Like spring and swinging and talking with your friends over some tea.

“Love is a healing thing, love is a believing thing, like spring and swinging and talking with your friends over some tea.” -Sarah Masen’s version of “Love”

Yesterday morning I was doing some cleaning in the kitchen, and I looked around and thought how much I love that room of our house. It’s big and bright, with lots of counter space and plenty of storage. We spend a fair amount of time in there, and maybe it’s all my recent baking endeavours, but I feel more comfortable in the kitchen than I ever have before.

When we’re with Scott and Kelly, as we were this weekend, Kelly and I usually spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen. For Saturday evening we made something from a Rachael Ray cookbook that took longer than 30 minutes but was still very tasty. Sunday lunch was butternut squash soup with sandwiches. I also went through some of her recipe books (usually Mike is the one to do that, see how I’m growing?) and got some new recipes to try . . . maybe it’s because there aren’t fresh vegetables to do things with, but this time of year I feel like we get stuck eating the same things over and over. We didn’t bake this weekend, because we both spent most of December baking.

(Speaking of baking, I got a very interesting package yesterday from Susan, containing some baked goods, which I was instructed to share with Mike, and the recipe, which he is not allowed to see. Isn’t it nice that my friends are already helping me prepare for the Christmas Smackdown – oops, I mean Bakeoff 2006?)

Saturday morning, Kelly and I were drinking tea and eating English muffins, and the song from the title came into my head. That’s what the weekend was like for me, and that’s what it’s like when we spend time with those friends. All we did all weekend was cook and eat and watch all 12 chapters of Trapped in the Closet on the DVD that I gave Scott for Christmas (and Kelly may never forgive me for that, but my response to her is: “What I’m about to tell you is so damn twisted, not only is a man in the cabinet, but the man is a midget!”) and movies and football and Gilmore Girls (only one episode, despite trying to watch more). And it was lovely. That line in the song makes me think of them, not just because of all the time we have spent together, but it also reminds me of the swingset that used to be behind the EUC on campus at UNCG, and how I remember swinging with Kelly one afternoon in the late spring. It was probably the end of our junior year. I wish that swingset was still there.

Our own kitchen has lots of memories already, too, of friends and family gathered around, of cooking disasters and triumphs. When I think of having our friends over, I think about last fall when Scott and Kelly were staying with us for the Thanksgiving Dinner we were having at our house. We were having a girls’ day on Saturday morning, and I was making soup and Kelly was sitting at the kitchen table drinking tea. That’s the kind of home I want to have, where my friends and I can sit in the kitchen together over warm beverages and talk about how we are doing. In all those Friends episodes we’ve been watching, I’ve noticed how Monica is always putting food on the table and offering people chips as the gang hangs out. I want my home to be like that (even if I won’t ever be a chef like Monica – although I can make the world’s best chocolate chip cookies using the famous Nestle Tollhouse recipe).

Hanging out with Scott and Kelly was a great way to start out this year – my heart has been really hopeful the past few weeks about some exciting things that may be coming up. That hope and spending time with them also made me think of the words to another Sarah Masen song:

Here the wind blows softly, carrying a note forever, cradling a melody of hope.”

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