Saturday Fun Times!

So yesterday we went to the garden center and purchased some beauties. I planted a few things in pots earlier, and one in the ground in the front yard. A smaller hydrangea bush. It should look pretty good next to the butterfly bush that grew so huge last year. We’re planning to keep it trimmed up a bit as it grows, so it doesn’t encroach on the sidewalk to enter the house. Last year it needed to be trimmed a lot.

My back does cause considerable problems when I do work like this, so I sat down on the little front porch steps to rest it a minute. I untangled the wind chimes I purchased a few years ago at Shopko, when they were still open. It was tangled to badly, I was tempted to cut it apart and restring it. But then I started thinking about my dad. He could untangle necklaces that were twisted and tangled so bad you were tempted to throw them out. He was a man of incredible patience when it came to things like that.

I started thinking about him as I sat, trying to untangle the knots of all elements of this wind chime. The more I thought about him, the easier the tangle became. I was truly amazed at how the time passed, the tangles fell away, I thought of how my dad would work on things while working them out, I could smell the freshness in the air, I was aware of the coolness of the concrete, it was such a relaxing, enjoyable experience. And this was the result:

Late getting started, but the front is looking better.

I’m sure now I’ll have those heartwarming thoughts of my dad when I glance out the window while writing or sewing. I’m such a “just look out the window at this or that” kind of person. I hope to experience many more things like this when I’m looking away to let my eyes wander.

The Babe is mowing the yard in between working more on the birdhouse bench he’s building. It’s amazing how thick the grass in the back yard has become, despite the dogs being out and using it as dogs do. I used to think only retired people had nice lawns. I remember mowing our lawn on a big banked hill when my kids and I lived on Nicholas Street. My son Nicholas sure thought it was great to live on a street named after him. I do believe it was named long before he was thought of, but I didn’t want to burst his bubble. I have a bunch of plants to keep planting this afternoon, and I’d better get back to it.

There are a couple plants I need to plant in nicer containers, like the Hibiscus tree, and hope I can keep it alive this winter. Maybe remembering to water it will help, too. Since we have lost our great cleaning lady, we’ll be cleaning now and should be in a better position to be watering plants that need it. Yes, I’m sad to lose Lori, but she needs some benefits and to be more secure for her future. I wish her well, and am glad to have had her since we moved into this home. Good Luck!

Below is an overview of the flower garden the Babe fenced in for me. There are Columbine, a small Hydrangea, and a couple Asiatic Lilies down there. We’re going to lay down Landscaping Cloth and decide where the annuals go. I hope to get everything in and thriving by tomorrow afternoon.

Lots of Potential

There is something about this meme that I love. I do believe many of us have been doing this since social distancing and stay at home were introduced. I know it’s hard for the Babe to put into words how he feels, he just knows things are “off”. I feel the same way. It’s kind of like listening to someone talk, but you feel and hear like you’re underwater. Or you go somewhere and don’t think about driving there, but realize you are there. That’s the time to do like these two little guys do above. If you can’t or don’t want to talk about it, maybe you just need someone to sit with you. Quietly. Just feel the being together. It helps. Try it with someone you trust, love, and respect. It is the best medicine.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. Sit by someone you trust and love. Enjoy their quiet company. Or untangle your windchime from last summer. It will take your mind away from your troubles. So relaxing. I will be here again tomorrow, hope to see you then. It’s the Babe’s birthday. I’m off to bake a Red Velvet Cake. The store was out of German Chocolate. So the Babe bought our granddaughter’s favorite. Hope the others like it! Take Care. Drive Safely. Wash Your Hands!

Terrific Tuesday

A Dance. Not a Light Switch.

Almost all of us have been in situations we don’t want to be in. Some of us are expert at saying, “This is not what I want, I’m gone,” and leave. And never come back. We protect ourselves and know we deserve better. We don’t feel guilty, we feel appropriately balanced.

Others of us are so dependent on others, we may ask our kids if we can go see our friends today. We’re the adult! You don’t need their approval! If you ask permission of your mate, that’s not good, in my opinion. If you’re checking about the family calendar that’s different, but know you’re coordinating schedules, not asking permission. Permission to me is requested of a higher up, like a boss. Not an equal partner, spouse, or friend. Yet, there are many who always seek permission, as if they are not able to make their own decisions.

