Happy Birthday Son

December 27, 2018 at 3:14 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Sons, Survivor, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Thirty-two years ago, the best gift God could have ever given to my husband and I was born. I love to tell the story about we had a ten percent chance to become pregnant because of my husbands disease; God had other plans for our lives. Today, you turn thirty-two in heaven where you celebrate with the angels and your dad. 

I think of you often wondering where you would be today. Just know I am so proud of the fine young man you had become. I love you so much and miss you dearly. Happy Birthday son, today you are thirty-two how did that happen?

Advertisements

Permalink 2 Comments

Life’s Journey

November 25, 2018 at 10:14 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

The road up ahead is paved with uncertainty. Sometimes, it is difficult to choose the right path. This journey called life we are on can throw us many curve balls. How do we deal with disappointment or happenstance? The call from the hospital we did n’ t expect, the layoff before the holidays, our aging parents who needs us now, life is ever-changing. Sometimes, we find ourselves shifting our priorities some to accommodate these changes in our lives.

Being part of the sandwich generation has been a daily challenge for me. My mom has had some minor medical setbacks for a few years now. It is interesting to keep up two households now with grocery shopping, scheduling DR. appointments, making sure she gets there on time is a big plus in our busy lives. Sometimes I have to remember back just a few short years ago mom and dad both worked until dad was hurt on the job, then he retired from his job. The family dynamics had changed where mom became the bread-winner of the family. She worked full-time, then came home and made dinner for the family, then off to whatever after school activity my brother and I had.

Sometimes, I have to keep in mind even though I am tired from a long and busy week, we need to keep our priorities straight. It is time to give back to our parent or parents if both are still living. I realized boundaries are nice and necessary to maintain a healthy balance and not over react in the moment. Such a growing experience some of us are going through now. But, the older I get, I hope some wisdom, patience, humor, and learning to just enjoy being her daughter. I try everyday to just take the time and smell the roses because in the middle of life’s circumstances, they smell sweet. I have to let go of the things that are not important, keep what is, cherish who I still have here, my Aunt’s favorite quote which I am sure she had gotten from her mother”It will all come out in the wash anyway”.

Sometimes, I have to admit, I have a hard time just enjoying the moments. Yesterday, I went for a drive with a dear friend, we saw four deer and several turkeys  along our travels. One young buck and a mom deer with two young babies. The road was clear of snow or ice and the afternoon, sunny. We enjoyed catching up, and the quiet drive in the country. I treasure rare afternoons like this. Pretty soon, we will have the snowy days, the drivers who really should not be on the roads anytime soon, and winter will be here once again. The juggling act is hard sometimes, but I just have to remember it is all good and we will survive this  season in our lives too. 

Permalink 2 Comments

The Social Media War

October 1, 2018 at 9:14 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Happiness, like bitterness is a choice we all have to make. we can make the best out of a horrible situation or we can set back, and become filled with anger, impatience, and rage. I have watched this situation happen more often than I would have liked to see. with the dependency on our phones, Facebook accounts, and other Social Media sites we belong to and for some, seem to cannot live without, our families, our work and our leisure time seems to be suffering.

I thought the news was joking last year when a cover story broke. The headline said that “social media is now an addiction much like drugs or alcohol”. There are now treatment programs to help with the addiction. Everywhere you go, people are looking at their phones instead of where they are going. Grocery lists have become obsolete. Why does one need a list when honey is just a phone call away?

I understand why the kids were introduced to the cell phone. parents have to work, the kids could check in and parents had reassurance in knowing the child is safe. Now, the child is addicted to the games, music, chats, and instant messaging to get through the day. It is funny when one remembers a time, not long ago, where phones meant to rotary dialed your best friend to play, a computer was left at the office, music downloads meant to sat in front of the tape player waiting impatiently for your favorite sons to play so you can record. (Kids have it so easy today.)

