Sweet sounds, and some not so sweet


So a little update from my little nest on the High Plains: I finished my meditation class, went back to my part-time job for the holiday season (and saw my fifth anniversary) at the Big Red Box Store, made it through all of the holidays, managed to make it through three big blizzards, had a nice visit from Younger Son over New Years, and am approaching my first anniversary at my new job.

Yes, there are a lot of small details left out, but suffice it to say that it was never a dull moment at the end of 2016. In fact, I have found myself running and breathless in trying to keep up with everything that goes on. I am really thinking about what it is I need to chop out of my life so I can have more life, if that makes any sense.  How do I not chop out anyone, in order to make room for everyone? How to I make more room for ME?

In the few quiet moments I have, I try to retreat to what the smallest common denominator in my life has been: What is the blessing here? Today that is sound.

There are so many sounds that are sweet to the ears. Today’s sweet sound is that of my neighbor clearing out my driveway. Mother Nature has gifted my little corner of the High Plains with close to 60 inches of snow. It’s so much that we just don’t have room to put it anywhere. Driving down some roads is much like driving through frozen canyons, with corners so high you can’t see the oncoming traffic. The blessing here is that Spring is coming. It always does. Until then, it helps to have awesome neighbors with some kick ass machinery that makes short work of tall mounds of snow. He gets $50 bucks, I get the snow cleared away from my house and driveway in about 20 minutes. Everyone is happy!

I love the sound of my heater kicking on, which means I don’t have to tinker with it to make it go.

I really enjoy the sound of my parents fussing over their new dog. They adopted an older dog with some health issues, She’s a real sweetie, and makes them really happy.

I enjoy the “ping” of my Facebook messenger, which opens the door to a lovely conversation with one of my very favorite people, asking me if I have given up blogging. Thanks for the kick in the butt, “H”… I think that blogging is the big thing I will chop something else out to make room for.

I like the sounds of laughter coming from my boss and me, because humor helps us float on bad days. There have been a bunch of those at work  lately, but working with good people makes all the difference.

I really like the sound of my Flirt texting me to ask if I have strung my fishing poles yet. We will be going ice fishing in our new ice house tomorrow, and the line on my poles is super old. I need to put the new line on tonight, and he has volunteered to help.

These are all genuine sounds that come from real sources. The sound I don’t find real or genuine is Trump’s inaugural speech. I listened to it today, and I felt like someone was saying all the right things to get me to buy into what he is selling. I don’t believe a word of it.  Used car anyone?

It’s my wish that he ends up being a better president than I could ever give him credit for. I’m not holding my breath, but there’s always hope. If nothing else, at the end of 4 years we get another crack at a voting in someone else.

Here’s hoping that your ears are filled with lovely sounds that give you much happiness. If the sounds you hear make you feel like someone is selling you a lemon, dig deep and grab on to hope for the future. Nothing is new under the sun, and this will pass too.

 

 

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.

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!

 

The joys of home improvement…a new kitchen!


The, last two days have been a dusty, noisy, joyous, anxious roller coaster ride. I’ve been planning a kitchen remodel since the end of August, but nothing quite prepares you for the actual havoc of it all.

I’d been waiting for a call from the folks who are installing my new kitchen, and I’d asked them to give me a couple weeks of lead time so I could arrange to have the time off to be at home when the install happened. I got the call two days ahead of time. Whoops! Good news is that I was able to get the time off short notice.

The demolition of the Beforeold kitchen went off without a hitch, and was carried out in short order yesterday. The picture on the left is what the kitchen looked like to start with, in all of its ancient, built-in, plywood cupboard glory. Notice the really old brown/orange-flowered flooring? I’ll look forward to seeing the last of that, but more about the flooring later.During

Once all of the cupboards were gone, it was lunch time, and then it was time to get the new cupboards installed. The thing about installing new stuff in an old house is that you never know what you might find after you pull all of the old stuff out.  They did find a little mold under the sink cupboards, but they took it all out and sprayed some stuff over it to prevent it from coming back.

They would have been able to get the whole thing done in one day, had the plumber shown up on time. He didn’t manager to show up until day two, and the only reason he came right away this morning is because there cold water feed line decided to spring a leak in the middle of the night. Older Son woke me up at 3am to let me know that it was raining in the basement. The whole kitchen floor was covered with water. Poor kid had to work all day today on not much sleep. After we got done mopping it all up, there wasn’t much sleeping going on.

After the plumber showed up and fixed the leak, he said he would be back about 2pm. Well that time came and went, and we had to call him to remind him to come out. The crappy part about that is that this is my regular plumber that the kitchen installation team just happened to contract with. I was super disappointed with that, and hope it was just a fluke. As things stand right now, it’s 3:30, my kitchen installation team has done their job and gone, and I am still waiting on the plumber. The new cupboards are installed, along with the new counter/back-splash. I still have the electric items, dishwasher/garbage disposal, painting and flooring left to do, but that can wait. I’m hoping to have that done by the time June rolls around. Just need to save up the cash and build up some time off. This was a good company to work with, and I’m super impressed with them. If you live in the High Plains, check out Your Home Improvement Company. They are based out of St Cloud, MN, but have branch offices in other places. The guys who did the cabinet install is WIT Construction, LLC. Good guys. They showed me how to operate these new-fangled cupboards, and take the doors off if I need to. You wouldn’t think there’s much that goes on with cupboard doors and shelves, but there really is.

All done but the plumbing and electric! 11-13-15

This last picture is of my new cupboards in all of their honey oak glory. I’m so happy with this…it’s really quite surreal. I can hardly believe this is actually mine! You know what, though? I work my butt off, and I deserve this new kitchen. It’s been a long time coming and, while it might not be done all the way yet, I can still enjoy it on the way to completion. It’s amazing what kind of transformations can happy in just two days!

