Friday – Yesterday and Today and Saturday – O Christmas Tree

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love music. Good music. And live music that is good is on my top ten list. Date night tonight with five good friends is dinner first at Longhorn’s, then our group of thirteen will go to the Omaha Community Playhouse and see a show called Yesterday and Today. We have gone with this group of friends to see these incredibly talented entertainers in every one of their shows we can see. The list is growing, and you can always be assured of great music. They can sing anything, and you know you’ve been sung to. These brothers, Billy, Ryan, and Matthew, along with their very talented band, sing and play guitar no matter whatever else is happening. They are dedicated to their message of family, Beatles music, and following your dreams. They speak of their dad, who died way too young, at 42. He instilled their love of Beatles music. It was their entertainment and education. They have impressive musical skills and you can tell, they enjoy every minute of it.

This year, they are starting to look towards Tomorrow. It seems some of their children are actively learning guitar. And they are quite good. Billy’s son, Ciran, accompanied him on “Yesterday.” I have a video, but for some reason it will not play properly in WordPress. It is perfect to play in Facebook, or on Google, and anywhere else, but here. Hopefully, I can share it with you at another time.

The acoustic part of the evening was new and great.

It is always strange being out later than we are normally. Getting older, you get some habits that seem easy to form, like staying home and going to bed early. We all had a good time last night, and we know we were young and energetic at one time. It’s their time, now, and our place is step back and see what these young people who have hearts of gold and talent and fire in their soul have for the world. We need it to be kindness, sharing, and love. Love of one another like we could not do enough. Sharing in a way which we fell short. And kindness to replace bullying and uncaring. They can do it. I know they will. And one day, they will be the ones who stay home and go to bed early. It is how the world keeps on, one day at a time, for centuries.

And today was the new Christmas Tree unveiling. I need another string of 100 clear lights. Three places were out of them on Saturday. That’s a bit crazy. I’ll have to try Lowe’s, Menards, or Home Depot.

This is the tallest tree I’ve ever had. It has a huge capacity for decorations. And it’s beautiful. I’ll need help when I’m too crippled and old to put it up, but I know Gavin will always help Grandma, and so will Addison. It’s nice to know.

So after Church tomorrow, I’m going in search of the holy grail of clear tree lights. And then, finish up as much on the tree as I can. It’ll be a nice day again, and with the new sunrise come a day of possibilities. Stay tuned for the next exciting installment! Thank you for reading today.

Thinking Thursday

Today was a weird day. The Babe (bless his heart) took the dogs to the lower level all day while I cleaned carpets. As I’ve said before, with a puppy in the house, they needed cleaning. I wanted to do them before I put up our new Christmas tree, so today was the day. It took several hours. I’m always amazed at what gets picked up, as well as what is picked up with the vacuum. Good thing we have those helpers in this modern world.

One thing I discovered today is all the magazines on my side table in the living room. Yes, I still subscribed to magazines until recently. I have two piles of magazines for quilting, sewing, coutour sewing, and others from Omaha Magazine, and Smithsonian Magazine. Quite a few were free subscriptions, and I’m a sucker for printed matter, especially that I can learn from. Does anyone else subscribe to magazines anymore? I do.

As most of them were for hobbies, there comes a time when you realize you probably will never, ever have enough time to make even half of those quilts you affixed a Post It note to. And don’t get me started about the outfits I once sewed with great success. I did love creating clothing throughout my life. I sewed my clothes, my kids’ clothes, and many, many beautiful bridesmaids dresses. And dressed two beautiful brides. I loved every minute of it.

I tried picking up where I left off with clothing construction a few years ago. And wow! It really was different! The patterns were way different the way they explained how to do things. Some were better, some were way worse, some made no sense at all. Sizing?? Well, the patterns for a younger, fitter me were quite different than the ones for retired, post-menopausal and breast cancer me. And fitting?? I used to be 5’9″ tall, much smaller in the waist, almost no bustline, and a bit hippy. I’m now 5’5″ tall, have nearly no waist, quite a bustline, and still hippy. Twenty five years ago, I could always just lengthen the torso, adjust the waistline, lengthen sleeves, crotch depth, and presto, change-o! There was a perfectly fitting garment. I’ve made a couple of tops in the past three years, nothing too great.

