Tag Archives: The Ladies Who Lunch

Find your tribe

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen this morning’s post with a picture of our latest Ladies Who Lunch gathering. Eight of us showed up on Monday. We have one contrarian who is having problems coming back to the group. She always has something “better” to do than to make the time and commitment to see us.

We always meet on a Monday, usually the second of the month, but now that post-pandemic schedules are clicking in and one of our recent attendees is still teaching, we are being flexible, but still on Mondays. I reached out, one more time, to the one who hasn’t rejoined us, and didn’t get a very good response. She has our next date, time, and place. I’m leaving it there.

We need our friends. We need a tribe. It has become even more evident after the pandemic when we rarely saw each other in person. Now that we are back, face to face, in person, we realize the joy we missed when unable to be in each other’s company. These women friends are hilarious. They are compassionate. Maybe it’s because we are all teachers, we are all older, two are widows, most are grandparents. We are women, hear us laugh. And cry. And complain (but very little, and it’s usually about our own inadequacies).

We reminisce and we look forward to what is next. One of the group came late because she was at a another restaurant celebrating her sister. She brought us the menu and we decided that had to be our next place to lunch. We are always looking for the small, the locally owned, the quirky. She also had to leave early because she had a time scheduled to glaze her latest pottery creations. We are planning to get to her next show.

I hope you all have that group of people who work for you. I actually have a few, from different places who do different things. I think it’s okay to belong to more than one tribe, but whatever you do, find your tribe. It will make a world of difference in how you view the world.

If you haven’t already seen the picture of yesterday’s group, here is the Instagram link.

Rainy Monday

Woke up to rain this morning. It appears our area has already received a half Inch. That’s a big deal for us who live in this desert. I pulled in all the backyard furniture and cushions late Sunday afternoon because I knew rain was in the forecast. Terry took down all the wind chimes and stored them in the garage. The furniture and cushions are under the patio and will spend the winter there, providing a dry spot for the cats to sleep. We will probably have to purchase another big cat bed (actually a dog bed, but, you know) for the kitties to snuggle in during the winter.

Sunday was my day to provide coffee fellowship after church. It’s been a busy two weeks so the best I could do was donuts from the family owned donut shop I wrote about last time. I had to apologize to one member who loves my bread pudding as I usually make that in September or October. He was quite happy with the apple fritters that I substituted. I had one member complain about all the sugar, but I pretty much ignore anything this fella says. I did suggest he could provide the “light lunch” which he said we should be offering.

I will rethink my wardrobe for today as we go downtown for our Ladies Who Lunch. No open toed sandals. Probably not a skirt, either. Since we have so little rain around here, I don’t have to make these decisions too often. Our last lunch was on a hot, sunny day. You can see some outtakes of our photo session here. Can’t promise what photos will be taken today.

The pace quickens

Summer is still in the air and since this is the middle of California, it will continue to be warm all the way to Halloween. But maybe, just maybe, the unending days of over of 100 have passed. Maybe…

This Tuesday morning is cool and pleasant. As was the day before it. The Ladies Who Lunch met for our first school-year lunch on Monday, out at a small airfield that dates back to WWII days but which remains a busy place. We saw small planes and helicopters coming and going from our view out the large windows of the cafe where we ate. If you go to my Instagram page you can see some of our fun.

We were a small group, only four out of the possible eight. As for the missing, one was at the bedside of her very ill husband. Another celebrating 52 years of marriage. Another traveling with grandchildren. And another who seems to have quit the group. She hasn’t joined us for over a year and seems to have no interest in seeing us. As we planned for next month’s date and location, we decided to make adjustments for time and place to accommodate busy schedules.

The losses sadden us. There have been many deaths this past year, one of our own group. We are facing the death of a spouse of one of our friends. Our friends are facing challenges as we are all aging. And then there are those who have decided that they will go on without the connection we once had.

My list grows longer with the return to school. I won’t be back in the classroom with books and puppets and stickers until September but there is much preparation ahead to get to that point. I went to the storage unit a few days ago to pull out my bins of “characters.” One of the to-do-list items involves stores to find stickers and props. My wardrobe for school is going to need some updating. I’ve realized my body has morphed into an old lady’s over the summer and will need some better disguising.

