Sunday, March 23, 2014

Weekend Update - Group Therapy

It was a good weekend with friends, one I needed.  It's best said in pictures, and a few short words, but healing is better when surrounded by those that can make you laugh, and make you cry, but in the best kind of ways.
Sunday morning . Getting up when it's light out is such a treat.

The kitchen is just a bare slate, waiting for something to be made.
That calls for pancakes.  Corn pancakes (replace 1/4 cup of the flour in the World's Fluffiest Pancakes recipe with cornmeal and add a Tablespoon of sour cream).
You can have the hungry man's stack with some maple syrup.

Or perhaps just a short stack with some fresh Marionberry Preserves from Dad's.
Then, after thanks for many blessings this week,  it was down to the bat shop to conduct  some late morning secret experiments while Partner made a Menards run for some wood to rebuild a tabletop on a "dumped on the curb unwanted mission table that was solid hardwood, but for a badly scratched top".

There are a lot of interesting tools around this place since households merged. 
 Bloodhound of the Law.  Sniffing out crime one step at a time.

Before you know it, he was back, it was time for a drive for a late lunch of Mexican food with  Midwest Chick (Mr. B was unable to make it), and Mr. and Mrs. Og and the Oglet.

I really hadn't seen anyone since Barkley died a month ago, either working or just huddling with family. But, with schedules and winter colds, I hadn't seen Midwest Chick since before Christmas, so the first thing she said was, "you got your hair cut, it's really cute!"  "Cut"  was sort of an understatement.  I had recently gone in for a trim and asked the stylist to chop off a couple inches.  She said,  "are you sure, that would be a lot?"  I'm thinking "two inches, that's nothing". In wet, curly hair that shortens up as it dries, two inches is like four inches in normal hair.  I should have listened to her. It's not short, but it's above my shoulders and my shoulders feels naked.  The thing is,  it's an awesome haircut, letting my natural waves do something other then stick straight up. Everyone loved it, even the guys of my team, when I dropped in after returning from Dad's, complimenting me, saying I looked "Sassy".

Sassy?  Isn't that a name of a Collie?

I wanted to thank Midwest Chick for the compliment, but what I think came out of my mouth was "Timmy's stuck in the well!"  Fortunately, my hair grows fast, but it's always good to get a cut that actually worked with my hair, not an easy thing for a stylist.

Greetings made, we settled in with baskets of chips and fresh salsa  as we had lots to catch up on, funny dog and cat stories and photos of some interesting outdoor machines that beaverize wood ("this one is one of only two made, the other's in an evidence locker" ) and stories from IT hell (which every profession knows something about). I got a little quiet, sometimes, as we shared dog stories, but everyone understood.
I got a wonderful surprise in that the Oglet presented me a medal.  Her medal, one she won in fencing, (and not just those little rapier things, but the big "pull it out of a stone to be the rightwise King born of England", type of weapon).  I though it was just mine to admire, but it was mine to keep.  She said she wanted to thank me for the support from someone just other than loving parents, as she tackled something that traditionally, young ladies don't do.  I saw a lot of myself in her, and tried to be there for her, as a friend of her Mom and Dad's and a friend to her, giving her some encouragement, and a fan, cheering her on. She earned those medals, even if not placing first in this one. For this is a young lady that finished a match with males and females alike, after completely tearing a fingernail off the nail bed, staunching the bleeding and continuing to compete.  That is a force to be reckoned with, one that will do well in the world as she graduates and goes out on her own.

It got dusty in there all of a sudden as I held it,  but I was proud to accept it. 

Soon, it was time to go.  Midwest Chick had made some awesome cookies for everyone (brownie dough layered with orange/cardamon infused shortcake) and I had a container with Monkey Bars and some Dark Chocolate Espresso shortbread cookies I made for her and Mr. B.  Cookie exchange was made as we left the restaurant with the appropriate secret codewords. . .

"What's the Frequency Kenneth"

"I believe Louisiana is the Pelican State".

and then she had to head home.

The Og family came back to the Range for a bit of a visit on their drive home.  Og had presented an old book to me at the restaurant, but I knew, from the bright orange inside, it was more than a book.

 The orange ribbon, looks just like the collar Barkley wore.
It's a bookmark, with the last photo I took of Barkley, etched in laser, like scrimshaw, on an antique ivory piano key, then hand sewn onto the "collar" book mark.  Og made it.  He wasn't just a good pal of Barkley, but the piano key has some meaning, as he is one of the few people I know outside of immediate family, that I've played piano publicly in front of .
click to enlarge.

