On A Snowy Day….

February 20, 2019 at 10:20 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

It is a snowy afternoon and all through the house needs a good cleaning. I looked down onto my office floor and wondered how what looks like wood chips happened into the room. Christmas bags still needs put away, a stack of papers needs gone through, a good vacuuming and dusting is in order, so why have I sat down at my computer desk and post a story you ask? Well  I am not really ready to clean yet. 

Last night was supposed to be a stormy night. I woke up to barely an inch of the fluffy white stuff. After spending the morning with my mom, I came home ready to do some house work and the sun came out. Yep right on cue, it came out and the sun looked so nice and inviting that I decided my house could go another day dirty.( My friends reading this is laughing because they would tell you my house looks like something straight out of a magazine). I have always like the Victorian Style of decorating. Since I am an empty nester, I worked hard to make my house a home. Over the years, I have friends come over and help me paint and I have turned my sons old bedroom into my dressing room after he moved out a few years ago. 

 My husband and I bought our home over thirty years ago. It was a running joke that Jerry did not let me decorate very much because he did not want company. A true story. Guests could visit for the afternoon, but they had to go home later. My house was decorated warmly(love that word) but not how I would have liked to have it. I think if Jerry could take a tour now, he would be pleasantly surprised. Every room in the house is freshly painted and decorated. He even has a nice home office. The only thing Jerry had in his office was a Blow Flex machine. I always teased him “keep it simple dear”. 

A few years ago, my good friend came over and refreshed my master bedroom into a B&B inspired room. It had been 17 years since I made changes. She created a simple, yet elegant room on a nice budget. When I go on vacation, I opt for a stay-cation instead. Visitors come from all over the world to visit north Idaho. Sometimes you feel like a tourist in your own town. My home town is ever-growing and changing. New businesses are coming in and with it more people who do not know how to drive in the white stuff. Ice is hard to drive on and it does not matter how slow you go, you are still going to slip and slide. I get a kick out of the 4-wheel drive vehicles they gun the motor and do donuts in the street.

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Silver Lining

February 7, 2019 at 9:58 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

For the past few Months, my life has been topsy-turvy. I have been working my full-time job with another full-time job of caring for my mother. She suffered a fall last year and has been having trouble with the day-to-day living skills. Today, I bought her a new wheel chair to help her get around her house better and to be more independent living.

I can really look back and laugh when I was a child growing up on the ranch and mom reminding me in a not so gentle tone this time) to get my chores done, do my homework so I can get to bed on time. Some kids would be envious that I owned a horse and sheep, pigs, cows, chickens and would have loved to live on the ranch. Some weekends I would have traded them places. Up at 6 to feed the animals, running the lambs around our circular  driveway for a mile getting ready for the fair. Life is always greener on the other side of the Astroturf I have heard it said.

I can look back on raising my young son as a single parent after the sudden death of my husband. I was now mom, dad and sole provider of this now family of two. I learned to be creative with my limited finances to make ends meet. I raised Levi from childhood through his tweens, no easy feat. I think the best compliment any parent could hear from a child is”if I ever become a daddy, I hope I am half the dad my mom was to me”. All the hard work paid off. I can look back of instances that make me laugh now wondering how I have gotten through them. All the door slamming, late night pizza deliveries when he though you were fast asleep, sneaking in through the bedroom window (you were in the bed) oh the screams I heard.

Being part of the sandwich generation is sometimes difficult. You can now relate to what your parents went though raising us and now they need our extra help in day-to-day living. The one thing I will never tire of is hearing all the stories of when mom lived next to the Iverson Ranch Movie Studio in California and watching her hero Hop Along Cassidy film while her horse Honey grazed. She used to play in the Stage Coach Inn; The inn was left with all the furnishings still inside after making the last movie there. Talk about an honest person she never was tempted to take even a brush that was left. This was in the late 1940’s and I can just imagine the beautiful brass beds, linens, and furniture that was just left there. These stories to me are priceless and I am glad mom can tell them to me even if it is over and over. 

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What Christmas Decorations Still Up?

January 17, 2019 at 7:57 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I started laughing this morning, here it is the middle of January already and I have not taken down my decorations yet. I would like to think it is because I love the holidays so much that I cannot bear to see them end, or I have to look at a simple living room again. But the one pleasure I have, I can play around with fresh throw pillows and furniture arrangement. ( My friends will want to come see what I have done new).

