Monday, December 31, 2012

It's not even over, but it will be soon....

There's always a bit of a let down and a glimpse of depression when Christmas is over.  The month of December is so much fun, building up to Christmas.  It's all the preparing and hustle and bustle that's the real excitement of the holidays and when Christmas mornging rolls is gone in a flash.  Then you're left with wrapping paper to clean up, too much candy to eat and upcoming resolutions to make.  However....not in our family!  We still have one more "holiday" event to look forward to every year!  New Year's Eve at my sister's house!  Ginger, my sister and Kevin, my brother-in-law, host a very special, family New Years Eve dinner at their house every year.  We do a fun "white elephant" gift exchange and they prepare a huge "Thanksgiving like" feast!  We eat, play card games, charades and toast with sparkling cider at midnight!   It's so much fun and a great way to end the year.  So, at the moment when we know Christmas has, once again, come and gone....we get to immediately look forward to New Year's Eve at the Beaman's! 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

I Am Proud To Know You.....

We all lost an incredible man just 11 days before Christmas.   He entered my life 11 years ago, and I haven't been the same since.  There's some people that just strike it lucky with wonderful in laws...and I am among those few.  My father in law, Bob, was not only an amazing father in law....but his presence in my life changed me forever. 

Other than my own father, never have I known such a good man.  Bob was passionate, talented, kind hearted, warm, loving and most of all....selfless.  He truly loved his family and I am lucky enough to count myself as part of his family.  His loyalty and commitment to everyone he loved made everyone around him feel calm, happy and at peace. 

Bob helped me through some awful, tough times in my life, when nobody else seemed to know what else to say.  He understood my pain and showed me that time heals and faith bring peace.  He helped me so much and provided comfort in a time when the world seemed impossible to face.  The good times and memories we shared will forever be in my heart and I will always treasure them.

Before Bob passed, I wrote him a letter....and though I won't disclose all of what the letter said...I want to share part of it with you all.  Every year, David and I bought Bob, the "You Might Be a Redneck" desk calendar.  It was a tradition...and he loved it.  That calendar continued to tickle him, year after year...and though he never wanted Christmas presents....I know he looked forward to that one every year.   In the letter I told him that he is who he is and nobody can alter or change him.  If he's a redneck, he's a redneck. :)  But, most of all, he was a loving, caring man that was so in love with David's mom, Sonna.  I've never seen a man so crazy about anyone before in my life.  (I told him I was kind of envious of their mushy, gushy relationship!) Haha...just kidding, but they were pretty darn cute. 

Just the core of who is was and will forever live on to be in our hearts, is enough to make all of us extra thankful that, not only do we have proof that such a wonderful kind of person can exist in this world, but that we were lucky enough to have him in our lives.  I'm so proud to call him my father in law...and so honored to be his daughter in law. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Oh the Days Go By So Fast....

Oh how I wish I had more time to blog.  I really love it.  There's so much to write about and so much I want to share and remember.  Hopefully, now with the busy holidays coming to an end, I will have lots more time to blog, blog, blog! 

I have been spending some of my time on my other blog, Trapeze Paper Crafts.  It's been a lot of fun crafting and making videos for my crafty YouTube channel.  I made several homeade gifts for Christmas this year and I will be posting pictures on my other blog very soon. 

So, I am very happy to report that I am home in Arizona!  Don't get me wrong, San Francisco was a lovely, artistic city and I was very intrigued by it....but I am so glad to be home!  We made it on time for Thanksgiving and I feel like it's been go, go, go ever since!  I always "overdo" the holidays.  There just aren't enough hours in the day to buy gifts, make gifts, decorate, clean, wrap, cook, bake, run a cupcake business, work 40 hours a week at my real job, plus do the things I WANT to do like spend time with my family, play with my nephew, watch movies with my husband, read a book...and blog!  I say every year that I am going to keep it simple, so I can actually enjoy the holidays.  You know, put the tree up, but don't cover every corner of my house with plaid and peppermint.  Bake, but don't take 17 cupcake orders in a period of 1 week.  Buy and wrap gifts, but don't use a different wrapping paper for each gift, don't start the shopping on December 22nd and don't go overboard!  Maybe handmake something, but don't be so unorganized that it literally looks like a tornado hit your craft room. 
Keep it simple!

It was stressful all the way up to the end of Christmas Eve, but I have to say that Christmas Day was wonderful.  It's been a very different year.  A dear, dear, incredible man in our lives passed away  a couple weeks father-in-law, Bob.  He was like nobody I have every known before.  I will be writing a separate post about him soon.  He was so loved and will be dearly missed forever.  So, you see, with all that's gone on this year...I can really say that I'm glad this year is almost over!   I will be honest...I have struggled this year with things that were just thrown at me and to which I had no power over whatsover.  I am hoping that the new year will bring change and a fresh start.  The good things are a constant and those are the people in my life that make life worth those can and will stay the same....but for everything else....change is necessary.  I will explain more about that in a separate blog post, too!

I'll leave you, for now, with this significant lyric...

"There's reason to believe, maybe this year will be better than the last..."

And it will be!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Crafty Momma....

This weekend starts the beginning of CRAFT SEASON!  Our first craft fair is on Saturday, and it's definitely one of my favorites of the year!  I won't be home from San Francisco yet, so unfortunately, I will miss out... not to mention that Town and Country will miss out on Tootsie Tillie Cupcakes this year!  However, in the spirit of this first weekend of craft shows...I am bound and determined to go to one out here!  I have found this one and it's this weekend in Mill Valley, CA!  Mill Valley is such a charming and beautiful little town...and very artsy, so I am excited!  It's about a 10 minute drive from where we are and for a bonus, it's where my favorite crafting store is located just a little ways down the road!  It's so much fun to attend craft fairs to look and get ideas and inspiration.  The crafting store is hosting a free scrap day for paper crafters that day, so it looks like maybe it will be a very crafty Saturday for me! 

