Summer Memories

May 31, 2017 at 8:52 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , , )

Summer is almost here once again. I have so many precious memories of spending the summers with my Aunt in California. My Aunt and Uncle lived just down the street from my family.We lived in a modest neighborhood,but my Aunt and Uncle transformed the house into a show place. My Aunt as I remember loved growing roses on the fence line in the front yard. I decided to try to ride a skateboard from the driveway to the street. I missed the end of the street and hit head first into the roses cracking my front tooth. I was told by my Aunt after she cleaned me up that I wanted to try it again. In the backyard my Uncle built a gazebo, sh above ground swimming pool, and a green house and a dance floor. One thing I remember was my Aunt was very artistic. She raised and sold Orchids for corsage. She had converted the garage into her workshop for flower arranging she had a gift for arranging silk flowers into incredible works of art. I had a good summer vacation spent with my Aunt and grandma. I felt blessed they lived so close to my family. One Mother’s Day, the family all went to the park to fly our new kites. We have pictures of the day in a photo album. The one thing that sticks in my mind the most was how pretty my grandma looked in a dress and she just complained about her chicken legs. (she had nice legs and I only five.).

I raised my young son as a single mother after my husband died from complications of diabetes. I had the love and support of family and friends to help me through some tough times. My dad was my son Levis buddy. I have a special photograph of when grandma, grandpa and grandson all went camping. My dad was standing behind Levi helping him chop wood for the camp fire. My parents would often let Levi spend the night. they would rise before dawn, pack a lunch of sandwiches and hot coffee and be on the dock for fishing before sun up. Whatever was caught, was put on the grill for dinner that night. (they never ate hot dogs for dinner).Our family and friends had a favorite camping spot for weekend getaways. Campers, trailers and motor homes found a spot around one of the many lakes. As many as ten families all met and found their favorite spot to camp. My dad brought the boat for fishing and pulling the inner tubes, while others brought jet skis. I still remember Levi running to me to show me the fish he caught with the net of course. (smile). He didn’t mind gutting the fish,and getting ready BBQ and share his prized catch at dinner. Good thing everyone pitched in for dinner that night or we would go to bed hungry. 

I am so glad my family decided to move to North Idaho. I met so many wonderful people here. I live in a charming small town,in a neighborhood by the river; There is access to a park with hiking trails, benches to sit and watch the ducks or watch the boats pulling the inner tubes and skis. I live in a walking neighborhood. I love to see families go for bike rides or walking the dogs down to the river for a swim.  One of my favorite drives is on the Highland Golf Course. to see the beautiful mansions, and immaculate yards.I often visit some dear friends who live there and sometimes I am treated to a gold tournament for the evening. Just like my friends who built their forever home on the Highlands, I live in my forever home by the river. I re-painted my home two years ago, and now I have freshened up the landscaping. I joke that the gardening gene must have skipped a generation,but it did not skip my secrete weapon Nigel. he is a garden genius. We removed my over grown shrubs and replaced them with Hydrangea bushes. It will be beautiful for years to come. Have a nice summer.

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Spring Is In Full Bloom

May 23, 2017 at 8:12 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , )

While taking a scenic drive around one of the many lakes in my area, I see wild flowers growing in pretty clumps along the road. I wonder if they would grow wild the same way in my backyard. I have small spaces that would look pretty with Lu pins planted beside my bird bath, colorful wildflowers  growing around my Lilac tree, Shasta daisies growing along my fence. I think my friends are tired of giving me cuttings that will grow in the worst soil so I am told. I am trying a drought tolerant garden this year. I like Succulents, some have the most beautiful colors. I may be able to have my roses and keep them alive too. 

With Summertime coming quick, I need to get my yard in shape to enjoy the ever-changing weather. It has been said “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”. We have had an unusually wet Spring so far. We laugh when the weatherman says rain or chance of a thunder shower because the rain seems to pass over my town. Not lately though. We had thunder and heavy rains that flooded some neighborhoods. I noticed the ducks playing in the pond at the stop sign; They usually stay down by the river.

Every June, I attend the Annual Garden Tours;I love to look at all the beautiful neighborhoods and admire the hard work for everyone to enjoy. Many participants are retired and have been opening their homes for many years. You never know where the Garden tour is going to take you. You may stop at an old farm with a walking path to a rose garden beside the tool shed, a little house in town with a secret garden,one Host last year was just finishing up planting flowers along a walkway as the tour was getting started. He spent thousands just to have a nice yard for others to enjoy. This gentleman even included his Alpacas in the tour. Just some nice use of unused spaces to sit and chat or enjoy a glass of wine overlooking the City below you.

I may never be ready to participate in a garden Tour, but I am happy spending time on my patio. I can have a few stay-cations this summer listening to the crickets chirping, the birds singing at the bird bath. I know a lot of work goes into having a nice yard. A few years ago, I was give a couple of trees. I knew they would not grow in the yard, so I planted them in the most unusual locations. My Mountain Ash tree did smashing by the back gate, my two pine trees grew tall by the back fence no one said you had to separate them, who knew they would actually grow. Who knew a seed could blow into your backyard and start a Snowball tree? Now if a couple of varieties of wildflowers would jut blow into my backyard and seed around a few pine trees, around say my bird bath, along my back fence, I would have free flowers that actually stand a chance to grow for years to come because we know they reseed every year. 

