It was cloudy at the coast, but sunny in the valley as Megan and I wended our way to Erica’s house. I always forget how terrifying Erica’s driveway is until I’m actually on it. It makes our driveway look like the 101 freeway. It’s one muddy, rutted lane, with ancient tree roots acting as speed bumps and a frightening drop on one side. The drop is tree studded, so I’m not sure how far down it goes, but I’m pretty sure if you found out in your car you’d never be seen again. At least in one piece. The thought of Jessica driving it fills me with horror, though Megan pointed out that Erica has been doing it her whole life without incident.
I am, after all, a worrier.
We arrived at their house without incident (guess who was driving?), and were greeted by the fabulous girls. Jessica was thrilled with the belated Christmas stocking gift of conductive thread (I’m still not sure what it is), and Erica set about curing the headache I had woken up with. She gave me some evening primrose and a mysterious herbal concoction, which I sniffed suspiciously. Erica’s Momness kicked in, and she told me to drink it down and then I could have a cookie*. I honestly think if she’d lived a couple of centuries ago, she’d be considered a witch. That strange lady living out in the woods, foraging and making strange things and dosing people with concoctions…
The cookies were delicious. They were Russian tea cookies, made by Jessica herself. They were accompanied by “gingerbread of doom”, made by Erica with fresh and ground ginger, and cheese and crackers. Of course, one of the cheeses was caramelized, and Erica made the crackers by making rye bread dough and putting it through a pasta machine so it came out in lasagna-sized and -shaped pieces, then baking it. Only Erica would think of doing that.
Tea was served in delicate floral china cups and saucers, peppermint for Jessica and me and full on caffeine for Erica and Megan (who, as we know, is composed of at least 75% caffeine at all times). Erica collects vintage Jell-O molds, and told us that she is planning to make an entire Jell-O dinner using the molds. She just might do it, too.
After tea, Jessica showed me her fashion designs, which were as beautiful and intricate as you’d imagine, and we watched a couple of episodes of Daria together. We both adore its cynical humor. Sometimes it’s hard to believe she’s only 11.
When it was time to go, we talked a little about our next meeting – maybe in Point Arena on the beautiful south coast. Maybe the key to keeping your new year’s resolutions is to make them fun. Oh, and my headache was completely gone.
A YEAR AGO: Recovering from the flu with kitten aid.
*Jessica often says, “My mama says ‘Suck it up and deal'”. Words to live by!