"I'd Rather Shop Than Hunt Easter Egg Sale"

So, here's the deal, what is happening at Country Roads on Easter Sunday! We are having a big sale for all our customers:

EASTER SUNDAY, APRIL 12th, 10am to 4pm
"mixing the timely with the timeless"

And, as many of you already know, when Country Roads has a sale, we go ALL out!! If you bring in a gently used purse filled with goodies for "My Sister Joanie's Purse Project" you will receive an entry blank to win a $100 gift certificate for a Country Roads shopping spree! So come on, while you are out shopping for some great stuff and great prices, why not help out those that need a little extra help on this Easter Sunday. Hope to see you all on Easter!


Ding Dongs!!

Okay, before I even begin to write this let me say one thing. . .I feel very sorry for the mentally ill that often refuse help and choose to live homeless. With that said, here's the story. I have two choices where I can do my banking (a)right by my house where the bank is usually a zoo, but close or (b)drive a quick ten minutes, I'm at the beach, feeling an ocean breeze, the bank is never crowded and everyone is cool and laid back! Why in the hell I made choice "a" today is beyond me! And I will never, ever make that choice again!! The bank is slammed, people everywhere and I'm thinking maybe I should go to the other bank, but like I dumbass, I decide to stay.

Since I have a merchant account the line is usually shorter. Not today, whatever these two men were doing at the two merchant windows is beyond me. It was at least a 30 minute wait, I kid you not. It only took me moments to notice the woman in the other line. Actually it was the loud, continuous coughing that let us all know she must have TB! She had all her possessions with her. Her bags were with her on the floor, they were on the counter, they were everywhere. People were polite and some listened to her conversation, others tried to completely ignore her which was tough because of the cough and her talking. The minutes went by like hours and why the bank manager didn't go over to help her is beyond me. As she gets closer to the teller windows, you know those young girls are just praying, "please God, don't let me be THE one". So, it is TB Woman's turn to go to the teller window. It takes a few minutes while she coughs all over everyone one more time, and drags her belongings up to the window. I'm not sure what transpired between the young teller and TB Woman. It took several minutes to happen but when it DID happen we ALL knew about it. TB Woman slammed her hand on the counter and at the top of her lungs began to scream, in the otherwise quiet bank, at the young teller, "you are a DING DONG, did you hear me, you are a DING DONG"!! She gathered her things and screamed one more time at the young teller, "stupid, stupid, stupid". Thankfully the teller had glass to protect her as the rest of us were stuck out there to fend for ourselves and the TB germs!

Again, where the hell is the bank manager? TB Woman drags all her stuff and gets BACK in line and plops herself on the ground and begins writing something. I was afraid to look because now she was only two feet away from ME and I didn't want to be the next "DING DONG"! Meanwhile the two stupid men are still monopolizing the merchant windows. I wanted to scream "DING DONGS" at both of them, that is how long we merchants had been standing in line. Now TB Woman begins a conversation with an elderly 100 year old man who is next to her and is hard of hearing. I'll save you the details of that ordeal, but the picture above is of me and how I felt like screaming, "HELP ME"! I had my deposit in a brown little paper bag and thought, maybe I needed to start breathing in and out of it!! FINALLY Ms. Fancy Bank Manager makes an appearance, of course after all of us probably should now have a TB test! She introduces herself to TB Woman as Mrs.So&SO and says, "I can help you". Here we go again, "what the hell can you do, that girl over there is stupid, she is a DING DONG, are you stupid, are you a DING DONG too"? I so despartely wanted to answer that question for her as in YES!!! Ms. Fancy Banker Manager replied, "no, I'm the manager and I can do many things". Seriously, that is what she said. So TB Woman again starts in how the DING DONG girl over there (pointing at the poor teller) couldn't do anything because she is stupid. So Ms.Fancy Bank Manager told TB Woman to gather her things and come over to her desk. At that point, "thank you God", the stupid men at the merchant windows finally figured out what the national debt was and both left at the same time, which allowed me to make my deposit and get that hell out of that bank! So, I'm not sure how the story ended, I was just thankful to get away from the TB polluted air and at this point I really did't give a. . . okay, I won't use the F-bomb but that's what I felt.

