Thursday, February 28, 2019

Month of Love Day 28 - Brandi Matteoni

Day 28 in my Month of Love goes to Brandi Matteoni. This girlie came into my life quietly, but that doesn't mean her impact has been any less profound. Our first date outside of seeing each other at Pete's was a project in my backyard. I was laying pavers while Dave and Mason were out of town for a long weekend. I take on these kinds of projects while they are gone so I can do it my way. Dave doesn't always believe me and he absolutely cannot see my vision of our household projects. Yet, when I get 'er done, he's usually pretty pleased. Brandi and I got it done, and talk about girl power, we even ran into Therese Beechler at Home Depot who helped us load more pavers in my car.

Brandi and I have had some fun! We've taken on weekend projects, filled orders for lots of t-shirts, she's taught me how to use my vinyl cutter, we've made gorgeous cookies, played poker, shopped for her store, and made super healthy meals, and some not so healthy ones, too!

Brandi texted me asking about backpacks for our local kids heading back to school. She spearheaded a drive to set kids up who might otherwise have to start school without the supplies they need. She organized it and made her shop downtown available for donations to be dropped off and also for parents to pick them up. It seems to me that it's often the people who don't have nearly as much themselves step up to give to those who have less. 

One of my most favorite stories of this friendship is the night she helped me administer an enema to Gunner. LOL! Yep, we believed he had ingested something he wasn't supposed to eat and I was determined to do everything we could do to avoid a vet visit and another possible surgery for Gunner. I tried feeding him the soup that would make him barf and he was not having it! I googled if it was safe to give a dog an enema and the answers were mixed... I tried to go to the store to get a suppository but they didn't have them. All that was left was the put-it-in-his-pooper and fill him up with the stuff! LOL! Brandi held his hair (LOL! I can't quit thinking that holding his head was the equivalent of holding his hair) and I did the dirty work. We expected an immediate and explosive reaction and it didn't happen! DOH! Now, this poor dog is not feeling good AND full of enema solution. I did the only thing I knew to do and that was to walk him. It didn't take long and he relieved himself. I had to go back with a flashlight to inspect and make sure there were no toys or socks involved. I still chuckle when I think about this night not only because Brandi stayed by our side, and because of what I put that poor dog through and he had not ingested a foreign object.

You all know about our escapades on the lake and the boat, we love our sunshine and summertime. If you get to spend time with Brandi and she tells you she doesn't cook, understand that "doesn't" is not the same as "can't." This girl can cook, but she prefers that you do it. ;) I love you girlie, I'm chomping at the bit for longer days with lots of sunshine and lakes that are full to the brim! Happy Month of Love!

PS This is not my last post, I still have some love to share with some super important people! 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Month of Love Day 27 - My Mom

Day 27 in my Month of Love goes to my mom, today would have been her 89th birthday. She passed away a year and a half ago and we absolutely miss her. I’m the baby of five kids and my mom always joked that I was an accident. She would tell me how my dad went crazy yelling and screaming when she told him she was pregnant but then when he passed away, I learned he was over the moon to have me. Go figure!

Growing up, my mom and I were very close. I would say that being the last of five kids, she relaxed a lot and parented with more of a “go with the flow” attitude, in addition to wanting to do more with the last child because they are just that, the last one. I had a number of interests as a young girl and my mom supported most of them, mostly the ones she felt like she could support. I played little league baseball, I roller skated, rode horses, but more than anything, from the time I was eight years old, I wanted to be an actor. This is one she had no idea how to help me do so she told me I didn’t have what it would take to succeed in that industry. Before you judge my mom for not being supportive, let’s keep in mind, this was the 1970s and the women who were the ideals in the industry were Farrah Fawcett, Cheryl Tiegs, and Christy Brinkley. I was a young tomboy, chubby, not so tall and nothing about my look indicated that I could make it in show business.

My mom grew up in Shanghai, China and spent several years in the Japanese internment camp as my grandfather was American. My mom met my dad, who was also an American Soldier and that is how she came to America. My grandmother and grandfather followed her immigrating to the US through Ellis Island. My grandmother and mother were so proud to become Americans, my grandmother was primarily Russian but also had some Polish heritage. From what I can tell, the immigrants of years ago wanted to be American, they didn’t want to reference their heritage. This doesn’t mean we didn’t celebrate Russian Easter or have decorations from their childhoods, but they wanted to be known as Americans, they loved this country.

Though my mom did not have the wherewithal to help me break into show business, she tried to help me in other ways. When I wanted a horse, she told me if I saved enough money to pay for half, she would pay the other half. She never expected me to earn all that money over the course of one summer, but I did. Once I had my horse, she worked and saved her money to buy me the saddle I wanted. Yep, my mom’s full-time job paid for me to do the things I loved. Now before you go pointing the “spoiled brat” finger at me, know that at 14 years old I worked, too. I had to work at the ranch where my horse was boarded cleaning stalls to pay for her board, and the cost of a horse meant I didn’t have the latest and greatest when it came to clothes and shoes, I understood lay-away from the time I was old enough to understand that I tried on clothes that I didn’t get to take home.

She did the best she could. My dad and she were married to the day they each died, but they were no Ward and June Cleaver. LOL! She was, for the most part, a single parent in terms of us kids. She took us camping with her best friend and our neighbor, we took day trips to Mt. Diablo, San Francisco, Frontier Village, Marriotts Great America, Marine World, and she even took me to Hawaii and New York. It is still an oxymoron to me that she made some pretty amazing things happen in our life but always told me, “Kathy, there are have’s and have-nots in life. We are have-nots, we don’t have money to do the things your friend's families have.” I heard her but I didn’t believe her. I recall a Saturday morning that I got up early and had my mind set to go get a job. She asked me where I was off to and I told her, she replied, “It doesn’t work that way Kathy, you have to go fill out an application, turn it in, wait for a call back, go interview and then if they like you, they will call you to offer you the job. It takes weeks.” I looked at her with a blank stare. I went downtown and was home less than an hour later with my first real job.

Holy cow, this is a long post! My mom was something else, she loved her kids to a fault and I mean that sincerely. She blurred the lines in an all-out effort to keep the peace. This was not always a good thing, in fact, it bit her in the butt more than once. I think I am such a stickler about telling the truth because I saw how her “white lies” hurt her and our family. I would rather know the truth even if I don’t like it than have someone lie to me. I know she meant well, she just never really learned that lesson. Happy Birthday mom, I love you and I appreciate all you did for us, and how much more you did for me. #MonthOfLove

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Month of Love Day 26 - My Granny

Day 26 in my Month of Love goes to my Granny. My Granny was a hoot, but before I could know that, I had to do some growing up and get out of my own way. My mom was very close to her parents, they lived walking distance from us in Vacaville where I grew up. My Granny took care of my Grandpop who had a severe stroke when I was really little. My Granny also worked so my mom would take me with her to their house where my mom would take care of my Grandpop while my Granny worked. She was a secretary for a Colonel at Travis Air Force Base until he retired when she turned a spare room in her house into an office and started Zee’s Secretarial Service. She was quite a phenomenal woman, not only was she a female business owner, she spoke seven languages fluently, and could type 130+ wpm error free. I don't know which of those is more impressive. She loved her tea with milk in it, entertaining, and I never knew her to bake anything without alcohol in it. Seriously, she would bake cakes days before an event and soak them with rum, brandy, or whiskey meticulously so they would not be soggy, but loaded with the flavor of the booze. Us kids ate it because the sweetness of the cake offset the flavor of the booze. She had an amazing sense of humor and she spoke her mind without apology.

