Celebrating Good Friends

July 11, 2019 at 9:31 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

The last couple of days have been busy. I try to enjoy my few days I have off, but sometimes life can get very hectic. Last week, my mom and I entertained my Aunt and cousin from Florida. This was the first time in five years my family has been back for a short visit. It would be difficult for mom to travel, so it is nice friends and family are visiting. Life changed the last few years when the family started moving to Florida to escape the snowy North Idaho winter.

The older we get, we have to accept change. Four of my mom’s neighbors sold their homes and moved to a smaller house nearby. The homes in the neighborhood were split level homes built in the late 1960s. The homes are ideal for a young family raising a family. When the parents become empty-nesters, oftentimes, they move into a one-level home with NO STAIRS. I understand the older we get, stairs can become a problem. My mom is the only original resident left on the block.

It is interesting, the new families moving in keep to themselves. Our night caregiver has invited one of the new homeowners over for a welcome BBQ with no response. I saw on a tv commercial recently that only 34% of the people know their neighbors. So much has changed in the last twenty-plus years. My neighborhood had block parties, July 4th firework gatherings, adult card game evening, celebrated the kids birthdays, football and chili cookoffs. The kids grew up, moved away or have families of their own now. I still go over and visit the neighbors on evening walks and catch up who is retiring next. I love my neighborhood.

One thing I am trying to do is being involved with my good friends. I have attended two birthday celebrations this week. One at a pizza shop, the other we had the party instead of our usual Bible study. I love what my friend did for her birthday. She is having an add a book, take a book Library added to her willow tree in her front yard in memory of her best friend. I love this idea. She asked for children’s books especially. One of our elderly ladies brought a book in that her children had written all over in. She was afraid it would not be accepted, that is half the charm of a book and you know it was well enjoyed by the young readers.

Hug your kids and loved ones extra tight today, let them know how much they are loved, appreciated, needed, and you are glad they are in your life. The kiddos grow up too fast, leave home and get on with their own lives, parents grow older, need more care, and even though I will never have any, you can look forward to the grandkids. I had to accept change in my life when both my husband and son passed away. I still reside in the forever home my husband and I bought together,  I have turned my son’s old bedroom into my dressing room and I use his old computer to write my blog posts. I live in a desired neighborhood that my husband and I did not think would  so fast. Even though my home town keeps growing, I am blessed to live in an area where I can still see wildlife walking down the street and eat of your grass.

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The Empty Nest Life

July 6, 2019 at 8:39 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Single Parent, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

The other day, I was getting a few last minute items for dinner. I happened to walk down this particular aisle to hear mom and child having a few words. I chuckled when I heard the exchange of conversation from parent to child. As I walked past, I found the item I was looking for and continued on my way. I realized how many years ago I had this same conversation with my own son. The difference is when I told Levi no, he knew not to press the issue he was not getting the desired item today.

Parenting is tough no matter if you are a single parent or have both running the household. Nothing irks me more than to be in the store and a child is screaming at the top of their lungs to get his or her way. When I was a child, you behaved because of what happens to you when you get home. If the family went for an evening bike ride, the kids stayed with the parents, going to the park on Sunday was a treat to fly kites. You did not wander off to go see the ducks in the pond. We had respect for our elders and did not sass back (you knew what would happen). I remember a time when my family went to the backyard and would swim in the pool, then have dessert afterward.

My son moved out thirteen years ago. I can remember the night well. Halloween eve, my son and his best friend came by to pick up a few of Levis things.  I laughed when they left because stayed behind were his bed,(he sold me the bed before he moved out) dresser, comforters, some clothes, and a few odds and ends. I was setting in my living room with his cat and said: ” this is it”. When you have a child, no are not thinking about the day they move out.  The move was a good one for my son. He moved in with his grandma to help her after his grandpa passed away. My mom taught him about a budget she was not his bank, he had a curfew at ten p.m. He mowed her lawn for her, he was becoming a fine young man.

Since then, I have been doing well also. The first year was quiet without the loud music playing, phone calls at two in the morning, late night pizza delivery, water bill definitely went down, so did the food bill. I have had time to refresh the paint inside and, planted a couple shade trees in the backyard, extended the patio, have time to devote to my blog, I love to take day trips and find new waterfalls. I live in an area that is full of nature, lakes, streams, logging roads, quaint small towns to explore, I even have visited a couple ghost towns in the area. I am enjoying the second half of my life.

