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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Be Real

October 14, 2017 at 8:05 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , )

 

I was reading an article in a popular magazine a few years ago, the story has stayed with me.  TV commercials depicts a family run by the kids. Most children if you ask them, do not really have a concept of how much lunch costs. If the child is raised with respect, they will eat what is being served. I do understand a parent would not make a dish that the child clearly will not eat.

When I was growing up, the family all ate together. Period. We did not grow up with all the electronic devices kids today have as their source of communication.  It saddens me to see a commercial on TV where the mother texts the kids at the dinning room table to tell them time to do the dishes. My brother either washed or dried the dishes every night.  Our parents worked hard everyday to provide for the family, and the kids had chores to help out. Boundaries and hard work around the ranch helped make me the person I am today.

I also see on the news a child took a gun to school and shot a classmate who was harassing them. After dinner,if the family sees each other for a family meal,kids go to their rooms and play X Box, mom and dad are in living room on the phone,easy for junior to go grab a gun or other weapon to conceal in his backpack. Parents are over committed to work, after school games, Church functions and the kids know it. I believe it makes it harder for a child to tell mom or dad they are being bullies. The kids hear parents talking about the rough day they had. If you let a teacher or the principal  know what’s going on, more bullying. This is going to continue to be a growing problem. With budget cuts, the good after school programs are being eliminated. Kids have no where to go.

My brother and I were raised around guns; We knew we did not get into the gun case unless an adult was there the gun was properly checked. We were not given the combination to the gun safe, we did not try to get into the gun case when our parents were not at home and a friend came over. My brother and I respected the privacy of our parents personal space. We did not go snooping around to see what was in the bedroom closet. No, we were not perfect kids,we still managed to get into harmless trouble, like the snake that got into one of the rabbit pens. Dad told my brother and I to take the snake far out into the nearby field and release it. Jeff and I took the snake to the edge of the property and let it go. next day,snake had baby rabbits for lunch. Jeff and I disappeared in the orchard on our horses for the afternoon.

I am glad I do not have grandchildren who has to attend school. The online public school is rapidly growing. Parents want the kids to get a good education without all the drama of Kindergarten.i have seen and heard some boys and girls that need more than re-direction. It does not help that adult sit on both sides of the fence with discipline. When my son was three,my husband told him to stop his screaming, a lady told my husband she was calling the cops because he was being mean to the boy. Jerry told the lady”go ahead, my son is not going to scream in a public place.” Who is right and who is wrong anymore?

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Another Perspective

October 2, 2017 at 9:38 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Twins, Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

 

My twin brother and I celebrated our birthday last week. We are now living in our golden years. I have grown not only a year older, but also wiser especially this last week.

Sometimes when I have a conflict in my life, I try to figure out a quick solution; this doesn’t always work out the way you thought it would. I realized that life is full of heartbreak, poor decisions, and not giving up. I always figured if I gave up, how could I know how God worked in my behalf. I struggled with the sudden loss of my husband and my son. I put my life back together piece by piece with the love and support of family and friends. I had to realize the their deaths did not mean the death of me as well. I keep moving forward each day with expectancy.

Conflict is like laundry day. it would be just as easy to shut the washer lid, but you did not work through the problem. I come to realize problems do not have a thirty minute solution like on the Brady Bunch. I finally found a solution that I can have peace with. You job, home life, caring for your aging parents have good aspects and challenging ones. I had a funny thought that helped me you are standing in a big hole filling up with water. Scary thought huh. I imagined my best friend standing in the hole with me encouraging me not to give up-and to climb out of the big watering hole as well. But I can choose not to stay in misery.

I think I get a little melancholy sometimes because my two best friends are busy with their jobs. We used to have the same days off , so we would go for a fall drive and get a coffee from a java hut on the way. I had more fun with my one friend whose husband is a paint contractor. She spent one day doing returns and asked me along to keep her company.  We always had fun(she didn’t know why I could have fun tagging along with her). I was able to get out of the house for the afternoon and spend the day with someone I treasure. My other good friend  and I loved taking out fall drives around our small town. I looked forward to our salad bar lunches and coffee to go. Sometimes I ride with her to see new properties she will be managing in the future. Some nice neighborhoods out there.

 

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A Personal Perspective

September 20, 2017 at 9:29 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I was reading through my Face Book news feed the other day and ran across this quote. I do not necessarily agree with what is says. In today’s world, life is fast paced, road rage, people are impatient, rude, do you really want to know what someone is having for dinner?

