Homework at age 47

So, my latest adventure is taking a course in meditation and mindfulness. The guided meditation is what lured me in, as that is one of the activities I miss greatly. I used to belong to a study group, and we did guided meditations all the time, and I loved it.

This class goes every Monday for 4 weeks. Simple enough, right? Well, as it turns out, I have homework.


What a whiner I am. I know plenty of people my age going to real school, who have real loads of homework to take care of every night. Taking a quick quiz, and spending 10 minutes meditating is nothing, and yet I still dig my heels in. So, enough of that. Let’s dive in!

I am supposed to start a journal, which is pretty well taken care of with this blog. I just have to get into a better habit of getting out here and writing on a regular basis again. Then, we have to participate in this quiz every day, and meditate.

And, there’s the goal setting. I need to set a few goals, weekly to start with. I think my first goal is just to train myself to get out of bed in the morning as soon as my alarm goes off and not keep hitting the snooze. The struggle is real…I’m not getting up until the last possible minute. There’s my first goal.

Goal number 2 is to eat better. I’ve been eating a lot of junk, as my expanding waistline will attest to, so I need to cultivate some better eating habits.

Goal 3, and probably the most important, I need to make more quiet time for myself. I think if I do that, all of the rest of my goals will probably fall into place. If I were to get up early enough in the morning, I would have time to meditate, or exercise, and eat breakfast in the morning. I would probably feel better and function more efficiently during each day.

So, having said all that, here’s hoping you all find quiet time in your day to meditate, read a book, or do whatever feeds your soul. Blessings, all!

Of beer, bologna and beets

I had a very interesting conversation today about bologna. No kidding! If it’s one thing that North Dakotans take seriously, it’s food. All food. And, you better take 2nd’s, as someone’s going to get their feelings hurt, or wonder if you are unwell for not being a “good eater”.

The discussion started out as a simple plea for ideas as to what to do with ring bologna on Facebook. The flood gates opened and there were so many suggestions, as well as references from people’s childhood memories of eating it, either in the ring or sliced version. Personally, I loved when my mom would either fry bologna, or put it in a sandwich with cheese, pickles and Miracle Whip. Good stuff!

How lovely to have a discussion with a whole bunch of folks I haven’t even met, about a simple subject like food. We all have our likes, and dislikes, but still had a very good, positive discussion. Okay, we were talking about ring bologna, but it was a good time! We talked about other things as well, but the bologna is what brought us together for a few minutes for some fun in talking about one of the most mundane subjects ever: food.  Big thanks to my friend “E” for starting the discussion. It was fun, and I got a lot of interesting ideas!

I also ran into a discussion about beets. Yes, I love beets. I know it’s not a favorite veggie for a lot of people, but it’s one of my favorites. One of the best ways I have ever eaten beets is sautéed in butter and tarragon, on a grill. SO YUMMY!  For those of you who are not fans of beets, give it a try. I bet you might like it.

Last, but not least, I had a really interesting beer tonight.

Firestone Walker - Stickee Monkey BeerI was gifted with this amazing  beer from my friends whose cats I babysit sometimes. It’s made by a very interesting brewer, which you can check out here: http://www.firestonebeer.com/

I’m a sucker for a good dark beer, and this was a good one. In fact, it was so good, I drank the whole thing. It was a 22oz,  11.6 % alcohol beer. What does that mean? That means that I am one very tipsy Sparrow. But I’m getting ready to head off to bed for the night, so it’s no matter.

Tonight’s theme has been food and drink. Here’s hoping that you have many opportunities to try new foods and drinks, whatever that looks like for you, and that you have awesome people to share and discuss it with! Blessings all!

The peace of home

Sunday mornings have become one of those times in the week where I get to have a little peace and quiet. I think the most important part of that is that I get to spend time in my house. I’m not home a lot, but that’s slowly changing, as I have been on the run with life for so long, it’s become apparent that I just really need to spend more time keeping the place up.

Line dried towelsThis morning, I managed to get two loads of laundry washed and on the line. In between, I sealed my front porch, which was so very, VERY dry. I even managed to get the bills paid. All in all, it was a very productive morning.

While waiting for my last load of wash to get finished so I could get it on the line to dry, I sat in my living room for a few minutes, sipping a fresh cup of coffee. Those few moments of peace and quiet were so awesome. It’s rare that there isn’t a radio, or Ipod playing, or sometimes the tv is running. Even the traffic was quiet. Just about the only thing I could hear was the laundry sloshing around in the washer, and the clock ticking.

Quiet, steady ticking sounds, like a clock, are so comforting to me. That, and traffic out in front of the house, is something I strongly associate with my childhood. My grandparents’ house is not too far from where I live now, and you could say I grew up there. No matter where we lived, their house was always a constant in my life. They had a cuckoo clock my dad got them before I was born, and it had the requisite little bird that would pop out on the hour. I always loved to watch my Grandpa wind up the clock with the long, delicate chains that hung down from the bottom. They lived on a very busy street, and traffic sounds were a constant.

