Saturday Fun Times!

So yesterday we went to the garden center and purchased some beauties. I planted a few things in pots earlier, and one in the ground in the front yard. A smaller hydrangea bush. It should look pretty good next to the butterfly bush that grew so huge last year. We’re planning to keep it trimmed up a bit as it grows, so it doesn’t encroach on the sidewalk to enter the house. Last year it needed to be trimmed a lot.

My back does cause considerable problems when I do work like this, so I sat down on the little front porch steps to rest it a minute. I untangled the wind chimes I purchased a few years ago at Shopko, when they were still open. It was tangled to badly, I was tempted to cut it apart and restring it. But then I started thinking about my dad. He could untangle necklaces that were twisted and tangled so bad you were tempted to throw them out. He was a man of incredible patience when it came to things like that.

I started thinking about him as I sat, trying to untangle the knots of all elements of this wind chime. The more I thought about him, the easier the tangle became. I was truly amazed at how the time passed, the tangles fell away, I thought of how my dad would work on things while working them out, I could smell the freshness in the air, I was aware of the coolness of the concrete, it was such a relaxing, enjoyable experience. And this was the result:

Late getting started, but the front is looking better.

I’m sure now I’ll have those heartwarming thoughts of my dad when I glance out the window while writing or sewing. I’m such a “just look out the window at this or that” kind of person. I hope to experience many more things like this when I’m looking away to let my eyes wander.

The Babe is mowing the yard in between working more on the birdhouse bench he’s building. It’s amazing how thick the grass in the back yard has become, despite the dogs being out and using it as dogs do. I used to think only retired people had nice lawns. I remember mowing our lawn on a big banked hill when my kids and I lived on Nicholas Street. My son Nicholas sure thought it was great to live on a street named after him. I do believe it was named long before he was thought of, but I didn’t want to burst his bubble. I have a bunch of plants to keep planting this afternoon, and I’d better get back to it.

There are a couple plants I need to plant in nicer containers, like the Hibiscus tree, and hope I can keep it alive this winter. Maybe remembering to water it will help, too. Since we have lost our great cleaning lady, we’ll be cleaning now and should be in a better position to be watering plants that need it. Yes, I’m sad to lose Lori, but she needs some benefits and to be more secure for her future. I wish her well, and am glad to have had her since we moved into this home. Good Luck!

Below is an overview of the flower garden the Babe fenced in for me. There are Columbine, a small Hydrangea, and a couple Asiatic Lilies down there. We’re going to lay down Landscaping Cloth and decide where the annuals go. I hope to get everything in and thriving by tomorrow afternoon.

Lots of Potential

There is something about this meme that I love. I do believe many of us have been doing this since social distancing and stay at home were introduced. I know it’s hard for the Babe to put into words how he feels, he just knows things are “off”. I feel the same way. It’s kind of like listening to someone talk, but you feel and hear like you’re underwater. Or you go somewhere and don’t think about driving there, but realize you are there. That’s the time to do like these two little guys do above. If you can’t or don’t want to talk about it, maybe you just need someone to sit with you. Quietly. Just feel the being together. It helps. Try it with someone you trust, love, and respect. It is the best medicine.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. Sit by someone you trust and love. Enjoy their quiet company. Or untangle your windchime from last summer. It will take your mind away from your troubles. So relaxing. I will be here again tomorrow, hope to see you then. It’s the Babe’s birthday. I’m off to bake a Red Velvet Cake. The store was out of German Chocolate. So the Babe bought our granddaughter’s favorite. Hope the others like it! Take Care. Drive Safely. Wash Your Hands!

Happy (Birthday) Friday!

It’s my big day. It’s the day I get to remember where I’ve been and think about where I’m going. I’m moved by the greetings and phone calls, texts, messages, FB Posts, it’s really fun. I appreciate it so much. Thank you all.

