Monday, July 22, 2019

Parenting is SO Hard!

Being a parent is the hardest thing I've ever done. It's also been the best, most rewarding, and emotional journey I've ever been on. It seems to me as we head into the eye of the teenage storm that there is no right way, this is the "you just can't win" phase of parenting. If you are an absent parent, a parent who is more into yourself than you are into your kids, or the parent who is technically there, but puts yourself first in terms of things and experiences, your kid as a teen will recognize that they are not your priority. Of course there are people who struggle with addictions or other issues that limit their ability to be the best parent they can be, even if they want to do better. There are parents who are overbearing, abusive, and crazy overprotective. Even for parents who make their kids their priority, they provide them with opportunities from a very early age, they participate in a healthy home life with relationships that support teamwork, travel for personal growth, sports, success, and fun, and lift their kids up with affirmations of all they can do and tell them daily they love and are proud of them. The teen will of course easily recognize the less plugged-in or abusive parents as those who don't care, they may feel not loved or even that they don't matter at all. We can all see that, but what about the latter group of parents? For me personally, it's been a rude awakening that there is no winning when young humans reach this particular age range and time in their human development. For those of us who have spent the last 15 years encouraging our kids to try, to do things that scare them, to foster a healthy self-esteem while also teaching them to be humble and kind. How on earth do you not cry when your child shouts at you that you are holding them back? When you voice that you think they would be crazy good at "fill in the blank" and they gasp with, "Why do you want to put me in your box?" What box? I'm simply noting that I believe in you, sharing ideas for how your personal strengths can work into different career paths. It's been so hard to not cry when your child who used to hold your hand, wanted to cuddle on the couch, and share their ideas with you only wants to get as far away from you as they can. Just a parents mere presence in the same room as said teen will elicit eye rolls and a heaviness in the air that just sucks. I know it's normal. I know it's just a phase and all the time we spent encouraging them and lifting them up will come more clear to them as their brains fully develop. In their 20s they come back around and acknowledge that they love us and appreciate all we've done, but until then, this really sucks! sigh...

Monday, July 15, 2019

My Bad Day is Not So Bad

Today has been a day! Lots of juggling, details rapidly changing, people agreeing to one thing and then changing their minds and deciding not to keep the commitment. Buyers who are NOT my clients (I represent the seller) calling me to discuss the house, what? I had to shop for a new dryer when the dryer that I am replacing is still new in my mind, only 3 years old. That presented challenges that are just too bizarre to even spell out here. I went to get the dryer and wouldn't you know, I blew out my flip - flop! All of this is a nuisance... but it's like being pecked by a chicken, not deadly, but painful! Too much is just too much. I want to be a good person, I want to help not only the people I love, but anyone who needs it and I have it to give. It gets harder and harder when agreements are not kept. I know this sounds like complaining but it's really more an acknowledgement of how good I have it. I have close friends who are dealing with serious cancer diagnosis, others who are barely surviving each day because of chronic pain, depression, and suicidal tendencies, and others who are working SO hard, sacrificing everything to get the education to start the second half of their lives. I am lucky, my bad day is a walk in the park for anyone in fear for the lives of their loved ones. Tonight I am going to sleep thankful. Thankful for so much including the friend who has my back, who bridged the gap between my current financial situation and my next escrow closing so I could get a new dryer, that my hubby and son are on vacation together at a national game convention, thankful that all my people are healthy.

I really am grateful, and I will keep being me no matter how others show up or don't show up. How I behave speaks to who I am, how others behave speaks to who they are... I say this to Mason all the time, so I will start my day tomorrow taking my own advice. Sweet Dreams friends, there is always something to be thankful for. Oh, and on the note of my flip-flop breaking, there was a thrift store right next door so I popped in and got these little lovelies for just $5 each! BRAND NEW! How's that for a way to turn this day around?

Monday, July 8, 2019

Congratulations Jennifer!

