Good Friday

Hello, hope this Good Friday finds you in a good place. At home, with clean hands, no cough, no headache or fever, and with a mask at the ready should you need to go grocery shopping. I’m going to be making some masks later today or tomorrow, I’ve been the lucky one who gets to stay home, so I’m a bit lazy at getting them made. I should just get the one for the Babe before he goes to the store later. He’ll be my test case.

There are so many different possibilities for making them. Cotton, no cotton, flannel is too thin, too “holey,” polyester? Whatever you do, do NOT sanitize them in your microwave. People have tried this and they will spontaneously combust, a/k/a start on fire! Yes, they will. Don’t add homelessness to your troubles in this quarantine, ok? I’ve gone to my extensive fabric stash and found some pieces that are nearly the right size. I’m going to start with the rectangular size that you pleat. I hope that will do. The Babe will get one that is the American flag flying. It’s appropriate for him, don’t you think?

There is a type of mask that has a pipe cleaner inserted at the top middle, that helps fit it over the bridge of the nose. That seems like a good idea. Do I still have the craft bin with those in it? The search will begin. There are many other types, and they are all better than nothing. You must have all parts of your nose, face, cheeks, and jawline all covered with the mask. When you arrive home, remove it by touching the elastic ONLY. Do not wear it again until it is laundered. Regular laundry soap is sufficient. The key is only wearing a mask for one trip out of the house. Yes, they may fog your eyeglasses or sunglasses, but it’s worth the inconvenience. At the most, try inhaling deeper and gently blow the breath out through your mouth. No one will see you. You’ll have a mask on. Thank you for keeping us safe. I’ll keep you safe in return.

About now are you having long days but still feel like you’re running short on time? I do. I can’t be the only one. When I’m writing, the time flies by. When I’m doing something less fun, it drags. I suppose that is normal, but during these times it just seems to magnify the passage of time. I’ve just read a fiction novel by my fellow Nebraska Writers Guild author Bonnie Lacy. It’s the third of a series about a man wrongfully convicted of murder who was in prison for a long time. It was quite a series of three books, and it made me really wonder how does time pass when you’re really confined for a lifetime? I hope to never find out first hand, but I’m curious.

I have talked to a lot of people who have been held captive by alcohol and drugs for years and years. Those years are long and hard from what I gather. The life is hard on a human body. The treadmill of getting high/drunk to escape, to dull pain, to relax an overly shy person, to take the edge off anything. The list of “reasons” (excuses) is long and probably endless. I applaud a person who can get off that treadmill and never set foot on it again. Their life is better. It takes hard work but it always ends up better. You, of course, need to do the work to make it better. It won’t improve your negative outlook unless you recognize your negative outlook. It won’t cure your depression, but it probably won’t be as deep and soul-consuming. Being aware is part of the work. Being willing to change a habit is a huge part of it. And working on the awareness and change is a life long piece of work. It is worth it.

No, I am not a person stuck on the treadmill. Never used drugs. I do drink alcohol. It does not control me at all. I refuse to let the words, “I need a drink/glass of wine/beer,” pass my lips. I’ve had people tell me, “Have a drink, then it won’t seem so bad.” I absolutely will not drink because things are bad. I have other things I need to work on. Like being too nice sometimes. Like doing for others at my expense. It’s hard to say no, sometimes. I’m learning it’s ok to say no. If you no longer like me, it is your loss, not mine.

As the Christian world prepares to celebrate their biggest holy day of the year, think about how you may be able to make your life better. Give more. Be more accepting. Give that money you don’t need for cigarettes or Keno right now to the area food banks. Our economy is only going to stagger before it gets better. It may take the rest of the year for a new normal to emerge. My hope for all of you is it emerges with more awareness, more loving, and more caring for each other. God gave his Son for our sins. I didn’t deserve that much love. But I’m learning God thinks I do. So do you. Right your wrongs. Make your amends. Reach out to mend fences. Even if you didn’t destroy them. Make the move. If the other person doesn’t respond, keep reaching out. It’s the next right thing to do.

