It’s That Time Again

May 17, 2018 at 8:50 pm (Uncategorized, Memoir, Creative Non- Fiction, Middle age, positive thinking, blogging, life lessons) (, , , , )

It’s that time once again. Time to get our yards in shape for entertaining family and friends. I hear lawn maintenance is over one billion dollar industry. I know friends who have the Better Home And Garden Homes who will replace the flowers four times a season.  They spend nine hours per week weeding, mowing, pruning, dead heading plants, fertilizing, and watering.  I understand to have the gorgeous yards take a lot of work.

I am happy to say my gardening skills are getting better with my middle age. I, of course, have a gardener to advise me  some easy ideas to have the look of a beautiful back yard retreat. I decided to fill in holes left when three trees were taken down in January. Instead re-planting shrubs, I decided to fill in the holes with good dirt and expand my hop scotch patio by fifty feet. I need more entertaining space and add a fountain,and last, a pergola. Every year, I plan for a couple small projects to update my yard and create the space I want to have friends come and barbecue.

I watch the Home Improvement shows especially the ones that showcase a small yard. There is so much a homeowner can do on a budget. Adding a fire pit brings loved ones roasting marshmallows over an open fire. A good friend added an outdoor day bed to her backyard retreat. You can either lounge in front of the pool, watch the kids play volleyball in the pool. They say your home is your biggest investment., I agree; You don’t have to upgrade your current home, just make some simple improvements your family can enjoy for years to come especially if you love the neighborhood in live in. 

Every year, I look forward to the Annual garden Tour. It is a good way to get good ideas for your own retreat. Some retired gentlemen have created a secret garden for their wives to enjoy. I can imagine how nice it is on a summer morning, birds merrily chirping, squirrels running across the telephone wires, watching butterflies fluttering around picking a favorite flower to enjoy. I know deer come in and walk around the yards. What a treat to see them roaming around in the backyard. I would just like to appreciate the hard work and dedication the Garden Club puts into a hobby many after they retired. 

The older I get, I am trying to enjoy every season in my life. Getting together with dear friends, putting in roses to complete my Victorian Garden(in a front flower bed). I still like simple elegance. Succulents are a good way for me to have a nice flower bed without killing the plants. I am learning about rocky soil and adding rich nutrient dirt, and hen I don’t have to pray for the best. I think my late husband would be proud of me for keeping our forever home nice. I have always taken pride to keep the house clean, watering the yard, planting a few flowers so it looks like someone lives here. I have dear friends who painted my home and made the house look fresh again. I am starting to enjoy this middle age life of mine. 

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Fun Times Ahead

May 10, 2018 at 9:33 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Last week I noticed the house behind me was getting painted. It has been empty since the last homeowners just left the house, furniture and all. The home was a nice split level with a decent paint color, the roof started to leak and was patched, I am afraid one more good wind will blow over the Birch tree in the back yard. Looking at the house now, reminded me of how when life throws us a curve ball, it is how we handle the grief that keeps us carrying on.

So many people are going through tough times,children going off to college, for some, the child is now a Senior in school. This can be a scary time for parents; The are not ready to let the bird fly out of the nest. So many parents have sons and daughters out on the front lines defending our still Great nation. I can not imagine the pain they must be dealing with…not knowing. Some families have suffered set backs from a prolonged illness, others, are getting ready to retire this year. 

I still have three more years before I can retire. I plan to travel to the places my husband and I dreamed about when we were first married. We talked into the night on where we shall go when we are empty nesters of leisure. We were going to buy a motor home like my parents bought and leave for the coast for a few days.  I know my parents had many enjoyable vacations just the two of them after they moved to North Idaho. I remember getting a phone call from my dad one morning -something about they never had a key made for the house, could I come let them in. I am glad my parents had a fun empty nest life.Everyone came to my parents house for holiday parties.

 I remember getting my son up early,to go fishing ,they brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to eat on the dock, and having a fish fry in Grandpas back yard. The family used to gather at our favorite camping spot right on the lake; Several families came for four days of of fishing, boating, jet skiing, and roasting marshmallows over the camp fire at night. Mom and dad had good friends who loved the outdoors as much as they did. My dad wads famous for my son and I to get in the motor home and maybe ending up at the ten Thousand Dollar Bar in Montana for say dinner. 

