Moving ranks right up there with divorce, death and natural disasters when it comes to stress. More than acclimating to new surroundings, locating a new butcher or hair salon, or figuring out where to hang the tapestry reading “Bless This Home” Aunt Jean made for you when you were four, it is leaving behind friends you have made in the area you are moving away from. I make it a practice to try not to leave friends behind. In my world true friends are a valuable commodity. However, life tends to have a way of interfering with good intentions. Through tearful goodbyes promises are made to visit soon and to stay in touch, however, distance and busy lives can widen the gap between conversations. Though always connected by shared times, friendships may fade slightly, some disappearing from the screen altogether.
I have one friend who has traveled with me since I was under the legal age, more family really. Her name is the only one in my address book who was a part of my life as the pivotal events unfolded. Looking back at my travels, I would suppose in a way I have missed something by not planting deeper roots, allowing myself instead to be whisked up by the capricious wind to be tossed here and there. Whether I chose this semi-nomadic life, or it chose me, I have yet to determine. Would I change the course of it looking back? Some turns I’ve made in the road certainly, but most not. The sum of the whole is who I find myself to be these days. As the years pass, I find I’m comfortable with that. Like fingerprints, no two lives are exactly alike. There are pluses and minuses associated with each path walked. Along the way I have gathered an eclectic group of friends and characters, many I still have contact with. Each stop in the road I’ve made new acquaintances. Some forever friends, others only seasonal. All have given me a little something to add to the pot of friendship I have brewing, including you who are reading this now. The benefit to traveling in my mind would be the diversity of humans who cross your path and seeing different views from beyond your window from time to time. Certainly there are many pluses to staying in one place as well. When the friends you grow up with are the friends you carry with you through your adult years strong ties are forged. Memories are made over s’mores at girl scout camp, shared space in wedding photos, baby albums, or anniversary parties. Old pals offer willing shoulders in the bad times and partners to celebrate with during the triumphs. Since the first written accounts of human behavior friendships have been enduring and important facets of our lives.
Women approach friendship, in my observation, in much different ways than men. This is not to say men don’t form deep associations, but they appear to this writer to form them differently. Truthfully, through my marriages and relationships the men in my life seemed to have had fewer close friends when compared to the women. When I am hurt, angry, unsure, or processing a problem having a friend to talk to can make sense of my world or at least ease the way for me to. Whether to wear the jeans and the yellow blouse or the sundress and the white sandals is not a question I would pose to my other half, but certainly one I would seek counsel for in a friend. We ladies are the communicators. My other half is fascinated I can have a phone conversation with the same female several times a week and still find subject matter to talk about. In turn, I am fascinated he is fascinated at something second nature to me. Words, as you may have noticed, are not something I find I am in short supply of.
American men, in particular, are weaned on phrases like “tough it out”, “be a man”, “crying is for babies”, all phrases likely to encourage a little boy to internalize his emotions or to consider his emotions feminine or weak, if you will. Men in other countries are comfortable with showing affection, hugging each other, offering a kiss on the cheek, or crying when moved. Rick told me when growing up in Egypt it was not out of the ordinary to see two male friends walking hand in hand down the street. My other half is my best friend, but our approach to problem solving or emotional issues is as opposite as Joan Rivers might be to Queen Elizabeth. Sometimes this hampers communication, but part of being in a relationship is compromise and offering your partner unconditional love, even if he is consistently the one who is wrong. (Smile.)
It makes me wonder, as my mind insists on doing, where men go to deposit their emotional garbage. Maybe sporting events provide an outlet to let off steam and diffuse some anger or frustration. I’m not sure, because as many years as I’ve logged I still haven’t figured the male animal out. This is not for a lack of trying as history would attest.
In our troubled world today friends and family seem to gain added importance. Life is unpredictable, even frightening at times, and it is nice to know there are those out there watching our backs or noticing if we aren’t where we are supposed to be. With all the events transpiring in the news of late, perhaps banding together and caring for each other has taken on even more emphasis than in less trying times.
My thoughts for today, in what continues to be a weird, if not disturbing year.
I have to tell you these were simply the most wonderful burgers. Burgers are right on top of my list of foods that make me smile, and these actually induced a giggle. Let me know if you give them a try. If you can’t find the havarti dill cheese, certainly plain havarti will suffice, but it is especially good this way.
Juicy Dill Cheeseburgers with Sauteed Mushrooms, Onions and Sour Cream Dill Sauce
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 onion, sliced 1/2″ thick
Salt and pepper
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions and brown on one side, then turn and brown on the other. Reduce heat and continue to cook until onions are tender and golden brown. Keep warm.
1 lb. mushrooms sliced thick
3 green onions, sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup white wine
Place all ingredients in large skillet. Bring to boil over med-high heat. Reduce heat and allow to simmer stirring often for about 10 mins. or until most of the liquid is evaported. Remove from heat and keep warm.
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. dill
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate 1 hour to marry flavors. Spread on both sides of buns for burgers.
Juicy Dill Cheese Burgers
1 lb. ground chuck
1 onion, finely chopped (I pulse in food processor)
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. Liquid Smoke
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. water
1 egg, beaten
4 slices havarti dill cheese
4 Hamburger buns
In large mixing bowl mix all ingredients except meat until well blended. Crumble meat over top and mix with fingertips until evenly distributed. Make four patties. Allow to sit in refrigerator, covered, for 1/2 hour for better results.
Heat large skillet over med-high heat. Add burgers. Cook until browned on one side. Turn over and brown on the other side. Reduce heat and continue cooking about 8 mins. or until desired doneness. Top with cheese slices, cover and allow to melt.
Toast buns in oven or in dry skillet. Slather both sides with dill sour cream sauce. Add burgers to bottom of buns and top with mushrooms and onions. Yum.