Bidding & Blogging For Little Bella!

You know, if you watch the news daily it becomes so depressing, I just can't handle it anymore. You start to give up on life and then something like this happens!! Look at the beautiful, sweet baby girl above. A true gift from God, she just got here a bit early. Bella is Debbie's first granddaughter, something I know all about. The first little granddaughters that are born grab hold of your heart like nothing else will ever do! If you see the little box in the upper right hand corner, with "The Junk Sistas", click it on and find out about an awesome fundraiser that is happening. And actually, I'm quite proud of myself for getting a link to actually work! I emailed Amy this morning over at Junk Sistas. I had a question for her in that I wanted to make a donation, but I didn't want any raffle tickets. God knows I've got more stuff than one person should ever have! I just wanted to send little Bella's family a cash donation. So, I started thinking, I'm sure there are many of you out there in "cyberspace" that may feel the same way, right? Just contact Amy and she can hook you up!! The world of blogging is fascinating to me. I get more readers on my blog, than I do my website for my store. But what is touching to me is to see people all over this country of ours coming together for this little baby. One of my favorite songs is by Louis Armstrong, "Wonderful World"
Let me just wrap this up by quoting my favorite part of the song: "I hear babies cry, I watch them grow, you know their gonna learn a whole lot more than I'll ever know. . .and I think to myself what a wonderful world, yes what a wonderful world"
Let's all work together to give Debbie and her family some support so one day, Debbie will have little Bella sticking her fingers up Debbie's nose, pulling her hair, pinching her neck, you know all the loving things those little grandkids like to do to us when they are two years old. Maybe Riley can teach Bella some tricks to play on Gramma. So, pull out those checkbooks or credit cards and give back, pay it forward, please!


Garden Days

I've been spending time the past few days with my little buddy, Riley, so I haven't had much time to work in my garden. I've got some plants waiting to hit the ground tomorrow; hollyhocks, giant sunflowers, and foxgloves. For some reason, I haven't had foxgloves for awhile. Not sure why, but I'm anxious to plant them. This past Sunday I spent time taking out some of my overgrown plants, especially the big vine that looked like it belonged on Disneyland's Jungle Cruise! I was able to get some soil added to this part of my flowerbed and add a few plants. I have to say this is one of my most favorite times of the year. I've got hollyhocks and roses blooming everywhere, just to name a few of the plants that are blooming right now. It's nice to be able to have the time to spend in my garden. This is the first time in a long time I've actually had the "time" to enjoy gardening!


The Many Smiles Of Riley

We're here, at Disneyland as you can tell by the smile on Riley's face. She did a lot of smiling yesterday. I think the best part I enjoyed was the Disney Playhouse. It IS one of Riley's favorites and I don't have any pictures because I didn't know how to turn off my flash. There is something magical about sitting on the floor with all these little kids and then the Disney characters pop out on stage. ALL the little smiles make you remember WHY Disneyland is so magical. Here are some more of my favorite smiles from yesterday! No fear as Riley flies around in the air with Daddy as her little hands wave. It was a beautiful day at Disneyland yesterday, even if it was a little crowded. Sorry, the garden geek comes out of me at California Adventure. Disney does everything, first class, especially the landscaping. One of Riley's favorites, the merry-go-round! So, yes, that is Riley's finger up her nose as she poses for the camera as we wait for one of her most favorite rides. The train that goes around Disneyland. Our day ended with Katie & Vinnie treating me to dinner at the Blue Bayou. It sits above the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and for some reason, in my entire life, I've never been there. It was a nice way to end the day, as you see Riley hanging on the fence waiting to catch the tram back to the car. The on plus by living not far from Disneyland is they offer annual passes, which means you can drop in any time. I still remember when I was a little kid, my parents taking me and my sister once a year to visit Disneyland. That was our vacation, and we, just like my kids and Riley, loved every minute of the most magical place on earth, Disneyland!


We Went To Dizzyland!

