Okay, I'll bite.

I heard it through the grapevine.Blogging every day in December, huh? It's a challenge for me, time-wise, but if you can do it, I'll do my best!

What was your best trip in 2009?

Debbi and I met when we were three years old. It was the early 60's and the houses were just being built. My family's was completed first, and we had moved in a couple of years prior. The Una'Dia family was just finishing construction of theirs. It was five houses down from mine and for some reason my mother felt it was safe to let a three year old wander the neighborhood and play. Ah, the good old days!

As the family arrived to check the progress of their home, they found little ol' me playing in a huge pile of sand that had been dumped in their front yard. Debbi began playing with me, and we've been thick as thieves ever since.

Well, not entirely steadily. As time passed, life sometimes elbowed in between us. High school cliques, marriages and kids, although welcome distractions, were distractions nonetheless. We would still exchange birthday and Christmas cards, and maybe get a call or two in during the year, but for far too long we saw little of each other. Debbi developed some health challenges, and I felt bad I couldn't be by her side more often.

That was it. We decided we had to make a change.

Now we're in our 50s. The kids are grown. The jobs are more lucrative. The husbands (neither of them) pose any demands. So Debbi and I made a promise to spend more time together. We made a commitment to get together at least twice a year and do something special. Just us. Girl's weekend. Sometimes she rides the train the 100 miles to my house and sometimes I make the drive to her place.

In April we took a trip. A very special trip. It was an online deal I just couldn't pass up! A girlfriend's weekend in Calistoga. Wine tasting, facials, massages and MUD BATHS!

Now, it's no secret that Debbi inherited a major dose of germ-a-phobia from her mother. When I told her we were getting into vats of mud, she turned pale, gasped and hollered, "The same mud that other people get into?!" I promised her this was going to be an adventure! Everything is clean and safe! And besides, next time you can choose the trip and try to make me do something disgusting!

In the end, I know the whole mud bath thing was a trial for her, but she did it. We stripped down, naked as jaybirds, and wriggled down into that brown goo. I loved it; she plotted ways to have me murdered.

Because I spent the weekend with my most enduring friend, because we tasted delicious wine and drank in the beauty of the Napa Valley, because she knew I'd love pate on the patio, because she got in the mud for me, and because she's still in my universe, that was my best trip of 2009.

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