I love my friend Lauren. We go way back…all the way back to “teacher school” at CSUSM in, gosh, what was it now? 2003-2004? So we’re coming up on ten years of friendship pretty soon. We first met at TVHS, when we were both substitute teaching. She’d been a long-term sub for a teacher who had a mythology course in second trimester, and when she moved to a different long term assignment, I inherited that course for third trimester. She came in one day to the classroom looking for a mythology textbook she’d checked out. She had such a presence and verve about her that I was sure she was an experienced teacher a couple of years older than I was. It turns out, she is slightly younger. A couple of weeks later, I heard about her in passing from one of our admins, who just absolutely loved her. We didn’t run into each other much though, until…

…a couple months later, when we were both interviewing during the same session for CSUSM’s part-time single subject credential cohort. We both were accepted, started carpooling, gravitated toward the same friends in our cohort, made a video for a class in which I dressed up as a goth student and she dressed up as a cheerleader, student taught at the same time, were both hired at TV in the same department, and the rest is history. I would definitely say she is our leader in our friendship, and I’m not sure if I am entirely right about this, but I think she is one of my only really close extroverted friends—and that makes her very special to me. At least, she seems more extroverted than I am! She is fearless in asking questions and probing people, so she is able to make me ponder aspects of myself in different ways. I see her as a balancing force in my life. She is also, in many ways, more down-to-earth than I might be, and I credit her almost entirely with getting me to see the value of just being more “real” with whatever is going on in my life. She suggested about a year ago that just dropping by people’s homes unplanned or semi-planned is such a gift—we don’t have to spend time putting on shows for one another, or even stressing about whether I am still in my jammies with the house picked up or not. I credit her with completely changing how I view all of my friendships, and breaking down vestiges of formality. Every so often, I hunker down in my cubbies and niches to ponder that dynamic, but she is always patient and giving.

Today we made lemon meringue pie together, well, two of them actually—thanks to the abundance of her lemon tree. We tried two different crusts, one from Joy of Cooking and one from Pioneer Woman. We liked both crusts. We used the lemon meringue recipe from Joy of Cooking, and with her lovely lemons, the filling burst with flavor. My parents came over later and each had a big piece and are hoping for more of it tomorrow. What fun!

Lauren works on her pie crust—her first. It was a triumph! The best part is, her recipe made three crusts, so she has two more waiting another double-crust pie or two single-crust pies. Yum!

Rolling it out

Lauren and her youngest, Baby G

The other kiddos (we had four children 4-and-under this morning!) played with Play-Doh. All of them were so good! We were so thankful for how well they all played together. No major tears, meltdowns, or scuffles over sharing. Very awesome.

Into the oven go the pies!

Oh, so much fun to bake with her!

Two pies before naptime? Not too bad! And what a cozy day for baking and sharing time as friends, too. I’ve wanted to cook with Lauren for a long, long time. I love being in the kitchen with her, and I hope we come up with some other projects soon.

Thank you for this beautiful day, Lauren. You rock at being a mama, a wife, a friend, and a baker. Love, me.