Tuesday Morning

Hi, folks! It’s going to be another hot, humid day in Gretna, Nebraska here at the home office. It’s another Gavin day, too. We pick him up for lunch, drop his sister off at dance, hang out awhile, then take him home when Dad gets home from work. Ballgame tonight. I’m so happy he feels more comfortable with his team and understands he’s learning skills and the more he plays and practices, the better he’ll be. Dad and Mom are doing a great job helping him learn it won’t happen overnight. I do believe with his natural talent, and playing/practicing with his team, and more home coaching with Dad, he’ll be a great player some day.

I have to laugh at how the grandkids of a certain age (7 – 8) talk incessantly!) Addison used to say, “Grandma, guess what?” then share what she needed. Gavin is funny. He says, “Grandma, can I tell you something?” Not sure what he’d do if I said, “NO!” I just can’t do that to the kid.

I need to be pinning and quilting!

Today, I’m taking a break from writing except for this blog. Going to finish prepping my poppy quilt, which I haven’t revisited for a month or more. There are just not enough hours in a day to finish things. The mornings we don’t have Gavin, we may linger a little longer on the deck with coffee. It’s the best time of the day. The dogs are quiet. The day is just beginning. There is a lot of promise for the next 24 hours. There may be a nice breeze, blue skies. Birds singing. It’s great. I love it so much, it’s like being on vacation at a rental cabin. We were so lucky to find this house. I hope we can stay here for many, many years.

I have to say, I’m going to miss our neighbors when they move. We had some moving boxes Dan offered to them, the kind from Home Depot, that break down nicely. It’s getting real, now that the boxes are going to be filled. This couple is about our ages, and I hope we can keep in touch when they relocate. They are fun to talk with and have been so patient with our dogs. You can’t get better than that!

It seems I’ve “arrived.” I’m on someone’s snail mail list for “Professional Writers.” La-de-dah! There is a magazine called Poets and Writers, I can subscribe on the cheap. Might be worth looking at. I can always not renew. I have to confess, I don’t think I’m a good e-reader. It’s just not a magazine or book. I need it in my hands. I love the portability of a magazine or book. I know, I can carry 80k more on my Kindle. Well. Maybe I’ll do that someday.

It seems Lee Gutkind, the author of “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” is also the founder/editor of “Creative Nonfiction Magazine.” This is another one I think would be very informative. Might look at a year’s worth of it, too. It’s all deductible. Why not? Gutkind explains things succinctly, something an author of creative nonfiction needs to achieve. Say more with less. Say it better with less. I need to learn that.

I love this kid!

Thank you for reading today. This is brief, we’re leaving to get the G-man so he can tell us stuff. You know, the heart of an 8 year old if open and totally honest. Wouldn’t miss it for the world! I’ll be here again tomorrow, see you then! Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Wear a mask, Wash up.

Monday, Monday

When I was in the eighth grade, the Mamas and Papas came out with the song “Monday, Monday.” And “California Dreamin.” They had some good ones back in the day. That time seems much closer than it was, over fifty years ago! That’s forever!

Before graduation, we thought we were the best. We were King of the hill, Queen of the mountain, and the oldest in the elementary school called St. Bridget’s. We were soon to receive our comeuppance when we went to our different High Schools for the first time as Freshman. No longer King or Queen of anything and longed for those glory days. Before we knew it, the upper classmen of Ryan High School were readying to graduate too, some in three years, and some in the traditional four. We had no identifiers such as Seniors, Juniors, and such. It seemed like we were cheated out of our legacy, but we lived.

Looking for a new profile photo for FB. Which do you like?

It is funny how things mean so much to us as we are looking forward to those life events that are significant. If they don’t happen for whatever reason, we live. We may not want to, but we do. And hindsight is always 20/20, you know? Wouldn’t it be great if foresight was a little more predictable? We might have it made if we had half an idea of the outcome. It might help us make better decisions. We need information upon which to base our decisions. It helps us decide one way or another. The more information, the better decision. Unless you are paralyzed by fear.

Fear stops us from doing things. From taking a job. From moving to the mountains. From marrying someone. From divorcing someone. From taking any risk. Freedom is the right to choose. The right to choose from your alternatives. If you have no choice, you are not a man or woman, you are more of a nameless, faceless member, an instrument, a way of getting something done. And dispensable. Learn to face your fears by understanding them. Where did they come from?