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Garden MakeOver

May 18, 2017 at 5:25 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , )

I tease often that I am becoming a reformed black thumb gardener. By mid summer, my grass and plants are threatening to move to a new house, one with some garden savvy to live out the plant days in comfort and colorful bliss. I cannot help it, I water, dead head, prune, fertilize and yes, water. I would love to have a Home and Garden backyard worthy of an Annual Garden Tour, if I had the time to invest in a beautiful backyard. It is sad when I, yes I, can actually kill a harmless geranium. 

This year, I have a secret weapon. His name is Nigel. I am trusting we can get my yard looking nice again. I don’t want a secret garden, just one I can enjoy after a hard days work. Give the birds their own space to come and eat and drink under my pine tree. I see hummingbirds fluttering looking for a spot to drink, butterflies flutter around my yard looking for a perfect spot to land. I have such potential for a critter friendly place to visit often.  I can just hear some awesome gardeners thinking’ I would love to get my hands on her yards. I can work my magic.” Or you can give my some helpful hints to make my yard more inviting. 

When my husband and I bought our home thirty years ago, we lived on a pot holed dirt road, with five homes on the block. This was a fairly new development, with three floor plans. My house was pretty much turn-key. Jerry and I did  not have too much on a wish list, a place for our soon to come son, a bedroom for us and maybe an office. We have a spacious backyard(too spacious) but we never figured out how to fill the yard in with trees. You also know helpful relatives. They couldn’t figure out why we did not plant at least one tree in our backyard why it would be a twenty footer by now. Non of these advice giving folks ever offered to help beautify the sanctuary. I laugh now because my yard is nice,but I know it could look more pulled together.

I have a good friend that lives by the river I tease her about how her  house could be on a Garden Tour. She gets compliments everyday. She laughs because most of the beautiful plants everyone is raving about are weeds that reseed every year.  A funny story about her. She is a Flight Attendant: She left on a trip one morning, four days later when she returned home, her mother(they built the house together and resides together) her mom had the Junipers pulled in front of the grand wrap around porch. She told her daughter” they were too big and this way we have more room to plant nice flowers.” My friend laughs when she tells me the story because what could she do about it. As most of the gardeners know a nice yard takes a lot of work to keep up. I was amazed to find out she works nine hours pulling weeds, clipping, plating new flowers and mowing the yard just to keep it looking nice. It is easy to be envious of someone when they have the energy and the green thumb to have a nice place.

I had to realize I was a single parent who provided a loving home; I did not have the time or  the finances to keep updating my yard. A few plants here and there were fine, but I know people who spends hundreds of dollars every summer. I love the term a work in progress- The home looks like Better Homes just visited and their yard is being featured in next Months issue. But for now, I will take out a crowed shrub,put in a container garden in front(word to those thinking about a metal roof. Good investment, make sure your plans are in containers because the snow will bury them. I found this out this last winter. I think with all the commercials coming out now about making your own retreat is intimidating. You one need to have the cash flow, and two, someone willing to come help you build your grilling area, don’t forget the fire pit, and your relaxing oasis area. Stay cations are getting more  popular now. If you spend this much on a yard, why go to a five-star hotel when you have just created one. Sounds like a plan to me.

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A Mother’s Day Gift

May 13, 2017 at 11:40 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , )

This morning I was feeling a little melancholy; so much has changed in the last few years. I miss my son who died in a tragic car accident in 2007, family and friends have moved away, mom needs extra care now, I was feeling blue. Even though Levi died ten years ago, I still miss seeing him walk through his Grandmas front door for dinner. The last Mother’s day I spent with my son, he hand delivered a bouquet of roses where I worked; What a nice surprise to start my day. We met that evening for dinner at my mom’s house. 

I went over to my mom’s house this afternoon to give her a shower so she could be looking nice for  tomorrow. I have a nice dinner planned for the two of us, and then off to work. My next door neighbors came over to  to help me with her  shower. The kids surprised me with bouquet of daisies, and a box of candy. It wasn’t the fact I was given a nice gift, it was nice to be called mom. The girl next door has been calling me mom since she was little. Levi and Ashley grew up together; Every first snow fall, I knew the kids were outside in front connecting our yards together with a snow tunnel or you could find them sledding down the small hill across the street. They were good kids. Hard to believe the kids are now thirty- something. Ashley and her boyfriend are still a big part of my life. 

I hope tomorrow brings a wonderful day for mom. Maybe not breakfast in bed, or the kids decide to do the dinner dishes,or the garbage mysteriously get taken out without an argument but I wish all the moms a Happy Mother’s day. What I cherish most are the special things said through the years not the gifts. They say some pretty amazing things. This life as that has been transformed by son moving out, new found Independence, taking your time in the grocery store, they have thier own car now, earning a paycheck, but family game night is still special isn’t it?

