Here’s a view of the dramatic mountains near Tucson while out walking with Buddy.
What have your neighbors done for you when you needed help? Do you play that role with any neighbors?
Santa Barbara Harbor
“All right mates! Let’s go.” Rob, an Aussie, called out to us when we parked in front of an apartment complex in Santa Barbara.
We jumped into his car without unloading ours. Off we went to the harbor where he said his wife Debbie was waiting for us on their sailboat.
That’s the first time I met the couple who would become our close friends. It was “BK” before kids — and around 35 years ago. My husband and Rob met on the East Coast training with a large brokerage firm. They had hit it off and decided we all needed to get together once they returned to California.
On the boat, Rob shouted orders like “Skirt the jib!” “Ready about!” or “Trim the main.”
My husband and I were expected to jump in and help, but we didn’t now what to do. Debbie showed us “the ropes” and how to respond to each command.
Years before, I had taken sailing at the University of Washington in college with my brother. We were in a small sailboat and I remember getting hit in the head by the boom. My earrings popped out and a clump of hair ripped out of my head onto the boom as we “came about.” I had a small amount of experience — which was more than my husband had.
We soon learned that this was not a leisurely sail. We found ourself in a Santa Barbara Yacht Club race!
That weekend was the beginning of years of friendship. In the early years, we visited them and stayed in their apartment because they were too busy to visit us. Rob left the brokerage business and they opened a savory Aussie pie shop that sold hand-held pies about the size of hamburgers.
My favorite pies were scallop and cheese, spinach and feta — and best of all — Shepherd’s pie. The pie shop was the first of several entrepreneurial businesses.
I remember one afternoon driving to a beach for a picnic. We got stuck in traffic that wasn’t moving. They pulled off the road and set up a picnic on a red and white checkered tablecloth with smoked oysters, tomatoes, cheese, crackers, and a bottle of “cab sav” in a field dotted with cows in the far off distance.
Time spent with Rob and Debbie is always an adventure. I can’t wait to see them in August on our vacation.
My husband and me on our friends’ sailboat decades after meeting them.
Rob at the tiller with Debbie.
Fred and Honey, our friends’ Galahs. Rob had to give up his Australian citizenship to bring them to the U.S.
How did you meet your close friends from decades ago? Do you stay in touch today?
My toddler daughter at Aliso Beach in Laguna, California.
My daughter called and asked me about a letter from her best friend that I never gave her. I had forgotten all about it. But wouldn’t you know, my husband on a separate phone call with her, brought it up.
“Why would your dad say anything about the letter?” I asked instantly upset.
“Mom, I’m 27 years old. I can handle it.”
At the time of the letter, my daughter was 13 years old. My daughter and her best friend had been together since birth. We (my friend and I) helped each other out with our second children by taking turns having them together several times a week. That gave one of us time to clean, shop or sleep! The older siblings were in half-day preschool.
I homeschooled our daughter sixth through eighth grade when our son began high school. Our daughter’s best friend was at a public middle school and we agreed to pick her up once a week while her mom was at work.
The plan was to have a craft or art project each Wednesday. Sometimes my daughter wanted to hang out with her best friend and not have a designated project. I thought everything was peachy when my friend said she had a letter to drop off from her daughter to mine.
She told me to read the letter before I gave it to my daughter. I was shocked. My daughter’s best friend was ending their friendship and said she was promised an art project on Wednesdays. She hoped my daughter would understand if they saw each other that she wouldn’t speak to her. She was never speaking to her again. I can’t remember exactly what else was in the letter, but it was mean and there was no way I’d let my daughter read that letter and be hurt.
I threw the letter away.
Of course my daughter wanted to know why Wednesdays were off and why she wasn’t going to her best friend’s house on Saturday, or having her over to our house.
I explained as best I could that her friend was going through some troubling times and to be patient and things would go back to normal. There were three major upheavals in the girl’s life that she was struggling through that I won’t share. But they were major and beyond what I thought my daughter needed to learn about at the time. I do think this rejection from her best friend without explanation has affected my daughter’s relationships today.
Their friendship was never the same again, although later in life they became civil.
Question. Would you have given the letter to your daughter or thrown it away like I did? Why or why not?
It’s official. We left California for Arizona two years ago! I can’t believe how quickly our years flew by — and in some respects how long it has seemed.
Here’s what I thought about moving two years ago today:
Friday was moving day. Our movers arrived at 9 a.m. and we thought it would be a couple hours and we’d hit the road. No, we were wrong. By 5 p.m. the movers realized their truck was full and we still had a bunch of stuff in the garage like bikes, a wheelbarrow and my daughter’s desk. Plus the STORAGE UNIT where we’ve been squirreling away boxes and stuff for months.
