Back To Reality

June 23, 2019 at 7:16 pm (Uncategorized, Memoir, Creative Non- Fiction, Middle age, Life beyond parenting, positive thinking, blogging, life lessons) (, , , )

Last week, I went on a stay-cation. I can always count on it raining, no, down pouring about the time I decide I need a break from my normal routine. Friends do not ask me what I did for fun that week off, they know I enjoy my home town. It was nice getting a break from having to water my lawn so much, the temperatures were staying in the high 60 degrees mark for the most part.

I ventured out of my home one day and finally went to a big box store that just opened up. I think this store has a Lowes beat in size. I walked in thought this place is huge. It will take me three days to see everything like at Disney Land. I felt a little bit overwhelmed with how many choices you have for one color of a throw pillow. If you want brown, they have fifty shades of just brown so you can coordinate your bedding or your accent chair in the corner of the living room. I found many double duty furniture solutions for hidden storage or a chair that folds out into a bed for guests. A fun afternoon indeed.

Sometimes, it is nice to take a break from your daily routine, not check emails for a couple days, no computer, keeping cell phone use to a minimum. For some, this seems impossible I mean staying off my phone for a couple days. All the things we do every day just to keep our lives running smooth. Between my job, caring for my aging mom, blogging, and weeding my yard I keep a full schedule. Anyone who knows me laughs because I hate yard work. I am becoming a reformed black thumb gardener. I had two shade trees planted in the back yard recently. I can say with pleasure, they are growing taller and branching out like they are supposed to.

I have not been camping since I was a child. My parents would take off when school let out or in October during hunting season in Colorado. I can truly say, I have my love for driving from my dad. We have visited many National Parks. Seeing Old Faithful is a must for all. It is funny now that my family moved to Post falls years later. I have always enjoyed watching wildlife, step outside your front door and see the forest, able to drive beside the river on a back road. I think this daily routine is one I will never need a break from. I have lived here for thirty-eight years, there are still so many places I have not seen yet. Sometimes it feels like have our own small piece of paradise living right here.

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Keeping Your Life On Track

June 8, 2019 at 9:14 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Like so many, I have felt like I am in a funk lately. Sometimes you feel like life is just passing you by or you are trying desperately to keep up with the daily demands in life. I am afraid I am there. Sometimes, I feel like I can not cope with the obligations I have and want to run away.

What it is relief for me is that everyone I talk to is going through something. A family issue, health issue, unemployment,  house hunting, being part of the sandwich generation. Summertime is a busy time of year for many. School is out, vacation planning to do, or some just like to stay home and enjoy the backyard pool. I notice some great gardens taking shape as I drive around the ritzy neighborhoods, I come away with some good ideas to incorporate into my backyard retreat.

I know for me, sometimes I do not know why I have a hard time in the summer but I would like to just move on to fall. Summer brings so many wonderful outdoor activities such as swimming, paddle boarding, hiking, riding your bike, or just enjoying catching up on a good book in the park. I have learned how to enjoy summer more. I plan one special activity to look forward to every week. This afternoon, my good friends are taking me to buy a camper trailer. I am getting out for the afternoon, plus spending my downtime with some good company. I would not call myself an introvert, but I can find myself in my backyard listening to the birds or watching the squirrels eating the birdseed in the feeders.

When I look in my closet for something to wear, I laugh because I have more warm weather clothes than cold. I do have to admit I like wearing a nice skirt and pretty top to run errands. I cannot handle the hot, muggy, sticky days, I cannot eat because I feel sick afterward, the house does not cool down until after ten at night, plus, I do not like to fight the crowds at the beach or finding a choice spot by the lake. My home town is rapidly growing and the traffic is getting busier. This is progress though. One has to eventually have to share the best-kept secrete. Many share my love of the mountains, the lakes, and fishing, the hiking, camping by the streams this area has to offer. Who does not love to look in a farmers field and see a herd of elk quietly grazing?

