Black Bay

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

 

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

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

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

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Downsizing

June 8, 2017 at 3:40 am (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , )

 

The older I get, the more I am realizing I can learn to live with less stuff. I am organizing my summer this year to include editing of stuff I do not need. This fantastic idea did not happen over night mind you, but having lunch yesterday with a dear friend helped me to get started.

My friend and I met yesterday early afternoon for a nice Chinese lunch. We made plans to head into the next town to shop for curtains for our living rooms. As we shopped, we talked about our rooms of horror. My friend having company this weekend was busy trying to get her home ready for company, I found out a high school friend recently moved here after she retired; We made plans to meet at my house and then go hiking. The day we planned on meeting, it was thunder and lightning for the next three days. I spent the time wisely cleaning out my closets,under beds, inside my laundry room. My office is next on my list to do. Someone once asked me if “I felt better now that I have purged in a few rooms?” I told her “no, I had to do it someday anyway.” I am not one who goes out and accumulates more stuff once the old stuff has been given to Goodwill. 

I don’t know what is  when we are having someone stop by our house, but I get in a Merry Maid mode or something. I figure this is as good a time as any to edit my no longer used items. It is amazing how much stuff we are holding onto when we start to clean out say under the bed(we thought the kids rooms were bad). Okay, I do not have dirty dishes from say 1990 under the bed, but my childhood suitcase can go to another little girl. I do not remember buying and storing so many candles under my bed!. Some are hardly burned. I know I used to use them for seasonal display. I am making a plan to have only one bed spread for the year. I would switch out bedding in Spring and fall to have a nice new bedroom to look forward to. I never realized how much you store in bedding,decorative pillows, pictures, etc. you keep in bins. I already cleaned out my garage last year. My friend installed insulation to the walls, and since he had his pickup at my house, we just loaded up the tree branches, lattice, a pile of wood none came to get, and while we were at it, we built a new back fence. 

I am thankful thirty years ago my late husband and I bought our forever home together. The house was turn-key when we bought it. We used to host parties and enjoyed lively conversations and watching the kids play outside. I am still hosting smaller gatherings these days. With everyone having a busy schedule, i like to have a good friend over in the evening for desert and maybe a movie. I enjoy the occasional lunch catching up with my dear friends or meeting at a coffee-house. I am enjoying my life in my middle age. Even though my life was forever changed with the deaths of both my husband and son, I ma moving forward in the good things God has for me. I enjoy sitting outside on my patio listening to the birds chirping and the crickets. sweet music being made for my enjoyment. 

 

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Garden MakeOver

May 18, 2017 at 5:25 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , )

I tease often that I am becoming a reformed black thumb gardener. By mid summer, my grass and plants are threatening to move to a new house, one with some garden savvy to live out the plant days in comfort and colorful bliss. I cannot help it, I water, dead head, prune, fertilize and yes, water. I would love to have a Home and Garden backyard worthy of an Annual Garden Tour, if I had the time to invest in a beautiful backyard. It is sad when I, yes I, can actually kill a harmless geranium. 

This year, I have a secret weapon. His name is Nigel. I am trusting we can get my yard looking nice again. I don’t want a secret garden, just one I can enjoy after a hard days work. Give the birds their own space to come and eat and drink under my pine tree. I see hummingbirds fluttering looking for a spot to drink, butterflies flutter around my yard looking for a perfect spot to land. I have such potential for a critter friendly place to visit often.  I can just hear some awesome gardeners thinking’ I would love to get my hands on her yards. I can work my magic.” Or you can give my some helpful hints to make my yard more inviting. 

When my husband and I bought our home thirty years ago, we lived on a pot holed dirt road, with five homes on the block. This was a fairly new development, with three floor plans. My house was pretty much turn-key. Jerry and I did  not have too much on a wish list, a place for our soon to come son, a bedroom for us and maybe an office. We have a spacious backyard(too spacious) but we never figured out how to fill the yard in with trees. You also know helpful relatives. They couldn’t figure out why we did not plant at least one tree in our backyard why it would be a twenty footer by now. Non of these advice giving folks ever offered to help beautify the sanctuary. I laugh now because my yard is nice,but I know it could look more pulled together.

I have a good friend that lives by the river I tease her about how her  house could be on a Garden Tour. She gets compliments everyday. She laughs because most of the beautiful plants everyone is raving about are weeds that reseed every year.  A funny story about her. She is a Flight Attendant: She left on a trip one morning, four days later when she returned home, her mother(they built the house together and resides together) her mom had the Junipers pulled in front of the grand wrap around porch. She told her daughter” they were too big and this way we have more room to plant nice flowers.” My friend laughs when she tells me the story because what could she do about it. As most of the gardeners know a nice yard takes a lot of work to keep up. I was amazed to find out she works nine hours pulling weeds, clipping, plating new flowers and mowing the yard just to keep it looking nice. It is easy to be envious of someone when they have the energy and the green thumb to have a nice place.

