Feeling My Age Today

October 3, 2019 at 7:13 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

This morning, I had a heck of a time just trying to login to my blog. I will say when it comes to technology, I am a little behind the times. I remember and still wish we had a rotary phone, still love snail mail, still like writing letters it seems more personal to me than a text. I need to keep the greeting card company in business. I have to upgrade my smartphone I was advised recently. I cannot figure out what was wrong with the old one I just figured out how to navigate.

Well, I figure I could make lemons to lemonade because I did not really know what I was going to write about this morning. I love being able to create stories that other parents can relate to. Most of my friends have gone through the painful empty nest reality. When we first held our child, we were in love as a family, we did not see the road after the terrible tween years that was up ahead. (And they talk about the terrible two’s). One day, you are helping your young adult pack up their belongings to go off to college or get an apartment with friends. It is a different feeling knowing it is just the two of you now, or as a single parent, as I was, you hope he will come for a visit sometime.

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Another Year Older

September 29, 2019 at 9:56 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

A couple days ago, my twin brother and I turned fifty- eight. Since we live in different states, we have to call each other to wish ourselves congratulations we made it another year older. I do not have any problem with growing older, my twin brother on the other hand well… sixty is around the corner.

My friends are surprised to remember that I have just turned fifty- eight years old. They declare that I look 40 at the most. They want to know my secrets to staying younger looking. Mary Kay moisturizer, I have had red hair for the past fifteen years or so, cheater glasses to read my cozy mysteries, and remembering where the heck I really put something for safekeeping. I walk into my living room and wonder when I poured that cup of coffee and set it down, walk into the kitchen and forget what you went in there for.

Department stores have become a nightmare for me now. A woman’s size used to mean fit a woman, the pants used to fit my body. I tried on a pair of “new jeans” the ones that are now an upgrade to your pajamas I had to go up three sizes to find a pair that would fit. Then I did not even like how the pants fit. I felt like and looked a sausage stuffed inside the casing. I think getting older is beginning to mean different things to me. I miss the rotary phones I grew up with. Every two years we did not trade them in for a better version. Smart tv’s I remember growing up on a black and white set in the living room. The family watched the same show together.

Fashion used to make a come-back every ten years. Now it seems like fashion is several different eras mixed together.  It is fun to look at the clothes from the 1970s. I remember wearing the polyester pants that tied with a gauze top. I cannot imagine that I was ever this small, but I was at one time. Living in the country made it difficult to want to dress up every day for school. Some classmates used to comment “it is a shame, you are a pretty girl.”I was never a girly girl who needed an hour to get ready in the morning. It is funny as I am getting older, I am still wise enough not to care. It is still nice if I want to get an outfit from the past, there is a big selection out there to choose from.

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Empty Nesting 101

September 22, 2019 at 9:15 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

You have just said goodbye to your youngest child. Now what? Most of my friends have had children leave the nest. I literally know one couple who planned a trip to Hawaii to celebrate the occasion. During the tween years, mom and dad argue in bed over who gets juniors room for their mom or dad cave once he leaves.

I cannot say I was not ready for my son to move out of the house at age 19. He had a touch of rebellion (my friends are snickering)  but as a single parent, I think I raised a polite young man. I can say, I do not miss him sneaking out his bedroom window at 2 a.m., pizza delivery at very dark thirty, keeping one eye open waiting to hear the front door open and him trying to remember where the squeak in the hallway was (fun times), made him pay his own late fees for his video game rental, and on the rare occasion he actually slept in. All the ups and downs to having your very own teen at home.

After the child leaves strange occurrences may happen like: you thought you witnessed mom did her happy dance when Christmas vacation was over, dad knows right where his tools are- where dad left them, mysteriously the water bill and food bill was cut in half, the arguments over going to the relatives for Aunt Gildas 82nd birthday bash are over( the child now understands food is served at this great gathering and he does not have funds for much these days). I still hear stories of children coming home weekends for one good meal and coning mom into letting them use her LAUNDRY.

I would not trade the hardships or difficulties of raising my young son from childhood through his teens- no easy feat. I always told my friends’ if God would have given me an easy child to raise, I would not have known how to act.’ My son was what many called strong-willed( we love you so much Levi, so much so, I decided to include you the collective memories). I would not change one hardship or difficulty for anything. Some of my readers know I lost both my husband and my son. Part of my healing I believe is writing my blog posts. I have so many wonderful memories of the life my husband and I shared together and then raising my young son as a single parent. let me tell you being a single parent is not for wimps.

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Changing Season

September 19, 2019 at 7:53 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

 

Sometimes, it is easy to find me in a writer’s block. With the changing seasons approaching one could think there are some good ideas for a new post. After writing my first book, a friend told me about a blog. I did not know even how to start. My friend helped get me started and I must say it has been enlightening. Some of my story center around losing my family and how I have found inner peace to keep moving forward. 