Luckily, my moods do not stay with me for too long. I have some good friends who keep me grounded and moving forward if I get too melancholy. They miss Julie who is always smiling and has a positive attitude towards life. I am truly loving my middle age lifestyle. I did not think I would have had some of the hardships I overcome, but God has helped me to stay focused on what is really important.

I want to thank you for stopping by and reading my post. I hope you will come by again I appreciate your support.

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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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Siblings Day

April 10, 2019 at 10:56 pm (blogging, grief, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent, Survivor, Twins, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Let’s see if I can get myself into trouble on National Siblings Day. My twin who shall remain nameless does not like his name, picture or anything of the sort told about him. I think I have one of the best twin brothers one could have. We got along pretty well growing up, living on a ranch five miles from town. We had each other to play with until one of us wore out his/ her welcome then we found another activity to do alone.

twins will tell you how many minutes apart they are-some twins will go so far as to say for seven minutes, they had it made. I always hated when people talked about ‘the twin thing.’ If something went wrong with my brothers truck, I better watch out because the same fate awaited me as well. When we entered school, we were put in separate classes so we could both learn at our own pace and not be compared as it was, we never had one class together.  We both held different interests, mine was nursing and His was art.

I would not have traded being a twin for the world. Even though we are not as close today as we once were, we still both talk about growing up on the ranch and our 4-H days and teaching our lambs to walk around our circular driveway on a leash. I got a big kick out my friends and a cousin of mine. they envied my brother and I getting to care for all the animals until they found out lambs, chickens, horses,cows do not care if it is Saturday, they still want to eat a six a.m. whether you are awake or not. My friends decided to stay in the town and play with friends instead.

So much has changed since we were young. We both were married, had one child each and tried to live the ‘happily ever after life so many dream of’. After six short years of wedded bliss, my husband died from complications of diabetes, a few years later, we lost our son Levi to a tragic car accident. He was only 20. My brother has a wife and a beautiful and successful 25-year-old daughter. Both my son and my brothers daughter were in a music video. Both my brother and I are proud parents.

Sometimes life throws a curve ball, it is easy to become a lemon taster and be bitter and angry with your circumstance, instead of becoming bitter and angry, I chose to trust God. He has gotten me through some of the darkest days of my life, everyday I heal more and have wonderful memories of my life I can share with you to maybe somehow help someone who is hurting.

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A Different Perspective

March 28, 2019 at 9:16 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , )

The older I get, I am getting very dissatisfied with photos taken of me. I was on one of my Social Media sites and ran across two pictures of me I thought I have long deleted-surprise. I had only one hour until I had to be at work and my neighbors invited me to walk down to the bay with them for some outing pictures. I knew a few had been taken of me but when I saw the one folks liked, I was shocked. I will say this much, the scenery is very beautiful down at the bay. Sometimes we criticize ourselves in an unhealthy way, while I know others appreciated what was seen and not just the mountains in the background.

I would not call myself  pessimistic I would say that there are a few things I do not like about me. It is harder to find pants and shirts that fit a woman, not made for a ten-year old, hairstyles for middle-aged woman, the tummy bulge that is harder to tame in your fifties than just a few short years ago, not feeling hungry, excited about exercise, late night cravings. I love the ads that promise one cup of this and tummy fat melts off-right….. mine is hanging around for a while longer I guess.

I went to the mall the other day to find some summer pants. Well, I had to get two sizes bigger than normal because my normal size would fit maybe on a baby doll. When I got them home and tried them on, I get the droopy in the wrong place. I notice the fabrics lately are paper-thin so if you do not have that once teen age body, we have to resort to a casserole. There is a big difference between juniors, regular woman sizes and plus sizes. I have found some of the petite size clothes are cut much smaller now. In high school a friend tried to talk me into taking sewing, I would still have the patterns and could make just my size cheaper than in the department stores.

