Monday, March 7, 2011

This moment is your life

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I was invited on a wine tasting trip with a collection of girlfriends- two who are close friends and the rest a collection of newer friends and acquaintances.  We trekked 2 hours to the town of Temecula, which is becoming a booming wine country- now with about 38 wineries.  I will admit that going on a trip with this particular group of girls had me fighting to remain centered.  I found myself second guessing my wardrobe choices, then reminding myself that I am me. Take it or leave it.  I won't be in Chanel for the weekend.  Both because I cannot afford it, and also because at the core, I think it is important to dress for fit and function, regardless of who designed it.  I can't see myself wearing a pair of shoes that cost me a chunk of my month's salary, when it is highly possibly that some drunk guy, named Matt from the wine bus, is going to spill his Sangiovese all over said shoes...  I bought a new bag for the trip because I fell in love with it.  It happened to cost me $25 from H&M.  I shouldn't be embarrassed about that. And I'm not.

The trip preparations had me thinking about why I even cared about the absence of designer labels.  Whether you can afford designer labels can sometimes be a source of exclusivity.  Which is also to say that, it occasionally excludes people.  Excluding people makes me feel uncomfortable.  Even more so now that I have a baby who belongs to a group of people who have a history of being labeled as different and being excluded. But, even long before Elijah was born, I had a sense of wanting to be an approachable person.  I didn't want to be the one that made people feel left out.  I'm tall and blonde. It's funny how that immediately lumps me into a group of people who other people sometimes feel threatened by.  That it is some sort of express ticket to the good stuff. So I've always worked hard to make sure that people knew I was real.  I'll never forget the year I auditioned as a dancer for the Academy Awards when Debbie Allen was choreographing.  I was so excited!  Big audition with a choreographer that I thought I idolized.  I walked into the room, she taught the combination and then made an announcement to the group: I am not looking for any particular "type", because I know what it was like to be short and have brown hair.   I knew at that moment that I would not, under any circumstances be getting that job at the Academy Awards, and Debbie Allen fell from idolization to a person of prejudice for me.  

**I want to make sure that "my girls" don't think that I am saying that they are trying to be exclusive and prejudiced because many of them happen to like, and wear, designer labels- only that the thought of a weekend worrying about designer labels for me, made me think about this subject. You're all fabulous- whether in Chanel or The Gap.

Back to the weekend: I had an amazing time!  It was so nice to not be the trip planner and to get to just tag along and enjoy the company.  There was drunkeness, there were a couple of faux pas, but mostly there was a great time had by all.  After a full day of visiting 11 wineries, we re-grouped for a bit and then joined up again for dinner, then gambling (Well, I watched.  I don't gamble and it was so much more fun to watch my sober, pregnant friend Lori clean up at the table!), then hours of sweating and dancing at the rooftop bar in the hotel: The Eagle's Nest.  (Great name, don't you think?) I finished the weekend off with a visit with my oldest friend.  My friend Tracey and I have been friends since third grade!!  She is the friend who I used to run to the back of the play yard with, lie down on the patchy grass, and name all of the cloud formations we could see.  We would dream about our futures and how our friendship would still be intact (Because we would marry brothers, have kids who were best friends, and live next door to each other.  Obviously.)   Well, we did not marry brothers, our kids are not best friends, and we do not live next door to each other. Obviously. However, our friendship is still intact.  She has been there for me over many life changes and I have been there for her.  It might only have been over the phone and months might pass without a chance to speak, but the minute we do, it's as though no time has passed.  After all of these years, she is more like sister than a friend.  I cherish her so much, and am so glad we had a chance to catch up a little and that I got to hug her and her kids (who are growing up so fast!)

I came back from my weekend trip to the ear to ear grin from Christian, staring out at me from the window.  His happiness to see me was so heart warming! Elijah's whole body lit up when I walked into the room.  It's hard to decide which is best: getting a great weekend away with the girls or coming back home to the ones you love...

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This weekend away made me think of this Omar Khayyám quote:
"Drink wine. This is life eternal. This is all that youth will give you. It is the season for wine, roses and drunken friends. Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life."

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