Unexpected Treasure

September 11, 2019 at 9:49 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , )

Recently, mom and I have been sorting through her paperwork to find her marriage license. I looked everywhere I could think of as to where she could have placed it(for safekeeping). Of all the places I could have looked, I found it on the top shelf of her closet. We laughed and she was relieved to have found it.  I told her since we tore apart half your house looking for this certificate, why don’t we sort though the downstairs crawl space and donate some items, the others take to the dump.

I called a good friend of mine to help with the task. I did not realize how much she had under her house that was valuable. She had collectables under her house from the 1940s.  I remember seeing many of the rare glass candy dishes, vintage games, some of my son Levi’s tinker toys and an old lincoln log set. I was having more fun setting aside the treasures and going through the crawl space. of course, my mom was in the living room deciding what to keep and what goes to my friend. Some of the items went to the dump. One of the workers could not believe what was being discarded and I think some family members were given some nice gifts at Christmas that year.

Not too long ago, my mom asked me to get her my dads wallet upstairs as she needed his social security card for some paperwork. As I was looking for his card, I found some pictures I had forgotten he had. There were several school pictures of my late son Levi.  I was overwhelmed because when my son was in the seventh grade, he was angry at me for something I cannot remember now. He had taken down his school picture for that year. I kept several years in the frame as a habit. Levi took down the photo and ripped up every one of his school photos. It was a special gift to find the wallet-size pictures that I can now enjoy.

Mom is still able to live in her home with night time care. She now lives on the main floor in a wheelchair. She lives in a split level home her and my dad bought together when they retired and moved to Idaho thirty-eight years ago. I am glad she allowed me to downsize her home to just daily items she needs. I was looking down the road a couple of years in case she needed to find an assisted living apartment. It is hard to watch our parents grow older and some needing more assistance. She went from a whole closet full of clothes to just a nightgown and bathrobe to now she wears a pair of sweat pants and a blouse. Gone are all the red Hat Lady clothes she used to proudly dress in for the meeting. She was the duchess of finance (treasurer since she was in banking for thirty years). My son used to ask her for a ride, he had to look on her calendar to see if she was too busy at the time. Love it.

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This Thing Called Life

September 6, 2019 at 1:21 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

This thing we call life can be difficult at times, other times things just seem to go our way. I notice how busy everyone seems these days. The cell phone has become the office that is if someone was to lose this precious item their whole world would come to an end. Grocery lists are almost obsolete, lunch dates, business meetings, friends over for dinner are entered into “the life” phone.

I remember when my parents worked all day, came home and made dinner from scratch, and we as a family would set down at the table and share our days. Homework was done before bedtime and tv watching. We lived on a ranch with sheep that needed fed and watered and then walked for a mile around our circular driveway each evening, our horses, chickens, cats, and dogs all needed to be fed and watered. Believe me, they would let you know if they thought they were being forgotten. I treasured those days and sometimes miss them. So many of my friends wished they could trade places with my brother and me and live on the ranch for a week. They did not know what they would have gotten themselves into.

My family had the run of the orchard behind our house. I remember our family dog ran ahead of us happily. One afternoon, my dad went for a leisurely ride on his buckskin horse appropriately named Buck. Our german shephard dog and the horse came back without a rider. My brother and I went to see where my dad was and if he was hurt. The only thing hurt was dads pride. He was bucked off from his horse into the cactus patch. I guess Buck got spooked, dad went flying and the dog and horse came home to get help. Dad surprisingly was in good spirits about the whole thing although he never told us how sore he probably was for a while.

My mom worked at the bank in town. She waited on many celebrities like Joel McCrea. Joel knew we lived on a ranch not far from his place. One afternoon, he asked my mom if my brother and I would be so kind as to catch a few Banny chickens for him as the coyotes kept catching and killing his chickens. He left the cage at our house and Jeff and I would catch him some chickens to replenish his. He was so nice, in the cage he would leave ten dollars for our troubles. The family always went shopping at the local mall on Saturday, we would pass by Joel’s home on our way. He lived in a beautiful ranch house with equally beautiful stables and horses. I always wished I could go on a tour of his place. Now, I guess the family has opened up the property for tours.

