How To Make Old Friends

If you’re reading this it’s likely we’re friends.  Or that we have a friend in common.  That describes most of my readers, which makes me happy.

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately and what it really means.  I used to believe friends were like family. I wanted to believe that, but it’s not really true.  Friends will quit you, you’ll quit them, or together you’ll go on long silent unintended hiatuses. If we’re being honest, those things rarely happen with family.

In Friendkeeping, Julie Klam’s marvelous collection of personal essays about friendship, she posits that friendship can take many forms. But that regardless of the inevitable ups, downs, and separations short and long, the friendships women have with each other are a stabilizing force like no other. 

Click here for a link to Julie's book.

Click here for a link to Julie's book.

Reading Friendkeeping I got inspired to reconnect with an old pal. We’d become distant due to living a few hours apart and having young kids.

The warmth was still there. We blew each other kisses on Facebook once in a while, but the intimacy we’d shared during our younger single days in San Francisco was gone.  In truth, I didn’t really know her anymore. That made calling her out of the blue seem weird.

Not sure about you, but finding time to talk on the phone to friends is nearly impossible for me. First of all, I talk for a living. I’m on the phone or in person with colleagues and clients nearly constantly. 

When the workday is done I chatter with Aspen and Jonathan for a few hours before dozing off in her bed as I snuggle her to sleep.  When I rouse myself and stagger out of her room the absolute last thing I want to do is pick up the phone and gab with a girlfriend. 

Sound familiar?  Whether you have kids or work or not, I’m sure you've got your own version of overload that makes a real, juicy, human phone conversation a rare luxury. 

Remember being a teenager, twirling that coiled phone cord around your finger for hours? Going over the day’s events with your girlfriends? The same girls you’d just spent the whole day with, and with whom you’d reunite early the next morning? 

Talking on the phone meant sitting in one place and doing nothing else. Not just because multi-tasking wasn’t a thing back then, but because the phone was bolted to the wall.  Ha!

We were present with our friends back then and they were present with us, but we wouldn’t have called it that.  Talking and listening intently is just what we did.

Nowadays if I find two minutes while I’m flying around doing errands to talk with a girlfriend it’s usually rushed and superficial. More of a check-in than a conversation. I suppose that’s better than a Facebook Like, but it’s not the same as a deep connection. And if you go on too long like that with someone, you’ll find you’re just not that close anymore.

As Julie’s book got me thinking about some of the friendships I’d let lie fallow, I got sentimental about a friend or two and decided that, by golly, I was going to reach out and leave one of my old friends a voice mail. 

Are you laughing that I thought leaving a voice mail was the same thing as reconnecting? 

So I dialed. And what do you know? She answered the phone! We were so happy to hear each other’s voices. She’d just started a hike with her dog, and I had a break in my schedule so the timing was perfect.  It wasn’t weird at all.

She’d recently moved to another state, which meant our chances of seeing each other any time soon had plummeted. I hadn’t even gone to her going away party. Because. You know. Traffic. 

So we had a lot of catching up to do. Right away we were off the superficial and onto the real life stuff.  Which for her includes cancer in her family, and the fact that her child had just been diagnosed with a stinking rotten unfair affliction that he does not deserve, and that will be a challenge for him the rest of his life. We both cried feeling the weight of that. And we had a deep heart-centered talk.

It turns out I had a few helpful ideas for her.  And that being able to talk and unload to me that day, right when she did, eased her burden just a little bit. And it sure filled me up. 

Turns out we were still close. We just needed a few minutes of friend phone time to remember that. I’m so glad I called her.

Do you have a friendship that’s been wasting away?  Yep, that’s her. The one who popped into your mind when you read that. 

Since our talk I’ve been inspired to call or meet up with lots of old friends.  It’s so fun! The older I get the more my friends from long ago mean to me.  Even if I haven’t seen them in decades (Looking at you, Susan Loysen.)

Don’t read me wrong: my mom friends are the bomb.  I love every one of them. And I’m committed to fanning the embers of friendship now so rekindling later won’t be needed.  But it’s the Way Back Machine friendships I’ve been stoking lately.

Want to try it, too? Here are 4 ideas for you:

1.    Call a long lost friend. She’s probably not really lost, and I bet you’ll find you have as much in common as you used to, even if your lives have moved in totally different directions.

2.    Answer the phone. Next time a friend, old or new, rings you up, consider answering.  Talking live to hatch your next plan will feel more satisfying than texting. Hearing, “I can’t wait to see you later!” is a lot nicer than reading "C U There."

3.    Block out time on your actual calendar for an actual event: An hour of phone time. Spend it dialing up old and new friends alike.  Sit in one place while you do it, and don’t multitask.  

