RIP Granny


I spend most Sunday afternoons with my parents, and today was no exception. On the surface of things, it was a normal Sunday visit.

The exception to today’s visit is that my Mom’s mother passed away this evening.

Granny turned 96 years old this summer, and she hadn’t been doing too well though she’s been living at home with my cousin’s help. This week she quit eating or drinking and ended up in hospice care pretty quickly. After several days of being unconscious, she passed away peacefully in her sleep.

Before you feel too badly for me for having lost my last remaining grandparent at the advanced age of 50, let me tell you what else made this visit to my parents today even more exceptional.

I don’t feel any grief for her death. I know she lived a good long life, having outlived my Grandfather by 20+ years. She had a tough time in recent years health wise, and struggled to be able to stay living at home. I know that she is at peace now and I don’t have any sorrow about that.

The grief I feel is that I didn’t get a chance to get to know her, or my Grandpa, very well. They lived half a country away, and we weren’t close to that side of the family. I was very close to my Dad’s family because they were right here.

Distance makes a difference, especially when your Mom is semi-estranged from her family. I don’t even really know my cousins on that side of the family either.

If I could go back and make any changes in my life, if would be to make a better effort to really generate, and maintain, a relationship will all of the folks on that side of the family. It might have been a little difficult, but it would have been worthwhile to do.

There is no point in crying over spilt milk, but I can feel grateful that Granny isn’t suffering anymore, and I can feel grateful for my Mom (who feels a lot of things about her mother) that relief seems to be the topmost feeling she exudes, if so very subtly. We will see how that bears out in the coming days.

Faithful Readers, I’d like to propose a toast to my Granny, who loved to drink… Swift journey and safe passage on the way to the Hereafter.

…and another for my mother, who isn’t a drinker at all… here’s to she who endured much at the hands of her own mother and survived to see this day.

Blessings all.

The Great Road Trip of 2019 Begins


Today will be jam packed, Faithful Readers.

I finally made it to my two week vacation. I didn’t talk about it previous posts much because it always seemed so far away. Well, all of a sudden here it is!

All day will be about laundry, final house work, packing, and shopping for last minute things. Right now I’m sitting at Broadway Bean and Bagel having a lovely breakfast sandwich and coffee, and getting my mind organized for the day’s activities. This is a comfortable place to hang out and have breakfast. The food is good, and they play good music. Unfortunately, it’s become a little too peopley. Time to slurp up the last of my coffee and get on with what needs doing.

Tomorrow The Flirt, Older Son, and I head out for Deadwood, SD. The next day we push on to Grand Junction, CO. The third day will be the last leg of our main destination, Younger Son’s new home town in NV.

You guys, I’m so excited I can just barely stand it. I’m also a nervous wreck. Older Son and The Flirt haven’t been crammed into a small space together for a prolonged period of time before. They get along just fine, but I imagine by the time we get home the two of them will be glad to go their separate ways for awhile.

We will be meeting friends and family along the way, and checking all kinds items off of bucket lists. If we are lucky we will make it all the way to the Pacific. If not, that’s ok.

This trip is primarily about visiting Younger Son, and everything we see and do on top of that is just delicious gravy. Things are going to spontaneously appear on my bucket list, and I’m going to love taking pictures of all of it. More to come on that.

So begins The Great Road Trip of 2019. Here’s hoping you all have a lovely day, resting, packing for a road trip, reading a book, or whatever makes you the happiest. Blessings all!

What the hell is productivity, anyway?


I have been pretty on top of things this week, and feel pretty good about the housework, and whatever yard work I was able to do. I even feel good about everything I was able to get done all week at work. One might even say I have been “productive”.

Why then do I constantly feel that it’s not enough?

I had the lovely opportunity to spend several hours catching up with my cousin this morning. She’s pretty awesome, not only because she’s super smart and a lot of fun, but she gets it.

What’s it? Several things, actually. All of the things women our age deal with, and she and her BFF have even written a book about it. More to come about that later.

The thing weighing on my heart at this moment is that Society likes to feed us a constant stream of bullshit which supports the idea that if you aren’t “productive” you are falling behind, or somehow less worthy. We are constantly asked to chug this bitter Kool-Aid and declare it delicious, even though it’s clearly poison.

House and yard must be kept just thus and so, because we need to blend in. Even if you have done a whole lot of work, it’s never all done, and at some point you need to rest your body, mind, and soul. What?! Stop whining and get back to work. Too much to be done to be lallygagging.

“Productivity” seems to be one of the over arching things that Society needs from us, and we aren’t to have needs of our own. Gods forbid we have a complaint about something either. Suck it up buttercup, there’s work to be done.

What the hell is with that, anyway? What really is productivity? I’m changing my ideas about what that means in my life.

