A Fresh Outlook

October 18, 2017 at 6:04 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , )

 

I have been going through a funk period. You are unhappy about something,but can’t quite put your finger on it. I am there. Some days, I feel like I am walking through a thick fog. Some friends will tell me it is because of the change in weather. The warm sunny days have been replaced with shorter, cooler evenings. I know I enjoy fall. I love the changing leaves,the cool mornings, the first cup of coffee tastes better, fall creamers,layers.

As I was sitting in my living room this morning, a thought came to mind. Sometimes I have to realize I need a change in my daily routine. I need to dead head my hydrangea, trim back my Lavender bushes, trees,and the final mowing of the season. Yes, it will be a routine change. I still need to clean and organize mt closet from summer to fall. Two of my best girlfriends both have full-time jobs, so we do not see each other as often. it is so easy to let our minds get side tract from what is important in our day. We still have the fall clean-up getting ready for winter, clothes need to be changed out so we do not freeze in 20 degree mornings, lunch dates are also important to stay connected with those we value. My thoughts this morning went deeper.

I have kept a morning journal for over thirty years now. I write down my thoughts, dreams that may or may not have come true, concerns I have in my life, my aging mom, finances, my job. As I get older, I see a different perspective than I did while raising my young son as a single mother. My priorities have changed; One income does not go as far as it used to. Home ownership is expensive when replacing a furnace or a roof. Property taxes and car insurance are due the same month. Life can be over whelming sometimes, and we cannot just go to an exotic destination to escape. Instead of focusing on negatives thoughts in my life, I have decided to focus instead of some positives.

I am grateful for the continued support of my family and friends. They have helped me through some of the most difficult times in my life. They are always just a phone call and a cup of coffee away. Loosing my son was devastating, I do not live in a new normal, I learned how to move forward in my life and enjoy life again.

I am grateful I still have my mom and brother. Mom turns 80 years old this weekend. My brother is able to be here to help celebrate. Even if it will be a quiet party with a few friends. She wanted sub sandwiches and carrot cake, so this is what she shall have. This will also give me a chance to see my brother again. (he does not know this yet,but I am enlisting his help with some of my fall clean-up). Lavender can be tricky to shape and cut back. We both enjoy seeing new homes and get ideas.

I am grateful for the changing season ahead.  love the crisp cool mornings like this morning. I even enjoy a foggy day. (It reminds me of when I was a girl visiting my grandparents in Santa Barbara. watching the fog clear up into a sunny day.) The red and golden colors on the tree-lined streets, Pumpkin Mania, school harvest carnivals, a crackling fire in the fireplace on a chilly night. Friends over for home-made chili and corn bread, a good Agatha Christie Movie.

Walks around nice lake front neighborhoods. I live in so many well-kept, gracious homes, I often go on a dream tour and come back to my home feeling blessed. I live in a smaller home than some, but I live a block from the river. We have paved walking paths, nature, the river, deer, birds singing, ducks with their babies swimming in the cove, paddle boards enjoying the mountains and beautiful home along the river. I must say, I do have so much to grateful for. Sometimes we feel over whelmed with commitments, saying no, home repairs, car repairs, we wonder if our paycheck is going to stretch enough.

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An Unexpected Surprise

September 25, 2017 at 8:36 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , )

 

While driving home from work last week, I felt a chill in the air. The temperature felt nice compared to last week with over 90 degrees heat and no rain for 80 days; either my grass gave up trying to grow and stay green or I just gave up spending a small fortune on my water bill trying to keep it green and somewhat healthy.

My friends call me the black thumb gardener because of the state my grass is in by the end of every summer. But I do notice many households share the same fate as I. If you drive around the neighborhood,not all the lawns are plush green like a golf course. Most are a sickly looking green with a tinge of white. So I began to feel a little better about my front and backyard. I hired a lawn care service to spray my grass for weeds and to help keep it healthy. Well, not even the fertilizer helped. I had six-inch grass that was green, but I did not dare cut it or it would turn very brown instantly. My next door neighbor teases me because I water more than he does and his lawn in a nice shade of money.

With the smoke and hot days behind us now, I was looking over my new hydrangea plants I had planted in June. I had torn out my overgrown shrubs and rose bushes in my front planting beds. Last winter was cold, and snowy; For feet of the white stuff came down on top of my shrubs and roses and cracked them in half. I have a positive outlook on such matters and decided I needed a change. Besides I just had my house freshly pained, a new metal roof, why not update the beds as well.  My lawn care expert told me how to care for them plus I hear they like full sun I deep watered the new plants when the scorching heat came. My new flowers look so pretty in deep pink now that the season has changed. (maybe I may have to give up my long standing title now who knows).  It is hard to try and compete with your best friend who has a yard to belong to the garden tour. I have learned that my home is in a nice location just down from the lake, plenty of hiking trails, deer,birds merrily singing, and ducks quaking in the river. I live in a great neighborhood with friends you can count on.