The older I get, I am adopting a new way of life. I say that I am semi retired because I am. In this time of my life I live in a nice home that is almost paid off , have a spacious backyard I am getting ready for the season ahead, I have more time to do the things I enjoy. I have never loved gardening I am a reforming black thumb gardener.  My flowers are updated every season,my trees have fared the seasons, except for my late son Levis tree. last fall, it died. I was upset because it was planted in his honor by some good friends, but then I realized it was not the end of the world I have survived much worse. I am having his tree cut down and planting two shade trees instead.

Life to me about finding a place where you can be happy in good times and in sorrow. I am glad my late husband and I bought our forever home for our second year anniversary, having our son Levi a few months later; I chuckle that Levi was mad because this was the only house he had lived in. I live in a desirable neighborhood, a block away is a beautiful bay full of outdoor activities. It is still unbelievable to me the kids my son grew up with now have their own families where has time gone? I sometimes wish my husband could still be here to share in this life with me but I think he smiles down on me from heaven. If he saw the house now, he would be surprised at how nice it looks. I have some good friends who have really helped me and I appreciate you all.

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Time Flies

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

 My Pastor is always joking that time flies when you are unconscious. Maybe he is right, we are ending another month and starting a new one tomorrow. I cannot believe how fast the years are speeding past. With this new year, came a surprise to many. February is usually 40 degrees outside and we are getting ready for Spring. Mother Nature had other plans for most of the Country this year. Those who do not get snow, it snowed maybe for three minutes as my cousin pointed out, but snow nonetheless. I felt sorry for her but she did not have her town closed down because it was dangerous to drive with regular tires, and no snow shovels.

I have lived in my home town for the last thirty-eight years. I have enjoyed living in a four season climate most of the time. It is hard to believe that I have lived here for so long. My family didn’t move around  like so many families do. I can count on one hand the homes I have lived in. When my husband and I married, we bought our first home together not knowing it would be our last. I live by a beautiful bay with hiking trails and the river out my back door. We see deer, quail, ducks and hear the birds chirping, plus we are in the forest. You cannot beat that.

I lived on the ranch in California for most of my childhood. Yes, my twin brother and I had our own bedrooms, shared a bathroom, had our own black/white TV sets in our bedrooms at the age of 12. Mom did not know what else to get us that year, we had enough clothes. I have to admit, I would not have traded this time of my life for anything, but a time comes when you need a change. dad became ill and needed a drier climate to live in. My Aunt and Uncle were already here, so we moved to be close. What a new adventure it was. I have never seen the forest facing your front yard. You can see the storms coming in. I love the outdoor atmosphere of boating, canoeing, paddle boarding, and hiking and biking my home town has to offer.

 Some ask me what I think my future holds. Retiring and keep writing this blog and maybe another book or two, I have no plans to move out of my family home. My husband and I bought our place on our second anniversary. We were pregnant with our son Levi. The neighborhood was a young families that we became fast friends with. It was fun seeing all the kids growing up together and then we watched them all leave and start their own lives. It is amazing how fast time flies if you are not careful. Most of my friends have four grand kids they see often. My son Levi died in a tragic car accident in 2007 at the age of twenty. I keep a positive attitude about life and what it holds for me. I have the love and support of my family and friends and a strong faith.

I would not trade my life for anything. The hardships and difficulties taught me perseverance, the glass in my life is defiantly half full and I look forward to my future. Like the passing seasons, our lives are ever-changing, career choices, retirement, family moving in, sandwich generation, it can be tough sometimes, but I know at the end of the day no matter how hard it seems, I have a nice cup of coffee waiting on the side table for me to enjoy and reflect on my day. Let time fly, but do take time to hug your kids extra tight today, tell them how much you love them, how proud you are of them and you are glad they are in your lives. We are not promised tomorrow. I know this for a fact; But life is good and it is what you make of it everyday. Live life to the fullest.