I wasn’t close to my Granny when I was little because, like most families, relationships are complicated. There are often favorites and sometimes it feels that way even when it’s not necessarily how others see it. When I turned 20 I wanted to know my granny. I made a point to go spend at least a day with her each month, and sometimes the whole weekend. During one of our visits, she asked me to curl her hair. She was sitting on the toilet seat and we were chatting when she made mention of how I didn’t come to see her when I was growing up and lived in Vacaville with her. She was very matter-of-fact in case you ever wonder where I get it, so I told her how I saw it. I told her it was no fun to come over and hear that my hair wasn’t combed the way she thought it should be, or that I was dressed like a boy wearing blue jeans and spent my time riding horses, that the overall feeling was that she didn’t really like me. She turned to me looking me in the eyes and said, “I’m sorry I made you feel that way. I love you so very much and I am glad you are here. Thank you for coming and curling my hair.” I loved that she said she was sorry, she didn’t try to explain, or justify my perception of that time, she simply said she was sorry. From that point forward we were very close talking about everything from how she wanted to live her final days, how she wanted to die, what it was like to be old, and what she wanted for me - to be married, to have someone take care of me, and to be settled. She used to tell me that she would always be with me and I would always remind her to please not appear to me as a ghost, it would scare the heck out of me. She would say, “What if I have something I need to tell you?” to which I would reply, “Leave me a note, I’ll believe you were there.” and we would laugh.

She passed away just days after Dave and I married publicly, but I did tell her that we were legally and secretly married before that day and she told me, “I’m sorry I can’t come to your wedding, but I am so happy Dave will take care of you.” My only twinge of regret in my life is that she never knew Mason. Oh how she would have loved him, I can see them laughing together in my mind as if it is real. I guess we sometimes make our memories like we create our realities, the way we wanted them to be versus how they may have actually played out. My Granny was an amazing woman and if someone who knew her were to think of me as even a little bit like her, I will have grown into a woman of some real character and substance. Happy #MonthOfLove Granny, with such sincere love. Kahty

Monday, February 25, 2019

Month of Love Day 25 - Jose Valenzuela

Day 25 in my Month Of Love is for Jose Valenzuela. Jose and I met the same year Dave and I met, in 1996. He had moved to San Francisco from his home in Goleta, CA to spread his wings and see what this awesome world had to offer. He came into the employment agency I was running and I put him right to work. Like Alice, he would come in on Fridays to get his paycheck and we would chat. It didn’t take long for us to realize that we were both new to the city and we had some things in common. I can’t recall the exact thing that brought us together outside of our working relationship but whatever it was, I’m sure glad it happened!

Through the years we’ve been friends, we’ve had some crazy fun times. We bowled in a league together, he’s a WAY better bowler than anyone in that league was, I think it was sponsored by a country radio station so it was really an excuse to get together, drink beer, and “bowl.” LOL! We were a team of four, Dave bowled with us with his then-girlfriend Mary. Jose came to Poobahs, we went to country concerts, and enjoyed many nights out in San Francisco. For as much fun as we were having as singles in the city, we talked about dating and we shared one kiss at which point it was very clear that we were meant to be just friends and nothing more. It’s funny, those experiences in life when you, “check,” you know, just to see and it becomes very clear that it’s not that. I can hear Hotty Roddy now, “No, no, not that, this!” Jose knows exactly what I am talking about! These were a series of years in my life that could have been right out of Seinfeld.

Jose and I went to Las Vegas together and though there was not a bowling tournament, he took his bowling balls to take me to some grand bowling alley where the big tournaments happen, is it called Showboat? That turned into a total fiasco when we left his bowling balls (yes, I have to keep saying BOWLING balls) in the taxi we were in and thought they may be gone forever! How the hell do you identify the cab you were just in Las Vegas? It was a challenge but when we got home I was able to track it down and learned that if you leave something in the backseat of a cab, it’s on your dime to get sent back to you, but if you have something in the trunk and forget it, it’s on them. We got them back, on their dime! Then there was the time we went on a hike. LOL! Henry Coe State Park in San Jose. He told me there was a lake he wanted to fish. We hiked for HOURS that day until we finally came upon a puddle, seriously, it was a flipp’n dip in the earth with some water in it. To make matters worse, it was hot that day and with all of the stuff Jose had in his backpack, water was not one of the items, but I think he did pack a diet coke.

Jose and I have had some super great times from skiing Sugarbowl to camping, white water rafting, fishing with Mason at a Poobah, he’s been my date for many a fancy-dress-up party, to concerts with a cool-sit-down guy. Oh, and our mutual love of MUTTS. We’ve planned and plotted for better jobs and I asked him to trust me and walk out on the interview of his life, it wasn’t but he thought it was at the time. He got home to a message on his answering machine offering him the job at the pay he wanted, not the pay they originally offered. I love this guy more than words could ever express. Jose is as genuine as a human being comes, he has so much good in him, from the way he loves his parents to how he is there for his friends and all of that communicates in his relationships across the board. Oh, and I can’t write this post without this one last favorite Jose-ism of mine. He and I have shared many a deep conversation and at one point he said to me, “Kathy, I’m sure what you have to say about this is really good, but I need to let you know, I have a shelf in my head and it only holds three things. Is this replace-one-of-my-already-important-things important?” LOL! How the heck do I know? What are the other three things? To this day when I’m overwhelming my guys with my profound bouts of wisdom (aka droning on way too long!), I can hear Jose reminding me of the shelf and its capacity to only hold three things. Love you Pepe, forever you will be part of the fabric of my awesome life. #MonthOfLove

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Month of Love Day 24 - Dahlynn

Day 24 Month of Love goes to Dahlynn McKowen. It's not only her day because it is her birthday, but it's also her day because she is one of the very few people who knew me "way back when!" Way back when I was young, way back when I was thin, and way back when I was still figuring out life, who I am, and how I fit into this crazy world.

Dahlynn and I met when she was married to her previous husband and I was dating one of his friends. They were married and having children while we were still dating and playing. This isn't to say they didn't still play plenty, but they were certainly more responsible at that moment in time.

We had some fun as couples in those couple of years, but I did not stay in the relationship with Mike and she did not stay married to Mike's friend - both of us very wise in those decisions to move on. Dahlynn is now married to the love of her life, Ken and as you all know I am also married to my great guy. But let's get back to Dahlynn and me...

Dahlynn is one of those women who at first glance may seem like she lives an ordinary life in America. Maybe a wife, mother, professional, and homemaker. Keep in mind, my description covers a lot of years that I've known her, but in general, she's not loud or flashy, she just appears to be confident and present, which she is. It's the things about Dahlynn that you can't see at first blush or you wouldn't know about her if you didn't spend some time getting to know her.

