Happy Birthday, Frankie!

This is one of the three happiest days of my life. The day I first became a Mom. I was the ripe old age of 19 1/2, and my son was born the morning after his dad finally went back to his Army Post in Fort Eustis, Virginia. It was quite exciting. For once in a very long time, my dad and three brothers all woke up the first time Mom called them to wake up. All she had to add was, “I think Kathy’s in labor.” They scattered like there was a prize for getting out of the house first. She went to the beauty shop to have her beehive hairdo brushed out and re-done quickly. No time for a shampoo.

The sad thing is I remember nothing of his birth and little afterward. My first memory of him was a Demerol induced fog through the nursery window from my bed on the way to my room. When I finally got to hold him the next day, he looked nothing like the memory made me think he would. That was sad. But he was beautiful. All 7 lbs, 9 3/4 ounces of him, I think he was 21 inches long. His dad came back the next day instead of before the birth. My mom thought that was best for me.

The 1970s were crazy times. That happy little baby kept me sane. And has kept me sane his whole life. He was a great big brother to Nick and Becky as he got older. My life was very blessed with this kid. He has an unreal understanding of life and what goes with it. In his 49 years, he’s risen from every low spot he’s been in. He’s helped me when I’ve had major surgery, gotten me moving to recover sooner, and been my partner in Christmas shopping. I miss those times.

Life has scattered his brother and sister to Missouri and Colorado. We rarely see them with strange work schedules, etc. They were all together eleven years ago on Thanksgiving, when I had a lumpectomy for breast cancer. It was a fun time and I hope to be able to do it again.

As of today, it’s eleven years since I’ve become cancer free. It alternately seems like a long time, or a short time, whichever way you look at it. I’m less afraid of it returning than I was at first, and still know it could recur. That’s the gamble there is. But for now, I’m thanking God each and every day to have my life, my family, faith, and friends. I am indeed a blessed woman. I picked this day to have surgery. It had always been a special, blessed day. I was hoping that would continue. It has.

Today was Mom’s day to get a perm after I got my haircut. I have another hour before I can go pick her up, and it is interesting sitting here in Panera’s watching people. I snagged a corner back booth. They route you in, through the store, and out the back door, so no people are standing around without social distancing. I do appreciate it, and it seems like they may be on to something.

And their Broccoli Cheese Soup! It’s so good. It was a treat, for sure. I could not have done this fifty years ago. I would have been a bundle of nerves, felt like a loser, and all sorts of negative stuff. Not now. I kind of enjoy the quiet.

I think of my kids playing together, making stuff up because we were too poor to buy video games. That’s ok. They worked, they inherited that from both their parents. My family always goes the extra mile, maybe tending towards workaholism, while their Did what was required, finished early, and was done.

I remember when he left, we got a puppy a couple months later. It was good for them to take care of the puppy. It did us all good. Shadow lived 16 1/2 years. A very long time, and she was a very good girl. She lived until the Babe and I got married, in 1998. He went with me to see her go to the Rainbow Bridge. What a sad thing, the first time we did it. We’ve been there three more times and will a couple more, probably.

I’m meeting Frankie for his birthday lunch Friday. We don’t see each other often, but we talk, and laugh a lot. It’s how family should be. We are lucky to have grown up together. And we’ve had many heated disagreements. Together. And we get over them. Like family should. He’s an exceptional friend to many, a reliable worker, loved by coworkers and managers alike. He adds a lot to life, not just my life but to everyone’s. At the age of 49 (WHAT?), he’s lived a quiet life. A good life. A satisfied life.

Those are all great qualities we all should have to get through all this pandemic and unrest. We should all come out together on other side better people. Thank you for reading today. Do you have a special day? Tell me about it. I’ll see you again tomorrow. Be Calm. Be Kind. Be Careful out there.

The Tea Pot

When my brother and I were little, Mom had time to take good care of us when we were sick. We’re only one year apart, so we shared a lot. When he went to kindergarten, I missed him so much it was terrible. He shared everything with me. The Measles, The Mumps, The Chicken Pox, The Flu, The Tonsillectomy we had together, and whatever else was going around. Our mom had her hands full, since she was pregnant.

We had lots of Chicken Noodle Soup by Campbell’s, crackers, juice, and lots of water. We were kept separate, each in our bedroom, in bed. Those were the orders anytime we were home sick. I was only four, so I was home anyway. We were in bed constantly, and even were served our meals there. Soup is hard to eat when you’re four and in bed. One thing she did let us have was tea. Hot tea is still a favorite of mine, and I think my brother still enjoys it too.