I am still very excited for my mom and sisters to do good in the craft fair back home.   They have been making some adorable things and my sweet mom has even sent me the most adorable fall tote/purse to cheer me up and give me a taste of our favorite time of year.  Here it is...isn't it ADORABLE??!!

I'm so in love with it and I'm gonna load this baby up as my purse and show it off at the craft fair this weekend. 
My mom will be selling some of these at her craft show this weekend along with a lot of other handmade items.  She's so talented and can make anything!  She always made us outfits when we were little and provided endless supplies of sheet pants during that craze.  If I ever need something hand painted, sewn or created....she always comes through with something even better than I imagined!  If I needed a shirt the next day for a pep rally in high school...she'd get out her air brush and create away!  Now that she has a grandson, she has really gotten good at baby blankets and with another grand baby on the way....I can't wait to see what she will make next!  I'm so glad that I have such a creative mom and that I can share this passion for crafting with her and my sisters.  How lucky are we to have the BEST MOM IN THE WORLD??  Very lucky..I must say. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Flying High Above the Sadness and the Fear....

There never seemed to be "an end in sight" as some are calling it...until today.  With what started last March seemed like a never ending journey that just got harder and harder as the days progressed.  There's the medical factor, which is what is on the surface and what has been the most exhausting element of this stressful period of our lives.  For the patient, I know it's the hardest.  It takes a toll on your body, your mind and your emotions.  It makes it difficult to fight through anything when all you are doing is jumping from one doctor's appointment to another and from one procedure to another and from one major surgery to another.  It takes a strong willed person to survive all of that and I don't know if I could ever do it. 

For me, it's the worrying in waiting rooms, waiting on lab and pathology results, care giving, driving places I would have never done alone before, making life altering decisions, getting no sleep and most of all...watching my husband go through it all.   

Today, we got some great news that hopefully marks the beginning of the end of this time in our lives.  It seems like we've been on the "waiting" end of so many pathology reports and this is the first one to give us fantastic news!  No malignancy is music to our ears!! 

With the medical part well on it's way to calming down, there's so much more that I hope to be looking back on one day.  When we are cleared to go home by the doctors, I will be so happy, but at the same time, scared.  The things I must face have been here all along, but I know now, it's getting closer to me facing them head a train coming right at me.  So, while the illness we have had to deal with was awful and interrupted our lives immensely, it allowed me to take things day by day....and now I have to be ready to decide for my future. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Never Gonna Forget....

We are swimming where the snakes the bottom of the well.
So silent and peaceful in the darkness where we fell.
But we are not snakes and what's more, we never will be.
If we stay swimming here forever we will never be free.

I heard them ringing the bells in heaven and hell.
They've got a secret they're getting ready to tell.
It's falling from the sky.
It's calling from the grave.
Open your eyes boy, I think we are saved...
Open your eyes boy, I think we are saved.

Let's take a walk on the bridge.... right over this mess.
Don't need to tell me a thing baby, you've already confessed...
And I raised my voice to the air...
And we were blessed.
It's hard to give.
It's hard to get.
But everybody needs a little forgiveness.

We are calling for help tonight on a thin phone line.
As usual we're having ourselves one hell of a time.
But the planes keep flying right over our heads...
No matter how loud we shout.
Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey
And we keep waving and waving our arms in the air but we're all tired now.

I heard somebody's the day.
A big ol' hurricane...she's blowing our way.
Knockin' over the buildings...
Killing all the lights...
Open your eyes boy, we made it through the night.

It's hard to give.
It's hard to get.
It's hard to give.
But still I think it's the best bet.
Hard to give....
Never gonna forget...
But everybody needs a little forgiveness.
Everybody needs a little forgiveness.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Time's Up

Search history, my boy, and see
What petty selfishness has done.
Find if you can one victory
That little minds have ever won.
There is no record there to read
Of men who fought for self alone,
No instance of a single deed
Splendor they may proudly own.

Through all life's story you will find
The miser—with his hoarded gold—
A hermit, dreary and unkind,
An outcast from the human fold.
Men hold him up to view with scorn,
A creature by his wealth enslaved,
A spirit craven and forlorn,
Doomed by the money he has saved.

No man was ever truly great
Who sought to serve himself alone,
Who put himself above the state,
Above the friends about him thrown.
No man was ever truly glad
Who risked his joy on hoarded pelf,
And gave of nothing that he had
Through fear of needing it himself.

For selfishness is wintry cold,
And bitter are its joys at last,
The very charms it tries to hold,
With woes are quickly overcast.
And only he shall gladly live,
And bravely die when God shall call,
Who gathers but that he may give,
And with his fellows shares his all.

-"Selfishness," a Poem By Edgar Albert Guest

Monday, September 24, 2012

No Apple Pie For Me...

For the past several years, the excitement and build up to a certain special, fall day in late September has always been well worth the anticipation.  All it really is, is a day in the country with my mom and sisters, apple picking at Apple Annies, a charming little apple orchard and pumpkin patch in Willcox, Arizona.  It's also known as, my happy place.  We always go on the first official weekend of fall, which is when they have their all you can eat, apple pancakes and sausage and their country craft fair.  The years we've gone have been some of the best days of my life.  You may think that it sounds silly, but spending that day with my mom and sisters make it pure bliss.