I do have a cell phone, just have other obligations to tend to that are more important in my life now. I do not sit in traffic, looking at my recent posts to face book, or Instagram. I know this is a new phenomenon I hear to can get paid well for your photos. Who would have ever guessed? I understand these sites are a good way for folks keeping in touch when the phone is not available.  I am of old school, instead of just seeing the pictures, I want to hear the stories behind the pictures. (what happened to Uncle Henry that he looks like he lost his balance and oh dear…). The story would be priceless to hear. We have come along way in twenty years. Some good, and some not so much.

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

Vacation Planing

February 2, 2018 at 9:33 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , , )

 

 

Today is another unseasonably warmer day. I took advantage of the sunny morning by having my moms gardener help me start my backyard makeover. I have been wanting to remove a few sad-looking pine trees for a couple of years. I could not believe the change taking out a couple of trees made – I can almost see a normal backyard again. I am planning on adding butterfly attracting plants where my trees once were, and adding shrubs along the back fence.

I found out the hard way last Winter it is difficult to have a lush planting bed in your front yard when you have a metal roof. Yep, four feet f snow dropped down on by shrubs last year and split them in half.  I planted a Hydrangea bushes last Spring and had a beautiful front garden. I did not however plan for the snowy conditions thumping my poor bushes flat. I am told they will come back, just trim them in the Spring. The older I get, I hope I getting a little wiser about how to care for my yard. I am not a gardener by any means, but I would like to have a simple yard I can enjoy in the warm months.

In a couple of weeks, I will be on my Stay-cation. I decided to put my money into fleshing up my home instead of traveling. My backyard is a good start. I feel good that I have less to worry about later. I can take some time and plan what I would like my outdoor retreat to look like. Even though it is still cold outside, I can look out the sliding glass doors and see the birds flying around the trees, I open the door a crack to hear them chirping to one another. I visit my friend and pass moose eating the neighbors trees. I went out to dinner the other night and a small deer walked across the road in front of me. I would rather stay here at home and enjoy what I have all around me than travel to a city and hear traffic, horns honking, another smoggy day, and maybe a day at the beach. The older I get, I like staying home surrounded by those I love to get together with.

Some of my friends are envious that I own my home. My husband and I found our forever home when I was pregnant with our son. Jerry was able to live in our home four years until he passed away from complications of his disease. I raised our son here until he moved out to help care for his grandma after his grandpa passed away. I was now an empty nester. This took some getting used to. You always dream when your child moves out, he is starving and begging to eat dinner with you. Not the case, I had to visit my mom or my neighbor to see my son. At least I saw him on Taco Tuesday every week. I look back at this time with fondness. My son died in 2007 when he involved in a fatal car accident. he was only 20.

I turned Levis’ old bedroom into my dressing room after he moved out. I love getting dressed in the morning and putting on my pajamas at night. I remember the phases his room went through,from cowboy bedspreads, to Ninja Turtles, Football Fantasy, and finally Military. When Levi was fifteen, he painted his bedroom a hideous shade of green while I was working. I came home that evening, he thought I would be mad at him and his friend. I told him he had to live with his choice not me. He turned the room into a cave with netting on the ceiling, his bed in the closet, and a sickly green color on the walls. he was happy in there. After he moved out, I painted the room a pretty beige color with Victorian accents on the wall. ( I know what you are thinking, he would not want to come home now anyway). This wasn’t my motive. It was a way for me to deal with the fact my son had moved out. All I had home was his cat-who was a great source of company. I think the cat talked more than Levi did.

Seasons come and go in our lives. I try to enjoy each one as it comes along. I enjoy all four season here, I get together with dear friends as much as possible. Sometimes, I stop over to see friends  when the grandkids are having a sleepover.   I have been asked if I was angry with God because I have lost both husband and son and have no grandchild.  I tell them no; I would have a hard time enjoying my grandchild if Levi was not here to share in the joy with me.My life took another direction than I had expected, but, I am able to care for my aging mom, I have a job in health care I love, a good church with plenty of love and support, a house I love to hang out in, and knowing my husband and son looks down from heaven and smiles upon my life gives me the most joy and courage to carry on.