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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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Unexpected, Pleasant Surprises

June 14, 2019 at 12:17 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

The last couple of weeks have been a busy time for my mom and I. It seems every week, a relative we have not seen in years coming for a visit. My one cousin was on his way to Montana for a long awaited fishing trip and my Aunt and cousin are coming for a short visit next week.  So many family members said they wanted to come for a visit but something always came up. My mom is not able to travel anymore so it is nice the relatives are coming to see her. When the family started moving away, I know it was hard on my mom, she was used to having company often.

The last family reunion we had was eight years ago when my cousins came to visit from Florida and one from Washington State to help me celebrate my birthday.  It was not only a memorable birthday,  my cousins and I also reminisced about riding horses on our ranch and helping my twin brother walk our lambs one mile around our circular driveway. There was much fun playing with the rabbits, chasing the chickens until the banty rooster decided to chase us for a while. I sure could use a few more birthday celebrations like these.

having so many people come to see us this year makes me want to visit some friends I have not seen in a while. I have been planning a trip to Seattle for five years now.  Between work schedules and family issues, I have not been able to get away. I plan on going to my high school reunion next year. My twin brother and I joked we will be each other’s date for the evening. It will be a nice trip down memory lane catching up with old friends. My brother, best friend and I went to our ten-year class reunion several years ago. I could not remember having a better evening than this.

Life is full of surprises. Some of them are pleasant, some are well (the car needs to be repaired again, or the baby is sick). I love the phone calls that a good friend is on their way over to your house and they brought the meat to BBQ. I realize how busy I have become and need to take time and have a nice evening and spend time with some good company. I older I get, I am thankful for my friends and family that I am blessed to have in my life. I love it when my friend calls me and invites me to spend the afternoon with her going for a drive. We always find a quaint country store and buy an ice cream cone to enjoy. I am beginning to like this season called summer more and more.

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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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Best Laid Plans

June 3, 2019 at 8:05 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Last weekend as I was getting ready to freshen up the columns on my front porch with a coat of paint, and have my backyard mowed, we get this incredible thunder and lightning show. I had to laugh because I always pray we can have more than five minutes of the rain and lightning. Well, it poured, lightning strikes and rolling thunder overhead for an hour. I love these late spring storms that clean the air and water your lawn.

I must admit, I am late on planting my flowers and cleaning out a very overgrown flower bed this year. My mom had some medical issues that started last year. I split my time between her, my work and last, my house. I have some dear friends who came over and helped me extend my patio and are getting ready to put on a new front porch railing. I cannot wait until all the work is done and I can have them over for a nice afternoon get together. It is amazing how a mowed yard can increase your happy mood. The lawn never bothered me before but a friend told me you are upgrading the yard so it makes a difference.

It is interesting to me the older I get, I notice things that did not bother me last year, does now. Letting my front yard be unmowed for two weeks was fine with me in the hot days it does not need it, but when it has been four weeks, I am wanting to keep it look nice as the rest of the neighbors. I live in a desirable area by an inlet bay. The water is a block away if you want to hike or bike or ever paddle board around. When my husband and I first saw the house thirty plus years ago, we fell in love. I loved the neighbors, our son had kids here, and the bay where you could launch your boat. I cannot imagine not stepping out my front door and seeing the forest and the storms blowing in.

I was talking with my friend one day about why I wanted to spruce up my back yard area this year. I noticed a couple years ago, the seaplane passes over my neighborhood because of the mansion around the corner from my house. If people can see my backyard from the air, I might as well have a yard I am proud of. I have been so busy the last few years that I had dinner with friends and not have them over. I enjoy entertaining and have a big yard to accommodate a crowd. The older I get, the more I look forward to this semi-retired lifestyle. My schedule allows me to go on day-trips and enjoy some of the lakes in the area. I think what I am really figuring out is life is what you make it. I have suffered some personal loss, but I live with the viewpoint of my glass is half-full. I had to learn to enjoy all four seasons where I live summer being my least favorite. It feels good when you realize your projects are almost complete and then you can enjoy your improved home.

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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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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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