Home renovation isn’t for the faint of heart

It’s been in my To Do List to paint my entryway, kitchen and hallway for quite a while. I bought the paint, and it’s been sitting in my kitchen gathering dust for a long time waiting for me to get myself together and get going.

I have two days off in conjunction with 4th of July, so I took this as a great opportunity to get started. Last night, all things (and there were a LOT of things) were dislodged from the entry and put into my kitchen and spare room. Disgorged might be a better word. There’s stuff everywhere, and it looks like I’m going to be downsizing as I put things back. I can’t believe I had all that stuff stored in that little room!

Having emptied the room, I opened the can of paint and began. It felt scary and fantastic to put those first brush strokes of paint on the wall.

Holy buckets… the paint is called “washed denim”, but went on very purplish. Luckily it dried darker, but still has quite a purple cast to it. I like it, but both of my kids were put off by the color when I sent them pictures. Good thing I’m an empty nester…LOL.

There are a couple of crappy things about painting a room. First, the rest of your home looks like a bomb blew up in it for having the contents of the room you’re painting having to go somewhere else.

Second, there is the problem of heights. I am not a fan of ladders, and now that I have a bad knee, and terrible balance, things get a little dicey trying to reach high places like the ceiling over a stairwell.

There are some good things about painting a room. There is the obvious bonus of getting a boost from having a new color in your environment. Change is a good thing, and paint is one of the cheapest ways to make a big change without breaking the bank.

It’s a good opportunity to change the organization of a room since you have to put things back in it, once the paint is dry. It’s also a great time to evaluate what goes back in the room. If you haven’t used something, time to downsize.

So, as much as I love blogging, I must confess that I am really just avoiding getting on that ladder. I quit earlier than I wanted to last night, just because the idea of getting on that ladder to do the high places was so daunting. Sunshine streaming in the windows helps a little, and I’m not exactly sure why.

Home renovation isn’t for the faint of heart, so I best screw my back bone into place and get on with it.

Maybe I will finish my coffee first. 😉☕️

Here’s hoping you all can dig down and find that place where bravery dwells when having to do something that scares or intimidates you. The results will be worth it. Blessings all!

Turning 50 is a joyful thing… No joking!


On this bright, sunshiny, frigid North Dakota morning, I sit here and count my blessings. My house is warm, I can hear my washer chugging away in the basement so I know I will have clean clothes to wear tomorrow, and I have just consumed a scone from a newer business in Minot called Prairie Sky Breads. Who could ask for a better start to the day?

I turned 50 recently, and with that comes a lot of things to be joyful about. Yes, you read that correctly. Turning 50 years old is worth celebrating!

What?! Crazy talk, you say? No, not at all. So many women get hung up on aging as though it were the worst thing in the world. Maybe some ladies have relied on their youth and beauty to get by in life, and seeing that change over the years bothers them. Being rather average that way, my looks are nothing that bothers me to see change, in large part.

To be honest, reaching this milestone age has allowed me to shed a whole lot of care for what people think of me. What others think is their business, let them wrangle with it if they need to waste time and energy on useless thoughts.

Being 50 brings a lot of freedom. Behold just a few of the reasons this is so:

I am so lucky to be an empty-nester, having successfully launched my two boys, who are amazing young men, and productive citizens in each their own right. I am not responsible for anyone but myself at the moment, and I really enjoy the freedom.

I own my house, and can change it however I want. Last year was the “Year of Decrappify and Spiff”. I did a lot of that, and continue those efforts into 2019. I took a week off recently and had work done to my house, which I will elaborate on later, and it has helped me get further along in my goal of being happy where I live. The freedom to fix things up to suit my tastes, my interests, and my needs is a lovely thing.

I have almost reached the 10 year mark of when I learned I was getting divorced. I just realized this yesterday, sitting with the afghan I made myself when I turned 40. It’s been used a lot over the last 10 years, and that wear shows. It still keeps me warm, and fits me just right. It makes me happy to know that my handiwork held up through bad times, and carried me right into the good ones too. It’s a 98E9519E-C564-449F-93D9-87B908EEC906reminder to me that good times come and go, but you can do things for yourself that get you through the bad times. The bad times never really last forever, and that is something I’m always grateful for.

This week, Older Son came to visit, and had supper with me.  While he sat in my new rocker-recliner groaning for having eaten too much spaghetti, I threw my afghan on top of him, and he grabbed it and pulled it up around his chin. I think I got a bigger kick out of that than his having missed my cooking so much he over did it. I hope that little blanket keeps generations of my family warm after I am gone.

I am constantly reminded that there are all kinds of things, large and small to be grateful for every day. I’m grateful to have made it to 50, and am looking forward to what the future brings.

Here’s hoping you find even the tiniest thing to be grateful about at whatever age you occupy now. Gratefulness really is the key to being happy. Blessings all!



Thinking about shacking up

I’m sitting in my living room sipping coffee, as per usual on a Sunday morning, and I am so grateful for the peace and quiet. I know it will be short lived… I can hear my Flirt waking up down the hall in my bedroom.

He generally doesn’t stay over, but last night he and his Giant Dog crashed at my place and it was nice not to sleep alone. I have been an empty nester for about 6 months now and I can’t say that I hate it, even though I miss my kids. There’s potential for my Flirt to move in some time down the road, and we are taking some trial runs at it. I like having him around, and the dog too.

