Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Salt of the Earth

This weekend I took Grant to Philadelphia for his annual Birthday weekend. We went to UPenn basketball games, drank good beer, ate (lots) of good food, went to a wonderful urban PCA church, walked around the Italian Market and Reading Terminal, and finished up with tater tots at Tattoo Mom's. It was a little different this year with Purslane, but she sat very contentedly in her BabyHawk and watched Philly go by.

I always love this weekend because Grant waxes nostalgic about his college days. Just like he is loyal to everything he cares deeply about, he is staunchly loyal to his Penn Quakers. He forgives bad seasons, holds out hope for last minute victories, and always walks into the Palestra a happy man. This year he held his daughter up to the railing and explained who the best players this season were. Could my heart get any fuller?!?

Along with our child, we were joined in Philadelphia by some of our dearest friends in the universe. Margo and Kyle Stedman- whose marriage I hold up as one of the rarest successes in this life. They are deeply in love, the best of friends, and love nothing more then opening their arms and bringing the world close. Kyle is the best kind of nerd- he is crazy smart but also in the habit of saying things like "do you think Pursy understands the concept of time travel better then we do?". Margo is the epitome of mercy ministry. She has a knack for knowing a person's needs before they do, and she is already in her car ready to make it happen. My new favorite fact about her is that she has a Mission Statement... for herself.. and her mantra is "keep it classy". Jonathan Block and his new bride Liz flew in from St Louis to celebrate Grant's birthday as well. This is the first time I had met her, and she exceeded all my expectations for who my dear friend Jonathan would marry. When you can have a simple and direct conversation with a person you just met the day before on a 70's wool couch at a vintage store on South Street- she will fit in just fine. My favorite thing about her this weekend was her talking about her grey high heel open toe boots- "I don't really like these, but they make me look like I know what I am doing". And Jonathan was his sincere, head back-mouth wide open laughing self. He was the typical doting Uncle and Pursy enjoyed being fed Cheerios by hand rather then having to do the work herself.

These people are the Salt of the Earth. They are the rarest kind of friends- the ones who don't let you get away with being false and would rather take you crabby and mean, then insincere. They let you have bad days, because they know you aren't always like that. Jonathan and Liz had a fight over the weekend, and no one pretended like it didn't happen- we talked about it, tried to offer support and advice- and in the end I hope Liz knew that no one wants their marriage to work out more then we do. Welcome to the crazy, Tiger Block.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why we Survive

This weekend I discovered that my best friend and I have known each other for 20 years. Our anniversary will be in June, where we met in 1991 at Seneca Lake camp. With the exception of bigger boobs and shorter hair, she looks exactly the same. Her gorgeous face is still flawless and she still can make me laugh harder then anyone when she makes weird comments about life's odd randomness.

This is the friend who drove to South Carolina to watch me graduate from High School. The summer before college I called one of her boyfriends and told him if he cared about her at all he would break up with her simply because she deserved better and just didn't know it. We stood up in each others weddings. She poured a gallon of distilled water over my first car and christened it The Epiphany. We drove/flew to wherever the other was when our firstborns came into the world. I pushed her into a murky lake in Iowa, but then agreed to wear my Great Aunts underwear so she could wear mine. We have driven absurd distances to find a good thrift store. We have shared clothes, toothbrushes, cold pizza, cars, vacations, but never boyfriends. We have skinny dipped together, she has embarrassed the hell out of me by putting honey in her beer at a pub, and she is still the first person I want to call when something good (or bad) happens.

We have also gone through dry spells- going almost a year without talking or keeping up with infrequent text messages or voicemails. But the 3 hour marathon catch up session never begins with apologies or false explanations. We just pick up- and that is why we survive. We do not expect to be the ladies from SITC having Saturday breakfasts together every week. But after 20 years we have our own groove and way of doing things. She is literally my favorite woman on the planet and the fact that she remembers me with braces and glasses makes her irreplaceable. I love you Sarah Elizabeth Trein Binkele.