Fun Friday!

It’s a good Friday out there! The Babe says it’s really hot, the dogs do not want out. It’s a mid-morning nap on the couches for them. Works for me!

It’s going to be a great, FUN weekend!

We had early mail call this morning, too. All for me, and not a bill in the stack! Adding music to my collection always makes me happy. Two new favorites (along with all my established favorites!) are Dayna Jones and Ray Scott. Dayna’s music is so uplifting and makes me feel happy. Her voice is beautiful. Strong and gentle at the same time. Trust me, she does it. South Dakota has another great product. (The Babe is from Sioux Falls). You can’t go wrong.

Ray Scott has many great stories and I enjoy them in the background while I write. Stories in songs are similar to stories in books, yet very different. The story a song tells is often shorter than four minutes, yet can tell of a lifetime. A story in a book or a song can give you pictures of events in your imagination. Movies often spoil that for us, in my opinion. I love imagining a story in my mind. Or a song. His songs are great for that.

Writer’s Digest is a publication I enjoy as a writer. I have so much to learn, and I know that. I’m hungry for wherever I can learn more and more. I do believe I’m headed in the right direction. I have a lot of good guidance from a lot of new friends. Support is so great in creative communities. With my experiences with quilters around the world, I have seen how generous quilters are. They want to swaddle everyone in a beautiful quilt made just for them. They are such givers, I love to see it!

We had the absolute joy of celebrating Gavin’s birthday last night. He won’t be eight until Tuesday, but family was in town and it was so fun to see him play with his cousins. There was no more happy look than a boy who just got a brand new bicycle. It’s a great story, about the bike. There are no 24 inch bikes available in Omaha. None. Everyone has bought one to ride during the pandemic. With that in mind, our son in law did a commute out to Denver for his job on Monday. They don’t want the employees flying, they feel it’s safer driving between location. I have to agree with that.

I-80 stretches west, into the plains of Nebraska. With Lexington, NE in his sight, he spied a WalMart. Stopped in, and found the very last bike for a boy in the exactly right size. Things like this are no coincidence, you know? He sent a photo to his wife, and he bought it on the spot. Anyway, Gavin is in seventeenth heaven. Or at least in eighth heaven for now. It made my heart happy. Don’t we all need our hearts to be happy right about now? Good job, Dad!

It won’t be all fun and no work this weekend. I can listen to my new tunes and do some planning for the next two months. The Babe is on board. He’ll pick up my slack if I’m not available to do some things around the house. My days will mostly revolve around writing, analyzing, learning, and making progress. I am looking forward to having to work against deadlines with Sam, my writing coach. It will be another adventure to share with you.

Boy, Does This Resonate With Me!

I’m reading a book right now called “Personality Isn’t Permanent.” I’m a perfect example of that. I became someone who was hiding inside myself for many years. I did not know she was there. The more of her who emerged, the more surprised I was. It took many years for me to stand up for myself. It’s no problem for me now with some people. Others, I’ve still got work to do. But not as much as thirty or forty years ago. It’s a work in progress.

The older I become, the more I love living. We make mistakes, and they are no longer so devastating. No one who truly loves us criticizes us for them. After a time, with the distance of hindsight, you can identify your own rock bottom. Drugs and alcohol don’t necessarily have to be involved. If they are, I think the bottom is deeper and more prominent. Getting out is what’s important. If you slide back in any way, you can adjust your direction. Just keep showing progress, however tough it is. Apply this to all aspect of your life, and I believe we will all have a good one.

This kind of growth happens for my character, Katie. She is much stronger than anyone ever thought, including herself. You will see this in her story. Someone told me once, “You have to watch out for the quiet ones.” That was me, one of the quiet ones. No more. Stay tuned for more information about our writing adventure.

As always, I appreciate your time spent reading my blog today. Stay safe out there, wear your mask, wash your hands, be kind, be thoughtful, and be a good example. Help our world become a better place. See you tomorrow!

Thankful Thursday

Every morning, there are tons of posts on the Facebook feeds marking everyone’s take on the state of the United States right now. Some are worth watching, some are not. I have viewed, and even liked, YouTube videos from The HodgeTwins. Twin black men who give a sometimes humorous answer to some of today’s odd situations. It is much food for thought. Check them out. CAUTION: Language. And encouragement to use plain English. Their post is about Bubba Wallace. How terrible his situation was a hoax! Why do people have to do this type of thing? I’m a NASCAR fan, but wow. This is a new desperate attempt to try and get attention for a sport that is having a severe image problem. It’s just not the same since Tony Stewart retired. He was the last great scrapper of a driver, in my humble opinion.