Yikes! The movers had to rent a U-Haul and we gave them the keys to our storage unit. Of course there weren’t any U-Hauls in town and they had to drive to San Diego or some place to find a U-Haul. They said they’d come back to our California house the next morning and pick up the rest of our stuff in the garage when our housekeeper and dear friend Delia would be cleaning.
We drove to Arizona and our new home, minus our furniture that night. We thankfully packed suitcases and bedding. Our fellow swim team parents and close friends drove one of our cars packed to the hilt, plus their car complete with all the stuff from our freezer and fridge. Now, those are true friends who volunteer to drive an 8-hour round trip to make our move easier!
I have driving anxiety and panic attacks driving on freeways. I couldn’t face the four-hour drive on Interstate 10. Our daughter promised to fly down from SFO and drive one car and help us unpack. Then California went into lockdown. Our daughter didn’t feel good about flying. So our friends volunteered to help us out and meanwhile our daughter’s supposed flight was cancelled. It all worked out in the end.
We got to our Arizona home at 10:30 p.m. We unpacked our suitcases, settled into bed around midnight exhausted beyond comprehension. Thank goodness we bought the furniture in the casita from the sellers. Otherwise, we’d have been on the floor. We never saw our friends who drove our car for us. They not only drove our car, but they filled our fridge with all our condiments, frozen foods and perishables — before heading back to California.
The next day, the moving van and U-haul arrived at 2 p.m. We worked throughout the weekend to get the kitchen in order and our closet organized. Kitty is stressed and hiding under the bed in the casita, where we’ve been living.
I don’t recommend moving after living in one house for 28 years. It’s an unusually hard task, mentally and physically. But, when we’re more settled the sunsets will make it all worthwhile.
What’s the longest you’ve lived in one place? How did you handle packing and going through years of stuff when you moved? Did you think of moving during the COVID shutdowns? A lot of people did move.
Lemon Lush I made Saturday.
We had friends over for dinner this weekend. My husband suggested I make lemon lush for dessert. I usually make it during Christmas week.
It’s an old recipe that I discovered in the 1980s when I worked in public relations for the Bob Hope Classic golf tournament. When the tournament was over, we’d have potluck in our meeting room for staff and volunteers. One of the wealthy lady volunteers brought in lemon lush and it was a huge hit. I asked her for the recipe. So many people asked for it that she used the copy machine and handed them to us.
I kept that recipe in my old Betty Crocker cookbook until it faded. There are tons of versions online. The one posted below is closest to the recipe that faded beyond recognition. (Tip: you can use pecans instead of walnuts.)
Our friends loved lemon lush and asked for the recipe. I’m embarrassed to share it because it’s a Jello Pudding and Cool Whip recipe. But it tastes so delicious. When I’ve shared the recipe before, people look disappointed. It’s verging on embarrassment to share this with my new Arizona friends! But it tastes so good — I won’t stop making it. Maybe I should throw in some fresh ingredients like lemon zest or fresh lemon juice?
I think it must be a recipe from the 1970s.
Printed from COOKS.COMhttps://cooks.com/kb8i85fz
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups ground walnuts
1 1/2 sticks of butter
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of Cool Whip
2 small packages instant lemon pudding
3 cups cold milk
Using a pastry cutter, combine ingredients for crust and pat into the bottom of 9×13 pan.
Bake at 325°F for 30 minutes. Let cool.
Mix well and spread over cool baked crust. Refrigerate.
Mix packages of lemon pudding with 3 cups of cold milk. Once mixture has thickened, pour over filling.
Top off with more Cool Whip and nuts, if desired.https://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/prt/0,1613,129181-245195,00.html
What recipe do you have that is super easy but so delicious?
Yesterday we had plans to see the movie “Amsterdam” with our new friends who live around the corner. Yes, they are California transplants, too. It seems our neighborhood got filled with us during COVID.
Our neighbors bought the movie tickets and made reservations for dinner. I was looking forward to the movie because it stars Christian Bale and Margot Robbie. It’s directed by the same guy (David O. Russell) who did “American Hustle” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” Also, we never go out on a weeknight, so this was unusually fun for us.
My husband got a text from our neighbor that his wife got sick and they wouldn’t be able to go. They were going to the doctor instead. So they emailed us the digital tickets. Then my husband had an appointment in Phoenix. I was going to meet him at the movies 30 minutes away. Then he texted me that he wouldn’t be able to get away in time to make it to the movie.
Oh well. Best laid plans. Exactly where did the saying “Best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray” come from?
I looked it up and this is what I found:
best-laid schemes/plans, the
The most careful plans sometimes do not succeed. It was probably already aThe Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
cliché by the time Robert Burns used the phrase in “To a Mouse” (1786): “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley [go often astray].”
What plans have you had go astray lately?
Have you seen “Amsterdam?” Did you like it?