Day 27: Friends, Martinis and Sweet Surprises

Most everything about the night was unexpected.

It was planned to be our book club gathering, first of all, a night for our group of Fabulous Women to discuss Anna Quindlen’s Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. But suddenly the start of the new school year stood stubbornly in the way. So even after we spitshook on never, ever changing the date to accommodate our busy lives (after all, we just lost AN ENTIRE YEAR trying to find a date that worked for all eight of us), we hoisted a white flag and rescheduled.

Then we realized, we three who could make it: How about dinner?

It was a night of surprises, as I said, starting with this one. It was 72 degrees. In South Carolina. In August. Needless to say, we took the opportunity to have dinner outside, on the patio at Tonello’s Bistro. Our wine glasses had just been filled with a delightful Italian Sangiovese when we heard a guitar, and then a voice so remarkable it halted our conversation. It was jazzy. Bluesy. Lazy, in the most delicious way.

Summertime, and the living is easy

It was coming from just next door, at Arkos Mojo Grill.

I would buy her album right this minute, I said to Leslie and Teresa, and I swear the song wasn’t a quarter of the way through.

Who is that?

Are we really in Lexington?

And then I glanced up to see this:

And I’m not even on vacation.

Why was I so surprised? What is it about being in your own hometown that makes you look right past everything that is wonderful?

Lured in by both the music and the promise of “martinis with a vengeance,” we moseyed on over to Arkos for a nightcap. Let me tell you, Arkos did not disappoint.

Mojotini at Arkos, oh my

(See the little ears? Serrano chilis. The Mojotini, an original from Arkos, has a rather devilish little bite.)

We toasted, we laughed, we talked about marvelous things. And then we hugged goodbye, thankful to be friends, happy to be reminded life—and our little hometown of Lexington, South Carolina—is filled with sweet surprises.

30 Days of Fun II

*The photo I took of my Mojotini was not nearly as good as the one posted on Arko’s Facebook page. I hope they don’t mind that I borrowed it.

Day 16: The Lost Art of Conversation (a redux)

Pam's living room, the perfect place for conversation

I believe our lives are defined by the mantra that plays in our heads. Here’s mine: I don’t have time. If I just had more time. Why is there never enough time?

I know, I know. It’s a matter of priority and focus. But — and you women know what I’m talking about — somehow it’s ALL priority. My children, my husband, my parents, my family, and extended family, and church, and clients, and causes, and on, and on. There are a thousand details to be managed and executed, and if you “just let that one go,” chances are good there will be a great big hole in its place. (Case in point: DINNER. If it’s not a priority, there isn’t any.)

And thus I rant. Until this week. When I Took Time.

I didn’t mean to. I joined a group of fabulous women for a little holiday gathering at my friend Pam’s house. And I packed a bag, so as not to face a late night 30-minute drive across town.

The evening was lovely in every way. And when all the Fabulous Ladies (I am inspired by every one!) had left for home, my hostess and I settled in front of her warm fire, faces washed and PJs on, and spent two hours wandering aimlessly through each other’s lives.

There was no television to watch. There were no emails to check, no texts to respond to. (And there was no multi-tasking, unless you count “throw-log-on-fire-while-having-meaningful-conversation-with-dear-friend.”) Instead, we sat there, person to person, face to face, and talked—uninterrupted—for a glorious, soulful, peaceful two hours.

The next morning, I woke up renewed. By taking the time to participate in real human conversation, by talking, and listening, and focusing on an exchange of perspectives for which there was absolutely no agenda and for which there would be no “completed” checkmark, I relocated a part of me that had become lost amid a million swirling daily details.

It makes me think about the insatiable appetite of this digital world we live in. How ironic that digital technology gives us the ability to make endless connections, and in our quest to make the most of each of them, we are forgetting what it means to really connect.

And so I vow: Rather than obsessing over my inability to out-manage my demand-filled life, I will, instead, focus on the human being RIGHT THERE who is trying to simply have a conversation with me. And for that moment, I will let the rest go.


This post first appeared on R/blog in December 2010. I hope you don’t mind that I repeated it here. It gave me a chance to step away from the computer and enjoy my 2011 fireside chat with Pam.

Day 15: A Ping of Holiday Joy

Tonight is our Book Club Christmas party. It is one of my favorite nights of the year—what’s not to love about spending a lovely evening in a gorgeous home with a group of smart women who inspire me?

Finishing up work before heading across town, my phone pings with this text message from my dear friend Pam, the party’s hostess:

Isn’t it just the most fabulous text ever? I can’t wait for this evening to begin.

30 Days of Joy