Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bee A Friend

"Friendship Plates"

I can't believe we are already four days into our first highlowaha-sponsored party!  Time flies when you're having fun!  And, what a whirlwind it has been.

We covered snail mail, postcards, labels, technology, lots of rituals such as: lunches, weekly meals, "Friends Thanksgivings," coffees, Pallet Nights, Wednesday night Open Houses; and Thursday night Pizza nights.  Yesterday we used history to whack our conventional thinking about staying connected.  We reminisced about Circle Journals, Note Notebooks, the simplicity of making a personal visit, embracing brevity, instead of feeling obligated to write a lot; and employing the concept of a RAK box.  Mandy topped the day off with her suggestion to capitalize on shared hobbies as a way of staying connected.  Well done readers.

No resting yet.  We have three full days ahead of us.

Today we'll cover a few things: First we'll go into more detail on Amber's notion that one way to stay connected is to recognize things in our daily lives that remind us of our friends.  Second, we will expound on the idea of friendship symbols.  Finally,  I will break the silence on the whole Girl Scout reference, in an effort to entice this week's party-goers to stick around even after the party ends.

Let's get down to business.

I can be linear in my thinking.  Tell me something and it is forever so.  Just ask my friend Melissa Trifiletti.  Years ago (as in 14 years ago), my friend Melissa and I spent an afternoon painting pottery.  Melissa wanted to paint a plate in the same spirit as the Red Plate (see post titled, "My Great Day Green Plate" 3/20), but she wanted her own, personalized variation.  Melissa would frequently compliment people by telling them they were the, "Bees Knees."  I helped her sketch a bee in the middle of her plate and helped her come up with wording for the rim.  That's it.  From that point forward anytime I saw a bee, I thought of Melissa.  I showered her with bee cups, stickers, mugs, shirts, stationary, household items, cards, charms, pictures, ohhhh.. the list is long.

Funny thing is, Melissa doesn't collect bees or bee items.  It was I who collected bee items for Melissa!  Finally she had to call me and tell me, "Stop!  I like bees, but I don't need a bee colony."

I do this with everyone - good or bad.  Here are just a few of the connections I make between people and items...
  • Lori, all things purple
  • Heather, pink
  • Amy, cupcakes and sprinkles
  • Associate Provost at SMU, Penguins
  • Toni, Roosters
  • My sister Ellen, musical notes
  • Dawn, heart shaped items
  • My mother, flowers
What this means is that anytime I see anything with one of these images or colors, I automatically think of the person with whom I make the association.  If I'm in a store, and it isn't too costly, often times I will purchase it, so I can send a small package.  That can get costly, so here's another tactic...

Virtual Shopping Spree.  Sometime I see images in catalogs or magazines.  When I do, I rip the page from the catalog or magazine and stick it in a manila envelope.  Occasionally on a rainy afternoon or while watching t.v. I will sort the images by person and make a collage.  I treat it like a virtual shopping spree - all the things I would buy you if I were rich, but can't because I'm not.  My friend Dawn and I pass a friendship journal back and forth and Virtual Shopping Sprees are a standard activity for the two of us.

Friendship symbols.  I only have a few that really stick out as relevant.  In 1993, two friends of mine at Miami University found a pin for me at an art fair.  It is made of metal and it says, "Think Big" (my mantra).  Every time I wear it, without fail, I get compliments.  I love using it as an opportunity to tell people about these two fun women with whom I got to work.

Friendship Plates are my other favorite.  A few days before I got married I had thirteen close friends, from all walks of life, join me at a Paint Your Pottery store.  Each friend made me a dessert plate.  The only criterion I used was that the plate had to somehow depict our friendship.  These plates are GREAT!  They have images such as the Talbots red door, a favorite tree, m&ms, a ship, cactus, the number 7,  the zip code 90210, and many more.  Here's the fun part.  Often times when Richard and I host people for dinner (which we try to do as often as possible), we use my friendship plates to serve dessert.  While eating dessert, I tell guests about each of the plates and pay a special tribute to the friend who made it.  If time permits, I will stop what I am doing and actually call my friend to tell her we are eating from her plate.

Side bar.  I still have a dream of hosting an Annual Friendship Dinner, where the plates get featured and as many of the 13 women as possible can attend. 

Finally... The Girl Scout reference.  The readers of highlowaha are motivated, creative people.  In July we started an initiative called," Patchwork."  (See post titled, "Patchwork" 8/7)  The idea is simple.  Earn patches for participating in fun highlowaha activities.  Not everything we do is deemed "patch worthy," but opportunities for earning patches are plentiful.  Two Patchwork events will, in fact, be announced n the next couple of weeks.  The only thing you need to participate is sheer will and something denim to which you can affix your patches (jeans, a jacket, an apron, a denim bag, a pillow cover.  You name it).

Want the chance to earn some patchwork denim?  Make a post today telling me about some of the associations you make between items and friends.  Also indicate your denim preference - apron or bag.  I'll do a drawing and one of your will be named the lucky winner.

That's a lot to swallow in one post.

Signing off until tomorrow... 

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