Huge CONGRATULATIONS to one of my best friends Jennifer Taggard who graduated with her Bachelor's Degree today!! This woman has come such a long way since we met at Sierra College a number of years ago. She is a phenomenal woman, a force of determination, loving, compassionate, funny, strong, and a bright light in my life. Jen, this degree is certainly an accomplishment, but you already are and have been so much more than enough even without the piece of paper. Love you girl!

I’m completely pooped out! This week I was teaching kids acting camp, and then in the afternoon, back to back cooking demos at the State Fair. It was all about "Fun with Food" and cooking with kids. Homemade ranch dressing, salad on a stick, no bake cheesecakes with fresh fruit, English muffin pizza, and a banana smoothie. My feet are throbbing and my knee is aching but it was a phenomenal day and week of acting camp!

On the motivational note, words are not "just" words or sounds. They have meaning, not only in the words themselves but in why you choose them, how, when, and where you deliver them, but most importantly why. Are you communicating to make yourself feel better, to create effects on someone else, or to really elicit positive productive change? Ask yourself next time you have an important conversation, "Why do I want to say this?" You might be surprised how often you choose different words, or even to not communicate at all.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Things Mason Says...

June 2019 Mason: Mom, your IGA is pretty weak. Me: Really? Why do you think that? Mason: Your posts don’t have very many likes at all. Me: Is that what makes an IG account strong or worthwhile, lots of likes? Mason: Well yeah, you have to have lots of likes. Me: What if I don’t have lots of likes, but one person tells me in a comment that my post was just what they needed to hear? Mason: Well, that’s good too, but really, you need lots of likes. Me: I’ll take the one comment sharing that I touched someone over lots of likes. Mason: Yeah mom, that sounds like you, your heart prefers the words more than the likes. July 2014 Mason: Dang this Pandora! There is no reason it shouldn't be loading, we are in a major neopolitan area. Me: Uh, I think you mean metropolitan. Mason: Oh, yeah. What is neopolitan again? Me: Either an ice cream flavor, an era, or a region depending on how you are using it. Mason: Oh yeah, okay, then that's funny, major neopolitan area! Shaking my head, he cracks himself up! He gets that from me. June 2014 Mason: Mom, I went on a genealogy website and I found my great grandfather, and he's still alive. Me: No, that can't be right, I know both of your great grandfathers are no longer with us, they have passed. Mason: No mom, I'm sure this is my logical great grandfather. Me: Well now I know that it's not true because nobody in our family is logical! Of course he meant biological. :) July 2010 While listening to a comment about ending world hunger Mason emphatically said to me, "I'm never ending world hunger!" I replied, "Why not?" "Because I'm always hungry and if we end world hunger how will we know it's time to eat?" Mason reasoned. I laughed, I didn't even know what to say.

Monday, June 24, 2019

God Help Get Me Through The Teen Years!

Life is not easy, and it’s certainly not always pretty. Raising adults is hard and I feel incredibly lucky that my marriage is not difficult or challenging. What a blessing! I don’t want to throw Mason under the bus, though I want other moms out there to know that even when you have a kid who in some areas of life is exceptional, they are still normal in most of the other areas. And normal means they argue, they roll their eyes, they do the “heavy sigh” and say their nonverbal communication is nonexistent. They ignore us, they say they heard us and answer in ways we want to hear and then continue to not respond, and then when we finally lose our shit and yell at them, they look at us in complete and utter amazement and ask us, “Why are you yelling at me?” This story is as old as time itself, and I know it’s normal. But then those times come when they behave so badly in front of somebody who is offering them the gift of a lifetime, epic advice and knowledge that you just want to put your head down and cry. I am truly sick to my stomach with the way Mason behaved today, and I know I should grant him grace because he’s only 15, but there comes a time when our kids have to wake up and recognize when somebody is making time for them, giving them valuable information for free. I hope he got that tonight, I truly hope tonight was not in vain. I hope when Mason reads this many years from now, he will remember when Carol Gardner wanted to help him with college applications and how to submit the best information. Carol's former husband was in admissions for Harvard and she had some really good info about how to have his applications rise to the top to the stack and he acted like Carol was being a nuisance. I'm sure in years to come I will chalk this up to him being a teenager, but right now, I am so embarrassed.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Happy Father's Day!