Thank you for reading today. May your day be one of soul searching and growth. It’s yours and mine for free. All it takes is our time and commitment. I’ll be here again tomorrow. Hope to see you then. Peace and Love.

Wow! It’s Wednesday!

Good morning, everyone! It’s a cold, cloudy Wednesday at my Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Winter just doesn’t want to let loose of her grip on us. That’s ok. Before you gather outside my window to let me know how you feel about that, consider this: When I was in high school, the Prom was held on the first Wednesday of May. Always. The weather should have been beautiful. It wasn’t. We had a late spring snowstorm every time. Enough to mess up the hair, dress hems, and cast a pall over the folks who were able to go. You had to be a Junior/Senior, and someone had to invite you. A boy, to be exact. No group dates, no groups of boys or girls like they do now. No one invited me when I was old enough to go. My senior year, it did not snow. And I went with my then boyfriend, Frank. Never went to Homecoming, but did Prom. It wasn’t that huge of a deal after all. Oh well.

Have you ever waited and waited for something your whole life and then been disappointed? We all have. When I drive past the Gretna High School, I think back on how the athletes and cheerleaders seemed like their lives were perfect. They weren’t, but we didn’t know that. It was the height of wishing your life was different than whatever it was for you. Sad. I’ve not experienced that disappointment after my first marriage ended in divorce after twelve years. I wanted it to end, and I filed. I don’t think he ever really got it. The only part of the marriage was happy was about my kids. I loved being pregnant and wondering if it was a boy or girl. They were such a gift from God. No ultrasounds were done back then unless your doctor might be concerned about something, and even then, I think it was rare to see the sex of the baby. The happiness continued until the baby was about two years old. Something told me I had to let them learn their independence even at that age. I didn’t want to be a Mom who managed everything or hovered. My mom was like that, and I didn’t want to be. My three were responsible for their own stuff. After the divorce, they learned they had to help with chores or we’d never get to go to Blockbuster, get carry out, or have a fun night. I miss those days, but not the poverty. We were broke-ass-poor. That bad. Yes.

Ours was more frequent

Speaking of Beanie Weenies! This was the only dish my dad made. My kids laughed because Grandpa would take a kitchen towel and tuck it inside his belt, and use it for an apron. They giggled when he cut up the hot dogs and opened the Van Camp Pork & Beans. What a gourmet cook he was. They loved his concoction. It was the best. My little brothers had this often after I left home and Mom was gone in the evenings. Yep, Dad was great for making the best of a bad situation.

LOL! I’ll bet he is

I love cartoons like this. It takes a place like heaven, which I would think was quiet as a Church except for the choir singing, and does this. Until Michael Jordan arrives, Kobe will be bugging the angels for quite a long time. Then Jordan will show him!

Some of you have asked how my son has recovered from the apartment fire last October that left him and his roommate homeless and with only the clothes on their backs. They are doing ok. They were able to get the “stuff” for daily living and although devastated, Frankie is grateful he wasn’t home. If he hadn’t been at work, that was the time he took a nap everyday. He may not have made it out alive. He is the best at rolling with life’s punches. As his mom, I marvel at how he adjusts and looks forward. Never looks back. His employer, Union Pizza and Sports Bar, on 156 & Maple in Omaha, Nebraska has been incredible. They have offered every kind of help there is, and are sincere in the offers. They are a small business, but are a great place to work. And great food. Stop on out, you won’t be disappointed. They also run Two Fine Irishmen, and Voodoo Lounge, both in West Omaha.

Shoopy has it right.

I finished the book I was reading, The River People by Margaret Lukas, fellow Nebraska Writers Guild Member. It is the first in a series about the women who lived on the river long before this Nebraska Territory was settled and populated, and before women were treated as more than property. It is excellent. Thank you, Margaret, for this tale of fighting dying. It is very inspiring.