It’s a big day today. It’s official. Book Coach Sam Tyler and I have entered into a contract to work on my book, The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons. It is a prequel to what I’ve spent the last year writing, These Walls DO Talk. Walls is now on hiatus, and Freeing is the work in progress now. I’m very excited and have a lot of work to accomplish before our first meeting date of July 9. It seems as if that’s a long time away, but it isn’t.

In the work we’ve done so far, I’m finding Sam knows things I’m not aware of about my characters and how they behave. She can coax it out of me and onto the paper. You think you know all about your characters. Creating them doesn’t equal knowing about them. I didn’t believe it myself until just now when I wrote this. It’s eerie and comforting at the same time. She is helping me become a much better writer. And if I become a better writer, I’ll be a better author when my body of works become reality.

Are you an empath? I am.

Shannon Schofield, a friend from I Create Daily, wrote the poem above in the spirit of Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer.” I wanted to share it with you since I found it to be perfect for the current world, in the grand scheme of things.

I don’t believe being an empath is a bad thing. Care must be taken when an empath cares for someone. Caring can be listening to, counseling, walking miles for friends, and many other gifts of giving empathy. It’s a learning process. At first, we are trusting everyone has a good heart. Wouldn’t that be wonderful if everyone did? Unfortunately, empaths often attract narcissists. It’s a hazard of the empathetic soul. After awhile we learn which souls are pure and which ones aren’t. We learn to spend our gifts on the genuine souls. I think some folks have discovered the empath in them since the pandemic started. It can be exhausting, and we need to learn to hold space for our own care every day. That’s a hard thing for me but I’m working on it.

Tonight will be the official party for Gavin’s birthday of June 30. Out of town relatives will help make a great celebration for him. I love birthdays, it’s a day that’s just YOU. Unless you’re a multiple. Strange, Goldie must have missed Gavin all morning. The Babe was gone, and I swear I’ve stopped every five minutes to see what she wants. Finally settled down to sleep awhile. It’s worse than trying to figure out what a fussy baby wants. I think Goldie’s an empath, too.

Going to take it easy this afternoon. Just read a little and make some more notes for my next book writing session. I’m reading “Personality Isn’t Permanent,” by Benjamin Hardy, PhD. While dealing with self-limiting thinking, you cannot become anything else but what you are limited to. Introvert? I was terribly as a kid. I really was in high school. And I was until about age 30 when I got divorced. Hmmm? I had to be different. It was the biggest decision of my life so far, and I had to make it work. It did, and I’ve never looked back to my self-limiting living. More on the book tomorrow.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. Hope to see you tomorrow, you know I’ll be here!

Wed – nes – day.

It was a little cool (57 degrees!) while the Babe and I had coffee on the deck early this morning. Just enough chill until the sun rose above the treeline. It felt as if it will be a glorious day. And it is. Give this a listen. I’ve heard it twice in the past week, and I believe it bears discussion here.

Treat the Janitor with as much respect as you do the CEO. He (or she) may have a much better idea of what really goes on.

This man is so wise. And wise to know where he learned the most important things in life – from a third grade dropout. So glad to know he and his brothers had enough respect and honor for his father to know the man was far more intelligent than his schooling indicated. I’ve always felt this way about people I know and love.

My husband is a high school graduate, and didn’t like school. He learned by OJT through his career at Watkins Concrete Block, Inc., in Omaha. He was a diesel mechanic for many years. When I met him, he was starting up his ladder, and we both rose, step by step, cheering each other on. He retired as Labor Foreman and Facilities Manager. He has extensive accounting experience and it shows in his work as Quartermaster at VFW Post 2503. He learned by doing.

He always was a boss who considered the tribulations of his workers in his advice to the higher ups. Things that don’t matter in the eyes of management like they do in the eyes of the worker bees. Don’t increase Health Insurance premiums the first of the month. Most guys had to pay their rent or house payments. It makes sense, and his guys never learned all of the ways he looked out for them. He was a combination boss and older brother or Dad to them. Part of why I love him is the way he treats everyone. He’s no pushover, however. Do your job, don’t cut corners, earn your pay. Not that hard. But necessary. Even more so in today’s world.

I’ve seen some impactful videos of folks like Condoleezza Rice discussing the status of America today. She has some great advice for all of us. And a young black fellow, who happens to be a conservative , discussing BLM, voting, and racism with a group of his peers. It was quite enlightening. They learned from him, about how to look at issues instead of only skin color when voting. It was one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time. I like the civil discussion. This is what we need. Find Your Broom, folks.