For today, though, on this very lovely, cool morning, I am going grocery shopping as we have eaten all the previously laid-in provisions to the point I can no longer figure out an easy fix for dinner.

Eat cake

Monday saw another storm roll over California. The GrapeVine, the highway that connects the Central Valley with Los Angeles, was closed due to snow. Cold, wet weather here in Fresno. But The Ladies Who Lunch were tucked into a locally owned restaurant for a delicious time. Lots of catching up. Lots of planning for the year. We meet every month at a different restaurant. One that is usually small. Definitely locally owned. Preferably using locally-sourced food. That one isn’t too hard since we live in the food basket of the world.

Today’s selection not only uses locally-sourced food, but also hires those who are coming out of addiction and/or homelessness. They recently moved from a downtown location to one farther out in the north part of the city, where there is more money and more people who eat out. Our group chose it because of the new location. It has gone into a spot where a previously favorite cafe had moved out.

I had been seeing their Facebook posts about their cakes, and since I love cake, had already decided that would be my “lunch.” I ordered a sampler of cake–vegan chocolate, carrot, coconut, and citrus upside-down. The citrus and coconut were very delicious. The chocolate was good, especially the frosting. The carrot failed–dry, dense, and unflavorful.

The other gals ordered soups or hamburgers. I offered to share my cake and some tried bites. They too found the cakes to be delicious. They know that I often will select a really good dessert over a savory menu offering when we go out. Life is short–eat cake.

More lunch and more friends

Monday was a Ladies Who Lunch date. Unfortunately, many of the group had other arrangements and could not attend. And, to be truthful, a few have dropped by the wayside. A group of retired teacher friends who go to lunch and spend the afternoon talking is really not their thing. It’s okay. The four of us who drove an hour south of Fresno, out into the country where the world’s oranges are produced, had a splendid time, as you can see here:

The Orangeworks Cafe in Strathmore is a popular spot for lunch. It’s housed in an old orange packing shed, surrounded by orange groves. They have a simple menu–sandwiches and orange ice cream. The lunch special is $9.49.  We stayed for 3 hours, talking and laughing more than just eating. It was good medicine.


It’s the berries

One of the activities of this past week was going to lunch with my retired teacher friends. Due to travels and illness there were only five of us Ladies Who Lunch. We drove to a nearby town, ate good Mexican food, then drove a few miles to one of the major berry producers in our area. We got blackberries and blueberries by the crateload.

The next day, after dropping off my car to be serviced, I made four jars of blackberry jelly. It turned out more like blackberry syrup, but it tastes delicious. Good on toast and also to use with gin and lots of ice to make a blackberry martini. The freezer is full of blueberries which Terry likes on his cereal each morning.

Here we are at The Berry Lady Farms:

Wish it would last

It’s shortly after 7:30 on a Wednesday morning when I start writing this post. I am sitting down with my second cup of coffee and a piece of toast, having been up for over an hour. I have washed my hair, read the newspaper, caught up on Facebook and emails, even writing a few responses. As I waited for the toaster to pop up the multigrain slice of bread I danced across the kitchen floor, singing a tune. Why can’t I feel like this at 7:30 in the evening?

Terry sits at the dining table, watching me and smiling. When I voice that question, he agrees. Wouldn’t that be nice.

The Ladies Who Lunch carpooled, traveling a few miles to have lunch this past Monday in a small farm town where I grew up. I drove one car and we talked the whole way, out and back. One of the topics was the ability to do this early in the day, but after 4 p.m., forget it. I bemoaned that fact that I have completely given up going out in the evening as I just don’t have the energy, the spark, the extrovert personality that shines through earlier. The other gals agreed that it has gotten harder for them, too. This is the group of women who thought nothing of teaching all day and then putting on a dance for students in the evening. Or building a float for homecoming and having a parade late in the day. Or getting into a van with students and driving three hours to a weekend conference. That was then, this is now.

I will enjoy my early morning kitchen dances. It’s all I’ve got!

