Hazy Days Of Summer

August 10, 2017 at 2:20 am (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Uncategorized) (, , )

I am having a hard time wanting to venture outside this evening to water my poor flowers. My usual sunny blue sky has been replaced with thick brown smoke. We have four wild fires burning around the Inland Northwest. The smoke is so bad, you can hardly breathe. It is a chore to run your errands or grocery shop. I have not taken my evening walk in almost two weeks. I can understand the fog that envelopes your neighborhood in October, but it is a little much to be surrounded by thick blanket of brown haze. 

When I first moved to my forever small town, I was struck by how beautiful the area was. With so many lakes around to fish, go camping in the forest, plenty of hiking, boating, picking huckleberries, and seeing wild life a few feet away. My parents had a cabin, the family would camp for the weekend having caught your dinner and cleaned it,we would put the fish over the open fire. Someone always made a cobbler for desert, then we would play cards until early morning. In the summer, the farmers burned the fields for next years crop. I remember the thick brown smoke, the temperature would rise ten degrees, you could hardly breathe. A couple of years ago, the city band burning the fields due to air quality. 

It is disheartening to earn all the fires around us were not dry lightning. Several were deliberately set by teens. I remember last year driving into town with the hot, dry conditions seeing an idiot throwing a cigarette out the window. One careless mistake can have devastating consequences; Two teenagers learned the lesson the hard way last year. They thought it funny to set a fire in a nice neighborhood. They did not laugh when they were charged with the crime and the parents had to pay for the damage because the teens were minors. It is sad to see the after effects of a fire. Acres of black replaced the beautiful mountains teeming with wildlife. The fires will soon be under control, the smokey air will clear and we can enjoy another season coming upon us.

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Lasting Friendships

July 5, 2017 at 7:32 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent, Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

A couple of nights ago, I was catching up with one of my girlfriends. We were chatting about our busy lives, promising to get together soon. With our busy lives, we sometimes have to pencil each other into our daily planners. As I hung up the phone, I thought about how long we had known each other and how many difficult circumstances we had been through together.  Before w both had full-time jobs, we would run errands together. Most of the errands were taking back paint supplies or wrong sized shoes. I enjoyed Sharon’s company and her upbeat personality. We were both young parents who sometimes struggled either in finances or parenting.

I remember when we first met-I enrolled Levi in pre-school to enhance his social skills, sharing skills, respect skills, and an added plus, he found out little girls were not yucky. Levi really liked going to pre-school everyday and he liked his teacher. After picking Levi up,we would share his day in school and what he learned. I loved hearing him sing his new songs he learned that morning.  You know you have found the right school when class becomes more than just learning colors, numbers and your ABC’s.

The Patterson family and the  De Gon family became lasting friends. Some families live in a forever home, some families move every couple of years. It was always a fun adventure find the new Patterson home and have a nice meal together and maybe watch a movie together. Chris is a paint contractor, I loved to see how he transformed a dated kitchen or bedroom into a beautiful space. Chris is very creative and always added a homey touch to some neglected rentals. Chris and Sharon came over and helped me refresh my home a couple of times. I remember I had basic white walls. Chris painted them a winter sky (light blue). I have always loved the Victorian Style of decorating so the wall color matched my furniture perfect. I remember Chris ragged rolled my kitchen/dinning room and bathroom. Friends asked me “how did I put this up n the walls?” I chuckled. 

 I love living in my small town  with many good friends I can count on when I need comfort or just want to hang out for the evening. A fw years ago, a good friend who just happened to own a B&B in Ireland at the time, came over and  freshened up my bedroom for me. I often wondered why our bedrooms are th last room we decorate. The rest of the house is beautiful,then we enter our room. My friend was shocked I had not messed with it since my husband died. Not because I couldn’t, because I did not know where to start. Looking back, my bedroom needed a make-over and I knew just the person. I laughed because she sent me to Church and when I returned home later, my room looked like a B&B inspired room. She created for me a refuge from the storms in life. My problem is … I have not changed the room in ten years now I do not mess with perfection and Victorian. 

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Summer Days

June 28, 2017 at 4:24 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , )

 

Growing up, my brother and I had the best babysitter, my Aunt. My Aunt and Uncle lived down the street from my family; my Aunt turned her ordinary ranch style home into the beauty on the block I had never seen wrought iron used to separate the living room and dining room. My uncle built her a beautiful gazebo, a huge green house for her orchid business, and a dance floor. My Aunt also loved the beach. She would sometimes take my brother and I with her for a couple of days. Not many people have made such an impression on me growing up as my Aunt; I remember how much she loved crafts, especially flower arranging. Every season, she was busy making a center piece fora party. I often  wished I could create beautiful flowers and crafts after watching her.