Dahlynn is funny! She has a sense of humor that ranges from clean little kid humor to the very risque. It's like when you see the librarian let her hair down! Yes, like that! She surprises you with the things she knows, she's SUPER smart, and with some of the things she's experienced in life. I can't all the way tell you about the rabbits, and the man who lived in the REALLY fancy house where the rabbits lived with him... but suffice it to say, she's said yes to some really cool life experiences! Dahlynn is an ornithologist, do you know what that is? I do! She is also an accomplished Author publishing I don't know how many titles of Chicken Soup for the Soul books with Jack Canfield. She has a kind and forgiving heart, lord knows I needed forgiving more than once!

One of the things about Dahlynn that I love the most is how she loves her family and friends. Of course, we all love our people, but she has a way about her that just makes you feel like you are the most important person in the world. She tunes in and will only give you a gift that speaks to her for you. Be it handmade or store bought, it comes from her heart. She and her hubby Ken are Mason's godparents. It may not be needed now that he is growing up, but when he was little, I knew they not only loved him as we do, but she knows me in a way that she could parent Mason as me and her. I can't keep writing because she and I are still such good friends because we know too much about each other, we have to stay in our good graces. LOL! Not really, but kind of! I love you sister. We absolutely do not spend enough time together but I know if I needed you, you would be there - and me for you! Happy Birthday and I love you more than you will ever know. Give Ken a hug for me and let's make a date! XOXO #monthoflove

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Month of Love Day 23 - Tanya

Day 23 Month of Love is going to Tanya Greer. Yep, this lady is someone that I know will get it done no matter what it is, even on short notice she makes magic happen in life.

We met at Pistol Pete's lord knows how long ago but only became good friends a few years ago when we bonded over  Bobby Bones and the Bobby Bones Show. For those of you who don't know who this is, Bobby is a radio DJ who was born in a tiny town in Arkansas, he grew up very poor and has worked crazy hard to build a super successful career and life for himself.

So back to us girlies, Bobby announced that he was going on tour doing stand up comedy and would be performing in Monterey, CA (He lives in and his show is out of Nashville, TN). Mason happened to see a little video of Tanya surprising Jakary with tickets to the show and he commented. She said to me a day or so later at Pete's, "Hey, you guys like Bobby?" Yep! She went on to say she got front row for her and Jakary but had two more tickets, not front row, but 2nd row! I think she said she was waiting to see if Desi was going to go, but thought he wouldn't' want to, did Mason and I want the tickets? Yep! The four of us road tripped to Monterey and had a blast. Tanya had meet & greets for her and Jakary and it was all so informal that Mason and I just stood in line with her and we got to go in and meet Bobby, too! WOOT! During the show, Bobby called Jakary out as here he was, 10 years old sitting in the front row while Bobby is making grown-up jokes. He doesn't use profanity, but he alludes to some things kids may or may not get. He ended up calling Jakary up on stage and they had a moment. It was epic fun! The show was great and Mason and Jakary had fun at the hotel swimming pool and Tanya and I got to know each other lots better, heck a road trip and overnight will do that. 

We started talking more and doing things outside of the bar, things like hiking, and more recently, cookie decorating, but while working with Sally on our first full feature production, Sally asked me who I knew that could round out our team and immediately, I didn't even need to think about it, I said Tanya is our girl! Yep, here we are and Tanya and I are making movie magic every chance we get. We've worked on 3 and are in pre-production on number 4 where Tanya is actually working on scouting locations. It's awesome, she is awesome!

Well, Bobby was headed out on his second tour this time in Fresno and guess who was back on the road? Only this time this lady scored 4 front row tickets!! Yep, we all got to sit in the front and it was another epic meet & greet and road trip. We even set up Easter Baskets for the boys, in the hotel! The Sunday we were on our way home was Easter Sunday. That was in April I think and Bobby added some dates and was planning a night in Sacramento. I wasn't wanted to buy tickets to see the show again, but this girl, she won them on the radio!! See, I told you she makes magic! 

We are both so busy moving at 100 miles per hour that we don't get nearly enough time together, but I can't imagine my life without her in it. I love you girl, to the moon and back and I appreciate all you do for all of us, not just me. You give more than you have and somehow find reserves to keep going strong and giving even more! When I grow up, I want to be like you. XOXO Happy Month of Love! #MonthOfLove

Friday, February 22, 2019

Month of Love Day 22 - Jennifer Rebecca

Day 22 in my Month of Love can only go to one person... Jennifer Smith Taggard! Our story is fun and funny and near and dear to my heart. We met at Sierra College in our advertising class. I walked in, already used to being the NonTrad in the class, NonTrad being a non-traditional student or old person. LOL! I didn't see Jen as an old person but she was clearly not 18. I sat down and immediately learned that she was not nearly as enthusiastic about being back in school as I was.

We walked from class talking and she told me that she was at school due to her divorce and she was being court ordered to get a degree. WHAT?! Can they do that? Yep, they can. The details don't really matter, I just went with being me and told her even if she arrived here because someone told her she had to, there would come a time when she would be glad she got her education. I believe that has come to be the case.

We became friends working together on projects for this class and I am so glad we did. We made a commercial and it wasn't long before she took me with her to Napa to pick up wine. It was in the late winter months and we went for the day. She took me to some of her favorite wineries and the day was gorgeous, it was crisp, clear and cold. We stopped at her favorite bakery and had lunch at The Farmstead, it was really lovely. Toward the end of the day, I had not purchased any wine and Jen made mention that I should at least get one bottle... I was sipping on quite frankly, the best glass of wine I had ever tasted so I said, "Okay, how about this one?" She added it to her tab and as we were driving home I asked her how much I owed her. She chuckled and said, "How about it can just be a gift from me?" What? No, I noted that she had paid for lunch and all my tastings were free, or she paid for them, I asked again. She told me that I had very good taste in wine, that the bottle I chose was one of the best and it was $$$ this much money. I laughed out loud and said, "Awesome! Can I make payments to you?" Yep, I financed a single bottle of wine. It really was lovely and I gave it to Dave for Christmas. When I told him the story, he set out a few thimbles on the table and said, "Let's invite our friends over for a tasting!" Yes, that is my first favorite funny story with Jen.

We have an uncanny way of not only finding money when we're out but intending what we will find and seeing that through! It's strange if we go more than a day without talking, although it happens, it feels weird. Another funny story, Mason, Dave and I were sitting in the hot tub and Mason originated, "Dad if something happens to you I want mom to remarry either Al or Jennifer." WHAT?! LOL! I said, "Al, okay, but you do know Jen and I are not gay." He said, "Yeah, well, she has great energy, you two would be really good together. Maybe an open marriage?"

The two of us have become very close in the last 7 years, we are meant to be together for the things I can teach her and the many things she teaches me. We have one of the best friendships in that we've had some tough times and been able to work through them through grown-up conversations, feeling safe to say anything, and know that no matter what it is, it's okay to talk about. I hope with all my might that we are a lifetime relationship, but one can never be all the way sure. I love you Jennifer Rebecca and I know you will find all that your heart desires as will I, and if we don't find what we think we need, we already have each other, so we've already won! Happy 2/22 and Month of Love! #MonthOfLove

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Month of Love Day 21 - The Ones Who Left

Day 21 Month of Love post goes to a group, a group of people who I loved who at some point decided they didn't love me anymore. It may seem counterintuitive, when in fact it makes complete sense.

