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Spam Fried and Personal

23 Aug

I love my spam folder.  I love it  because it holds such promise.  Promise such as emails awaiting me in the folder that say the nicest things.  Things such as, “Hello.  I love your post bringing me super inspired.” And, “Dear Web-admin, much show you nice work…”   Now who wouldn’t love such praise?  Especially as I read the eloquence of the sentence and then scroll over the link from the sender to find an array of pretty, shiny watches or weight loss information.  Isn’t that just the highest compliment one can receive?

Ok I admit my brain is a bit fried which is why I even perused my spam folder in the first place.  Hence the title, “Spam Fried” but feel free to say ‘fried spam’ if that fits your fancy.  Though I assure you, the food from a can will never grace a fry pan o’ mine!

This past weekend, as mentioned in my last post, we attended the wedding of a cousin.  Funny thing is, only a few days before did she reach out and ask my husband to officiate.  So what was going to be, for us, a one day affair turned quickly into much more than that.  In addition to that particular emotional celebration, my little brother proposed to his girl on Sunday.  It was important to him to have all of us present for the proposal (which made for a lot of back and forth driving for us from the coast to the inland), and we are, each and every one, quite touched that he and his betrothed shared the big question in front of family witnesses.  I have only ever been involved in one other proposal, my own.  And being included in his, feels very special.  Alas, a full circle experience!

Yet accompanied with the wedding bell theme…

While down in southern Cal for the weekend, my brother-in-law was offered a job.  A position too wonderful to refuse.  The only caveat (Cole, my son, and I have decided we cannot stand the word “caveat”…it just sounds so pretentious.  Yet it is a good fit, regardless of my judgment of it), it will relocate his family (my sister and her children) and they won’t be ready for the move for at least a year, probably two.  Thus, they will have a commuting husband/father for a quite a while which is not an easy task especially with a newborn and toddler (actually the family dynamic includes a 5 year old niece and a father-in-law as well–but that’s just a little sprinkling of “salt and pepper” to add a bit of spice to life.  Right?).  I know the role of commuting family members is tough on the nuclear unit because I am aware of the difficulty military families go through and also because I have a good friend whose family is enduring the hardship of a similar circumstance.  But all said and done, the job offer is quite a ‘honey’ of a deal…it also means I potentially have more family in southern Cal, which excites my very soul.  Whew, what a weekend!

Additionally, on Monday, of this week, my sixteen year old daughter began her adventure as a full time college student.  Which is a scary thought for her father, her brother, and I because she looks and acts older than 16, yet she is quite naive–though very intelligent and full of wisdom.  Yes, Esther is a ‘college student imposter’.  Ironically, so am I.  I, too, had to return to college this week.  I have an obligation to “endeavor to earn the good grade advanced to me by a most compassionate and understanding teacher” (a class I had to walk away from when my son went into the hospital back in March 2011).  And last night toward the end of a group discussion, the subject of me having a daughter on campus came up.  A fellow compadre, with a shocked look on her face exclaimed, “You have a daughter here?  I thought you were my age!”  Her age being twenty-one.  “No, I even have a son older than my daughter.”  …now that is the kind of compliment I should find in my spam folder, for if those types of good words were present, I would not think twice to approve them for publishing!  So yes, my daughter and I have a sting operation going at our local community college.  Though there is no trepidation for my husband and son, regarding my naivety.

Amidst the above hullabaloo,   I found the time to venture to my local, and favorite, independent movie theater.  And believe it or not, both my daughter and husband were able to be by my side though the decision was a spontaneous one.  We watched a French film titled, “The Intouchables.”  For those of you reading this blog via email, iphone, or ipad, I have included a video link to the trailer.  Essentially, it was one of the best movie’s I have seen in quite a while…since seeing the movie, “Made in Dagenham“.  The three of us became lost in the story, the humor, and the sentimentality.  So much so that we forgot we were reading subtitles.  If you have the ability to venture out to a movie, I highly recommend “The Intouchables.”

