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.

Thursday Insights

Hi, guys. It’s nearly noon and I’m just getting started with today’s blog. I had a great session with Sam, my book coach today. I have more changes to make, and they’ll make my story better. We talked about how different writing a book is from writing a blog. And it is so different, it deserves a moment to discuss it.

This blog is written from my heart. It’s content are my musings on any given day. Some days, I have ventured into current events, but I try to steer clear of them. I talk of things of my heart, people I love, how the Babe and I spend our time, and how grateful I am for the life I’ve had so far. God’s been pretty good to me. It could have gone so many different ways.

Great Words for These Times

Actually, these words are great for any time, not just now. Be rare. Be someone people can trust. I think we all need someone we can trust totally. Those people are the ones who are hard to find. Of course, I trust the Babe. Be a trustworthy friend.

I may have mentioned before, the only bad thing about masks is you can’t smile at someone. That’s not good. Many times while going through Target, I’ll come across some little kids or moms and dads, and want to smile as I excuse myself and walk past. They don’t know I’m smiling as I do it. Isn’t half the communication lost then?

I need to put blinders on as I write about a scene. I notoriously try to cram backstory in while trying to fool myself into thinking it belongs there. Sam cannot be fooled, that’s her job. So, I’m writing some more and reminding myself along the way; “If it has nothing to do with the scene, leave it out.” Much easier to say than do. I have a book to read with good examples of how to give the backstory with few words, usually dialogue. It’s amazing how differently the author has accomplished that. Writing is a lot harder than most people think. I don’t hate my work, I like it. It just needs tweaking.

The Babe is working on updating some things about the house. New fireplace face, new flooring in the kitchen, entry, and two bathrooms. It’ll be nice, just hope it goes well. People are eager for work, after being quarantined off and on. We should be able to complete both projects before any additional distancing is required. I think having retired from a business that provided updating to existing homes and dreams coming true in new construction, he naturally thinks that way. I just have the benefit of his knowledge. Thanks, Babe!

Well, I have some rereading and rewriting to do. And probably a lot of rethinking. It’s all ok. Blocks of time will be spent now since we no longer have Gavin to keep us busy. Miss that little guy. Gosh, I hope the school kids adapt well. Tuesday will tell for him, Wednesday for Addison. And all the teachers, please be safe. Thank you for doing what you do for our children.

Thank you for reading today. Anything worth having is worth working hard for. My dad always said that. And I’m remembering his words, because I’m working hard to my novel. And I know it will be worth it in the end. Be safe, Be kind, Be thoughtful, and Be courteous. We need to be good to each other. See you again tomorrow.

My Story. So Worth It.

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!”

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!

Winning Wednesday

So much to create, so little time. Do you feel this way? Not just about writing, but crafting and creating together. Unfortunately, I have interest in a lot of creative endeavors. I sewed my own clothes for many years. To dress like the job I wanted, I tailored my own suits for nearly my entire working career. As I progressed in salary, I did purchase them, but still sewed for myself. I’ve probably also made about 40 bridesmaids dresses, and two wedding dresses. I loved doing it all.

Then, after I could no longer work at the age of 48 due to my wacky spine condition, I went on Medicare at age 50. And straight into depression. I felt washed up and useless. I was used to being very physically active, and just couldn’t anymore. Over the next 18 years, I had breast cancer, two foot surgeries, a badly broken ankle (all on the left foot!), and been through the Babe’s extensive visits/procedures thanks to the US Government’s use of Agent Orange during his tropical visit to Vietnam, and thanked God every single thing has eventually turned out well.

The new passion I had for quilting and creating ended the depression, I needed the creative outlet to feel like I was worth something. It worked. And even now, when I start to feel less than great for a period of time, all I need to do is make a quilt, a wall hanging, something, to bring me joy again. There is a sense of accomplishment I receive from that. It’s cheaper than meds or therapy and does the trick. The quilters I’ve met both in person and in Facebook Groups are the best people I know outside of longtime friends I have. Generous, creative, supportive, sharing, and willing to teach and learn. Good stuff.