Upon arriving home from visiting with my cousin I immediately felt guilty for not having got some laundry going before I left the house, so I could feel like I was “getting something done” while I was out having a good time. What happened here is that I allowed myself to fall back into the societal cookie cutter of constantly needing to be productive. It’s a bad reflexive habit, and I need to knock that shit off.

Here’s what productivity in my world really should look like:

I get to have as much time as I want, or need, with friends and family guilt free. It’s time well spent, strengthening bonds with people who matter, and is good food for the soul.

I get to hang out in my home, doing things as I see fit, when I have the time, without feeling guilty that I can’t ever get all of the things done.

I. Get. To.

Done.

I don’t fit into the cookie cutter very well, and the older I get the angrier I become with Society’s need for us all to fit into this arbitrary construct called “productivity”, especially when I find myself capitulating out of habit.

Do I sound like I’ve got my ire up about allowing myself to feel guilty for no purposeful reason? You betcha. I’m mad as hell and I’m going to make a practice of not taking it any more. Trust me, it takes practice. When you fall down, or if someone pushes you down, in the process of getting to know who you are and what you want, get up and try again.

Faithful Readers, make your own Kool-Aid. Give yourself space to feel and do what you want, and you can tell others to get stuffed if they don’t like it. Break that old tape playing in your head and write a new song.

My fondest wish for you all today is that you give yourself the space to feed your soul as you see fit, without guilt, and without thought or worry that you aren’t getting enough done. You are enough, regardless of the things you do or not. Blessings all!

What the hell is productivity, anyway?


I have been pretty on top of things this week, and feel pretty good about the housework, and whatever yard work I was able to do. I even feel good about everything I was able to get done all week at work. One might even say I have been “productive”.

Why then do I constantly feel that it’s not enough?

I had the lovely opportunity to spend several hours catching up with my cousin this morning. She’s pretty awesome, not only because she’s super smart and a lot of fun, but she gets it.

What’s it? Several things, actually. All of the things women our age deal with, and she and her BFF have even written a book about it. More to come about that later.

The thing weighing on my heart at this moment is that Society likes to feed us a constant stream of bullshit which supports the idea that if you aren’t “productive” you are falling behind, or somehow less worthy. We are constantly asked to chug this bitter Kool-Aid and declare it delicious, even though it’s clearly poison.

House and yard must be kept just thus and so, because we need to blend in. Even if you have done a whole lot of work, it’s never all done, and at some point you need to rest your body, mind, and soul. What?! Stop whining and get back to work. Too much to be done to be lallygagging.

“Productivity” seems to be one of the over arching things that Society needs from us, and we aren’t to have needs of our own. Gods forbid we have a complaint about something either. Suck it up buttercup, there’s work to be done.

What the hell is with that, anyway? What really is productivity? I’m changing my ideas about what that means in my life.

Upon arriving home from visiting with my cousin I immediately felt guilty for not having got some laundry going before I left the house, so I could feel like I was “getting something done” while I was out having a good time. What happened here is that I allowed myself to fall back into the societal cookie cutter of constantly needing to be productive. It’s a bad reflexive habit, and I need to knock that shit off.

Here’s what productivity in my world really should look like:

I get to have as much time as I want, or need, with friends and family guilt free. It’s time well spent, strengthening bonds with people who matter, and is good food for the soul.

I get to hang out in my home, doing things as I see fit, when I have the time, without feeling guilty that I can’t ever get all of the things done.

I. Get. To.

Done.

I don’t fit into the cookie cutter very well, and the older I get the angrier I become with Society’s need for us all to fit into this arbitrary construct called “productivity”, especially when I find myself capitulating out of habit.

Do I sound like I’ve got my ire up about allowing myself to feel guilty for no purposeful reason? You betcha. I’m mad as hell and I’m going to make a practice of not taking it any more. Trust me, it takes practice. When you fall down, or if someone pushes you down, in the process of getting to know who you are and what you want, get up and try again.

Faithful Readers, make your own Kool-Aid. Give yourself space to feel and do what you want, and you can tell others to get stuffed if they don’t like it. Break that old tape playing in your head and write a new song.

My fondest wish for you all today is that you give yourself the space to feed your soul as you see fit, without guilt, and without thought or worry that you aren’t getting enough done. You are enough, regardless of the things you do or not. Blessings all!

A good beer, an emergency, and a new job…oh my!


Well, it certainly has been an eventful autumn, and I’ve had a nasty case of writer’s block. Tonight, I decided to venture out to see if I could find a way to articulate what’s been rolling around my brain pan. 

In September, Older Son moved out of this house and in with some friends. It was time. He will be 25 soon, and it’s long past time for him to get out into life and live it. He just recently he adopted a cat, and seems to be settled and content with life. It was a little strange becoming an empty nester, but it’s good. I am slowly going through things and getting rid of everything I don’t use. Once I get done thinning out, I will be going forward with a project to turn the basement Man Cave into a Girl Cave. It will be nice to have a space to put up my sewing machine, and have a space to do projects in.  More to come on that as things progress. 

