Meetup Mania on Good Friday

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My sister is holding her annual Crawfish Bisque holiday dinner tomorrow. Making the bisque is a two-day process, but the meal will actually be served tomorrow. She blogged about the interesting ritual last year. If you missed it, you can catch it here. I wanted to go over there today, but, alas, with all of the relatives coming in from different places, there was no room at the Inn (either the Hampton or my sister’s place). This will be the first time I’ve ever attended this function. Most of the rest of the world does not have Good Friday off. The Catholic calendar down here in South Louisiana drives much more than Mardi Gras. For weeks, restaurants and churches serve some sort of fish on Fridays, and even the most profitable of businesses close for Good Friday. In other lands, I never had time off to make the trip. This year it’ll be easy.

I texted her yesterday and asked what I could bring. “7 pounds of crawfish tails, 150 cleaned heads and a case of beer,” was her reply. The only thing more holy than the Lenten season in the Land of the White Pickup Trucks is crawfish season, and they happen to intersect at the holiest of all holy days, Easter Sunday. Everybody … I mean everybody is boiling crawfish. And, today is a lovely day to have off. I know that most people are tied up with family gatherings, so I checked out my Meetup group calendar to see if anything was happening today. As luck would have it, my Women in Transition Meetup group was having lunch at Bistro Byronz which is in walking distance of my little bungalow. The Good Fun with People in BR Meetup group is meeting tonight at Live after 5 downtown to hear an original rock band called Cowboy Mouth. Sweeeeeeet….. I can hang out with some fun people twice in one day. So I RSVP’d yes to both.

Cowboy Mouth Video

I worked out with Todd at Live Streaming Fitness, made a few phone calls, washed some clothes and did my Devacurl routine before 10 AM. It was so pretty out, I put on my prettiest new sundress that shows off my lotus tattoo and some comfortable black wedges for the short walk over to the restaurant. I sort of wished it was far enough to get a little more sun, but two ladies were already waiting when I arrived. It was a blast to have a long lunch where nobody had to return to work. I ordered the shrimp and grits, and it was delicious although different than the recipes I’ve had before. The Bistro topped theirs with cheese, and the sauce was thick and creamy. But, the food really wasn’t the main attraction. It was the company that I enjoyed.

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 2.08.30 PMI’ve discovered through Meetup groups that I love to meet new people. I know that I like to cultivate deep, close friendships, but I had no idea how much I liked to go somewhere and have long conversations with people I’ve just met. People are so different, and, yet, we have so much in common. One of the women was recently divorced, and we talked about how crazy it is to date before you’ve been divorced 3 years. I have my little rule about not dating anyone who is less than a year divorced, but my preference is for them to be 3 years single before dating them. There’s just something about that 3 year marker where you are no longer feeling divorced… you are feeling truly single. It’s a whole different experience in confidence and comfort. When I told her about my one year rule, she very quickly said she thinks it really takes 3 years. She tried to date someone, and it was a complete disaster. I felt validated in my claim that it took me 3 years to finally get on my own two feet enough to start dating. We laughed about how people want you to get out and start dating right away, but it’s just such a bad idea.

We had a variety of professions present at the table. A Russian PhD student in Archaeology was a first-time visitor, and she taught us a little about archeology and the Mayans. An Oregonian chemical engineer who recently relocated to Baton Rouge proclaimed her new love of the holy grail of south Louisiana waters, the crawfish, and her ignorance of the emissions testing requirement on her car. And, our Meetup group host who owns her own company in my field of Leadership Development and Career Counseling gave us a primer on managing a Meetup group. One of our new visitors, a 23-year employee of a bridge contracting business shared about food and cooking for one. We all agreed that cooking is hard for one. We each had recommendations for grocers when shopping on a budget and for butchers and specialty meat shops when looking for the very best in carnivorous fare. We spent almost two hours chatting, eating and laughing on a lazy afternoon in an almost empty midtown eatery.

FullSizeRenderAfter a few of us committed to meet tonight at the other Meetup event, I walked back in the sunshine and decided to sit on my porch for awhile with my doggie. The azaleas are starting to wane across the street. A squirrel is precariously walking across the wooden white picket fence in my front yard. The dog next door is finally quiet, taking a much needed nap. The sun just dashed behind a cloud, and a nice breeze is blowing against my legs. The day lilies my friend Vickie gave me last spring look stronger than ever this year. Ashok is snapping at the already vigilant mosquitoes. I dread the buggy onslaught of summer. I think I’ll lay down and take a nap so I can get ready for the music and talk tonight.

FullSizeRender-1It is truly a Good Friday. I’m well aware of the religious context of today, and I am grateful for the sacrifice. The season that began with King Cakes on the Feast of the Epiphany, spiraled out of control during the Carnival season, inspired abstaining from chocolate, alcohol, TV and Facebook ends this Sunday with the colorful and glorious celebration of Easter. It is the rhythm of winter and spring around here. I could get used to this.

Y’all have a great Easter. Tell your Momma and them hello.

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