Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Memories and a Mailbox

When we moved to our current town in 1977, my parents bought their first home. 
We had always lived in the Forest Service provided house, so this was a huge step. 
Looking back as an adult, I realize just how big a step and giant leap of faith it was to move to a new town with two children in grade school AND purchase a home. 
The house was in a neighborhood filled with kids. 
Our son's namesake lived in the house next door. 
The helmet in the photo is probably his.
This photo was taken before we moved in because the
car is not ours.
I remember the first thing my parents did was paint.
And tear down a rock and cement fountain monstrosity in the back yard...although it was Mom who attacked that project one day when Dad was out of town.
Flower beds were established and nurtured.
I eventually babysat for the kids a couple doors down, and then that baby grew up and babysat MY own kidnicks.
It was a good place to live..
In the 26 years since Mom and Dad moved, I have driven past the house from time to time.
For quite awhile, it was very run down and neglected.  
But several years ago, it began looking cared for again.
The front door was moved and new windows were put in.
Cement was added for RV parking and the like, but the house looked loved again.
While the house and yard were changing, one thing had remained the same.
See the white, flower covered mailbox?
Mom painted that.
It is still there.
Peeling paint and all.
That fact has always made me smile.
 A week and a half ago, Mari and her family came to spend the weekend with us and share her high school year here with her own children.
Showing them the house was a top priority.
As we stopped in front of the house and looked, a lady emerged and approached Mari.
They began chatting.
 Dad got out of the car to join in.
 Then Mom.  
Mom and Dad mentioned the mailbox (which had been moved and cemented into a brick base) and shared the fact that Mom had painted it.
 The owner said that over the years, he has been asked by friends why he keeps is in rough shape.
He replies that he is keeping it because of the smiley face on the inside door.
We had forgotten about that.
Before we knew it, the new (7 years new) owners had invited all 7 of us into the backyard  as well as a tour of the house.
We agreed to the yard but not the house...that would have been too much of an imposition.
They shared photos of the remodeling they are doing as well as taking us into the side yard that Mom had created as a sanctuary for her Dad when he  lived with us before passing away.
 The new owners had used it for the same purpose for their Mom.
The whole visit was fantastic.
It was more than a house to us and it is the same for them.
It is home.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What a Weekend

A couple months ago, Garth Brooks announced that Fresno would be a stop on his world tour in September.  
I was jazzed! (Is that even a saying anymore?)
The evening of the announcement, Chris asked if I wanted to go.
I said, "You want to see Garth with your Mom?????" 
(I was jazzed)
He replied that we could get a group to go.
Maybe my jazzedness was too exuberant.
Garth does something different than other entertainers in that all the seats are the same price.
The maximum number of seats one can purchase at a time is 8 and they could only be purchased from one site online.
This keeps scalpers from buying up oodles at a time and it treats all of his fans the same.
The only issue was that everyone else in this valley was going to be online at 10:00am on the specified ticket sale date at the same time.
 The venue is spectacular, and holds 14,000 (I think) people. 
I, along with everyone else wanting to attend, were fearful of it selling out in minutes.
  LPP was home and we were ready to grab whatever 7 seats together that popped up first.
The countdown on Ticketmaster began....
...30 seconds...
 ...25 seconds....
and so on.
At 10 seconds, my heart started beating faster. 
I adore Garth Brooks.
 At 10:00, the computer screen showed some message that essentially said,
 "All of you Garth Fans just crashed our site. Please standby"
Or something to that effect.
Long story short, when we finally made it through cyberspace, the message told us that our request of 7 tickets on Saturday could not be filled...but would we like to attend on Sunday night? 
It seemed that an extra show on Friday and Sunday were being added as well as two shows on Saturday!
I think so....three of our group could not be reached by phone, so we gambled. 
I knew we could sell or give them to others if need be.  
It was not necessary. 
Sunday it was.
And a good thing, because shortly thereafter, we received a birthday invitation to this special lady's 90th birthday.
Could not have missed that.
God works in mysterious ways.
Sunday evening, we met for dinner and headed to the concert. 
My niece lives across the street, so we parked at her place and walked over.
SPF had never been to a concert before and was excited.
She was too little to attend The Jonas Brothers or Taylor Swift  when her sister and cousin went  years ago. 
Not this time...and her Mom has mellowed with age and didn't even bat an eye at it being a school night.
The only rule she had was that she would be sitting in her desk Monday morning.
Our seats were perfect.  
To the side of the stage, but the front row of permanent seats so the view was not obstructed by people standing and the stage was round with an outcropping.
Three artists sang prior to Garth appearing.
Mitch Rossell is a name that I believe will be widely  known soon.
My niece even took a picture with him after the show.
Karyn Rochelle is a wonderful singer/songwriter who has written hits for numerous artists including Trisha Yearwood.
  She is also one of Garth's  backup singers on this tour.