4.    Make a standing date.  I’m part of a wonderful group of mom friends that meets out for dinner at the same place on the first Thursday of every month.  It’s on our calendars so we prize and prioritize the date.

I hope just thinking about your friends has put a smile on your face. Thinking about you put a smile on mine.

Love,

Jennie

P.S. My next post will continue the friendship theme with a formula for easy get togethers with good friends.

P.P.S. Forward this post to an old friend to break the ice.  I’m guessing it’s thinner than you think.

Here's my bestie Emily Baker loving up on Aspen when she was three. We've been friends since 7th grade.

Here's my bestie Emily Baker loving up on Aspen when she was three. We've been friends since 7th grade.

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How Not To Get Sick

I did it again.

It was Aspen's first day of second grade, a big exciting day for all three of us.  I'd felt a tickle in my throat, sneezed a few times the day before.

I put it out of my mind.  "It's not winter,  I'm totally on my game. No way am I getting sick."

After we left her at school to get settled in with her new teachers and old friends I went to work like always. I had a big presentation to make to a group of smart, important do-gooders.  

After that was over I felt tired. Really tired.  "It's just the excitement of the day," I told myself. 

By the time we picked Aspen up from school (Yes, Jonathan and I both went. It was the first day! We're sentimental!) I was fried. A little achy, a little chilly, and really sore in my throat.

I chided myself for not getting on it the day before -- right when I'd felt the first tickle, the first suggestion that maybe a cold or flu was coming on.  But I'd been so happy and excited that getting sick was the last thing on my mind.

Right then I knew what I had to do -- and it wasn't take ibuprofen.  I started pounding my immune-boosting elixers, hoping it wasn't too late.  

And it worked.  By mid morning the next day I was all better.  

I'd done it again -- warded off a bad cold or flu before it had the chance to really get a hold of me and ruin a whole week.

This wasn't the first time I'd avoided getting sick. All through last cold and flu season I'd been on high alert. Whenever I'd get that sinking feeling that something might be trying to take hold to bring me down, I rushed to start my immune-boosters so I could beat the flu before it beat me.

 Here's how I avoided getting sick, and how you can, too.

1. Go lay down. Even if you have to bring your laptop and keep working a little, do it.  Your body needs every ounce of energy it can spare right now to fight off the bug trying to make a home in you. Get flat, stretch out, and let your body rest. 

2. Drink chicken bone broth.  Ever since I discovered this magical, delicious stuff last fall I have not been sick once. As soon as I feel like I might get sick I slurp down at least 16 ounces of organic bone broth.  It tastes great (your body knows what it needs) and provides your body with the vitamins, minerals and immune-boosters to heal itself.  

I wrote about the benefits of bone broth after going a year without getting sick.  I'm telling you, it really works.  You can read more here.

3. Drink lots of water.  Pretty sure you've heard this one before. But knowing you should isn't the same as doing it.  Give your body the chance to flush the invader out. For extra help, squeeze in some fresh lemon juice, my happiest habit, to help your body alkalize. 

4. Spray your mouth with colloidal silver. This stuff is a little controversial, so read up on it and decide what's right for you.

I'd heard of it for years and then read that Dr. Oz recommended it. It has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. I spray it in my mouth right when I feel something coming on and it's been part my successful cold-and-flu-avoidance protocol for several years.

5. Take an echinacea liquid.  At our house we take Wellness Herbal Resistance Liquid from Source Naturals. It's designed to support your immune system with a combination of herbs you've heard of including echinacea, elderberry extract, and goldenseal.  You could take straight echinacea alone, but this combination seems to really ward things off.  Jonathan swears by it.

6. Dissolve Oscillococcinum on your tongue (and don't bother trying to pronounce it.) It's a homeopathic remedy that fights fire with fire. I can't really explain how it works. You can read about homeopathy for yourself, but I think this particular remedy has some of the same properties of the chicken bone broth, which explains why it works so well.

7. Sip Elderberry Syrup. It has a concentration of boosters that kick your immune system into high gear.  Aspen asks for it by name when she feels like she might be getting sick.  It tastes like candy so maybe she just hopes she's getting sick.  

Those are my main tools that work for me. They're easy to get and easy to use.

But here's the real trick: You have to keep this stuff at home or at your office. Because to ward off a cold or flu you have to catch it before it catches you.

That means the first sneeze, the first achy feeling, the first whatever-sign-you-know-means-your-body-is-coming-down-with-something.  I can't emphasize this enough.  I'm not talking about sipping hot bone broth when you're already home with a temperature. You've got to start before the temperature soars.

So stock up now and be ready for battle.  Wishing you a healthy year like the one I'm planning.

Love,

Jennie

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5 Odd-But-Awesome Things I Discovered For You This Summer

I've had a lot of fun this summer, and here are 5 things I found to prove it. They're odd. And each one is awesome in its own way.