While surfing the internet, I came across a list of activities for kids to beat the summer boredom. I had to chuckle to myself because growing up, my generation found things to keep occupied. If I ever said I was bored growing up, my mom could think of a million things for me to do. I think sometimes the best summer days are spent biking riding with a friend, going to the Library for story time or checking out your favorite book, going to the park, having a water balloon fight with your friends.  Help dad build a fort with blankets, then invite your friends over for a sleep over. I think technology has taken over so much that kids don’t know how to keep occupied unless they are playing the latest game. I understand parents working longer hours and wanting to check on the kids, getting permission to go to the park with friends, or asking if friends can sleep over, but phones has just taken over as a form of activity. 

I guess I remember growing up with respect: when someone is talking to you, you look them in the eyes, not answer while texting , dinner time was spent at the dinner table eating a good meal and talking about your day, game night, swimming parties, flying a kite in the park(it was a family event). Times have changed in the last 20 years: You can hear the kids screaming outside using colorful language, youngsters sassing parents in the grocery store, kids screaming bloody murder because they could not have a candy bar, does anybody know what a side-walk is used for? Kids do not watch where they are going,  they are too busy to look both ways before darting in front of a moving car,they are too busy on their phones. Summer camp costs too much if you have more than one child, Day Care centers will not take a child after a certain age, it is humorous for me to think  a child can only go to the beach so many times in the summer. I am glad I grew up before technology took over. 

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A Sweet Note

May 10, 2017 at 3:38 am (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent, Survivor) (, , )

 

I am sitting here thinking about a poem my son had written several years ago. My son moved out to help care for his Grandma after his Grandpa passed away. He left all his worldly possessions in his(my) bedroom thinking I was supposed to just store all his stuff(and he had stuff) for free. They trust us with all this valuable treasures to hold  for them scattered in the basement, the garage, still in limbo in the bedroom. I have to give Levi credit though, at least half of the bedroom was packed up in big boxes(left in the middle of the room). I guess he never thought I would actually want to have a guest bedroom; I love that he thought he could still just walk in the front door scaring me half to death because I was not expecting company, go to (my) room now, pick something up and leave after just three minutes. One day I mentioned to him I wanted to make his room my guest room and either he can move out completely or pay rent on his stuff  he left. The look he gave was priceless. He promised to have all his prized possessions out of the house by the weekend. Levi died in a tragic car accident the next afternoon. He was only 20. 

A couple of Months later, I was going through his desk,  I found a small piece of paper with something scribbled on it. When I opened up the note, I found some sound advice. I would like to share with you the mot important words I will ever read except for God’s word. ” Life can change in a moment, live everyday like you mean it, and don’t look back with any regrets.” My son left a lasting legacy of  the fine young man he had become. I miss he mischievous smile, his infectious laugh, his generous heart, and most of all, his appetite for life. A few years ago, Levi and his boss laid new carpeting in my house. It was a treat to get new carpet, and an honor to have my son help lay it. 

Take the time everyday to tell your loved ones how much you love them, you are proud of them, they can live their dreams, make time to get together often. Our lives have become too busy,slow down. The kids really are only young once. So many families cannot get away for vacations,  the new trend is outdoor living spaces. After a hard days work, come home put on the grill, go for a swim, and end the evening in front of the outdoor fire-place( I am jealous). Life is about slowing down and making lasting memories. A lot of private homes are looking nicer than a luxury Hotel. Who needs to go to the movies when you have a home theater? You don’t have to be wealthy to make a few changes the whole family can enjoy for years to come. Watching some of the Home Renovation Shows give you some good ideas on how to improve the home without adding square footage. 

 

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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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Out With The Old, In With The New

December 31, 2016 at 9:32 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , )

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Happy New Year everyone. So many around the Country are getting ready for the grandest party of the season. Some choose wisely to stay in and watch the ball drop at midnight,while others will be in Times Square. Say a prayer for our men and woman in uniform tonight. Their families are praying they come home safe tonight.