I'm feeling like I am the richest woman in the world. I don't have a fat bank account but we have paid our bills. I feel like I go above and beyond for the people I love, I do work that exceeds expectations, and I finally have all of my immediate family in my life. My marriage is beyond my wildest dreams and I have amazing friends. 

Yesterday was Father’s Day and it was like no other I have ever known. The first thing that was different with it is that Dave was home! I don’t recall when the last Father’s Day that he wasn’t away with work. The next thing is that Mason planned ahead and on his own and got Dave two gifts…gifts that suited Dave and not Mason. My Father’s Days as a daughter, especially as a young girl were always a challenge because though my dad was in my life, he wasn’t all that much of a dad in terms of the warm-fuzzies parenting that I think other people grew up with. When it came time to buy a card it was hard! I didn’t want to lie so I wanted a card that said, “Happy Father’s Day.” Not, “You were the best dad…” or “You made me feel like I could do anything…” Do you know how hard it is to find a card that simply says, “Happy Father’s Day?” Well, I do. I love that Dave is a plugged in dad for Mason. They do not have a television sitcom father-son relationship, but they have a good relationship. On Saturday, Dave got a card in the mail from Michael J and Sari, Michael was thanking him for reaching out all those years ago and Sari wrote a beautiful note about wanting to get to know us better. Talk about all the feels!! Finally, the cherry on the cake of a day was that Michael J chose Father’s Day to reach out to his bio-dad Mike. Mike texted me to tell me he was freaking out, LOL! I called him and he was smiling so much I could hear it in his every word. Way to go Michael J, way to go!! He hit this one out of the park! I’m so proud of him.

I will continue to be me and recognize how much I have learned and grown in the last 28 years. It's interesting, 28 years is such a long time, but in reality, there are huge changes in me stemming from the last 6 weeks. I look back and I see that I have had two great loves in my life, and a child with each of them. I’m even luckier that I am married to Dave and we have been able to raise Mason. 
Life is funny, it's sometimes hard, it's absolutely not fair, but it is what we make of it and if I do not wake up tomorrow, I will still be smiling and feel like it was all worth it. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

My Visit With Michael J and My Girl Sari

I went to Southern California with the sole purpose of spending time with Michael and Sari. I had called to let them know that I want to know them, I want to know where they live, where they like to grocery shop, and what they like to eat, all in all, I want to really know them. I asked when would be a good time to come for a day or two. I assured them that I did not want them to feel pressure, that their house needs to be clean or that they need to do anything special because I’m coming. We worked out some dates, I booked my hotel and off I went. I wasn’t nervous but I was curious what I may be walking into. Let me clarify, I was trying not to create narratives before I got there, but I was sort of preparing myself for the possibility that we may have some less-than-pleasant conversations. I had resolved to go, to be present and to talk openly about whatever they wanted to talk about. I arrived Thursday evening and we met at their house for dinner. Michael had prepped for us to make and eat sushi, It was so much fun! I brought a bottle of my favorite wine and we spent the evening eating and talking non-stop. 

On Friday, Michael picked me up and we went on a food-crawl! LOL! Michael and Sari eat a plant based diet and he works at a vegan restaurant, we started there, at Real Food Daily. We started with jack fruit nachos, then we shared a real food salad with a almond and shallot dressing, and Michael wanted to share a lasagne, but I had to say no! I pointed out that I would not be able to match him dish for dish if lunch was any indication of what we were going to be continuing the day eating. We did get the lasagne to go and they shared it the next day for dinner. He is so easy to talk with, he is smart, funny, curious, and he is a great listener. We talked about how awesome it is to be getting to know each other, how easy it’s been. We talked about religion, some politics, brain function & development, the social climate we are living in with regard to race-relations, injustices, and what kinds of things we can do to improve the world we live in. I wanted to know more about his childhood, his siblings, and his world travels. 

