A Letter to Mom

Dear Mom,
It's been two years ago today that you died. I'll never forget that call I got from the hospital. The phone woke me up at 6:12am that morning. I knew before I answered it who it was. The lady said it was Whittier Presbyterian Hospital and the doctor wanted to talk to me, could I hold on? I waited at least five minutes, which felt like an hour. The nurse got back on the phone and told me that I needed to get to the hospital as soon as I could. I knew you were gone, I just knew without being told. When I got to the hospital, Teri and dad were there waiting for me. I just looked at Teri and said, "she's gone", and Teri nodded her head. Then I saw dad's eyes. You know, I have this thing with people's eyes, they usually tell the whole story. Riley was only four days old, and at first I was so angry with you. I kept thinking how unfair it was for this to happen now, at a time that I was happier than I ever had been. But I soon realized that you needed to let go and that you had just hung on long enough in a failing body and mind just to know your first great grandchild was doing okay. But I gotta tell you mom, that was a tough one but you gave me the strength to be a survivor, you always told me if I got knocked down I better damn well get back up, so I did. Then I took my brand new granddaughter to your funeral. Life isn’t supposed to work like that.

I still work hard, and I always remember, as you always taught me, to help others when I can, so I keep at that. Riley just turned two years old a few days ago. All of us went to Disneyland. Riley loved it, she smiled and laughed the whole day long. You know, Riley is a lot like Katie, who as you well know is just like me. We all are a little "busy", talk too much, and are always doing something that makes everyone crazy. Katie is such a good mom, I'm proud of her. You always taught me, then my kids little songs. I teach Riley not just songs but to dance. I LOVE to dance with that little kid. Vinnie is the best dad I've ever known, much better than you know who, the one that I picked. I remember the card you sent to be after the divorce admiring me for doing it all “on my own”. And actually, I hope you have no idea what Dave’s up to now. Trust me, you wouldn't want to know. Katie and you knew how to find a better husband than I did. Brande is still doing great, the sensitive one, although she wouldn't want us to know. I know she misses you so much. You would be so proud of her, she works to help others, teaches little kids in an after school program and hates social injustices just like you always did. And she LOVES little Riley. Bryce is doing so good now, except he reminds me of dad , kind of spooky. He and Justine, who is the kindness person ever, live with me as does Brande. I like having them here. Bryce kind of keeps an eye on me to make sure I'm doing okay and helps me out. He just gets grumpy sometimes like dad did and is always working on his antiques and projects. Teri is doing great, she finally met a girl that is good to her, much better than "you know who". The holidays and birthdays are now much more fun. You would be proud of Teri. In the beginning of the year her and Linda had a commitment ceremony. It was awesome to see her finally be so comfortable, after all these years, with being gay.

And you, being the die hard Texan democrat you were, you would be so happy this election year. The first black man to run for President, Barrack Obama, I like him. He made his acceptance speech on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous speech. You have to know I've never forgotten what you taught me about living through the depression in Texas. And even in the economy today, I'm working hard to make you proud of Country Roads. I've been able to kind of use it as a way to give back to others and help when I can. And I know it always embarrassed you, naming a nursery after you, but "Johnnye Merle Gardens and Nursery" is still going strong too. I have battled with the City hard to keep them from turning it into a parking lot. Hopefully I can keep up the good fight, as you taught me to never give up. So, I just wanted you to know we are all doing okay and I miss you. But the lessons you taught me about life are still in my heart, in my kid's hearts, and in Riley's heart. We are a tight little family that all have good hearts! I love you mom, Sue


Happy 2nd Birthday Riley!

On this past Tuesday, the 26th, we all celebrated Riley's birthday at Disneyland! We arrived early to have breakfast in Riley's favorite place,Rainforest Cafe. It was a tad early for cake and ice cream, but none the less,she got to blow out her first birthday candle of the day!
Everyone was there for Riley; me, her mom and dad, Brande, and Bryce and Justine. We wouldn't have missed this day for anything! There is nothing better than a two year old at Disneyland. Just watching the excitement in her eyes made my day. We ate a late lunch over in California Adventure. We kind of stumbled into this restaurant without realizing how awesome it was!
"Ariel's Grotto" was the perfect place to celebrate a little girls birthday. As we came down the stairs; Riley,mom & dad, all had their picture taken with Ariel. Then as we sat out by the water,the various Disney princesses came to see Riley and wish her the happiest of birthdays! Then before we knew it, here came another princess!

Riley was loving it, and then Minnie Mouse herself showed up. Maybe it's Minnie's costume, but Riley was having nothing to do with her!! Lunch ended with the staff bringing Riley some cake and ice cream and singing Happy Birthday.
Disneyland, Riley at two years old, and my family really made for a "magical" day! These are the kinds of days I always hold close to my heart and am very grateful for.