I was blessed to grow up in a simple lifestyle. the pace of life was slower, folks had the time to stand and talk to you if you needed anything, you knew they were a rotary phone call away, folks had dinner parties in the backyard or would stand and talk on the front porch. In the small town I grew up in, everyone knew each other and the kids better stay out of trouble because before you got home, mom and dad already knew what you did and how it was done so do not even try to lie. This kept us honest and it also gave us an example to follow when one day we were married and started our own families.

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The Upside of Downsizing

August 21, 2019 at 7:38 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I was able to get together with a dear friend the other day, as we were talking about our lives and how circumstances have shaped our lives, we started talking about our middle-aged lives. We started talking about when we were raising our families many young families bought into the big house neighborhoods. Now, most of the kids are grown and off on their own and they still have this big house, huge yards to care for, gardens to tend to and so on.

My friend was envious of my late husband and my decision to buy in an upcoming neighborhood by the bay. We both loved out three bedrooms and one bathroom ranch style home. She liked the fact that I have always had the perfect sized house with little maintenance. Yes, my husband and young son did the lawn work, fixed the car when needed, helped with the household chores, and yes even with cooking: His specialty was porcupine balls. When we moved in, there were not many neighbors around so Jerry and the boys could ride the ATVs and motorcycles around with little complaints from other neighbors.

The one thing I remember when living on our street was dirt roads meaning dust, lots of dust and potholes. But being our first house in a new neighborhood, we could live with it. After living here a few years, the city decided to upgrade the roads to asphalt roads. We also got rid of the septic system for a sewer. So much for the pioneer spirit, the housing market exploded in our area and with it came a nice community of different styles of homes and income bracket as well. We have a nice family-friendly park to feed the ducks in the bay, a nice place to picnic and swim and hiking trails to enjoy. I think my husband and I made the right choice in our home and a wonderful neighborhood.

I was telling my friend so many families today are deciding to stay in their homes and remodel. The home cost has soared over the last few years so, by remodeling, you can add on to the home values plus have a place for the grandkids to come and stay in the near future.  A growing trend in renovations are the tiered backyard decks. My friend has just finished her home with stunning results. She and her husband put in a nice outdoor kitchen, nice sized fire pit for family gatherings, enclosed the hot tub, enclosed the back part of the patio, and of course, she lives right on the lake. I can tell you I love to visit her and see what she has done now.

With the cost of housing today, I know my husband and I could not afford to buy our home today. The price to rent is outrageous, and it is getting harder to find small quaint towns to raise a family or even retire. I love the growing trend here in my small town. Many couples have dreamed of owning a vacation and just cannot. Many are turning existing homes into the cabin of their dreams. More and more folks are staying home instead of going on vacation. What better way to enjoy the experience than to have redesigned your existing style of the house to the one you really love to come home to. You can always take one element of your last trip and add the perfect accessory to remind you of your special getaway.

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The Cat and the Skunk

August 14, 2019 at 10:50 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

One evening while at work, my co-workers were visiting while doing the shift paperwork. One of my co-workers was telling a story about a cat and a skunk. I wish I could have been at work that day to see the events unfold before my eyes.

It was a hot evening the fans were going in the house but it still felt hot and muggy inside. One of the co-workers decided to open both the front and back doors to let in a slight breeze that was outside. All of a sudden, a cat came running through the front door and out the back door. Everyone was wondering what was wrong, was the cat injured or just scared. About two minutes later, they had the answer. A skunk came running in behind the cat. But the critter did not just chase the cat back outside. No, the skunk stopped on two front legs and looked around the front room as to want to investigate her surroundings. My co-workers were tying quickly to find a way to continue the critter on her merry way. I think she sensed the humans looking at her and she continued on her way out through the back door. Both front and back doors were shut immediately and the mistake was never made again. The skunk still puts in an appearance every so often so the garage door is also kept closed just in case.

