Good People Are Everywhere You Look

You guys!  You guys!!  YOU GUYS!!!

The most AMAZING thing just happened for me!  But first, just because I like to drag it out, let me give you some back story:

I love my family.  I love them a whole lot.  I’m not too sure how they feel about me, but that’s ok.  I especially loved my Grandpa C.  He meant the world to me, and even though I said my goodbyes to him each time we parted (as I was sure it was always the last time due to his age and health), it still devastated me when he died.

Grandma & Grandpa C lived in a sweet little craftsman bungalow house in a darling little town near Pasadena.  A little more than a block from the library park and bustling main street, there was always something fun to do when we visited.  In their ginormous (by California standards) back yard there was a lemon tree from which the best lemonade is made.  Not quite a year after Grandpa C passed away, Honey and I were married.  We had a beautiful reception in the back yard of my childhood home.  Grandma C was not up for traveling and it was hard for me to know that two of my favorite people couldn’t be there to share in celebrating our joy.  That didn’t mean they couldn’t be there in spirit though, and the way I chose to involve them in the production was by having my mom travel from our home in suburban Sandy, UT to theirs in sunny southern CA to process those lovely lemons into juice for lemonade to be served at the reception.

In 2006 Grandma C was no longer able to live on her own.  Uncle Dick and some of the family packed her up, sold the house, and moved her up north to be near him.  Being so young and unestablished, we couldn’t afford to buy the house ourselves (something I still hope to do one day), and the loss of the family house still weighs on me.  So many Christmases spent in the glow of the C7 lights and tinsel strung on the tree decorated with vintage ornaments, so many summers playing with the toys tucked away in the attic…

In the front of the house, and along one side of the back yard are these beautiful, hot pink camellia shrubs.  When I was a child I loved to pick the fat, round buds and peel them layer by layer.

Instead of a regular garage, Grandma & Grandpa had a big, rickety barn.  That barn was so full of grandpa’s junk… we used to joke that when they died, instead of packing up and junking the majority of what was inside, we’d blow it up as the most efficient means of getting rid of the contents.  Underneath the house was a semi-upright crawl space.  I never would go down in there because I was convinced it was so full of spiders and snakes that I’d die from some kind of bite in the dark.  To the side of the yard was a small shed visible from the front, and behind it were permanent clothesline posts.  Grandpa made a swing of sorts out of a small log and a length of rope.  He’d attach it to the posts and swing us all afternoon.  He also rigged up a horse made out of a barrel and scrap wood with an old rag rug for a saddle.  It was parked under that lemon tree and we’d ride like the wind in our imaginations!

In the front on the side, there was this gnarly tree of undetermined species.  All I remember is that it had a branch that was curved and shaped like a nest, making it a favorite spot for photos of the littlest family members.

cropped-sisters2.jpg(Can you guess which one is me?)

This year I’m turning 40.  That’s right, the big 4-0.  Unlike my hubby (who is also turning 40, this week in fact!), I plan on having a huge party.  There isn’t much that fills me with joy more than being surrounded by my family and friends, celebrating the life we share together; and I intend to do just that.  We’ll have a piñata, music, kids swimming in the pool and grownups playing with the giant Jenga and Ker Plunk! games that B and I are going to build (from Pinterest, of course!), eat my favorite foods and a delicious cake that I will not be baking myself.

Can you guess what we’ll be drinking?

Last week I wrote a note to the current owners of the house.  When I told Honey what I wanted to do he said I was crazy.  I thought of what I could say that would convey to them that I’m not some crackpot; I don’t want to invade their privacy or go inside the house to case the joint, and I’m certainly not the Craigslist killer.  I just miss my grandma and grandpa.  I miss her sour face and his silly jokes.  I miss stealing Brach’s butterscotch candies out of the crystal dish in the living room while grandma napped and singing the Johnny Appleseed song before meals.  I miss the piano in the front parlor (that as far as I know, nobody ever played), and the cool seafoam tiles in the dark, tiny bathroom.  I even miss the ancient stove in the kitchen and doing laundry on the back porch.

I miss that house and all the happy memories that were made there; and even though I still hope and dream to one day be able to buy the house back and live my golden years hauling toys down from the attic via the closet entry and making lemonade from the back yard tree for my own future grandchildren, I know it will probably never happen.  But lucky for me, a kind and generous family live in that house now.  They received my note and called me earlier this evening to let me know that I’m welcome any time to come down and pick lemons from the tree.

I can’t wait!

The Sun Is Shining, The Tank Is Clean!

So, I’m totally afraid to say this out loud for fear of jinxing myself, but I feel good.

The last couple of weeks my life has really changed from bored to death, to actively engaged.  I’ve had lots of playdates at my friend’s homes, been able to give support to an acquaintance while her husband was dying, and had a really great Girl’s Night Out.  I even got a couple of Valentine good mail packages sent, and have plans for future projects (ok, I always have those) that I actually think I might carry out.

I don’t really have anything else to add, I just wanted a public record of feeling good.  So there it is.

