So this is what it feels like to be an old duffer…

I always wanted to be one of those moms that kept up with their kids, electronically speaking. It didn’t quite work out that way.

By the time Older Son was 12, and Younger Son was 10, they were both gently hip checking me out of the way when I wasn’t fast enough on the uptake…”Mom, just let me do it”. They’d take over whatever thing I was trying to get set up, and in no time flat it would be done.

Well, after that, I just let them do it. I gave up trying to be technologically savvy. I wish that I hadn’t given up so easily.

Tonight, The Flirt is trying to use his boss’s laptop to do some work education at home. He’s not tech savvy at all. In fact, he’s just about half a bubble off from being a complete Luddite.

I figured it would be no big deal to help him with computer issues, because for all of my having given up with my electronically superior kids at home, I’m doing ok at the office. Imagine my surprise, though, when he whips out a MacBook. I haven’t used a Mac since my kids were babies.

I thought to myself that it wouldn’t be a big deal, because I can get around my iPhone just fine, and it can’t be that differently organized. Right?

Famous last words…


Well, we got him hooked up to the Wi-Fi, but now he’s having issues getting back into his training website. I can hear him talking to his boss on the phone, walking through where he needs to get to. His boss is Older Son’s age. Go figure.

Good lord, I feel just about as useful as a bump on a log. I also ache from head to toe, and I have the “wind” something awful today. And, I’m so tired.

Just now, I had the thought roll across my mind that I have finally made it. I have, at the age of 51, stepped into the Realm of The Old Duffers.

Should I feel concerned that I don’t care?

Nah. I think I will be just fine where I’m at. I’ve been dying to tell Sanford & Sons next door to get off my lawn for years, and now I have the license to do it!

Well, I hear silence coming from the other room, which means The Flirt got into his online classes. I feel so relieved! I wasn’t sure I wanted to try to help him with that any more.

Maybe it’s time to find a nice hot cup of tea and a book? Lol. I think I will like being an old duffer. It’s not the end of the world, slowing down. Maybe I will take time to enjoy things more, and rush around less.

Here’s hoping you all feel comfortable with whatever phase of life you find yourself in. Every day is an adventure, if we want it to be. Blessings all!

The Great Road Trip 2019 – Fallon to Salt Lake

After returning to Fallon from Sacramento, we found a better hotel, and stayed two more nights. The first night we just crashed, but the next morning we got up and went to the Running Iron Cafe for breakfast. Really great place to eat, but some random guy stopped by our table and started talking to me about my boys, and telling us about issues with his kids.

Faithful Readers, I was raised to go just along to get along, and I have zero skills in conversation extrication. It took freaking 15 minutes for this guy to quit jabbering and be on his way. Not that I mind talking to folks, because I really do like to have interesting conversations with people while traveling, but this guy was just a little too personal for polite conversation. He finally left when our food arrived. The food was really good, and I’d recommend anyone to stop in for a bite.

Younger Son took us to Fallon Naval Air Station and showed us around. It was a lovely tour of where he worked, and they also had a really cool static airplane display, so we walked around that for awhile.

That night, we had a really great supper at Sand Winds in Fallon. It’s off the beaten path, but the food is well worth it.

After supper, it was goodbye to Younger Son since we were leaving in the morning. Goodbyes for us are more than a little awkward, so it was blissfully quick. That’s a good thing since any prolonged goodbyes may end up with me blubbering, and that’s never optimal.

One more night at Fallon, and the next morning we were off to Salt Lake City. We purposefully chose not to go home the way we came because The Loneliest Road, aka Highway 50, is just too freaking lonely and mountainous for my taste. It was quicker and kinder on my nerves to take I-80 to Salt Lake City.

Talk about a smooth drive! It was so much better than taking two lane black top roads through the mountains!! It was just a little over 6 hours, so that was nice too. We got to our hotel in just enough time to stop at the local Harley-Davidson shop so The Flirt could pick up a t-shirt. We spent a nice night at the hotel just off of the interstate. Tomorrow it’s off to Spearfish for the night.

Here’s hoping you all have a smooth trip in return from wherever you have been. Being in the road can be tough, but an easy road to drive makes a difference. Blessings all!