So, I signed up to make this cute little picture for my laundry room. It needs something on the walls. If anyone would like to sign up, go to the above FB posting. It’s $10. Three one hour sessions teach the techniques. It runs August 2, 4, and 6 and the time zones are posted worldwide. 6:30 p.m., CDT. The project is called “Laundry Day.” The Website is: and it appears there is a waitlist for the class now. The project I’m making is pictured on the right side of the website page.

No, I don’t need more to do. I have plenty to do. I just want something to spark my creativity. So, something different is in order. The idea is to use vintage patterns, fabric, trims, buttons, etc., and you’ll recall some memories and good people from your treasures. I need to do this. A scrap of lace trim my Grandma Bobell crocheted or tatted, a button from Aunt Lois’s sewing treasures, and some fabric that was used long ago. It’ll make me smile, and enhance creativity, too. And calm my restlessness.

Any minute now, the Babe will return home with Gavin. We’re having sliders for lunch today, it should be good. After that, I’ll work a little on my quilt, and more on my additional characters for Katie to deal with in “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons,” my novel. Little bits, and I’ll accomplish a lot.

Thank you for reading today. I hope you are well. I just found out today my COVID test is negative. That’s great news. I’ll see you here again tomorrow. Be careful out there.

Friday Fun

It’s been such a busy day again. Those are the best. Someday, I’ll probably wish time wouldn’t drag by. Not now. I had another Zoom meeting with Sam Tyler, my book coach. I am learning so much about the mechanics of writing a good story. Of being a good writer. Of tricks and rules I had no clue about. It is exhilarating! As she told me today, it’s easier to learn these techniques and write well to start with, than it is to have 358 pages right now, and have to re-write all of it. My original story has morphed over and over. I really like where this is going. I believe this will be a story about change, so much that the person who experienced it can hardly believe her journey as she looks back at it.

The Babe and I visited the VFW, he worked on the business part while I sent their newsletter to the printer, and emailed it to members who receive it electronically. It’s something I’ve done forever. I know how elderly people love mail, and I’m happy to make sure they receive some. It’s good to feel remembered. Sometimes a widow will send a note to not send one anymore, her husband has passed. Or they’ll call. No one is there most days to answer the phone, but it is always nice to talk with them. Some day, that may be me. Hope someone is considerate then.

Well, now the neighbors on either side of us have moved. The first couple moved to a newer home they purchased, and the other side just finished up yesterday. We didn’t realize it was the last time so we didn’t get to say goodbye. That makes me sad. They were such nice people and we’ll miss them. We’re getting a younger couple, and we don’t know if there are kids or not. Always an adventure, isn’t there?

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

I remember how hard it is to move. Especially if you have a lot of “stuff.” I do, and probably half of it is fabric for quilts and clothes. It will all have to go whenever we move again. I’ll have enough stuff to work on. Books, embroidery, etc. Hope I have another ten to twenty years in this home I love. Hope the majority of it is with the Babe, too.

In the falling in love department, I love this meme from Jekyll Doesn’t Hyde. It makes you think, doesn’t it? I once read women fall in love much more than men do. Not sure if that’s true or not. I know love after 40 is way different than it is at 20 or even 30. Having been a repeat offender by choosing the wrong type of person to spend time with, my spark was under lock and key. I’m glad it was the Babe who put the spark back in my soul. Ladies, may you all fine one of your own. And gents, remember, there are a lot of good ladies out there. Make good choices, you’ll all find your spark again. It’s just so special. You’ll see.

It’s getting a little later in the afternoon and after that most excellent BLT at lunch, it’s hard to concentrate right now. The tomatoes are so perfect this time of year, I think this was the best BLT I’ve had in quite a while. Kudos to Addy’s Bar and Restaurant. Pure heaven.