This was actually a coffee pot (a percolator) our parents received for a wedding gift in 1948. Mom had another one that was electric, so this became her tea pot. She boiled the water, put tea bags in, and enjoy the fresh, steepeded tea. It sat high on a shelf as we grew up and left home. I would notice it when visiting through the past fifty years. I always recalled those feelings of being taken care of when I’d see this pretty blue teapot. I now have it in my home, mostly for decoration, I’m reluctant to put it in the microwave to re-warm the tea should it become cold. The warm feeling is still there. It makes me happy.

The Sight of the Blue Tea Pot Still Warms My Heart.

During those times, Mom was often a little upset with me. I got lonely being in bed alone during the day. I remember her asking me, “Why can’t you be like your brother, he never bothers me?” Yes, he would not call out to her. I just felt like hours and hours went by since she came up to see me. My dad must have felt sorry for me, he would come in and play checkers with me. I loved him for doing that. He was patient with me when Mom was probably overly tired and needed a rest herself. Checkers remains one of my favorite board games today. I played with Addison and Gavin, and recalled how my dad sat with me, playing until I got tired of it. Good memories.

A lot of people were allowed to watch game shows (especially Price is Right) while they were sick from school. Our TV was never allowed to be on during the daytime. Mom didn’t do game shows or soap operas. I loved visiting our Grandma Bobell, she watched the soap operas every day. We had all sorts of adventures together. Did you get to visit your Grandparents for a few days during the summer? It was always fun, too.

Mom’s parents lived in several different houses as we grew up. They moved for reasons I don’t know. Their house on Pine Street was a beautiful brick home, two story, which was cozy. I don’t remember the kitchen much, but I remember the dining room and living room. We didn’t spent the night there, but did when they lived on 60th Street in a raised ranch with the huge backyard and shade trees. It was wonderful. It’s also where Grandpa died on Christmas Eve, 1964, when I was twelve years old. That’s another story, though.

Because Grandma didn’t drive, we would walk to her hairdresser, then catch the bus to downtown. I loved shopping with her. She was so much fun. She always did a craft with me, like making loop hot pads. One year, she cut out a doll dress pattern and had me hand sew it together. You just don’t forget those wonderful moments shared. I’m so glad our grandparents took the time to share their lives and wisdom with us. Our lives are richer because of them.

I have some office /website work to do for the VFW Post today, studying about Marketing for Small Businesses, and maybe be able to sneak in marking a quilt for quilting. I’d love to get this hung by Thanksgiving. It’ll go over our bed, against a pretty blue wall. Not sure if I’ll quilt it in dark invisible thread or choose gold or copper metallic. When the light hits metallic thread, you have glints of it, it’s beautiful.

This Will Be Stunning!

Thanks for reading today, I appreciate it so much. This post is early today, to make up for my tardiness yesterday. It’s good to have a day ahead of me, even though it’s overcast, cold and windy, with a little snowflake here and there. It’s here. And it’s ok. With my flu shot taken, I feel protected. I hope you have a great rest of the day, and come back tomorrow. I’ll be here. Blessings. Be Careful out there.

Sunday Mornin’, Comin’ Down

If you’re of a certain age, or if you’re a Country Music fan, you know my title today is from a Kris Kristofferson song, released in 1970. Kristofferson has had a lengthy career, a successful one, not only in music, but he also starred in the 1970 version of “A Star is Born.” He was the Bradley Cooper to Lady Gaga’s character. In 1970, Barbra Streisand was the Lady Gaga character to Kristofferson. Got it? Good. It was a great movie, but I have to say, I thought the 2019 version was the best. Judge for yourselves.

The song describes a guy waking on Sunday morning, pretty bad hangover, can’t move without hurting. He makes the genius move of having beer for breakfast, and another for dessert. The smell of frying chicken triggered a memory of what he’d lost, his bad behavior caused a lot of losses. This is very common with people deep into addictions with alcohol or drugs. And it’s very sad to see.

There was a special on some obscure Direct TV channel last night about drug addiction in New York City. A man they interviewed described his heroin addiction. He detailed how it felt as it worked it’s way from the needle in his arm, down to his feet and up to his brain. He said it’s what he lived for. It’s all he had left. How he never thought it would be so addictive. How sad.

The one addiction our society overlooked for so long was that of alcohol. It used to be socially accepted as a “boys will be boys” activity, but not any more, thank goodness. I never drank in high school, and did rarely until I was 30. Yes, I’ve overdone it at times, but not anymore. It’s something I can do without, so why? I’ve never understood an addictive personality, and there are many, many people who have one, some in my immediate family of origin. I find no shame in that. Admitting is the first step towards education, assistance, and healing.

There are so many who think, if a little is good, then more is better. Doesn’t matter what it is since the human spirit can be addicted to many things. Phones, gambling, alcohol, drugs, sex, television, and many, many more things. Some of us become co-dependent and it wrecks our lives until it’s treated, admitted, and handled. I didn’t realize I was co-dependent, I thought I was responsible for a lot of things. I always wanted to make things better. By doing that, you enable bad behavior.