And this example. It was a commencement speaker who talked about the smartest man in the world, his father. The man had a third grade education, but he was more intelligent than anyone about living. It lifted my spirits. I hope it does yours, too.

I was fortunate to have a janitor for a very good friend in the late 1980s. I worked for one of ConAgra’s “Independent Operating Companies”, ConAgra Pet Products, in Omaha, Ne. They occupied a long-since torn down building at 39th and Leavenworth. It was a Manufacturing and Distribution Company, and I started my I/T career there.

The janitor was named Henry. He was a rather famous person. If you look back on old Stevie Wonder Albums, (Songs in the Key of Life), you’ll see in the album notes the alto sax on songs # 5,6,10,13,and 17 was played by a cat named Hank Redd. Hank Redd, of Stevie Wonder band fame, is my friend, Henry. I haven’t seen him in probably 30 years. The year he played for our company Christmas party was the night I was at my father’s wake and rosary. I hated missing his performance, but he did let me borrow a tape. It was great.

He left the music world because of the craziness going on in the early 80s with drugs, etc. He said Stevie Wonder was a great human being, and he hated to leave him. But he had to. He came home to Omaha to take care of his mom and aunt. And he worked as a janitor. He would see me leave every day at lunchtime to go to the hospital and visit Dad. He’d tell me, “Be Strong.” And I could be. When I’d come back, he would be where I had to walk through the warehouse, sweeping his floor. He’d stop me and tell me I could get through this. I doubted him at the time, but he was right.

I’m forever grateful to Hank Redd, for his friendship, love and support during the worst time of my life. One night, I caught an old video about the making of “Songs in the Key of Life,” and I saw Henry playing. It was wonderful. How lucky I was to have that kind of friend at that moment in my life. Henry, if you’re still with us, maybe we’ll meet again some day. And if you’re already gone, I will meet you then. I’ll bring my broom.

Taco Tuesday and Other Truths

You won’t believe what I just did. After about 45 minutes of working on a pretty good blog (if I must say so myself!), I hit the wrong key and exited from the 700 word masterpiece I was nearly finished with. Much to my dismay. Wow. It’s vanished in cyberspace. Do I have any idea how to reconstruct it? Heck, now. So for now, it’s:

Take Two Tuesday and Other Truths

There is a reason anyone who uses a computer will always tell you: Save Often! Save Before Printing! Save After Changing! So I just committed the #1 mishap in computer use history. I hadn’t saved. So now, upwards and onwards, while saving often.

Today is another Gavin day for the Babe and I. We will pick him up and he’ll be contented to play with the dogs all afternoon. They like him, too. He has loved many of our dogs through his eight years, some he remembers, some not. But we have photos, and he asks questions about their personalities and quirks. He tells me, “Grandma, all dogs deserve love.”

I tell him back, “Yes, Gavin. And all kids deserve love, too.” And he agrees with me. A long time ago, a good friend of mine told me how kids do listen to what you tell them, even though it seems as if they have no idea you exist. They listen and you can see they did when you observe them growing up and being a leader with others. And she was right.

My friend passed away several years ago, and it was sad for everyone who knew her. She was a good lady, always there to help. Always there if you needed to talk. She had several types of cancer in her lifetime, which eventually took her. She was so strong, but what choice did she have? I’m so glad to have good memories of many talks with her. I still consult my mental pages of the Joyce Cross Alexander Book of Hope, Faith, and Love.

Confidence is a great asset if you have it. It is so eluding if you can’t stand up for yourself, either not caring to or by not knowing how. My lack was in not knowing how. There was a fine line between confidence and vanity, according to our elders in the 1950s and 1960s. Especially if you were a girl. I believe this is why many Moms lived lives through their children. Their children’s successes became theirs. Their children’s failures became theirs, also. (The term, “I have failed as a Mother,”) that TV character Beverly Goldberg uses is used for humor, but I believe there were a lot of Mom’s who felt they were failures. It’s a shame it took women so long to find their worth in additional areas besides motherhood. Don’t get me wrong, motherhood is wonderful and fulfilling, as long as you raise those children to leave you. Your job is to teach them so they can leave you, as it should be.

I have to say, it’s harder to let go when you’re a single parent, in my opinion. I struggled for a long time trying to figure out, “So, what’s next?” I still had a good relationship with my three kids, but I hadn’t a clue what to do with all that time, despite all my hobbies. I finished college for me. I was happy to have earned a promotion at work, so I would finally have a great income. (Mom always said when you don’t need money anymore is when it comes your way.)