I had to make a quick stop at Trader Joe's across the parking lot from the bank to grab a few things. I just want to go home, but no, there is this old lady hording ALL the milk section because she is reading every single expiration date on the quarts of milk. All I wanted was to grab my two gallons of non-fat milk and just go HOME!! I had to bite my tongue because I wanted to shout at the old woman hording the milk section, "move your ass you stupid DING DONG!!! Which thankfully she did before some Ms.Fancy Trader Joe Manager had to come escort me out of the store!!


Spring Cleaning

When you normally hear the words "spring cleaning" you thnk about the inside of your house. Today I was noticing the little courtyard area by my front porch could use a bit of spring cleaning as well. I've got this thing for vintage watering cans, birdhouses, and adirondack chairs. I don't know what it is, I'm just drawn to them! And even looking at them they needed some spring cleaning! Brande had stopped by yesterday with some plants from her nursery at the store, Johnnye Merle's. So, I started re-planting an old vintage washer where Riley's little adirondack chair sits. Not quiet done yet, and looking at the picture looks like it needs some help so it can stand up straight! Even the lily's need to be trimmed back and freshened up a bit. One thing I love about Spring is that you forget about stuff you've planted season after season, and then one day they just pop out of nowhere. It's always such an awesome surprise to see a flower just randomly pop up and bloom. There is a lot of work ahead to get that spring cleaning done outside, but anxious to get started and to see what my garden surprises me with this year!


My Surprise Little Visitor

Late this afternoon my son-in-law, Vinnie, dropped by with Riley. He was waiting for Katie to get home from work. I didn't hear them come in, but I DID hear the sound of little footsteps running through the house yelling, "Gramma"! And off course she then jumps into my arms and I get a big hug and kisses! Riley's next stop is to find her buddy Leonard, and give him a big hug. That cat is so patient with her. Then Riley decided what toys she wanted to play with and off we went into the family room to play dinosaurs and cars! Riley also likes to roll around on the floor and be tickled as well. I have got to tell you, a surprise visit from Riley ALWAYS makes my day a whole lot bettter!


A Blast From the Past

I love looking at my kids pictures when they were little. They are memories that are kept tight, tucked away in my heart. The oldest is Brande, she is 29. Next is Katie who is 27. And the baby of the three is Bryce who is now 25. I often wonder how time passed that quickly. Here are just some random pictures of "my babies" in different places. Above was taken in the winter, up at Lake Arrowhead, CA Here is Katie, just a few days old at Christmas time with her big sister, Brande. This picture was taken one Fall afternoon at my sister's house. Here we have a very patriotic photo taken on a July 4th bbq. It's nice to see Corona has been around all these years! This was taken in front of a Bed & Breakfast in Montery,CA. They have the most awesome aquarium there for kids!
Here are all three in Napa, CA. When you have three little kids posing for a picture, the odds are pretty great that one of them is going to be messing around! One summer vacation we drove up to Yachats, Oregon. It was a little chilly and windy but the kids had fun on the beach none the less. This last photo was taken at our first house in 1988. It was during the remodel from hell. And no Katie, no one can see your hoo-hoo in this picture! As I glance at these pictures I remember these moments like they were just yesterday, but now they are all grown up. They will always be "my baby's" no matter how old they are!
Fridays Favorite Family Foto
To participate, email Deb at Cashgirl_56@yahoo.com


Nothing Like A Surpirse in The Mail!