They say we are given one life to live. I believe we should live life to the fullest and keep dreaming and making your dreams come true. Some folks in the Golden years plan on adding on to the already forever home they bought several years ago. they plan on investing in a home they can share with family and friends. Instead of traveling to a favorite vacation destination this year, they are bringing the vacation home. Many families are upgrading the back yard into a retreat. Adding a fire pit to set around, a water feature maybe or a outdoor kitchen. With the cost of traveling, airline fares, hotel costs, it just makes sense to stay home and enjoy your own taste of paradise. 

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Catching Up

May 3, 2018 at 1:57 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

This afternoon, I had lunch with my dear friend. I don’t get the chance to see her much since we both have different schedules now. A couple of years ago, we both had the same days off, so I would run her errands with her and have a nice afternoon returning purchases her husband decided he could live without after all. I miss seeing my girlfriend every week. She took me to meet her parents one afternoon the rest was…. I had been adopted that minute. Her dad was a kind man and her mother, always had a hug waiting for you when you walked into the room.

Sharon and her husband painted my house for me after my husband had passed away. I remember their son was working for his dad at the time and he painted my bedroom for me. I was busy helping Sharon paint my bathroom. ( I have not repainted our rag rolled walls). The son, seventeen at the time, took his time in my bedroom. I loved the soft blue/ green color chosen for the room. The paint still looks nice today.

Today, my friend and I were talking about when they came over and painted my home the first time. I had a yellow and green house. I was more and willing to have it painted a soft yellow and white. Chris asked me if he could bring my house into the twentieth century and  paint my house a pretty beige and green color instead. I appreciate the love and support they have given to me after the death of my son Levi. Chris felt bad because he was meaning to come over and repaint over Levi’s poor color choice in his bedroom. He donated left over beige paint and my neighbors helped me turn his old bedroom into my dressing room. I am so blessed with the kindness of so many wonderful people.

Three years ago, the same great friends came over and updated my home again. I was getting ready to start my stay-cation, my house was completed the day before. I ask you, where in the world would you plan to go when you have your own newly updated retreat in your own home. I bought new bedding, good food, and giggled in my bed like I remember my husband and I did our first night in this, our forever home. Life is sure different without my husband and son in it, but I have wonderful memories of the laughter, great loud conversations with family and friends in this house. Like I said, I am treating my days off a tourist in my home town. I am visiting new shops, eating my favorite ethnic foods, finding a new coffee place to try, I love open houses, and most of all, catching up with some good friends.

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Embracing Change

April 27, 2018 at 8:19 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I have just returned home from running a few errands. While at the bank, I was laughing and teasing one of the tellers I feel like a mini-celebrity. She began asking me suggestions on how I wrote my first book. I gave her some good hints on getting started. Afterwards, I went to see a girlfriend at her work. she was busy all afternoon, so I went to the grocery store and was getting ready for the weekend. Spring has decided to come to North Idaho once again. today is a beautiful sunny morning. Tomorrow, is supposed to rain and the temperature is supposed to drop by twenty degrees.

 I was reading a good blog post last week. The blogger said she wanted to make changes to her lifestyle. We do our spring cleaning of washing curtains, scrubbing the grime off our floors, getting the outside ready to plant and mow the grass again. We change over our winter wardrobe by putting away our heavy coats, layers of sweaters, pants and boots for shorts and sandals. This beautiful lady got me thinking about how I can make a lifestyle change as well. I decided to start by being a tourist in my town. I am going to enjoy my three days off each week by resort living. The first day off, I am going to run all my errands, grocery shop for the week, and enjoy my mini-vacation. I have already added a few  special touches to my  home with accent pillows in the living room, and decorator pillows on my bed.I realized I am worth treating myself to little luxuries.

I have been blessed by dear friends who have helped me over the years keep my home freshly painted and decorated. By backyard space is getting a makeover with a few potted plants, outdoor umbrella, a couple of trees and I will be set to enjoy my summer this year. Summer has not always been my favorite season. I decided to just try to enjoy what the four season has to offer. I live in an outdoor lovers paradise. Hiking, biking trails, water skiing, deer, moose,quail everywhere. Besides, summer is only three short months. One thing I plan to do this summer is go on a Memorial float down the river in honor of my son Levi. I have been invited a couple of times, but I wasn’t ready to go then. The river is beautiful with the mountains on each side. Levi’s best friend and his family is coming to float with me. Sometimes I have embrace changes in my life. Loosing my son has been hard, but I have the love and support of my family and friends to keep me moving forward everyday. 