I’ve learned to say “No.” I’ve pulled back from people who are toxic to me. The ones I loved don’t exist anymore, as long as they are practicing their dysfunction. They are totally foreign to me. Their addictions have made their values, patterns, and what they love different than my memory and image of them. And just to answer the questions ahead of time, no it was not my current husband. He is my rock. We are blesssed to go through this life with each other.

And it’s ok. It’s better for me, and for them. I know in order to protect my mental health, I need to use my caring in other ways. It’s one reason I’m happy to be involved with helping Veterans. They are working to get better, and so am I. Everybody wins that way. Everybody does right things and feels good doing them. It’s how love is supposed to work.

I reveal these things not so you feel bad for me, I’m good. Why I reveal it is there is help for everyone on both sides of addiction to get help. You both need it, believe me. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and tell someone, “No” if it doesn’t serve either of you well. Don’t sacrifice yourself for someone who wouldn’t do the same for you. It’s taken me a long time to learn, and I’m so glad I did. You can do it, too.

If you are a survivor of any type of intergenerational trauma, this is a book from which you will learn a lot of things. It’s “From Generation to Generation. Healing Intergenerational Trauma Through Storytelling,” by Emily Wanderer Cohen. It certainly hasn’t been a “light read” for the weekend, but in between rests and naps these last two days, it’s opened my eyes to a lot of things I can now understand. Life is a continual lesson. Take the things it teaches you, and improve everything around you, starting from your soul outward. It will make a huge difference.

We have cleaned up the house to be ready for the next week. It feels good to have a fresh start for a brand new, shiny week ahead of us. Who knows what it will bring to each of us? Each day will be as good as you make it. Choose happy, grateful, productive. Thanks for reading, I appreciate it. See you tomorrow! It’s virus-y out there. Be Safe. Mask Up. Be Careful

Amen.

Simple Saturday

Many things are swirling around in my head this morning. Lots has occurred in the last 24 hours. First thing I’m thinking of my cousin Mike and how grateful they must be to have pulled off two wedding receptions in August and early September now that COVID is peaking again in Nebraska. Rules for bars are again, mask to enter building and leave, and mask to walk around in building.No more standing room only events. Events must drop to below 50% capacity. I would not be surprised if the bars and schools be closed again before Thanksgiving to slow the spread again. Our hospitals are nearing a much higher capacity than they want. I just pray to God we can get the election done, in the books, and move on to whatever is next.

Photo by Annie D on Pexels.com

Second, I’m thinking about Estes Park. It is one of our favorite places to make a destination. We love the nature, beauty, scenery, and people. Always something interesting going on. Flood visited there a few years ago, and now a two month old wildfire is calling for evacuations. Prayers for those folks, their families, property, and the wildlife. It all suffers during events like this.

Third, we had a great Post and Auxiliary meeting last week. Ron Hernandez, the founder of Moving Veterans Forward in the Omaha/Papillion area spoke to us about the Victory Apartments, and the other opportunities that are available for the Post to help him get off the ground that will serve Veterans locally. I see a lot of opportunity here for us and I’m excited about it.

I have some things to update for our Post website, and need some lessons from our Web Host, Image Masters. Luckily, the host with the most is my brother in law, Brad Shuck, and he’s always willing to teach me more about how the website works and can work. Great guy. Great photographer, too. He’s in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Check out his work.

Today is the day to make good on my intentions to bring in any plant that will perish with a frost. We’re due anytime, and I have some succulents that will be great inside the house. I don’t want to lose them. That’s for a little later on, and I might let them sit after spraying them for bugs to see what comes out, if anything. Then the transplanting can happen.

Even if we’re quarantined again it won’t be so bad. I’m already looking at grocery delivery, that’s the one thing I’m no longer crazy about doing. It’s kind of a hassle, and hard for me to carry a lot in from the car, after picking it up to put it in the cart, unloading cart, reloading cart with bags, putting bags in the car, that’s a lot of lifting and moving the same stuff to get home. I need to consult with our daughter Tracy to see how we can get started. She’s on to all the shopping stuff. Bless her!

Gavin Has Been Such a Blessing For Our Pups. And Organic Bones.

I’m organizing all my social media marketing information today, too. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are both used by the Post and by me as an Author. I’m starting up on both of them, so I figure planning them side by side should work. They are both meant to give exposure to the target audience. The Facebook is pretty well established for the Post, and my author page could use some boosting. I still have some online training to review and add to the plans, so that will be some good stuff to sit by the fire and do while the Babe watches football. This is what life is meant for. Being together and getting things accomplished. I’m grateful.

