Month: October 2016

In Praise of Friends That Don’t Last Forever

When I was a girl, I believed wholeheartedly that in order for best friends to be for real, they had to be forever. And I know I’m not alone. Want proof? Just look at any girl’s yearbook. The acronyms may go in and out of vogue, but the sentiment remains: B.F. F. Now that I’m resting solidly in the middle of my 40s, I wonder if there’s any such thing as a “forever” best friend. We all change so much over the course of our lives, I barely recognize the young woman I was in high school, much less the kid whose prized possession was a Donnie and Marie Barbie play set. So why do we believe that the friendships we made back then should survive the dramatic overhauls and upheavals we traverse on the way to adulthood? I’m still in touch with many of my earliest friends; we wish each other happy birthday on Facebook and exchange holiday cards decorated with photos of our children. But we no longer tell each other our deepest …

BFF Love Fest: 7 Pairs of Besties Share What Bonds Them

I met my friend Sarah eight years ago at a conference after-party, years after I thought the world had stopped handing out best friends to grown women. I shut my hand in a heavy restroom door and cut it — badly. She was walking in when the bleeding started and asked me if I needed help. I said yes, and she stayed to assess the situation. We wrapped it up, laughed about it and went back to the table. I don’t remember what happened next, but I know that she has been there, in many ways and to varying degrees, ever since. We all need these kinds of connections: strong, supportive bonds that are key to health, happiness — and also killer brunch and housewarming parties, let’s be honest. Sometimes, a particular human connection is stronger than the rest, and you end up with that person who holds the other side of your virtual heart necklace…and maybe even your internet passwords. You get a best friend. We talked with some pairs of best friends about …

Ghosted and Gone: I May Never Know Why She Left

Let’s call her Jane. Out of respect for her feelings. Even though I haven’t spoken to her in several years, even though it has been almost seven years since we stopped being best friends. Well, I thought we were best friends. Was I wrong? Maybe. We met when we were both editorial assistants at a chic, smart women’s magazine. Obviously, we were both thrilled to be there. She was Ivy League Official, though. I felt intimidated by her legit status. At first, I didn’t like her. I’m sure it was some kind of competitive pheromone exchange that made me instantly bristle and want to turn away from her. But she would pop over from her aisle to mine, plopping down in my visitor chair to chat with me and the other assistant across the aisle. I remember that I always made her laugh, which warmed me up to her. I remember that she was really smart. And wore way too much brown for my taste. I remember a few months later when I told her …

Ovarian Rhapsody: A Thank You Note

Back in January, just before I’d started chemotherapy, I’d been talking to my friend Adrianna about cold caps, the beanie of ice that sits atop your head and (hopefully) prevents your hair from falling out during treatment. Expensive and painful, I wasn’t too sure it was for me, but this was the stage when I was researching, frantically Googling and considering anything and everything. I had no idea what I was in for. Via email, Adrianna introduced me to her friend Casey, who had worn the cap and preserved most of her hair during a second bout with cancer. Only five minutes after I’d emailed Casey, I had a response. “Margit. I wanna come over asap. When works?” And two days later, there she was, sitting on my couch, counseling me — a beautiful, earthy soul with colorful bracelets and talismans about her neck and wrists, moving gingerly, still recovering from recent treatment. Her hair was thin, but there it was. She handed me a pretty cloth bag filled with sugar-free gum, savory Kind bars, …

Two Old Friends on Growing Up Black and White in Lincoln, Nebraska

Eric and I grew up three houses apart in a fairly affluent neighborhood in Lincoln, Nebraska. We went to different elementary schools, but beginning in 7th grade our paths crossed more regularly, especially in the summertime when we’d bike together to the pool for endless, unsupervised afternoon swims or play made-up war games (I know, what?) in his backyard. Recently, mired in misery about the state of our country, I set out to hold a conversation with Eric. I wanted to know how he was grappling with America 2016, especially as a father. It turned into a more straightforward interview, frankly, because his answers were so good I just wanted to sit back and listen or, in this case, read over Facebook messenger. Sara: Growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska —  how did your parents talk to you about being black? Eric: In some ways, growing up in an overwhelmingly white town like Lincoln is unique, and in other ways, it’s just like everywhere else. When I was in maybe first or second grade, I remember …

