This Thing Called Life

September 6, 2019 at 1:21 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

This thing we call life can be difficult at times, other times things just seem to go our way. I notice how busy everyone seems these days. The cell phone has become the office that is if someone was to lose this precious item their whole world would come to an end. Grocery lists are almost obsolete, lunch dates, business meetings, friends over for dinner are entered into “the life” phone.

I remember when my parents worked all day, came home and made dinner from scratch, and we as a family would set down at the table and share our days. Homework was done before bedtime and tv watching. We lived on a ranch with sheep that needed fed and watered and then walked for a mile around our circular driveway each evening, our horses, chickens, cats, and dogs all needed to be fed and watered. Believe me, they would let you know if they thought they were being forgotten. I treasured those days and sometimes miss them. So many of my friends wished they could trade places with my brother and me and live on the ranch for a week. They did not know what they would have gotten themselves into.

My family had the run of the orchard behind our house. I remember our family dog ran ahead of us happily. One afternoon, my dad went for a leisurely ride on his buckskin horse appropriately named Buck. Our german shephard dog and the horse came back without a rider. My brother and I went to see where my dad was and if he was hurt. The only thing hurt was dads pride. He was bucked off from his horse into the cactus patch. I guess Buck got spooked, dad went flying and the dog and horse came home to get help. Dad surprisingly was in good spirits about the whole thing although he never told us how sore he probably was for a while.

My mom worked at the bank in town. She waited on many celebrities like Joel McCrea. Joel knew we lived on a ranch not far from his place. One afternoon, he asked my mom if my brother and I would be so kind as to catch a few Banny chickens for him as the coyotes kept catching and killing his chickens. He left the cage at our house and Jeff and I would catch him some chickens to replenish his. He was so nice, in the cage he would leave ten dollars for our troubles. The family always went shopping at the local mall on Saturday, we would pass by Joel’s home on our way. He lived in a beautiful ranch house with equally beautiful stables and horses. I always wished I could go on a tour of his place. Now, I guess the family has opened up the property for tours.

I was blessed to grow up in a simple lifestyle. the pace of life was slower, folks had the time to stand and talk to you if you needed anything, you knew they were a rotary phone call away, folks had dinner parties in the backyard or would stand and talk on the front porch. In the small town I grew up in, everyone knew each other and the kids better stay out of trouble because before you got home, mom and dad already knew what you did and how it was done so do not even try to lie. This kept us honest and it also gave us an example to follow when one day we were married and started our own families.

Advertisements

Permalink Leave a Comment

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.

Permalink Leave a Comment

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.

Permalink Leave a Comment

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.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Girls Night Out

April 24, 2019 at 8:21 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I cannot tell you the last time I was able to get together with the girls for a fun night out. Two weeks ago, I was invited to see a play called”Mousetrap.” It was humorous because I did not know the play was hosted by my church, I told the driver I could have met you here. I laughed so hard all evening trying to figure out who the murderer was like the rest of the audience. By the end of the first act, I knew who it was and I did not tell.

I have always been one who likes to go listen to a good Jazz Band in concert or find a Murder Mystery play. My favorite play Is “A Chorus Line”. In high school, I was able to see it on Broadway. Talk about an extravagant performance. I was in a dance class in school so my class, of course, would have loved to jump on stage and help them rehearse. We laughed about how much fun it would have been. I am blessed to live by a Community theatre that John Travolta’s sister starred in many productions. It was fun when John and his lovely wife came for the opening night performance. They are gracious people.

I am realizing in order to keep a happy mental attitude, you need to have something to look forward to. The weather is getting warmer so now I can concentrate on getting my backyard completed, planting new flowers in my beds, finding two new shade trees to replace the tree that died this last fall. I am planning on having people over this summer so I need to expand my patio and finally add a patio cover. My budget allows for one home improvement project to be done every year. I could not accomplish the updates with the support from friends. The house is really starting to look nice. I live by the river and many families come down the street to enjoy paddle boarding, fishing and swimming in the summer.