I have another story for you. One Saturday afternoon, my young brought home a puppy for my dads birthday. Dad named to dog B.P. for birthday pup. “Levi said the doggy won’t grow very big grandpa so you don’t have to worry about too much food to feed him” My dad took one look at the puppy (bigfoot) and thought otherwise. Time passed and my dad let the dog grow on him a little still not convinced this is the pooch for him really. My dad and I were outside repainting the deck when we saw a bird fly by. A perfectly normal thing for a bird to do- except B.P. launched into the air and mouth open and grabbed the bird. The poor bird was so shocked that a DOG and not a cat was after it, that the bird did a double-take and that is when B.P. caught it slammed the poor thing on the ground and for good measure slammed her big foot right on top of the bird for good measure. My dad and I stood there in the yard stunned by what we just had seen. Then the dog took her foot off of the bird. You can see this poor creature trying to hobble away from the backyard. My dad did not keep the dog very much longer, he enjoyed seeing the birds eat from the birdfeeder he and his grandson prepared daily for the squirrels and braver birds who came into the yard.

We never know what is around the corner in this life. Both stories started out as ordinary days with a fun surprise twist in the end. Sunday morning after church as I was heading to my car, I saw a family of quail. The babies looked like an inch tall. All was going well except for the straggler which pappa quail scolded the baby to hurry and she ran up a curb so fast and hid behind her momma. I always look for the unexpected surprise in my days.

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An Afternoon With the Kids

August 1, 2019 at 9:02 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Let me just say how nice it was to be surprised last night to hear my neighbor kids come home for the weekend. They moved to Seattle a couple months ago. Last night we were messaging each other and I thought it would be nice to catch up over lunch. They agreed. It is funny how you get used to seeing someone every day even in passing, then they are not there anymore. Even if the time is limited, it was a great getaway.

Miss Ashley grew up next door where my son and she became fast friends and cohorts in crime at times. It is hard to believe Ashley is now in her thirties. How time has flown by. My fondest memory of the two is when Levi shared his sled with her so she could take turns sledding down the hill in front of the house. They played and laughed until dinner time. Sometimes we wish they didn’ t grow up so fast and they were still asking if they could ride the bikes to Mc Donald’s to play in the PlayLand. I am thankful I had some great neighbors with kids to hang out with.

I love the unexpected surprises I have been given this summer. Relatives we have not seen in a few years came to my mom who is now in a wheelchair, an invitation to coffee with a new friend who also is an author, running into an old friend at the local grocery store and had the chance to catch up, having Ashley help me weed my overgrown garden( whew, what a chore) I love spur of the moment drives and finding a quaint town with the best ice cream cones, or seeing a hot air balloon fly by your house.

When the temperature sizzles, it is easy to just stay inside where it is cooler and not venture out. I am guilty of this and I am doing my part to get out and enjoy the rest of summer. I have found some awesome waterfalls, never get tired of seeing the deer along the road, taking a seaplane trip, maybe even floating the river. Having many friends who are outdoor enthusiasts, I am sure I can tag along for the adventure. In my middle age, I am trying to crack out of my shell a little more and enjoy the sunny days.

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A Break In Our Routine.

July 25, 2019 at 11:49 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

The older I get, I notice I am getting absent-minded. I am not as bad as the mom with four kids screaming to the car, mom going back inside the house to find her missing car keys to discovering she has them in her hand. I will admit however being in the parking lot of my local grocery store in the pouring rain trying to figure out where I parked my car. One gentleman one afternoon was watching me, feeling sorry for me (no joke) drove me up and down the parking lot until we found my car.

I was watching a favorite tv show last night when I saw the best commercial. “Sometimes all you need is a break from your routine,” the announcer said. The beautiful couple had a fantastic weekend in San Francisco. Together, they discovered the Golden gate bridge, had a nice dinner and even took a ride on the streetcar.  The commercial made me think of ways I could get a break from my normal routine.

