over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go

actually, there are no rivers or woods on our way to grandmother’s house. unless, you’re counting the Santa Ana river, which is kind of a river.

who are we kidding, not really. it’s more of a sewer river. ew.

instead, we take the 55 to the 91, exit Lakeview and head North.

when i was little i used to say we were going to the ‘country’ when we were headed to my grandmother’s.

she lives in Yorba Linda. it’s hardly country, but the properties are spacious and there’s a lot of dirt, so i guess in my mind that qualified for country.

it’s ‘the land of the gracious living.’ or so it says on the sign as you enter the city.

i think that is about accurate.

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really, it’s everything a kid could ask for in a place to grow up, but when i was little, i thought it was kinda boring.

there were no friends to play Barbies with and the boys (my brother and his friends) never let me play on the tractors with them.

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(i bet this boy would love to take his mama for a ride on the tractor!)

to entertain myself i would find the key to my grandma’s little shack and pretend it was my home (it used to be my dad and his brother’s playhouse when they were little).

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i would sit inside with my dolls and think about how i would decorate it.

i loved how tiny it was.

when i was in my late teens, i would go over to my grandmother’s house two or three times a week. i loved hanging out with her.

we would pick lemons from her trees and make homemade lemonade.

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i liked to wear my overalls (what? it was the 90’s. totally acceptable) and go into her grove

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and pick avocados and make fresh guacamole.

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(side note: they’re usually much bigger than this, but avocado season is over. these buds are just starting to grow for next years crop.)

sometimes, i would help deliver the avocados to the nearby restaurants.

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(this is my grandma and step-grandpa’s old truck. isn’t that the cutest?!)

other times i would help my grandmother with her garden. (it’s a wonder i didn’t kill all of her flowers. i did not inherit her green thumb!)

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through the years, there have always been two areas of my grandmother’s home that i love best.

the first is her red barn.

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there are treasures both outside

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(this used to be the water trough for the horses. waaaaaay before my day.)

and inside

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and up in the loft of the barn.

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my grandmother likes old stuff, too! (can you tell?)

she also likes to collect stuff (genetics are powerful, aren’t they! 😉

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the second area i love is her basement (yes, this is in California and yes, that is rare). it was the mecca center for fun and is full of cool treasures!

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whenever we had family gatherings here, we would head to the basement to play pool.

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(this is a map my great-grandpa made and would mark off the places he traveled with little red pins.)

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(my grandfather was a commercial pilot, so he and his family traveled often.)

i loved and still love to admire her collections.

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she loves coffee. (yup, she’s definitely my grandma.)

and though she was never a smoker, she loves these colorful little tin cans.

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yup. my grandma is pretty cool, if you ask me. she even has a directors chair that says, “hustler” on it.

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i think out of all of her collections throughout her life though, her most favorite are her family.

we love you, GG.

kisses.

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i like it when you call me big papa

i actually don’t like to be called big papa. nor do i like to be called papa. that would be kinda weird.

my son, however, nicknamed my dad papa when he started talking and it has stuck.

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we had a fun day celebrating papa and got to do some of his favorite things.

you see, my dad has a thing for old things. (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!)

and i guess you could say he likes to collect stuff, too!

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(side note: some of these are other family members. loving old things runs in the family!)

for as long as i can remember, my dad has always loved old cars.

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i have memories of my dad fixing the old cars and cleaning them, so they would shine!

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i have heard the story often of when he was in his teens (or maybe it was his twenties?) how he restored an old model A with his father (my grandfather).

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he worked hard on it. every square inch inside and out was loved back to its original.

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his dad, who was quite the perfectionist, taught him about the details.

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and growing up, my dad liked to teach me about the details, like mohair seats and ceilings (that are kinda scratchy, but i guess that’s what they did back in 1931 and there is just something fancy about mohair seats!).

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he would take me for rides when i was little. and when i got older, he taught me how to drive them. (they are double clutch. good thing there were no cell phones back then!)

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now that my dad is a papa (grandpa), he is enjoying teaching my son all about the details of these old cars.

i couldn’t be happier.

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my son is just like his papa, he loves old cars, too! and he, especially, loves his papa!