The older I get, I am finding with an invitation out to dinner, a movie night in or just meeting up at a local coffee-house, I am getting out, enjoying what my home town has to offer and starting to enjoy the new season. winter is over, and spring is finally here. Flowers are starting to bloom, trees are getting green leaves again, the warmer sunny days ahead, mowing the grass, cutting down dead trees, planting new ones, having friends and family over to show off the renovated backyards. I am glad families are staying in the old homes and creating a backyard dream vacation. Most cannot afford to go to the nice resorts every year so families are looking ahead when the kids go to college or start families of their own. It is smart to create where you do not want to leave but spend several hours by the new fire pit or outside grilling station after dinner, sitting by the fireplace with a glass of wine.

 I am really looking forward to the next few years as an empty nester, blogger, and enjoying being middle-aged. Like many, I have suffered a few personal loses but I know my husband and my son would be proud that I keep moving forward and never give up. I keep myself busy with working and caring for my aging mom, writing and just being a tourist in my town. I never thought I would be a tourist in my town but it is really fun. There is always a new coffee-house to try, meet friends for dinner at the new eatery, outdoor concerts, Parade of Homes, Annual Garden tours, and who does n’t love hearing the birds singing in the morning?

Permalink Leave a Comment

Stress Busters

December 18, 2018 at 11:58 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I went shopping the other day needing a Secrete Santa gift for my work Christmas party. I love the hints people put down as the wanted gift. Last week, the shopping wasn’t to bad yet, at least the shoppers in my small town don’t push and shove you out-of-the-way. I found a nice candle for my co-worker and decided to finish getting some last-minute gifts for some deserving children.

I went looking for some gift bagged popcorn or even the decorated tins of popcorn. Usually I have seen big displays as you entered the store.When I asked someone if they knew where they would be, she looked at me like I lived on another planet. As I walked away I wondered how many people she has helped today. I looked around for someone else to help me find my gift and I guess they all went on break or something. I finally decided on some nice gift boxes filled with a different assortment of candy. Thankfully I do not have many gifts to purchase like so many families. My holidays are spent with my mom and I.

I used to get out the Christmas decorations right after Thanksgiving. Now, it seems like the first week of December comes and goes before I start getting lights, wreaths and the tree out of storage. It was easier when my husband and son were still here. The family used to meet at my brother-in-laws home and have chili and cornbread, then go out in the forest and cut down out trees. It was a fun time spent fighting over the size of the tree and who was cutting it down. My husband always listened to Freedom Rock music not Christmas music; I still laugh at the thought.

Christmas eve was spent at my parents house being pulled around on sleds by my dad and his old jeep. Mom had hot chocolate and chocolate chips cookies on hands when we all came in to thaw out. My parents knew how to throw the best parties. We spent hours playing games, eating snacks and when it was time to go home, friends and family stayed longer. I still love the first snow fall of the season, I think about my son sledding down the small hill in front our house sharing his sled with the neighbor so she could play. I think the holidays are what you make of them. You can be a lemon taster and be angry over a circumstance in your life you had no control over, or you can just enjoy what the holiday has to offer. 

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Changing Season

August 23, 2018 at 3:49 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, Single Parent, Uncategorized) (, , , )

The last couple of years, I have decided to try to enjoy all four seasons. I never really enjoyed summer because of the heat, my allergies, lawn maintenance disasters, crowded parks and no parking. I especially have a really hard time eating with the searing temperatures. We are fortunate with the fact we do get some relief from the hotter days with a couple of cooler ones and sometimes even a day of rain.

We have been dealing with the smokey conditions in my area. With so many fires burning around us, the smoke get pretty thick at times. I’m thankful I do not live in an evacuation zone to where my home could be in danger. The bears, wolves and foxes are starting to invade the rural area now because of the fires. My friend saw one the other roaming around the yard. So much wildlife is effected and have nowhere to escape. One of my favorite places to weekend is effected every fire season. I just stay around my home town and enjoy the summer festivities here. I head to the farmers market to sample wine and home-made cheeses and hear some good music. I usually meet with friends for dinner at an outdoor cafe.