I had to realize I was a single parent who provided a loving home; I did not have the time or  the finances to keep updating my yard. A few plants here and there were fine, but I know people who spends hundreds of dollars every summer. I love the term a work in progress- The home looks like Better Homes just visited and their yard is being featured in next Months issue. But for now, I will take out a crowed shrub,put in a container garden in front(word to those thinking about a metal roof. Good investment, make sure your plans are in containers because the snow will bury them. I found this out this last winter. I think with all the commercials coming out now about making your own retreat is intimidating. You one need to have the cash flow, and two, someone willing to come help you build your grilling area, don’t forget the fire pit, and your relaxing oasis area. Stay cations are getting more  popular now. If you spend this much on a yard, why go to a five-star hotel when you have just created one. Sounds like a plan to me.

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Spring Fever

April 24, 2017 at 9:13 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , )

The older I get

 

I can’t believe I am thinking this thought, but I am looking forward to Spring this year. We have had colder and harder winter this year and having one too many sub-zero days has gotten me used to the idea of warmer temperatures. Spring is usually not one of my favorite seasons because well, yard work. I work odd hours, I am usually tired, and I need to update my landscaping in my front yard this year after the harsh winter we had. One day last week,  I took a drive around my favorite up scaled neighborhood to get some ideas to freshen up my tired looking yard(front and back). I  took away some good ideas to turn my small home into a oasis to enjoy for another thirty plus years. 

Gardening has never been my specialty. I wish I could be one of the many who blog about how beautiful the yard is this year. I have trees I have planted in my back yard that has been trying to grow for the last twenty years. I might as well tear out my lavender plants this year, they just won’t grow. A few years ago, a friend of mine helped me with a few focal points to the yard. A well placed bird bath by the pine tree, I have an old brass bed I spray painted cream, and I have my sons old sand box turned planter. I have a good start, just need some color back there. caring for my aging mom now on top of working in health care, I prefer a staying home in my own comfortable B&B inspired home. I have been blessed by the  Lord with some dear friends who have helped me with updating my home after I lost my son suddenly in 2007. Inside and out have been freshly painted, new kitchen flooring, reinvented my closets, and my Victorian furniture I bought a few years ago for next to nothing. 

 So may wish they could downsize into a smaller home, have a little space for the garden, some flowers and a place for family and friends to hang out; Tiny homes are becoming a very popular option in living. Although I do not know how I would live in a 300 square foot home,many are loving the lifestyle. If you just starting out, you really do not need a lot of stuff.  Many families are keeping the older homes and renovating; they cannot afford a new home, so they are adding on or updating the old home; What a good way to have the added space for family and friends to visit. I know the vacation time is near,but many like me cannot get away to an exotic location, outdoor living spaces are a great way to spend a vacation at home. My favorite TV commercial shows and mom and daughter heading out for a relaxing afternoon by the pool(complete with tote bag for daughter full of towel,and girly stuff) later, dad grilling dinner in the outdoor living space, after the kids went to bed, the parents are enjoying the outdoor fire place. What a wonderful commercial showcasing a relaxing stay cation this year. I used to pitch my son Levis tent in the backyard. He and two friends spent the night under the stars laughing and talking all night. Live life comfortably but simply.

 

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Happy Easter

April 15, 2017 at 8:58 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , )

Happy Easter everyone. With all the holidays so commercialized, I wanted to include a gentle reminder of what today represents. Growing up and even raising our children, many attend or host the annual egg hunt followed by a nice brunch.  Many will attend the sunrise service tomorrow morning at o dark thirty. Pastor Bob saying (6:30 a.m.) followed by brunch with family and friends. It is amazing to see up to ten churches all come together to celebrate Christ. You see friends who you may have lost contact with or for some the annual service to attend either way it is cool.

I was a single parent for many years raising my young son after my husband died from his disease. I always went to church on Easter Sunday with my son because I did not want Levi to believe Easter was just candy and a cute bunny. Driving home from church one Easter morning, I asked Levi what he learned in class today. He was so cute sitting in the front seat,looking out the window as to find the right words for his story. He told me” Jesus lived a long time ago,he was a brave man. He made the blind to walk, and the deaf to see. I guess that Pilate  wanted everyone to pay the hospital bills huh mom”. It was hard because you could not laugh and hurt his feelings but that was good.