I do need to make the decision about to sew or not to sew. I have a lot of great fabric purchased for a lot of great clothes, along with a lot of great fabric for some really nice quilts, so next year will be the year of truth. I will either go back to creating clothing or I will not. If I do not, I will find a local school who is participating in the complete education of kids which will include domestic arts, sewing, or whatever you want to call it. It is a wonderfully creative art. You will not be outfitted like anyone else. That is what I loved about it. I just need to find out how to fit my later in life body. Quite a challenge.

It’s a funny thing about me. I see clothing on tv or in print, and I wonder how they made it. I see an outfit on a rack, and I have to touch the fabric and see what kind of body it has. I have to look at the seams and the lining and see how it was made. I wonder if that looks or sounds strange?? It’s just a huge part of me. And no matter how long you wait, certain things always come back in style. The “modern” sleep sacks for babies?? I made many of them in 1971 when I was expecting my first baby. I finally gave them to Goodwill a couple of years ago. They were still in great shape, clean, unstained. I tried to give them to homes for unwed mothers, but they only accepted new things. That made me sad. I hope someone got them that enjoyed them.

Whether or not I continue sewing clothing, I will for sure keep quilting. Even if I make a quilt from a pattern and use the same color ways as the pattern, it’s still my own creation. It’s amazing how I can see the progression in my skills in quilting over the past fifteen years. I know fifteen years from now, I will be able to see the improvement in my writing, too.

All of these hobbies I have are creative and they all take practice. All of them. I enjoy it all a lot. If only there were more hours in a day!

Tomorrow is definitely decorate the tree day. It will be fun. I hope you all have a good evening. Thank you for reading today, and I hope to see you again tomorrow.

Weird Wednesday

Today I’m just taking a quick break from a very busy day. You who have had a puppy and wear glasses might have had the pup knock into your face while your specs are on. Throws them out of whack for sure. The day started with a trip to the optical company we do business at. They did the adjustment in a short time. Then on to Mom’s house.

She was ready but we still hung out for a little bit. She had to mail bills and go to the bank for some cash. It’s funny, she refuses to use her DEBIT card at an ATM. She writes a check and cashes it at a teller in the bank. She refuses the drive through lane. “The only banking that should ever take place is face to face, in the institution.” I find it funny. All you can do is allow enough time for her to get out, walk inside, and stand in line. She is so hard of hearing she and has limited vision, so it’s hard. She insists on going in alone. The days of the banker who could call you by name are long gone. I did get to experience that from Packers National Bank, Laddie Kozeny. He was a wonderful man, and knew my parents.

We went to the Omaha World Herald B-62 Luncheon. It is for retirees. She did not work there, but my father did from 1952 – 1988, and my older brother did for another thirty some years. Mom still attends as she is included in the group. Nice, nice people.

Tom Shatel, a sports columnist for the OWH was the speaker today. I read his column from time to time, and it was nice to hear his talk. He spent a time on Scott Frost, Nebraska Football, and Creighton/Nebraska volleyball. All worthy subjects and he did a great job. One thing he did discuss was the Omaha Press Club, which may open up and accept membership from other than newspaper, radio, and television news. By today’s standard, this is a daily column. I wonder if I could apply?? More on that later. It could be fun.

This week is half over and my gosh! I need to get some big stuff finished up this week. Having a puppy in the house means we need to clean the carpeting before I put up the tree. I will feel better with a fresh carpet. Then decorate. There are so many things to decorate with, I will have fun doing it. And today, I received a new nutcracker in the mail. It’s a fun one. The other six I have are from the 1980’s when Shopko sold them for $10 or so, when you spent so much on gifts. So, I did. They were quite nice. Hope Goldie leaves them alone.