With our ever busy lives, sometimes we have to just unplug, unwind, and take time for ourselves. One day a week, I take the day off from all my obligations and have a me day. I may just go to the falls Park and go for a hike, or I may have lunch with a dear friend. It is easy to get overwhelmed with priorities if we do not save time for ourselves. Some may say it is easier for me because I am single, not so. I have to make time in my week to just have a Julie day or it will never happen. I am not one to get my nails done, buy specialty coffees to often, my roots are done by me every three months, I have someone care for my lawn, there is just something about spending the day doing nothing.

The summer has flown by this year. It will soon be time to put away shorts, sandals, pool floats,and make way for the layers, leggings, boots and sweaters. The air will be cooler, clear, and the leaves starting to change color. Football games, chili cook-offs, and good friends to share it all with. I am learning to accept the seasons I do not prefer and embrace the surrounding beauty of the North West. I can say I am enjoying the cooler evenings listening to the cricket’s chirp and the kids playing outside. 

Permalink Leave a Comment

A Page in Time

July 5, 2018 at 5:21 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I was in my dressing room getting ready to start my day. I was looking at some of the family photos on the wall while I was dressing. I was looking at my son Levi. I started to remember the day in the photos… The first tattoo Levi had gotten; He had two arrows crossed across the shoulders. he told me he never really knew why he chose the arrows now. I was teasing him saying”you know Levi, iron sharpens iron.” Teasingly he told me”shut up mom”. The day my son bought his truck. He was laying carpet so he could help his boss carry more product to the job site. The first ride in his new truck. He asked me” hey mom, do you want a coffee?” 

 After my son moved out to help his grandma, I turned his old bedroom into my dressing room. I knew he would not be coming back just to spend the night or have dinner with me. he told me “I am at the neighbors, come see me there.” Really! Sorting through the pain from the loss of my son, I am blessed with fun stories and memories I can still look back on and chuckle. I think if he could his old house now, he would be surprised at how different it looks today. For one his mom(me) knows the difference between neon green paint and uh olive. I remember when he and his best friend decided to paint his bedroom while I was at work. he thought I would be angry at him but he had to live with the color choice not me. 

 I have been fortunate that Levi had some really great friends,many of them called me mom. I think one the reasons I could continue to carry on and not give up is his friends never stopped calling me mom. I appreciate that I am still called mom by the fine young adults his friends have become. A few have families of thier own now and I am a part of their lives. I tease some Levi’s friends because we live in the same town, but never run into each other- anywhere. Something I am told about schedules or something like that I don’t know.(smile). I feel blessed to part of a special small group of friends who have allow me to continue to part of their lives.

Last night, we had a neighborhood fireworks show. the neighbors have not gotten together since our kids were young. We didn’t want to fight the crows in town, so the whole neighborhood had a fireworks war going on. The night air was cool, not muggy like last year, everyone had the evening off so they could stay and enjoy each others company. I live in a great forever home and have some great neighbors. we were talking about how long we had been neighbors. Thirty-three years of good memories. One neighbor remembered when there weren’t any homes around us just an empty field. His firework shot across the field  and landed just inside the kitchen slider that was slightly ajar. 

Permalink Leave a Comment

A Much Needed Evening

May 31, 2018 at 8:43 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )


Yesterday afternoon, a friend and I went into town to enjoy the farmers market.  There weren’t as many Venders as  in the previous years. We decided to make our way back to the main street where many quaint shops and outside cafe’s are. My friend spotted a wine tasting booth on the other side of the street so we stopped and sampled the homemade wine.

We had four choices  of wine and tiny crackers to choose from; My friend and I were pleased to learn the wine is made here locally. When we were ready to leave,the lady told us about the great cheese booth next door. We went over and had home-made goat cheese and fresh made artisan bread. We both decided we were going to visit both the small winery and the goat cheese farm. Both businesses are rural and close to home.

