Day 33 – Seasonal shifts


Today, The Flirt brought over the ice house to store for the season. He went ice fishing with his nephew yesterday and had some success, but it is getting too warm out to be on the ice much longer. Soon we will have to renew our fishing licenses and get our summer poles ready for the new season. Yay!

I am so ready for the new fishing season. Why? Because with that comes warm weather.

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Lake Sakakawea from a pontoon last Summer

I’m ready for the good warm weather, and gardening, and fishing in the sunshine. I’m ready for warm breezes and thunderstorms. I’m ready to have weather that requires neither the furnace nor the air conditioner to be on at all.

 

Today, I planted some herbs and eagerly await their little green sprouts to appear. I do have one regular house plant, but it’s kind of static. It doesn’t change much, and is a little underwhelming when it comes to the kind of growth and change I am looking for.

I love when the seasons change, but I am always looking forward to the change of seasons, but Spring and Autumn are my favorites. These seasons seem to drip with the magic of Mother Nature, and the beautiful transformations that go along with that.

Right now, I am so grateful to have a day in early March which is so beautiful I can shut off my furnace and have all of my windows open. It’s a whopping 39 degrees here today, the sun is out, and there’s just a little breeze. Lovely!

Here in North Dakota we have to take advantage of these nice days. There’s a saying here: If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes and it will change. That’s the truth. Old Man Winter (who can go suck rotten eggs) isn’t done with us yet. Tonight, we can expect, “…a wintry mix followed by accumulating snow and blowing snow possible across western and central North Dakota, Sunday night through Tuesday…strong northwest winds with gusts of between 50 and 60 mph are also possible Monday… 3-5 inches are possible…”. The good news is that it doesn’t look like it’s going to get below zero. There’s always a silver lining!

Here’s hoping you have lovely weather where you are, and that your Sunday is slow and peaceful. Blessings all!

 

 

 

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The Summer of Yes!


In my last posting, I mentioned that I’ve been so busy that I’ve not had time to blog for the last two months. I should feel bad about that, and yet I have a hard time feeling guilty.

This was the best summer…ever.  No joking.

So what did I do all summer? These are the highlights:

~Fishing

~Spent time outside, either gardening or hanging out with friends in front of a fire.

~Went riding motorcycle with The Flirt.

~Old Friends stayed with me during the State Fair, and adventures ensued. We went to two different concerts, Blake Shelton and Foreigner. My thanks to friends R & H…what a fabulous time!

~I worked less this summer than last, and spent more time with my kids…doing whatever.

~Several home improvement projects were done, included getting new doors and gutters. I’m a long way from being done, but that is quite a chunk off of the to do list for this year.

~I managed to thin out my bookshelf, down to almost nothing except reference books. I have been using my Itouch as an e-reader, which as worked out really well, and now I have a lot of extra room on the shelves in my room.

~I just got back from a quick trip to Sturgis, SD. The Flirt and I went down for the Bike Rally. It was certainly an experience, and was a nice quick get away. The roads were good, the food was amazing, and it was so cool to see all the different bikes. The people there were so nice, and it was a fabulous time.

What did I do in between all of that?  I’ve done a lot of whatever the heck I wanted to, and haven’t felt like there was much that got in the way of it.  I spent less time worrying about “what-ifs” and just went with most anything that came along, and it turned out to be a lot more fun and tons less stressful.  These last two months have been bliss.

So…what’s next?

Well, it’s back to reality time. Work will get a lot busier given that my Cube Farm is going from one owner to another, which has proven to be quite a challenge thus far.

I haven’t had to deal with my litigious ex husband all summer, but that’s come to an end. I met with my lawyer today and we’re gearing up for the court hearing coming up at the end of September. I’m hoping that this will be the last of it.

Younger Son has started back up with Football practice. I’m looking forward to watching him play. Older Son has taken an easy summer, staying with is part-time job. Now it’s time for him to get a full-time job, and it will be interesting to see how that comes out.

So…I guess play time is done and it’s time to get back to real life and all of the stuff that comes with it.

That’s ok…I’m looking forward to a Winter of Yes! We have plans for lots of pool and darts, as well as ice fishing. Whoo! I can’t wait…

Here’s hoping that you all had as good a Summer as I did, and that you have a Winter of Yes coming up around the corner too!

 

 

Of role models and fishing trips…


Today, I had to dig a little deeper through the murk collected in my mind to find the blessings that were just waiting to be picked up and marveled at.

Thus, cup of coffee number two. I don’t know exactly what it is about a second cup of coffee that does the trick for me, but I am guessing that it’s just the time it takes to drink the first one and start on the second that gives me time to think and work through the garbage floating in my head. Sometimes it’s easy to mistake the garbage in your head for truth, or for something worth keeping. It took me a little extra long to sort through all of that floating rubbish today.

And, the coffee just tastes and smells good. Hmmm!