I've had a number of relationships in my life that I was completely sure would never dissolve, but they did. What happened? A reason, a season, or a lifetime. That phrase came into my life in my 30s and it explained things precisely. Many, many people will come into our lives for a reason, from a team at school or work, to someone who holds a door open for us, people will have a reason to come into our lives. In most of those situations, they will leave just as quickly. There will be fewer people who come into our lives for a season, and that time frame could be teachers for 4 years, co-workers for a number of years, and even friends during specific phases of our lives. It seems somewhat logical that people who are close friends in their teens and twenties may go different directions in life after one marries or moves away to work after graduating from college. Friends for a lifetime, now that is a gift beyond measure. To have friends that are in your life for a lifetime, well there are not very many of those people for most of us to claim.

Why do the seasonal people leave? The easy answers are life changes happen, we grow in different directions, or new people come into our lives that create differences for us and some of our friends. People are complex to be sure, but what about when your best friend calls you to simply say, "We won't be friends anymore past this day." What the heck?! Why? For me, when this happened the answer was, "Just because, I have things I need to do and I can't do it while being friends with you." In the case of this person, he also unfriended our whole group of friends, yes, in real life, he unfriended us. In another case it was a little more clear, one of my best girlfriends broke up with me due to a third-party in her ear telling her who-knows-what about me. I do know what was said, but it doesn't matter. Seasonal people do not leave because of you, they leave because of them... they leave because they know they have not been honest or ethical in their dealings with you and it becomes harder and harder to face you as you show up being true, they finally just have to leave.

I'm so lucky because I have more seasonal and lifetime people with me than most. I'm celebrating Mike B., Elli K., Mike G, and a few more people who have left me, because it reminds me to not take things personally (although I did, I took it deeply personally, my heart was broken), and to recognize that we cannot control other people, we can only control who we are, how we behave, and how we respond and recover when we are hurt. So in this month of love, I'm grateful that I've been given the opportunities to learn, to understand, to grow, to love, and to teach Mason these life lessons. I'm a better person for the difficulties I've worked through. #MonthOfLove

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Month of Love Day 20 - Sally Forcier

Day 20 Month of Love goes to Sally Forcier. Sally and I met in 2011 when she cast me in a WalMart commercial. I had not been in front of the camera for 10 years but when a friend sent me the casting email I went to the audition. I was over the moon feeling validated, feeling like I still had it. Sally cast me in a couple more jobs, one for an industrial for Denio's and then for an industrial for the California Chamber of Commerce. I played a sassy redhead who likes her beefcake calendars in her cubicle. What I love most about this job is that people still go to the Chamber of training and see that video. Ronald came into Pete's and said, "Hey, I saw you in a sexual harassment training video today."

Sally started following Mason's culinary journey and called to talk about him auditioning for a film she was working on where she was going to need a dozen 10-13 year-old boys, but she wanted Mason to audition for the lead boy. WOW! That was cool, especially since all of Mason's experience on camera was him being him, he had no real acting experience. He does now! He didn't get the lead, but he did get to read with the actresses auditioning to play the mom, he got to do a pool stunt, he got to wear FX makeup & white contacts, and he got bit by the "making movies" bug.

From that film, Sally asked me to help her cast her next film and she asked who I knew that might make a good addition to this team she was building and I immediately thought of my girl Tanya Greer. Tanya came on board and we jumped into the "casting a movie" process with both feet! It was bumpy to be sure, but we learned so much! We are heading into pre-production on our fourth film/project together and though it's getting easier because we know more of what we are doing and what to expect, it is still the hardest work we'll ever do and still love doing it.

Part of the love of doing this kind of work is loving the people we get to do it with. I am so grateful to Sally for believing in me and having confidence in me to allow me to be her right hand allowing us to make movie magic here in N. CA and more specifically in Sacramento. She's a wise woman because I know stuff! :)

I've worked with quite a few powerful women and most of them talk the talk, but fail to walk the walk. They talk about lifting other women up and reaching back to grab hands after they've been lifted to the next level and not one of those women before Sally has followed through. In fact, I've been behind the scenes and seen these women show their true colors. Saying things like, 'What's in it for me? Why would I go speak to your Toastmasters group, they don't pay." Or speaking of someone they are mentoring, taking thousands of dollars an hour, "She's as dumb as a box of rocks. Her idea is good but not even her husband's money can buy her success." Yet, this one woman continued to take the hourly consulting fees. Or to see them put other women entrepreneurs through the paces, making them pay to move her forward only to never even be thanked let alone informed of what happened with "the project." It's awful to work for someone who promises the world but goes alone to the party or accepts the award thanking her team but naming no names. Sally is who all these other women are not, she is honest, sincere, truthful, and truly has the best interest of her team at heart - not only as a team but thinking of how she can help build them up personally and professionally.

lady for all you do not only for me, but for Mason, and for every single person you touch as you walk through this life. Keep dreaming your amazing dreams and I'll be right there with you, helping in all the ways I can. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! #MonthOfLove

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Month of Love Day 19 - Mary and Keith Dutra

Day 19 Month of Love goes to Mary and Keith Dutra. Mary and I go way back to 1997 where we met at The Cadillac Ranch in Concord. Keith and Mary met a number of years later and I'm so glad they did!!

Mary and I have had so many belly laughs I don't even know where to start the storytelling. The thing with girlfriends and belly laughs is that what is so funny in a moment in time between two people may not be funny at all to someone who was not there. The old adage, "You had to be there" is what it is for a reason. I'm going to share some of my favorites and if they leave you wanting, I"ll apologize in advance. These stories are for Mary and I hope they make her laugh today.

While we were single and going out dancing, Mary's daughter Maggie was in high school. I didn't have kids so though I could understand things, I couldn't fully grasp what it means to be a parent. One night I went pick Mary up at her house in Concord and Maggie was home. We made some small talk and as Mary and I were headed out and Mary said her goodbyes, she had a strange energy about her. We started to drive away and as I turned the corner she started yelling, "TURN AROUND! GO BACK! GO BACK!" I was scared shitless but I turned around and went back to her house. She jumped out of my car before I even stopped and said, "Come on!" I jumped out and followed her in the house where there must have been 20 kids! She started running through her house yelling, "GET OUT! GET OUT! GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE BEFORE I CALL THE COPS!" The kids were running out and I was running out right along with them! She scared the crap out of me!! She gave Maggie all kinds of what for and headed back out to get in my car. She looked at me and with all the calm in the world and a smile on her face said, "You ready?" I got in the car and asked her, "How did you know there was a party going to happen?" She said she could tell by Maggie's demeanor and then as we were driving out, there was an unusual number of cars on their street. WOW! Mom instincts the likes of nothing I could have understood at the time. She was laughing hysterically that I ran out with the kids. I told her I thought she was going to mess me up!

Another time we went out dancing and we were in a bar in Alamo and it was packed! Like standing room only, and if you were sitting on a bar stool, you couldn't stand up. We were having drinks and suddenly there was a know the kind of smell. Mary wrinkled her nose and said, "Who broke wind?!" We giggled and commented that in this crowd, how could anyone know? A few minutes later, it happened again and she said it louder, "Whew Whee!! Who is that?!" She leaned into me and said, "I bet it's that cowboy, I bet he's breaking wind! I'm gonna go over and tell him how rude he is" She started to head that way and I grabbed her shirt and said, "No, don't go." She made it known she did not appreciate his lack of manners. I grabbed her again and said, "It's not him, it's me! My stomach has been hurting all night and I can't get up to excuse myself in time in this crowd." She started laughing hysterically as did I. To this day, if someone farts in a crowd, Dave will say, "Where's that cowboy?"