We went to Dizzyland, or I should say Disneyland today. For some reason, it was really crowded. I have some photos of our day I'll post tomorrow. But this picture above is one of my favorites today. This is a ride for kids in Bugland or It's a Bug's Life. I loved that these women with the big ass hair were on the kiddie ride, and they had fun. For me, I'll calling it a day for now!


When Little Kids Steal Your Glasses

I've got different pairs of glasses all over my house. This is how Riley manages to steal them and often hide them! First, she acts all cute and innocent. Her next step is to just pretend she is laughing at nothing while inside that little head of hers, she is plotting a plan! Next, Riley crawls up into my chair with her favorite book Ruthie sent her. You know she is setting the stage for "why" she needs my glasses. Now that Riley has spotted my glasses, she hangs them on her shirt the same way Gramma wears her glasses! Now it is time to place the glasses on her little face and try them on for size! Riley now decides these darn glasses aren't going to stay on, no matter how hard she tries! This IS the picture of Riley thinking how fast she can run to hide Gramma's glasses! She managed a month or so ago to hide my really good glasses so well it took another month to find them! But hey, when I see that little smile, it's okay because she has so much fun doing it!


My So Called Life

I think years ago there use to be a tv show called, "My So Called Life". That's how I feel sometimes. I never have any days that if someone asked,"so how was your day". Boring would never be an answer for me, I would have to go on and on because my days are always so full. Which I'm not complaining, they are just full! So, at the beginning of last week, I was recovering from the whole rat incident, everything was cleaned up, I was feeling much better and at peace with myself. We got an early taste of summer, so I had been watering my garden, doing a little work on the computer, and kickin' back in my shorts and flip flops! Life was good. Last year my friend Ruthie had convinced me to let Romantic Homes magazine do a photo shoot of my house. They had just done hers and she thought it would be great promotion for Country Roads. And for those that know me, I will do anything that will help promote the store. As I'm working on my computer, my cell phone rings and its one of the editors from Romantic Homes. I got up, and left my office and as I was walking into the dining room, and talking on the phone,it happened! As I'm trying to be all professional and such, this lizard darts right by me, almost over my flip flops!! I HATE lizards, I know they don't hurt you, I know their good for our gardens, but I do NOT want them in my house. I'm trying not to act like anything is wrong while I'm involved in this phone conversation and thinking where in the hell did that lizard go. Thankfully I didn't let a bad word slip out of my mouth during the conversation. After I got off the phone, I went to get Justine, my eight month pregnant daughter-in-law. Her and Bryce live with me. She goes and looks where the lizard ran, and now she thinks it's a snake which I HATE even more than lizards! Justine makes a plan if we push it with a broom out from behind one of my architectural columns, she will put the tupperware bowl over it, and I will put something heavy on top to keep the lizard there until Bryce gets home from work. We capture the lizard, as you can see above, and it was much smaller than I remembered! I my mind it was iguna size! We look at the poor little lizard and now we are worried it can't breathe with a bowl on top of it. I get a steak knife and tried to make holes in the tupperware. Finally Bryce gets home, goes to his room, has something to eat, etc, etc and two hours have passed until he decides to take the lizard outside. And I'm still concerned the little lizard can't breathe. So, you have to know what happens next. As Bryce lifts the tupperware bowl,the lizard escapes!! Dandy. I go and get Bryce one of my garden gloves which of course are way too small for his hand. He grabs the lizard by the tail, and I even know what that means, the tail falls off. So he is yelling for me to come look at the tail that is floppin' around on my family floor while the tailless lizard is still loose in my house. To make a long story short, Bryce finally puts the lizard and its tail in the tupperware bowl with one of my dinner plates on top of it so it won't escape, and is on its journey to the garden. He reminded me of when he was a little kid, all into starring at the damn lizard and the tail floppin around. Katie has to remember the time she was gardening a few years back and called Bryce hysterically on the phone, "there is a snake with legs in my flowerbed, come get it". Bryce got some kind of cage and drove around with "the snake with legs" (a lizard) for awhile in his truck and named it Larry. At night Leonard use to sleep in the garage, and he would curl up to Larry the lizard's cage. Wish I could find THAT photo. It was a true Leonard and Larry love affair! Bryce finally set Larry free in our garden. I guess I should be happy life is never boring for me, and I would, if "stuff" would just stop coming inside the house!


