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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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A Best Friend Forever

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

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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.

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The New Year

January 9, 2017 at 9:12 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , , )

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This is a New Year resolution gone terribly wrong! Like so many, we have a game plan on what we would like to achieve in the coming year. Funny thing is, if we take a poll say three weeks from now,we will find most have moved on to Reality. I think we bit off more than we can chew,and give up. Getting into shape,stop eating so much junk food on the run, making more time for family are great goals.

I decided a few years ago not to make New Years resolutions. If you don’t make them,you can’t break them after a few days into the brand new year. I think the only things I wanted in the new year was peace, better parenting tips(because Levi was a strong-willed child), less condemnation when I wasn’t living up to others expectations. Over the years, I have had many wonderful friends who really had my son and my best interests in mind. A dear friend gave me some nice jeans and long sleeve t-shirts, plus a new make-up compact. Being a single mother on a budget, I appreciated her out pouring of love.

My life in an empty nest has its blessings and it’s drawbacks as well. Gone are the two a.m. pizza delivery (Levi told them do Not ring door bell, I think he had the delivery guy tap on his window), no more late charges at the video store,gone is the high water bill when your son discovered girls and they want you to smell nice,long distance phone calls(Levi found out the hard way about phone bill coming to mom’s house and she actually reads them), No more son sneaking in the front door or out the window(always a neighbor up at two a.m., you have more cash in your wallet, on the computer until the crack of dawn and then they think mom will let them stay home from school-silly child. Those parenting years,you invest so much blood,sweat and tears into them and hope they can make the best of getting out on their own. I know so many young adults do not want to spread the wings and fly away. Life can be scary outside the comforts of the family home. So many concerns like paying rent,enough hours at work, utilities ,food, clothes. My generation made it,these young adults will make it also. My son and I realized when Levi turned 19, it was time for him to move out. We were Both ready, maybe more me than him,but just the same. He moved in with his Grandma to help her when his grandpa passed away. His grandma kept him honest. Doors locked at ten p.m. sharp. Many times his friends called while Levi was on his way to home begging his grandma not to lock him out. I am proud of the fine young man Levi had become.

Parenting is the greatest blessing God could have ever entrusted parents with. The first cry after delivery,(I made this tiny person), watching the first: first steps,first words,first foods,first tantrum, first time riding a bike,first time training wheels come off,first hospital visit, first swing set and inviting a friend over to help break it in. Life goes by so fast until you realize, your child is now in Grade School; you wonder how did that happen? I was just changing his or her diapers and now we are hosting the Big ten years old Birthday Party. From Royal Rangers, Cub scouts, Boys and Girls Scouts, soccer,baseball, dance recitals, music performances we as parents leave a lasting memory in our children. They can remember mom and dad watching them play ball, or listening for my turn for a piano performance.

My life in middle age is full of life,blessings,a good jog I love,caring for my aging mom,snow(until one gets stuck at work in the driveway and has to get a ride) but hey, this is part of Winter right? We are getting one storm after another now. I can deal with a few more storms and then Spring will arrive. I some help this year  to become even a better reformed black thumb gardener. At least I have trees that are fifteen feet tall now, I can wait to start planting, pruning, dead heading,and fertilizing my yard. I live in one season at a time; Right now, I am shoveling snow and really appreciate my neighbors who have helped keep my driveway cleared for me. Everyone has their own dreams about what middle age will be:traveling maybe, more free time to go fishing, buying a motor home for weekend getaways, time spent with grandkids, down sizing the home because we don’t need as much room now or buying a bigger house to accommodate your ever-growing family. I am happy where my life has taken me. I have had some personal tragedies along the way,but I would not trade my life for anything. I am only fifty-five, so I am not ready for the Senior center just yet,but I do enjoy nature hikes in the beautiful mountains,watching the deer,elk, quail,and wild turkeys that roam around the neighborhood. I spend time with my aging mom making dinner,showers, getting the mail(I feel like cinderella sometimes). I try to see the beauty in each new day.

