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.

Rainy to Sunny Wednesday

We’ve had all sorts of weather already today. Rain, chilly breeze, and now it’s partly sunny day. Great week is on tap. We have a wedding on Friday, so the weather will cooperate for the beautiful bride and her groom. This couple was fortunate, their wedding and reception was not postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19. Her sister’s was, and they will have their reception next month. It all works out.

We’re kind of wondering what to do with ourselves. Gavin’s Mom took vacation from today until next Thursday, so we won’t get to have him today or next week. Hard to believe school is starting. He and his sister attend Papillion/LaVista schools, so they are taking the plunge, right back to a full schedule, onsite, masked, no lockers for older kids. I think they need it, psychologically. They need the safety of school, the friendships, the learning to get along with others in a large group, and the learning you can only have in a classroom. The impromptu discussions that happen randomly are important to learning, too. Sometimes you get more from those than from textbooks. My only hope is for all students and teachers, staff, aids, resource officers and the like to have a safe year.

Tomorrow is my conference with my book coach. I shared my list of books I’ve purchased randomly to learn about writing, publishing, Legalities of self-publishing, etc. The list is about 30 books. So much to learn! I also have a GREAT COURSES class on writing. I forgot I had it, I only watched the one I bought about drawing. Time to rotate the writing one out to the DVD player.

Way back in the old days, before we knew about COVID-19, I ordered some cute paint by number canvases. Didn’t realize they came from China. Never got them, I emailed them frequently to let them know I had not received what I paid for yet. Finally, this week, they arrived. I think they look like a lot of fun. These will be a winter project for sure. Here they are:

This is for my granddaughter Kayla’s room.
This one is for our home.

It’s the time of year again the butterfly bush is huge right outside my studio window. The Painted Lady butterflies are beautiful! It makes me feel calm, sometimes there are ten or more lighting on it. Such a sight. We have a bush that is nearly as large as the butterfly bush. It has large leaves, had a few little white flowers in the spring. The fall and winter isn’t supposed to have red berries. We’ll see what it does this year. It may end up transplanted to the back, near the Wetlands. The Hydrangeas are almost large enough to place in the front flower bed as well. We’ll see how the Babe feels about it. Fall is the best time to transplant all this stuff, I think.

Today is a take it as it comes day. I’m going to work on my quilt again. It should go well. Hopefully, photos tomorrow! Stay safe out there, wash up and mask up. The kids need us to all cooperate, so they can learn, feel safe, and get on with their education. Be Kind, Be Thoughtful, Be Courteous. Your day will go much better. See you tomorrow!

Oh Honey, You Have No Idea!

Magical Monday

Today was bittersweet. Mom asked me to take her to the ENT today. We made a stop at her favorite Half Price Bookstore afterwards. She has terrific trouble with her vision from a stroke several years ago and has extremely poor hearing, even with hearing aids. Either of these things will cause a person to be isolated from the rest of us. She has not wanted to attend the last couple luncheons for the retiree group from my dad’s job at the Omaha World Herald, and has turned down invitations to the two wedding receptions our family is looking forward to. It’s probably part due to her age and infirmary, and part due to more isolation because of COVID-19. Last November, she was not comfortable attending the wedding of a one of her favorite grandsons, because she wouldn’t be able to hear the ceremony.

The Old Days . . . Come and Gone.

I can see a vulnerability in Mom I have not seen before. She is aging, she has taken excellent care of herself, and that can be a double-edged sword. Her independence has been reigned in due to limitations. I’m eternally grateful she quit driving on her own. With her hearing issue, it was easy for her to get rattled in traffic. It was hard at first, but we went on in-town errands and always had lunch. The first Wednesday of the month was always Shopko day. She’d stock up on paper products and what not. We’d ooh and aah at the baby clothes and laugh at goofy things. It was fun. I’m sad Shopko closed, it appears she’s kind of been declining bit by bit since then.

Of course it’s expected, especially at her age. She’ll be 91 later this month, and I’m astonished at that. She hasn’t had an easy life. Our Dad worked nights, and she was in charge 24/7. I was a junior in high school before he transferred to working days. Our two younger brothers had Dad at home while they were in high school. They had different parents than my older brother and I did. It was different at the end of the 1960s when we graduated from high school. Our younger brothers graduated in the mid 1970s, a much different time. A different generation.

We lost Dad in 1988, just after he retired. It was so unfair for him. He worked hard all his life to provide for his family and never got to enjoy retirement. He died six months after he retired. Half of the time he was fighting cancer, the other half, he was home alone while Mom tended to her dying mother with her sisters. Grandma died in September, Dad in December. What a burden on Mom. No time for grieving, there was business to attend to.