It’s just been a beautiful day so far. We went to the garden center. A couple of bucks later, I have two hydrangeas to plant, one is supposed to be 5 – 7 feet high! Holy smokes! Another one is a little dwarf at 18 inches to 24 inches. It’s a replacement plant. A mum bit the dust, so the hydrangea will replace it. So we unloaded the car, and now is a steady rain, just enough to hang inside. And it’s fine with me. We went to lunch at Addy’s for their Monster BLT and it was great. Socially distanced, of course. And now, it’s home time.

The older I become, the more I remember past birthdays. As a young couple we sure didn’t have any $$ leftover. Mothers Day and my birthday fell in the same pay period. I had to choose which event I wanted a card for. I left it up to the kids. The ex would get a coffee cup, put clothespins in it, and the kids were so proud to present it to me. Their little faces always brighten up. Good memories.

When I turned 40, those kids gave me a great gift. We lived in a different house. When I went to bed the night before, they blew up 40 black balloons, and stuffed them inside my 1989 Pontiac Grand Am. They fell out when you opened the door. I left them in the car, I had a chuckle all day at work. A young guy helped me out to the car with my stuff that night, in the rain, him carrying my birthday cake, me holding an umbrella over his head. The balloons fell out in the puddles by the car. I about died laughing. Great memory!

These are the really exciting times. I’m writing my novel, have ideas for some children’s books, and one for families. Thanks to the Babe, my daughter Becky, and friends who are encouraging, I’m writing and enjoying it a lot. This year will continue to be a good one, despite the quarantine, Coronavirus, and masks. I’m grateful to God for His blessings and mercy.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Today is National Poppy Day. I love it’s on my birthday, as I love the flowers, and love the Poppy campaign the VFW does to help support Veterans through the funds raised from donations for the handmade flowers. Please support them if you see them out this weekend. Many Memorial Day services are cancelled, and that is sad. Our Post is having a small ceremony, Don Bacon will speak, and we’ll have Sloppy Joes for lunch afterwards. It will be a small, socially distancing event. God Bless our Veterans who gave their all so we may have the freedoms we have.

The 1970 graduating class of Archbishop Ryan Memorial High School is sharing something with all the kids who weren’t able to graduate normally this year. We had to cancel our 50th Class Reunion this year! We’re shooting for 2021 instead. Someone posted a little quip that’s 100% truth at this age, “We just hope we are still alive in another year!” And we do. The celebration will be sweeter when it’s safe to go out and mingle. And it gives us another 12 months to crash diet and get into shape for people we haven’t seen in years.

In the meantime, this meme is my slogan, my anthem, my brand and my toast to living a most excellent year ahead. I’m happier than I could have ever imagined, and am so grateful for friends old and new, young and old, authors and songwriters, and those I’ve yet to meet. I’m praying for another 30 years as long as I know what’s going on. Hugs to all of you who have inspired me to do this journey, the things I’ve always wanted to do. Some of you don’t even realize how much you influenced me. Thank you. God Bless you. See you back tomorrow. Back to work then!

Thankful Thursday

Hi, friends! Every year when this day comes around, I almost feel like a kid eager for their birthday. Actually, I’m a senior citizen, eager for her birthday tomorrow. I have always loved birthdays, mainly because if the moon and stars align just right, you probably will be the only one in your family with YOUR birthday. Numerology and multiple births aside, it’s a pretty cool happening. I suppose it’s because to me the day of a person’s birth is so special. With my children, I eagerly awaited their entrance into this world. So special. Those little babies who are the closest thing to angels and God Himself, I just cannot believe how precious they are. I think we should have this trait throughout life. We are all precious and special to someone on earth, and for sure are special to our Creator. In the grand scheme of things, we have no idea how special we are. Start thinking on that when you feel if no one notices or worse yet, cares.

The Babe has a birthday two days after mine. We used to go to dinner on the 23rd, but this year we will grill steaks at home. That will be perfect. We’ll go out later. The issue of cake has been addressed a couple times. We’ll have a buttercream frosted cake for me, then purchase a German Chocolate sheet cake for a cookout we’re going to on Sunday. It’s family, so we feel safe. It will be nice to gather with people again.