After lunch we went to pick Sari up from work and we went back to their house for a couple of hours and talked some more. Yes, we talked A LOT!  We then headed back out to their favorite neighborhood where on Tuesday and Friday nights, they have vegan food trucks, local music, and just a fun time out. We stopped at a market/deli and had a vegan chicken sandwich, we split one 3 ways, then headed to the food truck festival (it wasn’t really a festival, but it had that kind of cool vibe) and one of their favorite bars. We ordered jack fruit tacos and a vegan mac & cheese. Let me just say, all the food was off the hook good! The jack fruit nachos were my favorite with the whole food salad running a close second. I can’t wait to go back again and again so I can try everything on the Real Food Daily menu. We landed at the bar and had some drinks and ate the food we carried in. 

These two humans are so easy to be with, they are open, articulate, and fun. After we ate dinner, they took me to the back of the bar to play a game called “ting.” It’s a simple concept, a large washer on the end of a string that one holds, lets go, and swings toward a 4x4 post with a hook on it. When played for points, you get a point if your washer hits the hook, making the “ting” sound and more points if you actually hook the washer. This is actually a skill based game and I’m proud to say, their instructions were good enough that I hooked my washer twice! We made our way back to the table and talked until I swear, we couldn’t talk anymore! Not really, but we covered all the important life topics; politics, life, family, sex, marriage, relationships, health, nutrition, religion, education, immigration issues, how they met, where they’ve traveled, money, child rearing, budgeting, cooking, you name it, I believe we touched on it. It was an epic day and as tired as I was at the end of the day, I didn’t want to leave. I wanted another day with these amazing people. 

As the time we spent together plays again and again in my mind, my favorite part of the visit were the hugs and the sincere eye contact. Physically being with Michael and holding him close to me just feels so good. I am feeling more and more confident that I will have the rest of our lives to continue to connect. I don’t mean that to sound like I have had doubts, but one can’t all the way know what is the right things to do or say. I’ve done what I know to do, I’ve called or texted when I’ve felt like calling or texting, I’ve asked questions, I’ve answered questions, and I’ve just been me, all the way. I can’t wait until we can see each other again, my heart is bursting with love.

Monday, June 3, 2019

School's Out For Summer!

Mason’s Freshman year of high school is over. While he is growing up so fast, too fast, I am learning things about myself. It’s always seemed to me that those who have financial resources tend to have an easier time in life. From security to meet monthly expenses, to family vacations, lovely things, and opportunities that those of us who have just enough to make ends meet typically can’t afford. As I’ve grown up I’ve been able to recognize that middle class families like the one I grew up in and currently share with Dave and Mason, are not any less a “happy family” than those who live with more money. In fact, I would say that my ideas about more money being better were completely off base. As a single woman I heard the adage on more than one occasion, it’s as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is to fall in love with a poor man, but is it? And is how much money someone has or makes really a factor at all? For many people the answer is absolutely! I believed this all my life up until I met the men who showed me otherwise, yes, men. Dave Partak and Michael J, my husband and my first born son. Dave showed me first when we married with each of us having virtually nothing, no money in the bank, no assets, no investments, no money. We married with me having a pile of credit card debt and Dave having a few unpaid debts. We married financially in-the-hole as some would say and worked our way out of it - together. We still have debt, so what? We'll continue to pay it off. The other man is my son, the man who lived with and was raised by the people I chose for him, the people with money. Yeah, he had a life with no worry in terms of a roof over his head and food on the table, but he didn't have the safe environment to talk about how he felt, what he wanted, his thoughts, his fears... he didn't feel like he could speak up. When one doesn't feel safe to speak their piece, they don't feel like they are important, they don't feel like their voice matters, they don't feel like they are loved. This may be a simplification of a bigger picture, but it is the situation in a nutshell. It is how he felt. My belief that money was the answer to an easier and better life was simply not true. It's clear to me today that the idea that those with money provide a better life is simply not true.

