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!

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.

It’s Thursday Again

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

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

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

This one is thought provoking.

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

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

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

Taco Tuesday?

I have been working on reading my manuscript alongside a former copy with 3K more words. The mystery deepens, I’m up to Chapter 26 and haven’t found it yet. I think there were more paragraphs I moved from their places to the end of the pages so I could use it later if necessary. I’m glad there weren’t a lot of paragraphs that needed to be placed anywhere. At least, this is my working theory of the issue and it’s solution. Hope it’s that simple in the end.

It is an overcast day and chilly. May shouldn’t be so chilly, we keep wanting to go to the nursery but haven’t yet. I think there will be plenty of plants, I’d just really like to get something planted and watch it grow. In the peace of the quarantine social distancing. From the patio. And others from the deck. I’m envisioning warmer weather and pleasant afternoons, without rain, gale-force winds, and Japanese Beetles.

For the first time in quite a few years, we don’t have any graduates. How about you? We had one wedding postponed and two others will be in held during the summer, depending on which way the social distancing goes. I understand the disappointment the graduates feel. I cannot imagine the disappointment brides and grooms feel after all the planning they’ve done.

When I graduated from high school, because of our modular scheduling and other advances Sister Pacis introduced to the Archbishop Ryan Memorial High School, we had a lot of things that weren’t as we thought they would be.

For the first time, we had no yearbook. Normally, the yearbooks were hard covered, had the usual photos and copies of all our Ryan EYE (school newspaper) published during the school year. At the last minute, there was a small, paperback edition for a yearbook. Disappointing at best. We also weren’t called “Seniors.” The class distinctions were done away with. Some of my class graduated six months early, as they had their requirements met. I could have, but had no plans for after graduation, so I just hung out for another semester. I tutored a couple “Under Classmen” and spent my spare time in the Library, and Art Room Lab. Didn’t skip classes, I didn’t drive or carpool. I would have had to walk several blocks to get the bus if I wanted to leave. So much for sneaking out!

For my first three years, my homeroom was on the second floor. Traditionally, the Junior and Senior classes had homerooms on the first floor. I was so looking forward to not having to walk up both flights of stairs. I was the only one of my group of friends that had to go to the top floor (AGAIN). I was not happy. Yes, it seems silly now, but nothing seemed to be turning out as I dreamed my senior year would be. We had a ceremony, my parents couldn’t find me in the line or on the stage. We were arranged by height, all the girls seemed to have long, straight hair and tortoise shell glasses. (We did).

We thought we were on top of the world, despite the changes and things we lost. I’m sure the kids who missed graduations, the last quarter of classroom work, and saying goodbye to everyone will be fine, too. We don’t get a choice about these things. We have to be ok. If we’re not, we might miss the next best thing that’s coming down the line for us. That would put us a day late and a dollar short for the rest of our lives. We can’t let that happen. Mourn the loss (because it IS a loss). And get ready for the next great adventure of your life. C’mon. You’re just starting out. Keep going on adventures. Keep reaching for the next star. Don’t ever stop. You will soon forget about the things that didn’t happen.

Thank you for reading today, and for your support. I greatly appreciate it. Hope you have a good evening and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow. Stay safe, hydrate, wash those hands, wear your mask, and socially distance to stay safe. See you tomorrow!

First Monday in May

Have you seen the memes about this year, so far? I love some of them. Most worthless purchase for Christmas 2019? A 2020 Planner! Yuk it up, folks! We’re here all week! I would bet more folks learned about the Ten Plagues of Egypt than during any Catechism Class on record. Seriously, I’m just glad there have been no floods to go with this (at least, so far). Too many people were underserved during that horror of last year. Some are still homeless.

All ten of these awful plagues would more seriously impact our lives than staying home would. Blood in the water? Horrid. Frogs? I cannot imagine. Maybe they’d eat the Japanese beetles this year that have destroyed our Linden tree leaves the past two years. Shows the impact of nature. Lice or Gnats? Yecchhhh! Death of Livestock? I tear up when I see the cattle freezing in the Western part of Nebraska during the blizzards of the plains. So sad. Boils? Have you ever had one? I had one on my thumb as a kid. Had to soak it in Epsom salts. I think that was the old school cure for everything. Finally went away. Hail? We’ve had horrible hailstorms in Nebraska the past ten years or so. We replaced siding on our old house twice. Total damages were at least $17K each time. That’s not counting roof, cars, and other things. They’re expensive.