I’ve got quite a list of things I need to study up on for my book and talking with my writing coach again. In addition to updating the working copy of my manuscript, I have a couple worksheets that will require some decisions and a lot of thought, a lot of work with the book and workbook “Structuring Your Novel.” Kind of neat the author of that book and workbook is a member of the Nebraska Writers Guild. Just like me. It’s fun to meet these people and be able to ask questions of them.

There is a lot of editing I need to do regarding conversations among the characters. They need to be separated by person, line by line. I erred by making the whole conversation a paragraph, not separate sentences. I will be easier to follow. And it will do something very important! Increase the page count. LOL. I’m grateful I met some fellow writers that I consider friends and colleagues. Colleagues can teach you about your similar interest. A friend can really get to where you are able to dig deep and pull out emotion, description, and reaction that are deep. They exist but you have to dig. Right now, I’m digging. It’s there. I know it is.

Have you ever heard the term “head hopping?” It’s a phrase that describes what happens when the writer tells you what each character is thinking. It’s confusing and frowned upon in writing. It conflicts with point of view. I do a little of it, so I need to remove it. I’ve heard the term several times, but now I know what it is and why I shouldn’t do it. No wonder it takes so long to write a novel!

If I were to illustrate my current storyline, it may resemble this!

Guardians of the threshold would be dogs, not cats. I do wonder about those shopping carts, not to mention the card readers! Holy smokes! There are many schools of thought on what to do now, how to do it, and what not to do at all. Getting tired of hearing about it. Let’s just get through it, whatever it will be now, and however long it takes. As I recall, H1N1 has happened at least twice in my lifetime, as has Swine Flu. I was vaccinated for Swine Flu both times. Never became ill. I get a flu shot every year, too. Pneumonia shot, then the super Pneumonia shot for old people. I’ve had both a regular shingles shot (at my own expense, after radiation. I wasn’t considered “old” enough to get it.) and the two shots now for shingles. I get a tetanus shot when prompted and follow the directions on most everything else.

So, the question is: Do the Babe and I go get COVID-19 tested tomorrow?Weigh in below, in comments.

Folks, while I get back to work, I wanted to tell you all thank you for reading. It means so much to me. Tomorrow will be another session, I hope to see you all back then. Take care. Stay safe.

Hump Dayyyy!

The week is half over, if you live in a regular Monday through Friday world. I have six Saturdays and a Sunday, myself. Without Church in the equation, it’s more like seven Saturdays. You know when a person is young, charting out their careers, families, their place in the world, they never have enough time. I remember talking to my Grandma Bobell one time, after my daughter was born. She was my third child, and although I didn’t work away from home, I was very busy. I did my own cooking, baking, cleaning, and a lot of things like that. I enjoyed sewing and crocheting, too.

I was visiting Grandma with my kids and she said, “Just remember, when you get old, you’ll have all the time in the world, and nothing to do.” She kept busy, but it was very sedentary. TV watching. Smoking. Reading. Smoking. It was a time when old people were thought of as just “old.” Glad that as I’m entering into my “late 60s” that we no longer think that way. She was a very intelligent person, read a lot, and studied a great deal about World History. She was well versed in Roman times and Greek eras. She knew exactly where she wanted to go when one of her daughters went to Italy with her. Grandma may have only been on a plane ride once in her life, and here she was, flying to Italy with Aunt Judy. To be a fly on the wall! She enjoyed seeing things she only knew about by reading. She couldn’t walk very well, so many of the tours she stayed on the bus. At least she was there.

You Can Only Eat an Elephant
One Bite at a Time!

One step at a time is how I’ve had to live for over 25 years, since a medical emergency caused a large portion on my spine to be disassembled without reconstruction. I have lingering pain, scoliosis, fibromyalgia and a bunch of other stuff because of it, but in those 25 years, one step at a time, have been beautiful! We’ve traveled, I met the Babe, we married, so did four of our five kids, become grandparents, and have a lot to look forward to in each other’s company. I’m so lucky to have found someone who didn’t take my “slowness” as a problem. His mother had MS for many, many years. I loved to watch how he was with her. I experience that same kindness and love when I have a bad day. Which isn’t a lot (when I actually complain) but when I do, he usually knows by his observations than by me saying something. God’s been good to me.