1. A Winery Where You Can Drink Wine

Living here in Marin we're lucky to be able to take easy day trips to wine country. At Artesa Winery in Napa you can do something rare -- buy a glass of wine and drink it.  None of that tasting nonsense.

Grab a glass from their array of varietals and walk around enjoying the gorgeous building and art collection. Then take your glass out to the deck and soak up the sweeping vineyard views.  I had a yummy Brut Rose on my last trip, and brought home a bottle for Jonathan. (I'm sweet like that.)

If you don't live in San Francisco and have been dreaming of a trip to California's wine country let me know and I'll share all my best tips with you!

2. How to Throw a Party for a Dead Person

Our fabulous friend John Beauparlant throws a fabulous party every July to celebrate the birthday of his muse, Jackie Kennedy.

An artist with a keen hold on the intersection between beauty and irony, John creates unforgettable print collages to honor this icon of American glamour.  

This year would have been Jackie's 87th birthday so to celebrate her life (and John's art) he invited us to his flat in San Francisco where we sipped champagne and snacked on "Jackie parfaits" in our most elegant attire.

John has been generous with us, so if you've been to our home you've seen his work on our walls.  If you're looking for something new for your art collection, his pieces promise to spark conversation.  You can see more of them here (or call me and I'll put you in touch with this off-the-grid talent.)  

Here's one of my favorites.  It's Jackie wearing a dress John made from pieces of a van Gogh print. Vincent vG was Jackie's favorite artist. Who knew?!  John knew.

3. A Sponge-Worthy Kitchen Friend

My sister-in-law Kellie had one of these Scrub Daddies in her kitchen when Aspen and I visited this summer, and it is AWESOME! I'm not just saying that because it's a happy smiley face.

 

If you use steel wool pads to scrub junk off your pots and pans you can toss those messy, prickly, rusted things OUT. I can't believe I'm so excited about a scrubby thing, but I am.  Apparently the guy who invented them was on the TV show Shark Tank. Try it and you'll see why he's had so much success.*

4. A Window To Your Soul

I mentioned Matt Kahn in my last post and then spent the summer being inspired by his warm, accessible, and oh-so-powerful spiritual talks on YouTube.  He's coming to Berkeley in November so Jonathan and I are going to see what he's like in person. Let me know if you want to join us!

5. A Sunscreen You'll Actually Want to Wear

I know I'm supposed to wear sunscreen every day, so why do I resist? Because most of them are thick and icky, that's why.

Here's one with a light tint that goes on on like a dream, doesn't smell, and has skin-enhancing properties that make me happy to put it on every morning.

 

What've  you discovered this summer that you can't wait to share? And while you're in a sharing mood, please share MyHappyPlaceBlog.com with someone who'd enjoy a quick hit of Internet happiness.

Love,

Jennie

*It totally sounds like I'm getting paid to promote this silly sponge. I'm compensated exactly zero for any of the products, services and places I share with you.

Happy Summertime Finds

I'm as lazy as the next guy when summer hits. So instead of writing anything substantive I'm sharing fun things I've stumbled on from around the web that I think will make you happy.  

This cute office makeover from Glitter Guide has some pretty pictures. My favorite piece of advice: Display things that inspire you.

I found this luggage company on Carly K's blog. She writes about digital tools for a better life, and these suitcases have a built-in scale.  Why? So you can see how heavy your bag is before you get to the airport where a stern baggage agent makes you do the unpack-of-shame in front of a judge-y crowd of impatient travelers.  Not that that has ever happened to me.  Now I'm craving one of these light, modern suitcases in both sizes.  I'm thinking white. Do you love it, too?

I've told you about Beauty Heroes and its awesome toxic-free beauty subscription service.  This month my Beauty Heroes box included the most gorgeous natural makeup. I'm not one of those crazy-for-makeup girls, but this month I fell in L-O-V-E with the "emotive lip gloss" and the rose quartz eye shadow from Modern Minerals. It's light and pretty for summer, with shimmer that doesn't scream glitter. Bonus that the vegan formulation is energetically crafted to sooth your emotions. Yep. Check it out. L-O-V-E.

Okay, going out on a limb with this next one.  I've been listening to Matt Kahn every morning on my hike with the dogs, and I've never felt better. His modern, practical spiritual message has grabbed me, and I'm better for it.  Here's his latest YouTube talk. There's no need to sit down and watch. Just listen. Also reading his book, Whatever Arises, Love That.

Finally, The What List is a clever list for curious people. As they say, "lovingly curated by two BFFs on a mission to spark intellect and whet appetites." You'll find something you love in every issue.

I'm off to laze around a beach in South Carolina pretending I'm southern for a few weeks.  Happy summer to my happy readers!

Love,

Jennie

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