We arrive at the apple orchard just in time for the fresh pancake and sausage breakfast.  We find our parking space in the huge dirt lot and as we step out of the car, we are instantly hit with the smell of fresh kettle corn and apple cider donuts.  We see all the craft tents and huge barrels of granny smith apples only steps away.  As we make our way through the entrance, we start to smell the apple smoked sausage and cinnamon apple syrup.  We fill our faces with the delicious breakfast and head out for some apple picking. The orchard is beautiful.  It's granny smith season when we go, so the fields are filled with gorgeous trees of deep green, with hints of yellow and orange.  The apples are bright yellowish-green and the trail is lined with fallen red and green apples.  We take about a million pictures of every inch of the orchard every time!  Through the years, we've learned that we only need to pick a few and then purchase the rest back at the apple stand.  After we choose our apples, then it's time for the country bakery.  We usually come out of there with arms full of apple bread, apple butter, pumpkin fudge, honey sticks and lots more!  We have learned through the years, to be prepared, so we come with empty coolers with ice packs for the goods.  Next, we usually hit up the county craft fair.  It's so much fun to see all the artsy booths.  We are usually feeling pretty crafty about that time of year, so the excitement we have while studying all the new creations is beyond the greatest feeling.  After checking out the booths, we hit up the apple cider donut stand and the country gift shop.  The gift shop is filled with primitive decor and whimsical country items.  It's so much fun and really hard to resist buying something! 

After the apple orchard, we head about a mile down the road to the pumpkin patch.  This is where we buy fresh produce, including fresh corn!  I have been known to purchase their fried green tomato mix and lots and lots of fresh jalapenos.  We usually take pictures of the bright orange pumpkins laying in the huge patch and also get some shots of the golden corn fields.  It's so breathtaking.  I love it. 

It's also become a tradition, that on our way home,  we stop and have a late lunch at our favorite Mexican food restaurant in Benson called McGaley's.   They have the best chile rellenos I've ever had in my life.  It's just an amazing day, all around, filled with fun, fresh air, shopping and lots and lots of delicious food!

The next day, Sunday, we always have a full-on baking day at my mom's house.  We bake apple pies, apple struedle and apple cupcakes.  At the end of the day, every inch of my mom's kitchen is covered in flour, cinnamon and apple peels.  It's definitely worth it and I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

Sadly, I missed our annual trip this year.  I'm tied up in Northern California still and surely did not want to still be here come fall.  My mom and sister, Ginger, did still go, which I am happy about, but it's also a little bit sad that Bri and I weren't there, too.  This is definitely an off year and I hope that it only means that next year is all the more better.  The tradition will continue for years and years to come and I hope that it never fades away.  So, next year, I hope we will all find ourselves, once again, in my happy place. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Trapeze Paper Crafts!

Just a quick post to let you know that I now have a Craft Blog!!  It's called Trapeze Paper Crafts and you can check it out here.  Thanks for stopping by!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

You even had me singing along right with you....

I recently said..."all we need is and love," and I do mean it.  Not literally of course...but I know music and love have gotten me through some pretty hard times and have made the good times even better.  Music is inspiring, uplifting and absolutely beautiful.  Making music....sometimes is even better.  Just ask my dad. Ask him what one item he'd take to a deserted island.  He'd say his guitar...I guarantee it.  A lot of people are lucky enough to make their passion a huge part of their lives. I believe it's important to do so.  Unfortunately though, some people take it to the extreme and miss out on so many other important things going on everyday, because they are so self-involved.  And some people are the opposite...they always do for others...and never for themselves.  But then, there's those people who inspire and amaze us....the ones that can do it all!  They have generous hearts, loving souls and strong passions.  My dad is one of these people.

I know my dad's passion in life is playing music.  His other passion is his family.  I think if he looks back on his life so far, he would smile and be proud and happy of how he's been living.  Him and my mom are both amazing musicians and they have had great adventures traveling the country playing their music.  I'm so glad they got to experience that.   My dad's a natural band leader and he's definitely in his element while on stage performing.  Years later, when the time came, he became 100% devoted to his family of three, then four, then five and finally six.  Not only was he at every sporting event for each and every one of us through the years, and trust me there were a lot of them, but he was so passionate about our performance and ability that he would strive to make us better and better.  He played catch in the backyard, coached our teams, ran clinics, did endless fundraising and always remained our biggest, truest fan.  He even did a guitar accompaniment for me as I played my flute and sang my way to $2,000.00 in scholarships my senior year of high school. We all went out of state to college at some point in our lives.  I can't even tell you how many mini-vans, trucks and trailers he loaded up and drove across country for each one of us.  Then 10 months later, did it all again to bring us home for the summer.  All of this...and still able to keep his love for playing music.  We would hear him most nights sitting in his office, strumming the guitar and singing.  When we were young, it was that comforting sound while we'd lay in bed at night that somehow made us feel safe and loved.  Now, it's when we go over to our parent's house and he's playing guitar and singing away in his office.  It's normal to's my dad.

Our Christmas Eve's are always filled with my dad playing guitar and everyone requesting their favorite song by him, my mom and brother and even others might take a turn singing sometimes.  It's a pretty magical night, Christmas Eve with our family...and I feel extra blessed every year.

I remember something that my brother said one time that I will never forget.  My brother is the only boy with 3 sisters, and he's very much passionate about music also.  Him and my dad are definitely not buddy's just their personalities, but there's certain things within them that are so alike.  I've learned that my brother knows a lot about music and a lot of my favorite musicians come from recommendations he's given me.   I can't remember where we were, or how long ago it was, but one day we were all together somewhere and my dad was playing guitar and singing on a recording we were listening to.  My brother said..."gosh...he has such a good voice."  He's absolutely right.

My dad lives his passion almost everyday and it's become part of who he is. It never took away from one ounce of our upbringing or our lives....In fact, I believe it made my brother, sisters and I better and happier people....and I know it made us passionate. 

I have been playing guitar for a few years now and though I'm not nearly as good as him, I can finally feel why he loves it so much.  To be able to play music with your own hands and sing along with the chords....there's not another feeling quite as great as that...besides, of course, the love for family and friends.  So, I truly get it dad...and I agree...all we need is and love.

My parents in the 70's.

Here they are again...Clayton and Sally of "Clayton, Sallee & Company"

My family around 19 years ago...

My dad :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

And up in the air, they would write your name there...

