Here’s my latest post for PTPA media.
Here’s my latest post for PTPA media.
Well, the Holiday season is over. With the whoop-de-do and hickory dock, it’s done.
I have to say I’m glad. I’ve had too much to eat, too much to drink, tired of vacuuming up pine needles. It’s time to get rid of the tree, get rid of the treats, and start prepping for the January Blahs.
As I was standing over the sink, shoving the last six few shortbreads in my mouth, the cookies reminded me about a Christmas a few years ago, where we had a lot more cookies left over…
We had moved to an area of the city that was just not working for me. I missed my friends, my neighbourhood, my coffee shops, my stuff. I was a bit isolated and lonely. Now, I don’t want to scare the young’ins, but this was back in the day before Meetup Groups, and neighbourhood Facebook pages. We had to meet people the old fashioned way, just go out and find a group of women, and then lurk around them until it becomes so obvious and awkward they finally HAVE to talk to you.
When children make new friends, it’s easy. You say hi, announce you’re besties, and then run off somewhere holding hands without a care in the world. Nothing matters. Your new best friend likes you the way you are. Ladies are sometimes different. Sometimes you are judged. Sometimes, what you are wearing matters. Sometimes what your husband does for a living matters. Sometimes what you drive matters. “Yes, that IS my neon green Aztec. Why do you ask?” (Please note, I drove one long before Walter White did. Back when it was making the top 5 on the worst cars in the world lists.)
For those who don’t know, there are two kinds of get-togethers that social ladies have. Book clubs, and the dreaded yearly cookie exchange. I had already been kicked out of a Book Club earlier in the year, so cookies were my last chance. (Yes, kicked out, but that’s another story. An X-rated one at that!)
Looking back, I will now admit I was headed for disaster. Hindsight makes it easy to see these were not the friends I was looking for. (I just said that in my Jedi voice, and did a hand swipe. So, right there tells you I was out of my league.)
After much circling and forcing myself into conversations, I snagged myself an invite to join in their annual exchange. This was going to be my moment to shine! These reluctant ladies couldn’t shun me once they tasted my amazing shortbreads, my cutely decorated cookies, my killer maple icing! This was my in! I spent hours baking, icing, piping, packaging. I was ready to win these bitches over!
Off I went. I will admit now, even when I first arrived at the house, I knew I was in over my head. Ever have that job interview you know you aren’t qualified for, and you’re dressed all wrong? It was like that, but with everyone drinking wine. All the ladies were super dressed up, like they were going to the Oscars, and I had on tights, a tunic and leg warmers. In my defence, it was a Tuesday night. Plus, this is my outfit, every day of the year. Ten years running.
After some awkward social banter, it was time! Everyone got their boxes of treats, and the exchange was about to begin! I was BURSTING. I could see some of the other’s stuff, and mine was by far THE BEST! The host announced that since I was new, I could go first. YES. Prime position. I would be a tough act to follow! I could already hear these ladies singing my praises, follow up conversations how they tasted as good as they looked. I had finally cracked the code. I was imagining invites to cottages, and summer night cruises around the Toronto harbour. MY TIME TO SHINE!
I went around the room, handing each woman a lovely, hand crafted package of awesomeness. I was trying to contain my smugness, as I took my place back in the circle. (Picture an elite game of duck duck goose.)
The host held my package up, high in front of her, I could almost hear the Lion King music playing, but, then she spoke, and all I heard was a record needle scratch. (The sound that ruins every fantasy moment in every John Hughes film!)
“These are lovely, (super dramatic, maybe a little sarcastic pause) but where is the recipe card?”
I didn’t know what she meant at first. I started looking around, and then I realized that everyone else’s cookie packages had a recipe attached.
I explained I didn’t know we were supposed to give out the recipe, so maybe next time. The host asked if I knew it by heart. Of course I did, I bragged. Oops. She then offered me recipe cards to write it down on.
Oh boy. Panic was setting in. This was my dad’s secret recipe, and my icing and cookies made me stand out in a crowd. If everyone could make them, then mine would no longer be special! Come on Tara, don’t blow this, I thought to myself. I gulped, and then answered.
“No.” I said.
“What do you mean, no?” she asked indignantly.
“I mean, no. This is a secret family recipe and I don’t want to share it.” I said, feeling now more than a little uncomfortable.
“Well, (super duper too long we all get the point dramatic pause AND sigh) that is crazy.” (It was a little crazy, I’ll admit it, now.)
I stood for what felt like hours. She looked me up and down and then finally said,
“If you do not give us all your precious recipe, then you can just take back your cookies and GO.”
She couldn’t be serious!
I went back around the cookie circle, collecting my packages back from women who now wouldn’t make eye contact with me. I loaded up my goodies, and headed home, defeated and friendless.
Upside, I now had ten dozen shortbread cookies all to myself. So I am going to count that night as an overall win.
It was shortly after that I decided to move back to the area that I love.
My west end.
Finally, I was in a neighbourhood where I belonged. Over the years I have made all sorts of friends. I went from being lonely, to be surrounded by women who are cool, funny, funky, inclusive and kind to others. We dance, drink, laugh, cry, and hang out and it’s easy and stress free. I have amazing neighbours, most of the shop owners know me by name, and we have a great school community.
So, as the New Year sets in, I just wanted to give a big love fest shout out to all my Junction Mommas; what a fine group of ladies we are!
Happy New Year to you, and I look forward to more time together in 2015!
And those cookie bitches can suck it! (Just a test to see if anyone really reads to the end of a blog post.)