 Today I went out to get my mail from the mailbox. I was expecting the usual junk, nothing exciting. Then I saw this big envelope addressed to "Gramma and Riley". It was from my dear sweet friend Ruthie who now lives in Florida. She has always been a gardener, it is one of her passions. The garden she left back here in what use to be her home,(thanks Susan), had the most beautiful garden. She would spend hours in it and you could tell just by a glimpse that it was a well kept garden that was tended with lots of love. She was bring in oranges, avocados, and flowers to us at Country Roads.I have been writing to Ruthie about wanting to start gardening with Riley. We've still got the sunflowers we need to plant. So, when I opened the big envelope, the book pictured above was inside. On the inside cover she had written the date followed by, "For Riley and Gramma. . . Happy Gardening xx00 Ruthie". I've always found in my life that it is usually the most simple things that mean the most to me, that fill my heart with joy. Riley and I will treasure this book forever because it was something that was so simple, yet filled with so much love. You rock Ruthie!!
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"Forever Friends for Free"

Being a BIG animal lover, one of my customers, Mary Striley, e-mailed me a poster about something totally cool that is happening at the OC Animal Shelter this Saturday, March 28th, from 10am to 5pm. They are sponsoring a "Forever Friends for Free" animal adoption day!! I'm such an animal lover and every "furry friend" I have in my home, and I DO have too many, were a rescue. Above is Kona and Fluffy, my office assistants. You know animals that are rescued, ALWAYS, somehow know that and the love they give back is just awesome. I'm kind of glad I'm working this Saturday because I know if I wasn't I would be right down there bringing home some more furry friends to join my family. I think what is especially important right now is to remember the shelters are over flowing with beautiful cats and dogs because people have lost their homes and can no longer keep them. These are the things about todays world that break my heart. I still remember this song from that movie in the the 70's. .. "Bless the beast and the children, they have no voice, they have no choice". So, PLEASE, before going out and buying some expensive pet, go to the shelters. These furry friends need homes, and I can vouch for that as Kona and Fluffy are asisting me in writing this on their behalf as well. And thanks Mary for not letting me know about this event, but for having such a big heart!!


Breakin' in Morgan's New Crib

Every time Uncle Bryce is around Riley it is chaos! Playing, yelling, screaming and mostly laughing. For some reason, Uncle Bryce thought it would be "fun" to let Riley jump around in the new soon to be Morgan's crib. Of course Riley thought this was great fun as you can tell! The best part about winding little kids up till there bouncing off the wall, is they soon have to go home. So, I noticed on Riley's way out she was pulling Katie's hair and still screaming and laughing! My house, on the other hand, is nice, quiet, and peaceful. But still, nothing makes my day better than to hear the laughter of a little kid!


Why Is Riley Smiling?

See that cute little smile, and why is Riley smiling? Well, here's the deal, and I know it's not nice, but I'm not very happy with Mr.Wonderful right now. He hurt Katie's feelings. Riley calls Mr. Wonderful, "Papa" which of course I don't like because that is what my kids use to call my dad. After a few practice rounds, Riley got it down perfect. Gramma would say, "what is Papa", and Riley would smile and say, "Papa jackass". And then she would smile like she did in the picture above and it made me smile as well. As I always say, it's funny how those little things in life can make your day better, like Riley, "what is Papa", follwed by her big grin, "papa jackass". I agree with her too!


Our Little Morgan

As time passes, the more I become SO totally amazed at what technology is capable of doing. This is a 5-D ultrasound of my little Morgan, my new granddaugher that is due on June 2 of this year. My son, Bryce, had bought a gift certificate for his wife, Justine, for her birthday to have the 5-D ultrasound done.They also give the a DVD with music of the photos as well. As we all looked at all the pictures, I had to admit some of them were a little scary to look at. But of course in a good way! Apparently, Morgan already has quite a bit of hair, as in a full head. All of my kids had lots of hair when they were born, and Bryce actually needed a hair cut when he was four months old! Each time Riley gives me a big kiss, and hugs and hugs me, I start to be in awe that there will be another baby born that will fill my life with that same unconditional love. It reminds me that no matter how difficult things can be at times, the gift of a grandchild is magical and I do, indeed, feel blessed!
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My Texas Roots