I have a terrible fear of water. I cannot swim. At this point in life, I can paddle with a noodle, that’s enough for me. And I want a warm water pool for my joints. Soothing. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense for me to take up scuba diving. If I learned to swim, and loved it, and was comfortable with the water, I could take up diving. But not until.

What about this writing I’m doing? I started blogging a year ago to get into the habit. The more you write, the better you become. Makes sense. Blogging gets your name “out there.” I’m nearing a year’s worth (in about 50 days or so) of posts, and I’m proud I stuck with it. I have about 100 followers. Not bad! I’m grateful for each of you. I only have about 1/3 of those followers engaging in some way. Sharing, commenting, or just hitting “like.” That’s ok. It’s a start. That’s what I was looking for.

As I’m working with a book coach now, I’ll (hopefully) be ready to publish later this year. And next year, publish more. I’m sure to be working just as hard next year, and there should be more interest in what I have to say. If I decide to quit, it’s all on me. It’s because I decided not to pursue. I haven’t thought about becoming a best selling list author (it’d be nice), what I want now is to be a published author. I’m hoping people will want to buy the books. That’s not first and foremost right now. I’ll dig into marketing when the time comes. Putting my blog out there is a step of marketing. Hopefully, it will attract people who would like to read what I write.

I have a huge interest in publishing children’s books as well. I have the story ideas for two – one, about our Roxie and our grandson Gavin. The other story is about a big loss on Christmas. I’m hoping I’ll have a co-author with that, more later on those projects.

The ideas are rapidly forming. I have no idea if they can all be executed or not, but for now, they’ll be kept for future writing sessions, be it a blog post, a kids book, a family book, or a creative non-fiction. Gee, I’m so glad I learned how to type back in high school. It’s made life so much easier. And coding is easier when you know typing. Anymore, I don’t think people care about accuracy or speed with typing. Another lost art!

The two books I’m reading right now, Personality Isn’t Permanent and You Can’t Make This Stuff Up are so interesting. The personality book is helping me learn so much about changes in life and making changes in life. It will be helpful in writing about characters. The other one, I just started on and I’m wanting to learn more about the genre of Creative Nonfiction. It is revealing and informative.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. I look forward to telling you more about “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” tomorrow. It’s got lots of info that is just plain interesting. Take Care. Wash your hands. Wear your Mask. Let’s help each other through the rest of this, whatever it is. We need each other! Thanks.

Silent Sunday

Well, judging by the way the street looks, some folks had fun last night. It wasn’t our dogs, that’s for sure. Lexie spent the night in our closet the past two or three nights. She wasn’t afraid of fireworks until last year. One year ago today, Roxie and Lexie got out of our yard. One of the neighbors must have entered our yard to retrieve a firework or something. They left the gate open. Both dogs escaped, someone lit a firecracker, and Roxie (who was petrified of them) ran into the highway and was killed by a car. Here’s the tribute to her, such a naughty girl but such a lover. We miss you, Sweetie. Wait for us at the Rainbow Bridge with Shadow, Mocho, and Mollie. You’ll be in good company.

A year later and we still miss her. The Babe’s heart was breaking the rest of last summer. In September, he had a heart cath that didn’t heal properly. Wound Vac time, complete with Visiting Nurse every other day. In the middle of that, he decided we needed a friend for Lexie. She was just laying around all the time, sleeping. She wouldn’t go outside without us. The Vet said he’s seen dogs mourn for years. (Dab at my tears in eyes right now). How she must have missed her sister!

2014. Roxie and Lexie. Beautiful Blue Eyes!

So now, we have this beautiful Yellow Lab. She’s about 50 pounds by now. Big paws that carry her up and down the steps on the deck to play fetch. First dog we’ve had that would fetch. Must be the breeding in her. The old dogs would just stand and stare at us. “Get it yourself!” was their attitude. She used to have a taste for landscaping cloth, didn’t eat it, just tore it up. Hope she’s over that by now. She still needs to remember to go potty, but she’s filling a void. A big void. I think Roxie would have liked her.

Goldie, with her favorite pastime.

Gavin loves her. He tells us frequently how he misses Roxie. I’m printing all the pictures from all the dogs we’ve had since Gavin has been alive. I’m going to put them in a photo album for him. He’ll be able to look at the pictures and be happy. He’ll get his own dog sometime probably soon. He is just such a dog lover, and I applaud that. Kids need pets. They really need dogs. Something to take care of, to learn responsibility.