I could go on about the miracle of corn, that little purses piss Mary off, and the night with the magic blue shirt, but this post would be a novel. Keith, I love you so much and we have our own set of great stories, but please read this to Mary. Friends, Mary is in the hospital recovering from brain surgery so please say some prayers that she gets to go home real soon. Sending lots of love and light to both of you and looking forward to all of us laughing again real soon. #MonthOfLove

Monday, February 18, 2019

Month of Love Day 18 - Greg & Heather

Day 18 Month of Love is for Greg and Heather Garcia. Greg and Heather came into my life at different times and it's just awesome that the two of them connected.

I met Greg through Jules when we were all still single and Heather came into my life through a former friend. The two of them met at a Poobah camping trip and the rest is, as they say, history!

Greg and Heather, and now Jake and Josh are four of our closest family friends. Their happily married journey into parenthood and life situations has been a step behind Dave's and mine. They are fun and funny, and real. They show up to support the people they love and they ask for help when they need it.

We have had so many priceless life experiences, of course, Poobah camping trips, Saturday Thanksgivings, trips to the Anderson's house in Truckee, and Las Vegas. That was a fun one, for Dave's 50th birthday! Heather was pregnant with Jake and she and I went gambling while Greg and Dave watched the NASCAR race, and I hit a jackpot on a penny machine that paid two or three hundred dollars! She wasn't drinking but the two of us hooped and hollered and then went to eat tacos for lunch. And then there is the story of when Jules and I had a pretty epic argument at Lake Camanche and Greg was nearly in tears thinking we were going to break up! LOL!

There are way too many Poobah stories, but my favorite is the one where Greg and Heather fell in love. There was something about a fish floatie and sucking toes! LOL! Yes, you read that right! Heather, feel free to chime in here! Dave and Greg have done the NASCAR thing a number of times and once while they were at the race, Heather and I took the boy to SIx Flags. It's awesome how we can all do what we love without conflict, except for the Garth Brooks concert, right Heather? LOL! Did he finally get over that one?

Greg and Heather are the perfect mix of completely different, yet the same enough that they can be happily married. You guys are two of my favorite humans on the planet and I'm so glad we are living, laughing, loving, and raising our families together. #MonthOfLove

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Month of Love Day 17 - Alice

Day 17 in my Month of Love is dedicated to Alice R Naughton. Life is such an interesting ride and when I look at all the twists and turns my life has taken, I feel like it's been the ride of a lifetime and it's not over yet!

Alice and I met in 1996 when I was running the employment agency in San Francisco. She came in and registered and as luck would have it, I was able to put her to work right away. I had over 100 temporary employees, but some of them stood out, Alice was one of the few that are still in my life today.

Alice and I became friends as she would come in each Friday to pick up her paycheck and we would chat. I don't recall the exact thing that changed our relationship from professional to personal, but it may have been Hotty Roddy's self-defense class we hosted. In any case, Alice and I became friends, in fact, we not only became good friends, but we also became roommates!

As roommates we had a ton of fun, we went country dancing, to local events in both Alameda and San Francisco, and we spent many nights drinking wine and laughing. Our lives moved forward with Alice meeting someone and marrying him, and me leaving the job in San Francisco and starting my own recruiting firm near my place in Alameda.

After 9/11, my firm took a huge hit, in fact, where I had a thriving business on 9/10, on 9/12 I couldn't call my own number to make the phones ring. My hand was forced to close my business but it wasn't a tragedy, Dave and I were together at this point and we planned to move to the Sacramento area so this seemed to be as good a time as any. Alice was married and happy and we stayed in touch but we didn't get to see each other nearly as much as we would have liked, but we always found time for a quick call.

Once in Sacramento, we both had many life changes but when Dave and I started ZipperBack Gloves, I knew I wanted Alice on my team. She helped me with design, marketing and was instrumental in the research for not only the products that were similar but also with regard to our patent application and process. ZipperBack Gloves, as great an idea as it was, didn't go like we had hoped. Alice moved to Washington State and remarried the love of her life and has 3 amazing kids. She is an incredible friend, wife, and mom! She is the kind of friend that got on a plane and surprised me for our house warming with no advance warning! 

One of the things that forever changed me in my life was something Alice said to me not long after we moved in together in Alameda, "You know when I would come in to get my paychecks, I always thought you were a little, "too happy." I just didn't think someone could authentically be that positive and happy all the time. But after living with you, you are really that happy and positive all the time." WOW! At that moment I felt like I was not only on the right path to becoming who I wanted to be, I was succeeding. Alice, you are my soul sister and it doesn't matter how much time passes between visits, I will love you with all my heart and I'm always here for you. 

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Month of Love Day 16 - Lauren

Day 16 Month of Love goes to one of my most long-time childhood friends Lauren. Lauren, Julie and I were the 3 Musketeers of our time, but we weren't always a united could we be? We were elementary and middle school girls finding our way and figuring out who we were as a group of friends, as young women, and then as adult individuals.

We met in the 4th grade and Julie and Lauren were already friends as their families knew each other, I was the new kid on this block. I told you about Julie, I wanted to be friends with her because she had ponies and I wanted to go riding with her, well, Lauren had a horse, too. Julie and I became friends first and that makes sense since Lauren is a year younger than the two of us, so Jules and I were in the same classes in 5th and 6th grades while Lauren only got to join the two of us at recess and lunchtime.

All of that is just the facts, the good stuff has nothing to do with how old we were or who came first, except for when Lauren and I started to hang out and Jules felt left out! As adults we fully understand why 3 is trouble, our kids need to hang out in pairs or even numbers otherwise someone ends up being the odd man out. That was not often but I bet L (L is what we called Lauren) felt it more than we did, especially when we went to junior and high school a year ahead of her.

Lauren is an amazing woman, she was then and she still is now. She dances to the beat of her own drum and today that's literally true! I'll get back to that, but growing up she had an unusual confidence for a young girl, she really didn't care what people thought of her. We all say that, but few of us really mean or feel it. This is not to say that Lauren does not have the same insecurities that we all have, but I think she had fewer! She was the only girl with two brothers and she was as much a tomboy as Jules and I. We all were the first girls to play little league in Vacaville, and Julie and Lauren gave the boys on dirt bikes a run for their money as well as being able to hold their own in foot races that the boys were used to winning without trying. Yeah, no, they didn't run away with the prize when us girls were in the game. The three of us somehow balanced all the things we wanted to do and be and were the best of friends. There were two other girls in our circle of friends, Cindy and Becky, but for me, we were more of a tight-knit group and time has proven that to be true with me still friends with Lauren and Julie.