Sometimes, if I close my eyes and just sit still and listen, it’s almost like I am sitting in their living room again.

So now it’s night-time, and I am lying in bed with my laptop, and the radio is running because I just don’t sleep well without talk radio. I have it turned down really soft, and all I can hear besides that is the sound of the computer and whatever random traffic out front. The irony is not lost on me that it drove me nuts when Grandma listened to talk radio at night, and it kept me up. Now I can’t sleep without it!

Something that is missing in my home is the solid feeling of my grandparents’ house. They had this really solidly build home, with heavy oak doorways that were darkly stained. The front door was so big and heavy that I couldn’t open it by myself when I was small. It always had this big heavy feeling like laying under layers of warm blankets on a cold night. It was a comfortable, homey, safe place, and I miss it every single day.

That home was sold in ’96 after Grandma died, and the folks who bought it take really good care of it. It got wet during the Flood of 2011, but they restored it and it looks wonderful. It broke my heart to see it under water, but I am so grateful they have taken pride in it and have made it their home for so long.

So, I wonder how it is that I can create that same feeling when I walk into the home I live in now? That’s a mystery. Perhaps it is just my perception because it’s a different house, or perhaps it’s because I have never really liked this house. I respect it because it has kept my family dry and warm all these years. It was my world during my divorce because I only left it to go to work, or shuttle the boys around, for a good two years. This crappy little fixer-upper has its charms, but it won’t hurt my feelings to leave it. I wonder how I will feel when the day comes to move? I’ve lived here 16 years, and there are a lot of memories here, good and bad.

Maybe the answer is to just spend more time at home, and stop being on the run so much? I guess I will just keep inching along, making repairs and upgrades as I go, until it feels like home. It never really has, even though I’ve lived here a long time. I’m betting that I can overcome that feeling if I try hard enough.

Here’s hoping you find peace in your home, and that it makes you feel safe and comforted in that space. Blessings all🙂


Little things mean so much

So much has happened in the last few weeks…

Younger Son was home on leave for two weeks, and it was nice to have all my chicks in the nest again. So much changes, but then again not. My world-traveling baby is still his same self, but so grown up.

We managed to go away for a weekend to visit my brother’s family, and that was good. Older Nephew is going into his senior year and, this time around, I have to make sure to make it to some of his hockey games. Younger Nephew is only four years behind him, and I have missed out on so much with both of them. I did find out that Older Nephew will be attending my alma mater next year, which makes my heart soar!

Today I discovered I was gifted with a blogger award! Wow! I will be passing that one on to some of my favorite bloggers shortly, but I have some revamping of my page to do first, so more on that to come.

I’ve been a bit under the emotional weather lately, and I am not sure why. There seems to be something under the surface bugging me, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps there has just been too much going on, and I haven’t been able to catch my breath. Whatever it is, it seems only to be cured by the simplest things.

Tonight my Flirt, his Giant Dog, and I went for a walk out in the country. It was just what the doctor ordered. There is nothing quite like the rolling prairies of the High Plains. It’s so beautiful, no matter what season it is. Right now, though, is when it’s at its most beautiful – Harvest Season!

In the pictures above, Giant Dog is shown walking ahead. He knows hunting season is around the corner and was so happy to get out and run around the dusty road, and all in the weeds. He even managed to get in the water and go for a swim.

It aggravates me to no end when out-of-staters complain that there isn’t anything to look at in North Dakota. I beg to differ, and I have come to believe that some people are so used to being handed “pretty” scenery on a platter that when something different comes along, something that’s a little more plain, it is written off without a second look.

North Dakota is full of all kinds of wild life, and beautiful scenery. Today, I was able to capture a lovely sunset, and several interesting plants. Above you can see the wild sunflowers. Below is a picture of some plants I was so pleased to be able to find: wild Echinacea and chamomile! If I’d been thinking, I’d have dug some up and transplanted it into my yard. It’s a good excuse to go for another walk later this week.🙂

Echinacea and Chamomile

All one needs to do is look a little closer, and you will see so much. I suspect that is the way it is with everything in life. Little things mean a lot.

Here’s hoping you find some interesting things in places you wouldn’t suspect you’d find anything. Look closely…there are beautiful little miracles everywhere, if you pay attention.

Taking over my little Universe, one room at a time!

So much to talk about, and I don’t know where to start!

Well, I promised pictures from my bedroom makeover, so I will start there.

My beginning inspiration was the new bedspread and curtains:


After I had those picked out, I chose a nice light gray paint, so light it’s almost white, and a super bright white for the trim.

I started out with a room that was painted two crappy colors of brown, and here are the before pictures. You can see where I started cutting in the new paint, and the contrast of the two tones of the brown. I think my room had been like that for 10 years or so. How freaking depressing !

You can see the new bed spread and curtains don’t look like much with the brown paint.

After a few coats of paint and a bunch of elbow grease, I was able to take this after picture. I still need to get a matching curtain for my closet door.