I became ill after that, and within six years could no longer work. At the age of 49. That was a blow to me. I turned it into gratitude, though, but being grateful I was well and working until my kids could go out on their own. After that I met the Babe. By the time I couldn’t work, we were married and my time was filled. I’ve picked up on a lot of my old interests and some new ones, too. Filling my time is no longer a problem.

So with all that, thank you for reading today. Keep good thoughts in your heart today. Be positive. Wash up, wipe down, wear masks. We’ll all come out on the other side of all this in a better place. I’ll see you tomorrow. And by then, maybe I’ll remember what I wrote about in the blog that is now forever lost, out there floating in the wasteland of the Internet, unfinished.

Magical Monday

The Babe couldn’t pick Gavin up today, so I got to. I had big plans. I love the Sun Valley Nursery in Gretna. Since Goldie ate most of my re-planted geraniums from previous visits to Sun Valley, I decided to treat myself and take Gavin so he could see it. It’s overwhelming how many different varieties of geraniums they have cultivated.

We pulled into their parking lot at 10 a.m. on the dot. No one was around. I called their number, and they said they were overwhelmed this year and sold their entire stock of geraniums out. I’m happy for them but sad for me! What an awesome year they had. The only other business they do is at the Christmas season. They grow their own versions of Poinsettias. I just may go browse this winter, but with dogs in the house, I probably won’t buy one. They’re poisonous to dogs. I just can’t trust them to not munch. That’s ok, though.

Thanks to John Cleveland, who wished me this yesterday.

We had a quiet day yesterday. Father’s Day is still a tough holiday for me. Dad’s been gone a long time, but I still feel the void in my life created when he was no longer here. I wonder if anyone might miss me that much someday. And that’s it, we all think we have until “someday.” Some do, many do not. Too often, we have friends or family become ill, and we lose them, despite great medical treatment, prayers, meals, fund raisers, and car pools. It’s so difficult when it’s a child. We all would trade places with a child in those circumstances.

When it is unexpected, the grief hits you where you live. And it moves in on you. You didn’t get to say goodbye. You had one more fishing trip planned. You forgot to ask her for the recipe she made so well. You had no time to prepare. A heart attack, an aneurysm, a stroke, and they can be maimed for life or lose their life altogether. And the grief is deep, and ugly, and hard. We don’t want to deal with this, of all things. It is too hard. It’s too long. It’s not getting better. How do people do it? We do because we have no choice in the matter. None.

What can we do? Pray. Pray for them, their family, their kids, and their parents. Pray for yourself, too. You will get through it. You don’t want to. But you will. And your life will be significantly different than it was. You get to go back in your memories and laugh with them again. Take the part of them you loved and incorporate some of it into your life. Help people. Deliver meals on wheels. Volunteer at the soup kitchen. Help someone else. In doing that, you help yourself. Over time, it does get better.

During the worst year of my life, I was a single mom, 37, with three kids. I lost: my best friend in March, my Grandma in May, my ex-father in law in September, my father in December. I was numb by the time summer came around, and I broke up with someone I’d dated a long time. He was trying to hurry me up in grieving for my friend. You can’t put a limit of two weeks on it. It’s impossible. My kids lost both grandpas in 6 months. It was a blow to all of us. I never thought it would be better. It took such a long time. But I use 1988 as an example of how a person can be stronger than they think they ever could. That doesn’t leave you, either. It’s a foundation for more. God will lighten your load. You have to trust in Him.

Sometimes, people write blogs or articles about their friends. The story telling, however it’s done, is so very important in your healing. As you tell your stories, you start to smile again. You become so grateful you had that person for a dad, or a brother, or a friend. Especially for a friend. I’m lucky to know a few people who are talented enough to write songs about their friends, dads, and grandpas.

Jason “Jake” Mayer wrote this beautiful song after he lost a lifelong friend Jason Diekmann. Jason passed from a stroke. What a tragedy. Jake wrote this beautiful song and dedicated it to his friend, about his loss. Jake’s good friend Jimmy Weber did guitar and background vocals. Jake, this is the first I’ve heard you sing, you’re good. There’s a lot of heartfelt emotion in your voice here. Hugs and prayers for you, Jake, and for Jimmy too. Here’s Jake Mayer, singing “The Rain’s Falling Down Again” (featuring Jimmy Weber). From what I understand, it’s available for download, through all the usual services. I understand it will be on the radio soon. I wish you much success with this, Jake.

Thanks to everyone who took time to read today. Talking about loss and grief may be uncomfortable, but it is so important. Dysfunctional grieving can take a real toll on families. Talk about it. Write about it. Do something with it. It will be a lasting tribute to your friend. Share, and your grief won’t be so heavy. I hope to see you tomorrow.

