Dropping back in ... I don't know where to begin. It's been a whirlwind of a week -- from DiAnne's arrival last Thursday to Andrea and Carol's departure Friday afternoon. I'm a zombie. There's so much to take in. So much to be thankful for. So much to release. So much to laugh about. And even some to grieve.
This world of AOL-Journals continues to amaze and inspire me. Even though I have been absent from much of the outer community for a few months, the close friendships I've come to know, continue to grow deeper and more lovely.
I had a home full of women -- women I'd only known through the written word at one time. Strong women. Beautiful women. Intelligent women. Opinionated women.
My life is forever changed. For-e-ver.
For the past month, in preparation for our in-person gathering, six of us have been emailing, getting to know each other on more levels than just the surface of the weather. At one point our inboxes were so overloaded with personal daily babble that we joked about our connection being sweet like sisters -- schoolgirls sharing in giggles, who just couldn't shut up. Thus became the YakYaks.
I love each of the YakYaks uniquely. DiAnne, with her quick-wit and vibrant smile kept things rolling for us those first couple of days. She's got a lot of energy. I wonder if she was a cheerleader, ever. She, Robbie, Cheryl and I went to dinner last Friday night (my god, was it really that long ago?). I believe there's a group photo somewhere in her stash. I was too involved with getting to know them to be bothered with the camera half the time. Thankfully, DiAnne was on top of every possible photo op! I can hardly wait to see her pictures.
The following day, DiAnne and I drove to San Diego to pick up Andrea and Carol from the airport. Their flight was long and Carol was still stoned from her Dramamine patch, but it was Andrea who didn't recognize her bag on the conveyer belt (nor did she recognize the identifying ribbon she tied on the handle). The four of us had a couple of hours to get comfy with each other while driving back to LA in the PeaceMobile -- but not before a few cartwheels in the parking lot to break the ice. [if memory serves, DiAnne has photos of that too. Be afraid. Be very afraid.]
Robbie and Gigi joined us back at our secret, undisclosed location (referenced here, here and here.) This is where the meeting and greeting continued and more eating began -- and it didn't stop till, well, I don't know about them but I'm munching on chips as I write.
So much! There's just so much! Drinks. Star sightings. Food. Robbie's convertible. Photos. Giggles. Talks. More food. More drinks. Laughs. Tears. Music. Love. Light. Fear. Again, more food, more food, more food.
At this moment, my heart is filled with a varying range of emotions, my head is spinning from all that I'm learning and my stomach is bloated (for obvious reasons). I need at least a week to rest from this vacation. [yet I wasn't on vacation and I didn't really go anywhere.]
I've made lifetime friends in Andrea and Carol, but they are now back in their Indiana homes -- too far away, if you ask me. Writing and talking with each of them takes on a whole new meaning today.
Most of you know Andrea from her journal Unhinged. We had begun our friendship in the fall of 2003, based on similarities and connections through journals -- still, nothing could have prepared me for this adorable little (teeny-tiny) shy beauty. I'm blown away. Truly, she's more beautiful in person. Intelligent and strong. Wise and deep. I have to cut myself off somehow because I gush when I think of how adorable she is. When she smiles, she lights up a room. She has so many quirky facial expressions -- all of them, adorable!
Carol needs a blog. She's a great writer and her in-person personality is even more dynamic than the hysterical antics I've been receiving in her emails all these weeks. Gentle, intuitive and wise beyond her years. A young, beautiful mom of two boys (and two dogs), she has the softest hands I've ever held. Andrea's are right up there in the soft zone too. How do you girls do it? And why didn't I ask for tips while you were here? ::sigh:: I miss you.
Even though I have known Robbie (in real life, as they say) for a while now and Gigi and I had spent some time together before this convention, I was able to experience a deeper connection with each of them last week. I know I can count on Robbie for her honest opinion. Her reflection helps me gain perspective in many situations. Gigi and I were the late-night gigglers during the sleepover Saturday night. What was it, 3am when we decided to crash? I could've stayed up past dawn talking with her.
She and I were later blessed with the opportunity to spend an evening in Paradise with Andrea and Carol the night before they left. We continued our connection there. [more drinks. more food. more fun.]
Saying goodbye to the Indiana girls was bittersweet. We sipped on lattes, reminiscing about the week's events. As the security line at the airport began to swing around a corner, we decided it was time they get in tow. Still, the line moved way too fast for my liking. I wasn't ready to let go. But it was time.
Strange how it seems there wasn't enough time to experience all we wanted to (Venice Beach, Hollywood). Yet, we experienced more than we ever could've imagined. There were beautiful moments where it felt like time stood still and we were connecting on that unspoken level where no words are necessary. Just breath and love. Very few things in life compare. Like chocolate. Or a sneeze.