When my husband and I bought our house thirty some years ago, he didn’t want to make the house look too nice because he didn’t want visitors. Well, then he should not have married me then. I still laugh, all he wanted on our dining room wall was one tiny wall clock-NOTHING else mind you. This was my first home and I wanted it to be homey and cozy. I was looking through pictures one day and ran across our kitchen. The lone wall clock on the wall…. I would love to hear how he would defend himself about his design idea today. You see, I laugh at the memory of our fist home. Jerry passed away from complications from diabetes six short years after we married.

I had a second thought, I could only imagine what he would say today if he and my son could see what I have done with the house now. they would be surprised. I have color on my walls, my sons old bedroom, I have turned into my dressing room. I love to get dressed there in the morning and put on my pajamas at night. I outside had been recently painted, new metal roof, new furnace, oh yeah and Victorian themed. I have a dear friend who helped me put together a cozy place I can enjoy. she also used to own a B&B in Ireland. I also found out last year that the seaplane tour passes over my house, so I need to get the backyard in shape pronto. Well as soon as the snow leaves and Spring shows her beautiful colors again.

We never know where today or tomorrow is going to lead us. Sometimes life throws us a curve ball we did not see coming. It depends on how you deal with your grief whether your glass is half-full or half-empty. Even though life has thrown me a couple hard ships, I could never see my glass as half-empty. I have so many things to be thankful for. I wrote my first book not long after my son had passed away in a tragic car accident, I have been blessed to still be living in the home my husband and I had bought together, I have a special place to get dressed, a good job that I love going to everyday, good friends who care about me and always ready to lend a helping hand, my mom, a couple of trips planned for this year.

I would like to thank each one of your for your continued support and kind comments. I did not know six years ago if this blog thing would be something people would read or even like. I am glad so many people take the time to read my posts and maybe you can relate to some of what I have gone through it brightens your day a little. 

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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?

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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. 

 

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I Light This candle In Memory

December 11, 2018 at 3:38 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

The holidays can be a stressful time for many, last-minute gift  shopping, Christmas is at your house this year, cleaning the house for guests. And again this year on your mind is that loved one who won’t be here to share the wonderful holiday season. For many, this time of year is lonely, difficult, depressing and easy to just isolate oneself.

A few years ago, I went to a candle light service in honor of my son Levi. I remember being scared to go alone and didn’t want to sit alone and didn’t want anyone to see my cry. When I walked in the door of the building, I was met with such caring staff who made you feel welcome. I was able to sit with a couple I knew so I was not alone. Afterwards, I had some refreshments and went home happy I went.

I know the holidays are stressful,but it is made more difficult when you are missing a special someone again this year. Some folks put an extra place setting in honor of their loved one, some make his/her favorite dessert to add to the desert buffet, others tell a funny story about the loved one at dinner. My son Levi loved chicken nachos, I always make his favorite dish on his birthday with a nice cup of coffee to finish off the meal.

I have the love and support of my family and friends who have encouraged me to never give up, I know I can always count on one of them if I need help, I am invited out to dinner and get to see the town all lit up for Christmas. A nice evening spent with a dear friend. The holidays don’t have to be depressing; They are what you make of it. With so many days left until Santa arrives, strive to stress less, ask for help,maybe this year let family and friends bring a favorite dish, most of all hugs those little ones tight, let them know how much you love them, how much they mean to you and let your loved ones know you appreciate them. I found out we are not promised tomorrow ,so make the most of today.

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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. 

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A Glass Half-Full

November 18, 2018 at 11:35 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Yesterday while visiting my mom at her rehab facility, I went down to inquire if she had therapy today. The therapist had to get his computer to check. While waiting, I walked down the hallway looking at the beautiful paintings along the walls. One picture drew my attention over the others. The painting was of weeping willows with some new growth starting to sprig out. Alone the winding road was flowers blooming.

I was thinking about my mom and her getting well. She is getting stronger, but needs to work harder to be able to come home. Sometimes, I think we as humans hold back because we liked our past circumstances and we are maybe frightened of a new beginning.Ca n’t is just a four letter word, that is all it is. if you say try to climb the biggest mountain with no real training, I can see the epic failure there, but  fear and anxiety can enter if we are not careful and paralyze is from even trying. 

The older I get, I am learning to keep what is important, let go of what is not, life is too short to be unhappy, your day is what you make it, look for the beauty in each new day, take the time to smell the roses, it is never as bad as it seems. Through the tough years after the deaths of both my husband and my son, I had the love and support of family and friends. They inspired me to keep moving forward and never giving up. I wake up every morning knowing my son is proud of me for healing, and moving forward in my life even though giving up would have been easy.