Lauren's mom didn't really like me until later in life, she tolerated me because Lauren loved me. Lauren's mom Agnes passed away and before she left this earth she and I had quite a profound conversation. I visited her a number of times while she was ill and toward the end she said two things that stay with me to this day. She said, "Kathy, please call me Agnes. You are a grown woman as am I, you do not need to call me Mrs. Darnell anymore." To which I replied, "Okay Mrs. Darnell." The next thing was not so much about what she said but what the words said about her, I told you that Agnes did not like me, well she didn't really like anyone else's kids and I was even more challenging because I was loud, imagine that! In our last conversation she told me, "Kathy, I'm sorry if I made you feel unwelcome. It was never you, it was me and I want you to know how proud of you I am. I'm so happy you and Lauren are friends and I love you." WOW! What does a young woman say to that? I cried and she cried and then we both laughed.

I share this with you because Lauren is her mother's daughter, only she came to realize that it's okay to say when she is wrong, to say she is sorry to her children and to recognize that she doesn't own them, she has been granted guardianship over them to guide them into adulthood. Agnes understood that as her life neared its end and Lauren got it early on. She is an amazing daughter, friend, wife, and mother. And about that drum and dancing, Lauren has been studying her mother's Aleutian roots and is bringing that history back to life in honor of her mom. Check out Alaska Natives at Fort Ross and all the work Lauren has done. I love you L, I love our history and I hope it's okay that I shared more about your mom than our silly stories, you are so much like your mom and that makes me happy. #MonthOfLove

Friday, February 15, 2019

Month of Love Day 15 - Johnny

Day 15 in my Month of Love goes to my brother Johnny. He and I are closest in age in our family of 5 kids so it stands to reason we would be closer emotionally. Nope! Not so much! LOL! As young people, we had 5 years age difference between us him being older, so the last thing he wanted to do as a teen and young man was hang out with his little sister. In fact, like many big brothers, he would likely have rather eaten broken glass than hang out with me.

With that said, I do have a handful of funny brother/sister stories and I don't think he would debate or argue them. When I was 5 or 6, Johnny and I were messing around at home and he had an idea to give me a rocket ride. I didn't know what that was, but I was excited that he wanted to do anything with me so I said okay. For those of you who don't know, a rocket ride is where the bigger kid gets on his back and pulls his knees into his chest. The littler kids sits on his feet and he propels the littler one into the air for a "ride." I was the smaller one and I was so excited to be doing something with Johnny, I didn't even realize I was facing a wall as I sat on his feet. He propelled me right into the wall, he laughed and I cried! There was another time we were at a creek near where we lived and someone had tied a rope swing on the big tree. He and his friends were playing on the swing when I came over to play, too. His friends took off and he let me get on the swing, in fact, he helped me get on the swing and pushed me across the creek. Now, this creek was more than a little trickle of a stream, it was somewhat deep. He pushed me and then as I would come back to his side, he would grab the knot I was sitting on until I slowed down so much I was now just hanging over the flowing creek...and I caught on that I was stuck. He was looking at me snickering and I started to cry. That was more than he could take so he walked into the creek that was darn near waist deep and carried me out of the creek to the bank. He looked and me and said, "I don't know why you are crying, I'm the one that is soaking wet!" Finally, my favorite story he will get but it's likely you guys won't find as funny. Our dad worked from 4 PM to midnight so he would be home when we got home from school. When he didn't work, he would lounge on the couch and watch tv until he fell asleep. Johnny and I were having dinner while he was on the couch and he ripped a huge, loud fart! The two of us burst out laughing so loud, and he got mad, really mad! He did not think it was one bit funny, but the two of us could not hold our tongues. He sat up and sent the two of us to our rooms and we obeyed him, but only long enough to peek out our bedroom doors to make eye contact and start the uproarious laughter all over again! We were caught up in that laughter so much so, our dad got even more mad and stormed off to his bedroom slamming the door so hard it felt like it shook the whole house! We came out to finish our dinner and continued laughing.

Johnny and his wife Brenda live miles away like the rest of my family so we keep in touch on social media and an occasional phone call. Families are complicated and mine is no exception. I love that Johnny and I can talk on the phone and share our grown up adventures, his with his off-the-hook jeep, and mine with my little family and Mason's big life. He and his wife Brenda have started a new kayak touring company. Hopefully we can all get together soon and they can show us around their lake. I love you both! Happy #MonthOfLove 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Month Of Love Day 14 - Mason!

Day 14 in the Month of Love is pretty special, in fact, I think everyone thought it would be Dave but no, it’s Mason. I chose Valentine’s Day for Mason for a number of reasons, first, he was so wanted and conceived in love. I miscarried three times, once in Key West, before Mason “stuck,” that was no fun! So when we stayed pregnant, we were both over the moon. Secondly, Mason taught me that when I thought I couldn’t love any bigger than I love Dave, my heart grew fifty-two sizes! It sounds so cliche’ to say, “Just when you think you can’t love one ounce more, along comes your baby and WOW!” Finally, on this particular day, our society places so much emphasis on couples love, having another person to make you feel like you are not the fifth wheel, I want Mason to break free of those ideas and realize that he is whole just being him.

When you find a partner that you love spending your time with, enjoy all the holidays, have fun and celebrate with a kiss at midnight, flowers, cookies, dinner’s out, shamrocks, colored eggs, American Flags, pumpkins, turkeys, and Christmas trees. But even if you are not in love, celebrate those same things with your friends, even the kiss!! I want Mason to know that his sense of who he is, what makes him feel whole is up to him, he does not need another person to do those things for him.

So today I celebrate my big love for Mason, who he is, what he brings to Dave and me in our family, and how proud of him we both are. He’s a normal 15-year-old kid, he plays video games, doesn’t think he should have a bedtime, is doing some things I don’t like, and feels like he is more grown-up than he really is. I remember feeling that way, I was sure at 16 I could move out on my own and make my own way. Thank God my mom dug her heels in and did not let me, I would have been back at her door with my tail between my legs in less than 30 days! Mason is far better equipped in many ways than I was, but he is still not as equipped in other ways. I love his sense of humor and how kind he is when it has nothing to do with me. Yeah, he is poopy to me, he rolls his eyes when I talk to him about anything, he won’t listen to me but if "his" people tell him the same thing, it’s gospel, and he gives me the “Big Sigh” as if I am irritating him by my very being. It’s not always fun, but it’s normal. What he doesn’t realize is that I talk to "his" people and I let them know what I want him to know, it gets to him even if not through me. Us moms & dads, we have our ways. He’s pretty amazing and I can’t wait to see what he does with his life, I know it will be a sight to see. Happy Valentines Day Mason, you have my whole heart in a way no other human can. #MonthOfLove

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Month Of Love Day 13 - Julianne

Day 13 in my Month of Love goes to Julianne Paulsen. Our friendship is unique in many ways but mostly so in how we met. Go back to the early days of social media, not so much MySpace, but Facebook and Twitter as the two initial most well-known platforms. I was working for a pseudo-celebrity entrepreneur and Julianne and I came together on Twitter through this 3rd party's tweets.

She's in northern Minnesota and I'm in CA, who could have predicted the shenanigans we would stir up? There were nights we had Twitter parties that went on for hours, think back to the olden days when as a teen you would lie on the floor near the phone (attached to the wall with a cord on the handset) and talk with your bestie, well, this was what was going on on Twitter. It started out as Julianne and I and grew to a group of entrepreneurs and inventors that we are all still friends today.