Our local health department, state, and county are working together to come to a conclusion regarding wearing masks. The metro area of Omaha has quite a spike in cases, and I don’t think that’s a good sign. Folks, wash your hands, wear a mask. You never know, it could help more than anyone knows. My rights will still be intact when this is over, I just want my life and the lives of my family still intact, too. It won’t hurt us. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be courteous. We all need it.

Thanks for your time today. I’ll see you again tomorrow. Much earlier, I promise. Hang in and hang on.

Thursday, Again?

The past week has been a whirlwind again. Lots of stuff going on. I’m a little overwhelmed at the moment, and I know it’ll pass. It always does. How about you?

The VFW had quite a few people at Hamburger Night. Some restrictions are still in place; the kitchen staff wears masks and gloves, we order and pay for food individually, the servers bring our food to the table. No lines to wait in. Not sure how long this will all be going on, or if we will have to close again for more COVID outbreaks. We haven’t been called a hot-spot, but cases are increasing. I don’t see how they won’t continue to grow after schools are in session. In 30 days, we’ll know more. Just praying no one becomes ill.

I’ve done more reading in Personality Isn’t Permanent. Zig Ziglar is credited for the saying,

Your input determines your outlook. Your outlook determines your output, and your output determines your future.

This morning, I had to rein in my outlook and output. The day didn’t start well. The Babe and I took care of a lot of business this week, and need to fill out some paperwork online to complete the week. I do not like to do that on my phone. I became frustrated from overwhelm, and in the overwhelm, I decided not to share what I was thinking about the whole thing. Arghhh! Reigning in my frustration helped me say I’m overwhelmed, then stepping away made it easier for the moment. Some things are still unresolved, but the whole day didn’t fall apart because of it. It could have easily been a totally wasted day, letting frustration build into anger, into angry words, into a bad mood all day. Each day is much too precious to let that happen.

The author is talking about all the distractions on the internet. Most of it has to do with your future self. That is true. We have so many choices as to how we spend our time, and most people cannot function with that many choices and not be intimidated by them. I suppose that could be true. While given all these choices, many people get anxious about making a decision. This can cause something he calls “decision fatigue,” that can paralyze many people.

Many of these “choices” are dark rabbit holes that lead nowhere. They don’t help your cause at all. They simply waste your time. We are all guilty of doing that from time to time. If we want to achieve goals and move forward from wherever we are in life, we have to intentionally block out a lot of the world. That is not saying becoming closed-minded. By knowing what we want, we can limit our vast possibility of options, and made the choices that really are best for us. Best for our goals. We won’t become lost on the way to achieving our dreams.

This fine fellow was occupying the deck railing yesterday. I was watching him for a few minutes as he moved slowly to fly away. He had to know I was so close, I think he was just trying to fake me out. I love distractions like this, it gives you a mental break. Sometimes it’s just enough for you to go on creating for another bit of time.

The Poppy Quilt is taking my time today and hopefully tomorrow. I started yesterday. I’m using “Invisible Thread: Color: Smoke.” It’s not really invisible, but you’d think it was while trying to thread the needle. I needed the machine light, my phone flashlight, tweezers, and a steady hand while trying to accomplish the mission. I started quilting and see it won’t be long before the middle is quilted, and the rest shouldn’t take too long. It’d be great to have it finished by Monday. I’ll keep you posted.

As always, thank you for reading today. I appreciate your support and time. Stay safe out there. Washing and Masking are more important than ever, with schools starting up just around the corner. Let’s help each other stay well. We don’t know all that is ahead of us. If we stay civil, united, and respectful of each other, things will go a lot better.

Masterful Monday

Can that be right? Masterful is defined as imposing one’s will on others. It’s being domineering, imperious, imperative, and peremptory. Huh? It does sound pretty unflattering, even to call Monday. But I don’t mean it in a bad way. My intent is all that matters here, and my intent is good. It’s a good thing. How so?