Fun at Assisted Living!

These pictures were taken back in November of 2006. My mom had just died a month or two before and my dad was left alone in that fun lovin' joyful assisted living place. That's my sister on the left with Riley. My dad had never held Riley, and actually hadn't smiled much since my mom died. That's my oldest daughter, Brande, with Riley. Great-grandpa still wasn't sure he was ready to hold his first great-grandbaby! There we go, a "Kodak Moment", my dad and my little Riley! It warmed my heart. All my dad kept saying was, "your mom would have loved this little baby". I so wish I would have had a just one photo of my mom and dad with Riley but sometimes life doesn't work out that way and at least I have the photo of Riley and my dad. Sadly, my dad passed away a few months later on Valentine's Day. We knew he wanted to just "let go" and be with the love of his life for more than 58 years, my mom!

To participate: contact Deborah at cashgirl_56@yahoo.com


Gay Oscar

A few weeks back I posted a blog about one our local shelters having a pet adoption day. Thanks to Mary Strickley that forwarded me the information. Bill & Cindy Finch are dealers in my store and awesome people and pet lovers as well. I featured the first dog they rescued a few weeks ago. Then this past week or so, they went back and rescued Oscar, who I call Gay Oscar because he is in love with one of their dogs at home Moses, and has a few "issues" he needs to work out in that area. The owners of Oscar surrendered him to the shelter because, get this, he pooped in the house! That's right, don't train your pets, they poop in your house, so you just dump them at the shelter! Thanks to Bill and Cindy, Oscar now as a loving home. He had been to the vet the day of his photo above and had some eye drops put in his eyes, so that is why he looks a little wiped out. This little guy is a loving, sweet, sweet, dog. Sometimes I wish I could dump some of the people I come across in life in the damn dog pound till they rot. To this day, I will always remember that song from the Billy Jack movie, "bless the beast and the children, they have no voice, they have no choice"!


Just Needed to Smile!

You know, every once in awhile we all sometimes just really need a hug & a smile. Riley stopped by for a few mintutes this afternoon. I got my hug and smile, and so did her buddy, Leonard! Or at least he got the hug, not sure he is smiling!!

Our Unsung Hero's

My friend, Malisa, over at Moonlight Hollow, had honored myself and others with the Renee Award. Cher, over the Texas Woman was also one of us that received this award. This award was created for Renee, who is fighting stage 4 breast cancer.
It was created by Renee's friends, Bella and Ces. Bella had the following to say "Renee is one human being who has made such a difference in the lives of many just by being. Her honestly, wit, intelligence, and grit are a tremendous source of inspiration. She can elicit raucous laughter and guffaws in her banter, and then turn right around and offer the most heartfelt, gentle words of wisdom and emotional support. She is a spreader of love,simple and true. And her love is infectious. "This is a brand new award and I have the pleasure and honor of spreading the seed, watching it grow. I hope it finds its way to those who are like Renee: the acorn, a small package becoming a tall and sturdy oak, giving more acorns, becoming tall and sturdy oaks, giving acorns..."

As I read Cher's post last night about her sister, it makes you realize that when we think we are having a bad day and may bitch and moan a tad, we really need get a grip. When you think of those that have serious health issues, or serious life situations they are ALWAYS the ones that are positive and strong. So, I'm dedicating this award to my friend, Crazy Cheryl! She doesn't have a computer, she doesn't have a home, she doesn't have a job, she doesn't have a car, and her health isn't too good either. Cheryl has always been crazy, in a good way. She use to work out in the garden at Country Roads watering and taking care of the plants. She has always marched to her own drummer, alienated herself from all her family, but we all "accepted" Cheryl for who she was. The contagious laughter, the craziness and all just made her the special person she was. I remember on Riley's first birthday, we had the party at my house. Cheryl invited herself, which was awesome, and came with camera in hand, taking pictures of everyone and then sharing the photos with her friends at the stores in Old Towne. I remember she got Riley a garden growth chart, which was fitting since Cheryl is a true gardener.

