New Beginnings

December 2, 2018 at 11:03 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Life is full of new beginnings. Sometimes life has a way of throwing us a curve ball we did not see coming. Either financial, health wise or job change. Life is ever-expanding with new challenges, new hopes for our dreams and new ways to keep persevering in the challenges we face.

Sometimes, circumstances in our lives can seem overwhelming, we have to gather the strength to continue caring for our loved ones and take good care of ourselves as well. Notice we put us last most of the time? Moms are good at this. We will get to us later. No, I am afraid we need to take care of ourselves now so we can continue to give. A friend of mine told me ‘look at your emotional bank account. Do you have enough emotional money to withdraw today or are you bankrupt?’ Something to really think about. I have to be careful because I can easily run on empty emotionally fast.

The older I get, I hope I am wiser as well with how I deal with stress in my life. I think we can feel trapped when so many circumstances come into our lives, especially the ones that are unexpected. I admit when I am really stressed, I tend to get grouchy. I do n’t mean to, but it happens. (some really good friends are chuckling now because they know me too well). I try not to become a negative Nelly who just complains, I try to find a solution so I can live with the circumstance. I have to remember nothing is permanent. I still try to find the beauty in each new day even if the day seems like it is going to be a long one or especially challenging.

I still feel like my glass is half full. Life has been sometimes full of challenges and difficulties, but I have overcome many obstacles and hopefully I can help others who has gone through some of the struggles I have. I know I have the love and support of my family and friends who help keep me moving forward in my life. I wake up every morning knowing my son Levi smiles down from heaven on and he is proud of his mom. This one realization keeps me going when it would have been easy to just give up. I try to take time to smell the flowers they are sweet-smelling. At the end of the day, everything works out.

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Early Fall This Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A New Perspective

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

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

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

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

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

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Art Walk

May 24, 2018 at 5:56 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

A few years ago, I participated in an Art Walk/ book signing event down town. I was excited because this would be one of my first major events. I had two dear friends who were also participating signing their books. Art Walk is a Second Friday event held down town each month for local artists, gallery owners, a specialty shops. It is a night of wine tasting, maybe a sculpture unveiling and most of all, everyone having a good time.

I didn’t know how much work went into preparing for my event; Putting ads in the local newspapers, Good News Northwest is a christian publication, and a radio announcement. Time for the big day. We all Drove to the event together to set up for the evening book signing. We set up in a quaint little specialty shop that used to be a book store owned by my friend who is participating in the event. I knew this would be a special night for her connecting with old friends and customers.

I was so excited about my first book signing that I forgot my purse in my friends basement. This would not had been a problem except, I am getting ahead of myself. We are st the event, selling and signing books having a great evening. After the Art walk was winding down, two of our companions were in the wine tasting room having a fabulous time. Faye and I were wondering how we were going to get home since the designated driver was no longer available. *(S) gave my Faye his car keys and wished us well. This was a nice Cadillac, Faye was afraid to touch anything,  so the ride home was quiet. 

When my friend and got back to the stunning beautiful mansion of our companions, we discovered the we needed two keys to get into the house. I went in through an open window and let my friend in. I then realized I was given the key when we left for the event but forgot my purse downstairs in their basement. I picked up my purse, still not thinking both keys are in my purse. I let Faye out the front door a mad dash for the garage door before it closed. My friend remarked” I didn’t know you were a stunt woman besides a local author.” We both laughed and headed to our homes. I will never forget the friendship, laughter and the wonderful people who stopped by our book signing table to talk and let us sign one of our books for them. I live in a great community.

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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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Clearing Out The Clutter

February 8, 2018 at 8:25 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , )

Sometimes I feel like a change is needed. This weekend, I am starting my vacation. I am feeling burned out, overwhelmed, and it would be nice to just stay in my pajamas mood lately. I decided it was time to start tackling some of the neglected rooms in my home. My closet has been a major source of contention for a while now. I live in an older home with not as much closet space as I would like. A good friend helped me to create a four seasons closet by adding another closet rod and some shelving. Now, all I have to do is get myself in there, put the clothes I don’t wear anymore in a pile and put the closet back in order. Should be easy…..

I love the use of vacuum storage bags. I have stored my seasonal bath towels and matching bath mat sets for years. I have always looked forward to the new season by trading out my bedspreads. I get a fresh new set of sheets and take out my coordinating accent pillows and have a new look to my room. My living room gets new throw pillows in the Spring, and a good cleaning. It is amazing how much dust nylon lace curtains accumulate. I added new curtains to match the ones in the dining room. Open concept housing you see every room when you walk in. A friend came and refreshed the paint inside my home. The house looks clean, bright, cheery, and inviting once more.

