Tuesday, June 2, 2020

This morning, I didn’t even watch the local news. I didn’t want to know what happened in Omaha last night. I want to, but just didn’t want to hear it. I have too many thoughts from the racial tension and riots in Omaha during the 1960s and 1970s. It was bad. Very bad.

The dissention between police and civilians is nothing new. When one or the other crosses the line, havoc reigns. This is what happens now. And neighborhoods are being destroyed. Within the law, there are many, many fine details that must be present and provable in order to charge a person with a crime. You may charge with caution, that is, you should charge them with something for which you are fairly certain they will be convicted. First degree murder vs manslaughter. Intent must be proven. And it must be proven by facts. Not feelings. It is very, very complicated.

The feelings are very complicated, too. No one wants to be a hard hearted Hannah. Compassion and empathy are two things we need as humans. They need to be balanced with truth and logic. The only sure thing that would have prevented the killing in Omaha was if there was no crowd and rioting going on. People push and shove. They get shoved back. In the heat of the moment, things happen that are not well thought out. If a gun is involved, a clear head should prevail. Sometimes, it doesn’t. Gut reactions usually are fight back. Bricks. Bullets. Bad results. Shame on the humans who stirred this frenzy up. It had a terrible outcome. Again. Please. Stop it.

I actually have been able to write today. I am going to use my main character’s voice to tell part of her story in first person. The first time she talks is when she is in kindergarten. I tried to make it sound like a little kid was talking. Pro Writing Aid is trying to make me say, “I enjoy coloring.” over “I like coloring.” do you know of any five year olds who say “enjoy” when they “like” something? Probably few and far between. Thoughts? Leave them in the comment section under this blog post. Thank you!

We had a weird thing happen this morning. Somehow, one of the dogs had a whole bunch of greenery from outside somewhere in their mouth and dropped it in a big pile all over the floor. Big pile of it. Neither of us saw one of them walking around like that. It doesn’t appear one of the plants in the front yard was disturbed. I need to check the patio. And walk around the yard. It’s driving me bonkers. I’m hoping this is the biggest issue we have today. It will certainly lighten the mood. I hope it helps us work harder in our area of the world to make it a better place. We need to be kind, thoughtful, respectful, and empathetic. Start with your home. Start with your family. Start with your neighborhood. It will grow. Be the change. Change of heart.

Be This Kind of Change

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate it very much. Hope to see you again tomorrow. I’ll be here. Hopefully with the mystery of the greens on the carpet solved! Be safe. Be careful. Honor and respect the curfew and each other.

Evidence shows . . .

In Omaha, NE, after two nights of demonstrations and subsequent riots, there will be no charges in the death of a black man Sunday night. It appears we have video evidence that shows the shooter was defending himself. The whole thing should have never happened. The demonstration turned somewhere, and it became a riot. The best advice I could give someone is, demonstrate. But be keenly aware. To younger people who don’t have a lot of experience out in the world, it just takes less than a minute for things to go terribly wrong. The best choice is just stay home. You will be safe. It’s the only 100% sure thing in life.

New Life and Growth in the Garden.

All that’s left for us to do now is stay home and pray. We are safest there, just as with COVID-19, which is still very much on the horizon. Do what makes sense. The best sense.

The Babe is the world’s best husband for me. He planted all the perennials I purchased where I wanted them. There is a little cleanup/leveling that needs to be done, but they are getting a great start. After my confession I just can’t do this anymore, he did what needed to be done. Bless his heart! To the left is the brand new fence he built so Goldie wouldn’t eat the daisies, hibiscus, columbine, and all the other beautiful plants. Last fall she ate the sticks from a hydrangea, and by gosh, it grew back. It’s the greenery in the middle of the photo. I can’t wait to see how this will all look in a few months. It will be a great distraction from the virus, the civil unrest, and the rest of the stuff that disrupts life as we know it.

I feel especially bad for people who live in areas this rioting is taking place. They have been advised they may want to find somewhere else to stay, since they may not be safe at home until this is over. There are so many beautiful lofts and apartments in the Old Market area, things like this just shouldn’t happen. Most people disrupted by all this are not even perpetrators of anything immoral or illegal. They are collateral damage. It’s just not right.

