Posts Tagged: girlfriends

Mar 11

Girls’ Weekend: The Mama Perspective

So, you have to know that, in general, our (the girls, that is) saying is “What happens during girls’ weekend, stays in girls’ weekend,” but I can tell you this: I haven’t laughed that hard in a long, long time. And, I will proudly share with you, my reading public, (and I can only share this because it is ME and not anyone else; I cannot share who won in other “categories,” nor can I share just what, exactly, those categories were, but suffice it to say that they were all immensely humorous) that I, Jennifer Johnson Gray, won FIRST PLACE for MOST UGLY CHILDHOOD PHOTO (we all brought baby, childhood, high school, and college pictures). I am so proud. I will not divulge the runner-up. Let’s just say that us Mamas all learned a valuable lesson here: it is ALL about the hair. And feathered bangs a la Farrah Fawcett on a 10 year old who has gappy teeth and a mullet in the back, who is wearing a pink jumper and who is put into a terribly funny and awkward pose by the Sears Photography studio is….oh hell. It is just not good. But it is funny.

We laughed. We sat by the pool. We went to the spa. We laughed. We ate (lots). We laughed. We learned more about each other and, in the process, grew closer. We laughed.

We are already planning our next trip.

We love our babies. We love our husbands. But sometimes Mamas need to get away and just….be. And laugh.

Sep 10

When food is your passion

I recently made the acquiantance of a fellow, for lack of a better word (Adam hates this term, for reasons I am unsure of), “foodie.” A friend of a friend, we knew we had made our match when she turned to me, finding out that I baked all my own bread, and asked, “Do you have a favorite bread book?” I mentioned Peter Reinhart, she countered that she and her husband had (gasp!) met him, and….our friendship was firmly under way in its own right.

Today we saw each other at a mutual friend’s house. At the first moment that it was just her and I in the room, she turned to me, a gleam in her eye, and said, “Ok, tell me. Tell me what you’ve been cooking, please! Everyone else looks at me like I’m crazy when I ask that but I know you’ll understand.”

And understand I did. So we talked Korean pork buns and bacon drippings and Sriracha sauce and quiche and Julie Child (of course) and so on and so forth. We talked about simple ingredients, cooking techniques, lacto-fermentation, homemade pickles. We waxed poetic. We may have even drooled a little bit.

And I didn’t worry for a second that she thought it was weird that I’ve kept my pet wild yeast starter in the fridge for over a year now.

I love the thought of our conversations as these conspiratorial whisperings. The fact that I know and she knows that, of course, the week revolves around not the days of the week, but how many hours that piece of meat needs to marinade. That of course we own tart pans and cheesecloth and bamboo steamers. These are all necessary tools for–not our trade–our passion.

I think we’ve hit it off. Karen, will you be my friend?

Aug 10

Queens for the weekend

Our lives are usually about wiping bottoms and folding clothes and scraping food remnants off of the table. Our natural habitat is the playground, the grocery store. Our usual attire is yoga pants and a t-shirt, old jeans and a stained tank top. Our hair is usually pulled messily into a ponytail, or hidden under a hat. We’re lucky if it’s washed. We’re lucky if our bodies get washed.

We are tired, we are grumpy, we are overworked and underpaid. There is no overtime. The working conditions are brutal.

We are stay-at-home moms and we have the best job in the world.

But sometimes….sometimes we need to be Queens. We need to take a long shower without our little someones interrupting us (or joining us). We need to wear nicer clothes, style our hair. We need to browse for hours in antique shops. We need to linger over glasses of wine. We need to laugh. Oh, LORDY, do we need to laugh. We need our girlfriends. I never knew it until this weekend but we also need a day to wear tiaras and feather boas and go wine tasting and have every single person we pass stare at us. They might have been laughing (maybe. Fools!), but we choose to reinterpret it as this: they are just jealous because we are Mommies and we are Wives and we are Everyday Women but, most of all, we are Queens. And don’t you forget it.

Congratulations to us for making this dream become a reality. Project Mommy Get-away Weekend 2010 actually happened! And it was awesome. We’re already planning for 2011.

P.S. What happens in Cambria stays in Cambria.

Jul 10


I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I mumble mumble mumble am one of those crazies with mumble mumble internet friends but, well, it’s the truth. I feel like I know these ladies that I met through a pregnancy message board during my pregnancy with Anna. Like, know know them, despite the fact that I’d never heard their voices, shaken their hands, hugged them close. Today, I got to meet two of them face to face. With their little ones, born in (or near) November 2006.

There is definitely the potential for awkward with this scenario, isn’t there? It’s one thing to “talk” online, another to talk face to face. Online conversations are snippets, here and there, that you can write, drop it in, leave it and come back, versus the give and take of normal face to face conversation.

But it wasn’t awkward at all. They weren’t weird or crazy or psycho (not that I could tell at least!). Anna and I had a blast finally finally meeting these people that I consider my friends. Even the 7 hours in the car today (oof. bad traffic through L.A. Horrifically bad traffic) was worth it.

And maybe, just maybe, I’m a little less weird? Now that I’ve met a couple of them in person and they didn’t end up being….men? or completely socially awkward? or mass murderers? Ummmm, nope. Uh Uh. Actually 100% totally normal and nice and easy to talk to and wonderful.

The children were absolute darlings, too. I met my new boyfriend, Sean, today. Shhh. Don’t tell Adam but I think he just might love me. He’s three and a half, he has red hair and he is a mighty fast talker. Paige is a sweetheart but I don’t think she loves me as much as he does. Although she did allow me to take her picture, happy smiling face and all, something which she apparently does not allow her mother to do at all. Ha ha! I still feel like I lucked out with this snapshot. I arranged them, told them to look at me and they all did what I said! Have you any idea how rare this is when dealing with a group of children of this age? Once in a lifetime, this is.

Jun 10

Road-trippin’ it

Disclaimer: If you are the mother of a small child, you may not wish to read the rest of this post because, chances are, it will make you green with envy. I’m sorry. Your day will come.

Now for the good stuff: I am leaving tomorrow morning (me, JUST me, me and only me me me) to drive down to Coronado to meet up with my sister for our sister get-away and OOOOHHHHH am I ever excited! Go-Ing On Va-Ca-Tion!!!! Four days. Three nights. Two girls, free of restrictions like bedtimes or naptimes or balanced meals or being sober enough to care for children. At a spa! With massages and mani/pedis and yoga classes and pool and ocean to loll around next to, trashy magazines in one hand, fruity cocktail in the other. Long, aimless walks. Giggling. Deep and heartfelt conversations. Kicking our feet in the sand while the moon rises overhead (one of my best memories from last year’s trip).

It’s gonna be good. Real good. I CANNOT wait! SISTER! HERE I COME!!!!

Jan 10

In honor of girlfriends

Last night, I got to do what something extraordinary: go out to a late dinner all dressed up, with two of my close girlfriends.

As we sat and talked and talked and laughed and even got a little teary at times, I felt so….happy. Complete. Lucky.

It’s hard to make friends. More difficult the older one gets, I would venture to say. Adam and I moved back to Santa Barbara (after three years in the L.A. area for me to finish grad school) and I remember the loneliness of being an adult with few friends. Well, our circle slowly expanded and now our little core group is not so little anymore. It’s big enough, in fact, that a party at our house with everyone there has to be moved outside to accommodate the crowd.

Last night we talked about the beginnings of our friendships, the knowing of “this is someone I want as my friend.” We talked about the paths we’ve traveled, all of us, over these last few years: the joy, the heartache, the disappointments, the happiness–all of it, at times, too much to bear…except, of course, we have each other. And that is a pretty good thing.