Sometimes I think it’s harder for someone to release their independence if they’ve had it for a long period of time. If you’re still independently living in your 80s, it will be hard if you have your wits about you and you need to give some independence up. Many older people don’t get a real choice, some tragic circumstance dictates the end of their driving, or living alone, or walking without assistance. Mom was really brave to give up driving when she did. It could have come sooner in my opinion, because I could see how shook up she would get in traffic.

When the low income high rises were popular in the 1970s, Mom swore if she had to live in one of those, she’d die a slow death, filled with misery. She helped my brother Steve with his South Omaha Sun paper route, and saw the inhabitants of the 10 – 12 story high rises first hand. After her mother died, she swore she would leave her affairs in good order. For that, my brothers and I are grateful. We know she’ll leave us someday. It’s just a matter or when. It will be unexpected, but it will still cause sadness.

But we will celebrate her because she did the darndest things (quote from her mother-in-law). She was a docent at the Zoo for over 25 years. Babysat the baby gorillas and orangutans in the nursery, and was on tiger-birth watch if a female tiger would start labor in the middle of the night. She might call me up and say, “If you call late at night and you can’t reach me, I’ll be at the Zoo, doing . . . .” We’d tease the hell out of her, but were always glad she was so active and out and about.

So yes, we’re grateful. And sad at the same time. She’s having a hard time not being able to go about her life. And we have to be patient even in the worst moments. My two younger brothers are good men and help her out a lot. Taking care of a house is a chore at 91. Heck, it is at 68, too. But at least I have the Babe. Another thing my brothers and I are be blessed with; she has wonderful neighbors, who help her, and who scold her when she’s pulling weeds where she shouldn’t be. Thank you, David _________. We appreciate it!

So as I recall her telling me the ENT’s mother (also in her 90s) was on her hands and knees, scrubbing the floor before her cleaning lady came over, and how she was scolded by her son the doctor, I will also remember the story of her pulling weeds in an unsafe area. The neighbor simply said, “What do you think you’re doing?” several times, relieved her of her bucket and loppers, and waiting in the driveway until she went inside the house, and say, “You kinda are doing silly things too, that aren’t good for you.” She laughed, and said, “Well, I suppose so.” And all I can say is, “Rosemary; you do the darndest things!”

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.

Fabulous Friday

It is really a beautiful day outside. I swear God sends cold fronts through the humid and hot areas like Nebraska to give us a break and make us feel like living again. It improves the general feeling of your soul and gives your mind a break. Still, I like the four seasons. Four “alleged” seasons. It seems like we skip a lot of spring and a portion of fall many times. Hope there is comfort to deal with the rest of the pandemic we are having.

Where we live in Gretna, it is very close to Omaha. The VFW Post we attend is in Omaha. We have concerns about the possible mask ordinance Omaha was considering. It appears the health department has backed off from enacting one. I say it’s a shame, the legalities were questioned and they asked people to use their best judgment. With those rights comes responsibilities. To me, it makes sense to wear a mask. We do not often make the best judgments. Some use motorcycle helmets as an example. I favor helmets, seat belts, and wearing masks. Yes, it’s annoying. So are helmets and seatbelts. But I’m safer using them.

My asthma doc ordered me to have a COVID test before my appointment with her last week. I thought I would test negative and did. I believe curtailing my social activity and social distancing, which includes wearing a mask when shopping is helping. Please think long term on the outcome, it may make more sense.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

In addition to working on my Poppies Quilt, I’m devouring a couple more books for writers: Write Great Beginnings, and Point of View. It appears there is more competition than ever to attract a reader who will read a book. It also appears there are fewer who start a book who actually finish one. I have only quit reading maybe 4 books in the last ten years. When I buy them, I think it’s a terrible waste to not finish. One was borrowed from the library, a biography by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Brian is a genius and has had mental illness for nearly his entire life. It’s a very sad story, and one that concludes well. There are better versions written, believe me.

In addition to having a hook to attract a reader, you have to do a lot to keep them reading. Each chapter ending should make them just want to keep reading. I love books that do that. They are easy to read and quick. No time wasted. Now to learn how to do exactly that.

I have some real characters to introduce once I build them. It is such fun to be able to do that. There is something I read to make sure to appeal to the theater of the reader’s mind. What does that mean? Simply put, have you ever enjoyed a book more than a movie? Yes, an author needs to write so well the images in our minds are vivid and our imaginations can take us through the story. That’s the challenge.

