Monday, June 13, 2011

Huxley Had it Right

I was sitting in the outdoor cafe section of the Argo Tea Shop in Chicago last Sunday, the sun warm and bright (at long last), sipping some iced limonello tea and browsing through one of the freebie papers offered at the shop, when I glanced at the horoscope. My friends had left town and my train didn't leave for another few hours. This was what it said for Leo.

"In the 1934 book "Beyond the Mexican Bay," British author Aldous Huxley observed that "the natural rhythm of human life is routine punctuated by orgies." He was using the word "orgies" in its broadest sense - not to refer to wild sex parties, but rather to cathartic eruptions of passion, uninhibited indulgence in revelry and spirited rituals of relief and release. That's the kind of orgy you're due for, Leo. It's high time to punctuate your routine."

I don't know if I'd ever thought of an orgy in these terms, but when you look at it that way, it was precisely what my Chicago weekend was. And, it was very sweet indeed!

I met up with two friends, friends I'd known for several years and "punctuated my routine!"

The comments our families had before we met ranged from "How do you know these people?" to "Mom, it's going to be a 40-year-old man with bodies in the basement."

But I liked Diana's husband's name for us best -- the bloggies.

I was meeting with Diana (aka Oh) of The Writing Life (and for old timers as Oh, Books! Oh Paper! Oh, Life!) and with Kerry (aka Qugrainne and now (And that's the order of us above, with me in the middle!)

We have been following one another's blogs for at least two years, when Becca started "Write on Wednesday" and for all of us, writing and books play a major role in our lives. We also share an artistic streak, appreciating art and creating our own.

What better place to connect, then, than in a city midway that is filled with art, life, beauty and music! (And bustling city streets with traffic! This enthusiastic woman danced on the street, almost as though choreographed!)

We met on Friday and while we'd never set eyes on one another until that day, we felt as though we'd been friends for a very long time. As we walked the city that first day (and we walked a lot!), we talked about writing and books, our families, our career plans, our travels, our lives.

We'd mention fellow bloggers in conversation as though they were neighbors -- "You know, Ruth, don't you?" "Oh, I love her!" "Anno's sure had a lot going on!" "Linda has a good system -- one long post a week." "You read Bella, right?" And when someone said "Do you know Carl?" I knew I was going to come home and check it out.

To kick up your heels and meet up with friends you've never met was interesting -- I've traveled with people I know far better and with whom there have been more travel challenges: "I want to go here" or "I want to go there." Our group all had some similar interests -- we knew the art museum was a must -- and we were all game for anything.

No one was conceding to be polite. We were simply up for it. And if anyone had said, "Gee, I don't think so," we all would have agreed, knowing there were plenty of alternatives.

All of us have a passion for photography so no one was impatient when one stopped for photos -- usually, we'd all pull out our cameras and shoot! (And I confess, I'm excited to see everyone's photos to see how shooting the same images differ!)

In moving along in an unscheduled, unplanned way, we discovered beauty when we least expected it (like this stained glass exhibit at Navy Pier.)

We spent the day doing what we liked with people we liked, whether it was at the museum...

Navy Pier...

The Blues Fest...

Walking the city (with a little shopping and photography thrown in!)

Or simply doing what we did best -- talk, compare notes, share stories, talk about things that made us angry or sad or concerned.

If we wore on each other's nerves, I couldn't tell it. I know no one was on mine, and the only disappointment was saying farewell.

There's more to say, to share and show about this wonderful city -- but I've rattled on long enough. Except to say this...

I think you can tell from reading a blog if a person is a bit of a kindred spirit. We share how we live, our passions, our lives, our talents. We may or may not agree on every topic, yet we can tell when one is being authentic.

I think all of us were curious, but none of us really believed that we'd come to Chicago and encounter a 40-year-old man with bodies in the basement. Or if we did, he wouldn't be one of us!

