Life as a single Mother-Empty nest, Dating, Ex-husband, Best Friends, Full-time Employment, Unemployment, night school...How do these all relate to one another? Come with me:

Sunday, August 30, 2009

One whole year already?!

My children don't read this blog. Maybe that is for the best as I don't hold back much on their behavior and their incontinence moments.
However, my youngest daughter recently searched for and read some of the older posts. We read together some the the posts over the past year.
And realized, this is the week of my one year posting anniversary!
Time goes by so fast.
When I started this blog, I had in mind sharing my silly, frustrating, crazy Murphy-law single parenting stories... More to get it out of my head than to really share.
Since then, I have begun to read others stories and blogs, found many I can relate to. People all over the world who are raising kids alone, or struggling with finances, or a troublesome relationship with their ex.
This blog has also become a bit of a scrapbook of time spent with my kids, a bit of a snapshot for my parents to keep up with our adventures.
I am glad I chose to start this one year ago, I think that my writing is improving, my subject matter is variant and I like that too as I am a pretty spontaneous personality.

I cannot believe the things that have happened in the course of a year...
loss of employment to a new job

I have written about many road trips. and holidays.

And even my 15 minutes of fame!

There were hard times as well this year, besides the lack of employment there were home repairs , near fires and other struggles.

But great times too.

Oh and lets not forget the food posts!

The coming year I may really need to write some healing postings. With my son gone there will be some trying times. We also have an upcoming first-time cruise with my family. And who know what adventures and struggles await us in the coming months. Come along for the ride I enjoy the company.

I have really enjoyed making record of this past year.. and look forward to sharing the future too. Let me know what you like best.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

cooking with summer vegatables to lighten my mood

Regarding my previous post, things have been a little bit glum here.
The girls and I had some fresh summer vegetables from our garden and some of the local fruit and vegetable stands. We decided to cook a meal together spend some time together and make the most of the evening.
I share with you our creation:

It doesn't have a name. We threw it together and it turned out great.

We started out by browning some onions in a tablespoon of olive oil.

We then added some cut up chicken breast.
Note: When breasts are on sale, I usually ask the butcher to cube it for me. They will do it free of charge if only you ask. (We asked our butcher to cut it into 1-in cubes which are actually a bit too big for bite sized.)

Cook the chicken only until the pink is gone no longer or it will dry out.

Add a tablespoon of chopped garlic. Add salt and pepper to your liking.

As you cook the chicken, slice (or slice and quarter for larger pieces) some zucchini, and yellow summer squash and some button mushrooms if desired.

Add to chicken, a bit of Italian seasoning, along with a can of chopped tomatoes
for variety:
Use the new favored tomatoes but I liked the tomato flavor
Or use fresh tomatoes chopped. (ours are not quite ripe yet)

We also threw in some olives for a Mediterranean taste. (Green olives would be good also but we didn't have any)

Just let the vegetables cook down slightly, the chicken finish cooking while you boil a little pasta. Larger pieces such as penne or corkscrew work best. Dont over cook the pasta. A little more firmness makes this dish delicious.

Drain pasta, stir the chicken vegetable mixture into the pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese

It was marvelous! And made enough to enjoy for a lunch the next day also.
I would think a baked version would be tasty too. Try it and let me know what you think!

To top it all off it was nice quality mom and daughter time teaching life skills. I know this is true because while my daughter worked in Texas this summer she thanked me. It seems that the room mate she was paired with could not boil water for box mac and cheese... but found nothing wrong with my daughters cooking. I'm a proud mother.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My son

The picture above is of my oldest, my son, and my youngest daughter. For the past year and a half my sons home away from home has been Ft. Riley Kansas a long way from home, from me. My son arrived home for a short visit on July 5th just one day after we celebrated this country's independence. He was here for just over two weeks and left on the 17th. This picture was taken that day. The last day that I saw him. The last day I will see him for a year. 365 days.

This alone would be enough to make a mother sad and depressed.

This past Sunday he turned 20. We are almost exactly 20 years apart. He was due just days after my 20th birthday but came 5 weeks early. We are both entering new decades in our lives this year.