Sunday Summary

This Grandma feels so much better since getting to see our grandson Gavin play baseball again. He has moved up to a league where he is younger than a lot of the kids. The good thing about that is his skillset is way better than the kids his age, and he will be better challenged to grow his skills with the more practiced and older kids. His dad is a coach, and was a great player himself. The boy has had a ball in his hand ever since he could clutch something with his tiny fist. I just absolutely love it. The whole thing. I told him this is the first normal thing I’ve gotten to do in a very long time.

One thing I discovered last night was I’m getting slower and slower walking through the grassy outfield to where we were able to sit. That’s the chronic pain, arthritis, and old age creeping in. That’s the way it goes, you know? I’m so grateful to be able to get to the fenceline and watch him. He’s lost his other Grandpa and Grandma, and the Babe and I are still standing. That’s all that matters.

This humid weather is great for arthritis, you know? If you do, I’m sorry. If not, hope you never do. When I think of my beautiful Grandma Jewell’s hands, they were knotted with arthritis and age. What things she did with those hands, though. I couldn’t count the babies she held, the dough she kneaded, the change she made at Grandpa’s Drug Store, the embroidery she did, and so on. It is amazing when you consider all those things.

I’m looking at taking a couple days and work on a quilt instead of working on my new manuscript. The name is, “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons.” I’m working on the second chapter now, and they’re short. They always are at first.

My little puppy, Goldie, is sleeping on the chair mat in my studio. She must be tuckered out from the Babe playing with her and walking her this morning. He is off doing some office work at the VFW Post. When I was very young, about twenty-five (gosh, that’s young!), my doctor told me the older you get the faster time flies. If I thought that was fast, it’s a million miles an hour now. Make the most of your time.

I get so frustrated I get too worn out to do everything I’d like to do in a day. I have so many projects to do. That’s the problem with being creative in several areas. Embroidery, clothing construction, quilting, writing, and drawing. I’m convinced I’ll just go ahead and do my DVD Learning to Draw Art Class over the winter later this year. After all 2020 has thrown at us, don’t you think we’ll have a lot of snow? Haha, nothing will surprise me at the point in time.

Yes, God Will Make Good of the Mess Called 2020

At what point does a person become elderly? Is it merely a comparison of others in a crowd? Is it how you age in your heart and mind? Is it a number? I suppose I haven’t thought that much about it. My 50th Class Reunion was to be this summer. Now, it’s cancelled until August, 2021. A number of us wondered out loud on Facebook hoping we’d all still be here to attend. That’s where we are, I suppose. I’d like to think since Mom is 91, her mom (smoker) died at 84, and Dad’s mom at 97 that I have a pretty good chance at living into my 90s. Hope so! I have a bunch of grandkids we need to see grow up.

Many years ago, 1980 or 1981, I was called to Jury Duty. I had to get a babysitter for my daughter, and took the bus to the Courthouse to arrive on time. I was picked on about three juries. I had the perfect face and demeanor of a perfect juror. I was totally honest, and gave people the benefit of the doubt. I totally enjoyed the experience. Most folks don’t. For the first time in my life, what I thought mattered. It mattered so much because I could find someone guilty who would have to go to jail. It was at a time in my life when I didn’t have a lot of say so in my life. I had an awakening.

If I could help put someone in jail, why couldn’t I pick out my own washing machine? My ex had the idea it was “his” money, so he was to spend it how he wanted. I loved being a stay at home Mom. It was the best time in my life, teaching my babies what they needed to learn, and loving them all the way. It’s hard to believe I was a doormat. I let it happen, I didn’t know any better. When I pushed back, the marriage didn’t work at all. I no longer went along to get along. I found my voice. And it was a relief. And I haven’t stopped using it, either. My life has gone many different directions after that. All good, mostly.

We are a bit paranoid right now. Our neighbors on both sides are moving. One was a renter who purchased their own home. The other was a homeowner looking to retiring to an acreage. Both are great people, and we’re sad to see them go. With two slots open, we’re hoping we get people just as nice as are here. It’s quite a gamble, you know. Right now, we value our peace and quiet, especially in the morning when we’re outside having coffee. It still feels like vacation to sit there, in the quiet, and hear only birds calling out to each other. We’re hoping for good people, cross your fingers for us! Speculation can make you crazy.

We’ve had the greatest neighbors all along. When I bought a house in 1987, a retired couple were next door. They kept an eye on my kids during the summer. It was a blessing. We’ve had a neighbor who had a long criminal history, theft, assault, drugs, dealing, etc., etc, etc. I pray to God that doesn’t happen again.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate your time. C’mon back tomorrow, I’l be here. Hope to see you then. Be safe. Love your kids. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Let’s all live to 90!