The Great Road Trip 2019 – Reno, Tahoe, and Virginia City

Picking this little travel log up after I left off, we ate breakfast at a lovely diner in Fallon, then we went to Younger Son’s house to drop off his tool box from home. He showed us around, packed a bag and we took off for Reno.

Let me pause here for a few minutes and talk about family dynamics.

Good grief, my kids are 26 and 24 years old…you’d think they’d have learned how to get along by now. Or, at least, suck it up for the short time we’d be together. It was unbelievable to me that they were arguing within an hour of being together in the same space. By the time we got to Reno, I had to have a chat with Older Son in particular, and then the two of them together.

Just a quick note for any of you Faithful Readers getting ready to travel with family. Family dynamics don’t change just because time goes by. I fell into the trap of thinking things would be just “fine”, and I should have known better. For reason’s I can’t begin to fathom, my kids have nothing in common, and just could care less for each other’s company. Next time, I will know better.

On with visiting Reno…

We stayed two nights at the Nugget, which was a huge step up from the Budget Inn, but no more expensive. The first day we visited the National Auto Museum, which was neat, and then we just hung out at the hotel for the evening.

Oddly enough, Younger and Older decided to go down to Bourbon Street and bar hop for a bit. The Flirt and I had supper at the buffet in the casino and then went swimming. We needed a nice slow evening to rest and recharge, and it was nice.

The next day we at breakfast at the hotel and the began the trip to Lake Tahoe. Holy cow, was that a little bit of torture. Getting up to Lake Tahoe require driving up the mountain, with lots of switchbacks and hairpin curves.

Luckily, I was able to hold it together and not lose my breakfast. The drive was worth it. Lake Tahoe was so beautiful. In North Dakota, it’s hard to find water so clear that you can see to the bottom like this. There was just enough of a breeze to keep the heat down, and a clear blue sky. I could have sat there all day looking at the scenery.

After walking around the shore a little, we got back in the truck and drove around the other side of the lake to the city of Tahoe, in the California side. We shopped at an outlet mall, and were going to take a gondola up the mountain, but it was undergoing maintenance.

After Tahoe, we continued on to Virginia City, which is an old mining town with all kinds of great cultural tours and lots of good shopping, which we did a lot of. I wish we’d have had time to do the tours, because Virginia City is really old, and has a very interesting history. Make sure you eat in a restaurant with an overlook of the canyon. There are several to choose from, and the view will be worth it.

If you go to Virginia City, make sure to plan to spend all day, and also be prepared for the twists and turns up the mountain and back down again. The terrifying ride was worth being there, but I will definitely check this permanently off of my bucket list until teleportation is invented.

Last night I was lucky enough to hook up with an old friend who lives in the area, and that was awesome.

So ends these adventures in Nevada. Next stop, California!

Safe and happy travels to all you who are on the road… blessings all!

The Great Road Trip 2019 – Grand Junction, CO to Fallon, NV

Day three found us waking up at The Flirt’s Sister’s house in Grand Junction.

It was so lovely to see Flirt’s Sister and her hubby. Their retirement home is just what I want when I get ready to retire. Everything is all on one level, with no basement at all. The back porch was a joy to sit in and visit, and that was the best thing.

We finally made it to Fallon, and what a drive it was to get here. We drove through Casper, WY, south into Utah, they all the way across Nevada to Fallon. They are all so beautiful in the starkness of their landscapes, but boy was it a long way to go to get there. We drove on Highway 50, also known as the Loneliest Road. Oh boy, was it ever lonely!

We finally rolled into Fallon’s Budget Inn around 8pm. We paid very little for these rooms, and you certainly get what you pay for. The rooms were clean, and the proprietors were nice people. It was a place to crash, and it served it’s purpose.

The next day we finally got to pick up Younger Son and we all had breakfast at a lovely diner in Fallon. The food was so good, I hope we get to go back.

Three days hard driving was worth it to get here!

Here’s hoping you all find that thing or person that took you so long to get to. 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!

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!

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:


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.


Now add the new night stand and head board:


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!

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