A Country Roads Wedding

Looks like someone is getting married! Pam and Adam are getting married October 11th, 2008. We've all talked about this "date" forever and its hard to believe it is almost here. The picture above is their engagement photo, and they just look so cute. I've known Pam (aka: Pamela, or Little Pam) since she was five years old. Her mom use to work with me at my first store in Old Towne, Battered Barn, then at Country Roads. I have to admit, I look at Pam as one of my own kids. She is very special to me and is such an awesome person. I'm really happy for her & Adam right now!

This picture above means a great deal to me. This past Christmas, I had told my kids "all" I wanted as my Christmas gift was a picture by the sign on the side of our building. I never got one! But Pam, being the thoughtful person she is, and always remembering the little things in life, had the photographer take this picture for me. That's just Pam, you know. A big heart, always thinking of others. And, a little family bonus at the wedding, the little ones, Arianna, Riley, and Josalyn will all be flower girls! I'm always grateful for what this store, this business, Country Roads, has brought into my life. As you must know, Country Roads is so much more than "just" a store! The wedding will be on Saturday, October 11th at 4pm. So, I'm doing a first for Country Roads. . . we will be closing early that day at 3pm. After all, one of my kids is getting married, and our entire Country Roads family has to be there! We wouldn't miss it for anything.


Make the Time

Sometimes I feel like a hamster on that "wheel", that just goes round & round. I'm constantly busy, and seem never to make the time anymore to do stuff I want to do, things I use to do. I've been wanting to go to the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach for the past three years. When I was young, and not so "busy", I went every year. A friend of mine, Christie Repasy, was there again this year and I really wanted to go down and see her, her paintings and the Sawdust Festival. Brande went with me, and as we drove down Laguna Canyon it brought back so many memories of days gone by. The Sawdust Festival was awesome, and seeing Christie so happy and content, really warmed my heart. Christie has always painted beautiful, romantic floras. And to see she is now also doing beach and tropical paintings was really nice, as they are my favorite. So, of course I couldn't leave empty handed. Just being there, the art, the music, the displays and the beautiful fountains were so peaceful. It really brought back a lot of memories for me of days gone by.

After Brande and I left there, we drove around Laguna for a bit, then headed over to Fashion Island. Brande and I both have been so busy, we never really celebrated her May birthday. We had a late lunch at Tommy Bahamas, one of our favorites that we don't go to very often. If you go, just order the Pina Colada cake, no need for any other food! Then we spent some time over at Fashion Island shopping. One of my favorite stores there is "Anthropolgie". I love this store because of their displays, they are awesome, unique and always changing. I love this "hay couch" that was sitting out front of the store. It made me even more excited to go inside and see the rest of their displays. I also love their selection of books. So, I picked up a couple for myself, one for Riley, and an outfit for Brande as a belated birthday present.

We walked around some more at Fashion Island with all the other "fancy girls", as I call them. It was just such a nice day out. Riley's birthday is in a couple of weeks so we wanted to look in this childrens shop we go to when we are there. They have these stuffed animal chairs, and since Riley's room is all about the beach, Brande couldn't resist buying her the blue octopus chair(that's what is in the bag she is holding)! I can't wait for Riley to see it, she will be SO excited!

We took PCH home rather than the freeway. I live in Long Beach, about 10 minutes from the beach, so this is a much more pleasant drive. It was one of those perfect SoCal late afternoons. The sun was sparkling off the ocean, and to the right, for some unknown reason, it was clear enough to see the mountains. It made me remember how important it is to make the time, not only for yourself, but to spend it with those you love. I got an e-mail this afternoon. One of my friends, Cheryl Mitchell, isn't doing too good. She use to be our crazy gardener at Country Roads several years ago. She was at Riley's 1st birthday party last year, snapping pictures of everyone, then later showing them to everyone in Old Towne;0) That's just "our" Cheryl. She had lung cancer earlier this year, they removed her lung but its back in the other lung. She then had a stroke, and some other sad stuff has happened, all at only 49 years old. I'm not writing this to depress anyone, but to remind myself and others to never, ever take our days for granite. . "make the time", it's that simple, just make the time!


An August Day at Country Roads

As the clock ticks away the hours of Summer and Fall begins to slowly head our way, I just wanted to share some pictures of Country Roads. I'm always amazed when I walk through "Roads" snapping pictures. We have such a wide variety of merchandise and its all displayed so cool and attractive. To get ready for Fall,we've got some holiday merchandise in!
And don't forget to step out the back door into our little piece of paradise, Johnnye Merle Gardens & Nursery, named after my mom, Johnnye Merle! Set in a rustic, country setting,it lets you escape from the hustle of the City.
We just want to say "thanks" again for shopping with us. There isn't a day that goes by that we don't appreciate our customers. "If" the link below works correctly, just click it and watch a little slideshow of "An August Day at Country Roads"!