Conflict is the center of fiction. Intensifying the troubles that stand in a main characters way. The problems are big, and he or she drive the story with their decisions. Because they chose this, something else happens. I’m told it gets easier the more I understand it. I trust Sam Tyler, my writing coach. She has made this endeavor so good for me. I’m so lucky to know her from the Nebraska Writers Guild. She is a writer and coach. Very good with critique. Asks hard questions. All with good reason. If I can’t answer the questions, how can I write my answers to them?

AHA! There it is! This is also a great living example of why/how to outline everything (major events) in the story you want to tell. Sure, you have it all in your head, but trust me, your memory isn’t that great some (most) of the time. As I write, other ideas spill out and I can end up in a completely different area than I wanted to be. I’m learning to be a planner, not a pantster. A pantster is writing by the seat of your pants. When you think you have a great idea, it’s easy to think you don’t need to plan anything. I can be foolish at times!

Just as maps are not always up to date in Google, our outlines can leave a bit to be desired. We need to be open (always) to modifying the outline. Even if you’re well into the story. Lots to think about. Lots to wade through.

And There You GO!

Off to work on another unrelated issue. I’m helping get information together for the new VFW Post 2503 website. It should be a fun project. The one we have is pretty outdated and cumbersome to work on. I’ll be learning some WordPress tricks I don’t know and will benefit tremendously from it. Thank you for taking time to read the blog today. I appreciate it, and hope to see you tomorrow. Stay Safe, my friends. I want you all with me the rest of this journey. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Careful out There!

Hydrangeas 101

Good Saturday Morning, folks! It’s another beautiful morning in Gretna, Nebraska. Breezy, bright, and full of promise. Maybe that’s the coffee talking? No, it’s my vision for the day.

One of our local nurseries is having a Facebook Live lesson on Hydrangeas. I am interested as we purchased a couple of new plants this year, and had two grow very well this year. I thought those two were dead! Fooled again by foliage! I’m interested in seeing what they have to say.

Did a lot of reading yesterday about personality changes, rewriting your story (life story, that is), writing vivid descriptions, and thumbed through “The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression.” Awesome resources. Now to use parts of all of them in my work later today.

I used a little time yesterday to tidy up my studio writing area. It’s amazing how much paper I’ve gathered while printing things I thought were important to my research, learning, and all aspects of writing. One area it all gets fuzzy is if you self-publish. Some advice is market yourself first and foremost. I’m unsure how that will help if you may be two years out from actually having a book ready to publish. You would have exposure but would people be tired of keeping in touch if you had nothing to sell them right away?

Works For Me!

I remember a little kid that used to live near us. If he had a Spider Man shirt on, he was invincible. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all had that kind of confidence when we try something new? It’s interesting to watch people in a crowd. I’m totally enthralled by people who sing well in front of a packed crowd, especially if we’re attending and watching a live performance. Of course it takes hours and years of practice to really do it well. The better they are, the more they have practiced. I love being able to reap the benefits of their hard work. Kudos to all of my musician friends!

ABSOLUTELY!

Locally, we had a professor post on Twitter about a “Back the Blue” rally that was scheduled for today. The individuals who planned for this event were Bill and Yvonne Williams, founders of Patriotic Productions, the group who sponsored all of the Honor Flights for Veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Women who served in Vietnam. He was the speaker a couple of weeks ago at VFW Post 2503 Honor Guard’s Banquet and shared information about the event with us before his news conference doing the same.

It seems this professor called it a White Supremacist Rally. How educated he must think he is. How does he feel now, after finding out most of the speakers at the Back the Blue event are people of color? And how dare he criticize the Williams’ family. The college issued an apology, nothing from the professor, he deleted his Twitter account. I hope he loses his job over this. He is an Associate Professor of History (Christian History, no less). No wonder some of our young folks are confused about things of real life. “And that’s all I’m gonna say about that,” to quote Forrest Gump.

One of the biggest challenges as a writer is dealing with “backstory.” The definition of backstory is everything that happened prior to page one of your book. That can be a lot! It’s important because it reveals important events that contribute(d) to the characters personality, lifestyle, and behaviors. It isn’t story, it slows the pacing, it’s often revealed much too soon. Some advise not including backstory until after page 50 of your book. That is really something for me to think about, and figure out about how to introduce my backstory when it’s appropriate.

I find is fascinating the backstory could be included as a flashback, and those also must be placed carefully. They must be short, after the first third of the novel, and be placed after a powerful scene. If they are after a boring scene, the reader has no reason to come back to your story. They may want to stay in the flashback, according to Sandra Gerth, who wrote “Show, Don’t Tell.”