I am thinking your boss appreciates the employee who is on time everyday, meets deadlines, has a positive attitude. After a long hard day at the office, I think a wife appreciates her husband coming home instead of stopping elsewhere first, starting the grill and  having a nice outside dinner. Afterwards maybe swimming in the pool or taking he family dog on a walk around your neighborhood.

Feeling appreciated is a personal matter. Few bosses will give you verbal encouragement. Some Companies give a gift card, movie tickets for appreciation. Sometimes when a boss asks more of you, maybe they have confidence in knowing you were the best person for this task; When you have a good working relationship with your manager, vacation, sick time, personal time are put into more consideration. Let’s face it, a good employee is hard to come by.  My Company has new hires not even showing up for the first day. ( I have always found this interesting the new hire sees what is expected of him/her, then they are a no-show).

I am happy with my life, I have a good secure job,get along the people I work with, have a nice home one block from the river, have the love and support of family and friends. I have a blog that people read and leave positive comments, and help care for my aging mom. I have survived a few personal tragedies,by I am stronger for it, and I can encourage and empower others to keep moving forward toward happiness.

 

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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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Lasting Friendships

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Summer Days

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

 

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

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

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

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A Mother’s Day Gift

May 13, 2017 at 11:40 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , )

This morning I was feeling a little melancholy; so much has changed in the last few years. I miss my son who died in a tragic car accident in 2007, family and friends have moved away, mom needs extra care now, I was feeling blue. Even though Levi died ten years ago, I still miss seeing him walk through his Grandmas front door for dinner. The last Mother’s day I spent with my son, he hand delivered a bouquet of roses where I worked; What a nice surprise to start my day. We met that evening for dinner at my mom’s house. 

I went over to my mom’s house this afternoon to give her a shower so she could be looking nice for  tomorrow. I have a nice dinner planned for the two of us, and then off to work. My next door neighbors came over to  to help me with her  shower. The kids surprised me with bouquet of daisies, and a box of candy. It wasn’t the fact I was given a nice gift, it was nice to be called mom. The girl next door has been calling me mom since she was little. Levi and Ashley grew up together; Every first snow fall, I knew the kids were outside in front connecting our yards together with a snow tunnel or you could find them sledding down the small hill across the street. They were good kids. Hard to believe the kids are now thirty- something. Ashley and her boyfriend are still a big part of my life. 

I hope tomorrow brings a wonderful day for mom. Maybe not breakfast in bed, or the kids decide to do the dinner dishes,or the garbage mysteriously get taken out without an argument but I wish all the moms a Happy Mother’s day. What I cherish most are the special things said through the years not the gifts. They say some pretty amazing things. This life as that has been transformed by son moving out, new found Independence, taking your time in the grocery store, they have thier own car now, earning a paycheck, but family game night is still special isn’t it?

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A Fresh Cut

April 28, 2017 at 9:15 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent) (, , )

Last October, I went into my favorite Salon to get my Fall do. I usually cut my hair the same way all year round,this time I decided to let my hair grow out. I did not realize the difference in the way I was treated with longer hair. I guess I looked really young to people. A couple of weeks ago, I went to a play at the College. I almost thought the play was cancelled because it was fifteen minutes before the first act, and nobody was in line yet. I was about to enter and find my seat, when the usher showed me the sign on the door that read (serious) ‘ For Mature Audiences). I almost asked her how old she thought I was, but chuckled and found a seat. I have been told it is a compliment to thought of as younger than ones age. I am fifty five and not having a single problem with my age. 

I laugh at the memory now, but back in High school, if you had long hair like Marcia Brady, you were expected to keep it long. (I think so the others could watch you walk down the hallway and admire it). My problem was one, I hated my long hair. I could not get a regular job because I looked too young, and my hair was really thick and hot in the summer. I was a brave soul once and actually cut my long beautiful hair three inches.(gasps) I though I committed a cardinal sin or something. People who never talked to me before wondered why I would cut MY hair. I cut my hair when I was out of school and moved to another State; I cut my hair in the popular Lady Diana cut nobody liked the cut, I had a headache for three days afterwards and wanted my hair back even if I had to glue it back together. I have lived with the same cut for over thirty years now. I have a nice color and will not let my hair grow out again (until fall, when it turns cold).

Being middle age, I look at things different now. If my socks do not match, it will not kill me or the one who noticed and had to point it out to you(true story), My sunglasses are almost always in my car console, Keys always(yeah right) go in my purse the second I get out of the car, I will never forget my grocery list and find the items by memory. My body hurts when I wake up in the morning, I have not even gotten out of bed yet, I will probably almost always go into a room and wonder what I was in there for, where did I park my car?, I had it in my hand a minute ago. 