I was getting ready for the chilly mornings, less watering, less plant and lawn care, and I can enjoy my special coffee creamers in my coffee every morning. Time once again to dig out my sweaters, leggings, boots, scarves, and heavier jackets. Time for a couple more neighborhood BBQ’s, and once again have the gang over for the famous chili cook-offs and your favorite football team. The leaves are starting to change color,chilly mornings and pumpkin spice everything right now. Life is good indeed!

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As Good As Chocolate

August 30, 2017 at 12:24 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , )

With our ever busy lives we live today, it is easy to get overwhelmed. We are over committed, not enough hours in the day, can’t get away for vacation this year…again. Some days life feels like a bowel of cherrish, others you are spitting out just the pits. You have just spent a small fortune of school supplies and are discussing with your spouce you went to school with less supplies not so many years ago. School clothes can be expensive,and then sports…..

I was reading a book last week. I read an unexpected chapter on taking care of you. Yes, you matter. There are so many min- vacations you cn take in your own backyard. Ha, you say- close your eyes and remember the best part of a special day. Make you a deviled egg sandwich, put a piece of cloth on your table and a fresh flower from your garden. take a coupe minutes and taste the sandwich and feel the sunshine on your face. Okay,nobody is looking,the kids are playing at the neighbors-turn on the sprinkler and run through it. Go ahead. See the hammock between those two trees? take a few pleasurable moments and lye down and look at the cloud formations. what do you see? take a few minutes and weed your garden,if you enjoy that sort of thing,(others do it because we don’t want the weeds to win). Sit down in your favorite chair outside on your beautiful deck, enjoy that piece of choolate.  Often times,we as busy moms forget we are impotant too.

I am an empty nester. My son moved out a mere eleven years ago now. Yes,my house is quiet,but I have family and friends over often and enjoy a good movie marathon or just catch up with our lives over a yummy desert. A visit with my dear friend and watch one of our favorite British Mysteries.  you can never go wrong sitting a writing a post with a cup of cold coffee, Taking an evening walk around a nice neighborhood, getting ideas about your own landscape.Looking is free.

I plan on taking a couple classes this Fall. On top of working, writing, I also am caring for my aging mom. Caring for my mom sometimes entitles me to an extra piece of chocolate. some of you know what I mean. I have to sometimes be reminded life is getting to me, or I need to take a drive to clear my head. It is easy to loose track of who we are sometimes. This thing we call life really is a beautiful thing. I still ove jearing the crickets at night while siting on my deck. It is fun to hear how loud the cricket can chirp to be heard over the freeway noise. Who said summer is not fun.

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Changing Season

August 23, 2017 at 4:39 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , )

 

My High School had the annual all-class reunion earlier this week. I could not go due to family commitments and work. I am in contact with many of my classmates who still live in my home town in sunny California. Our school was small and so was my graduating class. I think 80 people in all. I could not attend this years gathering of the cool people due to family and work obligations. I wish when photos were posted,everyone could write the names of the unfamiliar faces. It is fun to see how much some have changed while others,well, you want in on the secretes.

I was thumbing through my old year book the other day and saw a picture of my best friend, she was a year ahead of me and was a great source of encouragement to me when I needed it. I lived on the outskirts of town on a ranch, so my brother and I were involved in 4-H Club along with several other classmates. I loved living in the country where I had plenty of places to ride my horse everyday, but I did not make friends to come hang out after school because I live so far out-of-town. My freshman year was awkward beginning a new school, and then my mom always made me wear my hair in a pony tail at school. along with I could not afford the hip clothes everyone was wearing. I was teased a lot in school. I met my friend Tracey in Dance class. We became fast friends, she helped me become more confident. It was funny, I wanted her short hair, she envied my long hair. I remember going shopping for sun glasses, looking at the new styles or just listening to the songs of the super 1970’s at her house. My friend was very pretty, she as even a beauty queen- what I appreciate today about her is she wore jeans a sweat shirt and a leather ball cap shopping. She did not get into the fashion, makeup and perfect hair just to go to the mall.