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Spring is in the Air

April 21, 2018 at 9:12 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , )

They say Spring is here…. We shall see. The afternoon temperatures are getting warmer, the tulips, hydrangea, crocuses, and butterfly bushes are all ready to start planting soon. I know so many gardeners live to get outside and start digging in the dirt.You can tell the homeowners who are part of a Garden Club, they have some of the most beautiful gardens and landscapes.

I am trying to enjoy all four seasons where I live. My favorite time of year is fall. I am becoming a reforming black thumb gardener. But this year, I have a secret weapon someone who really knows and better yet, enjoys the art of creating luscious landscapes to die for. Michael is talented at looking at your drab front yard, and turning it into a show piece. I hope he can bring his magic to my yard this year.

We had a surprising warm January this year. Michael helped me take out three trees that were over crowded. When they were just wee saplings, I planted two pine trees too close together.  The result …. one of the branches were growing into my neighbors back yard. The more I looked at the trees, I decided to just start with a clean slate this year. My game plan is to create a simple yet elegant backyard space where I can entertain friends. Some of my good friends put in long hours to have a Better home and Gardens looking space. One lives in a nice tree-lined neighborhood where the bird flock to sing in the trees.

I do not have either the time or commitment to spend nine hours working on pruning, dead heading plants, cutting back the over growing flowers, and replanting  new plants all season. My friend takes too many trash bags to the dump every week. I understand to have a nice looking yard takes time, money, and talent, but I would rather takes nice leisurely drives around some of my favorite neighborhoods enjoying the fruits of the homeowners hard work. I love seeing the rustic charm, bird baths, rock gardens that look like small fountains lining side yards.

Maybe I am a dreamer who dreams of having a simply beautiful back yard space; Three years ago, good friends came and repainted my home, took out my old shrubs with some nice Hydrangea bushes, a few succulent plants, and replaced my single roof with a metal one. I did not realize the snow slides off the roof dumping four feet of snow on my beloved shrubs. I have learned to plant for the season and then cut way back for the next yer. see, I am learning little by little. I am enjoying my middle age life learning the beauty of container gardening, finding out what plants work best for my schedule, and the joy of low maintenance.

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The Best Week

April 14, 2018 at 8:06 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , )

I started my vacation last Tuesday morning. I looked forward to getting a few days to myself after working hard and caring for my aging mother. I don’t take many vacations, but sometimes, you just have to take a breather and refresh so you can keep going. I work in health care and help care for my aging mother. This week was nice, I had lunch with mom a couple of days, then had BBQ chicken dinner for her. It is nice to change-up my routine a bit. Sometimes I bring breakfast for her and then I can get ready for work if I need to go in early. Our friend is fascinated by my mom and her endless stories about growing up around the movie stars and our life living on the ranch in my childhood.

I had gotten some heartbreaking news this week. My dear friend have passed away. One elderly gentleman was my Pastors father. I grew up around some of the family and always enjoyed hearing him teach. I remember going to the family reunion a few years ago. Mom and dad ( I think with the planning of the children and grand children) decided to renew the wedding vows. it was fun watching everyone scramble getting this event put together in twenty minutes. The bride, beautiful, the groom, handsome. His wife passed away a few years ago, I was pleased to hear John found happiness again. The evening, bitter sweet. It will be nice to see old friends we haven’t seen in awhile, but it is also a time of reflection.

I

I have enjoyed a quiet week for my stay-cation. I went to the Library and checked out a couple movies and good books to read. Had dinner and movie night with my dear friend, it has been cold, rainy, windy, and still a chance of snow so I just had fun staying home. I am not one who has to travel anywhere. I look outside my picture window and see the mountains, I see deer and moose everywhere, I get the chance to see the storm clouds come into the valley below where we get the foggy nights. I do not really plan anything special to eat while I am off.( Some of my friends, they have this thing all planned out to the last detail.) Sounds too much like work to me. A good friend refreshed by bedroom several years ago to resemble a B&B inspired retreat.

I am also not one to be melancholy because I go back to work tomorrow. With some, come a post vacation depression, me, I am happy to get back and see my residents again. I feel like I have hit the life lottery. I love my little house, my job is awesome, my friends and family , I live in the perfect location to enjoy the four seasons. Since I live by a cove, I should learn how to paddle board this summer. I love floating down the river, seeing the beautiful summer homes, and the mountains. I believe I have found my small piece of paradise. Pretty soon it will time to set off for my afternoon drives. I have many places yet unexplored. My favorite place to visit is Sand Point. A quaint little town by the waters edge full of charming shops, art galleries, and eateries. If you enjoy Light House dressings, it is made right here in Sand Point.

