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It’s late Sunday afternoon and I’m sitting here reflecting back upon the amazing bookends of this weekend.  A Goodbye on Friday and a Welcome Back today.  Dear friends of mine going on or returning from odysseys.  So much to think about.

D’s pulling up stakes and moving to Austin, TX this week.  A few friends got together at Grand Cru, a wine bar in Bellevue, WA for happy hour, munchies and celebrating her new career chapter.  Every time I go – which is I think all of 2 or 3 times actually – the ambiance and vibe is very warm and relaxed, not pretentious.  LOVE that.  And Friday it was time to toast D and wish her well on her new job and move.  She’s been pursuing this position for quite some time, and the interview process has been exhaustive.  But every time she’d tell me how it was going I just knew.  I just knew she’d get it.  It just felt like and seemed like the Universe would make it happen.  And SHE would make it happen – both with hard work and with the unique combination of passion and effortlessness that it’s just going to happen as it’s supposed to.  Sometimes you just know.

I’ve only known D a few months now – we got acquainted last October in one of my more random weekend encounters in recent memory.  The story is here.  I know there are no accidents in life.  D’s been such a treasured friend – one of my newest – and it’s the type of friendship that while it’s new there is a deep, intuitive understanding of one another.  Sometimes you just resonate with certain people.  What a gift that is.  D’s been such a joy and inspiration.  Selfishly it’s hard to say goodbye as she gets ready to move halfway across the country.  But I couldn’t be happier for her.  She deserves every happiness.  She and Austin will get along amazingly.

And today I met up with P for a fantastic late lunch.  The kind where “all of a sudden” it’s 3:00 after enjoying great food and company.  We went to Desert Fire, a southwest-style restaurant in Redmond Town Center.  It’s funny how I hardly ever shop there (or eat out there, maybe once or twice a year at most, even though it’s not far from where I live or work).  And then I remember why…oh yeah…an ex-boyfriend worked in one of the stores there.  OK, that relationship’s been kaput for 5 years now, but I guess old habits prevail.   I savored the fish tacos and a few glasses of good old plain iced tea.

P’s just returned from an incredible 3-week journey to Alaska… traveling both by the Alaska Marine Highway (a ferry system) and driving with her two beloved dogs.  This trip was not only to visit family, but to experience the incredible beauty and ruggedness of Alaska for herself.  And take a well-deserved vacation.

Tangent time:  P and I worked together very briefly about 5 years ago.  And “worked together” is probably a bit of a stretch.  We were at the same company, in somewhat similar roles but in very different business units which did not have a lot of overlap.  My entire business unit got downsized within a year of me coming on board; P meanwhile remains a seasoned veteran.  I remember as a newbie there scratching my head and wondering how to connect with others in the company who had a similar job title as I.  I scrubbed the company directory and just started emailing people, introducing myself.  And so that was how I met P.  P is one of those rare types where we’ve stayed in contact far longer than anytime we were at the same company together.  And I’m so glad to have her as a friend. 

So back on track here…P’s blog documents much of this trip in both her stories and her photography.  [It’s a great resource for travel planning and preparation too, by the way and for many travel destinations beyond Alaska].   And the additional stories she shared today at lunch reflecting upon the trip and how she feels reflecting back upon the whole experience, well, I just listened joyously, wide-eyed and soaked it all in.  It’s a privilege to know P, to be her friend and her confidante as she thinks about her own journey ahead and shares her dreams, struggles, hopes and passions.  What’s next, where to live, career, successes, joys and ups and down.  LIFE, really.  It’s such an honor when someone opens up about so much to you, don’t you think?  Really, it’s a gift to be cherished.

So here are two great friends of mine, turning two very big (and different) pages in their lives.  What does it mean?  What’s going to happen?  The answers to these questions are unknown, but I DO know everything will unfold in their favor.

I feel so blessed today…to have the friendship of such incredible women in my life.  The gift of time together with great friends, great food and great conversation…THIS is the trio of joys that strums my strings. 

And I’m so happy to have experienced this TWICE in one weekend.  Cheers!