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Silver Lining

February 7, 2019 at 9:58 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

For the past few Months, my life has been topsy-turvy. I have been working my full-time job with another full-time job of caring for my mother. She suffered a fall last year and has been having trouble with the day-to-day living skills. Today, I bought her a new wheel chair to help her get around her house better and to be more independent living.

I can really look back and laugh when I was a child growing up on the ranch and mom reminding me in a not so gentle tone this time) to get my chores done, do my homework so I can get to bed on time. Some kids would be envious that I owned a horse and sheep, pigs, cows, chickens and would have loved to live on the ranch. Some weekends I would have traded them places. Up at 6 to feed the animals, running the lambs around our circular  driveway for a mile getting ready for the fair. Life is always greener on the other side of the Astroturf I have heard it said.

I can look back on raising my young son as a single parent after the sudden death of my husband. I was now mom, dad and sole provider of this now family of two. I learned to be creative with my limited finances to make ends meet. I raised Levi from childhood through his tweens, no easy feat. I think the best compliment any parent could hear from a child is”if I ever become a daddy, I hope I am half the dad my mom was to me”. All the hard work paid off. I can look back of instances that make me laugh now wondering how I have gotten through them. All the door slamming, late night pizza deliveries when he though you were fast asleep, sneaking in through the bedroom window (you were in the bed) oh the screams I heard.

Being part of the sandwich generation is sometimes difficult. You can now relate to what your parents went though raising us and now they need our extra help in day-to-day living. The one thing I will never tire of is hearing all the stories of when mom lived next to the Iverson Ranch Movie Studio in California and watching her hero Hop Along Cassidy film while her horse Honey grazed. She used to play in the Stage Coach Inn; The inn was left with all the furnishings still inside after making the last movie there. Talk about an honest person she never was tempted to take even a brush that was left. This was in the late 1940’s and I can just imagine the beautiful brass beds, linens, and furniture that was just left there. These stories to me are priceless and I am glad mom can tell them to me even if it is over and over. 

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Another Month Is Gone.

February 2, 2019 at 1:15 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

January seems like it just flew by and here we are in February already. I think I just took down my christmas decorations and now on to is it Halloween again?  it seems like the older I get, time just passes me by. I was talking to a co-worker the other day and she remarked time is going faster than a speeding bullet. You soon start to feel like there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish what you need to anymore.

We have not had much snow so far this year. some are happy and some just like the four seasons. Two weeks ago, we had a good storm hit us. When I shoveled out my driveway into my street so I could get out to run some errands, I saw the nicest gesture from two young men. I was coming home from the grocery store, an elderly gentleman sat in his warm car where he ran into a snow bank. Tow young men were on their stomaches shoveling this poor man out. It restores my belief in human kind that some will stop and help someone in need without giving it a thought.

My co-worker and I were talking the other evening at work about work ethics. Some co-workers show up on time ready to work while others are always late,do less than expected and are looking at their phones. I think the cell phone is going to be the death of society. I could not imagine having to go one day without looking at the thing if it suddenly have been misplaced. I am blown away by how many people cannot live without a gadget in their hands.  I saw a commercial one day that your new refrigerator can be programmed into your phone to give you a grocery list, it is sad to know that cell phone addiction now treated by your work insurance as a disease.

What ever happened to the good old pay phone, you had to look up someones phone number in the book?, when the street lamps went on you knew it was time to go home, getting dirty never killed me, neither did drinking out of the water hose, chores never hurt anyone, setting the table, clearing the table and doing the dishes were just something you knew you did every night and you did n’t argue about it, seeing the Grandparents was special. I have so many fond memories of growing up. Today’s youth is out of touch with manners, following the rules, respecting their elders, being on the phone and not looking where they are going, then act like it is your fault for almost bumping into them.

I just do not understand where we are as a society anymore. Manners are out the window, kids are rebellious, the elderly and mentally challenged seem to the ones who need the caregivers. It seems like no one wants to work anymore or put less effort into the job. I know the turn around rate in these jobs are sad. Health Care is one of the most in demand career opportunity. The baby boomers aren’t getting younger, autism is on the rise, latch key kids are on the rise due to high day care costs. Life used to be much simpler, slower paced, everyone waved to one another, smiled and said hello, helped each other shovel out the neighborhood on the big storms. I would like to think there is a hope to get back to being communities again where folks took care of one another.