Almost 29 years ago when I gave Michael up for adoption, first and foremost I wanted to chose a loving family, but I also wanted a family who was financially secure. It seemed to me that any couple who was going to the lengths that are needed to adopt a child, the love would be there, how could it not be? But I also wanted them to be financially set. Life is complicated and humans are complex so there is no simple answer to how this kind of story plays out. As I navigate life, I’ve learned that we all have a journey to travel and there are lessons we need to learn. For what, I don’t know. Do we have another life to live and these are the things we need to learn so going into the next one, we’ve advanced somehow? Could it be that we need them to find our highest purpose and the real reason we are here so we can take action and make a difference somehow? I don’t have these answers, but Michael did not have the upbringing that I had hoped for him, that I believed I set him up to have. That disappoints me to my very core. I want to tell him I am sorry I gave him up for adoption, but I can’t, I’m not sorry. Ultimately, I am who I am today because I made that decision. There were a number of times I found myself wanting to backslide and go back to my party life and the friends who supported me in many poor decisions. Each time I thought about it, I looked at myself in a mirror and said out loud, “No! I am not going back. I will not have given my baby up for nothing.” The bottom line is that I am the person I am today because I gave him up, had I kept him, who knows who I would be and what kind of life we would have had. The proverbial what if?  

I can’t tell him I am sorry but I can be my best self, today and every day from this day forward for him. Here is a beautiful irony, as challenging as I’m learning his childhood and upbringing may have been, he has not let that consume him and fill him with resentment and negativity. He is much like me in that he recognizes what it was but has made the choice to live a better life, and be a better human. Who does that sound like? Our reunion has been weird and wonderful. It’s odd to feel so connected and love toward a stranger, but it’s wonderful that he feels the same way. I’m going to spend a few days with him this week and I’m so excited. I’ll share more in my next post. I am going with an open heart and mind, I will be present and available for whatever he wants to know or talk about. If it gets hard, it’s okay, I will stay the course and be there for him…I will be there for him from this day forward. I can’t wait to embrace him and welcome him into our middle class family, the place where we do not always have enough money, but we always have more than enough love, hugs, kisses, and laughter, and space to say whatever we feel, good or bad. It's my goal now to show this amazing man what a life filled with, "I'm proud of you's," "You are amazing!" "What do you think of this?" feels like. Yes, we have the rest of my life to share amazing things.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Rain, Learning to Adult, and Family

We have had a crazy springtime, in that it's been so wet and cold. I know that April showers bring May flowers, but we are having all kinds of May showers that will bring June flowers. In addition to the cold wet weather it seems that we are also suffering from a prolonged cold & flu season. Mason started us off with a cold that had him in bed for two full days. Even though we weren't smooching, I managed to contract the same cold. Here's to keeping our fingers crossed that Dave doesn't contract it, but I am hearing the tell-tale signs of his sniffles and dry coughs. I made sure to pick up more nighttime cold medicine and cough drops.

Earlier this week, Placer High School hosted an Adulting Day for their graduating seniors. They asked for volunteers to teach the classes and though I signed up to teach more of a "Winning at Life" class, I was asked to teach a Basic Cooking Skills class. I taught five sessions to 25 awesome kids in each class. I was able to incorporate my "Winning in Life" when I explained that I was asked to teach cooking skills without actually cooking. The kids were bummed but I adapted and created a class that was interesting and fun. The feedback was all good, so I'll call it a success. I hope the school does this every year, it was really well received.

I'm super excited that I have a few days in Southern California planned the first week in June to spend with Michael and Sari. I can't wait to just hang out with them, to be able to talk, laugh, and just share some space. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to get to know him and possibly be a real family for the second half of our lives. More on that later.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Mason at BerryFest 3029

This was Mason's 7th year cooking at BerryFest. This is one of our favorite events each year, not only because it's always on Mother's Day weekend, but also because we love strawberries!