Swinging Saturday!

Yeah! Gavin started playing ball last night in his Youth League. They have a tournament all weekend. Nothing like going big or going home! I’m excited about this for many reasons. I love baseball. I love when kids get to learn and play. I love this team because his dad, our son-in-law, is one of the coaches. From what I hear, he was quite the player in his day. Never got to see him play, but I’ve heard the stories. Good ones, of course. His dad is a good father to both the kids, and a terrific son in law. We have three great ones, TJ, Aaron, and Brian.

So if the rain holds off, we may get to go to the game later on. Addison is back at dance now, and she’s enjoying seeing her friends. I don’t think there are many girls in her neighborhood to hang out with, so she’s glad to have human contact again. While it’s all good now, I’m concerned about what will happen later, in October and November. Just praying and taking precautions for now.

I am having some challenges with the office help this morning. Letting them in. Letting them out. Getting them water. Right now, a squeaking squirrel is making it’s way up my thigh, complete with bad doggie breath making it a little warm in here. And now, here is the dinosaur, doing the same. If I stop writing and go to the living room to sit with them, they go to sleep. Can’t win, but I can laugh while I’m doing it. Finally, twenty minutes later and she found a place to lay down and nap. Lexie prefers the couch. In fact, she knows the word “couch.” Funny what we do for our pets.

I am writing a scene/point page for my new story about a girl who has to find courage to leave her unhappy marriage. She is discovering many resources to help her leave, she just has to be vigilant to make sure she sees them, and has the courage to act on them. The more she discovers, the more there is to discover. I think life works this way. The scenes are major events she experiences, and the points are the way she feels about the experiences.

I’m beginning to think ideas are full of fluffy, filler words. It’s a real challenge to tone them down and not make the meaning difficult to find. I think we speak with a lot of filler words, and tend to try and write that way, too. Quite different from business writing. Then it’s the facts, summarized for an executive in fewer words. Almost as if they don’t want to waste their time knowing what goes into researching what they ask us to, then only wanting to know the important things.

And technical writing is really precise, with all the details, and sometimes hard to understand. Learning ASSEMBLER computer language was so painful. I attended a two night per week school and my younger son had his appendix rupture during that time. He required emergency surgery and I missed two of twelve classes. He nearly died. I almost didn’t pass the class, too. Neither of these things happened, thankfully. Never want anything so awful again. Either that class or one of my kids nearly dying.

This is going to be an afternoon I need a little nap, so I’m heading that way. Hope you have a wonderful rest of your Saturday. Thank you for reading, I appreciate your support. Wash your hands. Wear your mask, thank you. Call your mom. Be a good example. Share a smile with someone. Listen.

#290! Fabulous Friday!

Here is blog post #290! I’m excited at making this a habit for nearly a year. We have a way to go until we reach 365, but we’re getting closer and closer. I’m just happy for the friends and family who have stuck with me and continue to do so. Thanks for your support.

The Babe and I spent the day doing much-needed “stuff.” Errands, things you put off if you can. Most important thing was the saga of the broken Acer laptop. We have only had it for 18 months or so, good thing we bought the insurance for it. The new service center Nebraska Furniture Mart outsourced their computer repairs to is CPR, not far from where we live. OK, they checked it out, and needed to order a new screen component. Replaced the whole thing. Took it home, didn’t work. Took it back, they ordered yet another new screen component, fixed it, we picked it up. After using it once, it failed again. They certified it was non-repairable.

The Insurance Company who processed the claims took forever. It’s been a good 30 days since we’ve been able to use the laptop. They gave the Babe a very bad time (how dare they!) and finally emailed with info about the credit we received for a new one. It was purchased in November, 2018, and of course, all the models have changed. That’s ok by me.

So when I finish here, I hope the new HP Laptop is charged. It has Windows 10 on it. It should be a good one I’ve always been pleased with HP. I know there are naysayers out there, and that’s fine. For my money, I doubt I’d get another ACER again. Maybe that will change. Unless I live to be 95, I don’t know how many more laptops I’ll need in this lifetime. What a concept to ponder!

And now, in the “What I’ve Learned About Writing,” category, I’ve read a series of articles about manuscripts that aren’t necessarily bad but may not measure up for one reason or another. And it all has to do with beginner author mistakes that are so common. In my mind, I’ve thought, “No way, will I make those mistakes.” And yet, here we are. The manuscript of “These Walls DO Talk” will be put on hold, indefinitely. And that’s a good thing. It’s a little exhausting to write about dysfunctional people. Really. Instead, I’m concentrating on one person (Katie) and chronicle how she grows up and rejects many ideas her family had for decades. No idea how long it can be, but I think it’s got some important messages in it for girls who know what they see before them is not what they want when they grow up.