Hope we meet again tomorrow. I’ll be here, will you? I hope so. Thank you.

A Beautiful Tuesday

It’s so hard to believe it is winter. Blue skies outside and warm temps. Good for getting errands finished, hoping it stays nice through Friday. Or it can do what it wants, which is usually what it does anyway. We really fuss and stress over the weather and it takes up a lot of time. Try not to panic. The most important thing to do is to be safe and calm.

I went to the bank to get some giftcards for Christmas giving. They don’t sell them! I would think a major bank in Omaha, Nebraska would sell gift cards. Anyone know why they don’t?? Some folks are getting cash instead. Spends the same, right? Hope you like green, kids.

I went into the Carters Outlet store and purchased a gift card for there. Kayla is growing pretty fast, and her mama prefers to pick out her clothes. The stock they have is unbelievable. The Outlet Mall seems to be a place where you need to know where you are going. Not good for someone who has back or knee issues. A beautiful day to be outdoors, though.

I am reading some books now that I’m having a little break from writing. One, “Elmwood Park,” written by John Brodston, is my first one. Nearly finished with it. It is a mixture of fact and fiction, based on an event that happened in Omaha’s Elmwood Park in 1960. Six young people were killed in a horrible car accident. It details the rescue turned recovery, it also tells a lot about the city at the time. I was only nine years old in 1960, so I really don’t recall much about the whole incident. It was very, very sad. The author was one year ahead of me in high school at Ryan, and he had some interesting takes on the local newspaper, the city itself, and the operations of the local County Hospital. I’d love to find out if this is where the fiction part was, or if it was elsewhere.

There is an interesting running story line within the book about a Catholic clergyman who was very outspoken on morals, Catholicism, and sin. I remember our Monsignor giving fire and brimstone like this, and it is not fun to sit and listen to. I remember this particular clergyman because he was at Holy Cross, where my grandparents attended. I need to ask my mom if she remembers Grandma talking about any of these issues and sermons. I love local stories. So much history!

This day has flown by, and now is the time to relax. This is the best time of the day. Tomorrow is a luncheon with my mom, and the VFW with friends for dinner. Nice day ahead!! Thank you for reading, I hop to see you back again tomorrow.

So, What's Next?

Do you remember what it was like to be a kid, waiting for Christmas vacation to come, then it did, you had Christmas, then it was back to school again?? Me, too, and I sort of have the feeling like, “So now what do I do?” after completing NaNoWriMo in November. It was a real experience.

I just sent my first five book chapters off to have a fellow author read them for me and offer feedback. It’s scary yet exhilarating. Like being on the high dive at the Olympics and not knowing how to swim. (I do not know how to swim, and drowning terrifies me.) And I believe I can write, we just don’t know how well yet. My novel is a mixture of facts and fiction based on people I know. The names are changed to protect the innocent, of course!

This is a beautiful but windy day here in Nebraska, and not only have I finished the goal for November, but the Babe has also had the wound vac removed. The doc was satisfied with what little depth the wound had and said the rest will heal on it’s own. I am changing small dressings twice a day, and monitoring how it looks. So I have had two big changes in our lives at once and it kind of leaves me thinking, “what am I going to do with all this spare time?” When you have a puppy still in training, your question is answered way before you come up with anything. She is pretty fun, too. Downstairs in the family room, there is a quarter round couch ensemble that you can walk around.

So crazy Goldie, the puppy no one loves, grabs a stuffed animal, and proceeds to run hot laps all around the couch. She goes one way, crashes into the wall, then gets up, grabs the toy, then reverses direction. She’s so funny. And the best thing?? She’ll wear herself out. You get smarter the more dogs you have and the more age you have. Yes, we’re old and she’s pretty good at the lovable, crazy Lab who is tripping over her big feet.