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

A New Tradition

December 6, 2017 at 1:14 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , , , )

When I was first married, my husband and I started a tradition having ‘our own’ Christmas tree, buying our decorations to trim the real live tree we cut down, and making our home inviting for friends and family. Jerry and I started cutting down our tree at his parents home. Several couples including my mom and dad enjoyed walking through the snowy tree farm (sometimes we came prepared, other times our feet were soaked) But we all had a good time scouting the property looking for the best tree. My mom was easy to please, a Charlie Brown tree suit her just fine. After we all had finished bringing our prized trees to the house, we went inside to warm up nest to the crackling fire and had a yummy chili feed.

I remember my parents who throwing the best parties. On snowy afternoons, my dad always brought out his prized 1946 Willies Jeep and pulled company around the neighborhood on sleds. I think he was the biggest kid of all. Afterwards, we came into the warm house and sat by the fireplace and either played games or had great lively discussions about some trending topic of the day. Mom and dad had a become good friends with a few of the neighbors. Thanksgiving or Christmas was at my parents, new years Eve, A Murder Mystery Night was hosted by another neighbor. Costumes were a must. A four course meal was served in between the mystery being played out. I am glad my parents had so many wonderful friends to plan activities with. ( I forget they were in thier forties after all).

Kids grow up and move away, friends and family moved to a warmer climate, and suddenly, the holidays had changed. My young son helped his grandpa put out lights and decorate the house, the neighbors had a light fight contest to see who could have the best dressed house. Across the street always won because his Santa decoration hit the pine tree head first. We were excited to see my brother and his best friend pull into the driveway to spend Christmas with us. One year, my dad took us all to Mount Spokane for the afternoon. We got out our inner tubes, and stayed on a less traveled bunny hill to sled on. My son had fun with his uncle until a rock jumped in the way of the sled and Levi went flying and landed in a snow drift(funny thing, the same thing happened to me when I was his age with my favorite Aunt).  After a fun day, we went to Kid Zone and had dinner and played games. My dad was the biggest kid there. he had a blast trying to stay on the virtual motorcycle game. My brother kept telling dad to lean into the corner. he did almost falling off the game.  Everyone slept good that night including the birthday boy.

Most of my family has moved or passed away. Mom and I have ourselves a quiet little Christmas. I decorate her home modestly. We have a nice dinner and open our gifts. Mom is cute as she does not even get dressed anymore. I make sure she has a pretty gown to put on and a warm bathrobe. A lot has changed over the years and meeting someone where they are makes a merry holiday for both of us. Mom reminiscences a lot now. She grew up in Chats worth, next to a movie studio where Hop Along Cassidy was being filmed. We sit and chat over a cup of coffee after dinner. When she is gone, gone forever are the stories. I had to come to terms with a few realities about my mom.  Some are hard to accept.

This evening, I am heading over to a dear friends house for a light meal and a Agatha Christie movie. My friend helped me refresh several rooms in my home. ten years ago, I asked her to help me with my bedroom. She was so cute she asked me when was the last time my bedroom had been touched. I told her seventeen years ago. My husband had died. It was time. What she created for me was a B&B retreat! She is still amazed to this day my room is still the same. A funny story about my husband. he did not want anyone staying with us so he did not want the grand beautiful house. Well, I asked my friend to help just make the house feel cozy . My kitchen had no artwork, nothing on the walls. Just a little of her magic…. she was afraid of making my husband mad at me. I tried telling her I pay half the bills. We still laugh about it today.

I found girlfriend time is important. We don’t get together as often as we would like, but we stay in touch. In my busy life, I had to learn to slow down and make time for myself. An evening out looking at lights, and listening to instrumental music while seeing all the beautifully decorated mansions. Sometimes I have to remember what I used to find fun and rekindle the memories so they don’t stay a memory. I am taking a couple of cookie baking classes with a friend. I think I am not one who likes to stay at home all the time, I like to get together with families for a game night or making cookies together.  You do not have to feel alone, just remember you are loved , cherished, and probably great company. getting together with friends is good for the soul.