Let me tell you about the most amazing family.  In life, every once in a while, you will meet people and just know that they will be life-long friends.  These are the people that are more like family to you than friends.  These are the people that inspire you everyday, give you a warm fuzzy feeling and make your world a better and brighter place.  I am lucky enough to know an entire family just like this.

How did my family become blessed with such amazing, generous and caring friends?  Just very lucky I guess!  We came to know the Parkers years and years ago when my sister, Ginger, met Robin in 4th Grade. Those two girls lit up any room they entered as they grew up together, more as sisters than best friends!  Their collaborative quirkiness through high school and college created priceless stories that still bring us serious chuckles, even to this day.  Robin has 2 adorable boys now, with another baby on the way.  Her sister, Rachel, has 3 beautiful girls and a precious little boy.  Through the years, we have spent countless birthdays, holidays and special occasions with the Parkers and my family and I all share the same soft spot for all those beautiful kids.

We've known them through years of happiness and of sorrow.  The peace and harmony their baby sister, Avinli, has brought to them is the single most amazing blessing I have ever witnessed.  They have all faced such sadness and loss and are still the strongest people I know.  The entire family remains graceful and loving, through even the hardest of times.

I'm so thankful they are in my life.  Not only are they so supportive and genuinely care about all of us....but it's so fun to have them as friends!  We spend Christmas Eve with them every year and have countless parties with them.  We chat about books, movies, shows, music, food, life...the list goes on and on!  They are our biggest supporters come craft season and they are definitely VIP customers of Tootsie Tillie Cupcakes!  All the kids have been like nieces and nephews to us...and we truly treasure them.  My mom, sisters and I absolutely LOVE to get the kiddos special treats on holidays.  We love our Halloween tradition, when they all come over to show us their costumes and we give them goody bags full of fun, silly prizes and candy.  I never think they can get any cuter and they prove me wrong every year!  For Christmas....I love it, because they all come over on Christmas Eve.  We sing carols, eat delicious food and the cutest part is when the kids all line up on the carpet, so well behaved, to open their gifts. It's precious, and the reaction on their faces when they tear into the presents, is a better gift to us than anything we could ever give them. 

Peggy, (mom/grandma), is such an extra-special lady.  The kindness that exudes from her is like nobody I have ever known.  I am blessed to know 2 of the world's greatest mom and Peggy Parker.  I absolutely adore the bond between Peggy and her children.  Especially her and little Avinli.  It reminds me of my mom and my youngest sister's bond when she was just a little girl.  Priceless.

The inspiration for this post comes from a picture that I saw on Instagram.  The picture showed Peggy and her kids and grand kids, in the park, launching letters of love to their daddy/grandpa by way of big, blue balloons.  Yes, the bright, beautiful balloons were floating to Heaven...with words from their hearts in tow.

The Parker Family

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

August and Everything After....

It's about 1am, I'm wide awake and have to be up in 6 hours for work.  It was a weird day today.   It looks like we won't be seeing August in Arizona, considering the doctor wants us (well, David rather) here another month.  I was shocked when I heard her say it and earlier, I used the word disappointed, which I now feel guilty for feeling.  Intellectually, I know it's better that we stay until the transplant team is 100% confident in letting David go home.  Emotionally though...I was bummed.

I was hoping to be home for several reasons.  One reason being work.  I know I was inspired in my "When I was 17..." post a few days ago and went on and on about living your dreams...and I do feel that way...but, in reality, I need my job.  The truth is, just letting myself think of one day giving up my stable, reliable job to live like an artsy dreamer, is more than I've done in almost a year and a I guess it's a start. However, being the only one working and having a mortgage, car payment and thousands of dollars in medications to pay...I'll say it again...I need my job.  Of course aside from the obvious reasons, like seeing my family, particularly my almost 2 year old nephew, another reason I wanted to be home by August was for the Brandi Carlile concert at the Rialto in Tucson on August 19th.  I absolutely love her music.  She's an amazing singer-songwriter and I have seen her the past 2 years at the Rialto and was so excited to see her again this year...but  that's not going to happen.  Also, my sister, Ginger's birthday is coming up on the 12th.  I guess it will be another party this year without Tootsie Tillie Cupcakes. And lastly, one of the reasons I was hoping to be home sooner is that we really want to let David's aunt and uncle get back into their normal lives without having permanent house guests in the middle of everything.  They really made this all possible and and we can never repay them for all they have done.  No amount of thanks will ever do justice to their graciousness.  The news of "another month" couldn't have been easy on them today and we will be forever grateful for them sticking this out with us. 

Today, after talking with a lot of different people, including doctors, coworkers, family, friends and each other, I must say that there are some people who will always bring you down for the purpose of wanting to see you fall.....BUT, there are some people who, even with just the simplest words of support, will absolutely give you the strength you need to block out all the ignorance and selfishness and get you through, yet another day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

With the greatest of ease....

I have been thinking a lot about a book I recently read.  It's called The Night Circus.  For some reason, I'm just extremely intrigued by circus novels, circus movies and anything circus related.  It's not because I have a love for acrobats or elephants.  It's the vintage stories that are behind those involved with a circus that are so mysterious and enchanting.  My favorite musician, Patty Griffin, said that the circus her parents took her to when she was a child, really left an impression on her, so much that she wrote a song about it...called "Trapeze."  Though I don't have any significant memories of attending a circus....there's definitely an impression left in my heart after reading The Night Circus. 

The book wasn't at all what I expected it to be.  It's an amazingly creative story about two remarkable people who not only fall in love...but the collaboration of their incredible minds create the most amazing circus you could ever imagine.  This circus isn't a "big top" type circus.  It's more like something that you would only imagine in a complex, but wonderful, dream.  The way the author described each tent and every detail involved, is beyond anything I have ever created in my mind.

