The Cat and the Skunk

August 14, 2019 at 10:50 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

One evening while at work, my co-workers were visiting while doing the shift paperwork. One of my co-workers was telling a story about a cat and a skunk. I wish I could have been at work that day to see the events unfold before my eyes.

It was a hot evening the fans were going in the house but it still felt hot and muggy inside. One of the co-workers decided to open both the front and back doors to let in a slight breeze that was outside. All of a sudden, a cat came running through the front door and out the back door. Everyone was wondering what was wrong, was the cat injured or just scared. About two minutes later, they had the answer. A skunk came running in behind the cat. But the critter did not just chase the cat back outside. No, the skunk stopped on two front legs and looked around the front room as to want to investigate her surroundings. My co-workers were tying quickly to find a way to continue the critter on her merry way. I think she sensed the humans looking at her and she continued on her way out through the back door. Both front and back doors were shut immediately and the mistake was never made again. The skunk still puts in an appearance every so often so the garage door is also kept closed just in case.

I have another story for you. One Saturday afternoon, my young brought home a puppy for my dads birthday. Dad named to dog B.P. for birthday pup. “Levi said the doggy won’t grow very big grandpa so you don’t have to worry about too much food to feed him” My dad took one look at the puppy (bigfoot) and thought otherwise. Time passed and my dad let the dog grow on him a little still not convinced this is the pooch for him really. My dad and I were outside repainting the deck when we saw a bird fly by. A perfectly normal thing for a bird to do- except B.P. launched into the air and mouth open and grabbed the bird. The poor bird was so shocked that a DOG and not a cat was after it, that the bird did a double-take and that is when B.P. caught it slammed the poor thing on the ground and for good measure slammed her big foot right on top of the bird for good measure. My dad and I stood there in the yard stunned by what we just had seen. Then the dog took her foot off of the bird. You can see this poor creature trying to hobble away from the backyard. My dad did not keep the dog very much longer, he enjoyed seeing the birds eat from the birdfeeder he and his grandson prepared daily for the squirrels and braver birds who came into the yard.

We never know what is around the corner in this life. Both stories started out as ordinary days with a fun surprise twist in the end. Sunday morning after church as I was heading to my car, I saw a family of quail. The babies looked like an inch tall. All was going well except for the straggler which pappa quail scolded the baby to hurry and she ran up a curb so fast and hid behind her momma. I always look for the unexpected surprise in my days.

Advertisements

Permalink Leave a Comment

Staying Positive

August 8, 2019 at 7:26 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Uncategorized) (, , , )

As we live our ever busy daily lives sometimes I wonder if will be able to stop and enjoy the fruits of our success. Life comes at you fast and hard it seems especially in the summer. Many can enjoy a family vacation every year while others have to plan around work and other co-worker vacation schedules. I notice many are doing staycations and venturing out to a new local town even for the weekend.

I think everyone needs a getaway from the daily grind. I think most individuals really look forward to the vacation time again frame of mind. Why can ‘t we make lasting memories on a weekend day trip? Get up early, pack a sack lunch for everyone, get into the car see where the day takes you. For some, I know this is a stretch of “I do not have the time for this” I would like to remember my dad as the one who would take off part of a Saturday and go for an afternoon drive, or go to the local grocery store in the next town just for after-dinner ice cream cones.

I hear so many people complaining about being happy, it is a known fact only 31% of the neighbors know each other anymore. I was wondering what happened to visit on the front porch over a cold glass of iced tea, a neighborhood football game in the park inviting the new neighbors to join, game nights, flying kites in the park (remember doing this as a family as a kid? My grandma even came out to watch what a treat). So much has changed in such a short time. It is sad to see the good old days gone but hopefully not for good.

I am meeting with a new friend at a local coffee house tomorrow before I head to work. She is also a local author so we discuss new ideas for writing. My friend is an art teacher at our Library and has written a couple novels. Sometimes I can find myself in a rut and it is nice to meet someone with a more positive outlook with the same goals as you. I am setting aside time to go to lunch with dear friends, taking a scenic drive, finding a quiet lake to just enjoy the beauty surrounding me. I am blessed to live in an area with so many lakes and the forest surrounding me. I really think the secret to happiness is enjoying a life well lived and knowing you are truly loved.

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

A Break In Our Routine.

July 25, 2019 at 11:49 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

The older I get, I notice I am getting absent-minded. I am not as bad as the mom with four kids screaming to the car, mom going back inside the house to find her missing car keys to discovering she has them in her hand. I will admit however being in the parking lot of my local grocery store in the pouring rain trying to figure out where I parked my car. One gentleman one afternoon was watching me, feeling sorry for me (no joke) drove me up and down the parking lot until we found my car.

I was watching a favorite tv show last night when I saw the best commercial. “Sometimes all you need is a break from your routine,” the announcer said. The beautiful couple had a fantastic weekend in San Francisco. Together, they discovered the Golden gate bridge, had a nice dinner and even took a ride on the streetcar.  The commercial made me think of ways I could get a break from my normal routine.

