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.

Taking over my little Universe, one room at a time!


So much to talk about, and I don’t know where to start!

Well, I promised pictures from my bedroom makeover, so I will start there.

My beginning inspiration was the new bedspread and curtains:

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After I had those picked out, I chose a nice light gray paint, so light it’s almost white, and a super bright white for the trim.

I started out with a room that was painted two crappy colors of brown, and here are the before pictures. You can see where I started cutting in the new paint, and the contrast of the two tones of the brown. I think my room had been like that for 10 years or so. How freaking depressing !

You can see the new bed spread and curtains don’t look like much with the brown paint.

After a few coats of paint and a bunch of elbow grease, I was able to take this after picture. I still need to get a matching curtain for my closet door.

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Now add the new night stand and head board:

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This last picture is a little dark, but trust me, it’s like waking up in a cloud. My new room makes me so happy, and it took very little to make it happen. Sure, I had to spend some money, and there were some late nights spent trying to get it done, but it was so worth it!

So what else is new in my neck of the woods?

My new job continues to be awesome, and I have a lot of job satisfaction. I know it won’t always be this way, because life doesn’t ever stay static, so I am enjoying it while it lasts. Hopefully it will last a good long while.

Younger Son is coming home after being out at sea for 8 months. I got to talk to him on the phone for the first time since November, and it was so good to hear his voice. Just that simple act of speaking with him on the phone let off a lot of steam I didn’t realize had been building up. It appears that I was kind of holding my breath all of this time. Even with email, mail, and Facebook, it was so little contact. I don’t know how loved ones did it in the days before social/electronic media, when their kids joined the service and were gone for long stretches of time. He comes home soon, and it will be so awesome to have all of my chicks back in the nest again.

Older Son has been having a stretch of good luck in that he was able to replace an old car with a newer, cheaper-to-run vehicle. He even got a break on his insurance. Fabulous!!

The city is gearing up for the State Fair which begins next week. This year, I think we will just go for one day. Usually we go for multiple days, but it gets expensive, and doesn’t change much from year to year. I still get excited when it starts up, though. Older Son will be in the Parade this year, so I may just go watch it. This will be the first Parade Saturday that I haven’t had a prior commitment for a long time.

Well, I’m working on my 2nd cup of coffee, and I think I will finish that up and get to work on my house. The laundry needs to get going, and everything else needs picking up and scrubbing. After chores are done, I think I will go shop for a new BBQ, and plot my next home improvement project: Kitchen Part 2 – paint & floor! I feel like I am finally taking over my own little universe, one room at a time!

Here’s wishing you all a lovely, relaxing Saturday, with which you can plot how you will take over your universe! Blessings all!

Hope in days of despair, which means we win


So much despair today.

As I was busy last night, catching up with some old friends, I was a little slow to find out about the terrorist attacks in Paris, and was shocked when I woke up to the news this morning. What happened to those poor people is unconscionable, and unforgivable. Apparently there were attacks in other places this week as well, but they didn’t seem to get any press. There’s nothing to prove by systematically shooting innocent people. Nothing. While most of the people who perpetrated these crimes are dead, they certainly have accomplices, and I hope they are caught before they can strike again.

I spoke with Younger Son today. I made sure to speak with him on the phone before Monday, because he ships out and will be at sea for 5-7 months. As a consequence, I will not hear his voice for that long, and will have very little communication with him during that time. If I’m lucky, he will get a chance to send a quick email when they get close enough to shore. I feel quite a lot of despair about him being on an air craft carrier out in the middle of the ocean. I shouldn’t because our carriers are surrounded by a whole group of support ships, which have heavy-duty fire power. Still, I worry. Especially in light of the escalating events going on around the world.

Add on top of all of this that my work life feels like an ongoing train wreck, my house is a shambles (with the exception of my lovely new cupboards), and I just have very little interest in things that used to give me a lot of joy.

At times like these, sometimes it’s all I can do to hold it together and not just sob hysterically. I just about did today, at a wedding.

I hate weddings. What? Who hates weddings?! I hate going to weddings because I get really emotional and cry. Never fails, and it doesn’t even matter if I know the bride and groom well or not. As is the norm, I found myself sniffling with tears running uncontrollably down my cheeks…and I wasn’t smart enough to bring a kleenex with me. Uff-da…

I thought hard about why I was crying. It was a very lovely service, with lots of impromptu humor, and it was fairly quick. I analyzed myself and wondered if I cry at weddings because my own marriage failed. No…I don’t think so. I’ve been crying at weddings since before I got married myself. Probably, I am just an old sap, and there’s no help for that.