I was sitting here thinking about my dear friend and wanted to share a story about one day we took off to go to the mall and enjoy the sunny day. We decided to go to Taco Bell and get a burrito supreme. The burritos was a new menu item( always thinking in the back of my mind, dad was grilling steak for dinner) Of course it is more fun to hang out with my friend, I can come with an excuse later when dinner time came. I was dropped off at the house,dad had dinner on ready to go. Well, dad had plenty of dinner for everyone and invited Tracey to stay as well. We both turned green from being stuffed at lunch. wee ate the dinner but afterwards, my friend headed home feeling very,very full. I think I had dinner at her house the next time. A sandwich I believe. Seeing recent pictures of her, my friend has not changed, she is still just as pretty today as she was in school. I never could get her on one of the horses for a ride though.  I think Tracey taught me what it means to be yourself and do not conform to anyone’s standards. What kids did not know was, I often times had ten minutes to get dressed and out the door after feeding my animals. I liked wearing my jeans but also wore a dress and skirt. I learned to like my long hair and curled it -secretly I wanted nothing more than to cut it off and have a style instead of the Marcia Brady look. I looked young in long hair.

I cut my hair short several years ago. I was ready for a change and friends were surprised when I went red. I have some red in my hair, but it was time for a total change. I am glad retro styles are back. I am enjoying wearing the peasant shirts with my carpi pants. It is fun to look in the stores at what I deemed as unfit to wear in my teens. I guess with my getting on in years, I can appreciate how cute the styles were back then. I laughed when I found a dress to be worn two different ways. Oh no, you wore the dress on the shoulder. I had my senior photo taken off the shoulder, I still remember being asked why….. teen girls are funny. I like looking at fashions and I have bought a few flash back pieces of clothing. It is funny how sunglasses from the 70’s are baaaack.

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Parade Of Homes

August 16, 2017 at 8:15 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

One of my favorite shows are fixer uppers; I love watching an outdated home being transformed into a buyers dream home. Watching an episode of behind the scenes, we find the potential buyer narrowing down three contending homes for the makeover. I think the final reveal would leave me anxious as much as the home owner. Leaving the finishing touches to a stranger,even though the Host may know a few of my style choices, you have to act like you love the end result-granted most of the homes are gorgeous. I have seen after shows where most of the home left alone,with a few of the home owners touches mixed in.

My friend and I attended the annual Parade of Homes this year. I must say the growing trend is going combining styles of homes. We are used to seeing Cottages  and ranch style homes surrounding trees and hiking trails. over the last few years, new businesses and  builders were mixing in Modern designs.I can say I don’t necessarily like Modern home designs, but I think potential buyers were looking to broaden their choice in design.  I really think the Builders are watching the same TV shows as the rest of us to get an idea what buyers are looking for. So many fight over a style of house, makes the house hunting stressful.  My small town isn’t so small in feel anymore. Everywhere you drive, a new housing development is being built.

When my family moved here thirty three years ago, I was struck not only with the beauty surrounding me, but how friendly folks were. Everyone knew everyone, and always leaned a helping hand. My dad was disabled, neighbors really took good care of my parents.Wine time was at three o’clock in the afternoon. Some of the neighbors made wine with my dad. (You have to sample your product everyday I would hear). It was nice to have family and close friends around. My family lived out-of-town on a ranch. I did not have close friends to speak of. I cannot believe how much this town has grown over the last thirty plus years. We may have grown,but we have not lost our values. we still make new folks feel welcome-until the first snow, most move away.

I look forward to retiring here some day soon. I love my little ranch style home my husband and I bought together. Both my husband and son are passed away now,but I still have so many memories I cherish of when we were a young couple with backyard BBQ’s, our very own dirt road for bikes, the bay down the street for swimming, fishing,have a late summer dinner, oh and did I say the most important part of any neighborhood? Well, it is good neighbors you know you can count on for help, friendships, comfort, and a meal together. This is what makes my small town living special.

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The Uncooperative Yard

August 3, 2017 at 12:05 am (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , )

A friend of mine and I were talking the other evening about what we still want to accomplish before the ed of summer. first on my list would be to get a friend to help me put some finishing touches on my back yard. I would like to have company,but my yard looks like a bomb went off in it. No matter how much I water, weed and feed (the weeds, not the lawn) it is still bone dry. My next door neighbor owns a lawn care service; We look at each other in passing and just hope the heat will decrease to 85 degrees instead of 95 degrees plus. So, I keep my hydrangea well watered and water the brown lawn three times per week.