To connect face-to-face merely adds a third dimension to the person we see in a rectangular format on a screen. Sometimes the warmth leaps off that screen, we might even see a movie so we know what the voice is like. But that third dimension is icing on the cake -- and we all know, frosting is the best part!


Mae Travels said...

That sounds like a wonderful weekend. I love the way you used the Chagall window to punctuate your ideas!

Jeanie said...

What a fun time for all of you, Jeanie....a perfect way to "punctuate your routine". I have been able to meet two blog friends and it was really wonderful both times.

Becca said...

I've got the the biggest smile on my face reading this - you've made my Monday!

I love that you all met each other through Write on Wednesday :) I do think we build special relationships through writing about our selves and our lives. Blogging is a powerful medium in that regard.

And of course, I think about my son and daughter in law who conducted their entire early courtship via email and didn't meet in person until a year after they met online. But their personal meeting was just the cement on a relationship they had developed in countless words written back and forth to one another.

Thanks for sharing this, and I'm so glad you had such a great time!

Linda Jo said...

How wonderful! I'm so excited you got to meet each other...and had a great time doing it. Great photos, too! Enjoy!

Janet said...

This post made me smile from start to finish. You have such a wonderful way of incorporating your photos into your words. Meeting online blog friends is the best! I can tell that you all had a fun-filled day....the smiles said it all.

Marilyn Miller said...

Of course frosting is the best part and you certainly celebrated the weekend with lots of frosting. How wonderful and joyful! I just love meeting fellow bloggers and someday you will be on my list.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Ah!!! Sounds like so much fun. I have been fortunate enough to meet several bloggies and every meet up has been so awesome. I have found that people are exactly as they come across on their blogs. And those friendships we form thru the written word are totally authentic. I consider my blog friends as best friends. In fact I will be a bridesmaid in 2 bloggers weddings next year. Which is a testament to the strength of friendships i have developed.

Isn't Diana the best? Love her. And her husband who in call Michael Corleone because he is this fabulous Italian!!

Thanks for sharing your weekend with us!!

beth said...

meeting up with other bloggers is one of the greatest gifts ever.....and you three look like you had a blast !
and chicago....swoon !!

Oh said...

Oh, Jeanie - you put it all together fabulously! Love seeing your pictures (same as mine but different, ya' know? I'll post some, too - maybe tonight.)
You are the diva of story-and-pictures. I love the lion and bravo to you and Kerry for taking your cameras to the blues festival - while I quailed at taking mine into the rain which turned out not to BE rain!!!!

And Lisa D made me laugh (above) talking about my husband, Richard, who she (endearingly) calls Michael Corleone (due to his head-of-the-family Italian presence) and next time, yup, we should invite Nor and Lisa D (who are great friends, too).
It's Tuesday night already; I love looking at our trip, here.

Ok, ok, I'll go do something, too - at least post some pictures!
thanks for a most excellent weekend, "bloggie" and hugs to you and yours!

Maryhocam said...

What a great opportnity. Glad you had a wonderful weekend. Loved the photos

Anonymous said...

Great report with illustrations, Jeanie! It was fun, and I am looking forward to the repeat performance!!
It will take me a few days to get my pics up..... too much to do at the end of the year.

~*~Patty S said...

how wonderful that you three "bloggies" got to meet...I so get the thrill of that!

looks like a fabulous time too...horoscopes are always fun and often food for thought...yours was quite something Jeanie :)


Relyn Lawson said...

I do so long for something like this. With you! Woulnd't we have fun?

Nora said...

Hi! It's Nor (Diana's daughter). Loved reading about the meet-up; mom talked about it for awhile and I'm so glad that she finally got to meet some of her bloggie besties as I call them. Such a fun journey, this blog world, weaving lives and friendships, experiences and more. Fabulous, lovely and wonderful. I hope to meet you all sometime, seriously!

Laura said...

