Attracted to Adjectives

Lovely items at Adjectives Market
My friend Diana and I spent Saturday afternoon perusing a new antiques and vintage collectibles market called Adjectives. Since we are both grammar girls who string words together, we thought it was a clever name for a shop. But adjectives aren’t always held in the highest regard in the world of sentence structure. Prevailing academic wisdom cautions writers on their overuse. Instead of using adjectives to describe how something is lovely, charming or delightful, writers should instead use stronger nouns and verbs to do the heavy lifting.

But I like adjectives. Words like loyal, generous, encouraging, thoughtful, supportive. These words describe my friendship with Diana that began nearly 15 years ago, when we worked together and shared an office. We found we liked a lot of the same things, grew up in the same part of the country, and came from close-knit families with similar backgrounds. But Diana often leads the way. She tries out new technology, joins groups, attempts new activities. She shares, convinces, recommends, persuades. Not me. I’m sort of a late-to-the-party kind of girl. Not always that eager to try something new.

But my friends don't always pay attention to my protests and give me a push off the deep end. Into waters I eventually rather enjoy after I get past the initial fear and shock. Diana introduced me to the pleasures of coffee, inviting me on my first day at work to accompany her to the coffee bar. She demonstrated the wonders of the first iPhone, persuading me to trade in my old, definitely not-smart phone. She took a part-time job in a jewelry accessory store and then brought me on board to work weekends. Even though I had no idea how to make jewelry, she proclaimed it was easy and taught me how to string beads into pieces of sparkly bling. Although I never did get the hang of crimping bracelets, I’m happy to know a few techniques so I can repair my vintage jewelry. Just this week, she created a Facebook page for me. Since I’m not part of the one-eighth of the world’s population using Facebook, I was a little intimidated by it and she graciously accepted my reluctance and tolerated my deactivation of the account. Maybe someday I’ll be sharing status updates, but she accepts me for who I am.

I like it that she’s eager to share her favorites with me, knowing that I’d enjoy them, too. Instead of pushing her opinion or reveling in her superiority, she freely shares only what she knows I would appreciate. It’s rare to find a friend so lavish with her resources and knowledge without competitiveness or an ulterior motive. I want to practice this. I want to avoid the creeping vines of self-promotion that try to invade my relationships. When I try to make myself look or sound superior, I feel inferior. When I give in to the urge to play the comparison game, I end up with the I-don’t-have-what-she-has syndrome. I don’t want to allow these untruths to make me feel angry, ungrateful and empty. They rob my soul of what it longs for. Acceptance, kindness, encouragement, affirmation. These nouns may not need adjectives to describe them. But I do. I need adjectives to chronicle a friendship. Describe the affinity friends can share. Illustrate the experiences of my life.

When Diana decided to be a stay-at-home mom, we went from seeing each other every day to getting together for coffee every few months. As we browsed through the vintage market last weekend, we both found silver handcrafted bracelets shaped from spoons. We bought them to remind us of our enjoyable day and our valuable friendship.

Before we knew it, the afternoon was over. Catching up, treasure-hunting, sharing stories. A lovely, charming, delightful day with a gifted, trailblazing, magnanimous friend. I really don’t mind at all making a few fragile adjectives do a little hard work now and then.

Comments

  1. Here's a new adjective for me: Speechless. No one has ever shared such kind words about me. YOU are the one to be treasured. Looking forward to many more years of coffee and story-sharing with my dear friend!

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    1. More coffee dates -- I look forward to every one, combining my two favorites in life -- sparkling conversation and a great cup of coffee! :)

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  2. Those are gorgeous find Valerie. Really beautiful bracelets. Thanks for sharing. :D

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    1. Thank you for reading! I'm glad you stopped by!

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  3. Another great article - you have such insight into the everyday events in life - making them real to those of us who just seem to get thru our days. You bring a fresh look to so many things - always with how it affects you for the better. We all need a fresh look at life - thanks for the weekly challenges and insightfulness! I have a spoon ring - they were a fad for a while!

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    1. Hi Sharon,
      I love spoon rings -- I love it when there's an initial or name on the spoon, too! Thank you so much for always posting a kind comment and sharing your very kind words!

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  4. Hi Valerie, your sweet sister forwarded your blog to me, knowing how much I would enjoy it, because we have a lot in common - specifically decorating and the Christian life. :) I really look forward to reading your beautifully worded posts, and seeing pictures of your BEAUTIFULLY decorated home! I live here in Northlake Park as well (on Red Lily Place). I see you out walking from time to time, one of these days I am going to have to stop and introduce myself. :) OH - and by the way - I had to go to Calico Corner about a month ago and stumbled upon Adjectives Market - LOVE that place!! There was an adorable distressed sign that I almost bought for my kitchen. It said "SAVE ROOM FOR CAKE." :) I hope to meet you soon! - Shawna

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    1. Hi Shawna,
      Thank you so much for your kind words! I am so enjoying your Pinterest page -- I love your style! I look forward to meeting you while I'm out and about in the neighborhood!

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    2. Awww, thank you! Pinterest is THE most amazing way to get ideas - I'm totally addicted!

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  5. What a beautiful dedication to a friend! Another great blog entry, thank you for sharing it with us.

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    1. Thank you, Amy! I am looking forward to writing about my skating friend who twisted my arm to compete!

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  6. Brittany BuchholzJuly 3, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Beautiful Valerie! Your pictures are fabulous, as usual. What a great shop, I love the end photo it's beautiful and heartwarming all at the same time!

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    1. Thank you Brittany! :) Both you and Brittany have taught me so much about styling photos -- I'm so glad you both are in my life! :)

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    2. Brittany BuchholzJuly 4, 2012 at 3:32 PM

      I think I can speak for both of us when I say the feelings are mutual! :)

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  7. Thank you for sharing! I love those friends who help me stretch and grow, too. What a great reminder to be thankful for them.
    Christy

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    1. Good friends are so very hard to find and I'm so grateful for those who are in my life -- especially you! :)

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  8. I agree completely :) I am so grateful for you, too. I am lucky to have you.

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