The author describes everything so well, that you can literally imagine your self inside the black and white striped tents, while smelling caramel corn and hot apple cider.   Everything about the circus is black and white...the tents, the costumes and clothing, the props....everything, which I absolutely love.  Even with two of the simplest of colors, the author was still able to create such a dazzling picture in your mind of how this amazing circus appeared.

I actually imagined myself at the anniversary party at the mansion where everything was perfect and artistic...and full of color.  The bright, vibrant and beautiful colors exploding in my head, while reading that chapter were so much more extreme and real, because of the fact that the circus is always black and white.  This chapter was such a delight to read and just took me on a mesmerizing journey of enchantment in my head.  It was my favorite chapter.

To be an actual part of the that would be amazing!  They were basically circus followers, on a sophisticated scale.  They weren't like "panic people," who show up barefoot with dreads desperate to get into the gates.  They were respectable, Le Cirque des Reves loving people who followed it by location, through letters and stories.  To be a reveur, I imagine, would be to live a lifetime of adventure, excitement, art and beauty.  And to be able to share those passions with other people across the world would be wonderful.  It makes me want to paint my bedroom walls with black and white stripes and knit myself a crimson scarf. 

The relationship between Celia and the twins, Poppet and Widget, was probably my favorite part of the book.  Because, while Celia and Marco had "teachers" for the game that they were raised and trained to play....Celia was, in a way, the twins' teacher, with drastically opposite intentions.  She looked out for them, and they became one of the biggest reasons why Celia actually loved the "venue" in which she was destined to destroy the one she loved, or be destroyed in. 

I think that imagination is really what pulled everything together at the end of this heart wrenching, riveting story.  Most people only believe what they know to be true and their  imagination will only take them so far, until it becomes too unreal.  The collaborative imagination of Celia and Marco not only created this marvelous circus, but the epic love that they have for one another ultimately becomes the circus.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

When I was 17, I had a better dream...

I believe the next line goes...."but now I'm 33, and it isn't me."  Well, I'm 32, so close enough.  I have been thinking a lot lately about something Adam Duritz said on a radio interview.  He was asked to give advice to some of the young people just starting out in the industry and trying succeed with their music.  I don't remember word for word what he said...but the message he got across will stay with me forever.  He said that he can't give advice for success...he said that you shouldn't do it to "make it," you should do it because you've decided that you have to live your life playing music. 
What he says is right.  One day you will be 17, and everything will seem so possible...and the next you will be 32 living minute by minute and just praying for a second of calm and peace so you can search in the archives of your dreams and try to hang on to what's left.  I did that and not only is some of my life just unfulfilling, but a lot of it is flat out miserable.  I don't want to be a downer.  I never have considered myself a downer at all.  I am just waking up and realizing that I haven't been doing what Adam says....and the weird part is, I couldn't agree with him more!  I don't mean I want to be a famous musician, I guess it's different for everyone.  For me, I just want to be able to make my passions my life.  Why waste days just dreaming about what you want to do?  When in life do you start to do them?  It's not selfish.  It's not wrong.   If you are happy, then you must be living that way already.  You are spending your life the way you want to.  If you find yourself wishing you could be doing something else and dreading almost everyday...then you aren't doing it.  You aren't deciding that you have to live your life doing what you love.

If only I could...... my guitar a lot more.  The overwhelming feeling of happiness when I play a song on my guitar is incredible.  I want to get better and better and better!  I've gone as far as I can teaching myself, so I think for the more difficult chords and picking, I should take lessons.   Then I just want to play for fun, maybe do some open mic nights with confidence and "jam" with my family and friends. 

.....finish the screenplay I am writing.  Even if it never gets picked up by by a production company, even if it never becomes anything other than a Lee family table be it!  It's finished in my head, but not even a quarter of the way finished on paper!  It has it, controversy, music, my opinion...the idea is brilliant. :) 

.....write a book.  This is a long process, and I have already started.  To me, the research is very important, so that's where I am at with it now.  I have enough material and notes to complete it, but it hasn't become real to me until the past month.  I just needed that little push that I apparently got a month and a half ago, so from then on, it's been a go in my head. I just haven't had the time to completely start.  I don't have a degree in literature or creative writing and  my bachelor's degree may be in business...but my passion is in the arts. It's a memoir focusing mainly on the last year and a half of my life.  This one's hard though.  I would have never considered writing a personal memoir and expecting people to actually read and enjoy it, until the last year and a half.  I now truly believe that it would definitely be something to be read.  It's hard, because I don't want to burn any bridges, but what I know to be my truth this past year is more than most people know about me and about my life. I want to write it for myself mostly.  My brother is really the more creative and talented writer in the family, not me, but I think I could manage to do it.  I want to do it. 

 ..... not have an 8-5 job.  I love the people I work for and I give 110% at my job, but I feel likes it's washing away all my dreams.  I couldn't be luckier to have such a wonderful boss and life-long friends at my job, but it's the unfulfilling part that I mentioned above.  I feel so badly even saying this, because when I am at work, I strive to be the best and my goal is to reach the top, but when I really am truthful with myself...I feel that I deserve to live my passion...and lead an artistic life. 

..... do arts and crafts and enter the local craft fairs every fall with my mom and sisters, as my job .  We call our group, Home Sweet Home.  Nothing feels better than that time of year.  It's just always so jammed packed given the fact that we all have jobs and other obligations.  We always end up stressing and not having as much fun as deserved!  I wish I had the time to really embrace my "trapeze paper craft" idea and turn it into a real business in collaboration with my mom and sisters and their respective crafts. To open up a shop is a dream too far out of reach financially right now, but I want the time to be able to build a business online....that I know is possible.   I want Home Sweet Home to become my job. 

.....start my creative blog. I have an idea for a blog that I really want to do.  It would be based on entertainment that I'm passionate about.  It would start with one thing and who knows, maybe start a saga of blogs in the future! out my dream, because as most of my family and friends know...I loved playing softball.  I have recently discovered that my love for coaching greatly exceeds ever playing.  I coach ponytail softball.....but just like the crafts, most of the fun is over shadowed by the stress of not having enough time in my schedule to fully enjoy it.  I love coaching and want to do more of it!

