Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Quick Trip

Last Friday I drove down to Spokane, and I have just returned today. It takes something fairly major for me to drive over a couple of mountain passes in the winter. It was my mom's 79th birthday, and I really wanted to be there to celebrate with her.

When I go down to visit we usually have tons of things we do in the short time I am there, but this time we mostly just relaxed, watched some television and visited. Of course, that meant I got lots of knitting done, but I will save that update for another post. We did manage to drag ourselves out the door to go to Trader Joe's, and this time I felt like I hit the jackpot. They have just started carrying a gluten-free pizza!

The original plan was for my mom to take me out for dinner on Sunday for my birthday, and I would take her out on Monday for hers. When we were at Trader Joe's Sunday morning and I found the gluten-free pizza I said I would rather have that than go out for a meal. How many people do you know who would trade a dinner at the local Mongolian restaurant for a frozen pizza?

We also made a quick stop at a store to pick up a plastic storage container my mom needed. It ended up being one of those amazing life moments that takes you completely by surprise. We headed over to a cashier to pay, but then noticed there was someone in line ahead of us buying shoes. This wouldn't have been a big deal if he had been buying just one pair of shoes, but this guy was buying hundreds of pairs of shoes! There were shopping carts full of them, more stacked on the counter for the cashier to ring through, and this bunch waiting to be dealt with.




My mom asked the guy buying all of these what he was planning to do with them. After all, there are only so many pairs of shoes one person can wear, and these weren't even shoes for adults. They were all children's shoes. It turns out he was with a non-profit charity called Soul To Sole, and every year they buy about 1500 pairs of new shoes to give to needy children across the city of Spokane. His eyes lit up as he told us about fitting a child for their new shoes, then a couple weeks later handing that child their new pair. Every day we are bombarded with news stories of terrible things happening around the world, and this somehow seemed to balance some of that out. Quiet acts of kindness and compassion tend to get ignored by the media.

Mom's 79th birthday was yesterday, and my cousin Kath (my mom's niece) came in to help us celebrate. We are a family of introverts, so every time we went to the elevator in my mom's retirement home and were greeted by this sign my mom would cringe.




We went out to dinner, then back to the apartment where my mom and Kath indulged in the box of Purdy's salted caramels I had given to my mom. This might be hard to believe, but I didn't eat a single one. In a rare moment of chocolate self-control, I decided I could buy them any time I wanted, but for them they were a rare treat. I felt quite virtuous.

Kath stayed overnight, and the evening reminded me of when I was a kid and would go to a slumber party. We talked and laughed and told stories until way past when we should have gone to bed, especially considering I had to get up and face the long drive home today. Here we are at the restaurant.




Happy birthday Mom! And I'm really sorry I lied about not putting this picture in my blog.

26 comments:

  1. Happy birthday to your Mum, she looks very well for her age. I feel sorry for the cashier who had to ring through all those shoes, but what a great thing to do. Glad you enjoyed your trip

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    1. The cashiers were all actually really excited the guy was there. Our cashier was explaining how the man comes in once a year to buy the shoes and it is something of "an event" at the store. That was part of what made the whole thing so neat - seeing everyone's enthusiasm!

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  2. So glad you enjoyed the trip to your Mum, quite a journey by the sound of it. I love hearing about those acts of kindness and as you say they're never heard about. Birthday wishes to you as we'll as your Mum.
    Patricia x

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    1. Thanks Patricia! It is quite a long journey, but I make it so often I am used to it. It is just during the winter that I find it a challenge.

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  3. Gee, she looks young! This is such a happy picture, and three women are beauties! Happy Birthday to you and your mom, and I'm glad you lied about the picture!

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    1. Thanks Keiko! I was really happy with how the picture came out, especially considering it was taken on my phone in a dark restaurant. It is very hard to get my mom to agree to be in a picture. I think she knew when I told her it wouldn't be in my blog that I was lying. She's known me for a long time. :-)

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  4. Congratulations to your Mum on her 79th birthday as Keiko mentions she doesn't look her age! Despite your journey to be there it sounds as if you had a great time.
    I looked at the work of Soul to Sole what a wonderful achievement, it's so easy to take things for granted.
    Sarah x

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    1. My mom is a very young 79. I think that is why it has been a tough adjustment for her in terms of living at the retirement apartments. I will tell her you said she looks young for her age - it will make her day!

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  5. What a great day to have. I would have liked an experience like that on a birthday... Congrats and many happy returns to your mom, she looks so young!

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    1. It was a very nice day, and the most important thing is my mom had a great time. She is going to love how everyone is saying she looks so young!

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  6. What a lovely trip for you! Happy birthday to your mum!

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    1. It was lovely, but could have been a nightmare if the weather hadn't remained good. One of the reasons I want to move is so I don't have such a long drive to get to my mom's.

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  7. Thanks for the story of Soul to Sole -- we all need news like that, which is exactly why I subscribe to HappyNews.com. And add me to the list of people saying that Thelma looks wonderful on her 79th birthday! ~Kim

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    1. I can't wait to phone my mom later today and tell her that so many people have said she looks so great. And I'm going to check out that HappyNews site. Thanks for mentioning it!

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  8. Happy Birthday to you mom, it sounds like she had a nice day (publicity aside) and you had a really good visit.

    My son would agree with you on the pizza. Our tradition is we each get to select were to eat on out birthday's. My son's preference is to stay home and make pizza. We usually sppring for delivery just to make it a little out of the ordinary.

    I hope the drive home was uneventful.

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    1. We have the same family tradition - the birthday person gets to pick whatever they want for dinner. Within reason! The drive home was happily uneventful. :-)

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  9. Haha. It's not nice to lie to your mother. :-D It's so wonderful to hear you were able to spend your birthday(s) together.

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    1. I will get caught out on this lie too when I tell her about all the nice comments everyone has made. She will know her picture was posted. :-)

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  10. What a great post! The shoe story was wonderful! And glad you were able to celebrate birthdays together - how special! That was a great picture of your mom and you two. Looks like your mom is settled in her new home (despite all the extrovert-focused announcements assaulting her) ;)

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    1. Yes, I think my mom is finally settled into her new place. She seems much happier there now than when she first moved there. I hope you are starting to feel better!

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  11. You are so fortunate to be close to your family, I love that.

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    1. I know Kate. I try not to ever take it for granted.

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  12. Happy Birthday to your Mom and to you Kristie. And that is awesome re. the shoes, what a wonderful project :D

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    1. Thank you Annie - the shoe project we happened upon made our day!

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  13. Such a lovely photo of the 3 of you! Although you really shouldn't lie to your mom...trust me! ;) You know, I've never been to a trader Joes. So don't yet know what all the fuss is about. On the last trip to the field with my graduate student we happened to see one as we were heading to the place we were staying. We decided that the next day, if we got done early, we'd go (she'd never been either) but we were both too tired to drive the 20 miles back to it. Maybe on the next trip!

    Hey -- I'm going to have to go to Pullman sometime this 'spring' (like maybe end of March or early April)...you heading down to Spokane again during that time? I'm not set on when I head up there so if you were coming down, I'd try to match dates with you.

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    1. I'm pretty sure you would like Trader Joe's. It would have been worth the 20 mile drive! If you get another chance be sure and go.

      I might be going down around then. It would be great to meet up - I will let you know once I know exactly when I am going down next time. Alexandra wants to come down with me, so I need to work around her work schedule.

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