While in my back yard this afternoon, I was sitting on my rocking chair thinking about my could be a beautiful yard. I had vision and hope: In the corner of the yard are two pine trees that have seen better days. I have my bird bath sitting there with no birds bathing. I was thinking about cutting down the pine trees and putting down a layer of rock. The bird bath would look better placed in the middle with pots all around it. in the other empty corner, I was thinking about putting a bench in the rock and put a shepherds hook beside it for a humming-bird feeder. On the fence, I want to put up planters for colorful flowers. At least when I go sit on my patio, I can look at something pretty and invite friends over for a party.

I can truly say, I am not a fan of summer sizzle. When my family first moved to my small town, the summer temperature was ony 85 degrees in august, now we get into the triple digits. The older I get, I melt. I  could go to the beach and fight the crowds, hope to get a shady spot, I am too old to run through my sprinkler except for when I forget to look where the lawn is being watered and get soaked. (usually right when you are running out the door to an appointment, and  you look like a drowned rat). I do enjoy when the sun is setting,the air cools down and you can hear the crickets chirping, the last of the kids have gone inside, and you are left with your cold coffee to enjoy in peace.

I took my first ride on a Harley Davidson motorcycle a few weeks ago. My son Levi had a best friend who has really been there for me after my son died ten years ago. We had breakfast at the Snake Pit, then Mike showed me where his family goes camping and floats down the lazy river. It is a beautiful area, in the middle of the national forest. My best friend and I took  a drive to one of our favorite small towns. It is nestled along side the lake with small unique shops and old car shows every weekend. I still need to make time to see a couple of plays or a concert in the park. I still enjoy what is happening at my local Library and visiting my friend the cat lady. She lives in a beautiful Victorian home on a tree- lined street. My yard would be incredible like hers, except I do not share her green thumb. I am becoming a reformed black thumb gardner with help from my friends.

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A Tourist In My Town

July 26, 2017 at 2:32 am (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent) (, , , )

 

I started my stay cation Sunday.  My sons best friend (Mike) picked me up after work and took me on my first ride on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. It was an interesting adventure. You feel like the wind is either going to snap your head off or crazy glue in place forever. I survived the first leg of the trip.  What  a beautiful ride through the national forest, seeing the Lake beside you,watching the water skiers, and the paddle boats enjoying the beautiful summer morning. We had breakfast the world-famous Snake Pit restaurant famous because it’s humble beginnings were as a bordello. Tours are given if you dare. After breakfast, Mike and I continued out tour of the area. The mountains are breath-taking, as you follow the river along the road. It was fun to see the people floating down the river enjoying the warm sunny day. I was afraid the camp ground would be so crowded, but a few campers had a spot on the lake. It is the best kept secrete of North Idaho.

Yesterday a good friend and I decided to be a tourist in Sandpoint. What a quaint small town surrounded by a huge lake. In the 1940’s the Military used to test submarines. No one really knows how deep the lake is. It was fun to be a tourist; We had a nice lunch,followed by shopping in the beautiful down town. Every restaurant has outside dining looking out over the picturesque Lake. I always thought of moving to sandpoint on I retired, I love the charm of the small town.  I thought it over and decided I like livingin my hometown,in my house friends and family helped me to refresh with a good coat of paint, new roof, nice landscapping. and the lake one block away. Everyone knows each other and looks out for one another. I have great neighbors I can count on,  I am near concerts in the park, farmer’s markets, every small town has to have a great Library, boat cruises, or just enjoying a cup of cold coffee in my own backyard.

It is nice to have a few days off where you can just relax, stay in your night gown a little longer, can move at a slower pace, meet a friend at Starbuck’s for a coffee and a good conversation. Soon the Summer will make way for cooler mornings, shorter nights, layers, changing leaves, apple cider. I have a few more weeks of heat(I wilt if the temerature reaches over 75 degrees.) I can always swim in the neighbors pool or go down to the local beach and cool off. I look forward to the local Garden Tour. I am amazed at some of the unique gardens with truckbeds filled with flowers rusting sitting beside the tree. one Actor showed his home overlooking the lake and his secret garden. A cuple years ago, my friend and I toured a older  home where the Alpacas were part of the tour. I kook forward to visiting the mnay wonderful Historic homes as well as the small quaint ones in the middle of town. I get some great ideas I can try in my own yard( I would not call my yard a garden, I need a serious yard doctor to help). Even though I do not have a green thumb, I enjoy hearing the crickets at night, the bids setting in the trees chirping, and the quiet neighborhood after he kids have gone to bed.