My New Years Eve would start with church services and then a group of us would go to Denny’s and order food to be shared and visit until almost midnight.  We had anywhere from four and as many as ten join us. Fun memories of good and new friends talking over the sermon and what the New Year meant to them. This year I am working an early shift and will watch the ball drop in New York with a co-worker. This should prove interesting, since neither of us feel really good today, plus a fair amount of snow is in our forecast for tonight and tomorrow.

I remember my parents hosted the best parties. From thanksgiving until New Years day, family and friends gather at their home. Everyone would go sledding around the neighborhood being pulled by my dad in his 1946 Willie’s Jeep. Friends and cousins held on tight each other and we laughed while trying to stay on the sled. My dad loved to turn into a curve and you just missed slamming into a car on the street. but we missed them. Mom had home-made chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven and hot cocoa waiting when we could not feel our finger and toes anymore. We would have a nice dinner after sledding and toast with home-made wine from uncle Howie at midnight. After I got married and we had our son, we brought Levi over to join the sledding party. Levi’s first sledding ride was fun at first until he lost a glove and put his hand down on the snow and discovered it was cold. He cried.

Funny how the years change holidays.  Most of our family and friends has moved away, my husband dad and son has passed away. I spend quiet holidays with mom now. I make us a nice salmon dinner for New Years Day. She watches the ball game on t.v., then off to bed. She told me last night,one of her favorite New Years Eve memories was getting dressed up as mob husband and wife and going to a Murder Mystery Night hosted by a dear couple and neighbor; Mom and dad by the way, were the murders. What a hoot; This mild-mannered couple. I can’t remember what the prize was,but mom has a lasting memory of a great evening with a four course dinner and game.

Another year has come and gone. 2017 is fast upon us. Idaho like many parts of the Country is preparing for another round of snow and frigid temps. Spring is around some corner right? They say the older you get, the fast time seems to fly. I can almost see myself in my Capri pants and tunic top already. Have safe and Happy New Year everyone.

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Kindness, Pass It On

November 23, 2016 at 6:13 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, positive thinking, Single Parent) (, , )

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Today,being the day before the Big Thanksgiving gathering of family and friends, life at the super market,on the highway,trying to keep one step ahead of the stress, especially if we have to work today. I know for some,it is a special time of year when we get to wow the family with our scrumptious turkey and all the trimmings, but I have found(gasp) it is okay to have help in the kitchen to prepare some dishes ahead so the host can enjoy the whole day more stress free.

I know what some of you are thinking, “Is she crazy?” No I am not. I remember my parents always threw a great party ;On opening day of hunting, mom and dad might have 50 people show up Early for duck hunting. The rest of the families would come later,mom made a nice dinner for all and had a good time visiting with everyone. My brother and I kept the rest of the kids busy riding our horses(in the coral that day of course) didn’t want to get shot at in the orchard. Later when my dad was hurt on the job and retired,the family moved to Idaho where we reside today. Mom and dad were always hosting a friends and family party. The population 30 years ago was less than is it today so on snowy days, dad pulled everyone around the neighborhood in his ’46 Willies jeep while mom had home-made chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate ready for us to warm up. They hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas at their home I can remember how lively the house was with great food and good conversation.

Now most of mom’s family and friends has moved to other States, my dad and my son have passed away,so it is quieter now. I go over and make a nice meal to share with mom,and we reminisce about her riding her horse up the hill behind the Iverson Ranch movie studio in Chatsworth to watch her favorite tv show being filmed.  It does not matter if you have one guest or a house full, giving a little more grace at the grocery store,giving grace at a stop light when the light turns green, instead of taking that call,chatting a few minutes with your new neighbor, and remembering to pray for our troops this weekend and thanking God for them and our freedoms they are protecting that we can still today celebrate a holiday.

It only takes a moment to smile,say hello,extend a hand, and say a kind word to someone who may be hurting and you not even know it. It is easy to be critical with our words and sometimes especially on this hectic weekend. Let’s give the clerks some grace because you know every one of them wanted to call in sick-they have to be nice in the midst of the madness. images (2)I think Garfield had it right, It is stressful sometimes in life,but with a little planning,it can come off without a hitch. Enjoy your Holiday and God Bless you all.

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This Middle Aged Life

November 19, 2016 at 1:07 am (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent) (, , )

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Today is never too late to do what you always have dared to dream.

Someone asked me not too long ago if I would change anything in my life. I could wish I was a better writer and put out more interesting topics,or I could wish I was prettier, more outgoing, or wish for my old life back. Part of this middle age life is appreciating the hardships in life and learning from them or happy you survived the growing years. I can really say I have lived a good life. All the challenges I have faced taught me to never give up because nothing I would go through in life could ever be so horrible that God was not walking beside me all the way.

