Our good friends, who live at the beach, returned from a trip to Italy right before our beach vacation.
I didn’t expect my friend to bring me something from Italy, but she did. She brought me hand soap that has a rich rose scent. I thought that was so thoughtful. I wouldn’t think to do that, especially trying to get gifts into my suitcase.
The soap has been sitting in it’s lovely wrapper for weeks on my bathroom counter.
I thought about putting it in the guest bathroom where guests could use it. My mom always had special soaps in our guest bathroom — carved little blue roses or scented soaps.
I thought to myself, wouldn’t my friend want me to enjoy it? My other thought was that it’s too nice to use at my own sink daily to wash my hands. It definitely belongs in the guest bath.
Also, I don’t have a soap dish to hold it. it’s a large block of soap.
A quick trip to Target solved that issue. Now I’m luxuriating in the wonderful feel and scent of rose soap imported from Italy and I think of my friend — every time I wash my hands.
Why do we have nice things for guests, but don’t feel like we should use them ourselves?
We had a tiring but fun weekend. I’ve decided that a six-hour drive on Friday, followed by six-hours on Sunday to get home, is too much for me.
I don’t mind the long drives like we took to Santa Barbara in August. That’s because we stayed for awhile. My body had time to relax and recover.
We arrived in San Diego Friday with one hour to rest and get read for a 30-minute drive to the wedding venue. What saved us on the drive was listening to “The Rooster Bar” by John Grisham. It’s amazing how books on tape — or Audible — make the drives fly by.
I made the mistake of booking our hotel room in Santee, SC — instead of Santee, CA. Oops.
Who knew there was more than one Santee and they’d have hotels with the exact same name?
The highlight of our trip happened Saturday. We visited my husband’s aunt and uncle who live in Santee (hence the reason I booked a hotel there — or thought I did. Right town, wrong state.) His cousin surprised us and came too with her son from an hour away.
My husband’s uncle is 93 years old. The last time we saw him was August three years ago to celebrate his 90th birthday. Because of COVID and then moving we haven’t visited. I have to say he looks amazing. He’s full of energy. He drives, he shops, he cooks, he waits on his wife — my husband’s aunt. He makes the best Italian food I’ve ever eaten. Luciano (the uncle) came to the US from Italy when he was 30 years old after marrying my husband’s aunt. She met Luciano while she was the city planner of Rome.
After she graduated with a degree from Berkeley in the 1960s, she couldn’t get hired in the U.S. in her field because she was a woman. However, she did get hired in Italy, so she learned Italian and moved.
She’s a dynamo that I’ve always looked up to. Not only has she had an amazing career, she’s written and published at least 15 books. She’s a world traveler and had a series based on a travel agent/murder solver. If you’re interested, here’s a link to R. Ann Siracusa on Goodreads. My favorite book of hers is “Family Secrets: A Vengeance of Tears.”
If that’s not enough, she’s a grandmother who actively takes care of her grandchildren. And she quilts. She taught my daughter and I how to quilt.
Whew, I’m exhausted thinking about these inspiring relatives.
What relatives have motivated and inspired you? What’s your limit for drives on trips?
After we picked up Olive from boarding and unloaded the car, I went to the post office. That was Thursday after a nine-hour drive from Christmas in Santa Barbara. I was exhausted because I have anxiety on freeways and we started the trip home at 5:30 a.m. in the dark in the middle of storm. I could tell my husband, who is normally cool, was having a tough time with the drive until we left Los Angeles freeways and headed towards Palm Springs and the rain subsided. Nine hours of driving and riding in the car is bad enough without bad weather.
I was bleary-eyed at the post office and I discovered four slips for packages in my P.O. Box. I was surprised to see a flat package from Gary Gruber. He’s a photographer who I worked with during my PR career in the 80s and 90s. His wife was my boss and we shared an office for several years. She became one of my close friends and is my daughter’s Godmother.
When I got home, I tossed the mail and packages on my desk, but opened the flat package. Inside were three incredible prints. I’m going to take them to the framing store later today. I called my friends to thank them! Gary had included a letter to update me about his work and a gallery showing next week. He also sent me a link to his blog and his photography site. Check out his photos HERE. Be sure to go through all his tabs. The photography is stunning.
I especially enjoyed the PR and Still Life photos. Above is a PR photo from the Bob Hope Classic golf tournament. I worked for the PR firm that put on the Classic in the 1980s. I love the photo because it reminded me of how the Classic Girls — who were ambassadors to the tournament — were selected. A group of old men affiliated with the Classic and Eisenhower Medical Center (the beneficiary of the charity golf tournament) would meet in an auditorium at the hospital. The girls one by one walked across the stage, turned round, etc. while being ogled by the old geezers.
My boss asked if I’d like to try out. I was an account executive at the time in my mid twenties. He commented that I could wear the “Bob” shirt. Chrysler became a sponsor of the tournament and the old geezers joked about the young lady they’d pick to wear all the letters of “Chrysler.” You get the drift? If not, it’s all about breast size.
Wouldn’t fly today, would it?
These prints are truly an unexpected gift that I’ll treasure. Also, I loved reconnecting and hearing about Gary’s success with his artistic photography in a gallery and in Palm Springs Life magazine. You can check out Gary’s blog here.
What are your thoughts about unexpected gifts? Are they more special than ones you know are coming?