Over the years, Cheryl would pop in and out of the store to visit us and make us laugh. Last year when she stopped by she told us they had spotted cancer on her lung and it would be okay,"really Sue, it will be okay" is what she told me. I didn't hear from her for a long time, I was worried as were others, but no one knew where to find her. Finally because people remembered she had worked in the store at one time, someone e-mailed me and let me know what happened. Cheryl had to have her lung removed and during the surgery, she had a stroke. She was then put in a convalescent hospital and finally moved to a Board & Care home. Last month, out of the blue when it was really cold outside, Cheryl walks into the store and sits on the bench until I realize she is there. She saw I was busy with customers and didn't want to bother me so she just quietly sat there, content. My heart dropped at the sight of her. If you didn't know her, you would think it was a homeless woman that had stepped inside to get out of the cold. She smiled at me with that crazy smile of hers and I gave her a hug. She told me about everything that she could remember that had happened to her. And I could tell the stroke also had added to the craziness I use to love about Cheryl. We laughed because she couldn't lift her right arm up because of the stroke, but her and I are both left handed so we just laughed because finally it had paid off to be left handed! Before she left I asked if she knew what bus to take to get home, "do you need any money Cheryl" and she just laughed the crazy laugh telling me she was fine, smiled and left. As I watched her walk away through the window of the store, tears just streamed down my face. I couldn't help it and I NEVER cry at the store. Darcy said, "Sue, she'll be okay". But I wasn't sure.

Yesterday I was at the store again, and the last couple of weeks or so have been really trying for me. I've been frustrated and have not had my "head" where I want it to be. I've been pre-occupied. So, as I was rushing to the counter for something, then back again, out of the corner of my eye, who is sitting on my bench, crazy Cheryl! Same goofy look on her face that I love. She was telling me she was now living with some tiny old 80 year old woman from her church. The woman lets her live there for free. She talked about still planning on getting a car, and then all of a sudden she got really excited and says, "Sue, I'm going to take the train this week-end". I was almost afraid to ask to where, but she just wanted to go down to San Juan Capistrano where she use to go. Then she was telling me she is still planning her vacation to Hawaii. It was nice talking about plans and places to go. Her cough is much worse now, and I know when she coughs she sees the concern in my eyes and just smiles through the coughing and says, "oh Sue, this cough is nothing, the doctor says it should go away soon". Then she just smiled and left as Bryce was telling her, "hey, I wouldn't know what bus to get on, good for you for figuring that out". I'm not sure when and unfortunately "if" I'll see Cheryl again, I hope so. But I really needed to see her yesterday. It put my head back where it is supposed to be!! I think we ALL need just to chill out sometimes and think of all the "unsung hero's" that struggle to get through each day of their lives, and never, ever lose those smiles that are always on their faces! Bless their little hearts, in the good way, as my friend Malisa would quickly say!!


Me & My Baby Girl!

I spent some time with Riley today. Amazing how much food she can shove in her mouth! Me & Riley didn't really do anything special, just hung out and played. In case you are wondering, Riley was "supposed" to be sitting on the bench. Like always, we did find some time to dance, Riley had just finished her "moves" to the music!! I am so grateful to have Riley live so close by. I get to see her all the time, and we are able to have a lot of just "hangin" out time, not really doing nothing but having fun together. And of course, the hugs I get makes my whole day in itself!


Sprucin' Up Club Med LB!

