Friday, Blessed Friday

At last, we have a family wedding to attend today. This cousin did not have to reschedule her big day, thank goodness. It should be a lot of fun for everyone. This family is so sweet, they are all wonderful human beings. It will be beautiful weather, too. Maybe a little rain, but nothing huge. Every day is a perfect day for two people who love each other to get married. We will socially distance, and if it becomes too crowded, we’ll go home.

Photo by Lum3n on Pexels.com

Parents and educators are getting pretty upset with wondering about the virus and kids in school all day. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. Superintendents everywhere are expected to be able to predict the future, and they cannot. No one really can. The experts cannot even agree with all the information, real or not, that is circulating out there. All we can do is prepare for anything. Prepare to homeschool again in a month or so. It may very well ramp up again. Omaha, Nebraska is one area that is ramping up in number of cases. We are steering clear of very large crowds, and distancing when we are out. I hope and pray our grandkids do not become ill, or my mom.

My Pro Writing Aid software add-ons for Chromebook are behaving strangely. While it does a great job of generating reports full of improvements, the format is no longer correct after making and saving changes. Big problem! All sentences are left justified, all centered words, like chapter numbers are left justified. That shouldn’t happen. I’ll have to ask their tech people about it. I may have to use the software on my Microsoft O/S laptop, and not on the Chromebook. I could save each chapter to the cloud, then run Pro Writing Aid reports on it there. Maybe things would stay in place then. (It’d be saved as a Word Doc, not a Google Doc).

Yes, Be Stronger Than Your Storm

There are many, many storms out there being fought by many, many people. Women, Men, Children, Elderly, Young, Middle-aged. Some fight against demons most cannot imagine, thank goodness. But, oh those with unimaginable demons, we don’t judge you by what’s been done to you. It is not your fault at all. Some people’s bad choices create storms, such as a gambler or an alcoholic. Some people learn bad behavior, such as spousal abuse and child abuse. These are not normal things in a life. You should not experience these things at all, as a child or participate in them as an adult. You need to gain power over these storms. Power over the storms and your life; and your future. It can change if you want it to. Yes, it is hard work. There is help.

Know there are people who can help you, regardless of the issue. Reaching our is very hard. It is the first step out of the storm. One step up and two steps back happens often. Don’t give up. It’s worth it.

I hope you find some peace this weekend. Enjoy your days, however they come about. Sometimes, things go nothing but wrong no matter what you do. Other days are perfect, no matter what you do. Have one that’s in between the two. Thank you for reading, I’m grateful you did. I’ll be back tomorrow, and hope to see you then. Be Careful out there. Be safe. Be Kind.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

I saw this guy on the deck last week. It was pretty cool, watching him move ever so slowly. He seemed to move one segmented joint at a time. It was fascinating to watch. I love seeing the creatures of the world from a safe distance. One bug I hope to never see again is the Japanese Beetle. They are so beautiful yet so destructive. The dragonflies, and butterflies are welcome!

August is month with a lot happening. School again (we think), and I don’t envy parents at all. I think our children will be behind where they should be if remote learning would continue for an extended period of time. I don’t think our grandkids are finding enough challenge in the work assigned and I’d hate them to lose out on some critical learning as Addison is in eighth grade and Gavin is in third. They are both very bright and need to be challenged.

Goldie has a blast with butterflies. She could have stood there watching this one for hours. I love showing puppies and babies to watch butterflies. Dragonflies are a lot harder, they move very quickly.

Another August event I’m looking forward to is working with a company to set up a new website for the VFW Post 2503. I’m involved in maintenance on the old one (probably twenty years old), and it is in serious need of an update. It needs to be done, and I’m glad for what I’ll get to learn about WordPress. I can use the knowledge to add pages to my website, and the blog will continue to be one page of many. As I get closer to finishing my book, I’ll add pages to my website.

The Babe and I couldn’t find anything to watch on TV last night, so we watched an Amazon Prime movie, “Fathers and Daughters.” It was quite sad. The daughter was very young when her mother died in a car accident. The father was a writer (go figure!), and mentally ill/struck with seizures after the accident, loss, and having a child to help. He went to a mental hospital for seven months, had ECT (Electric Current Therapy) and other therapy, and returned to raise his daughter. It paralleled his life with hers. She had little understanding how to have a personal relationship with anyone else. She was a social worker, helped a little girl who lost her mom, yet couldn’t commit to her boyfriend. It was a weird story to track. At the end, there was this beautiful song: “Fathers and Daughters Never Say Goodbye.” Yes, it’s a tear jerker. It makes me miss my dad.

Sometimes, it seems as if it’s silly to still miss him after all these years. I have already lived longer than he did. He was cheated out of enjoying his retirement by that tyrant, cancer. I miss his support. Not a “good job,” kind of guy. More of a, “keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll get there,” kind of guy. He’s still with me. And that is all I need to know.

I have a lot of work to ready and send to my book coach for this week’s conference (Thursday morning). For some reason, it seems to just jump at me from nowhere. Lots to do, so cutting this a little short. Have a beautiful day. It’s cloudy, but you can make it sunny in your heart. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Safe. Help someone. Hold the door open. Small things add up. You’ll feel better, too. I appreciate you reading today. I’ll see you tomorrow, and we’ll catch up. Be careful out there.