A dear friend came over and refreshed my bedroom ten years ago. I gave her a budget, and a couple of ideas, when I came home from church one evening, the room was ready for the big reveal. (I didn’t redecorate my bedroom for seventeen years, I lost my husband and just didn’t know where to start. My friend told me it was time for a new bedroom make-over). I admire those who have an eye for simple yet elegant design in any style of home.  If you don’t have the time and money to renovate your whole house or raise the roof for more space, you can do a lot with storage solutions. Double duty furniture for example.When my son was a young teen, I bought him a flip chair for sleep- overs. When not in use, folds in three sections and looks like a regular corner chair. Toy boxes are excellent sources of storage. when the child moves out, save it for someday Grandkids or spray paint it for linens and blanket storage.

Spring will be here before we know it, and getting to the clutter can be ho-hum I know. Writing this post was more fun. I am just like you, I do not want to tackle it either. Sometimes I make a yummy lunch and have a friend come help me for a few hours. we get to catch up on our lives and I get some work done as well. All this said, I think it is just as important to take care of your emotional well-being. When it is cold, rainy or snowy out sometimes it is nice to stay indoors and sit by the fire. A nice walk outside in the cool sunny day is a good way to shake the blues. I have to watch myself for getting into a life rut. it is easy to do. I think everything balances out do you enjoy where you live, have good neighbors,  good solid friendships,  a job you enjoy? I have to access this sometimes. Am I really happy or burned out. Getting together with good friends for a game night or snacks and a movie is a much-needed break from reality. Sometimes we think we have boring lives no, it is the hustle and bustle of everyday living catching up.

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Vacation Planing

February 2, 2018 at 9:33 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , , )

 

 

Today is another unseasonably warmer day. I took advantage of the sunny morning by having my moms gardener help me start my backyard makeover. I have been wanting to remove a few sad-looking pine trees for a couple of years. I could not believe the change taking out a couple of trees made – I can almost see a normal backyard again. I am planning on adding butterfly attracting plants where my trees once were, and adding shrubs along the back fence.

I found out the hard way last Winter it is difficult to have a lush planting bed in your front yard when you have a metal roof. Yep, four feet f snow dropped down on by shrubs last year and split them in half.  I planted a Hydrangea bushes last Spring and had a beautiful front garden. I did not however plan for the snowy conditions thumping my poor bushes flat. I am told they will come back, just trim them in the Spring. The older I get, I hope I getting a little wiser about how to care for my yard. I am not a gardener by any means, but I would like to have a simple yard I can enjoy in the warm months.

In a couple of weeks, I will be on my Stay-cation. I decided to put my money into fleshing up my home instead of traveling. My backyard is a good start. I feel good that I have less to worry about later. I can take some time and plan what I would like my outdoor retreat to look like. Even though it is still cold outside, I can look out the sliding glass doors and see the birds flying around the trees, I open the door a crack to hear them chirping to one another. I visit my friend and pass moose eating the neighbors trees. I went out to dinner the other night and a small deer walked across the road in front of me. I would rather stay here at home and enjoy what I have all around me than travel to a city and hear traffic, horns honking, another smoggy day, and maybe a day at the beach. The older I get, I like staying home surrounded by those I love to get together with.

Some of my friends are envious that I own my home. My husband and I found our forever home when I was pregnant with our son. Jerry was able to live in our home four years until he passed away from complications of his disease. I raised our son here until he moved out to help care for his grandma after his grandpa passed away. I was now an empty nester. This took some getting used to. You always dream when your child moves out, he is starving and begging to eat dinner with you. Not the case, I had to visit my mom or my neighbor to see my son. At least I saw him on Taco Tuesday every week. I look back at this time with fondness. My son died in 2007 when he involved in a fatal car accident. he was only 20.

I turned Levis’ old bedroom into my dressing room after he moved out. I love getting dressed in the morning and putting on my pajamas at night. I remember the phases his room went through,from cowboy bedspreads, to Ninja Turtles, Football Fantasy, and finally Military. When Levi was fifteen, he painted his bedroom a hideous shade of green while I was working. I came home that evening, he thought I would be mad at him and his friend. I told him he had to live with his choice not me. He turned the room into a cave with netting on the ceiling, his bed in the closet, and a sickly green color on the walls. he was happy in there. After he moved out, I painted the room a pretty beige color with Victorian accents on the wall. ( I know what you are thinking, he would not want to come home now anyway). This wasn’t my motive. It was a way for me to deal with the fact my son had moved out. All I had home was his cat-who was a great source of company. I think the cat talked more than Levi did.

Seasons come and go in our lives. I try to enjoy each one as it comes along. I enjoy all four season here, I get together with dear friends as much as possible. Sometimes, I stop over to see friends  when the grandkids are having a sleepover.   I have been asked if I was angry with God because I have lost both husband and son and have no grandchild.  I tell them no; I would have a hard time enjoying my grandchild if Levi was not here to share in the joy with me.My life took another direction than I had expected, but, I am able to care for my aging mom, I have a job in health care I love, a good church with plenty of love and support, a house I love to hang out in, and knowing my husband and son looks down from heaven and smiles upon my life gives me the most joy and courage to carry on.