I have some good friends who like to go for a scenic afternoon drive looking for deer or other wildlife in the area. On Mother’s day, I was treated to a nice lunch and then we went for a hike to one of the falls located in a bird sanctuary. As we started walking, I noticed the trail was twisted and had sharp turns straight up the mountain with no rails to hold on to keep you from falling. Yikes. The walk was beautiful set in the forest with the birds chirping in the distance. When my friends and I  crossed over one of the bridges, we could see the last of the falls rushing under us. The day was beautiful, and a nice afternoon getaway.

One year on my birthday, I decided to take the afternoon off from my obligations and drive to one of my favorite lakes. I was driving along the road around the lake when I saw three deer jump in midair(maybe for my benefit?) tails standing up and jump into the marsh in front of me. I just started to laugh amazed that I was able to see even one deer that day. As I continued around the lake, I stopped for eight turkeys that were on the side of the road. They scurried passed my car as I marveled at how cute this was one turkey tipped his head as to say thank you for letting us pass. Best birthay getaway ever.

The older I get, I am looking for little breaks in my routine toto help me stay focused on the demands of my day. If I get over committed, I can get a little cranky. With summer hot sizzling days and the longer days upon us, it is easy to hop in the car and head to the lake or river to cool off. Summer is not really one of my favorite seasons but I am trying to enjoy the short season as much as possible.

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Life’s Little Surprises

July 15, 2019 at 8:57 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , )

For some reason, when I received my new tabs for my car in the mail, I did not put them on the car right away. I usually wait until the end of the month of July to secure them in place. Yesterday, I received a manilla envelope in the mail. I knew what it was and hoped I was getting my old license plates. When I opened up the package, I was excited to know I was able to keep my plates.

I know what is the big deal about keeping a set of license plates you ask. let me tell you why they mean so much. Several years ago I worked at a hotel in my home town. One afternoon, a very handsome new driver came to my work to see me. My son Levi was getting ready to buy his first vehicle. He was working as an apprentice laying carpet at the time. He decided to buy a truck to help haul materials to the job site. For those parents who have gone through the trauma of a new driver, you know what I mean by yikes!  Levi owned the truck for a couple of months and decided to trade his truck for his dream car.

Levi bought a Mitsubishi Eclipse in dark green. Many people including his boss were angry at him for buying a high powered car. I think his feelings were hurt because he was proud of his new car. When Levi transferred the insurance from his truck to the car, the agent told him for ten dollars more, the policy would cover hospitalization and pay the car off if he were in an accident. Levi told the agent” I can not afford my insurance now, what is another ten dollars”.  The agent was impressed with my son for taking his advice. Next came the license plate drama.

Levi wanted a specialized plate that read Eshchelon. The plate means an army of one God. When my son called me and asked me if I would for half of the plate, I told him no. I knew he would be disappointed but I also had a sinking feeling inside me when he bought the car. Well, low and behold his plain, normal, boring (love his enthusiasm) plates came in the mail. He, of course, hated them.  I knew by the time Levi had ordered his new personalized plate, he would never have the chance to see them. My son passed away in a tragic car accident three weeks after he bought his new car. Someone pulled out in front of him going around the lake and his car went into the pond where he drowned.

Life has been a challenge for me since the death of my son Levi. with the love and support from family and friends, I have been moving forward in the good things God still has for me. I work in health care in a job I love, I write my blog post three times a week, and I care for my aging mom. My plate feels full sometimes, but I know a very handsome young man is also smiling down from heaven and winking at his mom encouraging her to keep carrying on. I am happy I was able to keep his old license plates and not issued new ones. Hug your family extra tight every night, tell them how much they mean to you and how much you love them. My life was forever changed one sunny Sunday morning when Levi set off with his friends to float the river.

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Summer Bucket List

June 27, 2019 at 8:47 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

So many are talking about a Bucket List for summer. I do not have too many activities to add to a list I am afraid. I have never wanted to climb the tallest mountain, skydive( deathly afraid of heights), ride along with a race car driver, no, this middle age person enjoys living a quiet lifestyle.