That's a school picture of my mom who born and raised in Temple, Texas. Her name was Johnnye Merle Durham, and even though she came out to CA with my dad in the 1950's, she was always a true Texan at heart. Here are some random old pictures I have of my mom that I just wanted to share! Here's another picture of my mom in elementary school. I never saw these pictures until after she had passed away. I found them in an old album. This is a picture of my mom, with her mom, my grandmother. Her name was Madge Dulane Durham, and I have the same middle name Dulane as my grandmother did. This is another picture of my grandmother. I never met her as she died of cancer when my mom was fifteen years old. This is a picture of my mom as a sassy young woman! This is a picture of my grandfather, Hobson Durham, that I also never got to meet. About a year or so after my grandmother died, my grandfather committed suicide. I think losing his wife was just too much for him to beare.He use to drive an oil truck outside of Temple, Texas.That's my mom sitting on the top of the truck, and my grandpa is right below! Going through all the sadness my mom did at such an early age I think prevented her from sharing many of her Texas memories with me or my sister and not knowing much about her days in Texas. And as I said, it wasn't until after she died that I found many old photos that were just awesome. My biggest regret is that my mom didn't live long enough to see the first black President of the United States elected. Her and my dad would be so very proud of President Obama. The one thing I learned from my folks was that people are people, it's about what's inside of you that makes them the person they are! It's never, ever about the color of their skin. My mom was a die-hard Texan democrat who I know is happy now with the new leadership of our country today! Wish she was here to share in the joy!

Friday's Favorite Family Foto

To participate, email Deb: Cashgirl_56@yahoo.com


What Does a "Surprise" Really Mean?

So, this is a picture of a younger Malisa the cowgirl, from her now famous Moonlight Hollow blog. And I hope I don't get busted for lifting this picture from her blog. She has a warning on her blog that I just violated!! But hey, I didn't have any other picture! Anyway, I had been admiring her new blog banner and layout that's on her new blog, "The Resaissance Chick". I had been asking her about banners and stuff. And what did she go and do? THIS!! She got me this totally awesome new banner and layout as in a "surprise"! Did you get it, she GOT this for ME!! Wow, I'm still blown away. I love the ocean and the way its illustrated in this banner just takes my breath away. As many of you know, my mom was from Texas and had a really good and giving heart. Malisa lives in Texas and it's nice to see that the Texans of this generation have those same good, giving hearts. Malisa, you are the best!


Wavin' at Barrack

Today, Barrack Obama and Air Force One flew into our local airport, Long Beach! I got there early, I wanted to make sure I saw the plane touch down. So, I saved a spot for Riley and her daddy, Vinnie.It was really special to have Riley see this with me, can't quite put it into words. She passed the time by kicking dirt and throwing little rocks. She hung on to the fence just like her Gramma did, waiting for "the big plane" she would say! Then, after the first jet landed with the American flag on it, you knew we were only minutes away from seeing what we all had been waiting for!And there is was, as you can see in the first picture and there it went if you look closely above at the photo. It was a "moment", you know? A "moment" that I will never forget. The crowd was mixed of all ages, all colors of people waiting for the same thing, to see Air Force One fly by with President Obama aboard. People cheered, they waved, some had flags, and I just hoped I wouldn't screw the picture up. I waited to leave because since I got there early, I was up front and there were a lot of cars so I didn't have much choice anyway. But I'm glad I waited because pretty soon, five big Air Force helicopters flew over, and as I didn't know at the time, but I thought Mr.Obama would be in one of them! There was no way they were going to drive him down the 405 freeway! It was a moment in history for me, a story I can tell to Riley with pictures to show her. It also brought back the "hope" into my heart. To be in a crowd, in the sun, waiting for about an hour and a half to see our Presidents plane touch down, was a very special moment for me. And to have my granddaughter by my side made it even more memorable. We all need to keep believing in "hope" and never give up, ever!