How wonderful!!!! So glad you got to meet up with your friends in person!!! Sharing like interests with another person is one of life's most precious gifts!!!

Barb said...

Happiness is an orgy in the city with fellow Bloggies! Looks like fun, Jeanie.

Bella Rum said...

Wonderful! Wonderful! Oh, this made me smile. It sounds like you had so much fun, and I'm so excited to see Diana (aka Oh) there with you. I love her blog. And you can bet that I'll be checking out Kerry!

We loved Chicago when we visited in April. Of course, our visit was a little different. We had the grandchildren, but isn't that what's great about Chicago? They have something for everyone.

Loved, loved, loved this post, and I'm so glad you all had such a wonderful time together! Isn't blogging the best?

Annie Jeffries said...

Jeanie! I finally landed. This is so wonderful. It was just like when Anna and Gemma and I met up in Phoenix this past February. What fun fun fun to connect with kindred souls in the real world. Love the photo of the water fountain. It looks like it's on fire.


Ruth said...

I finally made it here to read this post! I was excited when it came up on Google Reader FOUR DAYS AGO, yikes. I even saw my name invoked, and very nicely too! :D

My dear Jeanie and my dear Oh, how wonderful that you two met. I have not met Kerry, but it is nice to meet her here.

I see some of my favorite things in Chicago. You know how much I love the Art Institute, and the Chagall windows, ohhhhh. I have a pic of one on my phone background.

I love this post, because I feel just the same. We find people of kindred heart in these spaces, and our friendships are different than with those we know in the flesh. We choose them in different ways, and because we have much in common. I totally get online courtships because of this. Then it's great when you actually do hit it off in person, like you and me!

We do need to get together so we can talk about the band, et al!!! I can't believe you are friends with Ben's parents. Well, I can . . . You know they're gonna be in Chicago at Lollapalooza in August? We will go down to hang out with Peter, though I don't know yet if we'll get tickets ($90 a pop, but he might be able to get us in).

Jennifer Richardson said...

Oh happy bloggie times!!!
I love the story of your sweet
encounter and the photos are
Thanks for sharing
and inspiring:)

anno said...

What a glorious orgy of a weekend -- I'm so glad you all got together (and the teensiest bit envious, too, even though I know my opportunities for a trip away are still far far away). Can't imagine a better place for a meet-up than Chicago, and I sure can't imagine a better group of people. Sounds like a wonderful time!

Terry said...

So happy to have read this. I've been so busy lately I have not been on many of my favorite sites and I was glad to read about your wonderful trip. The pictures are marvelous and made me want to visit the windy city! So glad you had a good time!

Anonymous said...

you all look so happy to have connected in person! i imagine your online time with be even more rich and more relaxed ~ what a way to treat yourselves ~ yeah!

Joanne Huffman said...

I have had nothing but good luck when meeting blogging friends (you are a case in point),

Anonymous said...

I have had lunch with a man blogger and his wife. They were traveling and asked to meet me. They were very nice. I do know people from blogging for years but have not met them. I would like to meet them but they live far away and some even in Europe, but I do keep up with them through their blog. It is nice you had a wonderful time. You have a nice blog.

Stevenson Q said...

Oh dearest Jeanie! Thank you so much for joining Timeless Thursdays! You had me very very happy to see you join and your beautiful entry with your blog friends! Thank you very much for this tour to the windiest city on Earth as they say! I've always wanted to see Chicago but my brother did not allow me to make it to that trip since I don't know anybody there. I really hope someday I can see it too and also get to see and meet some of my blog friends just like you dearest Jeanie!

Again thank you so much and hope to see you again with awesome, timeless posts like these :) hugs!

Iris Flavia said...

Jeanie, always a joy to see... you know, a Sibling of Henry straight away!
A wonderful post I SO can realte to and I certainly love the last part, even though my sweet tooth is fast asleep!
The third dimension is the best, I hope 2022 we´re allowed to have it again.

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