The second chapter seems to be pretty good so far. It’s about 1900 words, which is pretty fair. I don’t want to get hung up on word count, so I’m planning a little ahead. I don’t want to go much further than Chapter 3 before next Sunday night when I send Sam Tyler, my Book Coach, the updated versions for her feedback. I’ve mentioned before, if I’m way off track, I’d rather have just a chapter or two to rewrite than the whole book. Makes sense.

The Babe made some stellar Beef Vegetable Soup late yesterday. It’s reheating now in a great big soup pan. Tis the season for good stuff like that. It’ll be ready after a bit, and will be a welcome break from the morning. Of course, now that it’s afternoon, it’s time to get those plants inside. Life can be mundane, yet accomplishing those tasks gets things done, and you can move on to other tasks and relax. Ahhh. Saturdays. Even retired Saturdays are good.

Thank you for reading, it’s something else I’m eternally grateful for. We’ll meet you again tomorrow, with more tales of marketing myself, the Post, and being an author. Be Safe. Be Courteous. Be Patient. I’ll try to be, too.

Focused Friday

Today’s theme in my daily meditations book is about more gratitude, less coveting. Yes, I said coveting. If that doesn’t highlight my twelve years of Catholic education, nothing does. The word means wanting something belonging to someone else. The nuns would really delve into this sin with detailed explanations. Envy is the cause of coveting. Coveting is wanting what your neighbor has. Not something like it, what he has. It could be material things, a job that seems perfect, or even a wife that you think should be yours. It always got tricky for the good sisters to try and explain adultery, we just weren’t supposed to do it, whatever it was. (The other thing they never explained was the meaning of virgin, but I digress).

At any rate, here we are, trying not to covet a neighbor kid’s bike, dolls, hula hoop, parents, or anything about his or her life. I’m unsure if it was envy that struck me while I was a single mom, and I saw how some women I worked with treated their husbands. Not so much Envy as empathy for the husband, being talked about behind his back, being damned for not putting lettuce on the sandwich he made her for lunch, and all the while demeaning him. I often said, “Gee, I’d be glad if someone would make a sandwich for me.” I didn’t understand why some really nice guys could be treated so badly. Of course, there may have been a perfectly good reason for the wife to be as she was. But maybe there wasn’t. I suppose it’s the same reason some really nice women are mistreated by their husbands. They don’t know they deserve better. And that’s a topic for another day.

Photo by Vera Arsic on Pexels.com

After years of going to the office Christmas Party alone, I learned you could tell the couples who were arguing in the car on the way to the Party. It was a formal affair, I loved wearing a gown I created with my trusty sewing machine. Everyone was dressed beautifully. And there were so many who didn’t have a good time. I was grateful to be alone when witnessing that. It can always be worse, and I already left the worse. I would never settle again. Not permanently. Many times, my choices weren’t ever after, and it was ended before it went further. My theory is it takes three years to see exactly how someone is before you can begin to think about if they could be someone you could spend your life with them. I’d never live together before knowing someone three years.

The Babe sold his house after we were engaged, and he moved in about four months before we got married. That worked well. I did think long and hard if I was ready to “give up” some aspects of life alone. Yes, I was. What I’ve gained in the past 22 years is immeasurable. It’s what I was waiting for, warts and all. They happen. He still says he would never think of standing in the way of what I wanted to do, especially with my writing. He says it’s important to him because it’s important to me. He may not understand it, but he supports it. That’s what love looks like, folks. That’s what unconditional love looks like. I’m lucky, so is he. For all this, I’m grateful.

Sounds Easier Than It Is.

The more I write, the more I think about all of the things I’ve had to reject to find the me that was buried for a long time. Some people never get there, some may not want to, some don’t know they need to. I started noticing little things in the 1970s to question. Not big things, just things that were always done a certain way, and nothing changed it all. Something as simple as household products. At that time, my mom always used Tide. She still uses Tide to this day. She has never wavered from Crest toothpaste, either. She was never tempted by a new and improved product. Ever that I remember.

By comparison, my ex-mother-in-law was always trying new products. Shampoo, detergent, soap, you name it, she tried it. I always considered that adventuresome. You never know when you might find something worthwhile. It can be different and still be fine.

The same goes with people. I did not have to be a copy or a clone of my mother. Neither did my daughter need to be me. We each need to find our own person inside, whoever they are. Growing up, the more I questioned, the more resistance I met. When a person becomes who they need to be, it’s met with resistance from those surrounding them. It’s only natural. Besides, if they happen to look at themselves, they may see they’re unhappy in who they are, too.

As I straighten my notes and prepare to write more of my book, which describes the stages a young woman struggles through to become herself, I need to remind myself how fortunate I was to be able to figure out the same things for myself as my character Katie does. The rest of the day will be work, cooking something for a change, and relaxing with the Babe and dogs by the fireplace. I covet nothing. I covet no one. It’s a great place to be.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back tomorrow. I appreciate your time and hope something wonderful happens for you today. Make it your choice to get the most our of your day, week, and life. It truly is up to you. Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Courteous.