 

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January Recharge

January 26, 2018 at 9:29 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , )

I cannot believe January is almost gone. The older I get, the faster time seems to flash by. It was just yesterday, I was going through my Christmas decorations deciding to put up. I own a small ranch house with Victorian charm a block from a quaint park by the river. A dear friend of mine helped me decorate my home one year at Christmas. She a gifted decorator who transformed my home into a picture out of a magazine. (today, I am finally taking down my Christmas village). I guess back to January and reality. Sometimes, I would love to just keep my house decorated for the holiday.

I have some vacation time I need to use up before I loose it,so I decided upon a stay-cation. I have always admired couples who have a special place they escape once a year. Maybe on a cruise or the beach or even backpacking in the mountains. I enjoy staying home. I had my home painted three years ago, added a metal roof and a much-needed new furnace put in hence stay-cations. This year, I decided to really enjoy my stay at home.I added a couple throw pillows and new curtains in the living room and a new mattress topper on my bed. I feel like I walk into an exclusive vacation rental already. I am planning a special menu to enjoy, catching a play, and getting some winter cleaning done as well. It is always nice to have a catch up day to clean your closet and utilize it like the walk in closet it is supposed to be.

The older I get, I am becoming a real homebody. After my son moved out, I turned his old bedroom into my dressing room. I love getting dressed in the morning and putting on my pajamas at night. (Some who haven’t read my blog before might be wondering if he was mad because he doesn’t have a room now. He passed away in a tragic car accident in 2007 at the age of 20). A friend once told me” because I use every room in my house, I don’t need to go anywhere. This is like my stay-cation destination”.   She too, has a Victorian inspired home. She has given me many ideas I used to create a simple Victorian inspired home. I can truly say that I am living so many of my dreams. I had always wanted a small home with vintage charm, with help of dear friends, I have created my dream, I have always wanted to write, I post my stories twice a week, I love my job in health care, I am able to care for my aging mother, snow is right outside my front door, and most of all, I am surrounded by incredible neighbors. This middle-aged life of mine has had its share of heartbreak, also so many wonderful memories I can share with you. Thank you for being part of my life.

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Retro- Mania

January 10, 2018 at 10:40 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , )

I went shopping the other day and went down memory lane  I laughed thinking of shopping back then because of the 1970’s clothes fashions I wouldn’t be caught dead in. today is a different story. It is funny when you buy a pair of flared jeans and pair it with a retro top and you smile at the fact you can’t see why you walked by the rack in high school.

I grew up on a ranch in California. before school, my brother and fed our animals, ate our breakfast, changed clothes for school and headed for the school bus a mile walk away. When my brother began driving, I had a chauffeur. Kids at school wondered why I didn’t dress up for school(back then I guess I didn’t consider the comments a compliment). I had long hair like Marcia Brady, but I wouldn’t think of wearing dresses THAT short to school. My outfits were often mismatched, I had a strict mom so my hair was pulled back so I was often teased. Money was tight at home and my brother and I worked young to help out. Cousins gave me clothes, so I wore what I had. I guess if someone would have helped me put a couple of outfits together I would have appreciated it. I was surprised my Junior year when I was told by my classmates to go out for Home Coming queen. ( I lost by 12 votes).

Clothes aren’t the only items making a comeback.  Vintage Homes are being beautifully restored. Some home owners are totally renovating the home to fit todays open concept design where others are restoring the homes natural beauty. There was something about older homes and beautiful moldings, wainscoting, old tile floors, big front porches, a fireplace, brings a warm and inviting place to live. I live in a ranch Style home with Victorian charm. My husband would have loved to changes I had made to our home. I have some great friends who helped me paint, and refresh my home to feel like a retreat instead of my house. I don’t know what it is about bedrooms being the last place you decorate. I have been told you usually run out of ideas by then or money. One of my dear friends came over and redid my bedroom ten years ago. It is a beautiful B&B inspired room that I love. After my husband died, I left the bedroom as is. it was nice, but needed an update.

I laugh about memories of my childhood when I was teased about my hair being pulled into a pony tail everyday and my mismatched clothes.  I have a short hair style,and like to mix retro tops with my leggings.and boots. All the fashion I hated in the late 1970’s, I am enjoying this time around. They say wait long enough and the era will come back. I wonder when good manners, customer service, respecting your elders, cooperation in the work place, gun control, moral values and a good work ethic are making a comeback. A lot has changed since I was a teen. We didn’t have the gadgets kids and adults  today can’t live without. We grew up with respect, hard work, spankings, getting filthy, drinking from a garden hose and lived, the record player, Sunday drives with the family, instead of a tv in the car to keep us occupied, we played find the red ca game. I am glad I grew up in an era that talked on the front porch to my neighbors and really knew them as good friends. 

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