The 8 Types of Girlfriends Every Woman Needs

Most of us have had good girlfriends of many varieties: from the secret-keeping, pinky-swearing grade-school bestie to the friend who answers the midnight call with provisions and bubbly. They’re the bricks on which the houses of our lives are built. My girlfriends mean everything to me. They are the family I have chosen for myself. I aim to give back to them, as much as they give me. There are certain roles each must play in my long-standing tribe of female power, defined by personalities and needs. Sometimes one at a time, sometimes all at once. Here are eight types of BFFs that are crucial to my wellbeing, my sanity and my life. 1. The Sweetheart I once had a friend stay up with me for two days after surgery. She took my temperature every hour on the hour and refused to leave my side until I could hold down food. She was salve for my wounded body and soul, and I’m so grateful that she’s still in my life, always there with a smile …

We Can Be Friends Without Being Facebook Friends

At least once a week, I invariably have a conversation that goes like this: My friend: “Jamie is so annoying! She won’t stop posting pseudo-science articles about how coconuts cure cancer. And then she liked all my vacation photos from three years ago. Who does that?” Me: “Just unfriend her.” My friend: “I can’t do that! It’ll hurt her feelings!” I really don’t understand all the tiptoeing around Facebook friendships. Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook. As a native Philadelphian transplanted to the suburban wilds of Connecticut, Facebook lets me easily keep in touch with my nearest and dearest at a time in my life when my closest family member is a four-hour drive away. I don’t have to miss anyone’s kids growing up, and I can easily arrange dinner, drinks and karaoke when I’m back in town for a visit. But I’ve found that people put up with an amazing amount of BS in the name of Facebook “friends.” [pullquote]As Roger Murtaugh said in Lethal Weapon, “I’m too old for this shit.”[/pullquote] A …

Editor’s Note: Buddy, Buddy

This week goes out to our ride-or-die chicks (and dudes). The ones we’ve been sworn to since we were 12 (Hey, Teresa!), the ones we’ve bonded with through recent circumstances and even the ones who’ve quietly, sadly slipped away. How and why we choose our besties is a mystery of time, circumstance and sometimes similar pairs of glasses. (Hey, Stacy!) But we can always count on them, no matter what — even if we haven’t spoken with them in years. We pick up the phone, and there they are, still cracking us up. (Hey, Diane. Love you, girl.) Is it still easy to make new best friends in our 40s and beyond? As our lives become more settled, we’re pickier about what we want. We may think we have less time for spontaneous connections (unless they’re through our kids, our dog or a yoga class), but we’re still craving new, close, dynamic friendships as our lives evolve. And women are particularly good at making new friends later in life. Which, come to think of it, …

How a Single Can of Pumpkin Followed Me for Years

It started innocently enough: one simple can of pumpkin. I had graduated from college a few months earlier, put all my worldly possessions in the back of a truck and moved to Chicago to start Grown-Up Life. This Grown-Up Life involved moving in with my boyfriend and two housemates. Each weekday I’d get dressed in one of two mix-and-match Gap suits each morning to go to my temp job du jour. I was playing the part, and I was not giving a stellar performance; there was a constant possibility that my understudy might be called upon in the hopes that she’d pull this off better. Our housemates were old hands at this maturity thing — they were already planning their wedding and saving for a house. They shopped at Budget Grocery, and since they seemed to have adulthood down cold, I figured it must be the responsible place to shop. I have no idea what else I bought, but it was autumn so pumpkin was everywhere. I spotted the can and thought, “Adults do things like baking! If …

Welcome to the Smelliest Time of Year

I love fall. It’s my favorite season. And I know what I’m talking about: I grew up in New England and live in Upstate New York, which makes me a bona fide autumnal expert. It is the most glorious time of the year around these parts. It’s also, unfortunately, the most intensely scented. I’m not talking about the natural scents of sweet ripe apples waiting to be picked or smoky leaves crunching underfoot. I’m talking about the olfactory assault of artificial fragrance that fills pretty much every public space from September through November. Normally I avoid stores that specialize in home fragrance or perfumed lotions, but this time of year, the scents spill over their normal boundaries and I have to steer clear of entire wings of the mall. Craft stores display fragranced candles and incense at the front end; bookstores sell autumn potpourri on racks near the checkout. Even my local grocery store has a display of seasonally scented wreaths by the entrance. And the most pervasive seasonal scent of all is Pumpkin Spice. …