A Milestone #300 Monday!

Today marks the three hundredth blog I’ve written. I’m so thankful for all of you, reading about the adventures of two retired folks and their dogs. And their family. And their ideas. And their joys. And my writing adventure. And their hard times. You are a part of all of this, some support when I need it, and a cheer when I need that, too. It all helps. Thanks again!

Grandson Gavin will join us again. The Babe went to pick him up then swing by the VFW to count the drawers from yesterday. We will be so glad when they find a new bar manager. It really puts a lot of extra work on the Babe he doesn’t need to be concerned about. I imagine there will be the usual coloring session, coupled with Gavin’s talking a mile a minute. I love it though. The house is too quiet sometimes. God gave us grandkids to solve that issue. We are so blessed!

Today is like a blank canvas, spread before us all. It looks the same, stark white, blank, and full of promise. If you’re like me, you always plan to accomplish so much more than you actually can complete in a day. That’s both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because you are interested in a lot of things and want to dabble in all of them. Bad because you may take a lot longer to actually finish things.

Well. What if?

For today, I’m concentrating on what Sam, my book coach, calls “Inside Outline.” Noting major plot points in your story is a good way to start putting pen to paper. An event or scene, has a point. Simple, eh? The point is my characters emotional reaction to the event. That will take some thinking, and I hope to not be interrupted. Since I began this post, Goldie has interrupted me twice and Lexie once. They want in. Or out. Or to play. Or to drink. Or to . . . Well, you get the idea. When the Babe leaves, he says, “They’re tired and should sleep now.” Oh honey, if that were only true. Still, I can’t imagine life without any of them – the Babe included.

I’m concentrating on being positive about the interruptions. It’s been nearly a year since we lost our Roxie on July 5, and, just like people, as annoying as they can be, you’d still rather have them with you. After that loss, that is the first time I really posted something. That loss got me started. Until then, blogging was just an idea. I’m glad we’ve stuck with it for nearly a year.

An embroidered hibiscus block, with Swarovski crystals.

This is one of twelve blocks I made with hibiscus on them. The crystals were hand sewn on. All I need to do is quilt it. I think that should be some winter day or a cold fall day, in anticipation of the next growing season. I think it’s quite pretty, and I have some new machine quilting tricks to try on it. When the time comes along. And it will tell me when it’s here.

It’s always on my “in between” to do list to work on the website. I’m getting ready to add some more pages as my writing projects gain more form and get closer to becoming “live.” Exciting times ahead. Each day is another baby step towards them. I’m so grateful! I’m also grateful to all of you for reading today. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope to see you all then! Invite a friend! Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Safe. Hug your family while you can, and keep distances when you need to. We need each other a lot more than you think. Family is everything!

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.

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.

Saturday, Happy Saturday

Today is my little brother’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Steve! Hope you have a nice day and get to do something fun. As you’re in your 60s now, hoping you’re able to start looking at retiring. Yes, health coverage is expensive. And you’re not getting any younger, either. Just hope you have good years ahead of you.

When Steve was born, I received my first store-bought birthday cake. Our dad’s cousin Joann bought it. It was a bundt cake and had a doll in the center to look like a girl in a dress. I don’t remember what the flavor was or what the color was, but I remember thinking she was beautiful. Mom was very practical, cutting the first servings out of the back of the “dress” and keep the front looking perfect. I felt so special! I was six years old at the time. Just finishing kindergarten. The world was my oyster!

Another cloudy day today. It is supposed to be rainy today. Still no visit to the nursery, but we are going to visit the grandkids later today. The Babe saw them yesterday, and he said Gavin has really gotten tall. He’s going to be eight in June, and it amazes me how fast they grow up. He’s got some neighborhood friends now, and is riding bikes with them much of the day, when he’s not doing school work. His dad is working from home, so he’s got the best supervisor there is. I love how these Dad’s express and show their love for their kids. When we were kids, men were pretty reserved about emotions, especially about kids. I’m glad they are able to express themselves now.

How will you make today beautiful?

You never know for sure if someone really did write the quotes you see for Facebook memes. For instance, did Mark Twain really say the one above? If not, he should have. I started to research who may have said it, but got hijacked into mindlessly searching other things, and I ended up distracted. So it’s back to work. The most beautiful day of our life? I’m going to work some more on my grandson Cody’s little wall hanging of a hedgehog family. It’s so cute and it’s tough on the eyes for sure. Very tiny holes to do counted cross stitch. This is definitely a work of love. I’m imagining Cody while I work on it. I’m hoping he sleeps beneath it many, many times during his little life. I did buy a pattern for a hedgehog quilt too. That will be fun, too.

The Babe rolled out some sod yesterday, around the area he poured a new landing at the bottom of the stairs off the deck. She was a pretty naughty puppy this morning and tugged at the corner of the sod. She picked up the whole piece and pranced around the yard with it. It looked hilarious. I was not amused because even though we got it for free, it’s a bad habit for the pup to cultivate. We gave her a stern look, a talking to, and I hope she leaves the stuff alone now. We’ll see.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate your support. I’ll see you again tomorrow, you know I’ll be here! Stay safe. Keep your distance. Make today a beautiful day!