Tag Archive | friends

The unexpected invite

rivercottagenew4

Because I’m shortly to be between jobs and homes, Der suggested I come spend the summer with him.

Yes, of course, that’s a proposal fraught with all manner of implication, but we have a very casual, open relationship. In reality, he’s offered me some rooms, as any respectable host would, and not necessarily his own. But we’ll see what happens.

Shortly after that, a friend in the San Juan Islands asked if I wanted to come for an extended stay? She’s a older than I am, and the offer comes with a string attached: help painting up and fixing the house. But I wouldn’t mind that.

Right after that happened, a third friend, in rural-ish Ireland, asked if I would like to come house-sit for three months while she’s away on business. Rent free, all inclusive! Lovely!

The upshot is, I might just take six  or with months and be that tried and true 18th century literary standard: the peripatetic house guest, who is typically less than rich, unmarried, and an old maid (over 18).

But for me, it’s a chance to wander the world and meet new people. And since everyone says my pets would be welcome as well, why not?

Worst Friend Ever

secret

I recently found out a good friend has leukemia and has been given 14 months to live.

In ruminating about this on a late night walk with Red, I thought to myself, “I really should send a Get Well card.”

Of course a split second later I realized, she wasn’t going to get well.

I pondered Hallmark’s lack of a “Happy Dying” card section.

And my own stupidity.

Then I laughed.

Which was okay.

As Shaw once said,

Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.

In Loo; Of Art

bathroom

Most people believe other people think they’re weird (or would think that if they truly knew them). It’s not true. Most people aren’t weird. But they think it. As for me? I’ve never thought I was weird. But other people will stop and tell me I’m weird. Although, generally they use the word unique, but weird is what they mean.

A very good friend, pondering her own rather complicated life, once said to me, “I think I need to climb out of the box.” To which I replied, “There’s a box?” She laughed.  “Well, you . . . ,” she trailed off with a smile. But I knew what she meant. And I smiled too. We both understood it was a compliment.

However, my complete reversal of most people’s reality can be a bit confusing for strangers. My art collection is a perfect example of this. Most people hide their bad art in their bathroom. I keep my finest piece in my bathroom, where I (and my guests) can see it. And my very best piece is right across from the toilet, so one can s[-]it and admire.

The art of the 2nd degree, I keep in my bedroom. It’s more personal art. Something only close friends and lovers can have a peek at.

Art of the 3rd degree resides in the formal dining room. It’s there to give people something to look at and remark upon when conversation goes flat, stalls, or explodes. It’s still good art, it has meaning for me. It’s pleasing to me, but I think of it as 3rd degree art from the perspective of a viewer.

Art of the 4th degree, which I believe almost anyone would consider lesser art, is actually to me the finest art I own. It’s all the work done my family members over the generations. It’s filled with rich warm happy memories. And so, of course, all of that goes in the front room where everyone can see it all the time. Because that’s what I want people to know when they walk in, they are home. They are not guests I am trying to impress. They are welcome to be themselves from the moment they cross my threshold.

Art of the 5th degree is kept in the studio. It’s my personal art. I rarely show it. I’m the opposite of many professional artists I know. They hang their art everywhere, in every room of their house (often to the dismay of spouses, partners, and children). I’m more like an actor. I typically look at an old work with a frown and think, hmm, I’ve definitely grown since then; I could do it better now.

Although, once I walked into a friend’s house after some years between visits and commented on the quality and beauty of a work of art on hanging on his wall. To which, embarrassingly, he informed me it was a gift from many Christmastimes ago, and . . . I was the artist! We both laughed.

There’s probably a box I’m in somewhere, but it’s probably the size of the universe so I’m not going to worry about trying to get out. Today.

Today I killed a Bonsai.

For reasons I don’t quite understand, my bonsai died, though, I doubt it was the *peep’s fault. One day I walked out and the top third was all rust color. Then a few days later, the middle turned. Then at last the bottom turned, and it was gone.

The tree had always been cared for in the proper manner. It was 4 when I recieved it, and about 16 when it died. It was given to me one Christmas by 2 friends, one of whom died the following spring.

I must confess I felt a certain obligation  to keep it alive, as if the friendship was continuing through the little tree. In time the other friend moved away. After about 5 years, we lost contact. It’s over 2 since there’s been a text or tweet or any sign of life.

As I looked at the tree last night, I thought, why am I hanging on to something that’s dead? And so I went to the market and picked up some cheap and cheerful potted plants –a  miniature red rose, two persian violets, and an orange begonia — to which I  have no attachment.

This morning I plucked the dead tree from its pot (which I am keeping) and threw it out. I repotted my 99 cent flowering plants and stuck them on the bench where my bonsai had been. I felt amazingly better.

Every time I look out my kitchen window and see those happy living things between the two chaise lounges on the back porch, I think of all the good times with good friends that I’m going to have, not of the good friends I’ve lost over time.

I think we often hang on to dead things in our lives, not realizing we ought to let go. I think I’m going to be throwing out a lot of things this week. And then I’m going to invite some friends for champagne and seafood in my newly perfumed garden.

*The peep continues to reside al fresco, under the rosebush.