenors. The thing that I found so hard to combat was her chutzpah in injecting herself and flat out asking you for outrageous etiquette oversteps. Like can I come to your Thanksgiving dinner...you are such a good cook.
Ah..well, no because we are dining with friends. Can I come along?
No...you are NOT (crosses self 3 times) my relative..and now (aside to self) not my friend either.
So as I say...last night's last minute no show was just her standard operating procedure...she couldn't con one of the other latest group victims to pick her up and haul her to the event then listen to her complain that she needs to go home...leave early and haul her back home.
Did I mention she might live 15 minutes away and is perfectly capable of driving herself..or she could have caught a ride from one of the neighbors in our group that are merely a few doorsteps away? This kind of craziness...has been BANISHED from MY world...thank heavens!
AND...last night her absence from the group was a clear validation to me that I know (even when the others just don't 'GET' it that her bad ju~ju splays over and affects the whole group's energy causing tension and uneasiness that makes everyone irritable. When this group of crazy, high strung women get irritable...it could be a 'Housewives of Bonita" sitcom.
And YES...there are a few that are...shall we say...TRUE wine affectionatios... this was a special birthday celebration a few years back.
SO...I'm SO glad that we did attend the event last night. I almost (very close) didn't go because I pretty much knew the hostess would be inviting this little agitator (she has no real history with the woman) because she would never be involved with any one else's problems...that strictly seems to fall in my department.
And...I must say before we lost our angel guy, our son Josh...I probably wouldn't have got involved in her problems either.
It does take some pretty painful life lessons to open your humanity...and I truly hope I've met my quota for this lifetime. I will continue to help everyone that I can without being sucked dry in the process.
Family (even those you choose as family) can have a way of doing that...but enough has to be enough and I learned that with this one particular lady. I think the rest of the group is coming around to their own lessons in their own time and she will be less and less a part of the group.
She is at an age now...(actually well beyond the age) where she should have surely realized that taking advantage of other people's good intentions and their caring nature constantly and continually with no give backs on her end of the deal...just isn't working for her any longer.
Soooo... we had a really nice time. The weather was perfect and this hostess has a beautiful screened in back yard section that has a fireplace and comfy chairs so we could all sit out there and enjoy the balmy weather. I felt a little guilty taking it all in and thinking about all of my wonderful sparky friends that are shivering in nasty weather. Come on down to Florida is all I can say.
The main course was a wonderful shrimp pasta with fresh angel hair noodles and peppers, garlic, huge prawn shrimps that were cooked to perfection. This hostess used to own restaurants and she is a fabulous cook and always sets a totally beautiful table. I'm mad at myself that I didn't snap a few pics to share with you...I even asked her if she'd mind and she said...absolutely not..we know you are a writer and we are fodder for your stories...OH BOY if she ONLY knew what fodder they were!
I've told them many times about all of my sparkling buddies but not one of them has ever expressed any interest in the site. They like to think that buddy's over the internet are 'pretend friends'...can you even imagine?
That's me getting all puffed up and indigent over that remark!
But as I say...if the world isn't revolving around their agenda...well it just isn't revolving. True story.
Our dinner conversation revolves around their latest travels, where they intend to travel NEXT, the latest fashions, the latest diets, and what they want for Christmas.
It's easy enough banter...and it SO shows me how flakey faux I used to be. I feel like my part in staying engaged with this group is to share the REAL world with them since we did our free fall from the money mountain and focus some of the conversation onto what they really could do to help mankind if they wanted to.
My suggestion for my perfect Christmas gift was to buy a cow for a family in Rowanda. It did generate a little interest and I'm going to keep pushing it for our girls gift grab. If each of us ten women sponsored something that important instead of some little trinket or gift card to each other we would be doing what the true meaning of Christmas is all about...and that is love...not body adornment. It's an uphill battle...but baby steps!
We also had a delicious salad of homegrown lettuce picked fresh from one of our friends gardens with a delicious homemade salad dressing. This group does concentrate on health and that's a good thing. Most all of them take yoga and eat right. I wish I had time for yoga..it's on my TO LEARN list for 2014.
We had fresh garlic bread with fresh roasted garlic, and then the host made his delicious banana cake with cream cheese frosting. A pretty awesome topper to the nicest meal I remember in a long time. It's great to have good friends...but good friends that also are great cooks...is even BETT~A!
So as I say I'm so happy that we did decide to go. And I'm so glad that I did stick to my guns in weeding out the 'takers and the slackers' that do nothing week after week then just show up for the hospitality without ever reciprocating. After all...fair IS fair.
Today I'll have to squeeze in a little more exercise to work off that little piece of banana cake...but last night was such a pleasure, I didn't want to miss one little moment of it.
I didn't quite make my goal in the 5% Teddy Bear Challenge but I did manage to lose about 6 lbs. and for that I'm grateful!
Stay sparky my friends...remember to sign up today for the winter challenge starting in January. I won't be a motivational leader this go round...it's just too busy at our consignment gallery...but I will be an active team member...the Teddy Bears ROCK!