I have some good friends who like to go for a scenic afternoon drive looking for deer or other wildlife in the area. On Mother’s day, I was treated to a nice lunch and then we went for a hike to one of the falls located in a bird sanctuary. As we started walking, I noticed the trail was twisted and had sharp turns straight up the mountain with no rails to hold on to keep you from falling. Yikes. The walk was beautiful set in the forest with the birds chirping in the distance. When my friends and I  crossed over one of the bridges, we could see the last of the falls rushing under us. The day was beautiful, and a nice afternoon getaway.

One year on my birthday, I decided to take the afternoon off from my obligations and drive to one of my favorite lakes. I was driving along the road around the lake when I saw three deer jump in midair(maybe for my benefit?) tails standing up and jump into the marsh in front of me. I just started to laugh amazed that I was able to see even one deer that day. As I continued around the lake, I stopped for eight turkeys that were on the side of the road. They scurried passed my car as I marveled at how cute this was one turkey tipped his head as to say thank you for letting us pass. Best birthay getaway ever.

The older I get, I am looking for little breaks in my routine toto help me stay focused on the demands of my day. If I get over committed, I can get a little cranky. With summer hot sizzling days and the longer days upon us, it is easy to hop in the car and head to the lake or river to cool off. Summer is not really one of my favorite seasons but I am trying to enjoy the short season as much as possible.

Permalink Leave a Comment

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.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Summer Bucket List

June 27, 2019 at 8:47 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

So many are talking about a Bucket List for summer. I do not have too many activities to add to a list I am afraid. I have never wanted to climb the tallest mountain, skydive( deathly afraid of heights), ride along with a race car driver, no, this middle age person enjoys living a quiet lifestyle.

I have to say that I admire those who like the challenge of off-road racing. it is a long and grueling race that tests the driver’s endurance and skill. I had a chance to participate in such a race instead of going to my Ten-year high school reunion. I think this was my twin brothers way of getting out of going to afternoon activities. He got his wish anyway, we spent the next day visiting relatives. I enjoy watching the off-road motorcycle endurance race. The rules can get interesting. On the last leg of the race, bystanders can root on the rider, but if the rider gets stuck or cannot pick up his bike after it falls, he can be verbally guided, but not helped. There is a sheer rock hill one must ride up to get to the finish line.

I am enjoying my summer so far. I have seen friends and family I have not seen in twenty years. The family is visiting my mother who is now living in a wheelchair. She has faced many difficult challenges over the last six months. Being part of the sandwich generation can be exhausting sometimes. We do not realize how busy our lives have become until one day, your mom comes home from rehab hospital and she now needs specialized care. Until you live the old saying, it is difficult to image. Our parents gave up so much to take care of their children, now it is our turn to take care of one or both parents. Mom id is fortunate to be able to live in her home with a night care provider. I come during the day.

I do not have a bucket list per se. One day when I retire, I would like to buy a motor home and travel to some of the places my husband and I dreamed about so long ago. We often teased we would sneak our grandkids into the motor home and head to the Oregon Coast and play at the beach. The only State my husband did not live in was Alaska. We planned to take a trip there someday also. In 1990, my husband passed away due to complications from his disease. In 2007, my son Levi passed away in a tragic car accident. He was only 20. I only have a couple years until I retire, I hope to travel to some of the locations that my husband and I talked about laying in bed listening to a summer storm. I am thankful to God for so much. With the love and support from family and friends, I keep moving forward in my life, my glass will ever be half- full because life is truly what you make it.

Permalink 1 Comment

Keeping Your Life On Track

June 8, 2019 at 9:14 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Like so many, I have felt like I am in a funk lately. Sometimes you feel like life is just passing you by or you are trying desperately to keep up with the daily demands in life. I am afraid I am there. Sometimes, I feel like I can not cope with the obligations I have and want to run away.

What it is relief for me is that everyone I talk to is going through something. A family issue, health issue, unemployment,  house hunting, being part of the sandwich generation. Summertime is a busy time of year for many. School is out, vacation planning to do, or some just like to stay home and enjoy the backyard pool. I notice some great gardens taking shape as I drive around the ritzy neighborhoods, I come away with some good ideas to incorporate into my backyard retreat.

I know for me, sometimes I do not know why I have a hard time in the summer but I would like to just move on to fall. Summer brings so many wonderful outdoor activities such as swimming, paddle boarding, hiking, riding your bike, or just enjoying catching up on a good book in the park. I have learned how to enjoy summer more. I plan one special activity to look forward to every week. This afternoon, my good friends are taking me to buy a camper trailer. I am getting out for the afternoon, plus spending my downtime with some good company. I would not call myself an introvert, but I can find myself in my backyard listening to the birds or watching the squirrels eating the birdseed in the feeders.

When I look in my closet for something to wear, I laugh because I have more warm weather clothes than cold. I do have to admit I like wearing a nice skirt and pretty top to run errands. I cannot handle the hot, muggy, sticky days, I cannot eat because I feel sick afterward, the house does not cool down until after ten at night, plus, I do not like to fight the crowds at the beach or finding a choice spot by the lake. My home town is rapidly growing and the traffic is getting busier. This is progress though. One has to eventually have to share the best-kept secrete. Many share my love of the mountains, the lakes, and fishing, the hiking, camping by the streams this area has to offer. Who does not love to look in a farmers field and see a herd of elk quietly grazing?