This Night

This night is mine.  It’s only you (and you, and you, and you, and you, and you, and you, and you) and I.  Tomorrow is closer than I’d like it to be, but this night will last until next month.  (Maybe not.  This night will last until next week, and then I’ll look forward to our next Girl’s Night Out.)

This night I am happy.  This night I feel love.  This night I have sisterhood.  This night I have kindness, and understanding, and laughter.

This night we waited entirely too long for food that wasn’t that great at a place whose door we’ll never darken again, but we did it together and though my wallet is lighter, my heart is fuller.

This night I learned I am not alone, in more ways than I ever knew.

 

 

 

 

 

(This Night is brought to you by Track 4 of the CD playing in my car, An Innocent Man by Billy Joel.  And all my girls.)

To Whom It Concerns, Vol. 2015

What better way to start the new year than with an edition of “To Whom it Concerns” ???

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Dear Panera,

Your shortbread sucks.  It looks very pretty, but clearly you did not use the centuries-old recipe from Scotland that my mama uses.  It goes like this:  Butter, butter, some more butter, sugar, butter, sugar, and a pinch of flour to hold it together.  Your recipe goes like this:  Butter, Butter, flour, butter, flour, and a pinch of sugar to hold it together.  See the problem?  Now fix it!

Sincerely,

My Fat Ass

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Dear Mary Kay,

You are a real bitch, you know that?  All I ask for in this world is one stinking lip gloss to make me look naturally pretty, and you have it.  Well, you HAD it.  Sugarberry.  The most perfect lip gloss color in the world.  Some say it’s my fault for not stocking up when I could, but to those people I say:  EAT MY SHORTS!  Now I’m being forced to use a new color.  Berry Dazzle.  Dazzle Berry.  Something with those words in it.  It might end up looking nice, but it is NOT PERFECT!!!!!

Signed,

Someone who is bringing sexy back without you

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Dear NeilMed,

Your products disgust me.  I do not enjoy shooting salty boric acid up my nose.  IT IS WEIRD!!!!  And for several minutes afterwards I get random pockets of it coming out of my nose without warning!  My sinuses are so scared of the process, they clean themselves  before I stick the evil spout in my nose.  I know I am “doing it right” because sure enough, that solution comes dribbling out my nose on the other side; and yet… I STILL CAN’T BREATHE!!! Please, for the love of all that is good and right in the world, find a better, less gross-tgusting way to get all the snot out of my cavities.  Ain’t nobody got time for this!

Congestingly yours,

The Mouth Breather

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Dear youTube,

You are almost as awesome as eBay!  Allllllllmost!!  Although I’m not sure you will ever be better than eBay, you can definitely achieve equal status.  Just today I learned how to make coffee using a French press, cook Irish oatmeal (and quinoa, lentils, beans, etc.) in a rice cooker, and how to cuss in several languages!

Gracias!

Sra. Sallygirl

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Dear IRL FB Friend(s) Who Randomly Message Me About Me,

Thank you!!  It makes me feel so good when you say nice things to/about me!  It’s always a nice surprise and really goes a long way in brightening my day.  I feel so blessed to have so many friends who do this to me!  Sometimes I question myself about myself.  I wonder the real reasons why I think/say/do/believe something.  I have had many questions of this nature recently.  It is a very long, ongoing conversation with myself; and to have a random friend pop up with a positive message reinforces my belief (or my choice to believe) that in spite of my many opposite feelings, I’m doing pretty good in life and headed in the right direction.

You’re the best!!

Love,

Sallygirl <3

Open Mic Sunday

On the first Sunday of every month in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (a.k.a. LDS or “Mormon”) the theme of the day is Fast & Testimony.  Members are encouraged to fast for 1-3 meals as your health permits and to donate the cost of those meals to the church which then distributes the funds to those in need.  We (the members) are also encouraged to come up to the stand and bear testimony over the pulpit to the rest of the congregation.  It’s supposed to be really spiritual and to help you strengthen your own testimony, but often what happens is something else.

Some of us have dubbed Fast Sunday as Open Mic Sunday.  This is when people get up and give their thank-a-monies (how they’re just SO THANKFUL for their laundry list of blessings, etc.), or their travel-monies (in which we are treated to a retelling of a recent trip).  Sometimes we’ll get an organ recital (detailed description of health problems), a life history (some of those older folks can be long-winded!), and though politics at church is taboo, there will be plenty of stump speeches in the fall.  Usually there’ll be at least one Job’s Doppleganger (the person who’s got so many trials you’re amazed they haven’t jumped in front of a truck, yet), a few kids that barely know their names but somehow know the church is true, 2-3 guys calling you to repentance, and my personal favorite: the podium as confessional-mony.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I realize sometimes you want to give a little back story as to how you’ve come to Jesus.  But let’s not lose sight of why these meetings exist:  to strengthen and nourish our spirits.  So let’s get going with the Reader’s Digest version.  Edit for content.  Leave out the TMI, the travelogue, and the things only the bishop needs to know.  Tell me what you know, not what (you think) makes you sound like the next prophet, and if you have a story you want to share then give us something like “I have a really neat story that goes with this, but what I really want to say is….”

I say these things in the spirit of brevity, Amen.