My friend and I were on our way to dinner before we stopped for wine and cheese samples. I was in for another surprise; We went into what looked like a simple bar. Outside was getting chilly, so we asked if we could eat inside. I just want to say the staff was very pleasant to talk to and you could tell they liked their job. We ordered our food and was visiting about the weekend ahead. The food took  longer than I expected to arrive My friend assured me this would be worth the wait. I have never seen a bigger french dip sandwich in my life! We both stayed longer than usual trying to eat it all. Afterwards, we waddled to the car. Before going home, we drove around the tree-lined streets in the area,commenting on either older homes were being replaced with new ones or the homeowners decided to add-on to the existing structure.  Most of the homes in the area are well-kept,nice curb appeal and freshly painted. 

I have had a busy two weeks, it was nice to go into town with a dear friend and visit some good people. I need to get away like this more often. I try and have a dinner and movie night with another friend twice a month. We both like Agatha Christie, and Tommy and Tuppence. My friend owned a B&B for years so we enjoy elegant snacks instead of your normal cheese and crackers(smile). I am glad I have dear friends like Katherine and Lavonne who share my same interests. We have so many quaint towns close by to enjoy a day trip. Sometimes I enjoy spending the day-off alone,  writing a post, reading a good book, setting outside listening to the birds chirping, or planning my backyard make-over design. I took today for myself. I planned my meals for the next few days, I put back on my pajamas, having a nice cup of tea right now, I am enjoying the fact that I have nothing to do today. 

Permalink Leave a Comment

A Sweet Surprise

December 7, 2016 at 9:11 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age, Poetry, positive thinking) (, , , )

images (12)

One of the errands I had Saturday, was to pick up my Library book I had on hold. When I got out of my car, I was treated to tiny kids carrying hand-made gingerbread houses. I was impressed by some of the elaborate houses the kids had made. A child of about three or four years old all of a sudden put down her creation on the sidewalk. Three other children gathered around her discussing her master piece. As I was walking into the Library, many other children were carrying out their master pieces as well. What a unexpected treat for the eyes watching all the kids with mom.

So many people do not go to the Library because they think it is filled with just books. your local Library has so much more to offer: They offer beginner computer classes, writing classes, murder mystery book clubs, in the children’s corner reading time is offered, arts and crafts throughout the year. If you are a local Author, you can host a reading of your new book plus and question/answer session afterwards. Your teen has their own section in the Library as well as a space in back complete with chairs and a warm fireplace for those chilly winter afternoons spent reading or doing a crossword puzzle. Local businesses donate their time as well: local nurseries come and teach a class on building your own planter boxes complete with tips on how to keep your new creation of plants alive through the summer heat. Since I am a reforming black thumb gardener, I can use all the tips I can get). Quilting classes are offered, genealogy, scrapbook, and so many more activities are offered to keep one connected to the community.

Last week, my dear friend came over to help put the finishing touches on my Holiday decorating. I like to say I live in a Ranch home full of Victorian charm. Over the years my friend has helped me refresh a few rooms in my house. I bribed her help with a German pastry and a cup of tea. We spent the next couple hours listening to Silver Screen instrumental music on Direct Tv. We both laughed because the same movie score stayed on the screen for two hours but played different songs. I treasure my dear friend. She owned a B&B in Ireland for over 20 years. A few years ago, she came over to my home and gave my bedroom a needed make over. She is so cute,I went to Church that Monday evening so her daughter and son-in law could help her get ready for the Big reveal when I arrived back home. I have kept my bedroom the way she updated it for the last nine years. How can you mess with perfect? I have a beautiful B&B inspired room. She also helped me turn my sons old bedroom into a dressing room after he had passed away in 2007 from a car accident. We created a space where I can go get dressed but also remember the fine young man he had become.

Life is full of twists and turns. Holiday traditions get altered when loved ones pass, but one thing remains constant, the love and support of family and friends. Life is full of violence,hatred sometimes, let’s find a way everyday to love one another and bring brightness to someone today. May God bless you and keep you on this Christmas time.

 

Permalink 5 Comments

Next page »