Times Have changed

February 5, 2020 at 9:38 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I remember when my twin brother and I were in high school we both worked to help support our family. dad was injured on his job and mom worked 30 hours a week, it was not enough to make ends meet. My brother and I both had a horse so we were responsible for feeding the animal and cleaning out the pen before going to work.

My family also had dinner together every night. We sat around the table as a family and talked about our day, any homework that needed to be done and if mom or dad had to take us to after school activities. One night my brother was telling the family that his boss’s father pulled him aside and gave him some very good advice. The father told him” take a job no one else wants to do that way you will always have a job.” Many jobs offer overtime and double shifts to keep the job running smoothly.

I have a job in the health care field that I love. I could not imagine working in another field of work. As a teenager, I wanted to become a paramedic I was disappointed to learn there were height and weight requirements for the job. I decided to go into Nursing instead. I laugh today because my family knew the man who started the paramedic program in the 1970s his family came over to my parent’s house and his family rode horses with us.  Sometimes it is not who you know after all. Being one of the first woman paramedics was not appreciated in the male-dominated field. The men wondered if a woman could do the job effectively.

So much has changed since I was growing up it is amazing how the family dynamics are today. families used to gather at least for Sunday dinner around the table for a nice meal and talk about their week, it used to be commonplace to see neighbors walking the dog and stopping on the neighbor’s porch for a visit, kids throwing a frisbee in the front yard or a game of basketball in the street. it seems like the kitchen table is the back seat of the car or around the island in the kitchen and eating a quick sandwich and out the door or back on the phone, or back into their rooms to play a computer game. The good old days I think are gone for good.

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Celebrating Good Friends

July 11, 2019 at 9:31 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

The last couple of days have been busy. I try to enjoy my few days I have off, but sometimes life can get very hectic. Last week, my mom and I entertained my Aunt and cousin from Florida. This was the first time in five years my family has been back for a short visit. It would be difficult for mom to travel, so it is nice friends and family are visiting. Life changed the last few years when the family started moving to Florida to escape the snowy North Idaho winter.

The older we get, we have to accept change. Four of my mom’s neighbors sold their homes and moved to a smaller house nearby. The homes in the neighborhood were split level homes built in the late 1960s. The homes are ideal for a young family raising a family. When the parents become empty-nesters, oftentimes, they move into a one-level home with NO STAIRS. I understand the older we get, stairs can become a problem. My mom is the only original resident left on the block.

It is interesting, the new families moving in keep to themselves. Our night caregiver has invited one of the new homeowners over for a welcome BBQ with no response. I saw on a tv commercial recently that only 34% of the people know their neighbors. So much has changed in the last twenty-plus years. My neighborhood had block parties, July 4th firework gatherings, adult card game evening, celebrated the kids birthdays, football and chili cookoffs. The kids grew up, moved away or have families of their own now. I still go over and visit the neighbors on evening walks and catch up who is retiring next. I love my neighborhood.

One thing I am trying to do is being involved with my good friends. I have attended two birthday celebrations this week. One at a pizza shop, the other we had the party instead of our usual Bible study. I love what my friend did for her birthday. She is having an add a book, take a book Library added to her willow tree in her front yard in memory of her best friend. I love this idea. She asked for children’s books especially. One of our elderly ladies brought a book in that her children had written all over in. She was afraid it would not be accepted, that is half the charm of a book and you know it was well enjoyed by the young readers.

Hug your kids and loved ones extra tight today, let them know how much they are loved, appreciated, needed, and you are glad they are in your life. The kiddos grow up too fast, leave home and get on with their own lives, parents grow older, need more care, and even though I will never have any, you can look forward to the grandkids. I had to accept change in my life when both my husband and son passed away. I still reside in the forever home my husband and I bought together,  I have turned my son’s old bedroom into my dressing room and I use his old computer to write my blog posts. I live in a desired neighborhood that my husband and I did not think would  so fast. Even though my home town keeps growing, I am blessed to live in an area where I can still see wildlife walking down the street and eat of your grass.

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The Empty Nest Life

July 6, 2019 at 8:39 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Single Parent, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

The other day, I was getting a few last minute items for dinner. I happened to walk down this particular aisle to hear mom and child having a few words. I chuckled when I heard the exchange of conversation from parent to child. As I walked past, I found the item I was looking for and continued on my way. I realized how many years ago I had this same conversation with my own son. The difference is when I told Levi no, he knew not to press the issue he was not getting the desired item today.