Right now, I love how quiet it is on the street. It will hopefully stay that way all day long. There are some strange cars parked all over the place. Lots of people had house parties and didn’t socially distance. I’m going to wear a mask when I go to the store, so maybe that will help this pandemic resolve and I can go to Colorado to meet our new grandson. He was born in January, how I wish we could go now!

Today is the day I dot i’s and cross t’s to make sure my works are ready for my book coach, Sam. I need to send them off to her tonight for tomorrow’s deadline. We have a Zoom meeting on Thursday, and I can’t wait! I will do book stuff today and tomorrow is a Gavin day. We’ll have fun, we always do.

Enjoy the quiet today – except for the leaf blowers the pyromaniacs are using to clean up the street now. So many people can’t operate a broom anymore. They’d rather lose hearing than do sweep. Thanks for reading, I appreciate it. Tomorrow, I’ll see you back here again. Stay safe. Wear a mask. Wash up. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be empathetic. Someone might really need you to be. And that, it will be good for both of you.

Happy July First!

Good morning from the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. It was a rainy night last night, and all the lawn chairs, cushioned or not, are soaking wet this morning. And, much like any other humid July in Nebraska, well, you know the rest. It will probably be this way until school starts again, in about five weeks.

I feel badly for parents when school begins again. Blended families, families with students in different levels of education, working parents, and parents who work at home, are all in for another round of, “Will my child really benefit from the education he or she will receive during the next phase of the pandemic?” One can only hope and pray. I really don’t know what the answer is. I am leaning towards masks for all, then sanitizing to beat the devil.

I’m making a bootleg calendar for my next couple of months. Trying to carefully measure out what is possible while meeting deadlines and Zoom schedules. We all need a little structure in our lives. At times Ihen wonder if I need as much as when we were younger? No, I think no. Retirement is supposed to be about spending time whatever way you feel like. That said, I believe we should still be contributing something to others, to still shine our lights out in the world. The Babe has his Quartermaster duties at the VFW. I love to watch the kids, and yet, there needs to be more than that. You can’t count on having enough grandkids to spend your time that way.

That’s probably a lot of the why I decided to write. I’ve always wanted to write Children’s Books. My daughter encouraged me over and over, until finally, I decided, “Why Not?” In the nearly two years since that revelation, I’ve worked on a novel, started another, and have outlines for several children’s stories. One is about the loss of a family pet based on our experience last summer, losing our Roxie. I think it could do some good for kids.

I had a very loose outline when I began my novel. I definitely see now where I could have made an easier time of it to have a better outline before. Those who never outline are called “pantsters,” who write by the seat of their pants. The planners are “outliners,” who know exactly what they will write. I suppose each writer learns what works for them, then proceeds. What a learning process!

I’m going to organize all my information in a sectioned binder, so everything is organized and together. I hope this works. Time will tell, won’t it? I have the “Personality Isn’t Permanent” book to finish, too. It will help describe the transition my character experiences through her life.

Reading is a Joy!

I just printed countless photos of all our dogs who have known Gavin. I want to have a themed book for him about all of his doggies. He loves the stories he has in his mind, and I want to preserve those for him. It’s neat to listen to him talk about his doggies. What a good thing we can share with him.

The school district our grandchildren hasn’t announced yet how they will handle the school year yet. Three districts in the area will do full time, every day for everyone. Two others will have a split schedule, 3/2 and every other week they switch who has 3 and who is the 2 group. Too complicated for me. It has to be hard for working parents, single parents, and those with no one to help them out. I think we’re all a few cases away from home schooling again and stay at home suggestions again.

We have to dig in, be positive, wear masks, and think of others than ourselves. I know, that’s what we have been doing. It is going to take all of us. It is going to take a very long time for the danger to subside enough for us to abandon our efforts. Our generations have never had to make a sacrifice for a national cause, for a unified effort. Most wars in my lifetime have been undeclared (Korea, Vietnam), and lack of national support deeply affected the veterans and the outcome. Lack of national support in this pandemic is affecting us and will affect the outcome.