The Intouchables movie tickets

Movie Ticket Stubs

Back to Spam Fried and Personal…

This has been one hell of a week!  I use the word, ‘hell’ to give an informal nod to the young Oklahoma valedictorian student who has yet to receive her high school diploma because she used the bad word in her live speech.  At any rate, it really has been a hell of a week.  For that reason, I am hiding behind wedding and family bliss with a little nonsense thrown in for fluff.  I know the good Lord is ‘working things together for good’ because I know that we ‘love him and are called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28).  But oh how it hurts, which is where I will leave it.  Now go to the movie theater, and like Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island used to say, “Smiles, everyone, smiles.”



17 May

First off, I would like to thank each of you who complimented me in such a way as to make me feel like “Super Mom”.  You all gave me a lovely gift, and I am grateful.

Secondly, I have to say that both of my children are very good at blessing me.  They stayed back from church on Sunday and worked on making the house (dogs bedecked with bows included) festive and beautiful for when I returned.  I was greeted at the door by two very happy, colorful canines and when I turned the corner into the dining area, I was further greeted with a bouquet of 40 multi-colored tulips (my wedding flower) which were sitting next to a lovely tropical arrangement courtesy my friend, Nora, and Bodega chocolates from my Candymoto.  Chocolate covered strawberries were in the mix, and a flourless chocolate cake made especially for me by my daughter (I am still living the ‘gluten-free’ regimen I began a while back) was wafting its dark decadence my way.  They even had my favorite Brazilian music playing in the background.  And because it was lunch time, they were both ready and awaiting the go ahead from me to order my favorite ‘gluten-free’ pizza which they picked up, payed for, and delivered to our backyard Shangri La…the one which I requested spend the rest of the day basking in.  In fact, that was my one request; for mother’s day I had hopes of sitting by the pool reading, playing cards, or just visiting with my children and husband.  Others were welcome as long as I didn’t have to wear my ‘happy hostess’ chapeau and could lounge until I was all lounged out.  Turns out it was just us four until Esther had to leave for work and then it was three.  🙂

Now a couple of comedic errors–well ironic really– occurred during time I was enjoying my blessing shower.  One, I received two Happy Mother’s Day cards from the two women who served as my maternal coaches.  The only problem was that I was so focused on my needing the day to do whatever it was (or wasn’t) I wanted that I forgot I had two very special women deserving of my time and energy.  Thus in the course of my forgetfulness and self focused mind, I failed to send them a reminder of their special place within my heart and life leaving them only to chomp upon the bitter pill of a phone call from me.  My other ironic chastisement came when I read a 2012 daily devotional for the date of ‘Dia de Madres’, for from it I learned of the proverbial wife and mother referred to by the name of, ” The Proverbs 31 Woman”.  She is not necessarily new to me for I had heard of her ways and means some years back, though I confess to have cast the lesson she portrays to the side for I have no interest in rising before dawn and working in the fields.  But here I was, once again, facing the lesson of this particular female as recorded in scripture many years past.  And by again learning of this selfLESS female from long ago, I concurred I am most definitely not her…just ask my two moms!

Even so, this past Wednesday I again enjoyed the gift of my children, the gift of our home, the gift of time, the gift of rest, and the gift of laughter.  All of which was unexpected, but superbly fulfilling just the same.  Cole, Esther, and I laughed our heads off in the morning as we dipped all kinds of foods in chocolate and ate till our stomachs refused another morsel.  I baked muffins and they both entertained me in the kitchen.  We lay by the pool, we napped, and we swam.  We listened to music and shouted absurdities at each other with such mirth we had to take pause only to reclaim the air to our lungs so we could carry on some more.  And the only reason our soiree came to an end was because Esther had to get herself off to her job–leaving Cole and I to wrap up the good time without her.  Which we did (with Brian who returned home from work and joined us poolside), until the makings of our evening meal required my attention and the ‘norm’ of the familial routine resumed.

