I’m sitting at my dining table looking out the window at a glorious Northwest day, the doors are open, Van Morrison is on the player (I could listen to Into the Mystic 40 times in a row and not get tired of that song) I’ve got a Diet Peach Snapple, just talked to my mom and dad and they’re on the road heading home from Phoenix for the season, and my facebook peeps are entertaining as always. Life is so good.
I got up and worked out this morning and actually run/walked home from there as part of my commitment to be ready for the 1/2 marathon I crazily signed up for that’s happening in June. I am not a runner and find little pleasure in it so I’m always trying to think of anything but the fact that I’m running. This morning, I put the time back to the house thinking about all that I’m thankful for regarding the Bake-Off. I know you all know it but I want to be more specific. Huge thanks to:
- Glen! I joke that if I hadn’t married Glen I’d probably be on my ninth or tenth husband by now! That boy is patient and kind and caring and super supportive. And he does the dishes. All the dishes all the time. He’s my biggest fan and my secret weapon. We’ve been married thirty years and the best part of it is that we’re still having fun.
- My family. Wow, few people get such a good one. My parents, Loren and Noel, are always there for me. When I found out about the Bake-Off on the boat, I thought my mom’s screaming was going to get us kicked off! They are always happy for me. And my sisters. Lori is my number one blog fan, and shares news of my Bake-Off adventures on facebook and Jen calls and leaves me encouraging messages, counselled me on what to wear and talks me up with her big circle of friends. My brother-in-law, Darryl, was the original inspiration for me to even try working with sweet potatoes and my other bro-in-law, Rod is always quick with encouraging words. Then you add in my incredibly supportive nieces and nephews — Tyler, Kinga, Nathan, Ambyr and Spence. They never forget to cheer me on. And Spence is my secret weapon for all things technical. And last, but never, ever least is our wonderful baby Savanna, who adds joy to my life just looking at her.
- My girlfriend posse. I have friends that rock the house. Diana has been going through huge things in her life with her mom and yet she always takes time to remember and cheer me on. She even made a HUGE goodee bag full of treats and magazines for me to take on the plane. And that was in the middle of grieving for the loss of her mom. Tina listened to me bounce ideas about what I could make to enter into the Bake-Off for hours. She has counselled me at length on ways to help my entry look good and patiently worked with me on it. And shored me up in the moments of doubt. Plus, she carefully “evaluated” my competition by checking out all the recipes in the cookbook. So great! Cindy is always, always there to cheer me on. She never doesn’t believe in me. Never doubts that I can do something. She’s the fittest person I know and never cares that I’m her chubby friend. She’s a sister as much as a friend. And Mitzi my wonderful, crazy, incredibly brilliant friend who has a voice like Shelby Lynne and a mind like Einstein. Her humor can make me scratch my head one minute and her talents can stun me in the next.
- Our girls. Except for the tiny technicalities that we didn’t get them in the traditional sort of way and we have only had them in our lives since they were teens, we think of Tea and Anita as ours. We love them as our own and they love us in return. Tea is steady and loyal as anyone you will ever meet. And Anita might live on the other coast but she shares her life with us through her blog and photos and I LOVE that she did her Pillsbury Potluck party and rocked the house with it. Everyone should be so lucky as to have kids like these. And she and Bobby and Sebastian even planned their Florida vacation to coincide with when we going to be there — even though it was a busy time of year. All of that is about being family — biology be dammed.
- But I do still have more family on my thank you list. Gen Olds in Phoenix is the best secret weapon anyone could have on their side for cheering you on and helping to spread the word and keep other friends and family in the loop. She and Lew have always cheered on us girls and made us feel well loved. And Gen really has been “blogging” long before it ever became trendy. She just does it though a more traditional email method. Leon and Donna in Phoenix were there cheering for me too. And moving over to Idaho, Ann and Gerry always have my back when we’re diving but I knew they were cheering me on to win from the minute they too heard about it way back on the boat in September. And on the other side of the family, my cousin Cindy has been super supportive and was the one person who taped me when I was on the local news. Very nice and kind.