Ironic Thursday

Irony generally means a sarcastic turn of events. This morning while Googling it, an article popped up referring to it as the most misused word in the English Language. It could be. I’m using it correctly, I believe.

Scrolling through Facebook posts this morning, I saw a meme stating this is National Grumpy Person’s Day. So noted, I find that funny. After getting ready for the day, I saw today’s meditation in my Days of Healing, Days of Joy book from Hazelden Meditations. It was truly ironic.

Today, October 15’s meditation is: “Be patient with all things, but first of all with yourself.” I can only guess, but I believe most grumpy people are impatient with everything. Themselves, the coffee pot, the kids, the wife, the car, the co-workers, the check out clerk at the grocery, and especially with all inanimate objects.

We have reached the sad point in society that believes fast is best. It’s all around us. Instant Pots to cook meals fast. No more smelling the roast cooking all Sunday afternoon. It can be done in 30 minutes of less. So much for anticipation. If you are of a certain age, you will remember the Hunt’s Ketchup (or Catsup) commercial with Carly Simon singing her hit song, “Anticipation,” as someone is waiting, waiting, waiting, for the product to finally pour out of the bottle. Worth waiting for.

I think there are a lot of things still well worth waiting for. It still takes 9 months for a baby to grow and be born. It is a short 18 years for a child to complete their basic education. We teach kids more now than ever before, yet our ability to compete has slowed and even fallen. We don’t all learn at the same rate.

I think some of us are simply late bloomers. I believe I am. I was painfully shy through school and high school. Very low self esteem. I grew out of it and into confidence, and a much improved sense of self. It took me until I was 30 years old, but I got there. We all can use some encouragement. Receive it graciously and return it abundantly.

I remember when computers first came to the office. We had “dumb terminals,” at our desks to code programs in COBOL. Usually, the data that served as input to the program was batch processed after business hours, and put through inventory programs, billing programs, invoicing programs, and others. A wide range of activity. We wrote programs to produce reports printed on green bar paper, that was fed through the printer with tractor-feed wheels that held the paper in place.

Early in the 90s, the old timers told us stories about how slow the system was on the mainframe. You could press enter, go walk a mile outside, come back, and the egg-timer icon was still showing. They were very slow. The battle began with processors. We purchased desktop computers for our homes in order to work more, and dial up was invented. Very slow, unstable, and aggravating. More development led to faster processors. Now, we all carry around our phones, with more processing power than the mainframe computers every had. And we process in milliseconds. Good? Or Bad?

Good for getting your work done. Not good inasmuch as we are trapped in an instantaneous mindset. We get impatient in traffic. We are impatient in retail stores (when we choose to go). We are impatient with our kids because they don’t act like mini adults. Truth is, they can’t nor should they. They are kids. Please don’t rush them.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Rushing. It’s what causes us to be impatient and often rude to others. Berating a waitress is not kind at all. She may have a sick child to care for and get little sleep. Maybe her feet hurt after her long day. Think outside of yourself. You have to slow down to do that.

I feel sad for little kids who have the parents saying, “Hurry. Hurry.” Sometimes, Mom and/or Dad have wasted time or not used it well, and they have to hurry the kids along since they’re later. It’s not the kids’ fault. Don’t make them pay for your bad habit.

You may disagree with me, but I believe all great things take time. A Butterfly spends time in it’s cocoon and emerges grown and beautiful. Personal growth is slow, two steps up and one step back. Progress is slow, but so worth it. Changing habits is timely, evident by the number of people in America who yo-yo diet. Lose weight too fast, you’ll gain it back and then some. Fads don’t work. Quick fixes fail nine out of ten times. Maybe ten out of ten times.

Waiting is worth it. I’m patient, and I think it’s a good quality to have. My dad was more patient when dealing with life than my mom is. She is generally an impatient person, and used to carrying on instead of carrying out things. She does finish things, but it’s also quite a narrative that goes with it. It’s her unique feature, her habit, part of her personality. Dad just simply did with no fanfare.

Practice Patience today. We have our meetings at the Post and Auxiliary tonight. It should be good, with a speaker from Moving Veterans Forward. Folks seem to be pretty eager to meet Ron Hernandez and help our local veterans. It’s good stuff happening right now. There, but by the grace of God, go I. Thank you for reading. I appreciate it and hope to see you tomorrow. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Patient.

Winning Wednesday

My world was restored yesterday. We picked up Addison after school. It’s been a quarter of the year since we last did, since she ran Cross Country during that time, and it’s after school. She placed quite well for being a first timer. She is in incredible physical condition due to about twelve years of dance. She is probably more fit than many football players are. Gosh, I love that young lady. She’s smart, kind, thoughtful, funny, and beautiful.