A funny story from the surgeon. Now, heart surgeons and cardiothoracic surgeons have a certain air about them. They exude confidence that seems to boarder on conceit but they have to have that kind of confidence. They could never do the surgeries they are called on to do if they weren’t confident. Well, he broke the veneer when he told the Babe, “If your wife is willing to change your bandages and clean the wound, you are ahead of the game. I had an incident at home, a glass was broken, I stepped on it, and a shard of glass was embedded in my foot. I asked my wife to get it out, I didn’t have my readers and I can’t see up close. She said she couldn’t. I needed to go to the surgeon across the street. ” He proceeded to tell a very funny story about needing readers, because he wasn’t going to hop across the street on one foot to have this orthopedic surgeon take a shard of glass out of his foot. He was a regular, down to earth guy who happened to be a kick-ass surgeon. We like this guy.

The Babe had a carotid endarterectomy last year, and this surgeon was not conceited at all, nor did he boarder on it. He looked like Doogie Howser to tell you the truth. He looked as if there was no way he could be in practice for 5 years much less the twenty years he had practiced. It was amazing. I always heard you want a “young doctor and an old lawyer.” That about covers it.

I for one am glad there are younger people who love medicine enough to live their lives around it. A person goes to medical school, is an intern for how many years, and it’s still some time before they’re a full fledged doctor. That takes a lot of dedication. Someone told me once though, that not all of them are intelligent. Half of them graduated in the bottom half of their classes. To that, I must say, yes, and they may have more people skills than grades, or more common sense to help them through. Yes, some during the 1960’s went to college to avoid the draft or to make a lot of money, or to impress women (or men), but not all who had good grades are quick thinkers on their feet or someone I’d want behind the scalpel during my surgery. Just choose wisely.

I am off to check the sleeping dogs, and maybe look into putting together our new Christmas tree. My week of tranquility and peace will be busy, but with enjoyable things. Like the blog, follow it, leave a comment. Thank you so much for reading today, and I’ll see you back right here tomorrow.

And the Winner Is . . .

All the Names Went in this lovely vase.

The winner of the $50 Visa Gift Card is Pat Riedmann!! Pat, I’ll pm you about sending your Gift Card. Thank you to everyone who commented and liked the blog. I hope you keep reading now that the contest is over. There will be giveaways periodically as I get closer to publishing my book and you just need to keep reading to make sure you know when they are. I appreciate everyone’s interest. Congratulations, Pat! I will be in touch.

So, I did go a few words over 50K. It was exciting considering there were a lot of life things happening that got in the way, as they should. Dan, the Babe, is feeling much better since the wound vac has been eliminated. Nurse Kathy here gets to check the remaining wound, clean it out, and bandage it twice a day. I don’t mind it and I’m just glad he’s feeling better. It’s hard to adjust, but you have to do it. You committed to that other human being as you professed your love, and it becomes part of the fabric of your life. And he’s worth it.

There is something about spending 24/7 together once you’re retired and one of you is ill. It does get on your nerves. You love them to death, and sometimes, you just don’t think you want to be in the same room with them, or same house as them, and you need a break. Chances are, the other person does, too. Take the breaks. Get refreshed. And start care giving again. Too many people do not, and get rundown, catch viruses, and it makes things worse. If I care about you, I’m doggedly committed to making sure you get well. I will follow the directions to get to the expected result. No slacking. Period. Yes, many guys think that’s being a pain.

So, what am I going to do now, writing wise?? I am taking a week to play hooky after I send the first three chapters on to my BETA readers for their opinion. I have no idea what to expect. The friends who are reading for me are experienced at doing this, so I’m in for a lesson on something new. Wish me luck! With the holidays coming up, I think they may need the whole month to go through the steps required to do a good job.

The other thing I will do, between decorating the new tree we bought and mailing gifts to Colorado and Maryland for grandkids, is analyze what I wrote last month during NaNoWriMo and see what chapters the additional stories need to be placed in. Since the goal was write as much as possible when I wrote, I thought it best to write a whole new document to capture the writing then insert it where it would read best in the actual book. If it works well, that’s how I will do it next year. If not, I’ll have to do a lot of planning to cover all the bases. Everything is a learning experience. All you can do it try.