To spend your life doing what you love will take sacrifice.  I know we all have a "bucket list," but this is about more than visiting the Grand Canyon, sky diving or traveling's about deciding that you HAVE to live your life doing what you love.  I have decided...and now I just need the courage.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Little Sister, just remember.....

Just a few days ago, my little sister, Brianna, came to visit me in SF!  When the world seems so impossible to face and you find yourself living minute by minute, it was so nice to have something to look forward to for once! 

Being new to San Francisco myself, and lets face it, still intimidated, I wanted to make sure that I planned everything out perfectly for us while she was here.  I knew that we had 2 main things to focus on when it comes to indulging in our jam packed, short visit.  Great food and shopping!  So, that's what we did!

Here are some pictures to tell the story of her visit.  I had a blast and I miss her already.

Her first night here...we went to OffTheGrid in SF! My sweet cousin, Amelia recommended it.   It was so fun!  It's basically the most delicious food you will ever eat.  It's a huge open space outside with tons of food trucks and live music.  We loved it!

Here we are in front of a cupcake food truck.  I know I'm a cupcake girl...and these were delish!  I want a Tootsie Tillie truck now!

Here we are with Amelia waiting in line for the most amazing steamed buns filled with pork and veggies!!!  Oh so good!

The greatest taco in the world!  Pork with spicy sauce and crunchy pickled veggies! YUM!

We did a whole day of shopping at Haight/Ashbury.  It was so fun going into all the vintage stores and finding cool souvenirs.  We started the day with a big breakfast at Mel's Drive-In, then hit the shops!

I love the area here.  We shopped all day long!

It wouldn't be Haight without the hippies playing music on the sidewalks.  I love it!

We almost bought some vintage bowling shirts in here for Bri.  It was a true vintage store and so cool....but a little pricey!

Saturday night we went to one of my dream restaurants, El Paseo.  It's Tyler Florence's restaurant in Mill Valley, CA.  We got dressed up and went to dinner there.  That town is so charming and dinner was delicious.

Ready for dinner at El Paseo!

My beautiful Bont!  (I call her Bont or Bonte')  We had great seats at El Paseo.  Bri had the chicken over potatoes, I had the fillet mignon wrapped in bacon with shallots and David had the halibut. 

We split the pecan pie.  It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious!!

This started off my FAVORITE DAY...Wine Country day!  Here we are on the shuttle.  We got a package deal.  We boarded the shuttle at the ferry building in SF and rode it to Napa Valley, where we visited 4 wineries.  It's seriously been a dream of mine to visit Napa and we finally did!  It was the best day ever!!

Neither of us really planned to drink, so we did a tasting at the first winery and then the rest of the day we enjoyed the gorgeous scenery, shopped in the huge gift shop, and ate the most delicious gourmet cheeses and catered lunch!  

Lunch was at Andretti Winery.  We sat in the vineyard and enjoyed the perfect weather and tasty meal.

I am so obsessed with wine country.  It's very Mediterranean and lovely.  Everywhere you look, there are vineyards and gorgeous Spanish style houses and barns.  I want to go back so bad!

We never did try a grape, but took lots of pictures!

I saw this photo opp and though it was very beautiful. 

Here's a collage I made of some pictures from our day.  So pretty!

We really had such an amazing time in Napa Valley and will remember it forever! 

Mario Andretti's winery.  So lovely.

We spent a couple hours in downtown Sausalito one day and had these yummy burgers for lunch!

Flour + Water...a trendy restaurant in San Francisco with an amazing chef!  Delicious!! 

Our last at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.  What a wonderful time we had and I'm so glad she came to visit.  I didn't want her to leave!  I hope we have lots more fun times like this. :)

He asks me to hang on....

Hang on, just hang on for a minute, I've got something to say.  I'm not asking you to move on or forget it, but these are better days.  To be wrong all along and admit it, is not amazing grace.  But, to be loved like a song you remember....even when you've changed. 

Tell me.  Did I go on a tangent?  Did I lie through my teeth?  Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?  Did I bring shame on my family?  Did it show when I was weak?  Whatever you've seen....that wasn't me.

When you're lost, you will toss every lucky coin you'll ever trust.'ll hide from your god like he ever turns his back on us.  Then you'll fall all the way to the bottom and land on your own knife.....and you'll learn who you are even if it doesn't take your life. 

But, I want you to know that you'll never be alone. I want to believe.  Did I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet?  When you fall, I will get you on your feet.  Did I spend time with my family?  Did it show when I was weak?  When that's what you see....that will be me. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Over the Golden Gate Bridge..and straight to Parnassus

The phone rang at around 12pm on May 26th, while we were having a lazy Saturday in Sausalito.  It was Dr. Roberts....the head of transplant surgery at UCSF.  He was calling to offer David a liver!!  I'll just say that the next 18 days were altogether amazing.  With a12 hour,  record breaking transplant surgery and a second re-exploration surgery a week later....I can happily say that my husband is cancer free with a healthy liver and a new chance at life!  Although my life isn't exactly what it seems to our family and incredible friends and supporters....the important truth is that David got his transplant.  He did have complications due to all his previous surgeries, but is now recovering better everyday.  We know he's at risk for rejection, as all transplant patients are, but we have faith that he will get through the first 3 months, which is the riskiest time, and that he will go on and live his life as a healthy and happy person.  My truth is all I know...and what I know is that I love him with all of my heart, I was scared out of my mind on more than one occasion during his 18 day hospital stay and that San Francisco will always be the place where my world changed forever.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Waited for you, but you never came around at all....