After talking with my book coach yesterday, I am deep into researching my main character. What do I want her to convey? What is her weakness? What can she show the readers that they can learn from? What can I learn from her? I don’t have it written down, but by writing it, I’ll know if she’s working or not. Then the rest of the story may be told. I need to touch very deeply on her emotions about things. To show how she’s changed and grown. Sounds as if that’s a lot of deep, thoughtful work. I’m eager to do it.

I have also discovered where the “extra” words exist and what they’re about. I have saved the ideas, to see if they fit into anything I have written. If not, they may be useful for something else. I’m just glad to discover where they were and that I’m really not missing a lot in the story.

My character learns this in her life. Her most important lesson.

Today will be another Wednesday Night Hamburger Night at the Post. Their special is Chicken Fried Steak, a real crowd pleaser. I’m not a fan, but usually that menu item is really a top seller. It will be great to connect with our friends again. It was a long time we were away from each other!

I find the information available about the ongoing pandemic to be kind of confusing. It is we just stayed home to ease the hospital run on ventilators? So when we go out and if we become ill, they just have ventilators for all of us now? So we avoided it thus far, does it mean we’re safer now? Our Test Nebraska site allows you to make an appointment to be tested whether you are symptomatic or not. Should we all be tested? What do you all think? Comment below, I’d like to know your take on it. I shudder to think what will happen late in the fall and next winter.

My character needs to learn this during her journey.

I’m hoping we are able to get some plants in the next few days. The Babe constructed a nice wooden fence (with a small gate) to keep my new plants safe from a curious puppy. He is also building a cute bench for extra seating or holding flower pots. We’ll decide after it’s finished. The back is shaped into different sized bird house fronts. They’re painted different colors. Not sure if it will go on the patio or the front porch. It would fit there perfectly, or we could put it on the deck, too. This is what makes new things fun, figuring out where to put new things you have made. We have fun!

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time so much. I’ll be here again tomorrow, and I hope to see you then! Stay safe. Wash your hands. Help your neighbor, wear a mask. See you!

Mobile Monday

A Sunny Day or Six Would be Great!

Getting a late start today for the blog. I had two early appointments this morning, and the rest of the day had a conference with my writing coach, and a lot of thinking about what we talked about. It started out gloomy again. Maybe tomorrow. There is always hope.

I’ve had my temperature checked more today than I have in the past five years. Well, not really. I’m surprised Walmart didn’t check it. They had no disinfecting wipes to clean off the cart handles and didn’t require people to wear masks. They did a good job reconfiguring the aisles. They have some dividers in the middle of 12 foot aisles and nice markings in the aisles indicating the six foot apart rules. It was perfect. I found Butter Beans! And Dog Treats. Essentials for Cowboy Beans and for keeping the dogs happy. It was a win-win.

The conversation with my writing coach was good. I got some honest feedback to help me take my idea and what I’ve written so far, add some things, and be able to make it the best telling of my story about Katie and her seven brothers: Patrick, Andrew, Edward, John, Marty, William, and Michael. It is amazing to make the decisions about characters, their flaws and strengths, and the perils they will interact during. It’s a continuing process, and sometimes I get an idea and decide that may be in a follow-up story, maybe in a trilogy. That would be quite exciting!

Those of us in the 1970 Graduating Class from Archbishop Ryan High School will not be having our 50th Reunion this year. That is sad, but since we are all “of a certain age,” maybe we’ll start a new tradition of a 51st Reunion. It could become a thing, you know? And perhaps our good friend, Anna Merola, will be able to come from Italy. It would be wonderful!

