STOP!

Don’t ignore me!  I’m worth taking a look at!

These are things I hear in my head when I’m driving.  I’ll notice a patch of sunflowers, a decaying cornfield, cows, the detritus of life; and usually I’m driving too fast to listen to that voice.  Except last night.

Every day, M-Th, I take a pretty scenic route to the Villagers school.  One of the things I pass is this little hole-in-the-wall dive bar called Finley’s.  It looks no bigger than my living room, but is extremely charming and looks as though it’s been there since the beginning of the Pony Express.  Last night I was driving home from a fundraising meeting at the Villagers school for choir and it was juuuuuuuuuust the sweet spot of twilight as I approached Finley’s and thought, “Now that would make a beautifully haunting picture.”  I sped along for about 50 more feet and then quickly pulled over because I said to myself, “Sallygirl, this is not the first time you’ve gotten the message to pull over and take a picture.  You must do it!  Stop ignoring that voice.”

I don’t know what this voice is.  Maybe it’s God.  Maybe it’s the Holy Ghost.  Maybe it’s my own brain reminding me that I’m always wishing I had better/more photos to post on Instagram, and that I really need another hobby (as I have a tendency to pick them up for 5 minutes and then drop them like hot rocks).  At any rate, here is the photo I got:

It’s not that great.  I wish I had PhotoShop and knew how to use it so I could fix the squinting lights.  I super wish that the arrow sign were lit up.  It makes me want to purchase lightbulbs, if only Finley’s owner would screw them all in, but it’s probably a larger issue like damaged wiring, or maybe they’re trying to save money on their electric bill.

Last night I decided I’m not going to ignore the voice anymore.  From now on, I’m going to stop when something screams at me “Take my picture!  Take my picture before I’m gone!”  Maybe you will like my pictures.  I’m not trying to be a photographer, that’s too ambitious.  I just want to practice noticing, and seeing, things that are put here on Earth just for me.

Give, Said the Little Stream

I’ve been pretty slack in my grocery shopping duties lately.  I used to go religiously every Wednesday because it’s the first day of the “new” prices for the week.  Then I changed to Fridays because it felt like I was shopping less.  Then I just stopped shopping.  Though obviously not totally because we’ve had food to eat, but I just wasn’t giving it the care that I used to, or getting any enjoyment from it.

Today I had to get over to Safeway because I was completely and totally out of Coke and needed some Golden Mushroom Soup for the pork chops we were going to have for dinner last night.  I’ve got several Safeway Gas Rewards that I needed to use before they expire later this week so I decided to go after picking B up from school as it put me halfway to the Stockton location that has a gas station attached, which is also in the same shopping center as Trader Joe’s, and who needs an excuse to go to TJ’s?  Not me!  I decided to get the gas after I was done shopping.  In my mind there was a logical reason, but it doesn’t really matter.  I ended up spending more than I planned, which helped me to decide not to go to Trader Joe’s while also giving me an extra gas reward! so we got our gas and headed for home.  But first….

While B was dutifully pumping the gas I noticed a man checking the garbage cans for recyclables.  I knew I had some empty water bottles in my car but didn’t think to give them to him.  When a second man came around, I got the impression that he was in greater need of help and I asked him if he wanted the few I had.  I felt badly because I only ended up having 3 or 4, not the dozen I thought were hiding under my seat, but my shoulder angel reminded me that I had a ton of food in my trunk so I asked if he’d like something to eat.  Now, it probably should have been obvious that he would want something to eat but you just never know.   I hear stories all the time of people that panhandle for a living, and make quite a nice sum doing it.  There are scam artists everywhere, but it was clear to me that he wasn’t one of them.  I was perturbed when the rent-a-cop on a bike rode up and told Larry (that was his name) that he wasn’t supposed to be there, but I made it clear that Larry hadn’t approached me.  I didn’t want the poor guy getting in trouble!  So I gave him some fresh fruit and made him a cheese sandwich in the hopes that it would make a small dent in his hunger.  As he started to wander off it occurred to me that he probably didn’t have access to clean drinking water so I sent B running after him with a few full water bottles and wished him a good day.  I wanted to ask him so many things to see if there were some other way I could help but Paul Blart kept giving us the stinkeye so we just headed home.

Every day when we pray, we ask for an opportunity to be of service to someone.  I am so grateful that I met Larry today and was touched by how humble he was.  I hope I am blessed with more of these opportunities, and I hope my children are with me so that they can see how important each person is.  They argue and fight so much… I keep trying to teach them that Kindness Begins With Me, but it’s hard for them to see beyond their own noses and when we are graced with the opportunity to love someone as our Savior loves us, I think those moments are the most effective teaching ones.

First Day of School! First Day of School!!