It is hard to concentrate on what I need to be doing right now, enhancing my novel. I should be able to do a lot tomorrow. I just need to stick with it for several hours. Perhaps tomorrow. Someday, we won’t have to hope for a normal kind of day to accomplish something we may have taken for granted. I miss those times. Normal days. With normal events. Not Pandemics and Riots.

After waiting patiently for spring, we have turned full tilt into summer, at least weatherwise. It’s pretty humid out, and was near ninety degrees. It’s going to be this way all week and probably beyond. Summer already. Where does the time go?

After checking in with our kids, we feel safe and know our family is. The words on our last text from one of the kids was so sweet, yet said so much. In light of the unrest that is in the area right now, the words leapt from the screen and said, “Love you guys. Stay Home.” This says it all. My heart is warm and happy. We will all be ok. We have to be. Wishing you all a safe night, and if you be kind, wash your hands, and stay home, we will all have a wonderful day tomorrow. One day at a time, we will all get better. See you tomorrow. Thank you for reading.

Now What?

It’s Sunday, May 31, 2020. Omaha is one of many cities with riots last night. The protesters became criminals when they started destroying things because they simply thought they should. Many of the people arrested in Omaha were young, white people. Not very many black or hispanic people. The Police Department HQ was assaulted also. So many people in the Old Market area of town were destroying property. Breaking windows in our beautiful historic Orpheum Theater. Someone started a fire in a coffee shop, three young men grabbed a fire extinguisher from their apartment in the area and put the fire out. Quick thinking.

These poor people, who own businesses in the area. So sad. As if loss of revenue from the Pandemic wasn’t enough, you add this . . . a person could really lose heart and desire to continue trying to succeed. And the protestors. Do they really know why they went from making a point to making the conscious decision to start destroying property, being disrespectful, and thinking it is perfectly ok to do this? Or are they doing it just because the guy next to them was doing it?

Omaha has a curfew at 8 p.m. tonight. No one should venture out. It will be in force for three days. I hope it puts a lid on the rioting and destruction. You are not helping your cause by being lawless. Peaceful disagreement would be much more effective. Just as Dr. King proposed. We need to pick up where he left off, not just go off in a frenzy of mayhem and destruction. A cool head must prevail for any change to take effect.

But there will always be that one person who thinks they are above the law. Maybe it’s a cop. Maybe it’s a rich white kid. Maybe it’s a poor black kid. Or an Hispanic who has to translate for his parents who don’t speak English. All of this started with a cop using a method of detention that has been frowned upon. And four of his colleagues standing still. Standing there. This is not acceptable. Period. Why did he think that was a good idea? Why didn’t the others intervene? Will we ever know the truth?

And now in cities all over our country, there are people who really want to protest peacefully. They come out in the daytime. Just after work. And they go home. They don’t hang out for hours and hours and turn the tide and mood of the crowd to breaking the law and destroying property. Why do they think this is a good idea? When you stoop to using those tactics, you are not helping anything. Why give credence to a stereotype when you could do something constructive and good for the situation?

So, please stop and think, my friends. What can you do? What will you do? Whom Will You Be? This editorial cartoon is shared with permission from Jeffrey Koterba of the Omaha World Herald.

Jeffrey has an unbelievable knack at depicting exactly what the people are thinking. We look to him in times like these to put our feelings and thoughts into something we look at and say, “Yes, that’s it.” I believe his cartoon for tomorrow’s edition is spot on, and I wanted to share it with the rest of you. Whichever city you live in, it’s time for all of us to ask ourselves, “Whom do I want to be??” Thank you, Jeffrey Koterba, for helping us at times like these. Be safe. Honor your curfew. Wash your hands. Stay at home.

Simply Saturday

It’s another rainy Saturday in Gretna, NE at the home office and studio. It’s been a lot of outside hard work for these two older folks all week, in between rainstorms. Not all the plants are planted into the dirt yet, hopefully tomorrow. I am making a public announcement right now. I am unable to continue gardening like I used to. It was nothing to dig stuff out, replacing it with my preferences instead of the previous owner’s. Not any more. I’ll have to hire a grandkid who doesn’t mind getting dirty. That’ll work. My body just can’t do these things anymore. Period. Acceptance.

