Weekend Getaways

May 28, 2019 at 8:47 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

As long as I can remember, I have always loved to go for a drive. maybe because my dad has always taken the family to visit relatives when I was a child. Often times, we split our weekends between my grandparent’s house in Kernville, or in Santa Barbara. I had fun seeing my cousins and enjoyed the different environments of both locations.

On Friday night after my parents came home from work, we had a quick dinner and off we would go in our camper. Kernville was a wild west looking town, small and quaint. The town has not changed one bit since I remember it as a child. My grandparents owned a duplex on the edge of town. I remember my twin brother, my cousin and I all were afraid to go into the converted garage guest room because of the wild boars head hanging in the front room. The family would go swimming in the local swimming hole.

Goleta is a suburb of Santa Barbara. I remember many Easters spent with my family in a quaint trailer park near the beach. I remember having to go down a wooded path downhill to get to our beach. I remember one family member joking about swimming with the sharks….. We probably did because we could hear the seals in the distance. Across the street from the trailer park was a beautiful black horse. The kids would sneak across the street and go pet him. I guess I never realized how fortunate my brother and I were to have two places to visit on the weekends. We often talk about how much we love Santa Barbara and Kernville. Living out of state, it is difficult for me to take a trip back in time.

I guess this is where I have my love of driving as well. I love to take day trips and even not going very far, I feel like I have had a mini- getaway. I live in a four-season climate. I can enjoy the beauty of winter, watching the flowers bloom in the spring, designing my backyard retreat, and then enjoying a nice fall drive watching the leaves change color. I feel fortunate to look out my front door and see the national forest, so many biking trails, and waterfalls to explore local wineries, a local farm that makes goat cheese, floating the river with friends, ice cream shops found in small gas stations in a less traveled road. I find when you get off the main highway, you see more wildlife in the farmer’s field. I was driving a back road a couple weeks ago with dear friends we stopped to let the elk cross the street to the open field. It is fun to watch them standing there watching you as you slowly drive past them.

I love small town living although, my home town is growing. New apartments going up, more traffic, more accidents, but the forest is still unspoiled, wildlife sightings, back roads to keep exploring, and just staying home sometimes and enjoying what the season has to bring.

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Let’s Stay Home

May 23, 2019 at 10:03 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

While grocery shopping yesterday, I went looking through some of the summer items for sale. I ran across this little wood sign that said Let’s Stay Home. I have always loved any idea of a stay-cation or being a tourist in your town or unplugging for the weekend. People are starting to adopt the idea of having friends and family over for an informal dinner outdoors or creating a family weekend getaway at home.

It is easier than ever to create a relaxing retreat of your own. Home Shopping Networks have paired with home decorating experts for a few years showing the homeowner tips to create the home of your dreams. There are countless home improvement catalogs and DIY weekend classes helping the beginner from paint techniques, tile setting, and installing an outdoor fire pit. Families are deciding to stay in their home instead of downsizing. The new empty nesters are updating the family home for future grandchildren.

My yard is half completed. Last weekend, good friends of mine came over and helped me plant two shade trees to replace my late son Levi’s twenty-five-foot pine tree that mysteriously died during this last winter. I was sad at first that the tree died, but then I decided to to take the opportunity to update the old backyard. We expanded my patio with brick pavers(my friend is a paint contractor so he will stain the existing patio to match), cut down the old dead pine tree, and plant my Mother’s day gift from one my second son. Mike has been a part of my family since the boys got in trouble in Kindergarten.  I was surprised when I returned home from a great day trip hiking to find a huge waterfall.

I never thought of myself as a Type A personality, I thought of me as easy going….. My yard is partly finished and I am thankful for all the hard work my dear friends have done for me but with work, caring for my aging mom, and the yard almost completed, I am needing to refocus my energies. I Should be outside right now repainting my front porch columns that my friend sanded and primed ready for paint. But as you can see, I am here writing this post. One of us will get it done soon.  My house is coming together and I enjoy my stay-cations, no wait my Let’s Stay Home state of mind.  I love being a tourist in my own town, getting out seeing the new stores coming in, the new coffee shops, seeing how the City wants to build the new downtown area. We are a small City right now growing more every year. I have to say I liked the town small but in time change does come. I just have to get ready for it.

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A Walk Down Memory Lane

May 16, 2019 at 10:56 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

The other day, I decided to get under the house- the great unknown (spiders, spider webs) and such, and go through some of the many boxes I have compiled over the years. I found some of my late husband’s Karate trophies and his favorite pair of boots, his jacket, and his motorcycle helmet. There are many boxes that I just forgot about after he had passed away suddenly. It’s funny how over the years, friends had offered to help clean the space and you are not ready. I guess you have to be in the right mood to deal with all the treasured memories.

In the far end of the crawl space,  I saw something that looked like someone was trying to build something down there. On closer inspection, I realized the fort my son was building fifteen years ago, was in the final stage of deterioration. I was impressed, to say the least. He found boxes that he used for the walls of his “new bedroom”, he had installed an extension cord, for tv viewing purposes and let us not forget his lamp. I finally figured out where most of his clothes went. I sat on the floor and laughed out loud. I had forgotten he had built this or tried to. He was moved into the bedroom next door after he was discovered.