Julianne was in college and I had not gone back yet, this was in 2008. She also was in the process of creating a new business using the in-home party sales model and I was on the brink of what I thought would be wild success with ZipperBack Gloves. We collaborated, shared leads for platforms such as QVC, HSN, and more. We connected with some super amazing people, but the connection we made with each other is still thriving today. Julianne came to CA for stay with us while she developed and fostered relationships and I traveled to Minnesota to do the same. In 2012 I took Mason on a surprise trip to MN because Julianne and I wanted our kids to know each other. It's difficult to really foster a strong relationship with so many miles between us, harder for the kids, but this woman, she is amazeballs!! We met in Las Vegas and women smoking cigars drinking Mad Housewife wine, well, there you go - shenanigans! Neither of us found the crazy success we were hoping for with our businesses, but the friendship, sisterhood we have is worth more than any monetary number you could ever conceive. I love you sweets and I think it's time I answer my phone, "Good evennnning..." I miss our late night talks and laughter about the silliest things. I know I can share my feelings no matter what they are and I can confide in you with the utmost confidence that you have my back. Even more than all of that, I love that my boys love you, too. Both Dave and Mason want to grab the phone and hog you when you call! That's the best and the worst all at the same time!! Happy Month of Love Julianne, I love, love, love you! #MonthOfLove

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Month of Love Day 12 - Me!

Day 12 Love goes to me! Yep, This last 5 days has been really weird. I had some blood work done in preparation for an upcoming knee surgery and when I got the results back a few days later there were a number of "flags" on some of the different points tested, one of the most noteworthy was my hemoglobin was 8 and through learning a ton in the last 72 hours, they start doing transfusions at 7.9. WHAT? Since it was over a weekend, I sent the results to Julie, my personal medical adviser (LOL!) and she had a gazillion questions, but ultimately pushed me to first check with my orthopedic doctor, which I did and second, to get in touch with my primary care doc. She also asked about family history and my brother had a blood disorder and my sister actually had a form of leukemia as well. That did not make Jules feel any better. My ortho started asking questions like, "Aren't you tired?" Uh, yeah, but that's middle age and menopause, right? He said, "No, like really tired, like can you walk a flight of stairs without needing to rest at the top?" No. I made an appt with my primary care doc but I woke up this morning feeling odd like I was woozy and kind of short of breath. Jules told me to get my butt to the ER so I did, reluctantly. Dave is also checking with Dr. Google and I've gone from completely healthy to severely anemic overnight. After a short stay in the ER and another blood test, there are zero flags on my results and my blood looks great! I sent those results to Jules who informed me why she was being so pushy about following up and going to the ER, one of the things that came back on the first report was a strong indicator for a fast moving, usually terminal leukemia. YIKES! Imagine reading that from your best friend of over 40 years! Jules kept her cool and worried for me, for Dave and Mason, all while making sure I was doing what needed to be done. I think they mixed up my blood in the lab and where I got results that were really bad, someone who is not well, got results that they are making a miraculous recovery! I've checked with the lab to ask them to look into it and ultimately, I will request they remove those results from my record.

So today I love me, I love the woman I have worked really hard to become and keep becoming, I love my life, my little family, my best friend, our dogs, my tribe, the kitchen, my bed, oh, and my cookie cutters. LOL!! You get the point, I am incredibly grateful for this life experience I get to have with all of you! Thank you for being with me in this crazy little thing called life! #Monthoflove #SelfLove #LoveThisLife

Monday, February 11, 2019

Month of Love Day 11 - Steve and Ro

Day 11 Month of Love goes to Steve and Roberta. Steve and Ro have been friends of our family since before we were a family. Dave and Ro met through a newspaper singles ad, they met and liked each other, but not like that. I know, so many of you are still back at "newspaper ad!" LOL! Ro met her hubby Steve not long after meeting Dave and there were her sparks.

I met them when Dave brought them to a Grand Poobah when it was still a day event. In fact, the three of them came to spend the day with us, but since they were coming from San Jose, they made it a camping trip and Dave immediately suggested we make Poobah a camping weekend and the very next year, we were camping!

Steve and Ro have been awesome friends, we've been camping, river rafting, Oh, camping on the river! Now there's a story! We've spent Saturday Thanksgivings together, been to Lake Tahoe (again, you guys made that possible), Halloween parties, birthdays, and always made time to meet for drinks when Dave's mom was still living and we made more frequent trips to the bay area. There are absolutely more fun times than just what I've listed.

Let's go back to that river camping trip... we had talked many times about camping right on the river so we finally made plans to make it happen. We paid the small fortune to get a waterfront campsite, sort of, and got set up to relax. Two things happened on that trip that made it one of our most memorable life experiences. While we were relaxing after dinner, we noticed some activity down by the water. We went to see what was going on and there were some CalFire (I think) employees doing rescue training drills. Not only was it incredibly interesting to watch, Ro and Jules got in and played patients! Ro, did Steve participate as well? I can't all the way recall but I remember it being pretty exciting! After all that fun, we made our way back to the campsite where we were hanging out talking at the picnic table and fire when all of sudden we heard screams from a few campsites over, and then the site next to them and then the site next to us, and then... we saw a skunk running through the sites and I totally bailed on all of you!! Riley was crated and I left him to the skunk, Mason was sleeping on the cot next to Riley, I had zero regard for him, and I think I even grabbed Dave's hair to climb over the table to get as far away from Pepe Le Pew as I could! That poor little skunk just wanted to get where he was going as after us, the next campsite screamed, and so on! Dave and I still laugh about that when we drive through Coloma.

We are so happy to call you friends and have a reminder of how much you love us every day when we love on our Pencer Po. You guys are always there with a, "How can we help?" or just a funny card that comes because you are thinking about us. We are not nearly as good a friends to you, but please know that we love you and if we are invaded by skunks, Dave will absolutely stay and make sure you are all good. LOL!! Love you guys and hope to see you very soon! #MonthOfLove

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Month of Love Day 10 - Ty Rowe

Day 10 Month of Love goes to Ty Rowe. Ty is an Auburn local whose family roots run deep. He grew up here, graduated from Placer High School, left home and went to the Culinary Institute of America in NYC. He graduated and traveled the world before settling back in his hometown of Auburn opening one of our most favorite restaurants in 1994, Bootlegger’s Old Town Tavern. It was the place you went when you had a birthday, anniversary, or after a long weekend of moving and you just needed a great meal. Most people would not go to Bootlegger’s dressed in dirty clothe’s after moving, but we did. We did because we knew Ty and he just wanted us to feel welcome, eat amazing food, and go home happy. He didn’t care what you were wearing, what you did for a living, or where you lived, he just wanted to take care of you and have you leave your time with him feeling better than when you met. Okay, that was most of the time, because there were times if he thought you were full of shit, he would tell you to your face. If you didn’t like that and popped on Facebook to bitch about it, he would tell you publicly, too. It was not always easy but you knew where you stood with Ty.