Mason did a demo of strawberry banana bread cupcakes with bourbon chocolate ganache each day. At the age of 15, he doesn't even need to practice anymore. He has enough practice and polish, he just knows how to entertain people while cooking food.

I don't know how many more cooking demos there are with Mason in our future, but I hope however many we have left, they are the best, most fun ever.

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Honey Festival

Going back to last week in terms of our lives, Mason did two cooking demos at the Honey Festival in Woodland, this is one of our favorites events. My mom has a fondness for bees and I have a fondness for honey. The promotion for the Honey Festival did a phone interview with Mason and I thought it would be fun share.

How do you utilize honey in your dishes?
I love honey! So many people think of it as a dessert ingredient when in fact, it adds so much depth of flavor to savory dishes and is excellent for texture. It thickens sauces, the sweetness can be tempered with bold garlic and onion flavors, it also compliments spicy, and of course, it adds sweetness without adding processed sugar.

Are you particular about the different types of honey when cooking? Do they have noticeably different flavor profiles?
I'm not super particular unless it's an infused honey, then the infused flavor comes into play. If it's infused with lavender and the flowery flavor is not desired in my curry, then I will want to use something purer. Local is always preferred. 

Have you tasted or used local honey in your dishes? If so, what is your favorite and why?
Okay, this is not necessarily the answer with the most technique behind it, but I love Miller's whipped honey. It is like honey butter, but it's just honey and it is AMAZING on a hot bagel. It stays put and doesn't melt and drip as fast as raw honey does.

What’s your favorite thing to taste/see/experience at the Honey Festival? Why?
I think it is completely unfair to ask a chef and foodie to pick a favorite food! It's like asking a parent which child is their favorite and even though they may have one, they would never admit it out loud! I do love Fire Brothers 911 Sauce! For real, Kevin got that stuff right!

Mason Partak, 15
Chopped Junior Champion
Instagram - Mason Partak

On a completely different topic, I got this early in life, and I get it every day. I want to just be with you, I want to know where you like to grocery shop, what you love to eat. I want to watch TV with you all day, or go swing at the park. Let's bake a cake and eat it all! I hope you are so comfortable with me, you snore when you fall asleep on the couch. Let’s sit in silence together, comfortably. I want to laugh with you, laugh at the silliest thing! Want to? I want to have tough talks if it brings you peace. I love you and I love this life WITH YOU. If more people could find the ordinary the actual good stuff, they would realize that it's not about shiny or expensive, it's about who you are with - the people. 

Monday, May 6, 2019

Getting Acquainted

Last week was pretty epic in terms of life events. Meeting Michael was something I had been waiting for for over 28 years and for all I knew, it could have been another five or ten years. I’m so glad it wasn’t one day longer than it was. 

Michael and I have been communicating almost daily and it is simply amazing. When I see his name and our photo pop up on my phone, my heart skips a beat, it’s surreal. What I know for sure is that I am so, so thankful that Michael is excited to get to know me, he is kind, smart, and funny. For something that, for all intents and purposes should be awkward and uncomfortable, it’s been incredibly easy. We talked about it and my take was two fold, first it’s my belief that when it’s right between two people, it’s not hard. What is right? To me, right is open communication, respect, and the sincere desire to be together. I have this with Dave in my marriage and it appears I have this with Michael. The second point is possibly Karma, it’s possible that the good choices, the many times we did the right things instead of the easy things are coming back around. I do believe we get back what we put out and if this is my reward, I’ll take it! I will say, I feel things that seem so odd to me, yet so normal. For example, I find myself thinking about him constantly, I want to know what he’s doing, where he’s going, how he lives, what kind of TV do he and his fiancĂ© Sari like to watch, does he have a favorite candy, does he like games & puzzles? It’s all so random but no matter what I’m thinking, all the while I want to hug and hold him. Then I get a little embarrassed and think, “He doesn’t even know me, why would he want me to hold him?” Could it be that missing piece, the physical touch that creates the deeper connection? I don’t know but I will continue with what I feel. It’s what I know and who I am, it’s all I can authentically offer. I feel so blessed, so lucky, so… I don’t know what other words describe what it means to me to have this opportunity to know this man.