Let’s put our pride aside, and our sense of entitlement, and wear a mask. Always in public. Shopping, in the stores, and if we go to eat. Remove it while you eat and drink. Be vigilant. Be on your guard. Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer. Clean frequently used items such as your phone; all the remote controls, the controls on your stove, oven, and microwave, and your refrigerator handles. Door knobs and handles. Yes, it’s not fun, it’s necessary. It’s boring, but it’s necessary.

Make sure you are around to attend all the postponed weddings, graduations, and family events. Make sure your grandparents are, too. Let’s take better care of each other. Thanks for reading today. I appreciate it a lot, and am now going to do some more cleanup on Chapter 1 of “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons.” I’ll see you back here tomorrow. Be Safe. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful.

A Milestone #300 Monday!

Today marks the three hundredth blog I’ve written. I’m so thankful for all of you, reading about the adventures of two retired folks and their dogs. And their family. And their ideas. And their joys. And my writing adventure. And their hard times. You are a part of all of this, some support when I need it, and a cheer when I need that, too. It all helps. Thanks again!

Grandson Gavin will join us again. The Babe went to pick him up then swing by the VFW to count the drawers from yesterday. We will be so glad when they find a new bar manager. It really puts a lot of extra work on the Babe he doesn’t need to be concerned about. I imagine there will be the usual coloring session, coupled with Gavin’s talking a mile a minute. I love it though. The house is too quiet sometimes. God gave us grandkids to solve that issue. We are so blessed!

Today is like a blank canvas, spread before us all. It looks the same, stark white, blank, and full of promise. If you’re like me, you always plan to accomplish so much more than you actually can complete in a day. That’s both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because you are interested in a lot of things and want to dabble in all of them. Bad because you may take a lot longer to actually finish things.

Well. What if?

For today, I’m concentrating on what Sam, my book coach, calls “Inside Outline.” Noting major plot points in your story is a good way to start putting pen to paper. An event or scene, has a point. Simple, eh? The point is my characters emotional reaction to the event. That will take some thinking, and I hope to not be interrupted. Since I began this post, Goldie has interrupted me twice and Lexie once. They want in. Or out. Or to play. Or to drink. Or to . . . Well, you get the idea. When the Babe leaves, he says, “They’re tired and should sleep now.” Oh honey, if that were only true. Still, I can’t imagine life without any of them – the Babe included.

I’m concentrating on being positive about the interruptions. It’s been nearly a year since we lost our Roxie on July 5, and, just like people, as annoying as they can be, you’d still rather have them with you. After that loss, that is the first time I really posted something. That loss got me started. Until then, blogging was just an idea. I’m glad we’ve stuck with it for nearly a year.

An embroidered hibiscus block, with Swarovski crystals.

This is one of twelve blocks I made with hibiscus on them. The crystals were hand sewn on. All I need to do is quilt it. I think that should be some winter day or a cold fall day, in anticipation of the next growing season. I think it’s quite pretty, and I have some new machine quilting tricks to try on it. When the time comes along. And it will tell me when it’s here.

It’s always on my “in between” to do list to work on the website. I’m getting ready to add some more pages as my writing projects gain more form and get closer to becoming “live.” Exciting times ahead. Each day is another baby step towards them. I’m so grateful! I’m also grateful to all of you for reading today. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope to see you all then! Invite a friend! Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Safe. Hug your family while you can, and keep distances when you need to. We need each other a lot more than you think. Family is everything!

Taco Tuesday and Other Truths

You won’t believe what I just did. After about 45 minutes of working on a pretty good blog (if I must say so myself!), I hit the wrong key and exited from the 700 word masterpiece I was nearly finished with. Much to my dismay. Wow. It’s vanished in cyberspace. Do I have any idea how to reconstruct it? Heck, now. So for now, it’s:

Take Two Tuesday and Other Truths

There is a reason anyone who uses a computer will always tell you: Save Often! Save Before Printing! Save After Changing! So I just committed the #1 mishap in computer use history. I hadn’t saved. So now, upwards and onwards, while saving often.

Today is another Gavin day for the Babe and I. We will pick him up and he’ll be contented to play with the dogs all afternoon. They like him, too. He has loved many of our dogs through his eight years, some he remembers, some not. But we have photos, and he asks questions about their personalities and quirks. He tells me, “Grandma, all dogs deserve love.”