The first time my dear friend Ruthie saw my backyard, she named it, "Club Med Long Beach"!I don't get to take many vacations, so I've created my own "getaway" in the backyard of my home.
We've been having summer weather lately, so nice, even if it is a bit HOT! If you look at the pix above, you will see that Riley has her own special chair! She has been taking swim lessons at a swim school for over a year now. It has been really important to me that she becomes water safe! I kind of just put fun stuff behind the pool that I enjoy looking at. I have those solar powered tiki lights that come on at night and really add to the setting. I have my other mermaid up there as well. I have a vintage pepsi cooler out here in Club Med. It use to work but it isn't exactly "energy efficient" so I don't keep drinks in it anymore. These are a couple of my favorite things. The surfboard is actually vintage Hobie surfboard my friends husband made into a bench. The iron pieces with the palm trees are one of my favorite things as well. They came from Florida. Also, if you look at the "Aloha Farmers Market" sign, there is a sweet story behind the sign. A few years after Mr.Wonderful left he took all the kids to Maui. When we were a family, we all use to vacation there. Bryce has got that "collector" bug, big time. He found that sign and made his dad UPS it home to me. That had to cost a bit, but that's my boy, always thinking of his mama! I step out of my bedroom slider, and I'm in another world. Sally sits in the dirtier looking lounger, and I sit in my comfy rocker! This is one of the views of the bar Bryce built me several years ago. I need to get some new thatching for the roof this year! I love this sign. One of my friends use to be part owner in a restaurant here in Old Towne. Her partners owned Cheeseburger in Paradise in Maui. This band was playing at the restaurant here in Old Towne and when they were done, my friend brought me the sign! It hangs on the opposite side of the bar.Also notice the vintage "senasac" street sign. I've had that since I was a kid. It came off the corner when they changed to newer signs. It's the same street and house that Katie, Vinnie, and Riley live in today. This is where I put the table and chair set I got at Country Roads not to long ago. It's become one of my favorite things as well. Here's a picture of "Sally the Cabana dog" relaxing in the CA sunshine with me! And this is the little table next to my chair. On this table are all the things that take me away from our crazy world and help me relax in my own little Club Med LB!!


My Son Lied!!

Remember the whole "rat" issue at my house? Yesterday Bryce told me that the dead, little rat in the garage that he caught in the trap was the one he saw the night before in the kitchen. "No, we only had that one little rat, and I got it in the trap", those were his words, "I KNOW it's the same rat, I recognize it". I knew different but hoped for the best. This morning I hear him calling me to come look at something in the garage. I didn't want to go because I could tell by Bryce's voice, it was "rat related"!! Sure enough, this rat was the size of Leonard,it was huge, and dead in trap!! I'm yelling at him to go throw it outside in the trash. Which he still hasn't done. GROSS! So, because Bryce lied, and is leaving the dead rat in my garage by the washer and dryer to torture me, I decided to post his little naked butt on my blog. STOP THE LYING BRYCE!! And in case you don't know, Bryce is now 25 years old!


Where's Leonard When We Need Him!

The other night, we had a visitor in our house, a rat. As you see, I guess he was just a bit hungry!! I feel BAD killing anything but I don't want a rat or their entire family in my house. And apprently, according to Bryce the said rat or mouse was small. But still, GROSS! And Leonard, when he use to be an outside cat, was awesome at catching rats and leaving them on my porch. Now a days, I guess he is just fat and retired from the business! Our garage has a door off the kitchen and its nice to have the washer and dryer out there, store the dog and cat food in plastic containers that you see above. But it's not nice to have RATS in the garage. Look at the size of the hole they chewed to get to poor Sally's dog food! Needless to say, those have been moved. Yep, there's Leonard on "rat patrol"! Hey at least he's not sleeping so maybe he is just waiting to spot one. Bryce put traps out last night and there was nothing there, so I'm hoping our little visitor found enough to eat to move on and bother someone else! Bryce just reported that there was one in the trap and the garage and he's sure that was the one he spotted the other night! So, I'm going to believe that!