Boys Will Be Boys — If We Say So

When I was kid, I lived in a suburban neighborhood, down the street from a boy in my class. He was an athlete, crude and a bit rowdy — the kind of kid who gets his name written on the chalkboard. Though we went on to become friends in high school, we weren’t close as kids. My family has a tradition of carving pumpkins for Halloween, and I remember this one year in grade school, my younger sister and I were particularly proud of our little jack-o-lanterns. My mom placed them on the steps in front of our house with candles inside, and as we trick-or-treated around the neighborhood with friends, we couldn’t wait to walk by our house later to show them our pumpkins. But when my sister and I returned home, the glowing faces of our jack-o-lanterns were nowhere to be found. Instead, the splattered remains of our pumpkins were strewn across the sidewalk and the street. Someone had kicked them off the stairs and stomped them to pieces. There had always been rumors about …

My Secret to Dominating the Neighborhood? Pumpkin Bowling

Suburbia, circa 1994. We’d moved out of the New York City right about the time our daughter was to start kindergarten, seeking the bucolic childhood that my husband and I had deluded ourselves that we both had: house in the country; 2+ acre lots; great public schools; supportive, tight-knit community. While we moved back to an area very close to where I’d grown up, it had been a good 10 years since I’d left for college and I no longer had a circle of close friends. Barely 30 and working long hours at a New York City law firm, with my husband traveling all over for his sales job, we wanted a shortcut to meet people (just like us) with whom we could share stories of new parenthood and go for beers and burgers. So, at our 75-year-old realtor’s urging, we joined Newcomers. The Newcomers’ Club was just that: a club (with a small yearly membership fee) for people new to the community. There were mom reading groups, mom social hours, mom’s night out and the occasional …

I Don’t Fit In. And Neither Do My Halloween Costumes.

My motto for Halloween costumes is: If it fits in the car, it’s not worth doing. I go big or go home, and it MUST be made with my own two hands. Since I was little, I’ve loved making things. It doesn’t matter what – cookies, a sweater, a film. I was the kind of kid who spent hours alone building sandcastles on construction sites or crafting elaborate fantasy worlds inhabited by Barbies and Star Wars action figures. The kind of kid who devours a Nancy Drew in one sitting. The kind of kid you don’t realize is actually in the house until she shows up gushing blood from her head or finger. To me, these wounds were minor sacrifices in the pursuit of making stuff. So when it comes to Halloween, I don’t bother with your gypsies Roma, your bums, your girl in a poodle skirt. I was born to eschew store-bought costumes — partly due to my creativity and partly due to my weirdness. I didn’t really fit in as a kid. I spent hours analyzing …

Pumpkin Pie Cookies for Those Who Want to Eat a Whole Pumpkin Pie

I’m a firm believer in cooking things from scratch, except when it comes to baking. Boxed cake mix is my best friend, as are those break-and-bake cookies and pop-open cinnamon rolls. I am, however, always looking for new ways to make my pre-made baking look fabulous and homemade. (Because no one has to know my secrets!) Autumn is my favorite time to experiment with baking. It’s cooling down just enough that you want to warm your house up by turning on the oven, and everybody is talking about their love of pumpkin — pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pasta and, of course, pumpkin pie. These Pumpkin Pie Cookies are just the right portion of pie to pop one or two in your mouth (if you can stop there!) and feel satisfied. They pack a whole lot of flavor in a little bite AND look super fancy while being incredibly easy to make. Just cut, fill and bake. Make a batch for your Friendsgiving dinner or gift a dozen to your kid’s teachers. These mini …

Margit’s Note: Orange You Glad Our Theme Is…

Choosing our  TueNight themes is not quite an exact science. We Tuenighters, Adrianna, Karen, Darian, Justine and myself — a handful of Gen-Xers and a couple Millennial allies — meet via Zoom video conference weekly for a virtual brainstorm. What are we personally dreaming, mulling, posting and talking about? What matters to those of us over 35? What have our formal and informal surveys told us that you want to read about? In the last one you told us: Do-Over, Best Friend, First Job, Mourn, Renovate, Siblings, Aging. Check. Check. And stay tuned. Some themes we like to do over and over like Sleep. Or Sleep. Never too much sleep. Occasionally, the spirit just moves us to a word or phrase. Hence Tasty, Prince, Period, Vice, Wife, Boobs and, who could forget, Shart Week — an issue devoted poop. (Maybe we wanted to forget that…) This week we wanted a word that combined Halloween, costumes, the omnipresent waft of cinnamon-and-pumpkin-infused items and, of course, orange-y politicians. Adrianna piped up, “Pumpkin?” We had that collective head nod. And so, Pumpkin was born. (Along with a quick search to realize Trumpkin …