- Closer to home, my work group is pretty much the best bunch of people you could ever work with. Lisa, Jenni, Al, Mike, Neil, Tina, Nathan, and Diana are talented, thoughtful, quality individuals and they don’t just put up with their nutso manager, they support me. Including throwing a Pillsbury Potluck before I left so we could get a good taste of some of the competition. (None of which “even came close to my dish” — see how great they are!) And my bosses too are exceptional. Heck, almost every person that works at the PUD. I swear. They are too numerous to mention but many a day the past six months it was this bunch of people who made my day through their interest and kind words.
- My hairdresser Joanna has been super duper wonderful from day one too. She has listened and cheered me on and helped me plan ahead so my hair would be perfect (or as good as it gets!) for the event. Joanna — I got several very nice comments about my hair from other finalists. You rock the color girl! Really all the girls at Split Ends Salon have been supportive.
- Reenie and Jeanne! Reenie was my Boot Camp coach but even after I dropped out she still took time to cheer on my Bake-Off efforts. She’s just like that. And Jeanne is my Jazzercise instructor who is one of the nicest people ever too. And Cathi. How could I forget her? She’s my weekday Jazzercise instructor and wonderfully supportive. And all the women in my classes as well.
- Scott and Cindy and Rick and Tamy. These are “couple” friends that we have and honestly, they came in to our lives only in the last three years. But it feels like we have always known them. Glen calls Scott his “brother from another mother.” We all bonded through music and wine to start with but they too have been there cheering me on and letting me bore them with the same Bake-Off updates over and over. Cindy has a lot happening in her own life and yet she and Scott never fail to cheer me on and check in on how its going.
- Glen’s brother Jeff and his family — Joyce, Robin and our Nevada kid Cody — called every day to see how it was going.
- And I could never forget to thank my other wonderful friends. Amy is my friend that has known me the longest and still loves me. Lu is my roommate from college and a skilled baker so of course she was excited with my news. Julie I almost never get to see but she made sure I knew she was cheering me on through facebook notes and postings. Cindy W. just lives down the road and she is one of the most thoughtful people I know when it comes to remembering to cheer people on. Cheryl and Joe may live in California but they remembered to send a note of encouragement on my big weekend. Same with Toby and Corrine, also friends from California, who sent off a great card when they got my news and then called to see how it went. And Brian and Brittany too — more kids who technically belong to someone else but we think of as ours. : ) And Debbie and Mike who cheered me on from California and Oregon.
- Plus you’ve never met a nicer bunch then the people we love from our Great Harvest days. Lisa and July and Jody are all part of the extended family I know that loves me and cheers me on. And Chris and Camilla and Ruben and Ashley and Tessa and Kaylee too (and their moms!)
- Sarah Jackson the reporter at the Herald who wrote great articles and was nice to work with. Same with Rochelle and Pam at Chat with Women on KKNW. I had a blast talking with them. And Sean and Tami at the Mountain. They were all doing their jobs covering the story but they were a lot of fun to meet at the same time.
- And all of my Facebook peeps! I have this group of FB friends that I really love. They cheer me on and they shore me up. They share their news and let me share mine. Everyone should have a FB village.
- And my neighbor Judy . . .my root canal dentist . . . Lynda who walks Dandy . . .and Angie and Monteys who were on the boat with us in the beginning . . . and Larry and JoAnne Ames who took the time to send a thoughtful note . . . and the sales lady at Macy’s that helped me pick out clothes for Oprah.
- And all the people at Pillsbury. And Steve and Meghan at the PR agency. And Scott Rondeau, one of Oprah’s producer who is a local boy made good — made big! — and very nice to me and a pleasure to talk with when he called for finalist info to have just in case. All of these people were encouraging and kind.
- And my fellow finalists. To a person they were wonderful.
I think that’s it. I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone. THANK YOU! This is my village and I feel blessed to have every one of you in my life. Who needs a million dollars when you have these kinds of riches? Thanks for loving me, cheering me on, shoring me up when I need it and adding depth beyond measure and value to my life. What a lucky girl I am.