I tell him back, “Yes, Gavin. And all kids deserve love, too.” And he agrees with me. A long time ago, a good friend of mine told me how kids do listen to what you tell them, even though it seems as if they have no idea you exist. They listen and you can see they did when you observe them growing up and being a leader with others. And she was right.

My friend passed away several years ago, and it was sad for everyone who knew her. She was a good lady, always there to help. Always there if you needed to talk. She had several types of cancer in her lifetime, which eventually took her. She was so strong, but what choice did she have? I’m so glad to have good memories of many talks with her. I still consult my mental pages of the Joyce Cross Alexander Book of Hope, Faith, and Love.

Confidence is a great asset if you have it. It is so eluding if you can’t stand up for yourself, either not caring to or by not knowing how. My lack was in not knowing how. There was a fine line between confidence and vanity, according to our elders in the 1950s and 1960s. Especially if you were a girl. I believe this is why many Moms lived lives through their children. Their children’s successes became theirs. Their children’s failures became theirs, also. (The term, “I have failed as a Mother,”) that TV character Beverly Goldberg uses is used for humor, but I believe there were a lot of Mom’s who felt they were failures. It’s a shame it took women so long to find their worth in additional areas besides motherhood. Don’t get me wrong, motherhood is wonderful and fulfilling, as long as you raise those children to leave you. Your job is to teach them so they can leave you, as it should be.

I have to say, it’s harder to let go when you’re a single parent, in my opinion. I struggled for a long time trying to figure out, “So, what’s next?” I still had a good relationship with my three kids, but I hadn’t a clue what to do with all that time, despite all my hobbies. I finished college for me. I was happy to have earned a promotion at work, so I would finally have a great income. (Mom always said when you don’t need money anymore is when it comes your way.)

I became ill after that, and within six years could no longer work. At the age of 49. That was a blow to me. I turned it into gratitude, though, but being grateful I was well and working until my kids could go out on their own. After that I met the Babe. By the time I couldn’t work, we were married and my time was filled. I’ve picked up on a lot of my old interests and some new ones, too. Filling my time is no longer a problem.

So with all that, thank you for reading today. Keep good thoughts in your heart today. Be positive. Wash up, wipe down, wear masks. We’ll all come out on the other side of all this in a better place. I’ll see you tomorrow. And by then, maybe I’ll remember what I wrote about in the blog that is now forever lost, out there floating in the wasteland of the Internet, unfinished.

#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.

Thinking About Thursday

This Plant Needs Prayers!

Our beautiful pure-bred hunting dog must be a vegetarian or something. She mangled about four plants this week. I suppose it’s my fault for trusting her too much. She’s a puppy, still. And now, she’s sleeping peacefully on the floor by me while I write and it rains outside. All is right with the world.

She’s Sleeping Near the Bag of Coloring Supplies.

It started out a beautiful day, right now, the clouds are rolling in. It’s still a beautiful day and when the rain comes in, I’ll be grateful to not have to water. Even the plant Goldie tried to eat. Well, I guess she DID eat it.

I am so happy to have these two dogs for companionship. They are great company and comfort, even if they just nap in the room I occupy at any given moment. They are powerful creatures. They sense everything about us. Earlier this week, Lexie didn’t like Goldie tugging at a toy Gavin was going to throw for fetch. Lexie walked over in between them and gave a low, throaty growl, ever so quietly. Goldie let go. Gavin threw the toy, Goldie fetched, Lexie walked away and laid down again. She watches her people, and I love that about her.

I had a great conversation with my book coach Sam this morning. We have developed a plan for July and August. I’m taking a slightly different path in as much as I’m writing a different story over these two months, and will check in regularly to discuss the progress or lack thereof. If you’d like to read about Sam, here is a link to her website. You’ll hear a lot more about Sam and our work later in the summer.

Today is a day filled with significant birthdays! In addition to being Sir Paul McCartney’s birthday, it’s my older brother’s birthday and Dan’s younger sister’s birthday. Tom Jewell and Linda Ulmer, Happy Birthdays! Hope you both have a great day. Don’t need to wish Sir Paul one, after all, he’s Paul McCartney!

It seems the food industry is rebranding several products we have used for decades and probably not realized their packaging was racist. Aunt Jemima is having a makeover. I suppose it must be done. For years, I haven’t given it a thought using these products. I thought the updating done last was just like the Betty Crocker image on packaging, cook books, and other items. Were women offended by an old fashioned representation on the cook books? I don’t remember.