We will see. It’s tough integrating two adults with vastly different ideas about how things should work into one functioning household. When people don’t talk things through, and then just expect things to go right anyway, it’s really a pretty big silent disaster. I had 17 years of that as a married woman, and it’s something I don’t ever want to experience again.

For right now, playing house once in a while is good enough. Proper integration takes time and good planning. We will see how that goes.

Here’s hoping you are happy and content with wherever you live, and whoever you live with. Blessings all!

May I see your identification, please…this ride doesn’t stop.

Recently, I’ve run into a lot of situations where I’ve had to card people while working at the Big Box Store. You wouldn’t believe what kinds of things you can’t buy in North Dakota until you are 18…some movies, cold medicines, spray paint. The list seems to be endless these days, and I find myself having to ask people for proof that they are old enough to purchase these items.

Very often, the ID’s that are shown to me are by people who were either born on the year I graduated from high school (20+ years ago), or were born the same year Oldest Son was born. It’s pretty bizarre that I am running into so many people who are just young enough that I could be their mother. Add to that the fact that I have several friends my age and younger who have grand children.

Needless to say it’s been weirding me out something fierce.

Today Older Son had his senior pictures taken (thank you, Brea!), and it was kind of surreal in a way I can’t even begin to describe. He’s really graduating from high school. Really. No take backs or do overs. The boy, er, young man, is getting ready to launch.


Please excuse me while I put on my crash helmet and strap in… I feel a little bit like I’m on a roller coaster, and the ride attendant has decided to give me an extended ride. I know this is just part of life, and I certainly remember being on Older Son’s end of things, but it is almost a little bit more jarring than I expected.  I’m betting this is normal and that a lot of parents have this issue. I think the strangest thing is that there is now no more road map. After graduation in May, the road map butts up against blank paper and then he has to start writing his own story from there.

Here’s the thing I know to be truth. There is no stopping. There is no Ground Hog Day scenario where I get to be Bill Murray and keep doing a day over until I get it right. There is no going around the block to make sure you take the turn you meant to take. The train has definitely pulled out of the station and I’m not going to be the conductor for very much longer.

I would be a bald-faced liar if I didn’t admit that there is some freedom for me in that. I shouldn’t feel guilty about that, but I do. I’m guessing that will pass and life will just keep going, just like it always does.

Pretty soon, Older Son will be purchasing things that will cause him to have his ID checked.  I haven’t been carded in a very long time, as I don’t color my hair to hide the silver. I figure I worked hard for those natural highlights…who am I to paint over what Nature gave me? It has the effect of letting everyone know that I am definitely old enough, for whatever. I guess if I’m old enough to have goodly sized silver streaks in my hair, I’m old enough to have a child who’s become a man and let him move on with his life. See how I talk myself into things? I’m very circular that way sometimes.

The good news is that it’ll be a small practice run for the whole Empty Nest Enchilada. I have a few years reprieve from that, as Younger Son won’t graduate until 2014.  And then what happens when Sparrow’s Nest holds just one sparrow in it again?

My life begins again.

The holding pattern evaporates and I get to reinvent my life. My road map will then butt up against a blank page, and I’ll get to start writing my own story again. It will be my turn.

I might even bump into a man who will be worth my time.  I’m pretty convinced that’s unlikely, but one never knows for sure.


Most days, two years feels like a small drop in a cosmic bucket, but there have been a few moments here and there where it seems like it’s going to be an eternity. Every now and again I get a small glimpse of what life  might be like when I can concentrate on myself and the things I’d like to do.  I hear people really do that. No joking. At least, that’s what I hear.

We’ll see if the rumors are true.

Until then I’ll keep on going, because this ride just doesn’t stop.

Sunshine on my son’s belly

Just now, Younger Son came in from outside and said, “Hey Mom, feel this”, as he’s holding out the belly of his shirt to me. So, I pressed my hand to his belly and his shirt was hot. Not warm…hot. He’d been outside for the last fifteen minutes or so in a black t-shirt and hoodie, and had soaked up a bunch of sunshine. Gods bless him for bringing it inside to share with me.

Perhaps I’m being maudlin, as has been the case my whole life, but it makes me a little sad that Younger is going to be 15 on the 21st of this month…my 6 foot tall baby. He and Older Son (aged 17) are both still in the strange limbo that is the stretch between childhood and manhood, and they seem to display a little of both on a daily basis. I seem to have come to a point in my life where I am agonizing over their loss already. Soon they will move away either for school, military, or whatever life endeavor they choose and I will be alone in this little bitty house that seems so cramped right now. When they are gone this little house will feel like an empty mansion.

The strange thing about already mourning them not being here is that I find I’m also making plans for me and the house when they are gone. What the heck?! How can I feel sad about having an empty nest and at the same time feel a little bit excited? I’ll just tamp that down a bit and examine it at a later time. It feels a little too traitorous and strange to really take that out and unpack it just yet. For the time being, I think I will just make a better effort to revel in their presence now, and not borrow sadness from the future. Even though it’s creeping in at the edges, it’s kind of pointless to wallow in something that hasn’t happened yet.

Younger has been chomping at the bit to plant his watermelons and pumpkins, even though it’s too early to plant outside in North Dakota. So, off to Menards we go today to get some plastic wrap and PVC to make a small green house. Time to take advantage of the nice day and spend some quality time with the kids rather than worrying about what things will be like when they’re gone away living their own lives.

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