No, YOU did a weird patriotic shoot with your hedgehog. Haha! I feel like we really missed the boat on some good UNCLE SAM jokes or costuming with little Sam here. But it’s fine. There’s always next year. I missed a week doing Wednesday Words, but I’m BACK AT IT AGAIN (with the WHITE VANS!!!!!).
1. Tori and Eric moved home Saturday!!! Oh MAN. I have all the feelings about this. First, I am stoked out of my mind that for just a moment, we’re all within an hour of each other. It makes my heart so squeezy. But secondly, I was surprised how secondhand bittersweet it was for me to see them close the California chapter of their lives. Almost ten years – and they’ve really made Northern California their home. I got teary over every picture my mama sent last week as she was helping them pack and tending Margot as they said goodbye to all the different places and moments that have made them who they are, and their time there what it was. It was also really strange to think that every time Cody travels to San Francisco for work now, that little apartment filled with my people, next to my favorite taqueria and the park with the burros, won’t be there. I mean, it will, but strangers will live there.
But the bright spot is, I can now see my people once a weekish, rather than once every few months. But still, we can’t run up the coast or to the goat farm or to the Milk Pail or late night churro and carne asada runs. I know we’ll make new traditions and have new memories, but there was definitely a sense of grieving accepting the shift, even though it’s just about the most exciting shift in the world to have them back in Utah. Not a bad feeling, but different. I so admired all they accomplished and all the people they effected and how they made that place a home for themselves, and a home away from home for all who visited. I treasured their time there and can’t wait to make new memories here!
2. On that vein, their’s was the most organized move I’ve ever been apart of. Like, everything done in less than an hour, color-coded boxes, expertly packed, etc. Amazing! It was very motivating to get my crap together this month for our move in AUGUST. What?! We are squatting for a minute while our house finishes and our lease is up, and I’m having really bittersweet feelings about leaving this apartment. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere since I graduated high school, and I’ve really loved this place.
3. I’ve been seeing yellow butterflies, EVERYWHERE. And maybe it’s the time of year, but it really feels like a tender, personal omen. Yellow is my absolute favorite color, and the concept of a butterfly is so beautiful to me. They flutter up and kiss against my windshield or my face in Walmart parking lots, suburban neighborhoods, mountain hikes, shopping malls, etc. I feel like they are a tender mercy just for me right now, so of course I’ve been looking up all the spiritual meanings of yellow butterflies for different cultures. (In the UK back in the day, it meant dying at sea or sickness befalling your whole family… so yikes a billion. SORRY FAM!) In certain Native American tribes, it means guidance, hope, joy, creativity, happiness, prosperity, and good to come.
In many cultures, it means simply NEW LIFE, transformation, or rebirth. For many other cultures, it can mean the spirits of babies yet to come or loved ones who have passed on. It can mean a renewed sense of self, a new capacity for happiness, lightness, and playfulness. In some cultures, it simply represented the self, or the soul. I’m working through a few things right now, and to me at this moment, it feels like all of those things (except maybe a pox upon my house or dying at sea) because it very tangibly feels like God’s love. Like a metaphorical hand squeeze from heaven every few hours like, hey you, I’m still here and we’ve got this.
4. We got to go to the rodeo this week! For my internship with ACS CAN, I helped man a booth at the West Jordan Stampede. The lead up to the event was kind of nuts. We were putting together a display representing the 30 people diagnosed with cancer in Utah every single day, and in the spirit of knowing your audience, we decided to do 30 pairs of cowboy boots for the visual. This was tricky, but made for some good stories driving to random Facebook commenters house’s and gathering their boots. We used the boots as a backdrop for a photo display, and people would come take pictures with an outlaw poster frame that said WANTED: #30tozero. Most families came over just thinking it was a cute backdrop, but then as we helped them pick props for the Photo Booth and explained the visual of the boots and what they represented, every family but two shared their cancer connection. In this big crowd family we talked to but TWO had a family member who was actively fighting cancer, in remission, or had passed away from cancer. Let that sink in! It was heart-breaking and heart-warming and beautiful all in one. Once people were done taking a picture, we’d encourage them to go share what they’d shared with us in passing with a Cancer Connections volunteer, filling out a form so we can use their story to create actual change. Ahhh. I LOVED IT.
I also loved being at the rodeo. When the trick riders came out in costume, riding bareback, with no bridles, my heart sang. Also, I don’t think Cody has ever seen me so worked up as I was when the barrel racing started. I ACHED TO BE DOING THAT. It’s been so many years since I’ve done barrels, but I was still LOSING MY MIND when they rounded that third barrel and booked it for home. I might as well have been the one riding, my adrenaline was PUMPING. Hahaha. Maybe now Cody knows how I feel sitting next to him during a Jazz game. GIDDY UP.
5. IT WAS THE FOURTH OF JULY YESTERDAY!!!!!!!!! IT’S THE BEST DAY OF THE YEAR!
We came up Sunday night to offer moral support to our family members saving spots (you guys are the real MVPS) and then had to run back to Orem Monday for my yoga class. Then Monday night, we came back and got to see Cody’s family and grandparents and then celebrate Eric’s graduation/the Gibbons move/the 3rd of July. It was kind of crazy time wise with all the back and forth, but I’m always grateful for time spent with family. Afterward, we went to the Kaysville Fourth of July block party. I’ve never been, but I thought it was really funny and I’m glad we did. Mostly because fist-pumping to Cotton-Eye Joe on Kaysville Main Street with Cody was THE bucket-list item I didn’t know I had. We made a Walmart run which got pretty weird (apparently a recurring theme in our lives) trying to find an ice cream maker, to no avail. But we did have a good time, which included a HEY ARNOLD beach towel reading “HATERS GONNA HATE.”
I feel like sometimes I hype expectations for holidays so high sometimes that it can be guaranteed let-down when things don’t happen exactly a certain way. I think we all do that with certain things. In the spirit of “it is what it is” Brittany and I talked this year about things that really mattered to us for a bomb Fourth, and things that really didn’t so we were guaranteed a good day. And at the end of the day, all I really wanted was to see both of our families, watch fireworks, and to make homemade strawberry ice cream like my mama did growing up!
Highlights of those magical 24-hours included: Cotton-Eye Joe, obviously, seeing all our cute nieces and nephews in one day, laughing with family, taking traditional pictures, seeing ALL the star-spangled babies (this kills me), eating all the Cheddar & Sour Cream ruffles (my kryptonite), yelling Neil Diamond (Kaysville, you let me down not playing him), watched fireworks, got hosed by sprinklers, found out how to clap with our feet, and just felt really grateful for our good life in this beautiful country. It’s not perfect, but it’s so good, and I’m so grateful. USA! USA!