The One for All Powerball

An hour before the Powerball drawing, I decided to spend ten bucks and scratch a few numbers on a ticket.

Shortly after, I spent a few minutes doing what every other ticket holder was doing: thinking of what I would do with four hundred million dollars.

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(Because to me, $400 million is like a billion.)

So at 8 pm, I had two things to look forward to:  American Idol and the Powerball drawing.

Welcome to my glamorous life.

In Los Angeles.

Anyway, at 8:11, my mom called to ask me if I checked my numbers and I looked at the clock and said, “oh, I almost forgot.”

As she was reading off the numbers, I had FOUR out of the five, but not all five and the Powerball.

I promptly took my pinky finger away from the bottom of my lip.

My mom relays the numbers to my dad and he yells out in the background, “well, she won a hundred bucks!”

And my mom points out the obvious, “you were one number away from a million and two numbers away from the Powerball!”

Thanks, mom.

I began to play tricks on myself– mind bending ones, like, “did I almost pick 19, instead of 16?  What if I flip the six over and it becomes a nine?”

I still didn’t have the 13.

Oh.

After having flashbacks of playing MASH with my friends growing up, a peace poured over me.

My life isn’t going to change!

I don’t know if I could “upgrade” my life right now.

I’m truly in love with where I am.

I would bawl my eyes out if I were to leave my antithesis-of-a-mansion apartment; this little space that I’ve often fought to keep.

It’s the very place which, many mornings, motivated me get out of bed to do what I love, so I could come back to just live what I love.

It’s home.

Plus, everything in my little space reminds me of the countless hours I worked for nothing until I was able to get real contract work.  Every piece of furniture, (for which I checked my savings) or hand-me-down piece I repurposed, sits indicative of how much I’ve grown.

Long ago, I adopted the toddler mantra, “I do it all by myself!” And let’s face it:  the LA common-place “sugar daddy” was never in my plan.

Could you imagine looking at these same things with disgust?

“I dated him for that handbag and chandelier?”

I feel bad for the girls who do and just wish I could pass out magic erasers.

You know, for bad decisions.

“One for you, one for you, and you?  You’ll need two.”

Ladies, just don’t.

I’m able to look at “things” in my life and feel the same satisfaction I had when I rewarded myself upon landing a new contract or job.

For example, when I worked for the New England Patriots, I was making two hundred dollars a week, (I knew it would be a great resume builder).

When they won the Super Bowl that year, I bought myself a ring to commemorate my experience.

From Banana Republic.

It’s a giant flower with fake diamonds.

Touchdown!

(But I’ll forever know what it represents in my life.)

Had I won the four hundred million, sure, I could buy a real diamond flower ring, but would it have the same effect on my heart?

No.

And when it comes to home, the feeling you get when pulling inexpensive art, a hand-me-down table and your grandmother’s old pictures together is insurmountable.

If I had millions, I’d fire any designer who didn’t at least get me one piece of cheap art from TJ Maxx.

Look, I’m not crazy. I could think of a million wonderful ways to spend a giant fortune; sharing it with my friends and family.

But my one fear is that I’d find myself leaving my new mansion to hop into whatever car I wanted that day and drive past my little apartment…

wishing I could afford what I once had.

Because no amount of money can buy the satisfaction that comes with a life

where you feel like you really win

when you first have to try.

Thank you, God.

Life, to the “Tea”

One of my great passions is interior design.

So when my grandmother passed away, I asked my mother if I could have an antique chair she kept in her bedroom.

I also asked for a set of her china.

I didn’t ask for a set of china because I think I need china.

Having a set of her china had special meaning to me, and here’s why:

My grandmother was well-traveled.  After a trip to London, she taught me about tea. I was maybe 6 or 7.

As my grandmother’s granddaughter, I never had to pretend I was having a tea party.

She’d bake rolls for us and bring out her most beautiful cups and saucers.  She’d polish silverware just for our afternoon tea.  We would sit in her family room at an actual tea table with 2 matching chairs, where she taught me how to sip tea as well as put butter and jelly on a roll with a real butter knife.

Yet, if you were to sit down with me now, I’d conveniently forget those things and, depending on where we were, smear the end of the roll across a pat of butter on my bread plate and shove it into my mouth. 

‘Ello…

She also taught me how to stir sugar in my teacup with a teaspoon.

Really, there’s only one way, but…(shoulder shrug).

We’d pour milk out of a creamer, detailed in the same pattern as the the cups and saucers, which also matched the sugar bowl…and the sugar inside matched her stories.

And in writing that, I realize my grandmother brought much more than just tea to me.

You see, despite her worldly travels, she wasn’t jaded, this gem of a human. She’d tell me about her childhood; how her mother abandoned her and how her “daddy” was wonderful.

Then she added how she was once “poor as a church mouse,” but reminded me that being rich in love was most important, anyway.

She’d also tell me about London, Princess Diana and how wonderful she was to everyone.

When she’d recount the places she’d been, she didn’t miss a detail or fail to articulate the beauty of her experiences and what life lesson was learned, (with the most humble heart).

At the time, I didn’t fully understand the undertones of what she was trying to say.

I was disillusioned by my days at the neighborhood pool, where the only care I had was hoping the bottoms of my feet wouldn’t burn when the “ice cream man” rolled into the parking lot.

Oh, and if I had enough change for a bomb pop.

But, through tea, my grandmother was planting seeds:  teaching me the importance of having class, to never be concerned with wealth and constantly reminded me (my whole life) “God always provides.”

She also looked at me and said, “if you marry for money, you’ll earn every dime.”

So, earn your own dimes and marry a hardworking church mouse who makes me feel rich in love?

Got it.

Little did I know, she was equipping me with sentiments I’d carry in my heart to this very day.

It’s almost as if she knew I’d live in a city where some people don’t learn about tea.  I’m just thankful I didn’t forget how to stir in the sugar.

I never forget the sugar.

Below:

Ideas for displaying china.  Stack it, mix it or match it–just don’t forget to use it.

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Nell Hills, Kansas City, Missouri

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Wildfox Store, Sunset Plaza. Los Angeles

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Wildfox Store, Sunset Plaza. Los Angeles.