My life was forever changed in 2007 when Levi died in a tragic car accident. he was only 20. With the love and support of family and friends, I am moving forward in the good things God still has for me. I could have become bitter and angry at God,but instead I chose to trust Him. People have said I live the new normal. I have wonderful memories of a once lively household with my husband and son. Riding the ATV around on a snowy afternoon, family gatherings,the laughter and stories told, going camping with a large group, boating, early morning fishing trips, roasting hot dogs over an open camp fire. I chose to remember all the special moments God had given to me. My mom is aging and reminisces about her life growing up next to a movie studio in Chatsworth. She used to play in the Stage Coach Inn.

I am enjoying this empty nester, middle age life of mine. There has been some bumps and bruises along the way but I am a stronger person for it. I hope I write stories you continue enjoy reading and I always appreciate the comments and words of encouragement from all of you.

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The Good Old Days

November 2, 2016 at 8:32 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

 

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The other day I went to the store for one item, the item I went there for I had forgotten. I was heading out to the parking lot to drive home and forgot where I parked; I had parked my car in another section of the lot than I usually do. Good thing it was not raining hard that day. I am always putting down my glasses and have to hunt for them. My car keys are usually in the side pocket of my purse,but have been known to fall out and I am left looking for them ten minutes before I leave for work.(some say plan ahead,who plans on loosing car keys?).  The perils of living the middle age life. We stand up and wonder why our knee just cracked, we walk into a room and forget what we went in there for, forget to put gas in the car, we even accuse the dryer of eating our other sock.

I was talking to my friend the other day. We were laughing because she  told me about the time she was locked out of her van because one of her dogs accidentally stepped on the door lock. Of course she was on lunch break and her phone as well as her purse was in the front seat. She had to call her husband to unlock her door. The short walk for the dogs were now out of the question.

This thing we call living with middle age. It is much harder than I imagined. Just the other day I was going to visit a friend I haven’t seen in a while.I thought I was going in the right direction. Somehow, I got turned around in a neighborhood(they all looked alike) and could not find her house. I was surprised to see how much her housing tract has grown in a year. I came across one of the new roundabouts in the road and was really confused which direction to go then. “When did they put this in I thought”. I finally found her house her responce”what took you so long,the coffee is getting cold”.

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Stay True To Who You Are

October 28, 2016 at 5:55 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, positive thinking, Single Parent, Survivor) (, , , , )

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When I started my blog over four years ago, It was never to get fame or fortune. I started writing stories from my first book . I hoped my friends would read my posts and maybe like them. I had no idea how many people my stories would touch. I have met so many wonderful readers who have  moving stories forward bout thier loss. Some readers have told me my stories are painful to read and have stopped reading my posts. At first my feelings were hurt,but then I realized it was not a reflection off of me. I have read some blogs on grief and so many are so broken after many years; There is no time period on healing.

Life has thrown me many curve balls; I could have become bitter and angry but then I realized friends and family would avoid me and my pity party. We were never promised a rose garden life. years ago, I wrote my first book a couple of years after my only son Levi’s car accident. I would be asked ” how many copies have I sold so far?” I would tell people” if my book brought some peace to a grieving family, I could not ask for more.” I found out my book is in the waiting area of my local hospital and it was in the waiting room of the Critical care Unit;  River City Hospice recommends the book to hurting families. My book has gone farther than I could have hoped for.

Coming up with weekly blog topics are sometimes difficult for me.I try and blog twice a week. I sit and sometimes stare at the computer screen, but the stories unfortunately do not write themselves. When in doubt, I use a story from my book . Life is wonderful,exciting, I look at the beauty at each new day and really thank God for it. My glass is not half empty. It is brimming over with life, I don’t feel sorry for myself because I will not be a grandmother . I do sometimes wonder where Levi would be today at age thirty. Wow, I am feeling old. Yep,sometimes life throws you a curve ball. it depends on what you do with it.

I have lived in the same town for thirty-five years,in the same house for thirty. I truly feel blessed,I am glad I have my mom,a good jog I love, good co-workers, I turned my sons old bedroom into my dressing room I love to get dressed in there in the morning and pj’s on at night. I am grateful to God who has walked me through some of the darkest days of my life and we still have coffee everyday. I am a blessed woman indeed!

 

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