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When Imaginary Friends Become Real May 18, 2010

It’s a funny thing about online friends. Some people have lots of them, but never meet them. Some people basically can’t imagine befriending someone they’ve “never met.” But I’ve been making friends like this for over 15 years now, and a few of my nearest and dearest I once met in cyberspace.

This weekend I got to meet one of Foodie McBody’s first friends. Someone who reached out to me when I was in a vulnerable and shaky spot here. When I didn’t have any confidence that I could reach ANY of my goals, and who has basically cheered me from afar, invisibly, for over a year.

I finally got to meet Superwoman Spirit Shannon. She IS a superwoman in my eyes. And when we met, the fact that we first knew each other online just vanished in about three seconds. First I hugged her. Then I began laughing hysterically at the GIANT suitcase (plus another smaller one) that she had lugged with her for her visit of 3 days!

We had the most amazing time together. Working out (every day!), eating, talking, laughing. It was very very hard to let her go last night. Here’s a little photo album/recap of our time together.

Fresh off the plane, she came to my WW meeting!

First she came to my WW meeting. This was such a big deal because the weekly meeting topic was “The Importance of Support.” How timely, right? My “prop” to open the meeting was a box of Kleenex because every time I looked in her direction, I started tearing up. I told the story of how she had supported me for so long and how I never could have kept it up without her friendship. I almost started bawling. All true!

Shan, DJ and me!

Shan is killing the Ropes of Doom!

The next day, I took her to see my awesome trainer Doug Jones. He welcomed her with open arms and a killer workout. She did GREAT. She totally beat me on the jumpropes (my personal nemesis) and held her own on the ropes of doom. DJ loved to yell, “UTAHHH in the HOUSE!” LOL.

After she spent a day at work with me, we visited her first Whole Foods where I introduced her to Fage yogurt and other delights. That was a trip! Friday night, I took her to her first author reading  - Kate Moses reading from her very foodie memoir, Cakewalk, at the awesome Great Good Place for Books. We ran into a friend of mine. I introduced Shannon and the friend asked how we met. When we said “online,” the friend gave us the most CURIOUS look, like WTH?! Really?!?! Yeah really! The reading was really powerful. I am looooving this book and will be reviewing it as soon as I finish.

On Saturday, we took a hike through the foggy forest near my house and I got to point out the Imaginary View. (how apropos!) Then we took off for a super whirlwind tour of San Francisco that was truly only the tip of the iceberg. She has to come back! There is so much more to see and do (and eat, LOL).

First stop: Chinatown. Dim sum. (her first) YUM!

yum yum dim sum!

Then we drove around San Francisco. We had to do Lombard Street.  It’s so ridiculous and cheesy and touristy (and CHOKED with tourists wielding cameras) but I love it. Views of Alcatraz. North Beach. Japantown. FUN: I took her to get some (first time) manju at Benkyodo, then we went to the best stationery store on earth, we snarfed down a strawberry & ice cream crepe at Sophie’s Crepes, and had a riot in the Pika Pika sticker booth. (oh that reminds me I have to scan our pics!) Then I took her through the Haight, Golden Gate Park to wave at the buffalo, through my old neighborhood (outer Richmond, 43rd & Balboa!) and to my favorite park in the world, where I introduced her to my favorite tree (she has the photo of this, will have to link later!). Then we went to the almost-completely fogged in Golden Gate Bridge and nearly froze our tootsies off walking about halfway across and back. BRRRRR!!

brrrrrr Golden Gate Bridge is in there somewhere

After that we hightailed it back to Oakland for a yummy Indian dinner (another first for Shannon and hey Mikey! she liked it!!) Then home. Collapse.

mmm veggies!

Sunday morning! Farmers Market. Shannon bought some super-juicy mandarin oranges and some sugar snap peas as healthy souvenirs for her family. Then I had to bring Shannon to her very first Nia class. Of course she LOVED IT and is now scheming how to get to one in Utah. It was truly an awesome class (thanks Danielle!) which featured TWO Michael Jackson songs, the theme from Flashdance, Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On” (which totally flipped me out with its mention of Gollum) and a song about being grateful for friends that got me ALL choked up. Good good times! Great sweat!

The rest of Sunday I hunkered down with my script and prepared for my show. Wow that was great. I was the headliner (which I didn’t find out till I arrived at the theater)! Woo hoo! So many awesome friends showed up, including Pubsgal (another type-2 diabetes and 5k runner kindred spirit!) and Dailykat from the blogger/Twittersphere. (hey, you know, any Twitter or blogger friends who come to my show will get a SHOUT-OUT from the stage – I’ll write you into my script, no kidding!) It was a little nervewracking waiting to go last, but my other performance stars ROCKED and were just amazing. (note to locals! or visitors! LAST CHANCE to see show this Sunday at City Solo! Buy tickets QUICK before they sell out!)

After the show we went over to Mel’s Diner for a bite. I was raveeeeeeeennnnouusssly hungry after expending about a million calories of nervous energy. Big fun to hang out together!

It was an incredibly special weekend. I loved every minute I spent with Shannon. We have so much in common, even beyond health and fitness, it’s almost surreal. The time went by WAY too quickly and now I can only wait hopefully for the next time. For any of you who have not yet met an “imaginary friend” in real life, I really recommend it.

 

 
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