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The Good Old days

January 4, 2017 at 9:38 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , )

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Happy New Year everyone. I hope January has been joyous so far. Here in Idaho, we are in the grips of another deep freeze. Falalalalalala. I am assured that Spring will be back soon. I live in a Four Season climate,so I make the best of all the Seasons. Fall and Winter usually are my favorite time of year, but this year, I could let Winter hibernate for a while.

Last week, while catching up with some of my classmates from high school, I saw a poll was being taken by several of my friends. The questions ranged from did we know our spouses in school, did we participate in sports how many children do we have. One question caught my eye. Would you go back to high school? Most answered yes.

I would not go back for a full year,but I would go back for say a week. I could ride my beloved horse again, drive my first car and go have dinner with my best friend at Bob’s Big Boy and then shopping. I could pick out a nice bedspread for my room, finally pick out a poster and tweak a few accessories. For the most part,growing up was good. My twin brother and I grew up on a ranch away from town. All my friends were envious of my brother and I. We sometimes wished we could trade the weekend with one of our classmates and then we could sleep in, have a temporary new set of siblings, enjoy some new dishes, hang out with my temporary sister’s best friends. Life as they say is always greener on the other side of the Astroturf.

Mu Junior year of high school, I was being approached my by classmates and being told I should go out for Home Coming Queen and Miss Moorpark. I was surprised as I did not think I would win; I lost Home Coming Queen by just 12 votes. Miss Moorpark was a another story all together. The experience helped my self-esteem and  helped me realize I needed more confidence in my abilities. Not living in town around more people was difficult sometimes,but other times, it was nice to get on my horse and go for a long ride with our German Shepherd dog Princess. I also had my lambs to care for, chickens, a goat, cow, and countless rabbits. I was often teased because I did not dress up in a dress or skirt or trousers for school. I told one classmate”I have ten minutes to get ready for school after feeding the animals and a mile walk to the bus stop. I am not wearing heels and a dress.”After I passed my driving test and bought my first car, my appearance changed. I still did not wear a dress everyday, but I dressed nicer. I guess friends noticed because I was asked to participate in a Home Coming Queen.

I did not have three or four girlfriends to go shopping with and help me pick out a nice blouse or stripped t-shirt to mix and match the clothes in my closet. I think I figured out early on, that if you look at school one day,you we expected to keep it up. (Too much work involved for this teen). My mom worked at the bank and dad was disabled from an accident at work. Money was tight and my brother and I bought our own clothes and paid rent; We both had jobs so we were expected to help out; This taught us both responsibility, and appreciate what we had. When I bought my first car, I could escape for a few hours,go see my beloved grandmother, get a bite to eat, shop at a few stores and then head back home. I had some good friends, great memories, fun in 4-H club with my brother, life was simpler.

I would not trade my life for anything in the world. I have lived through some difficult circumstances, but I have the love and support of my family and friends. I realized that life goes on after the tragedy, we mourn,we heal, and we look forward to a brighter future. Life is different without my husband and son, but I keep myself busy with a fulfilling job, caring for my aging mother, and writing. I started my writing career in a teenage journal. I did not have the lock and key version, but I wrote down what I thought important at the time. I took a few writing classes in high school, but I was not sure I want journalism as my career. I went into Nursing because I cared for my dad while mom worked in high school. I made the right choice for me. I have a job that is very rewarding. I think back on when all I ever wanted was to be a wife and mother. I am blessed I was given the joy of a wife and motherhood even if for a little while.

Sometimes I set here looking at the computer screen rewrite a sentence forty times in my mind before I finally put it in my post. I have deleted many paragraphs and started over until I just told myself ” I can’t figure out how to write this, time to give up.” Then you get a brilliant idea, and the story comes together. I have been blogging for four years now; I started my blog after I published my first book. (I can’t believe the book has been out six years already.) I started out writing stories that related to my book and write about subjects that interested me. When I started blogging, I did not know if anyone would ever read my posts, even care I had a blog, or I worried my posts were too sad for some to read. Ing have been told I have a sad blog by some readers and they stopped reading. I have met so many more wonderful people all over the world that appreciate my stories, left lovely comments and some know how it feels to lose a son. Life can throw you a curve ball you never seen coming, but life also moves forward as we heal and begin living again.

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