I’ve been thinking a lot about Father’s Day, and do wish all of the Dad’s reading this blog a very happy Father’s Day…especially for those who’ve stepped up to be a role model in the absence of a child’s father.  You could be a friend, a neighbor, step-dad or boy friend of a kid’s mom, grandfather… or just a guy on the street who chooses to do the right thing, regardless of who is watching.

Being a role model is not something a person always chooses to do consciously, but it is something everyone is anyway, all the time. For the purposes of this post, let’s narrow the scope a bit. A while back, I wrote a post about what it takes to make a person a mother. The long and short of it is that not all people can be Mom’s, but sometimes people just step up and do the job. The same goes for Dads.

Yesterday was an eventful day. The Flirt picked the boys and I up at 9am, and we drove to another town that was holding a “Ribfest”. It was a nice day, and the food was good. We shopped a little and then came home. Later the boys and I went to pick up supper to take my parent’s house, as we celebrated Father’s day early with my Dad. As we waited for our order, Older Son noticed a car in distress. It was half hanging in the ditch, and the driver couldn’t get the car started again. After we got through the drive-thru, we parked the car and went to see if we could push them back onto the road.

The car contained an elderly couple, with the husband driving.  I’m not quite sure how he ended up with his tail end hanging in the ditch, but the car wouldn’t start and his nose was sticking out into the lane. I offered that we would push him out, and we tried but the three of us weren’t strong enough to push this big old car back up onto the road. Pretty soon a big burly guy came out of the chicken joint and tried to help, but the four of us still couldn’t get it done. Then a kid came out to help, and he couldn’t have been any more than ten or so, but his was the last bit of strength we needed to get the car back up on the road and parked the nearby hotel parking lot. It’s amazing what people can accomplish, regardless of size, when you work together.

Something struck me about these two who came out to help…nobody asked them, they just did it. I wonder if they even knew each other…probably not, but they both had something in common: Someone at sometime modeled that behavior for them.  It’s one thing for me to tell the boys to get out of the car to do this, but it was another thing altogether for them to see two other strangers come out to help, unasked and didn’t ask for anything in return…I hope it’s something my kids remember and repeat. These two guys, even though they were a kid and a twenty-something, were good role models, and I have a sneaking suspicion that they will make good dads, uncles, neighbors, grandparents, etc…

Fishing is something that I used to enjoy as a kid, and Younger Son has expressed an interest in learning. The Flirt and his family are all very much into fishing, and are willing to take us with them when they go. While at my parent’s house last night, I asked my Dad if he still had any of the fishing poles they used to use. Amazingly he did, and tackle boxes too. The poles need some help, but the tackle boxes are FULL of all kinds of interesting things. What’s in them is not nearly as important as who they belonged to. One tackle box belonged to a close uncle that my Dad spent many summers with, and the other one belonged to his own father. I don’t know when he acquired these, but I am willing to guess that these two tackle boxes hold more than just fishing supplies. There are a lot of childhood memories wrapped up in both of these boxes for my Dad, and I am feeling pretty privileged that he gave them to us.

I tried to talk my Dad into coming fishing with us, but fishing isn’t so much his bag. My Mom loves to fish, so I’m hoping we can get her interested in coming out. More on how that progresses later.

Fishing is an interesting way to get conversations started, especially if there are just two of you alone in a boat. I once went fishing up the river with my Mom’s father, whom I never did get a chance to get to know very well. He and I chatted the whole time, and I am kicking myself now for not having the wisdom to pay closer attention. The only thing I remember him talking about was something that happened during the time he served in WWII. He told me a story about how the plane his group was in got shot up by the enemy, and the hydraulic line got a hole in it. He stuck his finger in the hole and left it there until the plane landed. He giggled like a kid when telling me that the government gave him a medal for putting his finger in a hole…he really thought that was the funniest thing. Many years later after he passed away, I found out that the military had awarded him a Silver Star for this because he kept the plane in the sky and saved the lives of his crew members. This is a huge demonstration of how little things count.

The purpose of telling that story isn’t to brag up my grandfather’s heroism, though he is deserving of it, but to point out that those quiet moments when you are hanging out with someone who matters mean a lot. That one fishing trip up the river was the most time I ever got to spend with him at any one time, and I am grateful for it. While I don’t remember a lot of the conversation, I remember having a really good time. He was a good guy and I wish I had been able to get to know him better.

I am fortunate in that my Dad still lives, and I get to see him often. Yet, there are so many other men that have come and gone from my life, related or not, who have made a difference. They have not only taught me things, but they have helped shape who I am. While my kids aren’t so lucky to have a father who wants to be a positive role model in their lives, they sure are lucky enough to have men in their lives, most especially my own Dad,  who are willing to step up and help shape them into the men they will become.

To all those who are Dads, or just have the fortitude to step up and be the Dad or role model a kid needs…I hope you have a tackle box full of memories from your past you can pass on to someone, and that you share those memories, knowledge and values with wild abandon. Happy Father’s Day!

Summer…full steam ahead!