Luckily, my moods do not stay with me for too long. I have some good friends who keep me grounded and moving forward if I get too melancholy. They miss Julie who is always smiling and has a positive attitude towards life. I am truly loving my middle age lifestyle. I did not think I would have had some of the hardships I overcome, but God has helped me to stay focused on what is really important.

I want to thank you for stopping by and reading my post. I hope you will come by again I appreciate your support.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Best Laid Plans

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

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

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

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

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

Permalink Leave a Comment

Weekend Getaways

May 28, 2019 at 8:47 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

As long as I can remember, I have always loved to go for a drive. maybe because my dad has always taken the family to visit relatives when I was a child. Often times, we split our weekends between my grandparent’s house in Kernville, or in Santa Barbara. I had fun seeing my cousins and enjoyed the different environments of both locations.

On Friday night after my parents came home from work, we had a quick dinner and off we would go in our camper. Kernville was a wild west looking town, small and quaint. The town has not changed one bit since I remember it as a child. My grandparents owned a duplex on the edge of town. I remember my twin brother, my cousin and I all were afraid to go into the converted garage guest room because of the wild boars head hanging in the front room. The family would go swimming in the local swimming hole.

Goleta is a suburb of Santa Barbara. I remember many Easters spent with my family in a quaint trailer park near the beach. I remember having to go down a wooded path downhill to get to our beach. I remember one family member joking about swimming with the sharks….. We probably did because we could hear the seals in the distance. Across the street from the trailer park was a beautiful black horse. The kids would sneak across the street and go pet him. I guess I never realized how fortunate my brother and I were to have two places to visit on the weekends. We often talk about how much we love Santa Barbara and Kernville. Living out of state, it is difficult for me to take a trip back in time.

I guess this is where I have my love of driving as well. I love to take day trips and even not going very far, I feel like I have had a mini- getaway. I live in a four-season climate. I can enjoy the beauty of winter, watching the flowers bloom in the spring, designing my backyard retreat, and then enjoying a nice fall drive watching the leaves change color. I feel fortunate to look out my front door and see the national forest, so many biking trails, and waterfalls to explore local wineries, a local farm that makes goat cheese, floating the river with friends, ice cream shops found in small gas stations in a less traveled road. I find when you get off the main highway, you see more wildlife in the farmer’s field. I was driving a back road a couple weeks ago with dear friends we stopped to let the elk cross the street to the open field. It is fun to watch them standing there watching you as you slowly drive past them.

I love small town living although, my home town is growing. New apartments going up, more traffic, more accidents, but the forest is still unspoiled, wildlife sightings, back roads to keep exploring, and just staying home sometimes and enjoying what the season has to bring.

Permalink 2 Comments

A Walk Down Memory Lane

May 16, 2019 at 10:56 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

The other day, I decided to get under the house- the great unknown (spiders, spider webs) and such, and go through some of the many boxes I have compiled over the years. I found some of my late husband’s Karate trophies and his favorite pair of boots, his jacket, and his motorcycle helmet. There are many boxes that I just forgot about after he had passed away suddenly. It’s funny how over the years, friends had offered to help clean the space and you are not ready. I guess you have to be in the right mood to deal with all the treasured memories.

In the far end of the crawl space,  I saw something that looked like someone was trying to build something down there. On closer inspection, I realized the fort my son was building fifteen years ago, was in the final stage of deterioration. I was impressed, to say the least. He found boxes that he used for the walls of his “new bedroom”, he had installed an extension cord, for tv viewing purposes and let us not forget his lamp. I finally figured out where most of his clothes went. I sat on the floor and laughed out loud. I had forgotten he had built this or tried to. He was moved into the bedroom next door after he was discovered.

I think this will make a cold, rainy day project for me on a staycation. I can get help putting all the boxes in the garage and take one out and go through it, donate what is not needed anymore. It is funny when sometimes you look through a box and find what you need and do not have to go rebuy the item. I know I will find clothes that Levi has outgrown, old toys, video games still in boxes keep them in the box mom, they are worth more money he used to tell me. Some of my high school clothes that are a trip down memory lane in itself. I found one of my favorite blouses I wore back then (I could not get the blouse on over my wrist that is how tiny I used to be). that was a shocker for sure. My mom’s favorite story about me is when I threw a party the day I weighed one hundred pounds.

It is fun to rummage through the past and remember what you found important to keep. A good friend started my bell collection years ago when she went on a trip. I watched her kids for her. Two of my favorite Aunts have given me some of the most beautiful prints of their paintings for my home. My dad painted his last picture for my late husband and my six year anniversary, my dad had no more desire to paint afterward. I still have the artwork hanging in my dining room. Life is full of unexpected pleasures sometimes you look in a junk drawer and find a special note from your son giving you his new cell phone number, or a receipt you find reminding you of that special getaway. I enjoy each and every treasure I find.

 

Permalink 1 Comment

Next page »