One thing there is no shortage of in the central valley is wonderful things to eat. Even driving down the freeway, but especially on the backroads, you see farmstands everywhere you look. Now that I’m out of the valley and into the fancier foothills, the food gets fancier too. Flavored nuts in pretty packaging, jams and jellies and spreads, and those little churro nugget things – I’m still not entirely sure what they’re made from but boy howdy were they delicious. I get snacky when I write, and now I keep an assortment of these flavored almonds in a basket next to the computer.
I’ve been so deep down the unpacking rabbit hole that I’ve had very little time to check out my new neighborhood. But I think that’s probably OK for now. Before I move on I wanted to spend the rest of this week remembering the things I’ve loved about Modesto. There are already so many things I love about our new place that it would be easy for me to jump right in without looking back, but Modesto has been good to me, so I want to say goodbye.
These roses were technically my neighbors, but they managed to push their way through the fence and grow on my side of things. Which I thought was perfectly appropriate for yellow roses – a sign of friendship.
My sewing machine broke a while back at the very worst possible time, and the guy at the repair shop just shook his head at me. There was no hope. So he gave me a total steal on the fanciest sewing machine I’ve ever even used. It’s incredible. So quiet and smooth, and it both sews and snips thread with the push of a button. It almost doesn’t need me. I love her.
Bear’s colleague in Placerville has a ranch with goats and chickens and sheep and cattle, and he has sent Bear home with coolers full of goodies. Including these gorgeous eggs. Can you believe the colors?? Can you believe this is what they look like in nature?? It’s like they’ve been dyed with the most luxurious PAZ pellets ever created.
Our friends Ray and Missy got their dog Lucky right about the same time we got Boo, so these cute little guys have basically grown up together. Whenever Boo gets anywhere near the car she dives in, because the only time we drive her anywhere is to go to Lucky’s house. They have slumber parties whenever one set or the other of puppy parents needs to go out of town, and they get so excited when they see each other that Lucky pees all over the place and Boo jumps up and down. But they’re also competitive. We can’t spend much time with them when they’re together because we’ll get trampled with love as each dog campaigns to show us they love us the most. They’re BFaoF’s – Best Friends and occasionally Frenemies.
This weekend was the semi-annual conference for my religion, and for the first time in the history of the church, a woman prayed over the entire congregation. Not only did a woman pray, but two women prayed. One as an opening prayer, and one as a closing.
On a local level women have been praying for always, but never on such a visible level and over the entire church body. And even locally, as in several of my own wards I’ve attended, there can be weird traditions of women never being allowed to say the opening prayer, or the closing prayer. Because in some cases those are viewed as requiring the priesthood. It’s ridiculous when you actually stop to examine it, but as with everything touched by human nature, it’s always easier to go with the status quo.
This might seem like no big deal to you. But it is huge. Without someone that looks like you doing something, no matter if it’s a matter of gender or race or disability or orientation, most people subtly get the message that whatever that is is not for you. There will always be some people who are trailblazers or surrounded by strong enough support to buck that message, but those people are the exception.
And when that ‘something’ that is not for us is approaching God on behalf of all His children? That is so far from OK that I’ve dedicated my life to changing it. And this weekend, we got somewhere.
One of the best things about living in Modesto is living where everything grows. Just up the street is a farm that specializes in tulips, and the other day Bear stopped to bring me a present. They walked out to the field, cut them from the ground, and wrapped them up to send them home. They came in with soil still clinging to their stems.
And as they opened they turned out to be the most gorgeous color! With stems so long they draped themselves all over my kitchen, like dancer legs.
As kids at church we sing a song called Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree. It’s a sweet little song talking about the glories of spring and how the flowers on blossoming trees look like popcorn.
This tree is apparently growing neon candy popcorn balls. But my gosh is that the most gorgeous shade of purple outside my window.
For all the times ice cream has shown up in these Year of Pleasures, you might have noticed that I have very strong feelings about it. I’m always searching for unique flavors that aren’t cloyingly sweet, and if it somehow manages to reflect my all time favorite sweet/salty combo, then I am game for it.
As soon as I saw this flavor with chocolate covered potato chips, I knew it was perfect for me. You might remember my recipe for Chocolate Potato Chip Toffee? This is the ice cream version of that. Yummy.