Summer is looming large, and there is so much to do!

I am excited for Older Son. He will graduate from high school at the end of May, and then will be going to work. He’s decided that school isn’t what he wants to do, and that he’d rather be gainfully employed. He’s nerve-wracked about it, but I know that once graduation is done and he’s landed a full-time job, things will smooth out for him and give him a sense of independence that he really needs. I’ll be helping him get launched, and I’m nervous for him with all the changes he will have to get through, but he’ll make it ok.

This weekend, I finally got around to getting Older Son’s graduation invitations made and printed out. Now comes the task of getting them addressed and mailed. I keep having the sensation of needing to put on my seat belt and crash helmet as there are so many changes coming up so quickly.  That’s ok…the good news is that I can see pretty much everything that’s coming, and can have some kind of preparation in place. Feeling prepared, sometimes, is half the battle.

Not only do we have graduation to get ready for, but it appears that I will be making another trip to court. Yes, ladies and gentleman, my ex is taking me to court. Again. It’s my hope that this will be the end of it, no matter how it comes out. That comes June 15th, so hopefully after that the rest of the Summer will be smooth sailing.

Once graduation and court are done with, I will have a lot of things to look forward to. The first thing I can’t wait to do is get my garden in. It will be put in way before the middle of June, but I do enjoy watching the plants grow and puttering around in the garden. The absolute best is harvest time. There is nothing quite like going into the garden and grabbing bunch of grape tomatoes to take to the office with me to snack on all morning. Hmmm…..yummy!

I also have a bunch of home improvement plans. I’m getting new doors, and will be painting my bedroom, painting and putting new carpet into Younger Son’s bedroom, finishing up paint and reinstalling the carpet in Older Son’s room, reorganizing and installing more storage in my basement (can’t wait to show you pictures of my new pantry!), and reorganizing my kitchen and living room.  That’s a whole bunch of stuff to do, but I am hopeful that a weekend here and there across the Summer will help me get it all done.

We bought fishing licenses this year, and have plans on going fishing a lot. It’s something I enjoyed as a kid, and Younger Son enjoys. The Flirt perked my interest in fishing back up, and we have a whole summer a head to pull in a bunch of fish. I’m hoping that we have enough by the 4th of July so we can have a fish fry. It used to be a tradition in our family that all the fish we caught through June got filleted and went into the freezer for that weekend. I’m hoping it’s a tradition I can revive.

The weather hasn’t been so cooperative lately, so I haven’t been able to get out and go walking much, but I am looking forward to getting out and walking every morning again, especially on the weekends when I can take my time and go to different places in town to walk. to go along with that, I am hoping to drop another 20 pounds in 2012. Younger Son is a weightlifter, and has given me some advice about how to get rid of the flappy parts on the back side of my arms. I’m looking to have that tightened up by the end of the Summer too.

I’m also looking forward to doing some fun landscaping in my yard this summer. Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while know that I am all about edible landscaping, but I have to admit that it is quite a challenge to put in mostly edibles when we need hardy plants that take a lot of bad weather and abuse. The good news is that I found a fabulous shrub called a Carmine Jewel Dwarf Cherry (picture courtesy of Gurney’s). This neat little plant is not only pretty as an ornamental, which grows in environments up to zone 2, but also produces prolific amounts of cherries that you can eat raw or bake with. It’s something my Dad said he’d like to grow, so it will be something I can surprise him with for Father’s Day.  Double win!

I also have an opportunity to cross a really big thing off of my bucket list: A trip to Sturgis, SD for the annual bike rally, for me and The Flirt . My bucket list is something I will blog more about later, but suffice it to say that I have gotten to a point in my life where I’ve decided that there’s no time like the present, and no point in waiting. The hotel is paid for, and the planning has begun. The Flirt is a motorcyclist and has been to Sturgis already, so he knows the ins and outs and where to go to see some interesting things. We’ll be spending three days and two nights, which won’t be enough time to see everything, but we’ll see a lot. This trip comes toward the middle of August, which will be nice end to the summer. It will be my first weekend trip away from the kids after the divorce and will be a little nerve-wracking, but they are ok with it. I think Younger Son would have liked to go with us, but not this year.   This trip is for me and, while I normally would feel guilty about taking a trip like this, it’s harder to find my way to the place that allowed me swim in guilt and self-doubt these days. I’ll chalk that one up as emotional progress.

Once the trip is over, it will be time for Younger Son to start school again, beginning with football practice. Older Son will be working a full-time job by then, and will have his own wheels. With any luck, Younger Son will have his driver’s license and will have saved enough from his summer job to buy his own starter vehicle. Summer is going to scream right by…I’ll have to hold on with both hands and put the breaks on hard I can so I can feel like I’ve stopped to smell all of the roses, and eat all the tomatoes, I can!

The good thing about this Summer is that I have more good things coming up than bad things to get through, and that is a huge blessing. Here’s hoping your Summer plans hold as much good fun and adventure as mine will.