Many people have asked me how Mason is taking all of this and for the most part, he’s been great. He was so excited to have Michael and Sari in our lives but I can also see that he doesn’t necessarily love that my attention is not all his. Mason is an incredible young man, he is confident and smart and he knows how deeply I love him. I am sure we will all be fine, no, better than fine, we are building an amazing family of 5!

Monday, April 29, 2019

The Most Amazing Reunion

November 1990

On April 10th, I found a comment on one of my Instagram posts that read, “Hey there Kathy! I sent you a direct message a few days ago that you might be interested in reading. This morning coffee looks incredible!“ Of course, you can gather the photo was of my morning coffee. I went to my inbox to find a very polite message from the child I gave up for adoption 28, almost 29 years ago. I wasn’t shocked, in fact, I was pleasantly surprised and replied, “Michael J., I’ve been waiting for this day and I’m so happy to hear from you!” We continued to chat via messenger trying to find the time to have a phone call, a phone call that was not hurried. We did finally talk on the 17th and it was surreal and totally comfortable at the same time. How exactly can that be? 

Wednesday the 24th was something incredibly special. When Michael J. was born, I loved his biological father deeply but we just couldn’t get our lives together to raise a child. I always knew it was the right thing to do and on Wednesday I got to hold that precious human again, 28 years later. Meet my first born son and Mason’s brother, Michael J. Dave facilitated this meeting by reaching out almost 10 years ago so he would know how to reach me when he was ready. Truly, he and his fiancĂ© are just awesome humans.

So here is the most incredible part of this already awesome story. When Michael called for the first time, we made small talk, I answered some of his questions and I knew he was engaged so I asked him about that. He said they were planning to come to N. CA to take care of some wedding details and I asked where they were getting married, he said Nevada City. Dave and I were married in Nevada City, it's one of our favorite places. We were both sort of blown away just by that "coincidence." I figured they must know people who live there, but when we talked and I asked them what their connection to Nevada City was, Michael replied, "We don't have any. I just started looking and found it and started emailing Air BNBs and one in Nevada City said yes." OMG! So I gave this sweet boy up to a family in NY, who moved to FL when he was little, and he now lives in Los Angeles and is getting married 24 miles from where I live and where Dave and I were married?! I can hear Dolly Parton's character in Steel Magnolias now, "The Loooord works in mysterious ways!”

Giving a child up for adoption is not easy but I have to say that being true to myself and being honest every step of the way on this journey has made this reunion so much sweeter. Anyone who knows me knows this story and if you didn't know, it's just because there was never a reason or occasion to talk about it. I've had two photos of him up in my home almost at all times, so there was no disruption when he reached out. I’ve never once thought that we would not meet, not one time. ❤ Thank you, Dave, for being proactive and making our meeting easier for Michael. I’m sure there will be some missteps in the getting-to-know each other process, but that’s okay. It seems there is a real desire by all of us to want to build a relationship. He’s getting married later this year and I can’t wait to get to know his bride and watch them build their happily ever after. 

I loved this child’s father, I’ve loved this child every day since November 23, 1990, and I love him today. Here’s to many years of getting to know each other and loving on another level. All the pieces fall into place as they are supposed to.