While I know I am not a “Proverbs 31 Woman”  (nor do I have the slightest aspiration to be so for my stamina forbids it), I am a blessed mother and wife just the same.  I am graced with thoughtful and kind children and a loving and dynamic husband.  Besides, the daily devotional was written by a man; what could he possibly know about being a wife and mother? 🙂

So, do you know what I want to be when I grow up?  I already am what I would choose to be.


8 May

Through the generosity of an anonymous source, Brian and I (Cole, Esther, and friends that came to visit while we were there), had the privilege of spending a few days at Crystal Cove state park in Laguna Beach–a couple weeks back.  Crystal Cove is a place fond to all of my maiden and Bent family.  Essentially, “the Cove”, as we call it, took part in molding and shaping each of my siblings and I into who we were, are, and will be.  I was born in 1970, the true year my family began (my humble estimation of course), but I am told my parents and the elder siblings ventured to our private coastal get away in the years preceding me.  As a child of the Cove, we had freedom that sadly my own children have not had the opportunity to experience.  It was a private beach and to ensure the privacy of its residents, Alan (and his little mutt of a dog “Ocious”–short for ferocious), patrolled the beach, the road, and the homes on foot (and bike) with a shotgun under his arm or slung over his shoulder.  I don’t remember having boundaries of any sort while there.  I’m sure, in my infancy and toddler-hood, I was more closely watched.  But as a child I had the uninhibited ability to roam the coast and tide-pools at my leisure…as did us all.  As an adolescent, the roaming continued even though the beach had lost its “privacy status” as it was traded from the Irvine family and given over to the state of California in 1979.  Even so, our mindset was that it was ours.  And Alan continued his antics though now the state park rangers had something to say about his shotgun totting ways.

Throughout my 42 years I have experienced love at the Cove, loss at the Cove, joy, sadness, adventure, little green men, perverse men fondling themselves in the crevices of the cliff, starfish, abalone, shells, dolphins, whales, sea lions, seagulls, pelicans, lobster traps, skunks, movie stars, common folk, driftwood, sea life, tar, splinters, stickers from plants, etc.

I have had every kind of holiday, through out the years, at the Cove.  Had sibling fights, watched siblings break things, like a foot and glass, jammed my toes on the boardwalk more times than necessary, fell in love, fell out of love, fell in love again.  Attended one, two, three–(whose counting?)–weddings.  Had parties, played volleyball, rode horses, lit fireworks, learned about drugs and the city of Newport jail, learned about chorizo and eggs, and had my first fruit smoothie in the Benson house.  I would go on, but at this point I am truly only indulging myself with the memories, and if I continue,  I will get lost and unable to find my way back to the point of this post!

Nowadays the homes are called cottages, and they are for rent to the general public.  So to treat my weary soul, my anonymous donor sent me and my family off to the Cove and we basked in the serenity of the sea life and the slow pace required to do “nothing”.  I confess that one day, when Brian and I were alone, we both felt awkward.  Mostly because we were both accustomed to having friends (whom we considered like family) to interact with, either at their home or on the beach.  So we found ourselves a bit uneasy, until the evening when several of the former residents had come to the Cove to celebrate the birthday of a mutual friend.  Finally, the hustle and bustle of catching up with friends and having people in and out made us calm down and rest–as was the intent of our being there.  And when the patriarch of the “Yacht Club” rustled the feathers of the park ranger, as was his custom when living there, I knew I was home.  But then the party was over and the group packed up and left.  Thankfully Esther and two friends showed up for a sleepover, so when we all awoke in the morning the house was full of life and interaction…just as I remember.

Which brings me to a place where I need to wrap up this writing.  I honestly don’t remember the original intent of my starting it.  Did I want to impart something profound about rest?  Was I going to simply share the experience?  Did I have a comedic angle?  …questions that will linger unanswered;  for life has again resumed at a rate too great for me to keep hold of.  So instead of conveying drops of wisdom or truth, I will simply leave with a photo collage of our few days respite at Crystal Cove State Park.  The locale of my formative years, and the locale my ashes will receive upon my departure from this world.  …it has served me well.

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