As I left the dentist this morning near 144 & Fort in Omaha, I did see the Nebraska National Guard flyover doing a tribute flight to honor the state’s heroes in the trenches of treating COVID-19 patients. It would have been more spectacular against a blue sky, but the clouds accentuated it as well. The special tributes to those in harm’s way are incredible.

My nephew Don is an ER (ED) nurse in Arizona, and I know he is an angel to his patients. He is in the profession because of his mother, who died from oral cancer in 2007. He was a graduating senior at Bellevue East High School then. Wow. Talk about your graduation being messed up. Her funeral was the day after his 18th birthday. What a lot to overcome! Don enlisted in the USAF, and served his country. I love what he’s done with his life. And, still a newlywed, he married the lovely Carrie last November in Omaha. I’m so happy for them, proud of them, and am just waiting to see their new chapter. You, Don, are my hero. May God continue to bless you!

I’m issuing an apology in advance of you reading this meme. It is an important part of a theme in my book, and it is important for all of us to own our actions, words, and behaviors. If you do not you will never be able to be your best. It is especially hard for people who were raised in dysfunctional families. There is no shame in it, the shame is in not changing the things that are wrong. Not calling out the bad behavior within our own groups leaves the door open for passing along the bad things. And you don’t want to do that. Be strong. Be aware. Be brave enough to say, “It stops here. My family did the best they knew how. And some things need to change for the future.”

I thank you for reading today. I appreciate you so very much. See you again tomorrow, you know I’ll be here ! Stay Safe. Wash your hands. Call a Friend. Learn something new! Take care.

It’s Thursday Again

I’m amazed at the number of “elderly” (our age) people who tell us their kids won’t let them leave the house. What? They don’t live under the same roof at all, but the kids are making their parents stay home. It makes me wonder. Our kids just ask what we’re doing. Does that mean they don’t love us? Hardly. One of the kids picked up toilet paper for us when we couldn’t find any in our stores. Other than that, we speak to them and check in about everyday life but don’t go further than that. Is it that they trust us to be cautious? Is it they don’t think of us becoming ill and dying from it? I choose to look at it that they think we know what to do. What do you think? Have you told your parents to stay home? Our mom doesn’t listen too well. At nearly 91, she still insists on going to Walgreen’s and Hy Vee for groceries herself. She has a good chance at becoming exposed. I’d rather not be exposed.

Our Hamburger Night was good again. We visited and made plans for Taco Night tonight. The Babe heads up the kitchen staff for that. I’m not able to lift anything heavy or stand for a long time, so I come along for moral support mostly. Not sure if I’ll join him or not. It’s that or stay home to let the dogs out, let the dogs in. Let the dogs out. Let the dogs in. Let the dogs out. Let the dogs in. You get the idea.

i’m putting together some notes for the rest of my book. I need more meat in the story at certain chapters. It’ll be hard (maybe) to get another 8K words. Once they start, though, they come easier. It’s not impossible. Just need to get to it. I hope to hear from my book coach in a couple of weeks and see what the assessment of my first three chapters is. At a much younger age I used to agonize over such things. I don’t anymore. I do hope it comes back favorably though. If not, back to the drawing board.

This one is thought provoking.

Thank God for the empathy of others. We especially need that now.

I remain hopeful our Veterans graves will be decorated with the American flags this Memorial Day. It would be a shame if they remained bare. A news story yesterday stated the VA is not allowing groups such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to plant the flags as they usually do. The National Cemeteries in Long Island, New York have 500,000 graves in them. It sounds as if it will not be allowed at all. I understand the social distancing, believe me. I would think that even if they worked in pairs the Boy and Girl Scouts could find a way to socially distance and still be able to plant the flags. Yes, it is a symbolic gesture, but it is an important one I believe. After all, people are allowed to go the store now, and even pick up dinner from a restaurant. It will be interesting to see what happens. I hope someone regains their mind to let them put the flags in.

