Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Happy birthday, sweet Caley!

Working together--a photo from a group leader retreat in 1997--
Caley's in front middle (in blue),
I'm on the far right, second row, and that little baby is Chris!
Having lunch at Marco's with our hubbies
Today is the birthday of my wonderful friend of many years, Caley. (Notice how I didn't write "old," because she is in fact younger than me!). I first met Caley when I hired her back in the 1990s...I can't remember the exact year, but I remember that her cover letter struck me as the best-written cover letter I'd ever read. I've searched my files, but I must have recycled it! Drat!

When I interviewed Caley, I liked her immediately. Two things impressed me about her early on, about her ability to take risks: (1) she legally changed her name from Martha to Caley, just because she liked the name, and (2) early in their marriage she and her husband Mark jumped in a car and drove west without having ever visited here...because they saw Oregon on a TV show. They MOVED here without knowing what they were doing or if they would like it.

Book group holiday exchange, 2011
February 2011
She was the Technical Publications group leader in our Portland office for several years, and I loved working with her. She quickly developed highly loyal clients who valued her immensely...often clients who I personally didn't care for! She also led the group through a massive Title V air permitting project, which required several editors and document processing staff working long hours and weekends under severe stress. She was a master of organization in addition to being an excellent writer.

New HP addict with a light-up wand
I remember when she told me that she was thinking of leaving the firm, and I somehow convinced her to stay on part-time, at least for awhile. I couldn't let her go so easily! Well, finally she did leave the firm back in the late '90s when she started popping out baby girls.

Holiday book exchange, 2012
Over the years we've stayed in touch, but sometimes sporadically as we both got very busy with our young families. Caley is similar to me and Mike in that she loves celebrating birthdays! I remember attending one birthday party at a tea house in Sherwood--a ladies' tea party--and celebrating her 40th with many of her other girlfriends at a restaurant in Lake Oswego. She is also a gifted musician and loves books and the Sylvia Beach Hotel like I do!

In the past five or six years, we rededicated ourselves into getting together more often, as we have always been drawn to each other. Although we are different in many ways, we share the same values and positive, spiritual outlook on life. Even though she has three girls and I have three boys, we have similar views on parenting as well.

Celebrating a birthday at book group,
with her coworker/friend Nicola
(Caley makes friends everywhere she goes!)
All of our six kids hanging out at the beach
Mark and Caley dancing at the Governor Hotel
Caley and I have seen each other through many heartbreaks and difficulties over the years--Christopher's extreme prematurity and NICU stay, infertility for both of us, Mark's brain tumor, parenting challenges, and recently my own health problems, among others. When Mark was receiving treatment for his brain tumor (stress that would have toppled most people), Caley held her family together, not only managing the household and activities of her three children, but doing all the driving and all other activities while Mark was incapacitated, while continuing to love and support him every step of the way. Our challenges have strengthened our friendship and love for each other. Even though actress Emma Thompson said (and I do believe it), “ I really like people who have suffered. They are kinder..." Caley was already kind. She is one of the kindest people I know...always looking out for other people's feelings, being compassionate and caring, and finding ways to put other people at ease. It's hard to imagine anyone meeting Caley and not liking her!

Caley, you are one of a kind!
A few years ago my friend Kristin and I started a book group, and I asked Caley if she wanted to participate. I wasn't sure if she would say yes, because even though she was an English major like I was, I knew she typically read magazines instead of books (or perhaps that was because of her three girls keeping her busy). She said yes, with the enthusiastic support of her husband, and I was thrilled. That has been a great way to stay in more regular touch, ensuring that at the very least, I will see Caley once a month! And two other wonderful things about book group are (1) we got Caley hooked on Harry Potter (she'd never read it before) and (2) she now drinks a thimbleful of wine each month (after not drinking most of the time I have known her). As she claims to get tipsy on a thimbleful, she's great fun to tease!

Saturday night we had the gift of spending the evening with Mark and Caley at the Thomas A. Edison High School auction...we were planning to go with our friends Lynn and Jolie, like last year, but they were unable to go and offered up their tickets. We always enjoy spending time with them and realized we need to do that more often!

I feel so, so blessed to be Caley's friend.  Happy birthday, sweet Caley! You are such a gift to the world!

1 comment:

  1. I am so blessed you brought Caley into my life. I only see her at your house, but what a fun, loving, and intelligent woman she is. Happy Birthday, Caley