The Day After

150 150 Kristin
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Dear Frances,

We’re back! Boy oh boy, re-entry into real life after a fun trip is hard!

A little background–our readers may not know a few things about our friendship. We have been in touch on a daily basis for at least ten years now. First via email and later through the app Voxer. Until last week, we had only met in person one time—for dinner about seven years ago. But last week, a group of friends (Patty, Jen, Frances, and I) all shared an Airbnb in Atlanta while we attended the modern quilt show called QuiltCon.

Have I mentioned to you that this was the first “girls’ weekend” I’ve ever done? I’ve traveled for work, but I’ve never done a weekend away with friends. I’m so glad I did! First, let’s just acknowledge that online friendships are real friendships! I was amazed at how comfortable I felt around a group of women that I had basically met online and got to know via Voxer or Skype.

The wine and conversation flowed freely for several days. This trip confirmed to me the benefits of getting out of our comfy homes occasionally and being in community. I always seem to take something away from being around people for an extended period of time that changes my life in big and small ways. In addition to just getting to know our little group of friends better, I learned from you that I should try some texture spray on my hair. (FYI-I borrowed some of yours.) I found out from Patty that there is a new Jojo Moyes book that I absolutely need to read ASAP. And after Jen told me the story of how she and her husband became vegan after watching Forks Over Knives, I talked to Gary, and while we may not be vegans right now, we are definitely making a commitment to eating vegetarian dinners at least three times a week and adding more as our repertoire grows. I’m reminded that we often leave an imprint on people that we aren’t even aware of.

I don’t feel like you and I got enough time to just hang out, but it was fun to have the late night real-time conversations about compelling topics like the Murdaugh murder trial and our positions on the whole Harry and Megan thing. Who knew that a slumber party would be so fun in our 50s? And then there was the quilt talk! There is nothing like a room full of people who are passionate about the same topic! I remember the first time I went to a knitting group and said, “It’s just such a relief to talk about knitting with people who get it!” This was a whole weekend of people who just get us! You definitely push me to see things in a different light and expose me to art and music that I hadn’t experienced before.

After the high of a long weekend full of friends, good conversations, wine, and good food, it’s hard to come back to earth! Unfortunately, I didn’t schedule any margin into this trip. I got home at 11pm Sunday night and had to work the next morning. (Note to self: Don’t do that again). The first day was a bit rough, but I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. I already can’t wait for QuiltCon 2024!

Dear Kristin,

I’m so sorry you got home so late on Sunday night! I know that meant for a rough start to the working week. Next year, when you come to Raleigh for QuiltCon 2024, you need to build some bumpers into your schedule. That’s what I did this year, which was easy to do given that my older brother lives in Atlanta. I spent Sunday night at his house in Druid Hills, visiting with him and his family. I won’t say that I jumped out of bed fresh as a daisy the next morning, but I was much better rested than I would have been if I’d driven to Durham (a six-hour drive) on Sunday afternoon. 

Anyway, next year you could stay over at my house on Sunday night and then arrive back in LA fresh as daisy on Monday. Or Tuesday. It might take more than one day to recover, afterall. 

I want to affirm what you said about online friendships being real friendships! Over the years, I’ve met all sorts of people I’ve had online friendships with, via Facebook groups and podcasts and the like, and there wasn’t a single blip when our friendship transitioned from virtual to in person.

Like you, I’ve never really done the Girls’ Weekend thing. But I’m totally into our QuiltCon crew. To give our readers some background, the crew was born in 2017, when Jen and I rented a house in Savannah and our young friend HollyAnne joined us for a brief overnight stay (she had babies to get home to). Two years later, the three of us rented a house in Nashville and the good times continued to roll. This year, adding you and Patty to the crew not only increased our numbers, it increased our fun. (I wish HollyAnne could have stayed with us, but as a vendor she needed to be closer to the show. I was so happy when she came over to hang on Saturday night. She’s like the little sister I never had.)

HollyAnne, Me and Jen in Savannah, 2017

I was a little nervous about sharing a room with you, for no other reason than I was afraid I wouldn’t sleep well and I’d keep you up all night with my tossing and turning, even though we were in separate beds. However, having had a lovely bout of Norovirus earlier in the week and very little to eat for days meant that I was thoroughly exhausted and slept like a baby (more or less). Thinking about it now, I should have known we’d make excellent roomies. And I should have known that we’d stay up til 1:00 AM discussing the Murdaugh murders, even though I swore to myself that I would do no such thing! 

The Crew sans Patty

One thing I noticed about coming home this year: it’s very different to return to an empty nest. For one thing, I actually unpacked right away. In the past, I always intended to, but there were too many other things to do when I walked in the door, whether it was after a beach vacation or a round of out of town school visits. Everyday life resumed the minute I crossed the threshold, the life of meals and homework and laundry and carpooling … 

Arriving home from QuiltCon this year was a totally different vibe. It was the first time I’d left home for a few days and returned to everything pretty much in place. Not only that, Clifton had taken Travis to his grooming appointment on Friday, so I returned home to a clean dog! And dinner! I might have felt sad about not having any kids around, except that I stopped in Clemson on my way home to have lunch with Will. We of course discussed the Murdaugh trial. And then I went home to my clean house and my clean dog and slept for a very long time.

Can’t wait to see you next year! Until then … talk to you in the morning!

  • Robin Leftwich

    Oh, you girls are all so cute, and your joy at being with each other just leaps off the page! I’m so jealous! And I love the way you all described this as a slumber party! How fun!
    It’s interesting , Francis, that you felt different coming home this time with no kids waiting. That’s the joy of being able to fully be in the moment of enjoying the girls weekend, you knew there were no worries at home. So happy for you both!

  • Marsha H

    I enjoyed your updates throughout Quiltcon! So happy you are able to do this together. I love the girl trips I take with my 2 sisters. We have so much to talk about and so many shared interests. In 2018 we spent 5 days in Estes, CO with my 2 daughters and my niece. It was a hoot! So much laughter, tears, hiking and wine. Its hard for my daughters to get away with small children at home so I knew this trip was not something that would happen very often.
    I am enjoying your weekly blog posts.

  • Judy Cooke

    Hello to both of you. Frances has met me (virtually). Kristen I have enjoyed hearing from you via podcast on the recommendation of Frances. What a wonderful weekend of fun and friendship you have enjoyed and I thank you for sharing your experiences. So much happening in many ways, the quilts were wonderful eye candy and the weekend house party… just so special a time. I can only hope, dream and share in your joy. Well done and once again thank you. Judy

  • Marilyn Brunner

    I enjoy reading this blog. Thank you for sharing your Quilt Con experience. It sounds lovely. I too attended the show but only for one day. My daughter lives south of Atlanta. It was her first quilt show and boy was she amazed by the experience! We both agreed that we can certainly see how spending several days at such an even would be beneficial. You definitely need time to process all that you are seeing and have time to talk to as many people and vendors as possible. I wish I had run into you all! Marilyn

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