I felt like Nemo after I dropped my kids off at school today.  Me and Lenny drove away singing Michael Franti’s “I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like)” as we sped toward Starbucks for our morning cuppa Joe.  Or Josh, as this morning’s barista goes.  Poor Josh…

When I go out, I like to use people’s names that I interact with.  It reminds us both that we’re all human and we’re all connected.  As I pulled up to the drive-thru window Josh asked how I was and I replied “I’m awesome, Josh! How are you?”   He looked at me and started giving me the eye like, how do I know you lady?  I told him I was a mind reader, but really?  IT’S YOUR NAMETAG DUDE!!

Somebody forgot their pre-dawn Redbull…

To Utah, With Love (written Sunday, June 22)

I’m back from my trip to visit my Utah Girls.  I wish I had been able to stay longer as I am entirely unready to re-enter my regular life, but alas…. duty calls.  Well, more like my anniversary called, but since I was so swollen upon return all I could do was sit on my ass with my legs in the air and wait for time to pass.  Rather slowly, I might add.  It seems like I’ve been back for weeks, not 48 hours!

I have emerged with a new title, Fearless Leader, and strengthened bonds of friendship for another 6-12 months, or until my next Utah trip.  I really wish I could go more often, but then the visits wouldn’t be as sweet and we’d become too familiar to each other to not take things for granted.  This way, the next time is so far away it makes us make this time together count.

 

Things that I learned on this trip:

  • Utah does have drive-thru Starbucks, there just aren’t any along I-80 between California and Tooele, UT.!
  • Everything good (ok, Starbucks) closes at freaking 7:00 p.m., even in Park City!  That’s like, Utah’s personal Mos Eisley for food and drink so I can’t figure out for the life of me why the early bedtime, but alas… that shall remain a mystery for another time.
  • Certain people should not be allowed to be hosts at places of business that serve the public.  Especially if they work at the Baja Cantina and their name starts with L and they dress like a pirate.
  • Alka Seltzer cures nausea for up to 6 hours
  • Sonic’s chili cheese tots are of the devil and should never be eaten no matter how yummy they sound.
  • The Training Table has sweet potato cheese fries.  They are NOT as good as regular cheese fries.  (Will not be making this mistake again)
  • Trips without your children are WAY more fun than you anticipate them to be!
  • Missy’s in-laws need a karaoke machine for their cabin.
  • Despite being at the summit of THE HILL, I can still party until 4:30 a.m. like the rock star that I am.

As usual, I didn’t get to see everyone that I wanted to.  Sometimes I wonder if my requests to get together are more of a chore than a pleasure.  I’ve recently come to learn that getting together (for others) is not the end-all, be-all that it is for me.  It’s hard not to take that personally, but I’m working on it.  My friends uplift me so much, I’m happy if all the time they have for me is the car ride to the grocery store.  I wish I could better put into words what these women mean to me, but it only matters that I know, and I do.

So Utah, I love you!  I miss you!  It was hard to come from the beautiful, green, tree covered valley and mountains to the brown, flat, dirty and dusty place that I live; but Ana Banana gave me a song that brings all the good things back to mind about why I love living here and now I’m going to leave it with you.  If you don’t have time to listen, please come back and do it later!  You won’t regret it.  I’ll post the lyrics at the bottom, too.

 

 

Always Come Back

by Niki & Tim Bluhm

Don’t you wanna go where the big trees grow
Kelp forests waving in the sea?
Opening day on San Francisco bay
Sailboats as far as you can see.

May comes along, the days are getting long
Snow still covers the mountains
Sunset goes and the universe grows
So many star you have to stop counting

Chorus:
I’ll always come back to California
I’ll always come back
I’ll keep coming back to California
I’ll always come back to you

Poppies in the spring make the mission bells ring
Rivers running freely over stone
A pick-bangs the strings and everybody sings
The wind from the east is gently blowing

Crops are on the ground autumn’s coming round
West-bound fifty is where I can be found
Home is in the heart
It’s where I got my start
One thing I know whenever I depart

Chorus:
I’ll always come back to California
I’ll always come back
I’ll keep coming back to California
I’ll always come back to you

You Say It’s My Birthday?

 

The last few days I’ve felt a crash coming on.  Highly inconvenient given that I’m supposed to feel extra fabulous today (is that even possible?  To be more fabulous than I already am??) not like a kid who thinks Santa isn’t real.  Knowing this, I requested on FB yesterday that you all leave me a memory from our mutual past; figuring that it would perk me up.  Once again, I was right!  My brother got me started with a private memory collection that made me cry while I was in line at Starbucks and as I got home and the memories started rolling in, lifting me higher than a balloon on a windy day.

So thank you, everybody.  Thank you for all the memories.  I look forward to making many more with you <3