I’m looking forward to the Nebraska Writers Guild Spring Conference in April, 2020. It will be the third conference I have attended, and I intend to learn even more from this one than the last two. I look back to one year ago, when I started my novel, and how much I’ve learned. Holy Moly! It is unreal first how much there is to learn, then which things are the most important in the beginning, the middle, and the end of the journey to getting published. Glad I learned about vanity publishing, so I still have a nest egg to spend on publishing my book. The NWG is so great in teaching members how to use Social Media as a place to promote yourself.

Self promotion is hard to me to even fathom. As a good Catholic girl, calling attention to myself was never something that was acceptable. I am still kind of shy talking about myself, but I’ve learned if I don’t tell you about me, you won’t care what I do, it’ll be self-defeating. Can’t have that happen. Can I take rejection? Sure, in fact, I think I’m pretty good at accepting when things don’t work out. My ego isn’t fragile. Do I want you being rude about it? No, I don’t think that’s necessary for either of us. Just say, “Sorry, no,” and walk away. No need for anything else.

I can see by my Cubs clock on the studio wall it’s noon. Time to spend time with the Babe before we pick up Addison from school and go to the VFW for our weekly dinner night. More time with good friends. I love Wednesdays! Thank you for reading. I hope you come back again tomorrow. I’ll be here. I appreciate your support!

Wednesday Blessings

Pretty quiet today. Some days you have to do necessary things to keep your home running well. We did a few errands and this afternoon, it’s sort of a regroup and planning the rest of the week. We have a cookie exchange Sunday and that means one day will be cookie baking day. The dogs will love it. And so will the Babe.

I have started to read a series by fellow Nebraska Writers Guild member Bonnie Lacy. She also wrote a Rage Rising: My Walk Through the Dark Tunnel of Anger, which I just finished. It was a remarkable story. I can understand how anger can bubble up from within a person, especially when a number of terrible things happen one after another. You may find her at the website: http://www.bonnielacy.com. You can find her books, read about her, and correspond with her if you wish. Her second book I’m reading is called “Released, The Great Escapes Series.” It already feels like a book I want to spend time reading and finish soon. That is how I want to write. I want to tell compelling stories. I want to tell stories that make you want to spend the time with on a free afternoon.

I’m just about finished with the Christmas tree. I was going to add a lot more ornaments but decided it had enough. I don’t want to overload it. The ornaments I didn’t put up are a collection of official White House ornaments from 1999 until now. I am collecting them for our grandson Joell. I thought he might like them to remember the time his dad worked in Washington, DC. Those ornaments are pretty cool. This year, it’s a replica of the helicopter used to transport President Eisenhower, the first president to use the helicopter. Last year, it was Truman’s White House.

Official 2018 and 2019 White House Ornaments

I have enjoyed buying these each year, and reading about the history behind the ornament and which President it honors. They are about $25, and well worth it. They are from the White House Historical Society.

Some Favorites for the Memories they Evoke

As kids, my brother and I walked to an area the fire department would flood every winter in a local park for ice skating. There is now a city swimming pool where the site was. We walked quite a way to get there, then put on our skates, and skated around until we were too tired and too cold, and then put our frozen boots back on, and trudged up the hill to our house. It was the best. Mom gave us hot chocolate and cookies. No one else was around, it was like having our own private rink. Sometimes on weekends, we would go to the local horse racing track/hockey rink and skate inside. That was always crowded and peoples skills ranged all the way from beginner to very good. I was learning how to turn and skate backwards. We became quite good. When he left home and went away to school for his freshman and half of his sophomore years, then I went there alone, rarely a girlfriend came along.

Eventually, I believe the rink closed, and they no longer flooded the park area. It was always a fun thing to do and great exercise. When I see ice skates, I think of skating as a kid. Great memory. I even have a figure skate with greenery and glitter instead of a Christmas wreath on the front door.

Looking to get some reading in before we leave to pick up our granddaughter Addison from school. Then off to meet friends for beverages and dinner at the VFW. Wednesdays are fun. Thank you for reading today, I’ll be here tomorrow, I hope you are, too.