The final opening act was William Michael Morgan.
His "I Met a Girl" is a hit and one that SPF loves and has his album coming out this week.

Then the man himself.
The center screen rose.
And thus begun the best concert I have been to.  

He sings mostly his hits.
Everyone in the building knew the words. 
Everyone sang the words. 
On every one of them.
It was contagious and he felt it.

    He was humbled by his reception and his wife was no different. 
Trisha is another favorite and the two together?
Well, pretty moving.

 She sang several songs which were received just as enthusiastically as her husband's.
I would like to be her friend.
Gracious, funny, humble and kind.

Garth called our concert the Kitchen Sink Concert...he'd throw everything into it.
 And he did. 

I have not been to a ton of concerts, but this man's humility and gratitude have no rival.
Even the fact that he and Trisha's musicians have each been with them for more than 2 decades speaks to the kind of people they are.
The entertaining part is the added bonus that we all get to enjoy.
 The entire concert lasted just over 4 hours with the encores. 
It was tremendous.
Every single bit.
Especially this.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Truism

Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it, one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Final Hurrah

The Grand March is probably the most stressful part of the Festa for us. 
 Last year, trying to do things properly...which I didn't always do...this year, finding the line to be in the background as the outgoing queen's mom but helping if needed. 
 It was lovely, but I will say it is a relief when it is over.
For all of us.
 The girls slept well. 
 They had been laughing at Miss A last year, who rolled off the mattress and ended up on the cold tile floor.
 This year, Miss M. decided sleeping under the table was a good option.  
They were out.
Passed out. 
We all got dressed, fed and down to the pier on Sunday morning and the girls were ready.
Watching queens from other cities arrive and visiting is fun.

And of course the requisite posed shots.
I can not say enough good things about the Senior Queen and her family that we were with.  
They are all gracious, helpful, sweet and fun.  
We feel very lucky and blessed to have spent part of last year with them.
I did remember to take this shot to see how the girls have grown in a year.
I neglected, however, to have them in the same spot. 
Oh well.
These dresses were perfect, but would not have lasted another weekend size-wise.
Our girl is not the tallest anymore
August 2015
August 2016

Then there are the pics that your lovely teenage daughter took for you.

And you threaten her within an inch of her ever loving mind, because...really....there comes a time when super duper close ups are just not enjoyable to see.
That time arrived.


I mean, really?
Let's get this show on the road.
Right, girls?

Mass was lovely for the most part and the priest, who had been ill, has happy to be able to be present.  
I like him.
It is so nice to have this Festa be so well attended. 
 It is huge! 
Not just the queens, but the people lining the street all along the parade route.
Onward to the Festa Grounds.

The girls became officially, old news.
They changed into comfy sundresses and were able to enjoy the Sopas.
Which were delicious.
Miss A's grandparents (whom I have asked to adopt me) would be taking her home to the valley and Miss M's parents were taking her. 
Good byes were said and thank yous given. 
 Friendships strengthened.

There are so many things running through my mind about this year and I am sure you will be privy to them soon, but for now, this.
I have said it before, but I believe it even more strongly now.
These three young ladies represented St. Anthony Pismo Beach with grace...with honor...with respect and with love.
Traveling and getting dressed up and marching in parades may not have always been what they wanted to do on a weekend or over summer vacation,  but I NEVER heard a complaint.
 I never saw a face without a smile when they were on display. 
I could not be more proud of them.
 L and K, Q and D and B and D... 
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your girls so willingly.
You blessed us and our girl.