I have realized through this journey called life, you can always look at your circumstances two ways: the glass is half full or the glass being half empty. My attitude played a major role in my healing, and well-being. My glass has always been half- full. I have so much to be thankful for. God gave me the opportunity to be a wife and a mother even if for a little while.

Around the holidays, I do not even attempt to go to the malls anymore. I do not have the time to be pushed, shoved or moved over for a good deal. There are some die-hard fans of Black Friday who get up before the crack of dawn to get the special deals offered. I usually have my shopping done by June( I am the joke of my friends, yes). I just do not have the time or the patience to stand in a long line waiting to cash out for a gift. 

 

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Early Fall This Year

November 11, 2018 at 10:07 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

This year has been different season wise. We had a horrible fire season with the fires surrounding our small area. When the fires were contained and the smoke cleared, we had a beautiful fall. The changing colors are always one of my favorite things about fall we just were able to enjoy them a few weeks longer this year.

Summer has never been one of my favorite seasons for many reasons. For one thing, lawn maintenance. My beautiful pine tree that was planted in my son Levis’ honor, died this summer, little bugs that you can barely see come at you in swarms, all the forest fires that are getting worse each year, I melt in the high heat, basically, I look forward to the cooler temperatures of fall and winter. People get cranky the hotter the day, more impatient than usual.

I know I cannot change the outcome of the seasons, but the older I get, I am trying to enjoy every season. I love to hear the birds singing outside my bedroom window in the mornings, seeing the squirrels chasing each other up and down the pine trees, butterflies trying to find a good place to land and eat from one of the many butterfly shrubs I have, watching the kids ride bikes down to the bay to go fishing.

I have to say, I enjoy decorating my home in the warm fall colors. Planting marigolds in the decorative earns in my flower boxes, planning cold weather meals for my mom and I to enjoy, the deer and moose that are traveling to the neighborhoods and staying around to eat the shrubs and apples off the trees. Because of the recent fires, we have also seen bears, cougars, and a lynx around our area as well.

In a few short weeks, we will be getting out the snow shovels again decorating for the Christmas Season and dressing in many layers up to keep warm on those cool nights. The evenings get even shorter,colder, and time to put up the tree. There is only a few short weeks out of the year that I do not really like. Living in a four season state has its advantages. There are still plenty of changing leaves left on the trees to enjoy, coffee just tastes better on a cold morning, and you never know what animal is coming to say hello on any given morning. Life in North Idaho.

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A New Perspective

October 29, 2018 at 2:28 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

A couple of weeks ago, my mom suffered an injury. She underwent surgery to correct the problem and now is in rehabilitation hospital for a few weeks. Both our lives were changed temporarily. She has intense therapy three times daily, to get back into her home living independent again. She used to be busy in the kitchen making a berry cobbler in the afternoon and sampling a piece before dinner.(One has to be sure it ready to serve for desert).

I am part of the sandwich generation who works full-time and care for my aging mom. I know many couples have younger children or have the grandchildren living with them full-time as well. It can be a challenge taking care of two households sometimes. Grocery shopping, before our shower aid came, fitting that into a daily routine, having dinner with mom, laundry,etc. I think we never thought our parents would get old and more dependent on the kids. We remember growing up when you gathered around the dinner table and shared your day, homework after dinner was bedtime. Now, you make dinner, maybe they can help with the dishes,and then sit in the living room and visit.

I was laughing this week because my mom has never spent her birthday in the hospital before. She received all her phone calls she would have at home, her flower arrangement from her nephew,the only thing missing was her at home.  Mom can still do her bills every month, just this time sitting in her wheel chair in front of a nice picture window. It is hard to think of our parents as the Geritol crowd. Some, like my mom are starting to slow down or needing persuaded to get dressed and take a walk, therapy got her started on memory game version of poker she really enjoys the challenge.

We never know what tomorrow may bring, enjoy every moment you have with family and friends and never look back with any regrets. I still sometimes struggle with the loss of my son Levi. I think about him often, where would he be today. Married, have children, still live in the area, still drive his beloved car or would he trade it for his first mini-van. I feel blessed to have been his mom for twenty years. I have so many wonderful memories of the good times and the challenging times we had. I am proud of the fine young man Levi had become. 

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