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Post Holiday Snowy Afternoon

January 9, 2019 at 1:55 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , )

I remember last year at Christmas, we had eight inches of snow over night for a tricky commute the next morning. This year, it snowed the day after Christmas; It was a blessing in disguise for some I suppose as we like it if you have experience driving and most importantly, stopping at the stop lights and signs. I just love to watch the snow falling and watching the dads pull the kids around the neighborhood in their sleds-or have the dog pull them for you.

Some of my fondest memories are of my friends and family being pulled around the neighborhood on my sled behind my dads old 1946 Willie’s Jeep. I do not know who had more fun, dad or us. When we could not feel our fingers or toes anymore, we would go inside the house where my mom had hot cocoa and home-made chocolate chip cookies waiting. The teens in the neighborhood always had a contest of who could shovel the driveway faster,so the parents never had to bother with the chore(who trained who well here now that I think of it.). I remember the small town sense of community then. We only had three thousand residents living here at the time.

My how times have changed.  The small town is growing rapidly these days. Every time I take a drive around m small town, I realize we have three more apartment buildings going up. We still have a small town charm and neighbors are always willing to lend a helping hand. My next door neighbor came over while I am sitting here writing this post and shoveled my driveway for me. How nice of him to think of me. It is nice to live in a smaller town, you have your favorite coffee-house you frequent, your grocery store, same bank and the friendly tellers there, so it doesn’t matter how much we grow, you still can have a small town feel.

Sometimes life get busier than we would like,I have some dear friends I keep meaning to catch up with over dinner or a movie. Not so long ago, two of my dear friends and I had the same schedule and we went out to lunch or for a nice drive together. My one friend and I laughed when I suggest taking a winter drive all we are missing is the snow. Soon Spring will be here and we will trade our coats,boots,layers for tees and shorts. But for a few moments more, I would like to savor the last of winter. I still love to bundle up near the fireplace and drink my coffee, see deer or moose in the front yard eating off one of the trees, quail eating among the pine trees where they think they are hidden, the neighbors still walking the dogs around the neighborhood by the river. I could not think of another place I would rather live. 

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I Light This candle In Memory

December 11, 2018 at 3:38 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

The holidays can be a stressful time for many, last-minute gift  shopping, Christmas is at your house this year, cleaning the house for guests. And again this year on your mind is that loved one who won’t be here to share the wonderful holiday season. For many, this time of year is lonely, difficult, depressing and easy to just isolate oneself.

A few years ago, I went to a candle light service in honor of my son Levi. I remember being scared to go alone and didn’t want to sit alone and didn’t want anyone to see my cry. When I walked in the door of the building, I was met with such caring staff who made you feel welcome. I was able to sit with a couple I knew so I was not alone. Afterwards, I had some refreshments and went home happy I went.

I know the holidays are stressful,but it is made more difficult when you are missing a special someone again this year. Some folks put an extra place setting in honor of their loved one, some make his/her favorite dessert to add to the desert buffet, others tell a funny story about the loved one at dinner. My son Levi loved chicken nachos, I always make his favorite dish on his birthday with a nice cup of coffee to finish off the meal.

I have the love and support of my family and friends who have encouraged me to never give up, I know I can always count on one of them if I need help, I am invited out to dinner and get to see the town all lit up for Christmas. A nice evening spent with a dear friend. The holidays don’t have to be depressing; They are what you make of it. With so many days left until Santa arrives, strive to stress less, ask for help,maybe this year let family and friends bring a favorite dish, most of all hugs those little ones tight, let them know how much you love them, how much they mean to you and let your loved ones know you appreciate them. I found out we are not promised tomorrow ,so make the most of today.

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