Best Friends


Over the years, I've had the great privilege and stroke of luck to be reunited with my best friends from grammar school.  It's hard to describe our friendships other than to say that it's destiny that brought us together and destiny that helped us find each other after a decade (or two).

My bestie, Jen, came into my life during the summer of 1984.  We were both dropped off to spend a half day at summer camp (rec) each morning from 9 a.m. until noon.  There we did art projects and then reluctantly went to the field to play such games as kick ball, softball, Red Rover, and Steal the Bacon.  Neither of us had any athletic ability, which left us being the last ones to be picked for teams; we were a match made in heaven.  Our friendship blossomed over Elmer's Glue, beads, paint, and markers.  While making crafts, we often talked about our favorite subjects: music, boys, Barbies, dancing, and modeling. (For anyone growing up in the 80's, these were the days when models like Cheryl Tiegs and Brooke Shields were household names.)  Our friendship meant "play dates" of going over each other's houses to dress in costumes and pretend like we were famous dancers.  We'd twirl and leap all over my living room as Madonna's "Like a Virgin" blared in the background.

In high school, we rode the bus together, met up on Friday's at Roller Magic, and even had some double dates.  When boyfriends and love interests came and went, we consoled each other, and when some adolescent days were just too much to bare, we lifted each other up with compliments and compassion.  High school was a tough time, but our friendship made all the difference.

My bestie, Debbie, came into my life in middle school--sixth grade to be exact.  Our two elementary schools merged into one middle school, and soon new classmates were telling me I had a twin.  Although we didn't have any of the same classes together, Debbie and I spotted each other right away as we did look alike--tall, thin, long blond hair.  Although we both had different circles of friends, we'd often chat at recess, and Debbie came to my sixth grade bowling birthday party--my aunt still has pictures for proof.  This is when my cousin Vincent decided to embarrass me by giving me a "Nose Picker of the Year Award" as my birthday present.  When keeping score at the bowling alley, he'd also stick a pencil up his nose and taunt all of my friends with it.  Now, I think I know why this might have been my last friend birthday party...

After high school, we all went our separate ways.  Jen married her high school sweetheart, Chris, and moved to a military base in Germany.  Debbie went off to college, and I went off to a different college.  Years went by without a single phone call or letter (and there was no such thing as Facebook or social media to keep in touch).  If Divine Providence didn't exist, we all would have lost each other--for good.   Losing each other, however, was not in the cards.

Jen and I reunited when she returned back to our hometown--now both a wife and a mother!  (I was in grad school at the time.)  Then, when Jen moved to another town, she reunited with Debbie.  Debbie and I rekindled our friendship when we both started teaching writing at the same college.  (Not only do we look alike, but we both earned our graduate degrees in English!)  At this time, all three of us were married with children. 

The goal, now, was to schedule a time for our three families to meet.  If our husbands and children liked each other, we'd be able to schedule "family play dates."  We'd celebrate birthdays together and holidays together and maybe even go on a vacation one day...

That first meeting time was eight years ago...  Our three families have become a family in itself.  Our children act like cousins, and my two girlfriends are like the sisters I've never had...  We share "mommy tips," "wife tips," our feelings, and our secrets.  While our children (and our husbands) keep us busy, we are there for each other, and our hearts feel renewed when we meet (even if it's only for a few hours...)

Last Sunday was one of those days that was good for the soul.  We planned a last minute get-together and decided to all eat at one of our favorite restaurants and then take a walk afterwards.  It was a cold, gray November day, but spending it with friends gave it warmth and color.  Jen, Debbie, and I did what we do best. We laughed, we played, we inspired, and we made more plans...  The time together is just what I needed.

Jen, Debbie, and me

Our "family"


Fall Stuff...


This fall we spent most of our weekends traveling instead of our typical hiking and farm trips.  Still, the weekend before Halloween, my mom, Little Lewie, and I did get a chance to go pumpkin picking.  Our first stop was to a farm I visited once when Lewie was four.  I remembered they had a great selection of pumpkins, but I forgot how popular they were.  There were hundreds of people taking pictures, waiting for hayrides, and buying fresh produce...  It was fun, but it felt a little too commercial.  I wish we had considered going on a weekday.

After visiting the more popular farm, we decided to check out a second one that we researched on the internet.  The second farm had no visitors.  As it turned out, this farm makes its profits at night with their "Legends of Fear" attraction.  They do both a haunted trail and a haunted hayride.  The farm owners kindly let us view their decorations during the day; their gift shop selling Legends of Fear T-shirts was open, too.  After taking a few pictures, however, we decided to head back home.  We weren't ready to purchase tickets, yet--maybe when Lewie turns eleven or twelve.


I'm glad we saw the "Legends of Fear" attraction during daytime hours.  I read some reviews, and it sounds scary.

A Nintendo Inkling Halloween


One of Lewie's favorite video games this year is Nintendo's Splatoon, home of the Inklings.  In it's most simplistic form (which I'm all about simple), the object of the game is to shoot your ink color to cover your environment and the opposing players' environment.  So, if your color is blue, then you try to splat as many things with the color blue by using "ink weapons" such as "Inkguns," "Splat Rollers," "Inkbrushes," and "Inkbuckets."  (It reminds me of paintball.)

Courtesy of Fantendo.
In early September, Lewie decided he wanted to be this male "Inkling."  It's not a common request, so I quickly went to the internet to search for ideas.  Thankfully, some talented crafters were selling Splatoon hats and shirts on Etsy.  If I were one of these talented folk, I'd probably try my own version, but since I know my limits, I quickly purchased a male Inkling hat for Lewie and a female Inkling one for me.  Then I bought a shirt for Lewie and an iron-on decal for me to make my own shirt.
Lewie getting ready to leave for a kids Halloween Party!

Posing outside before going onto the school bus.  (His "ink weapon" was left at home.)

Vising Grammy at her place of work (our annual tradition).  She's a devil, and we're both Inklings.

The kiddos that came to my mom's place of work.  Two of them, Evan and Julian, are Lewie's friends.

Our first house for trick-or-treating.  The entire neighborhood decorates for the kids.
For a Halloween party, Lewie wore a black mask for the Inkling's eyes, but on actual Halloween Day, my husband and I drew a mask around his eyes with makeup.  (My hands are not steady at all, so I enlisted Daddy's help.)  Since I was an Inkling too, I ditched the complicated makeup idea and went straight for using a mask.  After all, I had work in the morning, which didn't leave me much time to get ready before trick-or-treating.  In fact, my day was to work until 1:30, arrive to Lewie's school Halloween Parade for 2 p.m., go home to get ready in 30 minutes, pick up Lewie from school at 3:15 p.m., bring Lewie to my mom's place of work for 3:45 p.m, make dinner for us at home at 5:30 p.m.. and then head out to go trick-or-treating for 6 p.m.  (I am a HUGE advocate for making Halloween land on a weekend...)

To sum Halloween up in one word, it was FAST.  I'll be honest; I enjoyed more of the spooky events we did leading up to Halloween, such as going to the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor, visiting the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, and going to a haunted house and theatrical graveyard tour at The Glebe House.  Maybe next year, we'll add a haunted hayride into the mix.

The Haunted House at the Glebe House

Be prepared to get scared!  It was scary... One room had a bunch of fake and "live" dolls coming to grab us!