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April Recharge

April 10, 2018 at 9:18 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , )

I cannot believe how fast April is going. Pretty soon, we will be welcoming back fall. Spring comes with plenty of liquid sunshine, cool, foggy mornings, the sun makes it debut in time to go back down again. It is still too cold to pant your beautiful gardens yet. I am so jealous of those who have a green thumb. I love to admire the fabulous landscapes during the Garden Tour. A lot of time and love are put into these yards.

My favorite season is fall and winter. I love dragging out the heavy coats, layering, and my cute boots. I love to watch the leaves change colors, the crisp cool mornings, the deer and elk eating the apples. I am fortunate enough to live by two mountain rages where I can see the foggy mornings forming and the storms coming in. I love taking fall drives around the lake. Seeing the wildlife roaming around the neighborhoods are thrilling. I never thought I would live in a town where deer and wild turkeys eat in neighbors front yards.

This week, I am on April recharge-a stay-cation to some. I have a few days I need to use before I lost the days. Since I have been sick the last two weeks, I relish the idea of just taking it easy this week. I am(or so I think) going to finally tackle the master bedroom closet. I have been thinking about it for two years now. I think it is time I finally complete the project. I am having dinner and movie night with a dear friend, going for walks along the river, going through paper work in the office, and blogging. I love staying home; When you live near the forest and several lakes, I have everything I need right here in my hometown. I can even visit a silver mine, and a ghost town. For now, I enjoy listening to the birds sing and the squirrels chasing each other across the street.

With the help of some dear friends, I enjoy coming home and  appreciate the hard work they put into making my home special. My one friend, owned a B&B for years. She turned my bedroom into a B&B inspired master. I recently went into a quaint little shop looking for some decorative pillows for my bed. In the back of the store, I found some expensive looking pillows that matched my bedding. I am ready for my stay-cation.

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Perspectives

April 3, 2018 at 12:20 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Survivor, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I was having one of those weeks. It was long, tiring and I just wanted to start my weekend. Some weeks seem to just zip by, while others drag on forever it seems like. Work is going well,but some days, you just wish you could call in sick and stay home.  I notice when I get tired, I get sensitive. In truth, some people you do not really know if they are being serious or not. Being middle age is not always easy.

Easter was different for me. Like many, it is just my mom and I who celebrate holidays anymore. It is tough when she just wants a baloney sandwich and call it good. Most of our friends and family has moved away. It was tough when mom didn’t want to get dressed  she prefers her bathrobe. I had a difficult time accepting this new reality. I finally decided to buy her some nice night gown and house dresses so she can look pretty while being comfortable. Besides, arguing just leads to hard feelings. It really helped when I found her a shower aide. The ladies have fun talking and mom feels better.

I remember a few years ago, running into my mom getting her groceries.Her social calendar was full, and she was full of life. Mom was a member of the Red Hat Flappers; She was the duchess of finances. My son used to ask her for a ride, she would tell him to check the calendar to see if she was available. Her group of friends would take a senior travel tour. I was glad she was getting out and enjoying life again. My son moved in with his grandma to help her after his grandpa passed away. My mom was in baking for twenty-five years so she was putting Levi on a budget. She taught him how to pay his bills on time, and save for a rainy day. ( He was at the age where his mom knew nothing, but went over the same material with him).

Sometimes it is easy to get stuck in a rut and can’t seem to climb out of it. I understand the gardeners who can’t wait to start digging in the dirt and plant flowers and trees and things. I am becoming a reforming black thumb gardener. My yard looks pretty nice last year. I like a simple yard with cottage charm. I love to watch the butterflies fluttering looking for the pretty butterfly bushes I have planted, birds landing in the trees chirping away, the deer eating in the yards. So much to look forward to. I think you can look at your life as the glass half full or half empty. Some families have been through devastating circumstances and are having a tough time recovering. Losing my husband and my son has been difficult-but I had to realize you will never “get over it”, yes, life will go on, and I will always remember Jerry and Levi. I think I can say, I accept where I am in my life today. 

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Starting Out

March 21, 2018 at 9:42 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

When my husband and I were barely married, we were blessed to find our fist place to call home. I remember the nice new trailer was set inside a retirement village. We were living in our park for a year when I found out I was pregnant. The manager informed us we would have to move after the new baby was six month old. As luck would have it, the previous owners came moved back to town and wondered if we would like to sell the trailer. Well, we pondered, no, we said yes right away and began packing not knowing where we were going to move next.