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Happy Father’s Day to a great dad and papa!

also, a warm and loving Father’s Day to my hubby! we love you, tons! thanks for being such a great daddy to our son (even if you don’t like to take pictures!)

IMG_1203at least i got you to laugh, doing my little, “kutchy, kutchy goo” tickle under the arm thing!

it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood

you can’t help, but start to sing that song when you hear it.

then the image follows of Mr. Rogers carefully undoing his shoe laces, taking off his shoes and gracefully throwing them into his opposite hand.

when i was little, i used to act that out every time i sat down to put on or take off my shoes.

actually, i still do. (okay, maybe just in my head)

now, i hadn’t planned on this post being about Mr. Rogers. I just really liked the catchy phrase from his song and thought it would be a fun title.

i had planned on talking about the wonderful neighborhood that surrounds our home and all of the beautiful houses i like to admire with white picket fences.

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but see, while i was singing that song my curiousity about Mr. Rogers grew.

So, i decided to google him. have you every googled him? Oh.My.Word. what a man!

did you know that Mr. Rogers was so well liked by the public that when his Impala was stolen outside of his tv studio and he later reported it, the thieves returned his car. in the exact spot it was stolen. with an apology note.

the note said, “if we’d known it was yours, we would have never taken it.”

holy moly. that’s impressive.

i also learned that Mr. Rogers was a very tolerant man. He loved everybody.

It didn’t matter if you lived in a

yellow house,

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a pink house,

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or even a house with bright colors.

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he would always say to them, “God loves you just the way you are.”

he truly sounded like the most perfect neighbor. how cool would that be. to have Mr. Rogers as a neighbor? i wonder what kind of house he would live in.

would it be big?

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would it have a wrap around porch?

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or look like a saloon?

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or maybe he would have a house that looked like it was built for a hobbit?

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one thing is for sure. it wouldn’t be the color blue. i guess he was color blind.

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he was also a perfectionist. i bet his yard would be the best on the block.

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apparently, he was so well disciplined he remained 143 pounds for 30 years. which was convenient because he loved the number 143. why? because according to Mr. Rogers the number 143 means ‘i love you.’ 1 letter to say i, 4 letters to say love, and 3 letters to say you.

how precious is that.

he seemed a very humble man. i bet his home would be cute and practical.

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whatever it would be, i know one thing is for sure….. it would be a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

oh, Mr. Rogers, won’t you be my neighbor?

it was a G thing

i found some new stuff.

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i was on my way to the park with my family when i spotted it.

Actually, i was on my way to our second park because the first one had a gate and a sign that said closed (who knew parks closed in mid-day?). normally i don’t drive down the street that i spotted the stuff because it would be the long way to our home. since we weren’t headed home….i took the long way.

so glad i did!

i flew passed the curbside freebies and braked  (or is it broke?) as fast as i could. i quickly reversed the car back to the stuff to see if there was anything worth salvaging. there were a few pieces i got a little giddy about.

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as i was picking through the pile a car drove into the driveway. i paused for a minute, more out of embarrassment that i was picking through their belongings, and then quickly regained my salvage spirit. as the driver got out of the car she glanced my way, so i shot her a huge grin and said, “hey, is it okay if i take this stuff?”

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it wasn’t hers. phew! (no more embarrassment)

then she called to another neighbor, “hey, is this stuff okay to take?”

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a women about my age appeared. she looked tired. she was very thin with long jet black hair, covered in tattoos and smoking a cigarette.

she nonchalantly and without eye contact answered, “yes.” i said, “thank you,” and i kept picking through the pile.

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from there, i’m not sure how it happened, but before i knew it the woman and i were talking about furniture and our love for all things old. and how she collected really awesome old doors and windows. “oh, and i have this cool old table in my backyard, ya wanna see?”

yes, yes i would.

she showed me the table. it was rough from being neglected, but i could still see the beauty.

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we continued to talk and she continued to show me the treasures that showered her backyard. her earlier tiredness seemed to be disappearing.

i think at one point i even half jokingly said we were like “soul sisters” because we were bonding so much over our love of old things. it had only been two minutes since i first met this person.

then i remembered that my husband was waiting in the car with our son to go to the park. thank the Lord for patient husbands who understand your overly awkward love for old furniture, especially old free curbside finds.