We met when Mason wanted to put the new kitchen in at Alta Vista Community Charter School in 2013. Someone suggested we reach out to Ty to not only help guide us on how to do that, but also how to start fundraising. Ty met with Mason in late 2013 and asked him how much money he wanted to raise, Mason replied, “Enough to put the kitchen in at Alta Vista.” Yes, the simplicity of how a child thinks. Ty told Mason to get to it, start planning and talking about what he wanted to do and Ty said, “We’ll kick it off with a fundraiser at the restaurant. Let’s think Valentine’s Day, you sell tickets and we’ll plan a great meal with chocolate for dessert.” Mason and Ty were on a mission and though I said yes to Mason in terms of pursuing the project, Ty was one of the first “other adults” who said yes, too. The fundraiser was a lovely night raising over $2000 for the kitchen project, but even more than that, it started a friendship that became very meaningful very quickly. In July of 2018, he taught Mason to flambe’ for an upcoming cooking demo, Mason knew how, but it was not consistent. Ty got with him and said, “No dude, you need more alcohol, lots more alcohol! Rookie.” LOL! That was the last time we saw Ty.

Ty worked with Mason on recipes, he came and spent a whole day with him teaching him tips & tricks before he competed on Chopped Junior, and continued to be a sounding board for Mason when he needed time away from Dave and I. What I loved most about Ty was that he was true to himself, he would tell you to quit being a pussy, or that you were straight up wrong if that’s what he thought. He and I did not always agree, but he always made sure I knew he loved me…that I was wrong, but he loved me, LOL! He just made sure that we were 100% aware that he was there for us, day or night, no matter what. Dave and I were going through a tough time when his mom was sick and I popped into Pete’s after getting a text from Ty. “What’s up girl?” he would ask as he engulfed me in a hug. I told him I was sad, that Dave was struggling and I didn’t know what was happening. Ty laughed and said, “You cannot be worried about you and Dave.” I didn’t answer and he kept talking, “Dave loves you like there is no tomorrow. Don’t ever try to convince me that he has eyes for anyone else, it’s you girl, only you.” Yeah, he tuned in and made sure we knew it.

The beauty of this post is that so many people will say these same things about TY, not just us Partaks. I love how he loved us, I’m so grateful for the time he spent with Mason and how he made Dave and I feel like family. ‘Love you girl” is how he ended every phone call or when he left me when we were together. It’s hard to accept, even 6 months since he’s passed that he’s gone…our little town and even this small world are not the same without him. Ty left this world way too soon, but thank goodness he was here and we got to call him friend. Ty, you are an example that so many could learn from, you were an open book, “what you see is what you get” in the purest form. I love you man, I miss you every day, and I hope they have the finest dining, the best wine, and acres of God’s country for you to farm and grow your own amazing food in heaven. #Monthoflove #gonetoosoon

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Month of Love Day 9 - My Tribe

Day 9 Month of Love is a little less specific but not one bit less important. Today I want to love on my tribe, a group of men and women who are not always in the daily mix of my life, but they are absolutely there when I need them. I could name many of you, but I'm not going to because I don't want to leave anyone out. It's also because this group of people are people that I may have included or will include on an individual basis through my Month of Love. 

With all of that said, it takes a village to live in today's world, especially if you have kids. Even if you don't have kids, there are still times you need someone to meet a utility worker because you can't get off work, or you may need a ride home after dropping your car off at the mechanic. Kids make things exponentially more challenging with school schedules, sports, and other activities, medical appointments and sick days. I only have one kid and a husband who is in the mix ready to help, but there are still times we need help. I'm not sure how you all do it with 2, 3, 4, and more kids! And some of you do it with multiple kids and no significant other. We need each other, it's that simple.

I feel so very blessed that I have amazing friends, both men, and women who happily step up to help me and my family. It can be something as simple as grabbing a box from our porch so it doesn't get stolen to staying over in our house with our dogs when we vacation so they don't have to be put in a kennel. This post could be really long with all the examples of how I feel like the people in our lives step up and help keep us moving forward but I'm going to just leave it with the message that I am so unbelievably grateful for every one of you that show up in my life. If you show up for a minute and hold a door for me when my hands are full, or show up continually for years I feel like that is a wonderful gauge of wealth and prosperity. We've had lots of money, and we've been so broke we had to count change to put gas in the car. Money comes and money goes, but having real people who will help you roll your pennies is what life is really made up of. I love you guys, all of you even if for the fact I know I can call you if I need to. Happy Month of Love to my Tribe, I'm your tribe, too!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Month of Love Day 8 - For the Love of Dogs

Day 8 in my Month of Love goes to Riley, Spencer, Gunner and all of our furry kids. I'm mostly writing about Riley as he was my "First Best Boy." That doesn't really mean anything super significant, but Mason hated it when he could understand that if Riley was first, he must be second.

Riley was always happy unless he did something wrong and was punished but he would soon forget and be happy again. He always greeted us as if we had been gone for years even if we just walked across the street to get the mail. Riley loved to sleep and he would always be the last one out of bed, but once we were up and moving he had to be with us. He also loved to eat. He would paw at the freezer for his favorite Bowowlicious snack or get up on the kitchen table to take a little taste of my pie...he got in trouble for that! He was always up for a good game of tug. He made sure that the deer and turkeys kept their distance but was friendly to everyone else he met. There wasn’t much he didn’t like. I had to think hard but I finally remembered he didn’t link to be shampooed or sprayed with stuff that made him smell good, he preferred to be a little stinky. We lost Riley in a tragic accident while we were away and it was the heartbreak of my life. I didn't have to worry about keeping the gates closed or calling him in for barking late at night. We had more room in bed but I know we didn't sleep as good. Riley was a unique dog, a one of a kind that has been impossible to replace. There are days and as I write this post, I still cry. Riley left us too soon (2002-2009) but he left some lessons for all of us. Say goodbye like it’s your last day on earth. Say hello as if you had been gone for a long time. Be passionate in all you do. Take advantage of the little pleasures. Play hard and rest well. Find a sunny spot on a warm day or lay by the fire on a cold one. Nothing is better medicine to cure your ills than a furry companion. Go for a walk or a run every day. Love the ones you’re with, love them with all you have and all that you are, it's the best.

Not long after we lost Riley, Steve and Roberta helped Dave buy me another dog... (still so grateful to them!) any dog lover knows they are irreplaceable and impossible to live without. Spencer came to live with us and like they have a way of doing, he picked me. I was still grief-stricken and when we went to meet some puppies, Spencer climbed right up on me and licked my tears. It took Spencer a long time to warm up to us, he slept by himself and would let me hold him in short stints. He was easily 2 years old when he started to jump up to cuddle with me on the couch or a chair. He couldn't be more different from Riley, but he is amazing in his own unique way.

And then there is Gunner! You all know Gunner and the hell he put us through in his first 18 months of life! I wasn't sure any of us were going to survive, especially him! Gunner was Dave's dream dog and he brings so much light and laughter into our lives, I can't even fathom what the day will be like when we have to say goodbye. He is loyal, and happy, and presents to people this big-scary dog front when in fact, he's quite the scardy cat. If Dave or Mason yell at the TV during football, you can find Gunner trying to hide in my legs. He is fickle in the funniest ways, I can call him to come to get in bed with me/us and he will run into the bathroom and lay on the floor. What? Dave will call him and he will run to me, and the other night, I called him and he jumped up on the couch with Dave and looked at me like, "What are you going to do about it, huh?" LOL!

Yes, we love our dogs. Dave has loved some cats and we've both had horses that we've loved on as well. Our animal-kids are just as near and dear to us as the humans we love, in fact, we might love some of our animals more than some people. LOL! I'm sure if you are a dog mom, you get what I'm saying. Happy Month of Love! #MonthOfLove #LoveOurDogs