Well, this is fun. My first Friday Happy Hour, brought to you by the lovely RxBambi. For those of you who have never Happy Houred, it is not an excuse to drink martinis in the middle of the day (who needs an excuse for that!), but a chance to write about things that make us happy. And who doesn't need a little happiness?
This has been a rather long and stressful week. My vertigo is FINALLY gone, but now I'm frantically trying to catch up on all the things I couldn't do while the world was spinning around me. I have so much to do, I feel like I'm underwater. Jimmy has been...how to put this delicately...mmm...an asshole all week. His back is out, which basically means he lies on a little pallet on the floor all day, mad at the world because he's lying on a little pallet on the floor all day. He's the WORST PATIENT in the world. Needy + nasty = bad week for Gretchen.
Luckily, I had yesterday afternoon. One little period of calm within the storm. Because yesterday, I had tea with my friend Belinda. It's one of our most favorite activities, but because we both live busy lives, we usually only manage to get together more than a couple of times a year.
Our teas tend to be rather grand and occasionally epic. Tea and scones and clotted cream and lemon curd and talk, talk, talk! After several hours of tea drinking, we're usually both so hyped up on caffeine that we lose all concept of time, and suddenly realize that our tea has turned into our dinner.
There's something so wonderfully civilized and ladylike about having "tea". Something so comforting about the ritual and formality. And you know what else? Tea is really good stuff. Really. But because I'm a coffee-guzzling American, I forget how good it is. How bracing and fortifying. The Brits have the right idea here. Belinda happens to be Australian, and a serious tea devotee.
Our venue changes. Often, we'll go to a small tea room we like, which features hundreds of teas from around the world. But sometimes we'll go for all out High Tea at one of Los Angeles' swankier hotels - The Hotel Bel Air, The Peninsula, The Beverly Hills Hotel. These places offer scones and muffins, an array of tea sandwiches and pastries, served on a three-tiered china tea stand amid elegant surroundings.
And of course...champagne. Yes, Caffeine + Champagne + Chocolate treats = Very Happy Gretchen.
But tea isn't just about tea. It's much more about the camaraderie, the sharing, the venting, the gossip. And Belinda is the perfect friend to share this with. I've known her for...oh God...15 years? Yikes. And we've seen each other through many life-changing events. She's like an amazingly wise, thoughtful, honest, and nonjudgmental big sister, who I feel like I can share anything with, and she gives the best advise. This may, of course, be because she is a professional therapist! She once had a rather successful acting career (she's the one I told you about who did the love scene with Jeff Bridges - lucky girl), but left it many years ago and became a spiritual psychologist, basically a psychologist whose therapy includes the spiritual dimension of the human psyche (this is my explanation, not hers, she could have explained it much better). I sometimes leave feeling a little guilty about rambling on and on about myself, and not paying her. Of course, I let her go on and on about herself too, but I doubt seriously that the quality of my insight and listening skills comes anywhere close to hers.
And do we have serious talks! By serious, I don't mean solemn, I mean good, serious talks about a range of subjects from relationships to family to religion to politics to womanhood to friends to books to...face creams.
When I leave one of our teas, I always feel so much better. So energized. Okay, the fact that I usually consume about 4 pots of tea may have something to do with it. But I also always feel that I've exercised my mind, expanded my thinking, related on a deep level to a friend. And been appreciated. Which, in a week when my husband has been lying on a little pallet on the floor with his back out being an asshole, is just what I needed.
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