When everything all piles up together!


It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and that’s because life has caught me up and carried me away with all that has happened. Today marks the day that some of it slows down.

This August some of my 2nd cousins were home for a celebration of life. Both of their parents died last year, but there weren’t funerals due to COVID. So, a whole bunch of family came home for this double celebration of life, and over a weekend my known family quadrupled! I got to meet cousins I didn’t know existed, and they are so awesome! It was quite an unexpected blessing.

The big news is that Older Son got married this week! He and his lovely wife (who will be henceforth known here as Bonus Kid), got married in a lovely handfasting ceremony in the park, followed by a very nice celebration supper and party at a local venue.

I’m so sorry happy for the two of them, and so grateful Older Son has someone so amazing to share his life with.

Along with the joy of the wedding came with the joy of having Younger Son home for two weeks. I just dropped him off at the airport, and I’m so sad. I can’t believe two weeks went by so quickly.

I look at this seat he just left empty, and I just feel like bawling. It’s not like he won’t be back. He’s shipping out to Japan in the spring and will be home to visit before he goes. Once he goes to Japan he will be gone for three years. I’m not sure how we’d ever afford to go there to visit, but that’s bridge I’ll cross when I get there.

Oh but wait, there’s more!

To top off all of the wedding festivities, I got a new job, and have been trying to transition into that one, and out of the old one. It’s been a trip trying to do that on top of Younger Son being home, and all of the wedding stuff. More about the new job later, because that is a whole story. And, I have a small part time job in my near future as well.

So, to sum up, I’m exhausted, sad, excited, and happy, all at once. Did I mention I’m exhausted?

Life has a way of piling things up together, so you just have to play whack-a-mole until everything gets accomplished. One step at a time.

Here’s hoping this post finds you all well and happy! Blessings all!

Domesticity becomes him


Last night I had supper with Older Son, his Lively Girlfriend, and her Munchkin. It was probably one of the more gratifying experiences I’ve had since COVID-19 hit.

Why’s that? It was just supper with Older Son and his family.

Well, it wasn’t just supper. It was a chance to see him operate in his home environment, and I think domesticity becomes him.

Not only did we have supper and visit, but we played games. I haven’t played games in a long time. Battleship is a game I played as a kid, and then again when I had kids. He played against the Munchkin, and then I got to play too.

Then we played Jenga. I don’t think I’ve ever had the opportunity to play that before.

After games was supper. We ate a lovely Italian dish, and a good time was had by all.

When it comes to my kids, I always worried that they were so broken by having divorced parents that they might not find someone to spend the rest of their lives with. Tonight I feel like all isn’t lost, at least for Older Son. Younger Son is so busy with his career that he hasn’t made time for a girlfriend yet. He’s only 25, and has lots of time.

Here’s hoping you find solace for something you’ve worried about. I didn’t know what a big worry it was for me until it wasn’t anymore! Blessings all!

And then, there was one…


Today Older Son, his lovely girlfriend, and her daughter, came over for supper. I’d been pestering him to come sort through the stuff he still has stored here. He did just that, took everything home that he wanted and said the rest I can donate or chuck at will.

Fair enough. My quest to downsize continues, but more on that later.

I kind of thought Older Son and Lovely Girlfriend might just get married, but it’s not my business and I didn’t want to pry or sound pushy. However, I did want to offer him the choice of one of those rings if that would be something he might be interested in. So, one day I took him to lunch and let him know that he could pick one if he chose.

Much to my surprise, he very nonchalantly popped out with the fact that they’ve been talking about getting married for some time, and that he would talk the ring thing over with Lovely Girlfriend and let me know. Later that night, I sent him pictures of the rings so they could see them.

One is my Grandmother’s wedding ring and the other is a ring of her sister’s, who is the fabulous Aunty B you’ve heard me talk about.

I should interject here that I wore my Grandmother’s wedding ring from the time she died in 1996 until I was divorced in 2009. I didn’t feel like I deserved to wear it at that point, and it went into a ring box and stayed there for the last 10 years. I’ve never worn Aunty B’s ring because it needs repair, and I’ve just never gotten around to fixing it. Truth be told, I’ve always wanted to turn it into a mother’s ring.

On the way out tonight, he asked if they could have a look and go ahead and pick one. I brought the rings out and she looked at them and tried them on. ultimately, she picked Grandma’s wedding ring.

Ok, so that sounds pretty mundane on the face of things, but I think it was more than meant to be.

As it turns out, today is Grandma’s birthday. One could say it was just dumb luck that they came over with a day’s notice and this all took place on what happened to what would have been Grandma’s 104th birthday.

I’m not a big believer in coincidences. Even if it were a coincidence, it’s one hell of a way to celebrate her birthday and I know she would have loved it.

So, they packed up Grandma’s ring in its box and went home, and then there was one…

I do believe I will fix this up and make it into a mother’s ring. It will be given to Younger Son when he approaches getting married, or when I pass away. Hopefully the former!

I’m more than a little blown back that my family is about to expand by two (Lovely Girlfriend has a daughter) and I’m so happy. ❤️

Here’s wishing you all those happy, heart-swelling moments that give you goosebumps and make you cry happy tears. Blessings all!

It’s better than screaming and throwing things.


Life has been crazy and weird here on the High Plains. We have had relatively few cases of COVID-19 in ND, but two weeks out from our Governor opening our state back up, our numbers are exploding. Yesterday we had 102 new cases reported, and today there were 134.

I called my Mom to talk about what’s going on with Younger Nephew’s graduation ceremony, which we won’t be able to attend, and she let me know she and Dad were on the way out to take her to get tested for the virus.