Now the plumber is here and is putting in the sink stuff. It’s not going to be too much longer before I have my running water back, and the stove and fridge back in place. Time to wipe everything down and get my house back together, until the next round of home improvement!

Here’s hoping all of your home improvement projects go smoothly, that you find nary a weird thing behind your kitchen cabinets, and your plumbing never leaks! Blessing all!

Success…finally!


It’s amazing what a little success can do for a person’s attitude. empty-bulb-and-exclamation-mark

I’ve just started a new job at the Cube Farm, and it’s been like nothing else I’ve ever done. As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, it’s been so overwhelming that it’s a little like trying to take a sip out of an open fire hydrant. Today, though, I had a giant light bulb in by head flicker to life. I think I am finally getting some of this stuff, and it feels good.

It was a nice offset to some crappy news I got from my new lawyer at the end of the day. I won’t go into the details right now, but suffice it to say that my ex husband is up to no good again, which gives me no end of heartburn and causes my B.S.-O-Meter to ping in the red zone.

I felt kind of cranky while working my 2nd job tonight thinking about some of the crappy things I have to deal with, especially my ex. Then I got to work with two really great young ladies, one of which I’ve just decided to adopt. If I were to have a daughter, I’d want one just like her. Her mom left their family, so she doesn’t have a good mother figure around. We have good talks and I know she helps me. I only hope that I am as good a help to her. It’s kind of great that she gives me a big hug every time I walk into the store. Today I sure did need it.

Older Son had the day off and was fabulous and cleaned up in the kitchen today. It’s nice to have him to come home to. Our schedules don’t match up very well, but I usually get to see him at the end of the day. We had a nice time on Friday, going out to lunch, and to a movie, on a rare day off together. We saw the 3rd Hunger Games movie: Mockingjay. It was really good, and I recommend it highly.

So, I had a nice end to my evening. You can’t get away from the bull shit in life, but it sure is nice when you have so much good happening around you to tip the scales to the positive side of things. It’s a great thing to have so many blessings.

Here’s hoping you all had a great end to your evening, no matter what other crappy stuff life is dishing out. Blessings all!

Confessions of a blessing junkie


Over time you, my Faithful Readers, have heard me blather on about blessings. Well, now it’s confession time.

Hi. My name is Sparrow, and I’m not just a blessing blatherer – I’ve become a junkie.

I’ve made such a habit of collecting even the smallest of blessings that I can’t stop. That’s right…I get my jollies from taking notice of neat/sweet/nice/peaceful/happy/joyful things and hoarding them093 away for enjoyment when things get bleak. My brain is riddled with things like smiling babies, cool breezes on hot days, and the heat my cat generates when he cuddles up to me during a nap.

What’s the smallest blessing? Who knows, but whatever it is, it’s still worth tucking away so you can pull it out later on so you have something to light your way back to sanity when times get dark.

Here’s wishing that you all suffer from the same affliction, and that  you are able to scoop up the smallest of blessings without a blink. I hope that these small blessings help keep the darkness at bay on bad days, and give you lots of warm fuzzies when you need them.

Getting old, or getting practical?


Last night the plan was to watch a little tv with My Flirt and then we were going to go out and listen to some live music at a local bar. We were going to ring in the New Year in a place full of people, music and frivolity. I was tired, and didn’t feel so energetic, and he wasn’t feeling so well either, so I turned to him and let him know that if he was good with staying in, so was I.  So we did.

He commented to me some time later that we must be getting old for not wanting to go out on New Years Eve. After thinking about it, I have to say that we are practical. Why go out in the bitter cold when you don’t feel well, when you can have a perfectly nice time cuddled up with your sweetie watching a good movie?

I would imagine that getting older has a hand in making practical decisions. I know a great many people who are my age who still live very social lives, and love to party hard. I tried really hard for a great many years to keep up with everyone else, but have come to a place in my life where I recognize that I am just not the social butterfly I’d always wanted to be. And, I am finally ok with that.

My poor Flirt, on the other hand, is the total opposite. He is a very social creature, and loves to be amongst people. If he’d have felt better, I know we’d have gone out for the evening. However, he has come to an age of practicality as well, I think.

The fantastic news here is that there are lots of ways to celebrate the New Year, and our quiet evening home in front of the tv was exactly what we both needed.

In other news, I managed to pack in some last-minute fun into the end of my year:

~My friends and I managed to avoid the 2012 apocalypse by gathering at my house on the Winter Solstice. We enjoyed each others company, ate good food and laughed much. There are plans to do this more often. Why wait for a faux apocalypse to get together?

~My Flirt took Younger Son and I ice fishing. We had never been ice fishing before, and it was an interesting experience. Luckily we had a portable ice fishing hut because a terrible wind came up. Northern Pike by BZI then made the terrible mistake of stepping into one of the test ice holes the guys had drilled earlier. It had filled in enough that I couldn’t see it, and I went in all the way up over my knee. I did dry out by sitting in front of the heater, dangling my sock and wet leg and boot liner in front of it.  After all of that, we only got a few bites, and no fish. I did witness a monster Northern Pike swim under several of our ice holes. It was still a good day, and I hope we get to go again sometime.

~We saw The Hobbit. Wow! As expected, this movie packs a lot into almost three hours. Not only was it visually stunning, but it’s a well done story. I haven’t read the book…yet. I sure want to now. Before we went to the movie, the Boys and I met my parents for lunch at a Thai restaurant. Yum!

In closing, my wish for you all in 2013 is that you all have prosperity, happiness and good health. I hope that you have everything you need, and that 2013 brings you opportunities for you to make your own excitement, and that no unwanted excitement lands on your doorstep. Blessings all!