Happy St. Patty's Day

  So, today is St.Patricks Day and I remembered it this morning as I put on my Van's green camo tennis shoes, but got busy and forgot about it the rest of the day. I didn't sleep to well last night and then I think today I just felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I mean, you can't pick up a newspaper, or turn on the tv, or even go to work without hearing about the word I've learned to hate, the "economy". I'm so sick of that word! Whenever I like to escape to smell the salt air, and I have banking to do, I make a short ten minute drive and I'm at the beach in Old Towne Seal Beach. I kind of forgot this afternoon about St. Patricks day. Old Towne Seal Beach is BIG on celebrating this holiday. After all you've got O'Malleys Pub(my favorite), Hennesey's, and Clancy's to name a few. The sidewalks were PACKED with early party people all decked out in green and some great people watching to say the least! There was a part of me that longed for my younger days and being one of those "party people", but today was not the day. After I managed to get my banking done, I drove back down to the Marina. It is a beautiful sunny SoCal day here. The sun sparkling on the water, a slight breeze, it kind of relaxes you. I took a short walk by all the boats before I got back in my car to finish my work at home. There's days that we all just need to find a few minutes here and there for ourselves. Mine was a simple fix. . .I just needed that ocean breeze and my life became a lot less stressful.
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A Place in the Garden

The other day, I was on overload and wanted to get "busy" doing something I enjoy. My garden has been kind of neglected during the winter months. I didn't have the time to cut my roses back but here they are bloomin! This is the Mary Lou Heard rose, named in the memory of her and her wonderful nursery, Heards Gardens. This part of the garden is actually on the other side of the driveway by the street. We took out the grass, and planted some stuff several years ago, and I do nothing to this! Maybe some water here and there. And my hollyhocks, I love 'em. They always let me know when Spring is on the way, as their seeds blow freely in the wind starting new hollyhocks all over my flowerbeds! The nasturisms are in the same flower bed with this awesome plant that is a Annie's annual that I forgot the name of. I like to decorate my gardens just like my house with vintage finds. This is the footboard of an old iron bed. I use to be able to sit in my adirondack chairs in the garden until the plant that belongs in the Disneyland Jungle Cruise took over! I think its time for some pruning! I love these little, tiny purple flowers that fall over the vintage headboard in the garden. There is something special and relaxing about gardening. Kind of, as my mom always said, "putting back into the earth what we take out"! I've still got the sunflower seeds waiting to be planted with Riley when she comes over. It's tradition, you know. My mom always gardened with my kids, so off course I'm going to do it with my little buddy Riley! Stressed these days? Just find your place in the garden!


Family and Birthdays

Today was Arianna's third birthday. Where does the time go, seems just like yesterday I was at the hospital when she was born. As I write all the time about my family, my family isn't exactly limited to "blood" if that makes sense. The Castillo girls and their family is also MY family. We all have this very close bond that I can't explain accept to say it's about the love. Each year when Ari has a birthday, we go to the historic Hart park in Old Towne Orange. I work, but dash over afterwards, and we celebrate. It's ALL about sugar crazed toddlers, family and tradition. I wish I could really convey what these birthday celebrations mean to me. Riley this year would wear a party hat, she's grown to get into celebrating and knowing that hat is part of it. Azul, who is Ari's brother, was big enough this year to get into the birthday festivities as well! He is growing so much, hard to believe he will be two in July. Nothing like a bunch of little toddlers running around on sugar highs! I personally enjoyed Riley beating her mom, my daughter, Katie over the head repeatedly. And I had to go before Josalyn, the oldest of the kids, almost four, got there. I say this over, and over but my family means so much to me, my Country Roads family. We all work together, we celebrate special occasions together and when you look at the above little faces on the kids, how can I not feel blessed tonight as I go to bed after being able to share and the laughter of a birthday party for little kids. And I think of next year, when baby Morgan will join us. These are the little things in life that fill my heart. That is what life is really all about, the simple things, don't you think?