It's been almost 3 months that David has been #1 on the AB list for his transplant and that we have been relocated....and still no call!!  It's actually sad when you think about the fact that we are basically waiting for someone to die, so David can live, but that is exactly the case.  We have been through the nervousness of imposing on his Aunt and Uncle, in their home for an unknown length of time.... and through the "making the best of our situation" phase, where we have explored (frugally) different parts of Marin County and San the place where are now, which is impatient and more than ready for the damn call!  His Aunt and Uncle have been so gracious and more than hospitable.  We eat great, have fun playing a lot of tennis (when David feels up to it) and have the best tour guides San Francisco can offer us!  They have been absolutely wonderful....but I think they are more than ready for the call, too.  After all, the real tough part is going to be while he's in the hospital, and the month recovery time at their house.....and then the rest of his life.  It's like we are waiting for things to get harder and tougher. 

To quote one of the transplant social workers...."You have a long road ahead, so you should stop worrying about the little things in your life and get ready to face big obstacles to come."  Thanks...thanks a lot...that makes us feel great.  Bitch.   I cried 3 times in the transplant class that we had to attend.  David and I were in a room full of 60 + year olds who all looked very sick.  It was sad...and scary.  David still looks healthy and he is on the cancer side of liver disease, as opposed to the "alcoholic" side, so everyone there thought we were just there to learn for someone else...when in reality, the healthy looking 32 year old sitting amongst them is waiting for that life-altering phone call, just like them.  The reality and life-changing events that will go on are enough to depress anyone, but when the social worker said those words to us...I just broke down.  What an insensitive woman.  I mean I understand a doctor having that kind of bluntness and attitude...but she's a social worker!!   Luckily, she isn't David's social worker.  She's one of several that they have, but David's is nicer and more understanding to everything.  I felt like this other, rude one was just treating us like a statistic.  Maybe she should re-think her field of work!  David has already been through 2 major liver resections in his life, so we are somewhat prepared for the surgery side of things, but the danger and risk that is involved is something that I can't let myself think about.  And, thereafter, he will be on anti-rejection drugs (as any transplanted person has to be) for the rest of his life.  It's just hard to face that....and I'm sure so much harder for him.  This illness has really affected him and I hope that after all is said and done...he, well we, come out of this better than ever.  It's hard to be positive...but we can still hope.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

She carved out a little life of her own....

My great friend, Sarah, and her wonderful husband, Paul, just welcomed their first child to the world on May 14th!  He is so adorable and I can't wait to meet him in real life.  Little Axxel Herbert is extremely blessed to have those two as his parents.  People come along in your life, every once in a while, that just leave such an impression in your heart...and that's Sarah and Paul. 

Sarah has been such an incredible friend to me.  I've never known anyone like her.  She is so real and has the biggest heart.  She hasn't had it easy all her life and still has to work at relationships that most of us have effortlessly. It breaks my heart to think of it.  It saddens me to see her get burned by people that should love her unconditionally. There's a song that reminds me so much of Sarah...It's called "Sweet Lorraine" by Patty Griffin.  So, I will just say...."it gets harder and harder to believe in magic...when what came before you is, so very tragic"......but somehow Sarah Lu still believes...and does it with such grace.

With that said...and on the brighter side of things, I'm so glad that her and Paul found each other.  He's her family...him and Axxel.  They are two lucky guys to have been blessed with such a wonderful wife and mother.  I've also had the priveledge of getting to know Paul's two little sisters....and they are absolute delights!  I love that they love Sarah so much, too.  What a wonderful family. : )

I'm just happy for Sarah and Paul and their new baby boy, Axxel.  I've seen a few pictures, and he's absolutely precious!  I'm looking forward to the day I get to visit him.   I can't even say where I'd be after this past year, without Sarah in my life....she's the very definition of best friend.

Sarah and I...all smiles!

Here we are again.... : )

Sarah with her wonderful mother in law, Julie and two sisters in law, Alex and Crystal. :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Missing Mother's Day... you know, yesterday was Mother's Day.  I was around no mothers.  :(  The worst part of the day was not being around MY mother.  A normal Mother's Day in our family, is a BBQ at my parent's house with all my siblings and Grandpa and Sally (Grandpa's lady....who I love love love!) and my in-laws.  We make lots of food and spoil my mom with all kinds of fun stuff she doesn't need, but loves to have!  It's so much fun.  Instead, this Mother's Day was kind of gloomy.  David and I are still in California and my sister, Ginger was sick, my brother Robby was sick and going out of town and my sister Bri was sick.  Yuck!  I am glad that Bri was able to be home with my mom though.  My dad was also there and they ended up having a small get together with my Grandpa, Sally and in-laws, Sonna and Bob.  So, David and I were happy that our Mothers got to spend their day together.  It made us feel closer to them somehow.

I always feel mixed emotions on Mother's Day.  On one hand, I am so full of love for having the BEST MOM IN THE WORLD!!  On top of little sister is now a mom and I can't be happier about that!!  The fact that I'm not a mom is a little depressing to me.  I want so badly to be a mom.  I know I'd be a great mom, because of how great my mom is and I just love my little nephew so much, so I know I'd be great with kids.  My husband was once told by someone that Mother's Day is more than just a celebration of Mothers.  It's kind of like a day reserved for the special, most important women in your life.  Your wife and your mom.  He surprised me and got me a lovely card.  I loved that.  It was very sweet.  Maybe one day I will get one from my son or daughter, too.

This is my pretty Momma!!!
My little sis, Ginger and her son Brayden when he was a few months old.
 (We call him Brady...and he's almost 18 months now!) 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

There's a piece of Maria, in every song that I sing.....