What Toby Mac Writes, I Live! How Does He Know Me? He Knows LIFE. In That, He Knows Me.

My writing was productive yesterday. I fleshed out at least three scenes for the second chapter. The scenes are important to the story, they help with character definition and telling important history. The feat for the writer is to keep out anything that doesn’t further the story, that isn’t important, and isn’t pertinent. You don’t need to know how mean Katie’s kindergarten teacher was about nap time in 1957. Maybe the teacher didn’t help Katie’s fears, you just don’t need that bit of trivia in the story.

By writing an outline, I know where the story is going. Sometimes while writing, the story decides on it’s own to take a twist you hadn’t planned. And if it fits with the scene, it’s great. If not, you write the notes out to add in an appropriate place or simply put it on the shelf for another story. That can happen. This is certainly better than wandering around, clueless. Unless you’re a person who can do that, become clueful, then write a NYT bestseller! They do exist. My thought is they have more structure to their writing than they care to admit.

I just searched my free photo library for “words.” Sad to say, I had to page down four times to get to something other than “Black Friday” sayings. Isn’t that sad? I seldom care about Black Friday, even less this year, whatever date is is. If there were a time to make heartfelt gifts, homemade creations, works of our art for our family, it’s right now, during this Pandemic.

A special drawing from a grandchild, a photograph by an amateur neighbor kid, a baked goody from a car pool family can all lighten a heart during these times. We used to make time for these things every holiday season. I love when someone takes the time. They don’t have to. But they do. And that’s why it’s special. Make time for someone today. Before you can’t anymore.

I’m having another good writing opportunity today. The dogs are asleep for awhile, and I have on music I haven’t heard in awhile. Dayna Jones is another musician from South Dakota. She has a lovely, strong voice. Her lyrics are so telling. Maybe that’s why I enjoy music so much, and always hear the lyrics. It is storytelling at it’s finest. Putting impactful words to music. How much better can it get? Check Dayna Jones out wherever you secure your music. She even has CD’s for old folks like us!

Dayna Jones, Leaves. Get It Today!

As part of my research, I’m going to read “From Generation to Generation,” it is a memoir and a workbook in one. “Healing Intergenerational Trauma Through Storytelling” takes us to a second generation Holocaust Survivor. Serious traumas can be passed generation to generation even though the events are unspoken. Types of behavior reflect that trauma, and are passed, unknowingly, to the next and subsequent generations.

Of course, the Holocaust is an extreme, terrible event to survive. My traumas and your traumas will not be so dramatic. Ours are lesser, yet they are extreme, terrible events to our grandparents, parents, us, and our children. Do not minimize your trauma. Do not ignore it. It affects you. And your children.

Illness and addiction affect many generations in families. Coping behaviors become something to survive in and of themselves. It is amazing how the human mind protects itself, and the body that goes with it. Flight of Fight. Adrenaline Rushes. Amnesia of traumatic events. Thank God for creating us as He did. We’d never make it without these safety features.

That said, lingering below the hard, crusty surface of any Veteran I know, there are war stories too terrible for them to repeat out loud. There are things a regular person back home could not think of doing. Those same things are what we expect of our combat veterans and others. Male or female. Young and Older. It happens to everyone in some way. Self medicating is not the answer. Help is available, and it can stay off your record. Contact Moving Veterans Forward for a conversation that can save your life. 1-402-301-6300.

It’s time for me to switch the thinking and expand on my scenes to make the chapter I’m working on. Sam Tyler, Book Coach, you’re making my life easier. I’m hoping yours gets easier with this work I’m doing. Lol. I appreciate what you’ve taught me.

Thanks to all of you for your time. I appreciate it and plan to see you all tomorrow! It’s going to be a windy day today, so it’s a good day to write. Be safe out there. Be calm out there. Be courteous out there. We’ll get through this. I know we will. You will, too. Hang on. Hang in.

Tactical Tuesday

Good Morning to you from the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Tuesday’s are the rare day the Babe is home and not working at the Post. So, of course, we need to do errands today, like most folks do on Saturday. The trick is, it’s not crowded. And we get done in record time, and still get to have lunch before picking up Addison from school. Yes, her Cross Country season is over. She did well for a first timer. Now it’s back to whatever normal used to be for us, before school was called.

My Yesterday and Today “Ugly Christmas Sweater” Merch.

I had to show you the whole photo of the entire piece of art hanging in my studio/office entrance. I had to buy this when I saw it, and every time I enter the room, I can hear my dad tell me, “Just keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll get there.” He told me that when he was dying of cancer. I had just told him the only regret I had was I hadn’t graduated from college. At that time, I had a couple associate degrees and certificates.