I can remember when I started writing my first book. Friends were asking me when I was going to start this project I have put off for years. I had a story to tell that was not going to write itself. At first, I thought the subject matter may be too overwhelming for some readers. I let a couple friends read the first few chapters and they wanted to know when this book will be done. they have several friends who need to read this book. I found comfort in some of the comments I was receiving and within a few months, I was sitting at my first book signing table. 

I have read many empty-nester blogs and can relate to some of the same feelings the writers were going through at the time. The two in the morning pizza delivery(do not ring doorbell) late phone calls, the friend who did not bring your child home as planned pick-up(you could not wait until the kid could drive). No more late charges on the movie rental place, water bill went down all of a sudden. Fun memories, but then you realize they are moved out now and living their own lives now. Some went off to college, some enlisted, some tried to make and had to move back home. 

I can honestly say that I would not change a thing in my life. The good aspects or even the most difficult days of my life. I have the love and support of my family and friends, a strong faith, I know my son is smiling on me from heaven cheering me on. ( Do you know how many stories I could write about this young man in a blog alone?)  Like the fall season coming, my life has been through several changes. I enjoy being semi-retired, an empty- nester, writing, caring for my aging mother, and seeing what the next chapter in my life has to hold.

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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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My, How Time Has Flown

August 29, 2019 at 8:28 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I cannot believe how fast summer has gone this year. feels like just yesterday that the kids were getting out for summer vacation. Now, it is back-to-school shopping again. I cannot say that I miss back-to-school shopping with my son. By all accounts, he was an easy child to buy for. Couple pair of jeans, nice long-sleeved tee-shirts, basic colored backpack, and a camouflaged binder. Money was tight then as I was raising my son like so many single parents are on a budget.

I went to get a few things for my mom this morning at the local grocery store. As I passed by an aisle, I saw a couple kids interacting with mom. Back when I was buying supplies, you looked up child’s grade and teacher, picked up your packet. It was done for you. This took the hassle of price shopping in several different stores. I was fortunate because my son knew we were on a budget and he never complained that he could not have all the designer items. The one thing I wanted to do is have lunch at his school twice a month, my boss let me take off from work for my break. I can remember all his friends wished their parents would do the same thing for them.

Last week, I went to one of the local stores in the mall just browsing at some of the new trends in fashion this year. I walked by the junior department and remembered the same styles are back as when I was in high school. (were we really this tiny that we fit into these clothes really?) I can say my watch still fits from high school. I am a little thicker around the waist as I once was, I had kids so I have oh yes, hips now, pants just do not fit like they used to on me. They do not fit right in the rise, Or too baggy in the waist because they fit the hips. So I just decided to remember what these cute teenybopper clothes used to look like on me and wear my old clothes. At least they fit.

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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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Staying Positive

August 8, 2019 at 7:26 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Uncategorized) (, , , )

As we live our ever busy daily lives sometimes I wonder if will be able to stop and enjoy the fruits of our success. Life comes at you fast and hard it seems especially in the summer. Many can enjoy a family vacation every year while others have to plan around work and other co-worker vacation schedules. I notice many are doing staycations and venturing out to a new local town even for the weekend.

I think everyone needs a getaway from the daily grind. I think most individuals really look forward to the vacation time again frame of mind. Why can ‘t we make lasting memories on a weekend day trip? Get up early, pack a sack lunch for everyone, get into the car see where the day takes you. For some, I know this is a stretch of “I do not have the time for this” I would like to remember my dad as the one who would take off part of a Saturday and go for an afternoon drive, or go to the local grocery store in the next town just for after-dinner ice cream cones.

I hear so many people complaining about being happy, it is a known fact only 31% of the neighbors know each other anymore. I was wondering what happened to visit on the front porch over a cold glass of iced tea, a neighborhood football game in the park inviting the new neighbors to join, game nights, flying kites in the park (remember doing this as a family as a kid? My grandma even came out to watch what a treat). So much has changed in such a short time. It is sad to see the good old days gone but hopefully not for good.

I am meeting with a new friend at a local coffee house tomorrow before I head to work. She is also a local author so we discuss new ideas for writing. My friend is an art teacher at our Library and has written a couple novels. Sometimes I can find myself in a rut and it is nice to meet someone with a more positive outlook with the same goals as you. I am setting aside time to go to lunch with dear friends, taking a scenic drive, finding a quiet lake to just enjoy the beauty surrounding me. I am blessed to live in an area with so many lakes and the forest surrounding me. I really think the secret to happiness is enjoying a life well lived and knowing you are truly loved.

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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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