These things and more are why it takes so long to write a novel. In re-writing is where the story often changes and becomes clearer. Even if entire chapters are not used, they are not wasted. They are learning opportunities.

Most of Our Days in Life Are Quite Ordinary.

With all the info I’m reading about writing, I have to be honest with you. When the “50 Shades” trilogy came out, I bought it, just to see what the hubbub was about. I really thought the writing was horrible and the story was terrible. Basically, you had a very rich guy, used to having his own way all the time, take a young girl, and introduce her to the world of S & M and a few other things, and she never seems to question anything. All she can say is, “Oh my.” I became so sick of reading that phrase! Oh, and “Laters, baby.” How cheesy.

I’m guessing the author (this was supposedly her first book) didn’t have a coach, didn’t read any of the books I’m studying, and somehow got lucky the publisher picked her. She made a boatload of money and I’m unsure if she ever wrote anything else. Did she? I’ve never looked for any further books. I’d rather never sell a book if I wrote something that was so redundant, boring, and forgettable. Sorry for the bad review, but I have to be honest. I understand she is now a Romance, Erotica, and fan fiction writer.

#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.

Song of the Day?

While driving to Omaha to get my mom for the first time in a long time, I listened to my mixed-USB in the car. Up came one of the most beautiful renditions of a very popular song that was sung first by Judy Garland. It has been recorded by many, many people over the years. The woman who sang it as I heard it today has one of the most versatile, powerful voices I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy. It was. My brother Tim had it sung at his wife’s funeral. It was Laura’s favorite song, and it was quite fitting. I’ll always remember Laura when I hear this song. I’m so glad I had her for a sister for a little while. Very special woman.

Laura Elliott Kraft Jewell

My mom was able to purchase all of her cleaning supplies, dish soap, hand and body lotion, and garbage bags. The supply she got should last her for awhile. If I’m guessing right, she really wasn’t out of these things. She used to keep one item open for use, a second as a backup, and a third as a backup backup. You never know. I suspect she may have opened a backup and needed to rotate her stock again. Now she has no cause for anxiety until she thinks of something else. I’m sure it will be something. Poor thing. I hope when I’m old and alone that I go to the assisted living facility and don’t worry about anything. I’ll eat ice cream every day, and the world will be wonderful. You have to make it that way. Bless her heart.

It is actually a beautiful day today, not too windy or hot. I’m hoping Billy McGuigan and his brothers have a great opening night for Rave On at the Drive In. Omaha Community Playhouse is sponsoring a parking lot drive in concert. I love the idea. At first I thought no. But I miss live music too much. The Babe and I will look at going next week, I think. Here is a link to The Omaha Community Playhouse. You can never go wrong going to see Billy McGuigan and his bandmates. All the people who play in any of his band selections are exquisite musicians. They just all play well together. Check it out.

Just saw the weather. This is a first. It’s 88 degrees out, with light humidity. In fact, it feels like it’s only 85 degrees out. Gosh, hope there’s no wind chill! This is perfect weather for an outdoor drive in concert. Hope the boys have such great weather throughout their run.

I hear Black Diamond watermelons are in stock at Huffman’s Produce. I’m after one ASAP, because they are unbelievably good. Our little group of friends at the VFW have talked about how hard it is to find a good watermelon the past years in memory. You’ll be pleasantly amazed. I was.

Tomorrow will be a day I hope to spend at home. Home with the dogs. The Babe will go to the Post for awhile, and then we’ll decide how to spend the days of the weekend. I’ll make sure to write a lot earlier tomorrow than I did today. It just goes better, I think. Thanks for reading today. I appreciate your time, and will see you tomorrow. Take care of one another. Wash your hands. Socially distance. Be Kind. Be Mannerly. Be Civil. We all deserve it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

This morning, I didn’t even watch the local news. I didn’t want to know what happened in Omaha last night. I want to, but just didn’t want to hear it. I have too many thoughts from the racial tension and riots in Omaha during the 1960s and 1970s. It was bad. Very bad.

The dissention between police and civilians is nothing new. When one or the other crosses the line, havoc reigns. This is what happens now. And neighborhoods are being destroyed. Within the law, there are many, many fine details that must be present and provable in order to charge a person with a crime. You may charge with caution, that is, you should charge them with something for which you are fairly certain they will be convicted. First degree murder vs manslaughter. Intent must be proven. And it must be proven by facts. Not feelings. It is very, very complicated.