He died in 1988, and in Summer, 1995, I finished my Bachelor’s Degree, Management of Human Resources. We graduated from Bellevue University in January of 1996. It was bittersweet, I had just survived a December 1995 ten hour spine surgery to perforate a cyst on my spinal cord. I was still having home IV treatment for disk infection and nearly full bed rest. The Doc told me I needed to go to the graduation. I could rest before and after. It was great for my mental well being. And God really knows what He’s doing – I met the Babe in March, 1996. Right after I shed my “turtle shell” I had to wear constantly.

Anyway, if you want a cute, fun, sweatshirt for the colder weather, these are only $15. Check them out. I wear an XL. It’s just fun. We all need some fun at this point in time.

This morning is Day 2 of the Confirmation Hearings. I was aghast at some of the questions Diane Feinstein asked. “How do you do it, with your large family and work.” Excusssssssseeeee me? That question is illegal in an everyday job interview. It’s a Federal Law, Diane! How dare you!! Would you have asked a man the same question? If not, you need to issue an apology. Stat.

While I am working on my daily writing, the Babe is working to finish the bench he’s building for the patio next spring. It will be fun to have something new to display and use. I need to get the rest of the plants inside in the next couple days before the cold nights zap them. They did well as long as Goldie couldn’t touch them. She uprooted my Hibiscus plant from it’s pot and played with it before I saw her. The wind knocked the pot off the table, and she figured whatever was on the ground was hers. Silly puppy. Note to self: When it’s windy, check to see if anything fell into dog territory.

How do you like this meme?


Truth!

There are many people who comment to me about my blog. Yet, they don’t put a “like” on it. And that’s ok. I know they read. And they may even mention one to a friend. And the friend reads it. That’s cool, too. I love it, and I would guess that happens, too. I do this because I love doing it. I’ve always wanted to write. And, a blog counts as being “published,” just as a physical book does. I have to accept more people will probably read my book as an e-book or Kindle edition than who will buy and read a physical copy. That’s ok, too.

When I think how I think it will feel to hold a book that I wrote in my hand, and to read my name as the author, it makes my eyes teary. And as long as I keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll get there. And I’ll see my dad, off in the background, smiling at me, whether it be at a book signing, a craft fair, or a writers guild conference. We’re getting closer, boys and girls! Let’s keep each other going. Slow gets there, don’t lose hope. You can do it. Just keep doing what you’re doing, too. Thanks. See you tomorrow!

Moving on a Monday

No, Babe! Don’t panic. WE are not moving. I’m talking about moving and working on stuff and gettin’ it done. I always get up and am so thinking I’m still Wonder Woman, and then reality strikes a few hours later. Once the coffee kicks in. So I did an important thing. I went for a pedicure. Right after breakfast, and it felt so good They do all sorts of nice things I don’t do for myself normally. Why not? I guess I wasn’t in the age group that did stuff like that. Even doing one myself, I always ran out of time. Women older than my era rarely took time out to “relax.” My daughter was a champ at that. Sitting down to relax. When I was younger, under thirty, I would sit down after all the work was done, kids were bathed, in bed, and I’d collapse in the chair. That was the extent of my relaxation.

No, I’m not complaining. It’s just that things have changed so much for the good, it’s great. Women are no longer destined to a life in the kitchen, ironing, cleaning, doing laundry, scrubbing toilets. Although I spent a good deal of my adult life doing that while still married to my first husband, and spending the first years of my kids’ lives home with them. In no way was that something I regret doing. That was where I belonged during that time of my life. I miss parts of it.

I’m working on my scenes again today. It will probably take up most of the day, and I can take my time with them, since the Babe will be gone most of the day. That is, after the fireplace maintenance guy leaves. I like to have him home to deal with service people. He has a lot of questions I don’t like to relay and he’s more chatty than I am about that stuff. I handled my own household, service men, roofers, plumbers, carpet layers, etc., etc., etc. I don’t mind sharing the load of this. Traditional role for a man? Maybe, but he also knows so much more about block, brick, fireplaces, pouring concrete, building walls, curbing, gravel vs. decorative rock, I learn something about construction every time we do a new project. This man, the Babe. He’s priceless, and I don’t mind saying so. Out loud.

This, my friends, was heavenly.

In my excitement to talk about the show we saw Saturday night, I forgot to mention we also late-celebrated our anniversary with dinner before the show. We went to Longhorn’s in Omaha. They are a pretty consistent with their fare, except in these times, they no longer have Prime Rib. If you’ve ever met a South Dakota or Nebraska boy, you know they love their prime rib. And then, no NA Beer. That lessened our experience, but it was still good. The dessert was incredible. So light, you didn’t feel you were eating anything. What a great night it was.