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the lady and i decided at that point that i should come back with our truck to pick up some of the stuff she had showed me. we also decided to exchange phone numbers, in the event that she couldn’t fit all of her treasures into her storage unit and needed to find them a home. (oops…forgot to tell you that part. her and her husband and kids were moving. and in a hurry.)

see, i guess what i didn’t know at that moment, was that she had been crying earlier because her and her husband needed to clear their things out of their home and she didn’t have room to take them and couldn’t bare to just leave her treasures behind.

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i think i’m getting ahead of myself…let me back up. those who know me well, know that this is often how i tell my stories. i tend to jump around. i have lots of random side notes. hopefully, ya’ll (no, i’m not from the south. i just think it’s cute when i hear the other bloggers say that and so i’m going to pretend i can say it, too) are still following me.

my husband, son, and i headed to the park. i had this strange feeling and mentioned to my husband that the series of events seemed more than just finding curbside freebies, it’s like a G thing. G thing being God thing. (side note: i have no idea why i used an acronym for God, but hearing and reading catchy phrases like o.m.g, and cray cray, has apparently leaked into my vocabulary).  see, i don’t normally say that. that it was a God thing. it sometimes sounds a little cliche’ to me. i very much believe in God and very much believe in events being orchestrated by God, but i don’t say that it’s a God thing unless it really hits me, smacks me, pushes me to my knees, kind of God thing.

This was one of those times.

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it’s hard to really articulate why. i guess you might have had to be there, but it just had that feeling. ya, know?

after we got home from the park, i grabbed the quote i had typed out the day before by Ernest Hemingway: “eventually, life breaks us all, and, afterward, many are stronger in the broken pieces.” i tied the quote to an extra skeleton key i had, hoping she adored them as much as i do, and i hit the road in our truck back to her house.

when i got there i handed her my little gift of thanks and said that the quote was one i thought might bring her comfort in her time of hardship. she welled up and i gave her a big hug. such an odd spectrum of emotions to share with someone i had just met an hour earlier. that was definitely not an everyday occurrence.

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(side note: she loves plants. like LOVES plants. she had hundreds in her backyard. i was nervous to take them because i don’t have the best green thumb, but she was quite worried about leaving behind this key lime tree. she said she was sure they wouldn’t have room. i told her i would take good care of it. and maybe even attempt a key lime pie}

when we started talking, early into our conversation, she said something that gave me goosebumps. at this point we hadn’t talked at all about our religious views or our faith or whether we had any or not. see, i’m kind of shy about sharing my faith. sure, if someone asks then I’ll tell them, but it’s not something i just hand out. i admire those that can so freely. it’s just not my gift. she mentioned that her mom was very religious and a hard core Christian and always telling her she needed to find Jesus! She kind of rolled her eyes and then she said, “ya know, it’s like i’m being smacked in the face by all the stuff my mom has said. i always tell her that if God really cares, then why doesn’t he help me when i need him most? and then, you come along and love my stuff  and i know it’s going to a good home and i don’t have to give it all to Goodwill. and my tree will get taken care of . and well, we start talking and well…it’s like a God thing.”

oh.my.gosh. she was right. it was a God thing.

the best part? i felt like it was God smacking ME and saying, “hey, hey, you! remember me? don’t forget about me now that times are going good. i want to be with you always, not just during the hard times.” i needed that reminder.

so, back to what i was saying….tonight i found some stuff, and it wasn’t just furniture.

i’m new here and this is crazy, but here’s my blog, so read me maybe

it’s been three years.

three fun, wonderful years, since i stumbled upon a blog.

these blogs. these powerhouse mama blogs out there, that create amazing stuff all while holding five children, making a gourmet dinner, and crafting a life sized house out of Legos, are really inspiring.

i want to be like them.

so, here i am.

it’s a little scary, but here i am.

if you like furniture (especially the free kind, found on roads), vintage inspired stuff, old houses, trees, and slurpees (what? just go with it). Then welcome. Grab a chair, couch, stool, ladder, whatever makes you, as my son loves to say, “comfy” and enjoy.

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