Friday, May 16, 2008

We Missed You, Valerie!

This is our book group, minus Valerie. She just had surgery and couldn't be with us tonight. So, I am going to stray from my normal rambling and have everyone in the group send a little message to Valerie. Steph ,Lynn, and Marilyn couldn't make it tonight, either. In addition to the people in the photo, and those I just mentioned, we have a couple ad hoc members. Jacque currently lives in New York, and Denise is in SunPrairie. Although they moved, we still think of them as part of the group. They frequently read the books we select, and send us their thoughts on it, or a nice catch-up missive via email. We lost Cindy to cancer about a year ago We talk about her often and smile as we remember her coming to our Halloween party in a swimming suit. She was dressed as her favorite character from Angry Housewives Easting Bon-Bons. Valerie dressed as Jane Austen, and I was Oedipus!
This is the second book group I have belonged to, and they differ vastly in character. The first group was formal. There were rules and procedures, and not much socializing. The group I belong to now is quite the opposite. We keep track of events in one another's lives, without being intrusive. We even have a couple family soap operas that are being shared, and we look forward to each monthly installment. Members bring travel and special event photos, bounce around work frustrations, and celebrate personal triumphs. We meet once a month on a Friday, starting at 5:30. Most meetings last at least until 9 , and more often till 10. We have so much to cover!
We have an unspoken, informal agenda with topics that must be covered some time during the night...griping about a certain member's passion for The Shipping News, and foreign films; debating whether or not the tiger in The Life of Pi was real or symbolic; Tom Cruise's sexuality, and Johnny Depp's sex appeal and what has recently been featured on "20/20", "60 Minutes", "48 Hours", whatever. Between agenda items, we discuss the book, or the movie on the docket, and meander through a variety of issues - some related to the topic, some not even close.
After a week of work, meetings and life in general, I look forward to Friday night beginning a stretch of no commitments. Sometime I hear myself groaning, "Oh no, book group tonight, don't make me go." But you know what? I always go. I know that Nancy will bring Cheetos; Mary will bring chocolate, Steph or Valerie will bring wine. I know that I will laugh, and be among good people. Those times are so worth having.
I really did think I would cut straight to the messages for Val, but it just didn't turn out that way. But as promised, here come our little message to Valerie......
(Oh...FYI, Valerie teaches Psychology at SLC and she just got a big, well deserved promotion! Way to go, Valerie.)
OK, since I'm here, I'll start. Hey Valerie! Basically, everyone liked the book. Yes, we managed to get in some of our normal agenda items, including a mention of Johnny Depp, and foreign films. However, we deferred any discussion of The Shipping News until you return. Here's something to keep you busy...find the Cheetos in the photo! Great news about the promotion! We know how hard you have worked. I hope your heal heels quickly.
Hi Val - Missed you at our May book club meeting. Hope you liked the book, I did miss your input, hopefully you'll be back with us soon, to catch us up on all the Hollywood gossip. Good luck with your recovery. Sharon
I guess I won't be seeing you out walking your dog for a while. Hope your foot heals well as mine did. Liz
Congratulations on your promotion at SLC. It is about time!!! I really liked the book. This was my kind of reading. Hope you're up and about in a very short time. Take care. Mary
Congratulations on the job and on having SUMMER! Hope that you heal fast so you can enjoy your time off. Missed having you at book club--especially as we all liked the book for a change. Hope all is well. Nancy