I have to say that I admire those who like the challenge of off-road racing. it is a long and grueling race that tests the driver’s endurance and skill. I had a chance to participate in such a race instead of going to my Ten-year high school reunion. I think this was my twin brothers way of getting out of going to afternoon activities. He got his wish anyway, we spent the next day visiting relatives. I enjoy watching the off-road motorcycle endurance race. The rules can get interesting. On the last leg of the race, bystanders can root on the rider, but if the rider gets stuck or cannot pick up his bike after it falls, he can be verbally guided, but not helped. There is a sheer rock hill one must ride up to get to the finish line.

I am enjoying my summer so far. I have seen friends and family I have not seen in twenty years. The family is visiting my mother who is now living in a wheelchair. She has faced many difficult challenges over the last six months. Being part of the sandwich generation can be exhausting sometimes. We do not realize how busy our lives have become until one day, your mom comes home from rehab hospital and she now needs specialized care. Until you live the old saying, it is difficult to image. Our parents gave up so much to take care of their children, now it is our turn to take care of one or both parents. Mom id is fortunate to be able to live in her home with a night care provider. I come during the day.

I do not have a bucket list per se. One day when I retire, I would like to buy a motor home and travel to some of the places my husband and I dreamed about so long ago. We often teased we would sneak our grandkids into the motor home and head to the Oregon Coast and play at the beach. The only State my husband did not live in was Alaska. We planned to take a trip there someday also. In 1990, my husband passed away due to complications from his disease. In 2007, my son Levi passed away in a tragic car accident. He was only 20. I only have a couple years until I retire, I hope to travel to some of the locations that my husband and I talked about laying in bed listening to a summer storm. I am thankful to God for so much. With the love and support from family and friends, I keep moving forward in my life, my glass will ever be half- full because life is truly what you make it.

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Back To Reality

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

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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A Time Of Refreshing

June 18, 2019 at 10:07 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

This week is a time for me to refresh, to unplug from all the cell phone, answering e-mails, computer, and all the other devices that we all need a break from.  I care for my aging mother in the morning, then I will be off for some much-needed fun.

I  have always been a homebody. I love living here and seeing wildlife. You are driving around a neighborhood, and see several deer eating on the front lawn, stopping for wild turkeys to cross the road, following the stream around a mountain back road. I like taking the less traveled forks in the road because you are pleasantly surprised when you see a quaint town with small shops to explore. Last year friends of mine and I traveled to the top of the mountain and looked over part of Coeur d’Alene Lake. The drive back was beautiful.

My mom and I are still expecting relatives to visit this summer. My next door neighbor agreed to come to help me clear the basement of items to donate and then make the space functional. Aside from this, catching up on reading some good books in the park, taking some afternoon drives around the lakes in the area, binge-watching my favorite shows, getting out and hiking Tubbs Hill, meeting friends for lunch at our favorite upscale restaurant. I may even go on a silver mine tour, and go to a ghost town in the area.

I can say that I have enjoyed the life I have lived in my home town. I have watched the town grow more and more every year but we still maintain our small town friendliness. I have my favorite places I shop,  have the oil changed, get my groceries, and get my hair cut. One thing remains the same: The grocery store clerk to my bank teller has the same friendly smile and warm greeting when you walk in. I choose to pay my bills in person instead of online for the reason of I have known the tellers and clerks for the last thirty years and enjoy the interaction with them. This is what makes a town feel like home. I could plan a trip and travel anywhere I wanted this week but where would I be any more satisfied than where I love living? I told this to a friend today in the grocery store. She wondered why I was not on an airplane heading for another destination. Folks come here to enjoy our beauty on a vacation. I think I just may be on to something.

Summer will be short-lived and fall will be here before you know it. The changing leaves on the trees to gold, red and orange, fall drives, sipping cider, planting fall flowers to replace the summer blooms. The coats, boots, sweaters, jeans, scarves, and gloves will replace the shorts and tees, sandals, ice tea, and warm summer days. It seems like summer is shorter every year. The Inland Northwest get the fires that surround us and it makes for dry, hot and smokey conditions for much of the season. Lasy ear, it was advised to stay indoors because of the poor air quality. It is scary when a fire breaks out fifteen minutes from your home. You pray for the families that are in harm’s way and hope that the fire does not spread any further. You take the good with the bad I guess.

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