It’s now officially summer. Peaches, tomatoes, watermelon, cukes, zucchini, blueberries, sweet corn and strawberries. Yum.

Yesterday, one of our errands was to establish a relationship with the folks at Huffman Produce. They have only one stand open right now, West End of Village Point in Omaha. June 1, the other locations will. Check Facebook and you’ll find them. Good stuff. I love this about summer! I’d rather grow our own, but as I just admitted, I’m probably past that type of activity. I can still enjoy the result.

There was unrest in Omaha last night as protesters filled the intersections of one of the busiest intersections in Omaha. The Police were assaulted with water bottles, rocks, fireworks, and verbal insults. Why does it always degrade to this? Yes, protest. Don’t assault anyone, don’t burn the place down, for Pete’s sake. It just doesn’t have to happen. Haven’t we learned how to avoid all this? Why can’t we just get along? All I can do is pray. And be good to the people around us. And speak up when people talk smack about people of color, police officers, etc. Talk the talk. Walk the walk. I want us to be peaceful. It’s about damned time!

After a year of COVID-19, job losses, death, economic downturns, now we have riots? Please, God. Make it stop.

All of the ugliness will only stop when we humans stop misbehaving. All of us. All of the time. My faith hasn’t failed me yet. I doubt that it will. We will find a way. Please start in your home and neighborhood. Right now. If you learn nothing else during the Pandemic, learn kindness. Kindness across races, religions, sexual preferences, economic and political differences. Differ but be civil.

My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak and broken. My buckets of water are symbolic at this point in my life.

I truly do want to carry water for those in need of it. But for now, I will collect things to share with others. I will take them to the female veterans who are homeless. I will look for other ways to help. There is always a place in need of what you have to offer. Be aware. It’s essential to our very survival as a race.

Thank you for reading today. I have a lot of “homework” after my conference with the book coach this week. I love investigating things. The Internet makes it so very easy to do so. What a miracle it is, when used properly. Blessings abound. Be careful out there. Wear your mask. Wash up. Get some fruits and vegetables fresh from the farms of America. It will make you feel so good! Love your family and your neighbors. It’s a great start. I’ll see you back here tomorrow. Peace!

Friday Facts

The Facts Ma’am. Just the facts.

This is what Sgt. Joe Friday told every distraught witness he interviewed on the TV show “Dragnet.” It was a cop show while I was growing up. Friday reminded me a little of my dad, serious, to the point, never dilly-dallying around. A good trait in the late 50s and early 60s. It was inherently clear who the good guys were and who the bad guys were. No chance of mixing them up.

In the late 60s up until now, the lines are so blurred. Many cops have done bad things. Very bad things. Kent State. Selma, Alabama. Omaha, Nebraska. Minneapolis, Minnesota. Do you know who hates bad cops the most? Good cops. I know they exist. My uncle was one. He was the Sarge to Larry Minard, who was killed in 1970 by a booby trap bomb in a suitcase. Jimmy Wilson, Jr. was one. Jason Tye Pratt was one. Kerrie Orozco was one. My uncle retired in the 1980s. With every news story of wrongdoing by cops or by perps, he commented how glad he was no longer on the job. That people had changed too much. Cops and citizens.

One of our sons is in Federal Law Enforcement. I know most of the cops are good cops. Unfortunately, the few bad ones and the reactions that follow are what sickens all of us. Us, the good, help out a neighbor folks who aren’t racist. Or hateful. Or vengeful. We are the ones who make masks for the first line responders. We are the ones who buy lunch for an entire shift of nurses. We are the ones who SHOP at Target, not loot it because we can. Mob mentality is terribly dangerous in the wake of this good man being killed by a police officer.

To the people protesting, I say yes, please protest. Keep it legal. Keep it civil. You have to live in the neighborhood someone has burned it down. What does activity like that promote except violence. What good does it do to destroy stores your neighborhood may never have open again? Yes, it sends a message, but what message do you want to send? More violence and destruction of property just makes everything worse.

George Floyd was a good man. He did not deserve to die, especially not in the way he did. What in the world was wrong with the cop who knelt on his neck, compromising his airway? How did he think that was a good idea or even necessary? Why did the others stand by and do nothing? Was he their superior? Why in the world didn’t someone intervene? We wouldn’t be discussing this again if they had? Or called a medic to assist?