The remainder day will probably go quickly. We will start serving tacos to some hungry veterans and Honor Guard members after 4 p.m. More talking with friends tonight, and hoping everyone is well. It will be a good afternoon. Until it’s time for me to leave, I’ll do a little more editing and planning. I hope you all have a good rest of the day, stay safe, and keep up the social distancing. See you back here tomorrow!

Friday, I Think

COVID-19 Quarantine Day # 6,385.

I’ve seen some folks posting on The Facebook they’re in quarantine for 8,365 days. It’s all in how we look at it. I know it’s probably easier for retired people like the Babe and me. If we were gone from a job we loved with or without pay, yes, it would seem like torture.

Unless money is an awful hardship for you, try looking at your time at home in a different way. While I was working, I left for work in the dark and came home in the dark. Yes, it was a long day, every day. And it seemed as if I never saw my house in the daylight. I was on medical leave after a surgery in the early 90s when I truly saw my house at all hours of the day. I realized how nice it was.

My kids and I were alone at that time, and it was really a long time off work and school. And yes, I was younger, 39 I believe. I came to see our home and the isolation in a much different light. I appreciated what I had been working so very hard to earn and possess. It was a time that stopped my daily frenzy and made me grateful. If you’re feeling like you can’t take it anymore, try that. It’s like looking at the world through different lenses. Not rose colored. But reality colored. Big difference.

This is my inspirational plaque.

I mentioned this plaque yesterday, and the computer gods prohibited me from showing you the photo. If you missed the post, here’s a link to it. Thank you, my dear niece and friend, Wendy. It’s hard to imagine that we used to babysit for you. You were a fun little toddler. And you are a blessing to all that know you now. I’m grateful to have you in my life.

It will be a different kind of day. Since our VFW Post is going to launch a scaled back food night for Wednesday, May 6, 2020. They have been closed since before St. Patrick’s Day. It’s not just a financial thing, it’s to help life the spirits of people who have formed a family or sorts. We miss each other. None of us know what’s going to happen in the next six months, I have a feeling it could go either way. Nebraska has lifted the stay at home life a bit. Restaurants have been given the ok to open with restrictions, and many have decided to remain take out only. It’s up to the individuals.

I’m going to go to the Post later to do some EXCEL spreadsheets for the Babe who is their Quartermaster. It’s the first of the month, and the books need to be reconciled, despite bringing in $0.00 and having expenses despite being closed. The officer group will meet and decide how to place tables, members, food service areas, and keep the doors sanitized. We have to start somewhere. We will see how it goes. People have to make their decisions. We always have the option to stay home if we don’t feel safe.

I’m really working hard to get my novel to the place of showing, not telling. That is much harder to do than it sounds. Telling is so easy. Showing is hard. I need to find how to show during a narrative of things that happened fifty years before. How the heck do you do that? I have a good reference called “Show, Don’t Tell,” and I hope the answer lies somewhere in there. It will make the process so much better. I have a feeling I have much more to rewrite than I thought. But it goes with the territory.

It is quite nice not having to take Mom to her appointments and errands. It’s been about four years since she quit driving. My younger brothers have been great about helping her out, too, and I’ve been the solo driver for weekday needs. It’s been something you do for your elders when they need it. No questions asked. It feels weird to not have the commitments, but I am enjoying my free time. I’ve told her not to hesitate should she need my help again. The danger of us getting COVID-19 will go down in the coming months. We’re social distancing like we should have been. I’m concerned about her not letting people go to the store for her, but the decision is hers. She’s insisting she needs to go, so I hope she’s surrounded by a mantle of protection from the virus. Check the definition of mantle vs. mantel. Word of the Day!

Truer words were never uttered!

We humans think we can control our destiny. We can’t. The sooner we realize that, and make adjustments in our attitudes and lives, the sooner we can live with much more ease, happiness, and joy. Yes, joy. It’s ours for the taking, all we have to do is relinquish control. Control is really an illusion anyway. We must not lie to ourselves.

It’s about time for me to meet the Babe. It will be a good rest of the day. When I return home, I’m going to layer and pin some quilts. Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time, and look forward to seeing you here again tomorrow. Be safe!