Permalink 1 Comment

Summer Memories

May 31, 2017 at 8:52 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , , )

Summer is almost here once again. I have so many precious memories of spending the summers with my Aunt in California. My Aunt and Uncle lived just down the street from my family.We lived in a modest neighborhood,but my Aunt and Uncle transformed the house into a show place. My Aunt as I remember loved growing roses on the fence line in the front yard. I decided to try to ride a skateboard from the driveway to the street. I missed the end of the street and hit head first into the roses cracking my front tooth. I was told by my Aunt after she cleaned me up that I wanted to try it again. In the backyard my Uncle built a gazebo, sh above ground swimming pool, and a green house and a dance floor. One thing I remember was my Aunt was very artistic. She raised and sold Orchids for corsage. She had converted the garage into her workshop for flower arranging she had a gift for arranging silk flowers into incredible works of art. I had a good summer vacation spent with my Aunt and grandma. I felt blessed they lived so close to my family. One Mother’s Day, the family all went to the park to fly our new kites. We have pictures of the day in a photo album. The one thing that sticks in my mind the most was how pretty my grandma looked in a dress and she just complained about her chicken legs. (she had nice legs and I only five.).

I raised my young son as a single mother after my husband died from complications of diabetes. I had the love and support of family and friends to help me through some tough times. My dad was my son Levis buddy. I have a special photograph of when grandma, grandpa and grandson all went camping. My dad was standing behind Levi helping him chop wood for the camp fire. My parents would often let Levi spend the night. they would rise before dawn, pack a lunch of sandwiches and hot coffee and be on the dock for fishing before sun up. Whatever was caught, was put on the grill for dinner that night. (they never ate hot dogs for dinner).Our family and friends had a favorite camping spot for weekend getaways. Campers, trailers and motor homes found a spot around one of the many lakes. As many as ten families all met and found their favorite spot to camp. My dad brought the boat for fishing and pulling the inner tubes, while others brought jet skis. I still remember Levi running to me to show me the fish he caught with the net of course. (smile). He didn’t mind gutting the fish,and getting ready BBQ and share his prized catch at dinner. Good thing everyone pitched in for dinner that night or we would go to bed hungry. 

I am so glad my family decided to move to North Idaho. I met so many wonderful people here. I live in a charming small town,in a neighborhood by the river; There is access to a park with hiking trails, benches to sit and watch the ducks or watch the boats pulling the inner tubes and skis. I live in a walking neighborhood. I love to see families go for bike rides or walking the dogs down to the river for a swim.  One of my favorite drives is on the Highland Golf Course. to see the beautiful mansions, and immaculate yards.I often visit some dear friends who live there and sometimes I am treated to a gold tournament for the evening. Just like my friends who built their forever home on the Highlands, I live in my forever home by the river. I re-painted my home two years ago, and now I have freshened up the landscaping. I joke that the gardening gene must have skipped a generation,but it did not skip my secrete weapon Nigel. he is a garden genius. We removed my over grown shrubs and replaced them with Hydrangea bushes. It will be beautiful for years to come. Have a nice summer.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Spring Is In Full Bloom

May 23, 2017 at 8:12 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , )

While taking a scenic drive around one of the many lakes in my area, I see wild flowers growing in pretty clumps along the road. I wonder if they would grow wild the same way in my backyard. I have small spaces that would look pretty with Lu pins planted beside my bird bath, colorful wildflowers  growing around my Lilac tree, Shasta daisies growing along my fence. I think my friends are tired of giving me cuttings that will grow in the worst soil so I am told. I am trying a drought tolerant garden this year. I like Succulents, some have the most beautiful colors. I may be able to have my roses and keep them alive too. 

With Summertime coming quick, I need to get my yard in shape to enjoy the ever-changing weather. It has been said “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”. We have had an unusually wet Spring so far. We laugh when the weatherman says rain or chance of a thunder shower because the rain seems to pass over my town. Not lately though. We had thunder and heavy rains that flooded some neighborhoods. I noticed the ducks playing in the pond at the stop sign; They usually stay down by the river.