Last week, I was looking into finding more care for my mom. I hung up the phone frustrated and feeling overwhelmed. A thought entered into my mind take a break and attend a small group for caregivers at my local church. I just had on my scrubs ready for work, and did not know a Seder dinner was in progress when I arrived. I almost left, not wanting to interrupt the festivities. The secretary told me I was most welcome and she showed to a table in the back where I met some delightful people. I had a very nice afternoon where I could relax and enjoy spending time getting to know some new friends; Many I found out were going through some of the same difficult circumstances I am walking through now. I am thankful to God for the time I still have with mom even if some days are difficult or heart breaking.

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My Fondest Easter Memory

April 12, 2017 at 8:04 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , )

 

Easter has always been special for me. My family spent Easter weekend with my grandparents in an upscale trailer park. I always admired my grandmas front yard-it was beautifully landscaped. In my opinion, she had the nicest house on the block. My brother and I played for hours running around the trailer playing tag or hide and seek. My cousins would come the night before Easter and decorate the eggs. After the egg hunt, the family went swimming at the beach. I always thought it was neat to live two blocks from the ocean. I remember how foggy it would be and watching the fog burn off by mid morning. We probably went swimming with the sharks and didn’t even know it. There was a big seal population close by.

I remember how special it was the family taking time to gather even for the afternoon, spending time together. it was a simpler time then one without electronic devices to entertain you. I remember listening to the adults talking about a vacation they were taking this year or my older cousin talking about the Beatles newest song. I do not remember the telephone ringing very often. I was impressed because families spent time together and while the kids played in the front yard, the ladies sat on the porch watching us and laughing at our antics. Many cartwheel contests were won and lost. It didn’t take much to occupy he kids back then. I am glad I grew up in a time before cell phones and I pods and such. For one, my grandparents would have been like the commercial and make you keep your devices in the car or leave them at home. I think I learned so much from my family through the gatherings, how much they loved each other and spending time together.

I can truly say I am thankful for my upbringing. I was taught manners, not just please and thank you, be appreciative that many hands prepared the meal and not be picky about what is served. I was taught how to interact with adults at the table,taught not to be rude and interrupt, and most of all to be grateful to belong to a family. We had a lot of love at the Leigh and walker family gatherings. I am glad I did not grow up before my time,we had time to kids,we played outside, we drank from the hose(yes,we did), and we did not grow up too fast. I still get a kick out of remembering my family had a pay phone in the kitchen. Our friends always brought with them a dime just in case. My dad was one of the fun dads, he let the friends use the dime.

What special memory do you have of a family gathering at Easter? I would love to hear about one of your memories.

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A Place To Call Home

April 6, 2017 at 5:01 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , )

 

My family moved to our small town when my brother and I were in College. Having grown up in a small town all my life, I had a easy adjustment. One adjustment I had was one flashing red light as our stop light. We only had three thousand people living here at the time so I guess the one light was sufficient. I could not believe how beautiful it is here. I have never lived within thirty minutes of the national Forest( great huckleberry picking) just watch out for the bear that might be 20 feet from you eating his berries. That was scary the first time it happened to me. With not many houses in our neighborhood, sledding in the winter was (well with my dad,it was interesting) he found it fun to turn a corner fast and see if you could cream the parked car. Most of the time he managed to do just that. We teens were young, banged up and ready for the next ride. When we could not feel our finger and toes anymore,we went inside to hot cocoa and home-made chocolate chip cookies to thaw out.

I left my hometown in College. I grew up in two small towns, so I  was used to everyone knowing each other and yes they tattle to my parents. The teachers would have  parent/teacher conference with my mom and her teller window. One would think my brother and I would be model students. When my brother and I were eight,we moved to the ranch on the outskirts of town. The nearest neighbor lived a mile away; We had the run of the orchard behind our house to ride our horses. The rancher gave mom all the avocados, and grapefruit she wanted on the ground. friends came over often to ride the horses and see our lambs as we were getting ready for the fair. My family probably would not have left if my dad would not have gotten hurt on the job and my Grandmother moved. It was exciting planning a move to a new town, a new house, making new friends, finding a new church, and finding a new job. I continued my degree in a nice College. I know some families come here for a year, after the first winter, they move. They leave behind so much beauty,nature, wild animals that I have grown to love to watch.