I am sickened by what we have seen this week. Were tempers flaring because of the quarantine? My heart breaks for the Floyd family, and for the family of the firefighter who put his life savings into the bar that was torched by a mob before it could even open on June 1, 2020. I am sickened at what human beings can and do to each other. Repeatedly. My heart is heavy and sad.

I do believe we need to be civil to one another. Cop or not. I believe no one is above the law. Cop or not. I believe this has made it harder for the good cops out there with their lives on the line every shift. They must learn to trust the black people who are not breaking the law. Who are not resisting. Who are within their God-given rights. How can they do that? Their guard must stay up when talking to anyone they stop. Black or not. White or not. Hispanic or not.

Is it a question of training? I have no idea, I am not a Police Chief or advisor. Order needs to be returned. We need to be mindful of many, many things. Start at the neighborhood level. Don’t tolerate or join anti-black conversations, or anti-cop conversations. Get to know your neighborhood police officers. They are where you should be able to go for help. You should be able to trust them. Trust needs to come from both sides. Communication needs to come from both sides. Respect needs to come from both sides. Talking smack is part of hateful behavior. Just stop it. NOW.

I believe it was part of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream to end this kind of event in America. End the hatred, indifference, bias, and destruction of life and property that starts with a bad act. A bad act by a cop, no less. I am embarrassed for America. How can we pretend to know what’s best for the world when we behave so badly ourselves?

God help us. God help us all.

Thorough Thursday

I went outside on this beautiful day at 9 a.m. and just took a break at 1 p.m. The dogs are pooped out with a lot of running and playing in the yard. Goldie has become a pest with her insistent barking. She thinks Dan and/or I exist just to throw her toy for her to retrieve. It IS her job, after all. It’s even noted in her breed. So, we’d toss the toy, she brought it back, over and over again. She tries to do tug of war, barks, and so on. If I sit down, then she lays by my chair and sleeps. Hard to plant in the ground while playing catch. Of all the dogs I’ve loved in my life, she is really the only one who loves to play catch. Most others just look at you after you throw the object. Silly.

Last fall, I saved as many geranium plants as I could. Took them out of their dirt and put them in a paper bag. They go dormant, then when you plant them in the spring, they grow like crazy. Here’s a pic of them. You can see the green growth on them. I’ll keep you posted on how they grow.

I love weird plants. This is a tropical plant, called a Rabbit’s Foot Fern. So, this one is actually a house plant, but it’ll live on a table on the patio. I think it’s such an odd plant, I had to buy it. To me, things like this are fun.

A Rabbit Foots Fern

I have a few plants to put in the ground inside their little garden. It’s under the stairs from the deck, and will get sun/shade. An old Hydrangea I thought was dead is now about six inches high. I think it’s probably time to put some fertilizer on that baby and watch it grow!

The thing about gardening is over the years, I’ve dug out grass, spread manure, watered, planted, fertilized, and watered some more. The results have been worth the labor involved. Each home the Babe and I have shared has had a unique garden. And now, we’re creating the last one I’ll dig up. I’m not too good on the hard work part of it right now. Age, arthritis, and chronic back pain are a definite handicap anymore. More perennials are finding their way into the ground. I keep pots for colorful annuals. I love looking out on what has grown overnight each morning. It’s always a surprise.

When my oldest son Frankie was still at home, we would go buy annuals around Mother’s Day. We always got petunias, moss rose, many varieties of impatiens, and whatever else looked good. He’s promised to take me to buy a couple things when I’m an old widow in a retirement community. I will need a deck or patio, and plant one flower pot. It will be a great memory to make.

Goldie loves to be with her humans. This is the first time she has stayed in my studio with me. She is pretty tired from barking at me this morning. She is a good companion, too. We both miss the Babe when he’s gone. He’s doing some things at the Post, and will be back later. It’s fun to have pets that miss you while you’re gone. Just hate to see them have separation anxiety, though. That can be a problem.