Ladies Who Lunch

The Ladies Who Lunch have tried to get more organized. It is getting harder and harder to get so many of us to agree on a date and place. One of the retirees decided to take us in hand and set up a schedule of dates and places after asking for some suggestions. We have decided on the second Monday of each month as well as a few road trips to small towns in the Valley.

This week we stayed local, a fish taco place that is also known for its Mexican fusion food. We were missing three of the ladies.

We met at 11 and stayed until 2:30. We love to talk, probably more than we like to eat. It really doesn’t matter where we go, as long as we can all sit and talk and catch up on one another’s life. All those years working together, we saw each other on a daily basis, now it’s monthly and there is so much to say!


Sunshine, beautiful sunshine

Friday’s weather was delightful. No wind. Lots of sun. I went to lunch with The Ladies Who Lunch and Terry worked in the front yard.

There were eight of us at lunch yesterday. Biggest group ever. Our one friend who had back surgery in December was able to rejoin us. She brought her x-rays and showed how the surgeon had literally screwed her back into place. Rods, pins, and screws now hold her upright. She even gained a few inches in height and has lost 30 pounds since she can now move. We were all thrilled to see her back in operation. She loves to drive and the doctors have released her to do so. No stopping her now.

Another retired co-worker joined the group, for the first time. Nelva was the attendance secretary at the large inner-city high school where we all worked. She has been retired the longest of all of us, since 2001. She would be one of the first people I would see each morning when I went to the front office to get our mail. She now attends church with one of the other Ladies Who Lunch so she asked if Nelva would like to join us. She was delighted. Because we were such a large group yesterday, and we met at a very noisy cafe, I wasn’t able to talk much to Nelva, but did learn that she is the aunt to another friend of mine. She had noticed that we were friends on Facebook. Isn’t Facebook just the most amazing device for connecting people? I love it.

Because the cafe was so noisy, and we had met early, some of the ladies decided we should move on to a quieter coffee shop to continue our monthly gabfest as the afternoon was still young. My throat was tired, and I had leftovers to take home, so I declined and headed home. Besides, I also had five loads of laundry waiting there for me.

The sun is so bright this morning, I had to draw the living room drapes to see my computer screen. Not complaining, though. Even with the drapes closed, the room is light and bright. Sure makes me feel better. I’m planning to work in the backyard today. With all the rain, everything has grown like crazy and needs lots of pruning. I told Terry I’m not in any hurry to get out there, though. I don’t have my usual get-up-and-go. He said, “it’s more like sit-and-stay, huh?”  Yep, it sure is.

No substitute #2

The Ladies Who Lunch turned into The Ladies on a Mission this week. We met for lunch on Tuesday, and these gals loaded my car with an abundance of mission-building supplies. I asked our server to take a picture of the group to share with the 4th graders to show them who had gotten them all of the supplies.


From the left: Cathy, Jeri, Gladys, Diane, Delaine, Janet


One of the Ladies is missing from this photo, but she has promised to be there when they  come out to Columbia to view the finished missions and meet the students.

I delivered everything on Wednesday and handed out almost all of the supplies that day. After the final bell rain, and the 4th graders headed out, a group of 6th graders showed up at the door and wanted to know what I was doing. These kids knew me from the craft days I’ve done for the after school program. They wanted to know if I would be coming on Friday for crafts. No, I did that last week, and now I’m giving all my attention to the mission projects.

They talked about their missions that they made two years ago. They wanted to know why I hadn’t brought supplies to them. I wasn’t even around two years ago. This was the first time I had even thought of the need for such a project. Then they asked if I could be their substitute. NO.

That is one position I now know I cannot do. I have never wanted to be a substitute teacher even though I have been asked by numerous teachers (including the four first grade teachers whose classes I read to each week) to do them a favor and sub for them. After the last three days of intense work with kids, only four hours each day, I know for sure that I do not have the energy or wherewithal to do that work for an entire day. Sure the extra money would be nice. The district is paying $135 a day for a credentialed sub. But not that nice. It’s too much responsibility and too much hard work. I like being a volunteer.