Thorough Thursday

I went outside on this beautiful day at 9 a.m. and just took a break at 1 p.m. The dogs are pooped out with a lot of running and playing in the yard. Goldie has become a pest with her insistent barking. She thinks Dan and/or I exist just to throw her toy for her to retrieve. It IS her job, after all. It’s even noted in her breed. So, we’d toss the toy, she brought it back, over and over again. She tries to do tug of war, barks, and so on. If I sit down, then she lays by my chair and sleeps. Hard to plant in the ground while playing catch. Of all the dogs I’ve loved in my life, she is really the only one who loves to play catch. Most others just look at you after you throw the object. Silly.

Last fall, I saved as many geranium plants as I could. Took them out of their dirt and put them in a paper bag. They go dormant, then when you plant them in the spring, they grow like crazy. Here’s a pic of them. You can see the green growth on them. I’ll keep you posted on how they grow.

I love weird plants. This is a tropical plant, called a Rabbit’s Foot Fern. So, this one is actually a house plant, but it’ll live on a table on the patio. I think it’s such an odd plant, I had to buy it. To me, things like this are fun.

A Rabbit Foots Fern

I have a few plants to put in the ground inside their little garden. It’s under the stairs from the deck, and will get sun/shade. An old Hydrangea I thought was dead is now about six inches high. I think it’s probably time to put some fertilizer on that baby and watch it grow!

The thing about gardening is over the years, I’ve dug out grass, spread manure, watered, planted, fertilized, and watered some more. The results have been worth the labor involved. Each home the Babe and I have shared has had a unique garden. And now, we’re creating the last one I’ll dig up. I’m not too good on the hard work part of it right now. Age, arthritis, and chronic back pain are a definite handicap anymore. More perennials are finding their way into the ground. I keep pots for colorful annuals. I love looking out on what has grown overnight each morning. It’s always a surprise.

When my oldest son Frankie was still at home, we would go buy annuals around Mother’s Day. We always got petunias, moss rose, many varieties of impatiens, and whatever else looked good. He’s promised to take me to buy a couple things when I’m an old widow in a retirement community. I will need a deck or patio, and plant one flower pot. It will be a great memory to make.

Goldie loves to be with her humans. This is the first time she has stayed in my studio with me. She is pretty tired from barking at me this morning. She is a good companion, too. We both miss the Babe when he’s gone. He’s doing some things at the Post, and will be back later. It’s fun to have pets that miss you while you’re gone. Just hate to see them have separation anxiety, though. That can be a problem.

Goldie, the constant companion and my writing buddy

I had a session with my book coach yesterday. I finally know how I’ll be adding another number of chapters. I think her suggestions were good and have a lot of merit. Now just to figure out how to incorporate them. I need to describe the bare emotional and physical reactions to her life and those around her. Telling a story is such a journey, and it needs to be told correctly. Hats off to Sam again, for some great advice!

I’m headed back outside to play in the dirt some more. I just need to finish this big job then sit down with a cold beverage and enjoy it. Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it so much. And I’ll be here again tomorrow. After my first haircut since January. It worked out ok since I’m letting my hair grow out. I was along with the plan, so it was ok. Take care. Be Kind. Wear Your Mask. Wash Your Hands. Be Safe, my friends. See you tomorrow!

Memorial Day, 2020

May this day find you all free from threats, feeling safe, and remembering the selfless soldiers who gave their lives for our great country. This is a day we celebrate and think about their lives of duty, honor, and love.

By the time the USA was involved in WWII, many a young high school lad enlisted in the Army. Our nation stayed out of the war until we experienced the attack at Pearl Harbor. It was the absolute worst thing that ever happened to our country ever. Until 9/11 happened. How could we be attacked twice on our own soil? Did we not have the best military forces in the world? We did then and still do now. We let our guard down.

We let our guard down that Sunday morning in 1941 when most of those alive went to Church that day and may have been headed to Grandma’s house for dinner. Then it happened. A day that has lived in infamy. Many, many young men found their way to various recruiting offices to sign up for the Army or Navy, they wanted to defend our country against the aggressor. So many of those that died were fresh-faced teenagers who may have lied about their age to enlist. They left to go with others and defend our country. Many never returned.

Between the battlefield and the end of their lives, many soldiers met my father, Sgt. Thomas Jewell, Jr. He was initially a young medical supply/surgical tech and helped rescue the fallen from the battlefield, applying tourniquets or pressure to wounds and prayers with frightened young men. He was with medics all through Europe in General Patton’s Army. He served in Korea, caring for North Korean POW’s. He returned home to never really talk about things. Parts of him died with each of those young men. Many who survived told him at his 1987 Blackhawks Division reunion they had prayed for him every day because he saved their lives. One described him as self effacing, one who simply went about his work dodging bullets, carrying the wounded on stretchers. He was always an extremely modest man, never boastful about his accomplishments. He has always been my hero because of his unending support, quiet manner, and experiences in life that made him a good man. I am a very lucky daughter to have had that kind of father. He passed away in 1988, six months after retiring and three months before he was set for the first vacation of his life: flying with the Blackhawks to trace their steps through Europe on the liberation of Europe operation. Our mother still made the trip.

To help us think of those young fallen soldiers, here is an excellent video and rendition of TAPS. Jimmy Weber sings. Peace. Thanks. Gratitude. Let Freedom Ring. God bless you all. And God Bless America!

TAPS by Jimmy Weber

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!