Also, there is a special quilting project to do for a friend. I’m looking forward to doing it, as it will give me some more quilting skills, too. I love to learn, and am grateful for the creative hobbies I have, as well as the writing I’ve started. A work in progress, I’m not finished. It’s not too late and I’m not too old!!

Thank you for reading, and I hope to see you back tomorrow. Again, congratulations to Pat Riedmann who is our $50 Visa Gift Card Winner!!

Super Saturday??

Well, folks, you have stuck with me on this journey for thirty whole days. I have written nearly every day, letting you know what I’m doing and how I was getting ready to write the 50K words in those thirty days. Thank you for doing that.

This is my last day for writing, and I have another 4K words to write today, so I can declare myself a winner. I will finish those 50K words. It’s an accomplishment that boggles the mind.

I am so looking forward to having my life back, so to speak. I have a project I’m completing for a friend that is a Christmas themed item, so I’ll hit that hard next week. I’m going to put up out new Christmas tree, and see how that cheers the household up. The Babe and I have so much to continue giving thanks for, now that his health is improving so much.

I also have a friend whom I haven’t seen forever. We are going to go to a movie or lunch, we both need to get out and away from our houses. There is a luncheon I’m driving my mom to this week, and she has some errands no doubt. Next Friday night, we have tickets to go see Yesterday and Today at our Omaha Community Playhouse. It is a show starring three brothers, who sing the Beatles songs like you cannot believe. They are incredible entertainers and musicians. They do an interactive show, taking written requests before the show, and reading the requests, saying hi to the person who requested the song, and then doing the song. Previously, the second half of the show was all pre-planned, all mapped out and rehearsed, the same every time. They decided to challenge themselves this year, and go to all request. And they will draw the requests live. That will be a neat twist.

I have one package to mail for Christmas, for our youngest granddaughter, Kayla, in Colorado. Her parents do not want her photo on the Internet, including my blog and Facebook accounts, so I can only tell you she is an adorable twenty-one month old. She will be two years old on Pi Day, March 14 this little cutie made her appearance in 2018. We do not see her nearly enough.

I’m dying to buy her some clothes, but her mommy tells me that have no room in their house for storing things, and she prefers to buy clothes. A gift card to Carter’s will be her gift, along with a little musical plush animal that plays Christmas music. Toddlers love those things. And Grandma’s always can give the grandkids noisy toys because it’s the Grandma’s job.

My Grandma Bobell was a real jokester. One year, since there were several little boys within two years of the same age, she bought them all a gun that shot projectiles and made a horrible noise. She giggled as she looked at her daughters and said, “I thought the boys would have fun.” In return, she got the look from each of her four daughters, that indicated they were less than pleased. So, Steve and Tim, Mark and Rick, Joey, and Bobby, all were thrilled to death. I don’t know how long such toys lasted, but they were to play with only when my dad, who was a night worker and day sleeper, was not at home.

I would not do that to any of the grandkids parents, I promise! The rest of today, I’m going to hit my 50K word goal, before midnight tonight. I had an inspiration about a topic this morning, which I think should give me a lot to write about. Goals, reaching them, and being accountable to yourself for something. It’s all just about good living. And living to do good in the world.

So, up until midnight tonight, you may enter to win the $50 Visa Gift Card I’m giving away in celebration of making my NaNoWriMo goal. I just wanted to share something with one of you to thank you for staying with me through this past month. I’ve never done the challenge before, and it’s been fun. You may enter a total of twice a day, for each day I posted a blog, which was 30 days. You can have up to sixty chances to win. Do a little speed reading, like the blogpost, leave a comment, and you’re in!!

Thank you for reading today and every day. I will see you all tomorrow. And remember, at NOON, I will draw and post who the winner of the gift card is. And the Babe will be glad I’m done with that much daily writing. I haven’t told him yet how much fun the next steps sound. Have a beautiful Saturday.