Now add the new night stand and head board:


This last picture is a little dark, but trust me, it’s like waking up in a cloud. My new room makes me so happy, and it took very little to make it happen. Sure, I had to spend some money, and there were some late nights spent trying to get it done, but it was so worth it!

So what else is new in my neck of the woods?

My new job continues to be awesome, and I have a lot of job satisfaction. I know it won’t always be this way, because life doesn’t ever stay static, so I am enjoying it while it lasts. Hopefully it will last a good long while.

Younger Son is coming home after being out at sea for 8 months. I got to talk to him on the phone for the first time since November, and it was so good to hear his voice. Just that simple act of speaking with him on the phone let off a lot of steam I didn’t realize had been building up. It appears that I was kind of holding my breath all of this time. Even with email, mail, and Facebook, it was so little contact. I don’t know how loved ones did it in the days before social/electronic media, when their kids joined the service and were gone for long stretches of time. He comes home soon, and it will be so awesome to have all of my chicks back in the nest again.

Older Son has been having a stretch of good luck in that he was able to replace an old car with a newer, cheaper-to-run vehicle. He even got a break on his insurance. Fabulous!!

The city is gearing up for the State Fair which begins next week. This year, I think we will just go for one day. Usually we go for multiple days, but it gets expensive, and doesn’t change much from year to year. I still get excited when it starts up, though. Older Son will be in the Parade this year, so I may just go watch it. This will be the first Parade Saturday that I haven’t had a prior commitment for a long time.

Well, I’m working on my 2nd cup of coffee, and I think I will finish that up and get to work on my house. The laundry needs to get going, and everything else needs picking up and scrubbing. After chores are done, I think I will go shop for a new BBQ, and plot my next home improvement project: Kitchen Part 2 – paint & floor! I feel like I am finally taking over my own little universe, one room at a time!

Here’s wishing you all a lovely, relaxing Saturday, with which you can plot how you will take over your universe! Blessings all!

Here’s to new beginnings

Well, it’s been a while since I posted last, and so much has happened in that time.

Between then and now I managed to get a brand new job, which is a marked improvement over the last one. I have good people to work with, and good and interesting work to do.  I’m working in a hospital now, and it’s interesting work.

Needless to say life is much less stressful, and I’m grateful for it.

I’ve fallen into a strange rut for the last several months, and I’m just now feeling like a human being again. Too much sleeping, too much eating, and too much playing games… Avoiding everything. All good anesthesia, but not good for living.

Today, I decided to take the plunge and get something going that is long overdue. Nothing so energizing as a good project!

My bedroom is painted two different, terribly awful, colors of brown. Ugh… So awful! Today that is getting fixed. If my bedroom feels so gross, and it’s supposed to be the most serene place in the house, that’s a problem easily rectified with new curtains and paint!

Progress will be documented and posted later. For now, I’m diving in head first and see how much I can get done this week.

Here’s wishing for you a creative outlet to help get you out of whatever rut you may be in. Blessings all!


Finding light in dark corners

You’ve heard me talk about procrastination quite a bit over the years in the blog. I’m a pro…just saying.

Yesterday, I had the whole day to really dig through some things and get rid of the stuff that I don’t need or want. Instead, I puttered around my house, just going from here to there, and back again, doing little things. I did manage to get the underside of my TV stand cleaned out, as well as the middle of my china cupboard. What I also should have done yesterday was clean out the bottom of the china cupboard.

But I didn’t. I found some very creative ways to avoid it.

Why, you ask? What could be so terrible in the bottom of the china cupboard that you can’t clean it out?

Probably a bunch of things. You see, I have many nooks and crannies where I stuffed things away just to put them somewhere. Also, I have a tendency to put things away to keep them safe, and then I never find them again. Oh, they are very safe, indeed…even from me!

I have a sneaking suspicion that there are a bunch of pre-divorce items lurking in the bottom of that cupboard, and I don’t want to deal with them. I have finally had a little bit of peace and it’s upsetting every time I have to deal with those things again. For instance, while cleaning out the middle of the china cupboard, I found several pictures of my ex husband, with the boys. I quickly stuffed those away in another pile of pictures so I don’t have to see them again for a while.

However, in my cleaning out of nooks and crannies yesterday, I was reminded of something. This thing, which is something I need to remind myself of, constantly, is that there is light even in the darkest of corners.

I found some interesting things that I hadn’t seen in years, and was glad to find. Pictures, without my ex husband in them, of my kids, and of other family members and friends. Batteries, which I sorely needed, and now don’t have to go buy. Paperwork that I thought was lost, but only put away. So many things that I needed to see.

The reality is that I found very little nasty dark little things in those dark, dusty corners, and found quite a bit that I needed or enjoyed. It wasn’t as painful as I always think it’s going to be. There were more blessings than not.

The bottom of the china cupboard is next, tonight, and I’ll be throwing a whole bunch of nasty little dark things away, and keeping the treasures that I find. Hopefully it will be a short expedition!

Here’s hoping that you find much unexpected light in the darkest corners of your space, and that you find many treasures to make your day. Blessings all!