Self Discovery

6 Reasons to Smile August 2017

Not every month is going to be the best ever but I think the purpose of this writing exercise is to focus on the good that happened over the course of a month and be grateful for that good.  It’s also a way in which to stay consistent with my writing–another important thing to remember.

August was full of ups, downs, and all the in-betweens.  It had times that were boring and mundane but there were also many “I’ll remember this forever” moments.  But the following events made me smile this month, and made me smile again while I was plowing through the photos for this piece.

1.)  I smiled hugely in August the moment I stepped into a cabin on the Salmon River in Oregon.  There are no earthly words for how I feel when I’m in the woods and near the sound of rushing water.  Sitting on a rock, soaking in the beauty around me, is my church.  Because of where I live, I appreciate the green so much more.  We spent a lot of time hiking this visit which was interesting since it was so damn hot but I still loved every minute and cannot wait to go back.

A pool of cool water: my view from the rapids.

2.)  While hanging out at the cabin in the mornings, drinking my coffee on the deck, I’d sometimes wander down near the water taking my mug with me.  One of the mornings, a thought came to me that I’d love to see a banana slug.  I walked down a path I’d never been on before on the cabin property, and lo and behold, I saw a banana slug that same day and even better yet, I saw him two days in a row.  Serendipity.  I loved that slug.  There were times during my trip where Charlie the slug was my only friend.  I got a great video of him eating and shared it on Instagram.  What I love most about the cabin in Oregon is that I have time to slow down and film a slug chewing.

Charlie: the banana slug of my dreams.

3.)  About a week after we arrived back at home from our trip to Oregon, it was time to take my daughter to New York City to attend college.  Although that was a sad (but very memorable) time, we made a special trip, before boarding our flight, to Central Park to see the trees on the Monday after move-in day.  When we had traveled to New York in February to check out schools, the trees were bare and the park was freezing cold and dark.  This time they were very green, lush, and beautiful beyond compare.  Strolling through Central Park was like walking through a movie set.  I couldn’t believe I was seeing all these iconic places in person, but there they were in all their green glory.

4.)  My old real estate partner contacted me via snail mail at the beginning of the month. He was the nicest guy and he helped me out so much when I needed it.  I’m very grateful for how much he helped me.  When I first started in real estate, I was broke, and if you have a commission-only job, then you understand just how broke I was.  And on top of being super broke, I had to keep spending money in order to remain in real estate.  I was hemorrhaging cash (via my credit card) left and right.  My husband didn’t want me to be in real estate or to have a job at all so he wouldn’t help out financially.  Yeah, my real estate partner was a better husband to me than my own.

Anyway, David had a pet-sitting business and he graciously offered me some gigs that were either too far for him or he’d be out of town.  I took whatever he could give me.  I sometimes took my girls with me which was perfect because they love animals so much and we were able to make memories.  For example, we had ‘crazy Lila.’ I’d ask, “Do you remember crazy Lila?’ and they both nod.  Sometimes I stayed at these insanely huge mansions with pools in guard-gated communities so it was a vacation while at home (I hate the word staycation as much as I hate man buns so I won’t use it).

David gave me as much pet-sitting as I could handle and I was able to make the minimum payments on my credit cards.  Additionally, one of the pet-sitting gigs led to the sale of a multi-million dollar estate.  He let me keep half of the money.  A very generous man because it was his lead and his client–he didn’t have to split it 50/50.  Can you believe every single penny went to paying off my credit cards?  $22,000+ in debt.  It felt great to be free of that monkey on my back but until our next sale, the charges kept going on my credit card; however, because of pet-sitting, I was able to keep the bills down.  And because I was walking three dogs every single day during the week, I lost my pregnancy weight.  Bonus!

When I went back to school, I lost touch with David.  Since then I’ve called and left messages for him but he never returned my call.  I guess some men won’t talk to you until they’re good and ready.  I got a Christmas card from him every year but realized this past year that his wife must be sending those out without his knowledge.

Anyway, hearing from David this month was a reason to smile and I’ll make it a point to go have coffee with him.

5.)  Oregon was in fire crisis mode while we were visiting so we couldn’t have any outdoor fires.  The girls really wanted s’mores so they found a way to improvise.  There’s nothing on this planet more determined than two teenage kids who want sugar.  I laughed when I saw their system for s’mores.

Indoor Cabin S’mores

6.  The final reason to smile this month is kind of silly.  A few months ago, I complained to the new HOA president that I had been trying to get the hill behind my home cleaned up.  It’s part of a common area and because of its location, the gardeners don’t tend to it very often.  In fact, I’ve probably seen gardeners on the hill less than 10 times in nearly 19 years.  The lady who I talked to a few years ago told me that the location was just too far in to do any work.  I wanted to say, “Well, it’s just too hard to write a check and mail it every month, so we’re not going to!”  Of course homeowners in associations don’t have that luxury.

I started really getting on the HOA this year because there was so little vegetation; I was worried that our hill would one day slide into the elementary school below, taking my house with it.  Mudslides can happen in California when the hills are void of living vegetation and you mix in too much rain.  My concerns are legitimate.

Anyway, I met the HOA board president as we walked my hill.  He agreed with everything I had to say and called the company on the carpet that was supposed to be doing all the landscaping for the entire development.  A few days later, I had ten guys on my hill and they really cleaned it up.  It looked beautiful for a long time and needs a simple touch-up now (aka, weed clearing).

About a month ago, Jay asked me if I wanted to be on the Landscape Committee for the HOA.  I wasn’t sure I really wanted to but decided to go for it when I realized I could help pick the flowers for the entire development.  If you know me at all, you know I love flowers and could be with them all day, every day.  I used to know a lot about plants and I felt this was a way in which to become reacquainted with plants and their names.  So, here I go showing my age and being on a committee 🙂

That was my month of smiles.  What made you smile this month?


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