Every June, I attend the Annual Garden Tours;I love to look at all the beautiful neighborhoods and admire the hard work for everyone to enjoy. Many participants are retired and have been opening their homes for many years. You never know where the Garden tour is going to take you. You may stop at an old farm with a walking path to a rose garden beside the tool shed, a little house in town with a secret garden,one Host last year was just finishing up planting flowers along a walkway as the tour was getting started. He spent thousands just to have a nice yard for others to enjoy. This gentleman even included his Alpacas in the tour. Just some nice use of unused spaces to sit and chat or enjoy a glass of wine overlooking the City below you.

I may never be ready to participate in a garden Tour, but I am happy spending time on my patio. I can have a few stay-cations this summer listening to the crickets chirping, the birds singing at the bird bath. I know a lot of work goes into having a nice yard. A few years ago, I was give a couple of trees. I knew they would not grow in the yard, so I planted them in the most unusual locations. My Mountain Ash tree did smashing by the back gate, my two pine trees grew tall by the back fence no one said you had to separate them, who knew they would actually grow. Who knew a seed could blow into your backyard and start a Snowball tree? Now if a couple of varieties of wildflowers would jut blow into my backyard and seed around a few pine trees, around say my bird bath, along my back fence, I would have free flowers that actually stand a chance to grow for years to come because we know they reseed every year. 

Permalink Leave a Comment

A New Season

May 3, 2017 at 5:26 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent) (, , , )

A new season is upon us once again. For many families,this will mean new chapters in their lives; Graduates preparing for College, or maybe starting a Military career, venturing into unknown territory with an apartment, a new job, an unplanned pregnancy, or mom decided to go back to school. 

Empty Nest; For so many parents, the very thought that my life is going to change is scary. “We have been a family unit for 18 years now. How can my child think of venturing out into the big black unknown hole?” I have talked to many parents who were not ready to let the kids fly the coop just yet. We think being a parent is going to last forever; we brought them into the world helpless, they one day become a tween, and all of a sudden,they know more than us imagine that! We rejoiced when the kids took the first steps, said the first word, ate without throwing the food on the floor. Hard to think about giving all those memories up now. It is the first day of the rest of our lives my friends. Time to reevaluate our lives. We all of a sudden, are not on time constraints. This was the most incredible feeling I have ever felt. I could actually shop and not dart out the door to get back to the house in time for the bus. All of a sudden, I actually had change in my coin purse, I had hot water once again, no late fees at the video store, food in the fridge, no late night pizza deliveries, no sneaking in the door 2 a.m. Our lives indeed become different. 

The Problem; what to do with all my fee time. Many couples join a gym and get back into shape. the home renovation revolution is in full swing. We build onto our homes a new suit, new decks, revamped back yards for you guessed it the kids coming home for the weekend. I think so many families are so busy,they cannot get away to an exotic location, so backyard decks complete with an outdoor grilling station, pool side comfort, and a place to pitch the tent. I have seen a few commercials that show case what can be done to update a basic backyard with breath-taking results. Having a spectacular out-door area does not take the place of a good day at the park. Flying kites, feeding the ducks, playing on the play ground with other kids are healthy also. What a nice place for grandma and grandpa to come visit for the weekend in a four star retreat. 

So much has changed since I was a little girl. We had a swimming pool in the back yard where the neighbors came for an evening swim followed by desert. We spent many years hosting pool parties and pool table parties. We had a small house in a tract home like many families in the 1960’s. My dad added on a room onto the back patio.  I remember watching my dad and grandpa building our fire place in our living room  out of brick. My dad was the proud owner of a slate pool table. My granddad bought my brother and I a smaller pool table to host our own pool tournaments. Families are busy folks now. Business trips abroad, deadlines to meet, business lunches,  many weekends are tied up with work. Families cannot hardly make ends meet without two incomes.  We needed a nice getaway from the stress of our week, so we created a mini- fortress to escape. Who does not love to enjoy the family outside by the pool, grilling steaks and listening to the kids play football before dinner? Sounds better than the weekly deadlines. Parents are finding ways to have date nights in the backyard by the outdoor fire place. In our ever busy schedules, we are finding time to make lasting memories by having mini weekend escapes in our own town. As the summer begins, the boats come out,a day at the lake,followed by a big BBQ in the backyard. As the kids leave for College,getting married,having families of thier own, at least on thing never changes mom and dads. It is a good place to be.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Happy Easter

April 15, 2017 at 8:58 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , )

Happy Easter everyone. With all the holidays so commercialized, I wanted to include a gentle reminder of what today represents. Growing up and even raising our children, many attend or host the annual egg hunt followed by a nice brunch.  Many will attend the sunrise service tomorrow morning at o dark thirty. Pastor Bob saying (6:30 a.m.) followed by brunch with family and friends. It is amazing to see up to ten churches all come together to celebrate Christ. You see friends who you may have lost contact with or for some the annual service to attend either way it is cool.