Goldie, the constant companion and my writing buddy

I had a session with my book coach yesterday. I finally know how I’ll be adding another number of chapters. I think her suggestions were good and have a lot of merit. Now just to figure out how to incorporate them. I need to describe the bare emotional and physical reactions to her life and those around her. Telling a story is such a journey, and it needs to be told correctly. Hats off to Sam again, for some great advice!

I’m headed back outside to play in the dirt some more. I just need to finish this big job then sit down with a cold beverage and enjoy it. Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it so much. And I’ll be here again tomorrow. After my first haircut since January. It worked out ok since I’m letting my hair grow out. I was along with the plan, so it was ok. Take care. Be Kind. Wear Your Mask. Wash Your Hands. Be Safe, my friends. See you tomorrow!

Ain’t Technology Grand?

Wow. I know we live in a disposable world. We have an Acer Swift 3 laptop with Windows 10, I think. Maybe 10. When you power up, you just get a black screen. Oops! Gosh, I purchased it when I started writing. I write on my Chromebook, and the Babe uses the other device. I do sometimes. I don’t think it’s had much use at all. Now, to find the warranty papers, if we bought one.

Just thinking back on the devices I’ve owned. I bought my first desktop in 1995. I was finishing my degree, and I could use it to log in at work. Back in those days, it was strictly dial up. And they called you back to connect. Pretty crazy stuff. If you had call waiting, a call coming in would knock you offline for work. Then you dialed up again, they called you back for the connection. Still better than driving to mid-town at 2 a.m. Still frustrating, though.

After that first one, there was a second desktop. Of course it had a Microsoft Operating System, it was probably Windows 95? Don’t remember that either. It was ok as far as Internet searching goes. I believe we had AOL for email. That was a whole new venture. I wasn’t much of a chatter, however. That could turn weird really fast.

My first laptop was right before I had surgery on my foot for a tendon problem. I was looking at eight to twelve weeks on non weight bearing living. It was probably there I really got hooked on Facebook, since I was really busy finding beautiful quilts to make and adding to my fabric collection. It turned into almost six consecutive months of non-weight bearing activity. It was boring day after day. But I could learn quilting techniques from Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilt Company. She and her business literally saved the town of Hamilton, Missouri. I still have yet to drive there, but I sure spent a lot of money there from the confines of my recliner, foot in a cast up to the knee, ice, and trying to figure out how to pass the day. I had a knee scooter, which was good. Crutches wouldn’t work for me. When I had breast cancer the sentinel lymph node they removed was right where the padding from the crutches would go. It would cause lymphedema from the pressure. The woodwork didn’t do too well with the pain pills and knee scooter, but I survived.

That laptop lasted quite awhile. A year later, I fell on the ice and broke the ankle of the foot that had the two surgeries. What great luck! Get that woman a lottery ticket!! Well, the laptop took ill at a later date. The one that replaced it is still running, although slow. I think it’s Windows 7, so it’s obsolete. The Acer was supposed to be last longer than it’s predecessor.

When I worked in the IT arena, we had software programmers (me) and hardware people (the other guys). We couldn’t add software to our desktops at work, blah, blah, blah, otherwise we’d be tsk’d at. At that time, I didn’t even know how to. And now, I can find my way around a network fairly well. And I have learned all that in the past twenty years, since I quit working. I’m amazed at what we have now for technology, and am glad for what I’ve learned. Not bad for a girl, or for a Grandma!!

I love my IT department in Sioux Falls. My brother in law, Brad. We are friends, and when we talk, I realize how much we miss seeing him, Cindy, Alex, Ona, and their families. Just have to start making plans when we can get out and drive. Brad has patiently walked me through a lot of stuff. And I’ve actually taken stuff apart with a screwdriver and installed a new hard drive in the dual backup we have. It required more stuff than I could be walked through, so he fixed it for us. What a great guy.

Anyway, so now it’s deciding what is wrong and what Dan the Computer Man (in Omaha) can do. He takes care of the network at the Post, and he also has private customers. He’s a good guy, too.

I will finish, I will finish, I will finish . . .

As I ponder the mysterious realm of technology, I thank you for reading today. What are some fun things you’ve had happen with your devices? It’s pretty strange, how we are dependent to such a degree. Log off. Wash your hands. Go outside. Socially distance. Wear your mask. Smile with your eyes. See you right back here tomorrow. Be safe!