My scenes are going to be crafted to tell the backstory through dialogue among the main characters. That is much harder to do than what you may think. Whomever is the narrator, they cannot intrude on a character point of view. I have done that more than I’d care to admit. The right amount of backstory helps make sense of the conflicts the main character has with others. My story has one main character, two less main but important characters. Katie is the main character, her mother Evelyn is a lesser main character, and her husband John is the second lesser main character.

Through backstory, you will discover how Katie’s Mom treated her, how it formed her character, timid, bashful, extremely codependent and naive. As it turns out, empaths like Katie seem to be drawn to people who need help, who need her strengths, and who take from her without giving. Not knowing any better, she complies gladly. Until she can’t.

It always feels like it’s a good idea at the time.

It’s so good to be free from all of that. It’s a full time job to keep working on staying free. That’s what happens when we break tradition, break fallacies, break away from “we’ve always done it that way.” Honoring a way that no longer works is a call for change. “But, how about if we do it this way,” is usually met with negativity. A new idea, a new way is hard, because it can be very lonely. My character Katie feels every bit of that loneliness. Being the black sheep is just as lonely. Finding one person who says, “Gosh, I admire your moxie,” propels you into a whole other world.

I’m off to write scenes for a few hours. I love the time spent, I know it will be worth it. Thank you for stopping by today, I appreciate it and hope to see you tomorrow. Blessings, and be safe out there.

Sentimental Sunday

I’m in heaven again today. The Babe and I celebrated our wedding anniversary a week late, and attended Yesterday and Today at the Omaha Community Playhouse last night. Usually, the show runs after Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve. Not this year. Billy McGuigan along with his brothers (and daughter and son!), tweaked the show and presented us with all of this!

Upper left, Ryan, Billy, Matthew, and Jay (Superman) Hanson cover one of the many, many Beatles songs of the night. Soon, they’ll have to rename the show to Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow to showcase all their children. They each have a child with a Beatles-related name. The lovely Cartney sang with the band and her dad, Billy, to one of my favorite songs, Here, There, and Everywhere. She has a very beautiful voice. She hit some hard notes, and Dad couldn’t help but smile. (Upper right, Uncle Ryan, Cartney, Billy). She is also an accomplished artist, and has some merch on the website. How cool would that be for a senior in high school?

Lower right, is the amazing Ciaran, playing the hard parts. His guitar teacher is the incredibly talented Max Meyer (sorry, no pic). Max and Ciaran played before the show, and you can tell there is something magical between the teacher and pupil, that comes out through the guitar. Go witness it, you will be amazed.

Aside from having their own talent and gifts, these two kids are having OJT with some of the best performers we’ve ever seen. Brother Ryan is also an actor, and he made an entrance right in front of us (socially distanced, as per the rules), that left us speechless for a bit. What an actor! Lower left is Ciaran and Brother Matthew. He is quieter than his brothers, but speaks through his music. He’s accomplished on the guitar and vocals. What a group!

Folks, their show continues through November 1st. Give yourself an early Christmas gift. Your heart and soul will warm so much from the absolute love in the theater you’ll have your faith restored in the future of mankind. It’s so refreshing to be away from COVID and television for awhile (except for wearing a mask, and being separated by groups in the theater).

I will say though, I was not comfortable wearing a mask the whole time. When you go, either wear a paper one or one made of cotton. Mine was knit fabric, and they hold a lot of heat in. I just needed the music and display of love from these guys tonight. And the lovely Tara Vaughn. Her voice is like that of an angel. Being in the large theater, and socially distanced, she was so far away! Luckily, she has a giant voice perfect for the song she and Billy do so well together, “Oh, Darling,” from the Abbey Road album. I’ve loved it since I first heard it. You will, too. Then come back when Tara does her show, “Women of Rock.” She is pictured in the upper left photo, between Matthew and Jay. See what I mean, far away.

She won’t leave my side since we got home.

Poor Goldie! We think something stung her this morning. Her eyes and snout started swelling on one side. I gave her three Benadryl to try and stop it. Didn’t help. By the time we drove from Gretna to the Emergency Vet in the Mockingbird area of Omaha, it was very swollen.

They don’t allow people in the building because of COVID, so they came to the car and got her. Luckily, someone saw her right away and they dosed her with steroids and Benadryl. She’s supposed to sleep as much as she wants, and we continue the Benadryl for a couple days and hope it stops any ill effects. These dogs get into your heart and it’s the least you can do – keep them well.

Thank you for reading today. I have a beautiful pup to tend to. Call the Playhouse and go see these guys. You’ll feel like you just were sprung from solitary confinement. Let’s keep moving that direction, out of this pandemic, and become civil to each other again. Show your love to those you are close to. Enjoy the talents of others while you learn what yours are. We all grow and learn from each other. If not for that, we would truly be lost. Keep Hope. Keep Faith. Keep Safe. See you tomorrow.