There're a lot of things I haven't done for a long time - typed, danced, knit, hugged, etc., etc., ad nauseam. And one of the things I haven’t done for a long time is go out. It’s been years, actually – at least 2, likely more. With the exception of two concerts (Etta James and The Police), both Life List items and both during brief times less crappy than usual, my previous lifestyle of out and about, concerts, plays, parties… wait. That makes me sound Fabulous and I wasn’t. I did, however, live downtown with access to a bunch of fun things and have quite fabulous friends. Still do. But the way we were friends has changed as my body and abilities changed. More friendship-by-phone, more squeezing in a bit of socializing between my nap and when I fade in early evening and always within walking distance of my home. I have great people in my life, people who work with my abilities and within my limits, who blithely rearrange their schedules to accommodate my needs, absorbing the pain in the arse to them. People who make sure there’s still an Us, even if the shape of Us is different.

Illness and disability isolates the person who has them, but the impact on family and friends is rarely mentioned. What it feels like when your friend disappears. We’ve never really talked about it, but I have felt the absence – the way that a friend’s physical presence supports you, is necessary during the big events of life – a parent’s funeral, a wedding – and the smaller, but equally important, as well – a late night talking about life, the universe and everything over a bottle of wine, housewarmings, Christmas parties, shopping for furniture. The way I haven't been able to do that. Not doing the tasks of a friend, not being there has been upsetting for me and I'm pretty sure for the ones I love, as well.

But it turns out that the gifts of Humira continue. Not only have I gone to the post office, not only is my bloodwork normal, but last night, for the first time in longer than I want to remember, I was Out again. I was a friend again, did the showing-up to celebrate thing. Because for the first time in a long time, I was at the launch of Stephanie’s newest book. And aside from beiung there for my friend, I also got something out of it myself - I saw the girls and Joe again, as well as Bonnie (Steph's mum) and met a bunch of terrific knitters.

Ken models his latest project - Francie socks (the pattern on the sole is astounding)

Supported by the musical opening act, Andy Maize and Michael Johnston from The Skydiggers (who were amazing - see the video over at Steph's), Rachel H. hands out prizes for the Inexplicable scavenger hunt (I even got to meet her up close and personal later, which was quite a treat and after having meteorologically harassed her for a couple years in this space, I was surprised and honoured that she acknowledged my presence. Of course, after maiming this photo of her, she may never again).

The star of the evening giving a very funny and thought-provoking speech (trust me - it's her. I was at the back of the theatre, so you'll have to take my word for it). Later, she told the tale of the underpants (scroll down to August 9). It never gets old.

And at the end, there was even hugging.


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