Accepting Change

October 14, 2019 at 8:44 pm (blogging, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , )

The older I get, the more humor I am finding in listening to people complain about the changing seasons. A lot of people like summer for boating, camping, gardening, canning, hiking, shorts and tank tops, swimming, outdoor entertaining. A few of my friends have decided it is just too expensive to have a new home built so they are remodeling the old one to meet the growing needs.

A couple of my friends added a  mother-in-law suite to the back of the home. Mom and dad have their own private place plus with the added bonus of getting to see the grandkids every day.  When one or both parents can no longer stay in their home anymore and may need to downsize, or need more skilled care. It is devastating watching a parent suffer from the effects of early-onset of dementia. Seeing the good-natured dad become irritable, forgetful, accuse a family member of stealing from them, and most of all, having to move out of the home your parents have shared for over forty years together.

My mom had hip surgery last year from a fall. My brother and I discussed the best option for her. I hired a care provider for the overnight hours, then I come help during the day. Mom and dad bought a split level home in 1981 when we moved from California to the current home. it is disheartening that my mom can no longer use either the upstairs or downstairs portions of the home anymore. She is in a wheelchair and has her living space on the main level. This was the best possible solution to putting her in a care facility. Over the past couple of years, friends have helped me to clean out the basement crawl space and upstairs bedrooms. We decided it was better to go through thirty-plus years of accumulated stuff now instead of later down the road.

I think it is difficult to watch our loved ones get older, slow down, become more forgetful and think they need those fancy memory pills. it is funny how my mom will remind me to get her pills for her today- she still has a month supply on her dining room table. I think the hardest part about my mom is her home always looked nice. She has many collectibles from our ranching years hauling hay into the barn, a special bridle she has hanging on her wall, paintings from my dad before he died, a bed in the living room instead of her couch. I have to learn to accept her new life now and help her enjoy the rest of her life.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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