And it’s been so long since I was a twenty-something. The world has changed so much since 1972, when I turned 20. I look forward to working on it the next couple of months. No writing is wasted, it’s something you need a lot of practice doing. I can tell some days my blog isn’t as good as others, and other days, it almost writes itself. So goes it when working on a manuscript. Even if they are abandoned, there is a lot of learning that takes place. And that’s the best I can hope for in this world. To learn everything I can.

I love my reality, I have no reason to escape it. I write for those who need to escape theirs for a little while.

Song of the day: Sugarland’s “Life in a Northern Town.” Listen here.

Note: this is an audio only, a static picture, no video. Sorry!

I love their singing. The first time I heard Jennifer Nettles sing was for the Super Bowl show where she sang “Who Said You Can’t Go Home,” with Jon Bon Jovi. What a voice! I couldn’t find the Superbowl video, but the one I did find was at Daytona International Raceway. Great combination!

And here’s another version, from the Hurricane Sandy relief fundraising concert of 2012. Here, Bruce Springsteen joins him. Two Jersey boys making their hometowns proud. I am always amazed to hear of their works of charity; Bon Jovi with his restaurants, Habitat Homes, and Springsteen has always collected food for local food banks at his concerts since the 1980s. Generosity abounds.

I am still in Season 1 of Yellowstone. I wanted to review it before the new season begins on Father’s Day. Not sure if I’ll hit that goal or not. It is a very good drama, and the scenery is beautiful. Although it’s supposed to take place in Montana, it was filmed in Utah. Those states are all so beautiful. I’m sure it will be another interesting look at their lives. What a story those people have!

Thank you for reading today, I”ll be here again tomorrow. Hope to see you then! Stay safe. Wear your masks. Wash your hands. Be kind to each other. Set a good example. Have a great weekend.

Thinking About Thursday

This Plant Needs Prayers!

Our beautiful pure-bred hunting dog must be a vegetarian or something. She mangled about four plants this week. I suppose it’s my fault for trusting her too much. She’s a puppy, still. And now, she’s sleeping peacefully on the floor by me while I write and it rains outside. All is right with the world.

She’s Sleeping Near the Bag of Coloring Supplies.

It started out a beautiful day, right now, the clouds are rolling in. It’s still a beautiful day and when the rain comes in, I’ll be grateful to not have to water. Even the plant Goldie tried to eat. Well, I guess she DID eat it.

I am so happy to have these two dogs for companionship. They are great company and comfort, even if they just nap in the room I occupy at any given moment. They are powerful creatures. They sense everything about us. Earlier this week, Lexie didn’t like Goldie tugging at a toy Gavin was going to throw for fetch. Lexie walked over in between them and gave a low, throaty growl, ever so quietly. Goldie let go. Gavin threw the toy, Goldie fetched, Lexie walked away and laid down again. She watches her people, and I love that about her.

I had a great conversation with my book coach Sam this morning. We have developed a plan for July and August. I’m taking a slightly different path in as much as I’m writing a different story over these two months, and will check in regularly to discuss the progress or lack thereof. If you’d like to read about Sam, here is a link to her website. You’ll hear a lot more about Sam and our work later in the summer.

Today is a day filled with significant birthdays! In addition to being Sir Paul McCartney’s birthday, it’s my older brother’s birthday and Dan’s younger sister’s birthday. Tom Jewell and Linda Ulmer, Happy Birthdays! Hope you both have a great day. Don’t need to wish Sir Paul one, after all, he’s Paul McCartney!

It seems the food industry is rebranding several products we have used for decades and probably not realized their packaging was racist. Aunt Jemima is having a makeover. I suppose it must be done. For years, I haven’t given it a thought using these products. I thought the updating done last was just like the Betty Crocker image on packaging, cook books, and other items. Were women offended by an old fashioned representation on the cook books? I don’t remember.

Uncle Ben and the cook on Cream of Wheat simply told me they were pictures on a package. No different than any other picture. And now, things will change. Will it change the violence in the streets? Most likely not. But those offensive photos will no longer be staring out from shelves in the stores. So be it.

