1. β€’
    Tonight I had dinner with the lady who changed my life.
  2. β€’
    Her name is Ellen Jane, but we've called her Aunt Jane since I was a kid.
    I've never heard the real reason why she dropped 'Ellen' in her teens. She is my dads brothers wife.
  3. β€’
    Jane is the single reason I moved out to California. She's the one who called to catch up and wish me a happy birthday and heard me say I was moving to NYC w nothing but my paycheck(a measly $350) and driving a Ford F 150 that was given to me, w no reverse.
  4. β€’
    But instead of just listening, she spoke. "Nikki, come out to California. You could work until you get your own place. You can stay with us for three months. If you don't make it, I'm sorry you'll have to go back to Michigan."
  5. β€’
    I'll never forget spending that $350 on a one way ticket. Some of my friends sad, the rest of my life in the rear view mirror.
  6. β€’
    And I landed in south Orange County of all places.
    It's a true love/hate relationship.
  7. β€’
    That was a little over 12 years ago. And tonight Aunt Jane was in town for a brief two day trip and met up with me for sushi and drinks.
    Her and my uncle long ago moved back to Northern Michigan, built a really nice house for themselves and still travel all over. I'm happy for them.πŸ’›They're 65/68 but retired at 50/55 so they've been living it up for quite a few years.
  8. β€’
    So I just got home from seeing her. And I'm thinking that I'm not sure she knows how much she changed my life with that tiny opportunity. Nor does she know how much I adore her.
  9. β€’
    Her during dinner: Oh my goodness you have bangs now! I love them!
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    Who are you voting for Nikki, you better be thinking wisely about that!
  11. β€’
    Nikki, men will be men. You love them regardless.
  12. β€’
    I'm just SO surprised! I mean after 25 years?!
    Speaking about a friend who just separated from her husband. She shared about this for at least 20 minutes and I adored seeing the passion in her heart and the hope for them despite her knowing her friend was no longer in love.
  13. β€’
    I'll of course make an amazing dinner but for breakfast you need to fen for yourself bc I'll be on a bike ride.
    I adore her.
  14. β€’
    Want one more sushi roll?
  15. β€’
  16. β€’
    I also want to share some things that will always make me think of her:
  17. β€’
    The Green Bay Packers
    She grew up in Wisconsin
  18. β€’
    She introduced me to her. The album was Shepherd Moon.
  19. β€’
    We share the same favorite
  20. β€’
    Cross stitch and knitting/crocheting.
    She has made countless pieces. I'm still waiting for my personalized one.
  21. β€’
    Being a sweet hostess. She loves to host and it's apparent. I'll never forget so many times I would stay with them after a bonfire on their patio and having too many glasses of wine and I would stay over. We'd both be buzzed and she would take me upstairs, set out fresh towels for me and tell me I could sleep in.
    I loved staying there bc the beds in their spare rooms were bomb and it honestly felt like a hotel in ways but home in others. The "home" was her all the way. She always had a touch of her own creativity and family love in each room.
  22. β€’
    ASPCA activism. She has such a huge heart for animals, dogs in particular.
  23. β€’
    Anyway, I should stop boring you. In conclusion:), I may be on the path to moving again but I will never forget how much her tiny bit of kindness made my life what it has become.