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A Sweet Note

May 10, 2017 at 3:38 am (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent, Survivor) (, , )

 

I am sitting here thinking about a poem my son had written several years ago. My son moved out to help care for his Grandma after his Grandpa passed away. He left all his worldly possessions in his(my) bedroom thinking I was supposed to just store all his stuff(and he had stuff) for free. They trust us with all this valuable treasures to hold  for them scattered in the basement, the garage, still in limbo in the bedroom. I have to give Levi credit though, at least half of the bedroom was packed up in big boxes(left in the middle of the room). I guess he never thought I would actually want to have a guest bedroom; I love that he thought he could still just walk in the front door scaring me half to death because I was not expecting company, go to (my) room now, pick something up and leave after just three minutes. One day I mentioned to him I wanted to make his room my guest room and either he can move out completely or pay rent on his stuff  he left. The look he gave was priceless. He promised to have all his prized possessions out of the house by the weekend. Levi died in a tragic car accident the next afternoon. He was only 20. 

A couple of Months later, I was going through his desk,  I found a small piece of paper with something scribbled on it. When I opened up the note, I found some sound advice. I would like to share with you the mot important words I will ever read except for God’s word. ” Life can change in a moment, live everyday like you mean it, and don’t look back with any regrets.” My son left a lasting legacy of  the fine young man he had become. I miss he mischievous smile, his infectious laugh, his generous heart, and most of all, his appetite for life. A few years ago, Levi and his boss laid new carpeting in my house. It was a treat to get new carpet, and an honor to have my son help lay it. 

Take the time everyday to tell your loved ones how much you love them, you are proud of them, they can live their dreams, make time to get together often. Our lives have become too busy,slow down. The kids really are only young once. So many families cannot get away for vacations,  the new trend is outdoor living spaces. After a hard days work, come home put on the grill, go for a swim, and end the evening in front of the outdoor fire-place( I am jealous). Life is about slowing down and making lasting memories. A lot of private homes are looking nicer than a luxury Hotel. Who needs to go to the movies when you have a home theater? You don’t have to be wealthy to make a few changes the whole family can enjoy for years to come. Watching some of the Home Renovation Shows give you some good ideas on how to improve the home without adding square footage. 

 

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A New Season

May 3, 2017 at 5:26 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent) (, , , )

A new season is upon us once again. For many families,this will mean new chapters in their lives; Graduates preparing for College, or maybe starting a Military career, venturing into unknown territory with an apartment, a new job, an unplanned pregnancy, or mom decided to go back to school. 

Empty Nest; For so many parents, the very thought that my life is going to change is scary. “We have been a family unit for 18 years now. How can my child think of venturing out into the big black unknown hole?” I have talked to many parents who were not ready to let the kids fly the coop just yet. We think being a parent is going to last forever; we brought them into the world helpless, they one day become a tween, and all of a sudden,they know more than us imagine that! We rejoiced when the kids took the first steps, said the first word, ate without throwing the food on the floor. Hard to think about giving all those memories up now. It is the first day of the rest of our lives my friends. Time to reevaluate our lives. We all of a sudden, are not on time constraints. This was the most incredible feeling I have ever felt. I could actually shop and not dart out the door to get back to the house in time for the bus. All of a sudden, I actually had change in my coin purse, I had hot water once again, no late fees at the video store, food in the fridge, no late night pizza deliveries, no sneaking in the door 2 a.m. Our lives indeed become different. 

The Problem; what to do with all my fee time. Many couples join a gym and get back into shape. the home renovation revolution is in full swing. We build onto our homes a new suit, new decks, revamped back yards for you guessed it the kids coming home for the weekend. I think so many families are so busy,they cannot get away to an exotic location, so backyard decks complete with an outdoor grilling station, pool side comfort, and a place to pitch the tent. I have seen a few commercials that show case what can be done to update a basic backyard with breath-taking results. Having a spectacular out-door area does not take the place of a good day at the park. Flying kites, feeding the ducks, playing on the play ground with other kids are healthy also. What a nice place for grandma and grandpa to come visit for the weekend in a four star retreat. 

So much has changed since I was a little girl. We had a swimming pool in the back yard where the neighbors came for an evening swim followed by desert. We spent many years hosting pool parties and pool table parties. We had a small house in a tract home like many families in the 1960’s. My dad added on a room onto the back patio.  I remember watching my dad and grandpa building our fire place in our living room  out of brick. My dad was the proud owner of a slate pool table. My granddad bought my brother and I a smaller pool table to host our own pool tournaments. Families are busy folks now. Business trips abroad, deadlines to meet, business lunches,  many weekends are tied up with work. Families cannot hardly make ends meet without two incomes.  We needed a nice getaway from the stress of our week, so we created a mini- fortress to escape. Who does not love to enjoy the family outside by the pool, grilling steaks and listening to the kids play football before dinner? Sounds better than the weekly deadlines. Parents are finding ways to have date nights in the backyard by the outdoor fire place. In our ever busy schedules, we are finding time to make lasting memories by having mini weekend escapes in our own town. As the summer begins, the boats come out,a day at the lake,followed by a big BBQ in the backyard. As the kids leave for College,getting married,having families of thier own, at least on thing never changes mom and dads. It is a good place to be.

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