Sometimes I can’t help but think there needs to come a point where we stop being offended. Where we stop pointing fingers and placing blame, and sit down and formulate a plan to just stop all of this. Both sides. Just stop it! Start respecting each other, just because God created all of us. Then work on being better humans. As you work together, and have frank discussions, you will grow in respect of each other. And yourselves. Do something that’s never been done. Admit there is fault on both sides. Quit being the stereotypes we all hate. The bad cop. The bad punk. The gangster. The professional rioter. Talk to each other. Talk with each other. Listen to each other. Listen to hear. Hear and act. Act in a rational manner. Make the change you want for everyone. Teach your children how to respect and behave, not show attitude and bad behavior.

We have plans to watch Gavin play ball over the weekend. Being a tournament, there are quite a few games to get in. And of course, the forecast is calling for a whole bunch of rain. It wouldn’t be a ball tournament without it!

I also have a lot of writing things to accomplish in the next three weeks. It will be a great way to spend time, and a great way to move forward with my projects. A plan and a partner work well together. I’m looking forward to it.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. It rained quite nicely here, and now appears to be dreary for the rest of the day. Perhaps dreary and rain is what my Goldie – relocated plants needs to come back to life. I’ll see you tomorrow! Stay safe. Wash your mask before you wear it again! Wash your hands. Be a good example. Teach your children well.

Wild Wednesday

Hello, friends. I hope you are all having a great Wednesday. Gavin is hanging out with us today. He told me he is sure Goldie was upset he wasn’t with her yesterday, that’s why she dug out my flowers from the pots sitting on the patio. Grrrrr! Naughty puppy! I love how Gavin explains things. We should all think like an 8 year old. The world would be a better place.

After enjoying milk and doughnuts, we talked awhile, and I started to look at another homework assignment for my novel. I’m not quite finished, but decided I also needed to blog, too. What a busy day to have a huge headache! I’m sure it’s allergies and from the constant wind this week.

There is more and more on the news that I’m beginning to not listen to for the negativity. I know there is a problem for some police and some black men. I believe in those cases they both could have an attitude, then it becomes a contest between egos. Things escalate and someone dies. No one wins this, friends. No one at all. I believe there needs to be retraining on the part of the police. I believe a lot can be done on the part of citizens. Be respectful. Both of you. Don’t do things that are illegal (shouldn’t even have to mention this, really). There was a young person with over 100 arrests who purposely shoved a 92 year old woman down. She had a head injury, as her head bounced off the fire hydrant near her when she fell. Totally wrong. Uncalled for. I hate people on the attack for no reason whatsoever.

Systemic racism has been mentioned a lot in the past week. What is it? I had no idea. I had to look it up. I read it is how racism permeates the fabric of American life. Statistics are given on post WWII housing purchases by white veterans. Many, many purchased homes. Black veterans were denied access to the neighborhoods that were white, and many never applied for loans for that reason. There was no data mentioned about from 1965 until 2015. I would think in that 50 year span of time there would be many, many more black veterans who were able to purchase in “white neighborhoods” because it is now illegal to discriminate in housing. I’d like to see those statistics now and see how they have changed. I can only guess there has been strides made in that aspect.

Education? From where I sit, I see public education as a resource that all races need to take advantage of. School is generally free, and perhaps we live where the quality of “black” schools is not less than the quality of “white” schools. We have had busing since the 1970s, shouldn’t that have made some progress? It’s been a long time since I had a child in school, but I believe there were more programs available in the public school system than in private schools. How about the exclusively black colleges? Don’t they help even the odds? Those are some prestigious institutions.

Discrimination in hiring is also against the law. I think there have been many, many changes brought about over the past 50 years. Don’t those count at all? I know, there should be more. I pray there will be. Better homes, food sources, schooling, work that we will all work hard to attain. We must work hard to get there on an individual basis. A kid with 100 arrests is seriously off the tracks. Where did that happen? Why is it allowed to continue?

I have no cures for social ills. They were here long before my time. They will be here long after I’m gone. What I’d like people on all sides have is hope. Hope backed up with hard work. Reliability. Being on time. The good feeling of earning a day’s honest pay for a day’s honest work. Not the quick buck earned on the street hustling or selling drugs or shoplifting. Don’t be a stereotype. Be the exception. Be what people don’t expect.

And to the police: don’t you be a stereotype either. Listen to people in your precinct. Build a relationship with them. Be the exception. Get the kid on the corner information about joining a technical education program at the community college in their neighborhood. Be an example. Be a Kerry Orosco. Care about the kids. You will make an impact in their lives. Let’s all start today.

Thank you for reading today. Let’s all do what we can to be an example. Not only to our kids, but to the community. It’s going to help us save America. Do it for your kids. And the community. I’ll see you all tomorrow. Be an example.