 

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A Peaceful Escape

March 22, 2017 at 9:37 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I met with a dear friend this afternoon for lunch. We do not get together as much as we used to due to our schedules. My friend works in her daughter’s specialty shop. I can get envious of K’s talent for Interior design if I am not careful. She owns a beautifully decorated manufactured home. She has lived in Ireland hosting a B&B for over 20 years. We were laughing about when I asked her ten years ago to help me put my bedroom together for me. When she first looked in my room,she asked me”how many years has it been since it has been touched?” I told her”since my husband passed away”. We both agreed it was time fr a change. And a change I was blessed with. We also talked about how she sent me to church and then her daughter and son-in-law got to work sprucing up my new B&B inspired room. I also decided to turn my son Levi’s old bedroom into my dressing room. She found a perfect rose quilt to put on the now turned day bed.

I am on my stay-cation this week and intend on enjoying every drop of  slowing down and smelling the flowers as I can. I have taken a walk around a quaint little man made village with a river walk. After walking, I decided to browse the shops that were open on Sunday. I have made some special meals for my mom and I to share because I finally have the time to cook and not throw something together. It is nice to take the time and decide what to wear today. I have nice clothes, but I usually put on my cute scrubs for work instead of getting dressed twice. Working odd hours,caring for my aging mom and trying to blog twice a week can be taxing after a while. I needed to find ways to refresh and still keep up with my daily obligations. I don’t know, there is just something about hearing the birds chirp while writing this story that makes my day. You look outside the window, and see 20-30 birds in the trees all having a private conversation.

I am going on a nice scenic drive tomorrow,my neighbor is going to do some ( not my honey do) chores for me while I am gone, then I am going to rent the new release”Collateral Beauty”. It is too early to plant flowers yet,(lucky flowers) so I will get some fresh yard design ideas. The hard winter buried my poor shrubs,so I am going to put in something that will bring some color to my front yard. Any suggestions? I also want to put in a few trees in the back yard to complete my backyard retreat. I have a few summer plans this year. Many years ago, my brother and I took a scenic sea plane tour. I remember how much fun it was and I would like to take another tour. I plan on going to some Summer Theater performances as well as a few concerts. I used to go with friends from church, and need to make the time to enjoy what my town has I offer. I still have two more days off, so I plan on another lunch date, and organizing my closet(come on,it needs to be done). Yes,it is nice to sometimes stop and indeed smell the flowers along the way of our busy lives. Invite a friend over for coffee and desert, or enjoy someones company as you spruce up a room in the house for Spring.

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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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The Right Cut

March 16, 2017 at 6:17 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

The last time I had my hair cut, I promised myself I would never go to another rude, argumentative hair dresser again. I remember it well, sitting in the chair arguing (not consulting) with the hair with this woman. A hair cutting should not be after paying her,you go home and cut on it some more because you’re mad, and wanted it cut a certain way. Today while out running my errands, I thought I would get my hair cut,it was looking a little shaggy. It helps when someone is friendly to you when you walk in,and the lady listens to you; I got a perfect fun short hair cut. One, I would never have thought about for a nice change. I noticed online you can have a virtual hair makeover done to see what style you look good in. It beats thinking you will like a cut and then the joke is on you until it grows out. Ever happen to you?

Spring is almost here! Well several parts of the Country is experiencing a second blast of Winter. We are finally coming out of our hard winter, the grass and roadways are the perfect shade of ugly brown. I know better than to go to my local Nursery and buy anything yet. We never know if Stella is going to come and visit our  part of the Country next. It is nice to see some plants starting to come up. Most of the snow has melted, the birds are starting to sing in the trees outside your window, the sun feels warm again on your face. You can start transitioning your clothes again from parka to a light jacket. Pretty soon you will see the old cars driving around town. We have several old car clubs in the area. There is hope, the Ski Resorts are still in full swing and snow in the upper elevations for those who like to get outside in the cold.

I am thinking up a few new menu items to have Spring luncheons at my newly decorated house. I need to make time for some girl time with my dear friends. Life can get crazy or in the way sometimes. It is important to keep in touch with those who enrich your life. I always love to have Victorian luncheons. Set out my best table linens, plates and of course the prettiest tea cups. I buy Victorian tea Magazine, it is a great source of ideas and recipes to try. Just plant a few pretty flowers in pots, and enjoy my day. I just freshen up he paint in my living/ dining room and had new flooring installed in my kitchen. My friends are glad I could update my place because my husband and I bought our house thirty years ago, My husband only was able to live in the house two years. I think if he could visit again from Heaven,he would take his time walking through the house and back yard. I think he would be pleased at how nice the house looks. It always did look good, but sometimes we need to update and refresh. I could hear him say “it is so girly,but it is you honey”. Even though I have lived through some personal setbacks, I am happy where I am today.

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