I was a single parent for many years raising my young son after my husband died from his disease. I always went to church on Easter Sunday with my son because I did not want Levi to believe Easter was just candy and a cute bunny. Driving home from church one Easter morning, I asked Levi what he learned in class today. He was so cute sitting in the front seat,looking out the window as to find the right words for his story. He told me” Jesus lived a long time ago,he was a brave man. He made the blind to walk, and the deaf to see. I guess that Pilate  wanted everyone to pay the hospital bills huh mom”. It was hard because you could not laugh and hurt his feelings but that was good.

Last week, I was looking into finding more care for my mom. I hung up the phone frustrated and feeling overwhelmed. A thought entered into my mind take a break and attend a small group for caregivers at my local church. I just had on my scrubs ready for work, and did not know a Seder dinner was in progress when I arrived. I almost left, not wanting to interrupt the festivities. The secretary told me I was most welcome and she showed to a table in the back where I met some delightful people. I had a very nice afternoon where I could relax and enjoy spending time getting to know some new friends; Many I found out were going through some of the same difficult circumstances I am walking through now. I am thankful to God for the time I still have with mom even if some days are difficult or heart breaking.

Permalink Leave a Comment

A Best Friend Forever

January 19, 2017 at 8:20 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent) (, , , , )

images (10)

 

I have a best friend I have known since kindergarten.I remember sitting beside my friend squirming in my seat trying to listen to my Sunday school teacher; After class, Karen and I found our parents walking hand in hand. We went all through school together,saying hi in the halls. I really liked her fashion sense. Her hair was always cut to fashion,her clothes were on the best dressed list and she has a winning smile. I think her mom cut everyone’s hair in high school except for mine. She was a best kept secrete. In all honesty, I could not get a hair dresser to touch my hair because it was so long, they did not want me to cut it. (Hard when your hair becomes your identity). I did finally get someone to cut my hair(reluctantly). How hard is short hair anyway? The next day at school, I thought I was going to be launched into outer space I thought it was my hair on my head. I muddled through the last two years of school getting good grades and working.

My friend and I lost track of each other for a few years until we met again in of all places Disneyland in 1990 after my husband had died. It was so nice to run into her again. We exchanged phone numbers keeping in touch within our busy schedules. I had since moved to Idaho, she still resided in california; We were both busy moms raising our boys into fine young men. Over the years,both of our lives have taken a different direction than we expected. We shared in conversation the hardships and difficulties we had in parenting. Those tween years can be brutal especially as a single parent. One by one,our sons became young men before our eyes and was ready to enter the great big world. Karens sons entered the Military after Graduation while Levi already had a good job laying Granite counter tops and installing carpet. All of a sudden,we were both Empty Nesters. It takes some getting used to.

With our sons grown and out of the house, it was time to do everything we wanted while we were still young to do them. I worked full-time in the Hotel Industry while Karen worked in nursing; Karen might have gone on a few more vacations than I had but we were pretty busy just living our daily lives. Levi came over for a few minutes to pick up something from his room(gone were the dreams when he came over for dinner and afterwards chat about what was going on now in his life) Karen’s sons were gone in the Military so she did not see them either. (What happened to that perfect dream we had when we were little girls?)It is a different feeling seeing your son driving around town in his new car. You yell hi son from inside the car. My best friend and I have both suffered personal tragedies the past few years. We keep in touch and pray for each other. Meeting Karen was no accident all those years ago. She was destined to be one of my best friends that I really not only admire but appreciate her generosity as well. I thank God for her everyday.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Next page »