just ponderin'

… on a girls night out as one of the guys

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Those are my clouds up there. I’m totally serious. It isn’t a photograph. I know. So photorealistic. What can I say. I work very hard.

I don’t do Girls Night Out.

Never have.

Never wanted to.

It might be because I’m more of a Monty-Python quoting, secret-man-cave-loving, one of the guys.

I’m not a hermit or anything, it’s just that I married my best friend and I love when we get together with our friends to hang out and talk and eat and laugh, but I never had the desire to head out with a bunch of other people on a regular basis to take a break.

I guess early on, when I was working, I was traveling a lot and was so happy to come back and chill with the Nearly Perfect Husband that the thought of heading out on a Tuesday night to a Longaberger Basket party gave me a hive.

Also, I have a theory that those parties might the first step toward joining a cult.

But I digress.

And when the kids were little, and as they grew, when they were at other kids’ houses or we had a babysitter, we wanted to do things together.

We have friends who do girls’ nights and guys’ nights all the time.  We have some very happily married friends who even take separate vacations with their girl or guy friends each year.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that (no ‘shoulds’ here, remember?)

But it just isn’t me-slash-us.

So a few weeks ago, when a friend who is as committed to small, meaningful gatherings (Occasionally. Let’s not get crazy here.), sent an e-mail suggesting a girls night out, I was shocked. My friend had been through a lot over the past few years, and we hadn’t seen an awful lot of each other, and I wasn’t going to say no to her (anyone else, yes. Her? No.) And so I said yes.

And the Nearly Perfect Husband was shocked.

Not in a ‘How could you do this to me’ way.

More like, ‘Really…’

So he was all excited to see what was going to happen.

And when I was talking to Half-Kid-Jack yesterday, he was laughing out loud on the phone (himself a committed introvert) and saying things like, “Oh my Gawd! This is great! I’m texting Sam so we can bully text you all night!” (which they proceeded to do).

So there were four of us (including me).

Okay, I’m going to change the names so you can’t tell who these people are. Except for me. I won’t try to disguise myself.

So sKimberly, mErin, bLillian, and I were going to meet at mErin’s house for a glass of wine before we headed off to paint.

Oh ya. To paint.

So it turns out you can book a stool at this painting place that does painting parties and events and stuff. You book a stool, and an apron, and a canvas, and paint and brushes – basically everything. And there is an instructor, and everyone who goes paints the same ‘masterpiece’ (they call all of our results, ‘masterpieces’. I think that is kind of like when someone down south says they will ‘bless my heart’… Not. Necessarily. True.”

And plus you can bring your own wine.

Painting-with-Wine class!

So we met up at mErin’s house first, and she had snacks set up and wine on the counter and it was so cozy.

Right away, bLillian asked who we identified with as artists (so we could refer to ourselves as them for the evening).

mErin chose Mary Cassatt, the brilliant impressionist painter from the 1800s who was friends with that guy, Degas.

Breakfast in Bed Mary Cassatt

Mary Cassatt’s (a.k.a., mErin’s) Breakfast in Bed.

And sKimbery chose Van Gogh. And, I mean, as long as you don’t have to give up an ear, why not be Van Gogh for the evening.

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Van Gogh’s (a.k.a., sKimbery’s) Starry Night

And by then I was feeling sweaty.

Sweaty, but honest.

So when bLillian turned to me, I gave her my best guess as to what I might be painting like last night.

Unknown-1

Convergence, Jackson Pollock (a.k.a., me)

So we all pile into mErin’s car and the talking begins.

bLillian asks a question about kidney cancer.

My brain: “Uh oh. Health stuff.”

sKimberly says that she has heard that, with kidney cancer, if you eradicate the original tumor, the others get small and die.

I say that sounds just like in Independence Day when they destroy the mother ship and all the little ones crash and burn.

Everyone agrees.

Totally like Independence Day.

Talk is all over the place (my favorite kind) and I decide to share my story that Half-Kid-Jack has a teacher who can taste words. And I tell them that ‘magic’ tastes like marshmallows (because that is the coolest thing I have learned this week). And they all agree that this is an incredibly cool thing to know and that they, like me, are very excited that it tastes like marshmallows. It’s a happy thing.

Then mErin wonders what other words would taste like.

And someone wonders what the word ‘sex’ would taste like.

And a very loud hoot-noise escapes my throat.

And then everyone is talking at once:

“Like lemons!”

“Grapes!”

“Wait, lemons are all sour! That’s not good!”

 “I love lemons!”

“Maybe it’s more like sour grapes!”

“That’s only after divorce!”

And we are all laughing and joking and soon we arrive at Painting-with-Wine class.

And there are paintings… and people.

But the people seem all smiley and friendly and the instructor checks us in and we go to our own table and put on our aprons and pour ourselves a glass of wine (each. we didn’t, like share one) and then we are painting.

And it’s hilarious.

There is talk of our small town.

Mysteries!

Scandal!

Intrigue!

There’s sharing in laughing and banter with the people around us.

There’s self mockery and there’s flattery for everyone’s artistic attempts (and, yes, belly-clutching laughter when bLillian announces, to the entire class, that her island looks like a ‘dolphin face’ and then demands help from the ‘professor’).

And the entire time, Half-Kid-Jack and Sam were sending their bully texts and I was sending them back pictures of my painting in progress.

And when we got back to mErin’s house after talking about everything under the sun, and solving all the world’s problems,  including the current crisis with Russia (we’re not going to war), we hugged and said goodnight.

And this morning thank-you e-mails made their ways around and there was an invite to head out together and walk our dogs later today (mErin said that it would be a parade if I brought all of mine).

And I’m still smiling, because these are great humans, and I got to share a night with them.

And, of course, make a masterpiece.

Do you know that trick that they teach harbor seals, to pretend they are embarrassed – where they are supposed to put a flipper over their eyes and turn away? You know, the one that always gets a laugh at the local aquarium seal or sea-lion show?

Ya.

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No.  Training. Necessary.

Thanks for readin’.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs always, you can come on over to Just Ponderin’s facebook page to comment or just hang out.

Elena Peters

midlife blogger & pinterest master

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