I think this will make a cold, rainy day project for me on a staycation. I can get help putting all the boxes in the garage and take one out and go through it, donate what is not needed anymore. It is funny when sometimes you look through a box and find what you need and do not have to go rebuy the item. I know I will find clothes that Levi has outgrown, old toys, video games still in boxes keep them in the box mom, they are worth more money he used to tell me. Some of my high school clothes that are a trip down memory lane in itself. I found one of my favorite blouses I wore back then (I could not get the blouse on over my wrist that is how tiny I used to be). that was a shocker for sure. My mom’s favorite story about me is when I threw a party the day I weighed one hundred pounds.

It is fun to rummage through the past and remember what you found important to keep. A good friend started my bell collection years ago when she went on a trip. I watched her kids for her. Two of my favorite Aunts have given me some of the most beautiful prints of their paintings for my home. My dad painted his last picture for my late husband and my six year anniversary, my dad had no more desire to paint afterward. I still have the artwork hanging in my dining room. Life is full of unexpected pleasures sometimes you look in a junk drawer and find a special note from your son giving you his new cell phone number, or a receipt you find reminding you of that special getaway. I enjoy each and every treasure I find.

 

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An Unexpected Gift

May 11, 2019 at 9:45 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, Survivor, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I am sitting at my computer wondering what to blog about when I remembered I was given an unexpected gift. When my son Levi was a teen, he worked laying carpet and installing granite countertops. Levi would start working early in the morning and I can remember seeing him heading to his grandma’s house after work. I would laugh because I was running a few errands and Levi was done for the day.

One afternoon, Levi told me his boss had some extra carpet he wanted to get out of his garage. My neighbor also wanted to buy the carpet, Levi told me if I had the money available, he could lay the carpet for me. A few weeks later, my good friend and I were out for a nice drive, (like an hour from home) her husband called her and told her his crew was having a slow day. I could hear some rough words being spoken over the phone when Levi was hammering the nails into the floor. No wonder I had so many squeaks(smirk). My friend and I arrived home in time to see all the carpet installed and the baseboards being put back.

 This is one of my favorite stories because it was a treat to have new carpet and my son install it for me. I remember Levi wanted to continue improving my home for me by adding new door molding. He was working on million dollar homes in the area and wanted me to have a nice place to live. I never got the new countertops he wanted to install or the new flooring he passed away in a tragic car accident before he had the chance to keep updating. The last couple of years, I have had new flooring and carpet installed in my kitchen and dining by Levi’s old boss. I think if Levi could see what I have already done, he would be happy. 

I turned Levi’s old bedroom into my dressing room. I had to do some repainting and taking down of the military-themed bedroom before it became my oasis. Yes, the fifteen-year-old and his friend painted his bedroom the most god awful green you have ever seen. (funny how now the color is in). A good friend of mine gave me some beige paint to repaint the room after my son had passed away. I added a few finishing touches with Victorian shadow boxes and updated his bookshelf. I have many author friends so the bookshelf went back into its corner filled with inspiring reading material. 

Life is full of unexpected surprises, a helping hand, good advice from a loved one or best friend. I hope this Mother’s day finds you surrounded by family and friends and those you love most. Some mothers are expecting or celebrating the first Mother’s day, others are having the kids over, while some moms are hoping their kids are safe abroad and some, like me, lost their son and have wonderful memories of when I was given an unexpected gift one day. 

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Enjoying The Afternoon

May 2, 2019 at 9:13 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I cannot believe that it is May already. they say the olde you are, time seems to fly by. I woke up this morning to what looked like another cloudy, cold day. I was pleased to see the sun shining by mid-morning so I could enjoy the afternoon. One of my favorite activities is a day drive. 

Yesterday, a good friend of mine and I had planned to go to a resort town not far from my home town. My friend had to leave earlier than expected, so instead, I weeded my front flower bed; it needed to be cleaned out and ready for succulents to be planted in my urns and bird bath. So I guess my day was well spent anyway. I needed to get to my weed and get my flowers bought before the heat arrives. 

This morning after feeding my mom her lunch, I decided to head out and go around one of the many lakes in the area. We have mountains and forests overlooking lakes or the perfect view for a home. I am fortunate to in a cove that looks out over the vacation home off the river. One of my favorite drives in only twenty minutes from my home. The area is rural with quail, deer, moose sightings and turkeys walk in a straight line along the roadway.  My family used to go to the campground with friends and spend the week with my son camping, fishing, and boating. Friends would come from Oregon to celebrate a holiday or birthday camping. 

The older I get, the more I am starting to enjoy four season living. I call myself semi-retired because I work a thirty hour week now and can now spend time pursuing hobbies I did not think I would enjoy. The last couple of years, friends have come and helped e paint my house, put on a metal roof and update my old furnace. This spring, it is time to take down Levi’s tree planted for my late son. For some reason, it just died this last fall. I decided to plant two shade trees in my backyard and extend my patio and add a patio cover for a basic elegant backyard. I have no desire for a fire pit, outdoor grilling kitchen waterfall, or an outdoor fireplace so I will opt for a basic elegant backyard instead. I  do not have a bucket list of things to accomplish before I die. Sometimes, I think it is a nice way to get together with older friends and see the Grand Canyon or go on that special trip you and your honey planned all those years ago and life got in the way. The only thing I want to do this summer is taking the seaplane tour because we have a beautiful mansion on the tour. I noticed three years ago that the plane soared over my backyard. I thought about actually tidying up the place more and then taking the tour and being proud of my house from the air. I know, I am funny, but it gave me something to look forward to this year and then I can sit back and enjoy my newly designed oasis.

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