But my son is a man now. My son is also a soldier. He will be leaving on a plane headed for Iraq (the last group to go) very early this Saturday morning. I knew this day would come but I was always able to push it out.. now I cry.

I have had a hard time with this. I am so close with my children, we have battled divorce, financial struggles and so many other struggles together all these years. We are more than just a mother and her children, we are friends. We really LIKE doing things together. Or doing nothing, as long as it is together.

Over the past 12 years there have been frustrating moments as a mother when I would just step into my room, shut the door and cry. Sometimes being a mother can be trying and scary. Times when you don't know why they are acting up. Times when you think their bad behavior will never end. Or times when you think they will never grow up or understand simple instructions. And all you can do is have a good cry, stand tall and face it head on.

Then they grow out of that. They become the man that you imagined them to grow into. You are so proud of them. And then they leave for their own adventures and frustrations of life.

Nobody prepares you for raising children when they are a handful, no one teaches you how to cope when they have the upper hand.....
And no one can ever prepare you for the pain, the fear and the sleepless tear-filled nights when one of them is sent across the globe for an entire year.
No one can ever prepare you for the feelings of anxiety for his safety when placed into a literal firing range. A long way from the safety you can offer at home.- Out of your control.

Please let him come home to me the same as he left.
Mentally, and still
My happy, loving, gentle little boy.
I love you son. PLEASE take care, be safe, and come home to me.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Breathing Easy- A rant

Had a bit of a scare today.
My normal work commute is about 45 min through some rather high traffic areas. I try to arrive early and leave for home right on time in order to miss most of it.

I got a late start this morning as my older daughter who just started a new job, slept right through her alarm. Her day got better when she had difficulty starting her brothers car, which is her temporary form of transportation. It was an operator error as starting his car is a very Macgyver style encounter. By the time I got on the road, the trip I can most days make in a little over a half hour turned into nearly an hour and a half drive- well sit. I have never seen so many cars on the road all at once. Very unusual.

On my commute home although I was a bit late leaving work, finishing up a bit of paperwork there was an unusually small amount of traffic.

It was actually a great drive, we have had a bit of rain the past couple days, the skies were blue, the air clear. I was even a bit amused that the stereo was ironically playing great selections and I began to sing along. Getting louder and creating my own Karaoke car.

When I was just about 15 min from home in the middle of a great sing-a-long out of the peripheral vision of my right eye, I saw a small puff of what looked like smoke turn suddenly into a huge cloud of dust and dirt. I heard tires squealing and then in what felt like slow motion, I saw the outline of a very large blue truck no more than 10-15 feet in front of me. The huge truck moved quickly from the outside lane of the highway and as fast as a child running across the street he was into my lane. Before I had time to realize just how close he was, he was in the lane to my left. then the carpool center lane.

Without thinking a bit, my knuckles white, I turned the wheel slightly as to miss a large piece of torn up tire. In my rear view mirror a Piece of rubber large enough to knock my truck off the road.

Looking back up to the road I see the truck has reached the cement divider the barrier between the north and southbound traffic.
The 2000 lb dump truck bounced off the wall like a rubber ball thrown against a brick wall.

As I passed the scene I turned to see two cars stopping to help. I remember thinking I would be more in the way than help. I see the driver, alive, awake, but stunned. No more than 20 feet ahead of the crash scene, a man standing near his silver sports car. It looks to be a very expensive very fast car.
He is not running to the dump truck, he is not looking back to see if the man is OK. I remember thinking a few expletives as I watch him rubbing his car fender, caressing it like a lover.
At first thought, still a bit in shock I actually thought he may have been the cause...
But when my head cleared a little I believe that maybe, just maybe that big piece of rubber popped up to hit his car.
And for the record, I didn't see a scratch, except maybe in his character.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

An oil change and a summer walk

Wow! This summer is flying by. I wish I could find more time to write here. I miss this blog. But so much going on, and when there is nothing going on, I just feel like doing nothing.