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.

Terrific Tuesday

A Dance. Not a Light Switch.

Almost all of us have been in situations we don’t want to be in. Some of us are expert at saying, “This is not what I want, I’m gone,” and leave. And never come back. We protect ourselves and know we deserve better. We don’t feel guilty, we feel appropriately balanced.

Others of us are so dependent on others, we may ask our kids if we can go see our friends today. We’re the adult! You don’t need their approval! If you ask permission of your mate, that’s not good, in my opinion. If you’re checking about the family calendar that’s different, but know you’re coordinating schedules, not asking permission. Permission to me is requested of a higher up, like a boss. Not an equal partner, spouse, or friend. Yet, there are many who always seek permission, as if they are not able to make their own decisions.

Still others of are still learning about these things. We know when something is uncomfortable, but we are more called to duty than anything. It could be this way for dealing with an aging parent. We make statements that go unheard, simply because another person has never acknowledged or honored our boundaries. They were the bully and manipulated you into doing what they wanted. They cannot do that once we learn our worth. It is more like a dance, when we are still dealing with those troublesome personalities who bullied and bossed us around. They become frustrated at not getting their way, and we may feel badly for saying, “No.” But we have set out boundary. They are trying to bully their way across it. “No” reinforces it well. They become more uncomfortable and leave us alone. Nothing to feel bad about. You were firm. It’s a victory! A dance, not a lightswitch. And it’s ok. You’re learning. You’ll also learn not to feel guilty.

Yes. First Thoughts. Yes!

A whole new world opens up for a person who learns to stop accepting second thoughts (or no thoughts) and “Maybes” as answers to invitations. I used to accept those from people. From people I asked to do thing, to go places, invitations to events in my life. There is no silence as long as the wait after someone asks a question only to be met with, “Well, I’m not sure, maybe.” Or just met with more silence. Like your question doesn’t exist. Like you don’t exist. They deserve a “Yes” or a “No.”

It is tricky to learn these new things. I’ve been working on it all for about forty years. I’m no longer brainwashed. I’m no longer feeling second best. I’m no longer feeling ignored. I will only spend time with people who want to be in my life. No second bests. Not any more.

And some people think I’ve changed. Some people think I’m terrible. I have changed. I no longer sell myself short. I no longer think I don’t deserve good treatment. It’s been a long and winding road. There is always some old programming left you hear once in awhile. That you’re boasting if you stand up for yourself. That you have an inflated ego. Blah, blah, blah. Not true. Not anymore.

And it is exhilarating!

In the novel I’m writing, I’m examining a character who learned to stand up for herself, for what is right, and has learned to speak up, despite the cold shoulder and bullying by her family. It’s lonely. But she becomes used to it. And she realizes the people who treated her the worst were the ones she loved the most because they were family. She also learns you can select a family who accept you for who you are, who support you and your dreams, and who treat you well. She sees where she started the journey and still has a few triggers with certain words and situations. It’s a gift she gave herself. And it keeps giving to her and those who love her.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. I will see you here again tomorrow. You know I’ll be here!

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.

Thankful Sunday

We’re basking in the love here at home today. Yesterday, we went to visit the grandkids for about an hour. It was wonderful! They have both grown taller and matured even more than last time we saw them. Schooling at home, being quarantined, and other responsibilities have been great for them. Addison has a beautiful heart and will be as tall as I am in the not too distant future. Gavin is much taller and is having the time of his life at home. In addition to doing school work, he’s reading books and playing while social distancing with his neighborhood friends. He learned to ride his bike!! He is quite the social (distancing) butterfly.

We had a nice visit with the whole family, Tracy and TJ are always willing to help us out if we need it. How nice. We also have my Frankie in town who also would help us out if we’d need it but he lives across town and works weekends, and other times we might need an assist. I’m sure this will change as time goes on. This pandemic and quarantining have had us thinking a lot about planning for our lives as we age. It tells us we need to think twice about having control of our situation. We do to a point, and to be realistic, how can we plan for our future now? I think the answer to that is plan as if this virus and everything involved in it are not an issue. I think we will have vaccines for this. I think we may find at least part of it was manufactured. I hope whoever did that is punished.

Back to work on this for the afternoon.
Very slow going!

Was this against the rules? Maybe. I trust our family and I know they are taking every precaution to be safe. So are we. It’s a risk. But the hugs of those two young, strong, grandkids is worth it. The hug and linger. They don’t let go. They convey their love to you. So heartwarming. We are the luckiest people on earth. All of you will feel the same when you are with your families again. It will happen. We will all be careful. We will still socially distance. We will get together with our loved ones again for a brief visit. Once the greeting hugs are done and the long goodbye hugs are finished, we will leave their homes again or have them over. Gavin loves our dogs. They love him. He needs to play fetch with Goldie. They will both love it. More hugs. Puppy loves. It’s life at it’s best. And we will all enjoy it again.

Remember the little things. Remember the warmth of a hug. Remember the love in a child’s smile. Remember the joy when they learn to do things like walk, ride a bike, or write their names. It’s all coming back again and it’ll be old normal back again. To heck with this “new normal” people talk about. Give me the best of the old normal.

I’m still reveling in the love we felt yesterday. I’m just going to enjoy that all day in my memory, Thank you for reading today. I’ll see you tomorrow, and I appreciate you stopping by every day. Smile. You will have good hugs again. Back to “work”. Stay safe. Stay distant. Stay home.