I do not want to be a person who regrets not doing things they always wanted to do. I will publish a novel and some children’s books. Before I don’t have the opportunity any more. In order to do that, I need to have my ambitions and my skills and my purpose defined, mapped out, and get with the work. In a way, I’m imposing my will to do this on my ability to procrastinate. I’m making it the most important thing to accomplish in the next couple of years. Seriously. It’s got to be first. The hitch is here: it can’t be more important than spending time with the Babe, our families, our grandkids. Moderation is the key. And work like hell in the block of time I can spend on it every day.

Some Days!

Song of the Day: “I’m Going to Love You Through It,” by Martina McBride. I’ve been the woman waiting for that phone call. I’ve been the woman who hung up and thought, “Shit, now what?” It was terrible calling the Babe at work and telling him. He cried out, “No!” And he said, “I’m on the way home.” I felt terrible telling him on the phone. We always know when each other is upset, by the tone of voice. I couldn’t hide it at all. No, I’ll never play poker.

The month was October. Boy, was I aware of Breast Cancer by the end of the month! My mammogram came back needing an ultrasound. I went to have that done. The radiologist and nurse told me, yes, it’s a definite lump, and I’d need a needle biopsy. All through this, I was thinking about Dan’s ex-wife, Sandy. She was just diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. She had immediate chemo and radiation. We were establishing a friendship, as she was no longer working. I wasn’t either. It was wonderful talking with her about her kids with Dan. We were blessed to be able to be friends.

The Babe went with me to the biopsy. He told them he was going to be in the room with me while they did it. They tried telling him, “You might want to wait outside.” He wouldn’t hear of it. ‘I was in Vietnam, so nothing bothers me.” They talked throughout the whole procedure, and as I placed my right arm above my hand, the Babe took hold of it. He didn’t let go until the doc and nurse left the room. I knew he’d love me through it. There was never any doubt about that.

The doc seemed almost cocky, though. She said the three samples didn’t look like cancer at all. I chose not to believe her. The Babe, however, believed her. So much that he was dumbstruck when the news came. I wanted to scream at her. How could she give us false hope like that? Wow. I hope she never did that again to another woman and her family. I was angry for how hurt the Babe was.

Next step was surgeon, he was quite thorough. The lump(s) were too small to be felt, trust me, everyone tried. To get clean margins, he removed enough tissue that was baseball sized. Ponder that. I’m pretty lopsided, but not bad, didn’t have reconstruction. I was in my late 50s, and I’m so fortunate to be an eleven year survivor. I don’t like the fact the medication added 30 pounds to me while removing all the estrogen from me. I’d had a hysterectomy at 39, so I was already a “quart low.” Or more. I don’t know. It’s not ever been the same, but I’m so grateful to God. Screw the 30 pounds.

Tell Your Much Needed Story

My friend Sandy, mother of the Babe’s children, lost her battle. Her sister also had the same cancer, she is gone now, too. Oral cancer claimed my sister in law, Laura. All around us, it’s been a battlefield. How it picks and chooses is a mystery. Sounds strange, though, I have always felt I would have breast cancer. I don’t know if you’d call it a premonition or not, but I was not surprised at all when I got the call. Hard as it was to tell the Babe, it was the worst to tell my baby brother, Tim, all 6+ feet of him, lean and lanky, tattooed man. He is the kindest person I’ve known. I’m lucky he’s my best friend after the Babe. He was still reeling from his loss.

Somehow, we all made it this far. And we’ll keep going. It’s what’s in the plan for our lives, I believe. Without being cocky myself, I do find it easier to see the signs God gives me. They are everywhere. See if you can tell where your signs are. They are things you would never have considered, they must be acted upon with logical thoughts and plans, not reckless abandon. While it might be God’s plan for us, we have to do our part. Just practice, it will come to you.

Thank you for all your support and reading. You’re giving me a boost that is important. We’re getting closer and closer to that year mark for blogging. It’s kind of fun to look back, and see how the writing has changed, and how many things I discover about WordPress. I’m a work in progress, and it feels so good! Wash up, Mask up, Be Kind, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

“It’s Not Too Late and I’m Not Too Old!

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.