When I was 17...I had my whole life ahead of me, and I dreamed of it often.  Most of my future thoughts were of college, but some were beyond that.  It was easy to dream and back then, the life I saw in my day dreams seemed so possible.  My absolute favorite times were on the late bus, coming home from an away basketball game.  It would be dark and calm, the routiness would have just calmed down from the win earlier in the night, and all we would have is a 2 hour drive home in the Arizona night.  That's when my best friend, Maria, and I would talk about our "plans" .....our plans for the future.  You see, she and I were inseparable in high school and we just clicked from the moment we met.  She ALWAYS looked out for me and I feel like I always did the same for her.  She was more outgoing than me, and I think it really helped me to open up and come out of my shell more.  We loved to talk about all of the things that high school girls do, of course, but we also talked about so much more!  We told each other everything and it was just an incredible bond.  On these late night bus trips, our topic of conversation was about anything and everything.  The conversation usually led to food and the future mostly. Ha!  Our talks ranged from planning our monthly spa weekends when we graduated college and about the collabrotive book we would write after we reached our goals and conquered the world, to the way a tomato sandwich was so simple, but so delicious and how we'd kill for one after such an intense, draining night of basketball. We'd talk about how we would go to college, have amazing careers and buy houses next door to each other and be best friends forever.  We'd devise plans on how I would get Mr. "teacher" to dance with me at prom and how she'd talk her parents into letting her go to prom.  No matter what...the conversation was always fun, and always gave me a warm fuzzy.  I'd tell her all the stories of my "teacher crush," and no matter what, she would always listen and say something back that would make me feel....hopeful....and hopeful to a 17 year old girl with a crush on her teacher was the greatest feeling to have!  She would predict that I would go on and play college softball and that she would travel the world  and then become a pharmacist.  There was always something so organic and artisitic about her.....I would have predicted her to become a a writer or an artist.  (She is an amazing artist now by the way).  I love how she was ahead of her time, but an old soul at the same time...and just an incredible friend.  A lot of people probably don't remember that her and I were such great friends, but I do and I remember that we were so inspired and upbeat when we got around each other...that we thought we could change the world. 

That was in 1997 and 1998...such a long time ago, but I can still smell the school bus and see the Arizona mountains breezing by me in the dark.  Somedays, it feels like it was yesterday.  I can still remember what it feels like to have such a wonderful friend in my life.  Life didn't turn out quite the way we expected and infact, we hardly ever see each other at all.  She's in North Carolina and I'm in Arizona.  We aren't rich, we don't live next door to each other and we never did write that book.  But, I must say...there's still such a warmth and kindness that exudes from her everytime we talk or write.  Back in 2002, when I was away at college in Tennessee....I was going through a pretty rough patch with money, boyfriend problems and just all around stress.  She didn't know I was feeling this way, but still, somehow one day I received a care package full  ofyummy snacks, adorable stationary and $50.00.  It's like she telepathically knew I was down.  And now, 10 years later....thousands of miles away from each other, she did it again.  I'm going through a very hard time for several reasons, and today I received a care package from her.  She is so generous and selfless and just made me realize that even though life may be impossible to face sometimes....there are always the people there that care for you the most.....the ones that are there in good times and in bad and the ones that will forever remain your very best friend.

This is us our senior year...a few days after graduation.

Our favorite time of year....Basketball season.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dreaming of Cupcakes....

I have a small cupcake business that started out as a hobby.  My mom designed my website and I took a couple months testing recipes and creating my variety of cupcakes.  Soon enough, I had orders from friends and co-workers almost every week and eventually started getting orders from my website and facebook page!  My flavors are unique and have significant names....and I must say, they are all pretty tasty! 

My most popular flavors are definitely Nolan's Strawberry Patch and Kevee's Peanut Butter Chocolate.  I get constant requests for those two flavors.  Since I'm temporarily relocated to Sausalito, CA, I am not able to run my business.  I ran it locally at home and lets face kitchen was not a pretty site on cupcake making nights.  I can't do that here....for so many reasons.  So, I just came to accept that I would have to place my business on hold for the time being and just use this time to come up with new flavors and recipes. 

Since I've been out here, my sister Ginger has been getting better and better at cookie making!  She's always been the top cookie maker in the family and she is actually making a little business out of it.  I cannot wait to be home, so we can have our businesses combine!  Me with cupcakes, and her with cookies!  It will be the family business we always wanted...(kind of). :)  My mom designs our websites and keeps them up and my sisters and I do the baking!  Maybe one day we can turn it into a full time job, with a store front and everything!  (I can still dream...)

Here's some pictures of my cupcakes....I can't wait until we meet again. :)

These were for Christmas.  They are David's Churro Cupcakes....(Named after my husband)

 I did a wedding for my good friend Jess....there were a variety of cupcakes all in her colors!

From Jess's wedding, these are Kevee's Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes.  (Name after my brother-in-law)

More From Jess's wedding....these are David's Churro Cupcakes.

Nolan's Strawberry Patch Cupcakes....(named after my godson, Nolan)

More Kevee's Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes, for a 1 year old's birthday party!

These are Mom's Favorite Cupcakes (Chocolate with Vanilla Buttercream, usually topped with crushed walnuts, but this customer wanted candy.)

These are my new item...Tiny Tootsies (Or Little Tillies)...These ones are Bean's Vanilla...(also named after my husband)

These were so fun to make!  They were for my father-in-law's brother's birthday.  They are hunting cupcakes made with a churro cupcake and topped with a vanilla cake ball covered in chocolate!  The antlers are pretzels and the rifles are chocolate!  My good friends Anita and Teresa helped me with these, and they came out great!

Superbowl Churro Cupcakes!

These are Robin's Triple Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes....(named after my great, long-time friend, Robin.)

Glo's Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes!  (Named after my good friend, and my little sister's best friend, Gloria)

This was an order for a you can see.  They were made with Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcakes.  I used a mini reeses cup and chocoloate dipped graham crackers for the hats and sour licorice for the tassels!

More Tiny Tootsies!!

Terri's Chocolatey Heaven Cupcakes...with walnuts!  (named after my wonderful Aunt Terri)
These are one of my favorites....Jess's Chocolate Malt Cupcakes...(named after my best friend in the world...Jessica)