Something I did notice is people having babies (and there are a LOT of them I know having babies right now), and people getting married, give me hope for the future. Despite the fact that evil people are making a concerted effort to inflict terror on innocents around the world, we are still going about the business of living, and being happy. We forge ahead assuming life will be good, and that we will just carry on. Regardless of what comes, that’s generally what people do.

Four years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled “Join me in pissing off the terrorists“. I read it through again, and I believe what I said then still stands. We just need to keep on keeping on, because that’s what makes us happy, and what infuriates them so much. They are evil because they work so hard to make us feel something other than happy or hopeful. If they spent as much time working on themselves rather than killing others, perhaps life everywhere would be much better.

I’m glad I didn’t get the news about the attacks until this morning. I spent quality time with old friends, eating some awesome grilled pizza and catching up. That is something those nasty terrorist bastards can’t ever take away from me. Life is too short to hunker down and not live. Let freedom ring…ring it loud.

Here’s hoping that, no matter what, you are getting out and living life to the fullest you can…whatever that means for you. Every single time we do something that makes us happy, even the tiniest bit, we win. Blessing All!


Well, hello there!

I’ve had two weeks off to do what’s needed to get ready for Younger Son’s graduation, which is tomorrow. Unfortunately, work reared its ugly head and I didn’t actually get the time I was expecting. That’s ok… I will survive this too.

One of the things high on my to-do list this week was to sit down to my blog and actually write something. Today, even though I have more housework to do than God, and laundry backed up for miles, I decided to ignore all of that and take time for myself. If my house isn’t perfectly dusted…whatever.

I miss you guys and think of you often. frequently throughout the week I will have some very interesting thing crawl across my brain, complete with a blog title, and then my day carries off with me. Some day I will be able to get back to my regular blogging. It’s one of those things that looms large in my bucket list of things I want for me.  Right now, however, many things appear to need my attention and so I run hither an yon making things happen as requested/needed/dictated.

Soon, my time is coming.

Younger Son is graduating tomorrow.  I’m very proud of him…not only is he going to graduate on the honor roll, but he scored well enough on the ASVAB test that he is going to be able to train to be an aircraft mechanic in the Navy starting in August. He took the oath back in January, and I think he is looking forward to moving on. Life in our fair city is more than  little stifling for him, I think. I will miss him very much, and I am pretty sure I will be lost without him for a long time after he leaves. But I can’t say I’m not ready to be on my own. It’s been a long haul, and I need to rest.

Yes, there will be much in the way of new beginnings, including a new beginning for me. Once Younger leaves home, I will mostly just be looking after myself. Older Son Still lives at home, but he works and is busy with his life. Many times I don’t even get to see him but a few minutes a day. And that’s ok…he’s 21 and doesn’t need Mom hanging over his shoulder. I’m pretty happy to not hang over anybody’s shoulder any more. I’ll be pretty happy to just live for me for a while. Sweetie and I on the bike

Just me and what I want to do…or not do.

I took a picture from the back of my Flirt’s motorcycle. Going for rides is something I really like to do…

Unfortunately, he’s trying to sell his motorcycle. I will miss it, but he’s looking to eventually buy a new one and I am hoping it has a nice squishy, comfy back seat for my extra curvaceous backside. 😉

I would also like to travel. I generally don’t go too far, but now I’d like to start branching out. Vegas is looming large in my Bucket List, and I am dropping hints to my Flirt now. He’s never flown before, and it’s going to take some fancy talking to get him in a plane. I think I might be able to, though…I just might. Flights from here to Vegas are really cheap, so it’s a doable getaway once I get my post-school-aged-children finances stabilized.

I’d like to work on my house. It needs a lot of TLC, which there isn’t a lot of budget for. I’ll start with paint…the trim throughout the house needs a fresh coat, and my bedroom absolutely needs to be painted. It still has the paint on the walls that my Ex chose. Blech…

When Younger leaves home, I think I am going to redo his room for me, and use my bigger bedroom as an office/craft/storage/spare room. New paint and curtains will make a huge difference in both spaces. It will be just the change I need.