In ND, unless they are mass testing particular populations of people, you can’t get tested unless you have any of the symptoms. I’m hoping she just has a cold.

More on that later.

In other news, I’ve had a lot of time off being partially furloughed. I managed to get my kitchen painted a nice shade of blue, swapped out the old fridge for a new one, and got some projects done in my yard. I have a whole truckload of projects on deck, but now I’ve been told I am going back to work full time next week. Yay!

It’s going to be kind of rocky, as a condition of our return is that we are going to have to fill in for others who either can’t, or won’t, come back to work. Some tasks I’m qualified for, and some I’m not. I’ve had to push back on being asked to do some things that I just know I’m not qualified for. Sometimes you just have to put your foot down for what you believe in.

Today I worked a few hours, and I will work a few more tomorrow. This will be my last opportunity to get any of my projects done. No more weekends as I’ll be working Sundays going forward. That’s ok. Sundays are good, quiet days to get a lot of work done, for the office at least.

It’s been stressful, and weird, and I don’t like any of this. Sometimes I get so wound up about all of this crap, I find myself crying over stupid things. I’m guessing that I get just too full up with the stress of all of this, and it has to leak out somewhere. I guess it’s better than screaming and throwing things.

The other day I went out to mow my lawn, and I noticed all of the dandelions in the neighboring lot.

The site of all of these happy little flowers made me take a deep breath and just relax, even if it was for a few minutes.

It’s good to stop and notice the flowers. Take a walk outside and get some fresh air. Open your windows and get some fresh air in. Do something that makes you happy. Just make sure to do something for you. Little things matter. Mental health matters. You matter.

Here’s hoping that this note finds you all well and thriving. Remember to take care of yourself. Blessings all!

Defusing Despair Paralysis


Today was difficult at my house, as I imagine it was for many. While I’m not a religious person, Easter has always been a time for my family to gather for a big holiday meal and spend some quality time together. That was not possible this year due to the extraordinary circumstances we are all currently living with.

Gratefully, I was able to see my parents briefly yesterday while dropping stuff off at their house. I haven’t seen them in over a month, and the social distancing thing was weird, but it was good to lay my eyes on them and see that they are well.

Today I took some ham, buns, and brownies to Older Son. I hung them on the door, and he opened it when I was six feet away. That was also weird, but it was good to see him. I got to speak with his girlfriend briefly as she was getting off shift at a local convenience store after I got done with Older Son, and it was good to see her as well.

I then took my car through the car wash and cried, and I’ve been weepy all day. I’m not sure why, but it does feel a whole lot like the sort of despair I experienced when I was newly going through divorce. I imagine being mostly furloughed from my job, and being cooped up in the house, listening to the worsening news every day… multiple times a day… has a lot to do with it. Too many unknowns to be able to process.

I want to give Birdie Girl props for giving me a good pep talk today. She’s one of the most can-do people I’ve ever met, and knew just what to say to help me put the despair down. Basically, in the face of adversity, get up and do… control what you can.

So, I got up and did something. Really, I was just puttering in the kitchen, but it beats the Despair Paralysis I was experiencing.

I spied my Grandmother’s recipe box while chopping up a watermelon rind to put in the compost heap, and recalled how much she she enjoyed watermelon pickles. They were never my favorite, but I remember helping her make them. I spent a lot of time with Grandma in her kitchen, as is right and proper.

I don’t often open Grandma’s recipe box, but I did tonight. It was good to have the very concrete experience of picking through her recipes, seeing her handwriting, and remember all the good food we made together from the time I was small.

I never did find her watermelon pickle recipe, but in case you are interested in how they are made, I found one here:

Watermelon Rind Pickles

Here’s hoping you all have treasured touchstones that help you to stay grounded when life goes sideways, and friends who give good pep talks. Blessings all!

Counting my blessings, even with bad news.


As you have seen me post before, I turned 50 last year, and I will soon be 51. I finally broke down and got a physical two weeks ago, and I got two mitt-fulls of referral appointments to attend to as a result.

Unfortunately, I got some bad news. Apparently I went diabetic… just tipped over the edge. And, I also have high cholesterol. I’ve also been told to take a vitamin.

My new meds and a vitamin. I wish the vitamin weren’t so big!

Well, darn it.

So, now every morning I have to take three pills. The two medical ones are tiny, but the vitamin is huge.

I’m not a pill taker. Quite the opposite actually. I normally will go to great lengths to avoid taking any medication at all, even for a headache. It takes some really annoying pain to cause me to get up and go take something for it. I’m still struggling with the pinched nerve, but it is better and I’ll leave the pain meds alone as much as I can.

Given this bad medical news, I’ll still count my blessings. I don’t have anything to complain about, as I have no doubt I will get good care and live much longer.

My younger cousin, however, was not so lucky. This spring he found out that he had cancer in four spots. Without going into too many details, all the chemo and radiation they threw at it shrank some tumors, but seemed to feed one that ultimately killed him this month. He was given full fireman’s ceremonial honors at his funeral. He was well loved by many friends and family, and an important part of his community. He leaves behind a wife and young son, and immediate and extended grieving family. He was a good person and did not deserve to die so young, and so painfully.

My mom looked at me and said she didn’t understand why a good guy like my cousin would have to die when there are so many terrible people in the world who live long and wealthy lives. I don’t get it either.

It’s probably not for us to understand, just to survive it and go forward as positively as we can.

So, I will not whine or begrudge having to take these new medications daily. I get another chance to continue, when my younger cousin did not.

Wishing you all long and happy lives. Take care of yourselves. Blessings, all.

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!

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