Uncle Ben and the cook on Cream of Wheat simply told me they were pictures on a package. No different than any other picture. And now, things will change. Will it change the violence in the streets? Most likely not. But those offensive photos will no longer be staring out from shelves in the stores. So be it.

Sometimes I can’t help but think there needs to come a point where we stop being offended. Where we stop pointing fingers and placing blame, and sit down and formulate a plan to just stop all of this. Both sides. Just stop it! Start respecting each other, just because God created all of us. Then work on being better humans. As you work together, and have frank discussions, you will grow in respect of each other. And yourselves. Do something that’s never been done. Admit there is fault on both sides. Quit being the stereotypes we all hate. The bad cop. The bad punk. The gangster. The professional rioter. Talk to each other. Talk with each other. Listen to each other. Listen to hear. Hear and act. Act in a rational manner. Make the change you want for everyone. Teach your children how to respect and behave, not show attitude and bad behavior.

We have plans to watch Gavin play ball over the weekend. Being a tournament, there are quite a few games to get in. And of course, the forecast is calling for a whole bunch of rain. It wouldn’t be a ball tournament without it!

I also have a lot of writing things to accomplish in the next three weeks. It will be a great way to spend time, and a great way to move forward with my projects. A plan and a partner work well together. I’m looking forward to it.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. It rained quite nicely here, and now appears to be dreary for the rest of the day. Perhaps dreary and rain is what my Goldie – relocated plants needs to come back to life. I’ll see you tomorrow! Stay safe. Wash your mask before you wear it again! Wash your hands. Be a good example. Teach your children well.

Sunday, Sunday

Were Sundays a special day when you were a kid? They were for us. Not so much for my mom. Since my dad worked at the Omaha World Herald on the night shift, he worked well into the early hours of Sunday. If there were mechanical breakdowns, he could be hours late getting home. Usually, he was able to fulfill his Sunday Mass obligation at the old St. Joe’s Hospital Chapel at 5 a.m., on his way home. He attended Mass with the nurses, and hurried home so Mom could go at 6 a.m. to our parish church. She would get home, wake us kids up, and my older brother and I walked to St. Bridget’s in South Omaha for the 9 a.m. Children’s Mass. We sat separated by gender just like at daily mass, which we were required to attend, too. Sunday had lots of people seated in the pews behind the children.

There was no 5 p.m. Mass during those days. That started in the very late 60’s, early 70’s. To this day, my Protestant friends laugh. They swear Catholics are the only religious denomination who can tell you where the shortest service is, time-wise. I marvel at how true that is. Never about the sermon, or the music, just about the world’s shortest Mass. Crazy!

After we went to Mass, Mom loaded all of us into the family truckster and we would go visit both grandparent’s every Sunday. They were always home. Grandma Jewell baked clover leaf rolls and Caramel Sticky Buns every week. From scratch, no less. Her house smelled heavenly. I can still smell the love when I drive past 3324 Center Street in Omaha. It will always be Grandma’s house to me.

After that, we would go to Grandma Bobell’s house. Grandpa was sometimes mowing the grass or had just finished. We would sit in their shaded backyard and visit. No matter how boring it was, you would never dare say that word out loud. Never. Grandma usually had some concoction of a snack for us. Crackers, store bought cookies, frozen juice. They were exotic treats to us because we didn’t have crackers at home for a snack, and cookies were made from scratch (cheaper back then) and juice? I think not. We drank water. No Kool-Aid or sodas for us. Water. Take it or leave it.

Did it hurt us? Heck no! We even wore our nice clothes all day on Sunday. Sunday-best was a phrase I think people used for a very long time. No pajamas and jeans were not pants anyone wore unless you were a laborer or farmer. No, jeans were not permitted at school events, dances, and we wore uniforms so they were not mainstream until about 1970. Seriously. Little boys wore dress pants/trousers just like their Dad’s and Grandpa’s. They wore a belt, they wore button shirts. There was no skipping on what was acceptable attire. The t-shirt with messages was not on the horizon until the late 70’s or early 80s. We wore leather shoes. Everyone. Tennis shoes were Keds or Converse and were strictly for tennis or basketball. I believe the first jogging shoes were the blue suede/leather ones. The fad started in the gay community and grew from there.