In November, Younger Son came home for Thanksgiving. It was the first proper Thanksgiving we’d had in quite a few years, and a good time was had by all. 

As sometimes happens, work got really strange over the Summer and Fall, and it got pretty awful. Everything was on fire all the time and was so stressful, I decided to get a new job. So, I applied for a new job within my company and got it. I miss the people in my old department, but I don’t miss the constant fire stomping or the politics. My new department is bright and happy, I have good people to work with,  and good work to do. A person can’t ask for much more. 

Well, except for good health. Especially when it comes to your loved ones. 

My Mom has experienced some memory issues in recent years, and I wasn’t sure if the medication she’d been taking was causing it, or if she was having onset of dementia. In the middle of December I got a text from my Dad in the middle of the day letting me know that Mom was in the ER after having a stroke. 

Mom had a stroke…. !

I quickly finished up what I was doing  at work and rushed to the ER. She was awake and alert, and luckily it was a small stroke. The bad news is that it affected her dominant side. Long story short, she was admitted to the hospital for several days, then to rehab to get therapy for her affected limbs so she would be able to come home. She is home now, and after three weeks of being home, she is still having trouble with the one hand and foot, but her speech is cleared up, and she uses the walker less. I am really grateful that she is doing better, because that could have been a whole lot worse. 

All that transpired between the time she went in and the time she came home was quite a ride, and I’ll write more about that later. 

At this moment, I’m curled up in my awesome bed, in between its smooth warm sheets, and I’m sipping a beer. Yes, it’s a strange place to be imbibing in such a beverage, but I just didn’t feel like hanging out anywhere else in the house late at night.  If you like dark beer, especially beer that has been aged in bourbon barrels, you will love Founders Backwoods Bastard. It’s rich, and has a good deep flavor. It’s got my stamp of approval! 

Here’s wishing you all good work, healthy families, and amazing beverages! Blessing all!

Day 19 – A lovely weekend in Minnesota


Well, it looks like I finally missed a day on my 100 day walk challenge. In fairness, I only missed it because I was on the road, coming back from Minnesota. I did get to walk one of the days I was there, but no blogging. That’s ok. Sometimes you have to put down the electronics and just hang out with your people.

The little town they live in is Hallock, MN, which appears to be a really awesome, close-knit town. As part of my blogging going forward, I’ll be doing a bit of a travelog. Stay tuned for more on Hallock and any other place I’ve been.

It was a lovely weekend. I don’t get to spend time with my Brother’s family very often, so we packed in a lot of visiting, and watched Older Nephew play hockey. Not only did he score a goal, but it apparently was the best game they played all year. It was the last home game for him ever. I am so happy that I was able to see him play.

It’s amazing to me how quickly time passes. It wasn’t so long ago that my nephews were just little boys that I could pick up and hug. Now they are both so tall they have to bend down to hug me. I wish so badly, that things had been different between when they were little, and now that they are big. I have missed out so much on their lives that it just makes my heart break.

Well, now things are better and I can afford the time and money to travel to see them. I will take a lot of pleasure in seeing them as much as I can. Next trip will be in May to see Older Nephew graduate from high school.

Here’s hoping you have ready access to your loved ones, don’t miss a thing. If you don’t have quick access, I hope that you go when you can. Life’s too short.

Blessings all!

Day 17 – Minnesota, here I come!


TGIF, Faithful Readers!  I am so excited today, because not only did I wade through a kind of stressful week at work and made it to the end, but I also get to go to Minnesota to visit with my brother’s family this weekend.

My Older Nephew has been asking me for years to come see him play in one of his sports, either football or hockey, and either the weather or working two jobs always conspired against me. Well, Oldest Nephew is graduating from high school this May, and tomorrow is the last home hockey game (Go Bearcats!) he will ever have on a Saturday. Given my work situation right now, it’s my last chance to go see him play. Ever.

So, my parents and I are leaving after I get off work tonight, and staying at their house for the weekend. It’s always a good time when we get together, and I am so excited to go.

I don’t know where 18 years went, but Older Nephew is all grown up, and I missed out on so much of his life. Now that I am back on my feet enough that I don’t have to keep my two jobs all year round, I’m looking forward to more travel in their direction.

Here’s hoping that you have the ability to get up and go when those important people ask for you, and that you always have safe travels. Blessings and have a good weekend… Go Bearcats!!

Life is full of little trade offs…The trick is to find balance.


As all of my Faithful Readers know, I have two jobs. I work at the Cube Farm by day, and The Big Box Store by night…the blue one. I think you know what I’m talking about.