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Remebering Levi

July 19, 2017 at 4:38 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , )

 

I will never forget the day my son bought his truck; He took his grandma for a ride, then came back to take his mom for a ride( Grandma was chauffeured around for a couple of months).  Levi was tickled pink that he could afford such a nice vehicle. My son laid carpet and installed granite counter tops so his boss was just as thrilled now there were two trucks to haul daily materials. Levi tired of his truck and bought him his dream car-a Mitsubishi Eclipse. He was proud of his nice new car. He laughed that the color was dark green, his favorite color. His boss frowned because he lost his second truck for materials.

One sunny Sunday morning, Levi and his friends set out to float the river. I remember this particular day was the hottest day of the summer. At eight p.m. I received the call no parent wants-my son was involved in a tragic car accident. I went numb, I could not think of my life without the most important part of my life. My son was placed on life support. After five days and countless prayers later,our lives were forever changed. I often end my posts with the “hug your kids extra tight, tell them how much you love them, and how proud you are of them.” We are not promised tomorrow, only today. Make the most of your day, take the time to have your back yard cook-out,plan your day trip with family and friends.enjoy the beauty of each new day.

Each new day I am given, I am blessed by the love and support of family and friends. I have the best neighbors, live in a great small town where everyone knows each other, when my house needed refreshed, a good friend came over and painted,  another friend helped me turn my house into a beautiful home with Victorian charm. I had to realize even though my life was forever changed with loosing my husband and son, I need to keep moving forward. I turned my sons old bedroom into my dressing room. I love getting dressed in the morning and put on my pajamas at night. I have so many fond memories of the fine young man Levi had become.

Every year, I write a story about my son’s life for hope for other parents going through a similar circumstance. Our lives changed in a way we could not see coming. Every morning you wake up,listen to the birds singing a new song, enjoy the sunshine on your face and  keep moving forward. i am healing more everyday, and I writing helps keep my sons memory alive. thank you all for your support and kind comments. This really helps keep me motivated to keep writing.

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Black Bay

July 12, 2017 at 9:46 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent) (, , , )

 

Last night, after the heat cooled off, I set out for my  walk.  I love the fact Black bay is down the hill from my house with walking trails, kids go fishing and swinging from the rope swing into the Bay, canoes paddling slowly along the shore taking in the scenery,  a few boats went by with kids being pulled in inner tubes or skiers. I saw a group having a late dinner with family just over the quaint small bride. As I continued on my walk, I spotted a duck family. They were quacking near a couple of ladies lounging in chairs enjoying the evening talking, watching the boaters go by. I have never seen ducks be so friendly coming up for food, usually they stay in the water  near the side of the cove. The small ducklings were so cute quacking, looking for mosquitos . Walking around the corner, I heard birds singing in the trees,butterflies fluttering around, squirrels were chasing each other. The Bay is surrounded by hills and trails. You have a small taste of nature one block away. 

I have lived in my neighborhood for thirty years now. I love my neighborhood with young families sprinkled in with some empty nesters. It is nice to hear kids playing outside again. It was not that long ago that my son was making jump ramps for his bike at the end of the street or pitch a tent in the backyard and camp with a few friends. We made BBQ hot dogs and cold drinks for roughing it. It was fun laying in bed listening to the boys and hearing the cricket’s chirp louder than the laughing campers. Rainy day fun was a fort in the living room for watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Summer fun was also fishing with Grandma and Grandpa. Everyone would rise early, make coffee and sandwiches and be out of Fernand Lake by five a.m. The catch of the day was cleaned and put on the grill for dinner. We have so many lakes around to choose from. My parents and their friends would get together for a morning boating,then go to the resort for lunch. It was fun to watch expressions on visitors faces when we walked in with our wind-blown hair and casual attire. (locals you know). 

I am glad my son grew up before technology really took over. My son bought and paid for his first phone. I did not want him to have on until he was old enough to be responsible with it. My son was busy building forts.bike jumps, playing one on one basketball,  paintballing, (there is an expensive hobby). Levi had a game Boy but he was not obessed with the game like kids and adults are today. A family friend spent one summer helping my son build a fort in his Grand Parents back yard. My dad even installed electricity so he could have a tv and radio in his fort. He had many fun nights camping in style. When Levi moved out, I was surprised he did not turn the fort into a studio apartment. He was a sweet kid; He moved in with his grandma after his grandpa passed away to help her. I remember when Levi bought his first truck, he took his grandma on all her errands because he said “this little city of ours is getting crazy to drive in grandma”. I am proud of the fine young man Levi had become.

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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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