I think the winter months are when I write my better stuff, wrapped up in a blanket, hot cup of coffee in hand. Summer months you want to get out when it is cool, get the yard work done, spend every last drop of sunlit hours of the day you can doing anything you can. For me, it is hard to spend the summer, my favorite months indoors at a computer. I would imagine that some of that comes from the fact that as an engineer, I sit indoors at a computer a lot of those daylight summer hours.

Summer months can also mean a lot of extra house and yard work. It seems there is always something around here in need of repair. The past couple weeks it has been cars and the air conditioning (which in my area is a roof mounted swamp cooler). My swamp cooler needed the regular tune-up but also began to leak into my house... two days repair and it still needs something. I am not at my best at increased heights but I managed.

Next I had car problems, a friend came by to help me as she has family members who know mechanics, and she herself has repaired her own car many a time. Being a single parent on a limited income it can really save you money if you can do any of your own repairs. Car, house, furniture.. any repairs you would otherwise pay someone to do.

Yesterday, I tackled for the first time ever, changing the oil in my car. Other than buying the wrong oil filter, struggling with the bolt plug that was on pretty tight, and the tight space under the car putting my claustrophobia into overdrive, it went really well. And boy did it need it!

Afterward, while getting some house cleaning and laundry caught up, my youngest and I popped in the latest NetFlix delivery.
One Flew over the cuckoos nest starring one of my favorites, Jack Nicholsen in a winning performance. I am not sure why I have never seen this movie before but I surely have missed out on a great movie.

Later, after a great dinner of stuffed pork loin and cabbage we took one of the dogs for a summer evening walk. I love summer evenings.

all in all it was a great Saturday. Productive, nostalgic, and relaxing and I found time to write here too.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Summer mountain air and great music - lets dance

I have lived in this state my entire life. For a single mother with a very limited income I have made it my mission to expose my children to as much culture as possible within our monetary limits.
We have taken spur of the moment road trips. We have been hiking in the nearby hills. Attended local fairs and festivals so much to see and do for very little money.

This past Wednesday night was no exception. A mountain ski resort holds a free local artist concert every Wednesday night throughout the summer. We have not been able to attend for years with my being enrolled in night school. This past week my youngest daughter and I decided to go. It was a rush to get there as my older daughter had just pulled in to town from her summer in Texas and I was a little late getting off work. But after changing into more comfortable attire and saying good bye to daughter number one who had other plans for the evening, we headed out. It was beautiful weather and the crisp mountain air was nice.

Nothing beats an open air concert. The way that the music bounces off of the cliffs nearby, the openness of the canyon is better than the best of acoustics in an indoor theater or music hall.

We spread our blanket and settled in with a fresh squeezed lemonade from a shack at the park. Which strangely tasted like a mojito drink. We didn't bring a cooler and I didn't notice the beer and wine area until we were walking out. But it was refreshing none the less.

Because we were late getting there, we were not very near the stage and I was OK with that. the aforementioned acoustics afforded everyone a great show regardless of your seating. There was a nice crowd but not over crowded. Up near the stage there were people dancing feeling the spirit of the night. We were near the top of the hill and no one in our section seemed to know there was music being played. Talking and laughing getting louder and louder.

Until my daughter and I began dancing. Yes, right there in the middle of the chatter. All eyes were on us. But we didn't care. It was our concert too. It was our stress relieving night out in the mountain air and we would spend it how we chose. No one in our section stood and danced. we got a lot of attention for a while and then they let us dance without the looks of disdain.

It was a great night, a couple hours was all it lasted but the scenery and the ambiance cant be beat.

Who says you need money to have a good time?

I believe it is the company you keep that is most important.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I am once again up and running and sporting a whole new look.
The picture in my new banner was taken on a recent hike in the mountains near my home.

This look feels a little more personal to me. I love the color Blue, I love the mountains. I love things that are simple and spontaneous.

This was quite an effort for a web novice such as I am. Wouldnt think that adding one more column would add that much headache.

But now, I can get back to sharing.

More to come:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Under construction

I will bw posting my next post as soon as I get this layout figured out

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Bear with me I am trying out a new look and as I am a bit HTML challenged..well you know
Let me know if you like this look and pointers are welcome