Parenting is tough no matter if you are a single parent or have both running the household. Nothing irks me more than to be in the store and a child is screaming at the top of their lungs to get his or her way. When I was a child, you behaved because of what happens to you when you get home. If the family went for an evening bike ride, the kids stayed with the parents, going to the park on Sunday was a treat to fly kites. You did not wander off to go see the ducks in the pond. We had respect for our elders and did not sass back (you knew what would happen). I remember a time when my family went to the backyard and would swim in the pool, then have dessert afterward.

My son moved out thirteen years ago. I can remember the night well. Halloween eve, my son and his best friend came by to pick up a few of Levis things.  I laughed when they left because stayed behind were his bed,(he sold me the bed before he moved out) dresser, comforters, some clothes, and a few odds and ends. I was setting in my living room with his cat and said: ” this is it”. When you have a child, no are not thinking about the day they move out.  The move was a good one for my son. He moved in with his grandma to help her after his grandpa passed away. My mom taught him about a budget she was not his bank, he had a curfew at ten p.m. He mowed her lawn for her, he was becoming a fine young man.

Since then, I have been doing well also. The first year was quiet without the loud music playing, phone calls at two in the morning, late night pizza delivery, water bill definitely went down, so did the food bill. I have had time to refresh the paint inside and, planted a couple shade trees in the backyard, extended the patio, have time to devote to my blog, I love to take day trips and find new waterfalls. I live in an area that is full of nature, lakes, streams, logging roads, quaint small towns to explore, I even have visited a couple ghost towns in the area. I am enjoying the second half of my life.

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Back To Reality

June 23, 2019 at 7:16 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Last week, I went on a stay-cation. I can always count on it raining, no, down pouring about the time I decide I need a break from my normal routine. Friends do not ask me what I did for fun that week off, they know I enjoy my home town. It was nice getting a break from having to water my lawn so much, the temperatures were staying in the high 60 degrees mark for the most part.

I ventured out of my home one day and finally went to a big box store that just opened up. I think this store has a Lowes beat in size. I walked in thought this place is huge. It will take me three days to see everything like at Disney Land. I felt a little bit overwhelmed with how many choices you have for one color of a throw pillow. If you want brown, they have fifty shades of just brown so you can coordinate your bedding or your accent chair in the corner of the living room. I found many double duty furniture solutions for hidden storage or a chair that folds out into a bed for guests. A fun afternoon indeed.

Sometimes, it is nice to take a break from your daily routine, not check emails for a couple days, no computer, keeping cell phone use to a minimum. For some, this seems impossible I mean staying off my phone for a couple days. All the things we do every day just to keep our lives running smooth. Between my job, caring for my aging mom, blogging, and weeding my yard I keep a full schedule. Anyone who knows me laughs because I hate yard work. I am becoming a reformed black thumb gardener. I had two shade trees planted in the back yard recently. I can say with pleasure, they are growing taller and branching out like they are supposed to.

I have not been camping since I was a child. My parents would take off when school let out or in October during hunting season in Colorado. I can truly say, I have my love for driving from my dad. We have visited many National Parks. Seeing Old Faithful is a must for all. It is funny now that my family moved to Post falls years later. I have always enjoyed watching wildlife, step outside your front door and see the forest, able to drive beside the river on a back road. I think this daily routine is one I will never need a break from. I have lived here for thirty-eight years, there are still so many places I have not seen yet. Sometimes it feels like have our own small piece of paradise living right here.

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A Time Of Refreshing

June 18, 2019 at 10:07 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

This week is a time for me to refresh, to unplug from all the cell phone, answering e-mails, computer, and all the other devices that we all need a break from.  I care for my aging mother in the morning, then I will be off for some much-needed fun.

I  have always been a homebody. I love living here and seeing wildlife. You are driving around a neighborhood, and see several deer eating on the front lawn, stopping for wild turkeys to cross the road, following the stream around a mountain back road. I like taking the less traveled forks in the road because you are pleasantly surprised when you see a quaint town with small shops to explore. Last year friends of mine and I traveled to the top of the mountain and looked over part of Coeur d’Alene Lake. The drive back was beautiful.