Monday, April 22, 2019

A Random Monday in April

I suppose it's not really a random Monday, it's Easter Monday. This was a red-letter Easter for me for a number of reasons. Mason did not color eggs or decorate cookies with me. It makes me a bit sad that he's more teenager than my little boy, but I get it. He chose to spend time with his friends playing video games and then went to a game day with his dad. They got home late on Saturday night and I had all the Easter baskets made and out. I figured if he was more teenager than a little boy, he knows the Easter Bunny doesn't really come in the night, so I took the pressure off myself to surprise him. With all of that said, I did hide eggs in the yard for him to find on Easter morning, but he had to do his chores first - pick up poop, put the dishes away, and take the garbage and recycling out. Hey, not a little boy anymore... LOL! As you can see, I tailored the prizes in the eggs for a teenager, he enjoyed it and that made me happy. Dave did his traditional epic Easter dinner, rack of lamb (that only he eats), ham, deviled eggs, scalloped potatoes, and peas. Yeah, it was g-o-o-d.

Dave is enjoying retirement and we are starting to get on the other side of the financial challenges, mostly. I have to chuckle because we were expecting an IRS tax return and just learned that our refund has been approved, but not for what we thought, for $1400 less. DOH! Oh well, I've been told and I believe, if the only problems you have are money problems, you don't really have problems. This too shall pass.

The only other noteworthy thing going on that I can talk about is that my allergies have been raging! I know, I'm not alone, but dang, they have been so bad, actually debilitating to some degree. I hope you live somewhere that you do not suffer from seasonal allergies and if you do, God bless you!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Let Me Tell You How I Really Feel

I am a full service Realtor, who in some cases, does the maintenance on my listing where my seller lives out of state. My hunky hubby helps me provide service above and beyond. And yes, that's grass debris all over my Brighton sunglasses. Then in the same 12 hours, I am over the moon for my first-time buyers. We've been looking and looking at possible homes for them, we’ve written 3 offers and finally #4 was accepted! It was clearly meant to be as they both exclaimed, at the same time, "I love this house!" My heart melted and all I could think was, "Please let the sellers be reasonable people... please, please, please!" LOL! Two of the first three offers were for the same house and the seller would not even counter them. All I could say was, 'This must not be your house." I can't wait to open escrow today and start moving them toward their first Home-Sweet-Home!

Earlier this week Dave, Mason, and I attended an under age substance-abuse information Town Hall at Placer High School. It was very informative and I’m glad Mason was there to hear what Dave and I were learning. Most notably the Social Host Ordinance (SHO) which holds adults responsible for providing their children and their friends alcohol or drugs thinking it’s better to do it at home. If as parents you think it’s okay to allow your kids and their friends to drink at your home because, “their safe, their home with me and not driving.” You’re wrong. The SHO provides for $1000 fine and if its considered "rowdy" meaning a neighbor calls it in, $2000. If your kid hosts a party while you’re not home, the fines will be applied to them. Providing alcohol for anyone under 21 is contributing to the delinquency of a minor and not okay even on private property. How can the fact that it's happening on private property matter? Is that to say that if any crime is committed on private property, it's not really a crime? For the record, I understand there are many different situations by which parents have to confront this. Dave and I are just starting to enter these difficult waters and if we stay the course the way we've parented so far, we will draw hard lines in the sand and not allow it. I'm also lucky that Dave and I are united so I have that support. It's not easy but I do stand firm on how I feel.

On the topic of the parenting issues, I have not had too much to say about this whole college bribery scandal publicly until now. It seems to me that there are two real factors in play here, #1 these people who paid to get their kids into school might as well have shouted from the rooftops to and about their kids, "I DON'T THINK YOU CAN DO IT! I DON'T BELIEVE IN YOU!' If that is the case, why not just use your wealth to pay your kids way in life, take care of them, set them up, and let the hard working and capable people go to college. #2, you can't punish the wealthy with fines, they will laugh in the face of having to write a check to get them off the hook for breaking the law by writing a check. There has to be a consequence that is outside of their many millions of dollars. With that said, there are murderers and pedophiles who get less time than these elitist folks are facing. I'm not proposing a specific punishment, I’m simply stating that I think it's incredibly sad that they didn't have more faith in their kids to make a good, honest way in this life.