The feelings are very complicated, too. No one wants to be a hard hearted Hannah. Compassion and empathy are two things we need as humans. They need to be balanced with truth and logic. The only sure thing that would have prevented the killing in Omaha was if there was no crowd and rioting going on. People push and shove. They get shoved back. In the heat of the moment, things happen that are not well thought out. If a gun is involved, a clear head should prevail. Sometimes, it doesn’t. Gut reactions usually are fight back. Bricks. Bullets. Bad results. Shame on the humans who stirred this frenzy up. It had a terrible outcome. Again. Please. Stop it.

I actually have been able to write today. I am going to use my main character’s voice to tell part of her story in first person. The first time she talks is when she is in kindergarten. I tried to make it sound like a little kid was talking. Pro Writing Aid is trying to make me say, “I enjoy coloring.” over “I like coloring.” do you know of any five year olds who say “enjoy” when they “like” something? Probably few and far between. Thoughts? Leave them in the comment section under this blog post. Thank you!

We had a weird thing happen this morning. Somehow, one of the dogs had a whole bunch of greenery from outside somewhere in their mouth and dropped it in a big pile all over the floor. Big pile of it. Neither of us saw one of them walking around like that. It doesn’t appear one of the plants in the front yard was disturbed. I need to check the patio. And walk around the yard. It’s driving me bonkers. I’m hoping this is the biggest issue we have today. It will certainly lighten the mood. I hope it helps us work harder in our area of the world to make it a better place. We need to be kind, thoughtful, respectful, and empathetic. Start with your home. Start with your family. Start with your neighborhood. It will grow. Be the change. Change of heart.

Be This Kind of Change

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate it very much. Hope to see you again tomorrow. I’ll be here. Hopefully with the mystery of the greens on the carpet solved! Be safe. Be careful. Honor and respect the curfew and each other.

Now What?

It’s Sunday, May 31, 2020. Omaha is one of many cities with riots last night. The protesters became criminals when they started destroying things because they simply thought they should. Many of the people arrested in Omaha were young, white people. Not very many black or hispanic people. The Police Department HQ was assaulted also. So many people in the Old Market area of town were destroying property. Breaking windows in our beautiful historic Orpheum Theater. Someone started a fire in a coffee shop, three young men grabbed a fire extinguisher from their apartment in the area and put the fire out. Quick thinking.

These poor people, who own businesses in the area. So sad. As if loss of revenue from the Pandemic wasn’t enough, you add this . . . a person could really lose heart and desire to continue trying to succeed. And the protestors. Do they really know why they went from making a point to making the conscious decision to start destroying property, being disrespectful, and thinking it is perfectly ok to do this? Or are they doing it just because the guy next to them was doing it?

Omaha has a curfew at 8 p.m. tonight. No one should venture out. It will be in force for three days. I hope it puts a lid on the rioting and destruction. You are not helping your cause by being lawless. Peaceful disagreement would be much more effective. Just as Dr. King proposed. We need to pick up where he left off, not just go off in a frenzy of mayhem and destruction. A cool head must prevail for any change to take effect.

But there will always be that one person who thinks they are above the law. Maybe it’s a cop. Maybe it’s a rich white kid. Maybe it’s a poor black kid. Or an Hispanic who has to translate for his parents who don’t speak English. All of this started with a cop using a method of detention that has been frowned upon. And four of his colleagues standing still. Standing there. This is not acceptable. Period. Why did he think that was a good idea? Why didn’t the others intervene? Will we ever know the truth?

And now in cities all over our country, there are people who really want to protest peacefully. They come out in the daytime. Just after work. And they go home. They don’t hang out for hours and hours and turn the tide and mood of the crowd to breaking the law and destroying property. Why do they think this is a good idea? When you stoop to using those tactics, you are not helping anything. Why give credence to a stereotype when you could do something constructive and good for the situation?

So, please stop and think, my friends. What can you do? What will you do? Whom Will You Be? This editorial cartoon is shared with permission from Jeffrey Koterba of the Omaha World Herald.

Jeffrey has an unbelievable knack at depicting exactly what the people are thinking. We look to him in times like these to put our feelings and thoughts into something we look at and say, “Yes, that’s it.” I believe his cartoon for tomorrow’s edition is spot on, and I wanted to share it with the rest of you. Whichever city you live in, it’s time for all of us to ask ourselves, “Whom do I want to be??” Thank you, Jeffrey Koterba, for helping us at times like these. Be safe. Honor your curfew. Wash your hands. Stay at home.