My mom and I are still expecting relatives to visit this summer. My next door neighbor agreed to come to help me clear the basement of items to donate and then make the space functional. Aside from this, catching up on reading some good books in the park, taking some afternoon drives around the lakes in the area, binge-watching my favorite shows, getting out and hiking Tubbs Hill, meeting friends for lunch at our favorite upscale restaurant. I may even go on a silver mine tour, and go to a ghost town in the area.

I can say that I have enjoyed the life I have lived in my home town. I have watched the town grow more and more every year but we still maintain our small town friendliness. I have my favorite places I shop,  have the oil changed, get my groceries, and get my hair cut. One thing remains the same: The grocery store clerk to my bank teller has the same friendly smile and warm greeting when you walk in. I choose to pay my bills in person instead of online for the reason of I have known the tellers and clerks for the last thirty years and enjoy the interaction with them. This is what makes a town feel like home. I could plan a trip and travel anywhere I wanted this week but where would I be any more satisfied than where I love living? I told this to a friend today in the grocery store. She wondered why I was not on an airplane heading for another destination. Folks come here to enjoy our beauty on a vacation. I think I just may be on to something.

Summer will be short-lived and fall will be here before you know it. The changing leaves on the trees to gold, red and orange, fall drives, sipping cider, planting fall flowers to replace the summer blooms. The coats, boots, sweaters, jeans, scarves, and gloves will replace the shorts and tees, sandals, ice tea, and warm summer days. It seems like summer is shorter every year. The Inland Northwest get the fires that surround us and it makes for dry, hot and smokey conditions for much of the season. Lasy ear, it was advised to stay indoors because of the poor air quality. It is scary when a fire breaks out fifteen minutes from your home. You pray for the families that are in harm’s way and hope that the fire does not spread any further. You take the good with the bad I guess.

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Best Laid Plans

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

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

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

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

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

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Weekend Getaways

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Girls Night Out

April 24, 2019 at 8:21 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I cannot tell you the last time I was able to get together with the girls for a fun night out. Two weeks ago, I was invited to see a play called”Mousetrap.” It was humorous because I did not know the play was hosted by my church, I told the driver I could have met you here. I laughed so hard all evening trying to figure out who the murderer was like the rest of the audience. By the end of the first act, I knew who it was and I did not tell.

I have always been one who likes to go listen to a good Jazz Band in concert or find a Murder Mystery play. My favorite play Is “A Chorus Line”. In high school, I was able to see it on Broadway. Talk about an extravagant performance. I was in a dance class in school so my class, of course, would have loved to jump on stage and help them rehearse. We laughed about how much fun it would have been. I am blessed to live by a Community theatre that John Travolta’s sister starred in many productions. It was fun when John and his lovely wife came for the opening night performance. They are gracious people.

I am realizing in order to keep a happy mental attitude, you need to have something to look forward to. The weather is getting warmer so now I can concentrate on getting my backyard completed, planting new flowers in my beds, finding two new shade trees to replace the tree that died this last fall. I am planning on having people over this summer so I need to expand my patio and finally add a patio cover. My budget allows for one home improvement project to be done every year. I could not accomplish the updates with the support from friends. The house is really starting to look nice. I live by the river and many families come down the street to enjoy paddle boarding, fishing and swimming in the summer.

The older I get, I am finding with an invitation out to dinner, a movie night in or just meeting up at a local coffee-house, I am getting out, enjoying what my home town has to offer and starting to enjoy the new season. winter is over, and spring is finally here. Flowers are starting to bloom, trees are getting green leaves again, the warmer sunny days ahead, mowing the grass, cutting down dead trees, planting new ones, having friends and family over to show off the renovated backyards. I am glad families are staying in the old homes and creating a backyard dream vacation. Most cannot afford to go to the nice resorts every year so families are looking ahead when the kids go to college or start families of their own. It is smart to create where you do not want to leave but spend several hours by the new fire pit or outside grilling station after dinner, sitting by the fireplace with a glass of wine.

 I am really looking forward to the next few years as an empty nester, blogger, and enjoying being middle-aged. Like many, I have suffered a few personal loses but I know my husband and my son would be proud that I keep moving forward and never give up. I keep myself busy with working and caring for my aging mom, writing and just being a tourist in my town. I never thought I would be a tourist in my town but it is really fun. There is always a new coffee-house to try, meet friends for dinner at the new eatery, outdoor concerts, Parade of Homes, Annual Garden tours, and who does n’t love hearing the birds singing in the morning?