Lately, I’ve had thoughts of defecting to The Other Big Box Store. The red one, with the bulls-eye.

I have a friend at The Cube Farm who has been talking to me about switching over, and I think I just might do it. I have to say, though, that I have been at The Blue Store for long enough that I’m comfortable there. The whole problem with that place is that it’s impossible to get your work scheduling straight, it’s disorganized, dirty and they have such a high turn over rate that there is never enough help. As a result of not ever having enough help, many of us “Floor Help” end up cashiering instead of keeping our departments straight. I hate cashiering, and my right elbow and wrist hate it too.

Every time I go to The Red Store I marvel at how clean it is, how every employee has a scanner to use and that things just seem to be more orderly in general. It’s so tempting to defect, but I would be giving up a lot of benefits I get at The Blue Store that wouldn’t be available to me at The Red Store. Hm…lots to ponder.

Life is full of all sorts of trade offs, and some have been very worthwhile. Let’s take last night for example.

I picked up The Flirt, and we went shopping last night. We bummed around the mall, just going from one store to another looking at stuff. At several points he grabbed my hand and held it as we walked.  Wow… have you got any idea how long it’s been since a man has picked my hand up and held it? Oh…many more than I can count.  That Flirt is full of all sorts of delightful surprises, and I’m looking forward to finding out what else he has up his sleeve.

So, what’s the trade-off?  I gave up time with my boys at home for the evening.

I think the whole trick is to find balance. Sunday evening The Flirt came over for pizza and movies, and we all had a good time. Hopefully I can find and maintain just the right balance, and not let my social life get the better of me.

I think we can do this… Well, I guess we’ll find out!

Quiet moments, and some blather


Yes…yes, I’m still alive. It’s been awhile since I posted, but I have to say I was a running fool. Seems like the whole summer has flown by. While I feel like I have nothing to show for it, I’ve actually been pretty busy. That’s ok…It’s better than sitting around, I guess.  And then, when I have time to take a breath, all the fabulous things I had found to blog about evaporate like flood water on a hot July day.  Amazingly, I was sitting in the living room alone with no sounds other than my Wood Wick candle burning, the traffic outside and the noise of Younger Son taking a shower. It was a lovely quiet moment, albeit brief. Apparently that was just enough to break my writer’s block. Strange, the things my brain will respond to.

The flood situation in Minot is no longer all about being wet, but now about recovery. Most everyone who was displaced has been allowed back into their homes, and the gutting and cleaning has commenced.  We have heard that there is a plan being proposed that will straighten out the river, and provide protection from the river for up to 30,000 cfs (cubic feet/second).   We dealt with upwards of 22,000 cfs this go around. Whatever plan they come up with, it will take a long time to put into place, but Minot will be better off for it. More on that as things progress.

Right now we are sitting in the living room watching a movie called Escanaba in da Moonlight. It’s an old family favorite that we got through Netflix. It’s one of those shows we all agree on, and can have a good laugh over.  There’s nothing like sitting around with your kids having a good laugh.

Speaking of kids, I had the last three days off so I could get them registered and set up for school, which is starting very late for us this year. The flood took several schools in town so the State has forgiven five school days, plus there will be three more tacked on to that will be made up throughout the school year. As a result, instead of starting school August 24th, school won’t start until September 6th. Older Son is a Senior this year, and so come all things associated with that: Senior pictures, applying to colleges and graduation…amongst other things.  Older Son isn’t too hip on the whole graduation tradition, and would rather skip all of the pictures and ceremony. Well, he’s just going to have to tough it out. Some traditions just need to be observed. I think he’s feeling a little overwhelmed with the end of school coming and having to make choices. I don’t envy him…it’s no easy thing to know what you want to do for the rest of your life. I still am not sure what I want to do when I grow up either, and I’m 42.

Younger Son cooked supper tonight. It was a <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/t1IiUAtoNBk“>grilled,  bacon wrapped, vegetable stuffed meatloaf. OMG. That kid is going to make me fatter than I already am. He’s also going to make some nice girl a fine husband one day. He’s got that cooking thing down for someone who’s only 16 years old. This is the third time in the last month I’ve come home to find supper grilled and ready to eat. I’m truly spoiled.

My lovely kitty, Harley, got declawed this week. As lovely as he is, he’s got a taste for scratching everything but the scratching post, including box springs, the dish washer, the heat vent in the bathroom, the living room furniture, and anything Older Son owns. It’s not something I had planned on, or liked, having to do, but it was either that or he’d have to go. The good news is that he is making a remarkable recovery and is up to the usual mischief…except without so many scratch marks.

Now it’s quiet again, and all I hear is my tapping on the key board and the wooden wick of my candle crackling away. Pretty soon I’ll have to get up and put my laundry in the dryer, and hit the rack, bringing  my rare quiet moment to an end, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

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