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04-01-2002 @ 9:46 p.m.
My Friend Marti

Since it's so fresh in my mind, I thought I'd tell you a little about my friend Marti and why I enjoy her company so much.

While we were driving around San Francisco, she told us lots of little tidbits about the city and her childhood visits to the city and how things used to be and how they are now and where they've been in the past. I love hearing tidbits like that. I like hearing little histories and origins of things and people's experiences in a place and their remembrances of a place. It was very nice to hear what she had to say. She was also very informed politically and civically and was able to relay that kind of information to us as well. I felt like I learned more about the city that way and it seemed more intimate to me that way.

Marti took a few nature classes and has a general interest in horticulture so she was able to identify the flora for me as we drove along the countryside and walked around Coloma. I loved this. My grandfather used to take us on hikes and horseback rides and tell us the names of the plants we passed by and tell us what kind of animals ate it or didn't eat it and if there were any medicinal uses for the plant. He's also tell us about the geology and natural history of an area. I have always liked knowing the things that are around me and have a field guide of plants of the Pacific Northwest that I refer to. I like to tell Joey the same kinds of things. She likes learning about our local flora and fauna. But except for Marti, I don't know anyone else my age who is so interested in this stuff (I mean, who isn't already a botanist or horticulturist or nursery owner). I love that she took a class to learn it. I love that she just shares her knowledge matter of factly like, of course, everyone would want to know that.

I love that she is one of my most intelligent, most informed, most educated friends. She graduated from school early, started college early and studied humanities, art, architecture, classical civilisations and all that great stuff that I love. I love that while we were walking along at the Palace of Fine Arts (an amazingly beautiful structure, to be sure), I could ask her, when she told me that the columns were corinthian, "What are the defining features of doric, corinthian and ionic columns?" And it's not like she's showing off or trying to be esoteric. It's matter of fact. She knows I understand what she's talking about and isn't afraid to ask me similar types of questions. It's not like we're a couple of grad students comparing Wittgenstinian philosophy with nihilism or existentialism or anything like that. We just like to talk about what we know and learn more about what we don't know.

She remembers things. Birthdays, preferences, experiences, clothes, things you said 12 years ago. You know. Important stuff. It's nice to know that she remembers my dislike of airy foods (souffles, for example) and won't ever make them for dinner.

She lets me help her. Like on Saturday, she discovered that her daughter had had a potty accident in her bedroom while she was starting to fix dinner. I offered to help with dinner and basically stumbled my way around her kitchen making the spaghetti and salad while she took care of her little one. This might not sound like much but it made me feel much more comfortable in her home than I was in my SIL's house where she wouldn't let me to anything at all--even something as easy as peeling a cucumber. (She did, however, let me put the tabs in her cookbook.) But knowing that I could help Marti out when she needed it helped me feel like I was giving back a little something for her wonderful hospitality.

Marti is an attentive mom. She reads to her children, even her 12-year-old, and does art education for her children's school. When a woman at church was lamenting that they weren't able to get their kitchen demolition done in time for the contractors coming in, Marti asked if she could send her son and husband over to help out. She wanted her son to have an opportunity to serve and help out. Her children aren't angels by any stretch but they are good kids. Solid, intelligent, respectful, independent, clever, interesting children. She laughs with her children and finds the time to spend one-on-one time with each child. She has a personal relationship with each one and I find that highly commendable. It's not easy to do that with four active children and a busy life.

She is thoughtful and generous and tremendously hospitable. We've stayed at their house many times and I never feel like we're some kind of imposition. She thinks of little things to make us feel comfortable like stocking up on foods she knows we like. It's those kinds of little touches that make me feel comfortable. Welcome. Invited.

I so wish she and her family would move to Vancouver. It would be so wonderful to have them nearby to go to dinners with--they love eating out at nice restaurants as much as we do--and to talk to and go on outings with. I have missed them. They used to live nearer--an hour away--and we did lots of things together. I keep hoping, though. They want to move here but with things being so up in the air jobwise because of the HP-Compaq merger, they can't make any decisions for a little while.

But I treasure my friend Marti. She is a lovely person and a true and loyal friend. What more could a person want?

--L

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