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A New Season

April 18, 2019 at 7:29 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Last night, I attended a ladies bible study by myself. A good friend invited me to go several times, so I finally went with her. I had the most fun I have had in a while. The ladies were gracious hosts making you feel at home. Last week, I heard one mother saying her son was in a play next week. I asked if I could come, we also invited another widow who attends the study to come along also. I love that they made you feel apart of the family and I look forward to next week.

We had an unusual winter as it began snowing in February every day. We are used to getting our winter beginning in December and in February we have some signs of spring. I love the white fluffy snowfall but then you get rain with it and a mixture of heavy slush makes it impossible to shovel let alone drive in unplowed roads. This was the first year that I stayed in most of the winter due to increased traffic and other people driving reckless. I love to look out my front door at the storms coming in from the mountains.

this year, I started to notice a slight change in my outlook on things. I was more tired than usual, my mom had needed more help after coming home from the hospital, I was caring for two households now. I realized I was becoming more depressed and just wanted to be alone. I have a great group of friends who I go out with, but my mood had changed.  I haven ‘t taken a nap in so long, I found myself taking a three-hour nap every day. My co-workers were noticing I seemed more tired and wondered what was wrong. I love my job and the house I work in and get along well with everyone. I was beginning a new season in my life.

I was having my morning coffee one day and realized I felt like I was looking at a glass house, I was on the outside looking inside the house. I felt like I did not fit in I think when you suffer a personal loss such as losing a spouse or son, you feel disconnected from the community. The ladies at the bible study helped me to understand I was not alone in my feelings. Healing takes time, you have to take good care of yourself to continue to give to others. I think the thought of not fitting in is like looking at your glass half empty or half full. When life throws a curve ball how do we deal with the pain and anger? I had to realize the deaths of both my husband and my son did not mean the death of me as well. I am looking forward to the next season of my life. I know it will be full of promise, brighter days, and most of all getting back to the lasting friendships I have made.

Happy Easter everyone. May you hug the kids tighter, let them know you love them, you are proud of them and you are glad they are in your life. We are not promised tomorrow so make the best memories of today.

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Reconnecting With Friends

April 4, 2019 at 9:33 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, Single Parent, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Isn’t it funny how fast time is passing by why it is April already. We are finally thawing from all the snow we got in February this year. usually we have a few months to get used to six- eight inches of the fluffy white stuff at a time, this year, we were getting ten inches at a time. Sometimes it is time for the season to change already. It is that time again you know where the popular commercials play to upgrade the ole yard.

Trust me, I do not hate spring, just all the preparations to get the yard even ready. As I have said before, I am a reforming black thumb gardener. My dear friends come out every couple of years and help me to get my yard ready for me enjoying the fruits of thier(friends) labors. I just do not have the time anymore with working full time and caring for my aging parent, little is left in the day. I have been one who picks three projects to tackle a year. A couple years ago, I had the house painted, a new metal roof put on the a new (needed) furnace installed. I feel sorry for first time buyers trying to get into a home or rent something. 

My late husband and I bought our forever home thirty years ago  when we found out his disease was terminal. We just thought Jerry would have more time to enjoy living in our new home than he did. The sweetest picture I have is of daddy and son mowing and cleaning up the lawn. Levi had his own mower and rake with a wheel barrow. I remember our little man slept through the night. He only tried to help daddy with the sprinklers one time. He was not ready to get that wet yet. I have had some many good times in my home and a few hard circumstances living here. I feel blessed to have such good friends who were willing to lend me a helping hand painting and landscaping my home.My friends planted a nice pine tree in my son Levi’s honor in 2007.It grew to be 25 feet tall, then last summer, I had noticed it turning brown and brittle. I was told is was dying. “It can’t die” I remember telling myself it was planted for Levi in his honor. It is funny how the winter changed my attitude toward the dead tree. It was not the end of the world and you can always plant two shade trees to help keep the backyard cool on hot summer days. I am learning to let go of what really is not important. I will have a nice backyard regardless of whether I have  a twenty-five foot pine tree back there or not. Home ownership is a ongoing process. But as it is known the landscaping industry is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Just look at the Garden Shows every year. I know folks spend five hundred dollars on the day of the show sprucing up the landscape to look nice. 

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