I am learning people are too busy, slow down, just remember, have fun, does it have to be perfect?, are you living your dreams or did life happen?, Some of us are in the best years of our lives. Those who have grand kids look forward to the next visit, some folks are pet grandparents and look for the next visit as well. I wake up each morning and listen to the birds chirping, I hear many birds in the trees all happily talking to each other. The squirrel running up and down the trees in the back yard and the dog serenade.  I open my window in the cool morning and sip my first cup of coffee. After my son became a young man, my time was freed up because he could make his own appointments and drive there himself. (although I would like to take him one last time). Life is what you make of it. everyone has had disappointments along life’s highway. Some become angry and bitter, while others make a pitcher of lemonade. I want to squeeze out every ounce of life I have left and I am thankful for the love and support of family and friends. Life is good indeed!

 

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Stay-Cation

March 20, 2017 at 8:49 pm (Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I am blessed to live in the Pacific Northwest.  I don’t have to travel miles and miles to visit the national forest, I live within driving distance of three ski resorts, families are gearing up for fishing, hiking, bike trails galore. With so many outdoor activities to choose from, I can enjoy so much right here. I am still caring for my aging mother, so I can’t leave for a week to go gallivanting the country side. I found there are a few rules when planning your days off.

Make sure (if single) clean your house before you start enjoying your time off. No one wants to vacuum, dust, clean fridge so you can stuff more food in,etc.etc. The idea of staying home for me is relax(what exactly is this foreign word anyway?) I am fortunate to live by the river; Many humans and dogs walk the trails everyday.(I know because they pass my house on their way). It is a nice nature walk among the rocks and pine trees, you might see a badger, ducks swimming in the cove, a deer walking the trail eating.The older I get, I appreciate the fact I do not have to far to enjoy the beautiful landscape. We have at least 20 lakes in our area to enjoy. I used to like fishing when my late husband,son and I would get up early, pack a sack lunch and fish until early afternoon. maybe I should get my dads fishing gear back out of the garage. My son caught his big fish using his grandpa’s pole.

I love to check out the local Library: Twice a Month, I get together with other moms and retired ladies for a morning of coffee and color therapy. it is a fun morning spent talking about middle age life for many and listening to stories(we can relate to) of young moms struggles in child raising. I have talked to people who can’t believe the Library has something more to offer other than books. The kids and teens have a corner all their own to explore,complete with a reading corner,computer games and the web, story time, arts and crafts. Gardening for beginners,building container gardens, planting basics, computer 101,so many book clubs from romance,to murder mysteries. It is fun to discuss a book with others, you get four different view points. And to think, I used to take my young son to the Library so he could play computer games and check out a book. I guess one of the hazards of being a writer and Author, you are addicted to your local Library.

Being a tourist in my town: I do not get the chance very often to head into town. The main street is quaint tree-lined street full of shops, I could spend a day just browsing each shops, and enjoying our local Art Galleries. The streets re lined with unique metal art creations. One sculpture is of boys kicking a football,one is a huge moose, another is a scaly fish. The other day, I spied a mom picking her son up to let him ride the huge moose. All of the towns electrical boxes were hand painted by the College Art Class. instead of looking at silver or boring green boxes,we now see beautiful colorful scenes like a Moose eating,birds flying,or some pretty flowers. I love to people watch. Find a bench and watch the nice cars drive by or watch the kids eyes with all the Bronze Sculptures. In a few Months the shops will be renting paddle boats, offering Sea Plane rides, see the sail boats gliding along the lake, small boats for fishing, a new activity of paddle boarding. The local resort boasts the longest boardwalk. We also have the only floating green in the country. You can have a taste of feeling wealthy by eating looking out over the floating green and beautiful Lake Coeurd ‘Alene. If you choose, a boat will pick you up at the resort and ferry you out to lunch, a then take you back to your car. Deer is often seen on the green as well as quail, geese, and eagles.

Host a movie marathon day: I love to get together with a couple girlfriends and have a movie day. Each one picks her favorite movie, and enjoy a pot luck of great food and drinks. On an especially rainy day, how fun is it to get together with dear friends and curl up on the couch with blankets and watching one of your favorite shows. Sometimes, it is hard to coordinate schedules,but I like to get together and just have girl time. My friends know me so well. They just call me up and we are on the road again sight-seeing one of our many favorite locations. I have lived here for 36 years, I have found out about so many locations I never knew existed. I guess I need to get out more! Well, I am off again to care for mom. it is grocery shopping day, then her dinner time, and I can once again head to church and call it another great day.

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