I love a good pair of jeans and a comfy t-shirt, believe me. I do think there is a lot to say for how we dress as a society now. We have gone beyond casual/stay at home comfy/pajamas for going out in public. We have become kind of slovenly. With that, our demeanor and speech has become so as well. There is no “polite company” any more it seems. I’m just as guilty as the rest of the world for dressing casual and for very casual speech. Guilty as I charge. I think there is a lot of respect for ourselves and our fellow humans we could regain if we could monitor how we are when we leave our front doors. We would show more respect for ourselves. We would show more respect for each other. We would garner more respect, too.

I’m not saying wear suits everywhere, I’m saying wear well fitting clothes, clean clothes, and you will be met with better reactions. It should be part of everyone. Growing up the Babe and I didn’t have a lot as kids, but we were clean. Soap and water are still cheap. Clean clothes take effort but they are worth it. Pull your pants up, make sure they fit. Don’t send a bad message with your wardrobe. Be respectful. You will be respected.

There was a Black Lives Matter march of a different sort in Omaha yesterday. A group of young black men, dressed in suit coats, dress pants, shirts, ties, shoes, belts, who marched from Joslyn Museum on 24th and Dodge to somewhere downtown/Old Market area. I searched and could not find where, sorry! They have the right idea.

I believe we can all garner more respect when our appearance and demeanor is reflected in our dress, attitude, and actions. There is anger, and right now, although justified, I believe it is out of control. We all need to dial it back a notch or ten and use the anger for constructive dialogue. For it to work, we all need to be on the same page. All of us. Unless we do this soon, I think we’re doomed. And I would hate to see that happen to my country. The greatest country in the world. The United States of America. Let’s learn our real history, even the ugly parts. We need to remember how we’ve been oppressive, immoral, amoral, and committed grave errors for us to not go there again.

We all judge people. We hate to admit it but we do. Be aware and stop yourself from doing it. Especially if they are a lot different than you are. Check your prejudices and comments. About people of color. About policemen. About old people. About young people. I’m trying. Try with me.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your support. I’ll be here again tomorrow, as will our grandson Gavin, the dogs, and we’ll see you all then Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Respectful. Wash your hands. Wear your mask. Stay outside.

Fortunate Friday

This, is what I needed yesterday

Today is already a much better day than yesterday was. For some reason, I was ready to burn all my manuscripts, all of my “how to write” books, and just give up. I tried all my tricks to get out of the funk. Every single one. Except for the most important one. Give into the physical fatigue I was feeling and get a good night’s sleep. Guess what? It worked.

Each and every time I commit this crime of omission, I feel pretty silly. Why? Because I know the best thing for me, when things are out of control, is to just go to sleep. I wake up again and my soul is refreshed, the fight is still in me, and I’ll go slay the dragons of my mind again. Every time. I’ve known this for over forty years. Why did I forget it?

Because the world has gone crazy, the messages are in an out of control feeding frenzy, and I got caught up in the vortex of the tornado. Again. The fact that I’m feeling silly is just because I’m human. Most of us don’t like to admit all humans are flawed. We are all flawed. Being imperfect is something we need to admit. Once we admit it, we can work on it. We’ll never become perfect, at least not in this world, on this earth.

I believe that is for whatever Heaven is. I sometimes think Heaven is whatever is best for us on earth, it is what we have in heaven. Family and friends, kids and grandkids, music and dance, puppies and dogs, flowers and breathtaking scenery, it’s all going to be there. And never end. No one will die. Or fall out of love. No one will be mean. Or bullied. No one will murder the body with objects or the heart with words. We will have never seen anything like it. It sounds pretty incredible.

Whatever you believe, I think belief in something bigger than ourselves is critical to living now. We are not the “it” that exists at the top of the heap. We are simply sharing the middle ground with others we need to get along with. Don’t infringe on others. Share with one another. Don’t hurt or kill each others. Do good. Do be good to each other. Do know you’re all just as lovable in God’s eyes. And your mama’s. You’re equal. Now all of us need to act like it. And stop the insanity. Please. Before it’s all too late for all of us. I have hope it is not too late.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate you returning after a sub-par blog yesterday. I feel it’s necessary to share those to show we all have terrible days we can and do recover from, believe it or not. Show, don’t tell. That’s what authors are supposed to do. Have a beautiful day. Get some rest. Make some progress. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be the change. I’ll see you tomorrow.

My Hope for All of You!