While I was at work one afternoon, my husband and my mom were grocery shopping, and decided to look for our forever home. ( I always wondered why I was never invited to come “look” with them. I guess Jerry wanted to surprise me. It is a good thing I am not picky because I can just hear some couples fight. Jerry saw the for sale sign in the yard. The owner was outside watering his wife’s flowers and waved as Jerry drove by. The young man was friendly and told him to bring me back this evening and look the place over. When I got off work, Jerry was waiting for me at my parents home. He told me he had a surprise for me. We went over and stepped inside the door, and both knew we came home. Three Months later, our son Levi was born.

It is hard to believe it has been thirty two years since we moved into our home. We had the struggles most new homeowners have. Money was tight, we were about to have our baby, energy was running lower than the money and we did not have one thing on our dining room wall for one year. I kid you not. The more I was criticized for my decorating style or lack of as one put it, I did not care anymore. My husband had an illness, I had a new baby and you should have heard our arguments about what to put on the dining room wall. Looking back it is funny now, but it is funny how people perceive others and what their home should look like. Home decorating is an ongoing process. As I lived in my home longer, I started to put the house together more with a style. I have been blessed with Victorian pieces I have either bought or was given to me over the years. I love coming home everyday.

I often wondered just for fun if my late husband and my son could come back for an afternoon, what would they think. I think Jerry would marvel at what I had accomplished without his laughing comments. My son would be surprised I turned his old bedroom into my dressing room. I think they would both be happy I created such a lovely home for myself. I kept my husbands office, but the walls are no longer plain white, they are now a soft peach. I am using my son Levi’s computer, and I am displaying a few of the special gifts Jerry had given to me on display. My bedroom is painted a soft blue/green color with nice floral bedding. (He never minded the pretty bedspreads my mom bough me for my birthdays). My dear friend came over ten years ago and refreshed my bedroom for me. I laugh at the thought now but she wondered how long it had been since the room was touched. Seventeen years it was time I think.

I think with age comes confidence. Jerry and I were excited about owning our first home, a new trailer. We were lucky because it was pretty much decorated for us. We made some lasting friendships along the way. When we moved into our forever home, we were blessed to have neighbors with kids for our son to grow up with.  I would not trade the early years for anything.We were young , had our first baby coming, and we were both tired. I had always wished I had my dad, my brother, and both my Aunts talent for drawing, water colors, or oil paintings. I have several displayed in my home. My one Aunt gave me the best compliment one day. I told her I wished I was as talented in painting like the rest of the family. She told me “you are talented Julienne. Not many can put a house together like you have and have it look as nice as you do.” It warmed my heart to have more confidence in my abilities and then I realized it was not that I could not decorate, I have another person living here and I have to make him happy also. it is fun to look back on the lean years, raising our families and now the empty nest years. I must say , I have lived a pretty good life so far and looking forward to many more.

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Life can Change in a Moment

March 14, 2018 at 7:34 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I was going through some paper work, and I came across a note my son had scribbled on a piece of paper. The note brought back memories of how much he had grown the last few years before his death. I was truly inspired by what I read. “Life can change in a moment, live everyday like you mean it, and don’t look back with any regrets.” I love his point of view. So many times, me included, regret things that doesn’t really matter. I am so proud of the fine young man Levi had become. I will always remember his smile, the sparkle in his eyes, his infectious laugh, and most of all his generosity.

When Levi was in grade school, his friends decided to set up a small lemonade stand. He was excited to give weary travelers a cold drink on a hot day. The boys did pretty good I might say. As they were getting ready to clean up for the day, a patrol car came down our block. I knew the officers and was talking with them, when Levi came up to them with the last two glasses of lemonade and told the officers”you work hard to keep us safe, you can just have these.” the officer was grateful for the cold drink, but would not Levi and the boys walk away empty-handed.

My life was forever changed ten years ago when my son was involved in a fatal car accident. Some still ask me how I carry on day after day. A strong faith, the love and support of my family and friends, a job I love, and my writing. Today is a rainy day and I feel a little blue. I don’t think it was an accident I found the little note my son had written years ago. It made me feel better and Levi was right, life may change in a moment, but it is how you deal with your grief, stress, who you lean on that counts.  I still think about when my husband and son were alive and our house was full of friends, great food, lively conversations, laughter and love.  I appreciate my friends who have me over for snacks and movies, grabbing a cup of coffee out, a walk in the forest listening to the birds chirp, feeling alive again.

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