Speaking of changes…mostly, I’m not a girly girl. I am not a huge fan of pink, I don’t wear makeup and I hate wearing heels. However, I find my taste in decorating is beginning to lean that way. I have really plain curtains throughout my house, and I suddenly feel a need to jazz things up a bit. For a while I ignored the urge, but I think I am just going to give into it and see where it goes. I was not born with the Martha Stewart gene, and I am no decorating pro. However, I have had success making my own curtains.  Trying to find interesting curtains in the stores has proven to be not fruitful, so I decided to widen my horizons a little, and I found this lovely scarf at Target:

Curtains I am so looking forward to turning this lovely material into my new kitchen curtains…it will be awhile before I can get to it, but it will be worth the wait.

Speaking of waiting, I need to get off my butt and get some more stuff done in preparation for tomorrow. Lots to get done before family comes in tonight, and the graduation and party tomorrow.

Here’s to new beginnings!

 

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!

 

 

Spring blessings shine through the bad stuff


Well, life certainly has been eventful and full of blessings here at Sparrow’s Nest…I hardly know where to start. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.

My ex husband doesn’t know when to quit, and is hurling careless and ridiculous motions and subpoenas at me, asking for information that isn’t  relevant to the case at hand. Quite frankly, my lawyer is dumfounded at the idiocy he and his lawyer are perpetrating. I’m so grateful that my lawyer is thorough and meticulous. I feel like I’ve really got someone good in my corner where this awful matter is concerned.

Last night I took a harried trip to the ER. I’ve been sick for a while, but thought I was on the mend. About midnight I woke up coughing hard and then had a very hard time getting any air back into my lungs. Poor Younger Son woke up to the sound of his mother making strident noises, fighting for air.  Oddly enough when he came out and found me, I was standing in the kitchen with my head stuck in the freezer. I’d had a friend whose daughter had really bad asthma, and when she would have a bad  breathing episode taking her out into the cold dry winter air helped to unlock her lungs. Doesn’t work so well with a freezer, but you never know until you try.

I tell you what, I will never take breathing for granted again.

Long story short, Older Son drove me to the ER and it turns out that I have the beginnings of pneumonia. So, Older and Younger sat with me all night while the good folks at the ER pumped me full of steroids and antibiotics. I’m feeling much better today, and have another week’s worth of medicine to take and the whole week off of work next week. Not that I didn’t know it already, but it was made even more clear to me how lucky I am to have such good boys. I’d be lost without them.

I’ve been spending some time in my back yard recently and am gratified to see how well the trees and shrubs we put in last year have done. We have had a really unseasonably early Spring here in North Dakota, and everything is blooming early. One of my plum trees has already started to produce fruit and it’s only a year old.

Not only are my trees doing well, but by the time I was able to get into my strawberry bed and weed it, I discovered that I have volunteer chives and onions going to seed, and my strawberries are flowering to beat the band. The thyme came back too. It’s amazing how good it feels to know that the plants I chose to put in my garden like where they live, and appear to be happy and healthy.

My two blueberry shrubs are slower to grow back this year, especially the one. I think the local rabbit chewed it pretty well this winter, but it’s sprouting from the bottom, and looks like it’s making a valiant effort to come back. I’ll get some special blueberry fertilizer and see if we can’t give them a boost this summer. I don’t expect to get any fruit from them within the next few years, but I’ll be working to get some growth on them so they can get well established.

The weather has been phenomenal, and it’s been so lovely to walk in the sunshine. It rained last night and today, and we are expecting more tonight. It’s so very nice to have everything washed off, and to see all the trees leafing out and the yards greening up. Spring is a lovely, lovely time of year.

Older Son will be graduating next weekend, and I find I am all emotional about it. I guess I should expect to be that way…it’s an emotional time. Everything for him is in upheaval as his old life is ending, and he gets to start over and begin to write the chapters of his own new book. Some of this I get to participate in, and some of it I will have to stand back and watch as he makes his own way…and boy is that excruciating. The good news and blessing here is that Older Son is a responsible young man…or as I like to say it, he’s a good kid. He’ll do just fine. I need to keep reminding myself that I survived all the different transitions I’ve made in my life, and he will too.

Right at this very moment, I have a nice pot of chicken soup simmering on the stove. The best part about this soup is that I was able to add in fresh thyme and green onions from my garden. Now that’s good medicine, right there!

Here’s wishing you all many Spring blessings. It’s my fondest hope that you are all as richly blessed as I am.

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.