Locusts? I’ve been misinformed all my life. Cicadas are what I’ve been told were locusts. Lies, I tell you! But Cicadas are what make that awesome sound on a hot summer evening. Or afternoon. There is a hornet called a Cicada killer. They’re super ugly and lethal. To Cicadas. Darkness. A permanent eclipse would be weird. Anyone who’s ever gone to Alaska or even in Canada are weirded out by the short nights. Your internal clock would be confused for sure. The last is the worst thing I can imagine. Death of all firstborn children. We will not address that, it is the most horrible fate to put on someone. God made His point.

Love this one. Appropriate for my 50th Class Reunion this summer!

Confession: It was a goal for me last week to layer and pin three or four small quilts for quilting. I failed totally on that one. I could beat myself up, but I won’t. It’ll get done. I’m looking at this week. We’ll visit that topic again later in the week.

A goal for today is to get as far as I can in correcting punctuation, spellings, reducing overused words, etc., in my novel. I had a great start yesterday, hit the wrong key and had to escape. All 250 corrections I made were wiped out. Do over starts today, when I’m finished with this. I think making those corrections in the entire manuscript will help me expand some places and tighten up others. It’s all a learning process. This appears to be the best plan as of this moment.

And how do you take it when you realize something wasn’t a good way to go, or a good choice? Not a major life thing, but say in a project, artwork or otherwise? If no one is around, I take it well. I think. Well, maybe not. I’m usually glad no one knows. In my personal life, my worst mistakes have been because I was lonely. Think about it. My worst mistakes in writing, art, quilting, etc., are due to lack of experience. Lack of knowledge. Personal mistakes can be from lack of knowledge or experience too. One thing I’m working on is to learn to be silent if someone is telling me about my writing. I have read it’s not meant to be a conversation. It’s a report, a monologue if you will, with their feedback on your story or work. You cannot defend what and how you wrote or drew or painted. You need to be open to suggestion. You also have to learn to not take things personally. I need to do that. Deep inside, I know I have something to offer. If someone’s take on it is “you’re terrible.” I can simply thank them for their input and move on. Right?

The worst thing I could do is figure Pro Writing Aid can make all my corrections for me and I don’t need to proofread it again. Baloney! There have been many times it tells me I’ve mixed up a word for another when I haven’t . The things I’m learning along the way are really eye opening about our language, the meaning of words, and how important they are. Kind of like writing a song. I probably couldn’t do the music part but I could do lyrics, I believe. It’d take some learning, but it would be an awesome experience. I can read music, but it’s been a very long time. Bucket list!

Our class has a member, Anna Merola, who was originally from Italy. I did not know that until we were reunited through Facebook. She was such a nice girl, fun, intelligent, and someone I’d love to see again. Through the pandemic, we’ve shared reports, along with other classmates, and her best advice through this whole thing has been to stay home. She has and I know it’s been hard. She’s a widow and misses her children, grandchildren, like the rest of us. It has been a good thing about this pandemic is getting to know her again. We’re sorry she cannot make the trip to the U.S.A. from Italy in June as she planned. Maybe another time, Anna. Stay safe and healthy. Caio, baby!

Easier to do later in life than when we’re younger. Why?

With my 50th Class Reunion this year, it’s opened my brain to do a lot of thinking. If anyone may have been as self conscious as I was during those years from 9th grade to 12th grade and beyond, it’s easier to understand the saying above. I was a horrible mess. It was my lack of confidence. My inability to speak up. My lack of asking questions. My lack of setting boundaries. My learning what rights I have as a member of the human race. No early teenage kid knows this stuff. Do they? Did you? From the sidelines where the wallflowers and I were, it seemed the kids in Debate and Drama and Chorus had no issues with confidence. After all, they could speak, sing, and act in front of hundreds of people. And the Honor Roll kids were so smart, they oozed intelligence. They were headed somewhere. The athletes and cheerleaders, everyone wanted to be them. I did. They had perfect lives we all envied.

I couldn’t do any of that. I couldn’t draw well, even though I took mostly Art classes for electives. I was best at Lettering and Layout. I wanted to take Drafting, but wasn’t allowed to because there were no other girls. Coach Ponsiego was ok with it. Sister Peter Julian put the kibosh on my registering. She was my advisor for that year, and said, “Absolutely NOT. You have no business there as shy as you are.” Maybe it would have gotten me out of my shell sooner. Fifteen years sooner. As much as I hated Home Ec, I did learn to love making clothing, decorating, costumes, and now quilting. The art training didn’t go to waste, although I need to take drawing and painting again. I will. After my book is published. I have always loved to write. I wanted to, be a reporter, but didn’t know how to start. College? My parents couldn’t afford it, and I only earned $1.25 and hour, I think.

I’m off to work more on my book, “These Walls DO Talk.” (Working title.) I’m thankful for your visit today. I hope you return tomorrow, and we’ll chat some more. I appreciate you so much! Take care. I hope you have a fabulous day!