We visited until the sun started to wane and then I waved goodbye as they drove home. I know that later, I will laugh, and I will cry,  as I carefully tuck  that memory into my book each night.
As I put things away, things both serious and silly, things that make me laugh, make me proud, Partner  looked at me and said-
"You have really good friends."

You know, I truly do, and for that, I thank the Lord every day, not just on Sunday.


  1. You draw decent people to you like a tornado to a trailer park. How I got in that group I'll never know. But thanks, that was very kind. And the Oglet is tickled to have seen you again. I'm glad you like the bookmark, it was a little fiddly to get it just right, and Midwest Chick is the one who said it needed an orange ribbon, which was perfect.

  2. None of us are going to make it out of here alive, but having good friends and a good team beside us, it really doesn't matter. Sometimes the hard times are a blessing; they help us realize that.

  3. It's really difficult to tear up and smile all at the same time. This post accomplishes it anyway.

    Congrats to the Oglette. Good for you! Couldn't help but think when she gave you her medal - she will always have that win in her heart and confidence. How cool she wanted it to go to you.

    Mr. Og is one talented dude - and that small, his eyesight must be astounding.

    All these yummy bar things lately makes me dehydrated from all the lost drool.

    Good to hear you had a fun weekend. Yes, hair grows back so enjoy it in the meantime. And I'm so jealous of your workshop :)

  4. Thanks for sharing with us. Good friends are worth more then Gold. IMHO.

  5. You do INDEED have good friends!

    I used to think the quantity was important, now I think quality...


  6. Friends help keep memories alive. They help make tough times tolerable and they help carve out our own niche or little place in this world.

  7. Glad to hear your friends are near. We can never have enough of them.

  8. Oglet is one special young lady, just reading about what she did made my whole office dusty somehow, had to clear my eyes for sure. I do want to see a picture or 4 of this new Sassy do :)

  9. I was going to comment on your post, despite my worry that I'm running out of superlatives, but then I read Og's comment just now. "Like a tornado in a trailer park." Got to remember that one.

    BTW, when will we get a photo of the new hair?

  10. Brigid,
    My wife and I had to put down our 16 year old(!) dalmatian-pointer mix in Sept. 2012. I still find myself thinking about him in the strangest ways.

    I was recently driving home and taking my sweet time and suddenly thought, "OMG! I have to get home and let Jake out!" Then the sad crashed down when I realized that I don't have to hurry. Then the glad kicked in when a vignette popped into my head about Jake waiting for me at the front door.

    Damn, Jake. You were one mighty fine buddy! Thanks for choosing us.

  11. og - it was great to see you and the gift will bring much joy in the days ahead, as we have our little reminders of him.

    The Red Dragon - it does, I'm especially blessed by both, friends and team, and they have become family.

    naturegirl - I thought it was beyond cool, and the medal is hanging up where I can see it when I get up in the morning. I sent the rest of the monkey bars in with Partner to work, and his colleagues were quite happy.

    Ed - indeed.

    Rob - thank you, as well, for being a friend.

    armedlaughing - So true, and I count you among them.

    mjrb - shared sorrow is halved, and shared laughter is multiplied, as they say

    Old NFO - looking forward to seeing you soon, as well. Name your dessert, and I'll have it waiting when you get to Indy.

    immagikman - perhaps a picture later in the week. My good camera died, the lens gets stuck coming out and then retracts. So no new pictures for a few days.

    Mathew - that was a great use of words, but he is a great writer as well, when he sets his mind to it.

    billf - thank you, it was. Today I was off and really dived into writing for the BArkley book. I'm up to 35 chapters, another 10-15 to go and it will be ready to go off to hopefully be published.

    Just my 2 cents - I'm glad you have happy memories of Jake. They do help.

  12. And you put the whole thing on Mr. Underhill's American Express card.

    (Couldn't resist since you dropped the Fletch "pelican" quote, but the correct response to "What's the frequency Kenneth?" should be "PO Box 34567".)

  13. Brigid, you are truly blessed to have such friends and friendships. You bring me a smile as I read of them. Be well.

  14. Beautiful... amazed... humbled... deserved... loved...

    Dann in Ohio

  15. This all sounds like good medicine. It's good to hear you regrouping with friends.


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