Still others of are still learning about these things. We know when something is uncomfortable, but we are more called to duty than anything. It could be this way for dealing with an aging parent. We make statements that go unheard, simply because another person has never acknowledged or honored our boundaries. They were the bully and manipulated you into doing what they wanted. They cannot do that once we learn our worth. It is more like a dance, when we are still dealing with those troublesome personalities who bullied and bossed us around. They become frustrated at not getting their way, and we may feel badly for saying, “No.” But we have set out boundary. They are trying to bully their way across it. “No” reinforces it well. They become more uncomfortable and leave us alone. Nothing to feel bad about. You were firm. It’s a victory! A dance, not a lightswitch. And it’s ok. You’re learning. You’ll also learn not to feel guilty.

Yes. First Thoughts. Yes!

A whole new world opens up for a person who learns to stop accepting second thoughts (or no thoughts) and “Maybes” as answers to invitations. I used to accept those from people. From people I asked to do thing, to go places, invitations to events in my life. There is no silence as long as the wait after someone asks a question only to be met with, “Well, I’m not sure, maybe.” Or just met with more silence. Like your question doesn’t exist. Like you don’t exist. They deserve a “Yes” or a “No.”

It is tricky to learn these new things. I’ve been working on it all for about forty years. I’m no longer brainwashed. I’m no longer feeling second best. I’m no longer feeling ignored. I will only spend time with people who want to be in my life. No second bests. Not any more.

And some people think I’ve changed. Some people think I’m terrible. I have changed. I no longer sell myself short. I no longer think I don’t deserve good treatment. It’s been a long and winding road. There is always some old programming left you hear once in awhile. That you’re boasting if you stand up for yourself. That you have an inflated ego. Blah, blah, blah. Not true. Not anymore.

And it is exhilarating!

In the novel I’m writing, I’m examining a character who learned to stand up for herself, for what is right, and has learned to speak up, despite the cold shoulder and bullying by her family. It’s lonely. But she becomes used to it. And she realizes the people who treated her the worst were the ones she loved the most because they were family. She also learns you can select a family who accept you for who you are, who support you and your dreams, and who treat you well. She sees where she started the journey and still has a few triggers with certain words and situations. It’s a gift she gave herself. And it keeps giving to her and those who love her.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. I will see you here again tomorrow. You know I’ll be here!

It’s Thursday Again

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

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

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

This one is thought provoking.

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

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

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

Thankful Thursday

Yesterday, I wrote about venturing out for the first time. Or rather, the anticipation of going out for the first time. If you’d like to read it, check yesterday’s post, Woo-Hoo Wednesday. We all felt very strange going somewhere to dine again, and to especially see our friends after two months.

I spoke with a lady who reiterated what I felt yesterday. She mentioned feeling safe because we all know each other. I wholeheartedly agreed. It was wonderful to be out. To be among friends. To feel safe while relaxing some aspects of social distancing. The Post strictly adhered to the guidelines the Health Department insisted be followed for reopening. People understood. People were kind to each other. As I reflect back on it today, I am thinking of those who did not come out. They were not convinced they should be out yet. And that’s ok. We took a risk, and it was a good one.

It did our hearts good. Sharing a meal with friends who are like family is almost a sacred act. I can only imagine the joy we’ll feel when we are able to be with our grandkids again. Hugs for all! We all miss those the most. Yes, it felt like forever since we were able to gather. We tried to catch up on the news from each other. We had a limit of six to a table, and had to rotate in and out to not break the rules. It was so worth it. Some men hadn’t shaved for awhile. Some women needed haircuts. None of that mattered, we were just glad to be out.

All that said, I can’t say I have a desire to get on a plane, drive to Colorado (really hard to not go, with a new grandson and all!), go shopping in a crowded place, or attend a outdoor concert yet. I don’t feel we’re safe enough to do that yet. We may not be for a long time. Yes, warm to hot weather is going to make the virus unable to make us ill, but traces will still be around. It will be round two in a few months with a double punch from Coronavirus and the flu. Lucky us. We’re going to be doing this for a long time, folks. We can do baby steps getting out again. In time we will be more secure about it. Just pick a place you know you’ll feel safe. And go, when they’re open. And you will experience joy at being with your friends again. A reward for staying home these past two months, that we were all present. It will happen for all of us soon. Enjoy the experience. Savor your people.

I may have lost 3K words from my book while editing with Pro Writing Aid. Not sure if the word counter had a hiccup or anything, I don’t see where they are missing. It may take awhile to locate the gaps. There are some chapters that need more work, and I’d still like to reach 50K words or more. Lots of loose ends to tie up, and relationships to mend (those that can be mended). Hoping I can find them sooner rather than later. It will work out, things always do!

Ancient Chinese Proverbs May Be The Best

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate you taking the time to do so. Hope to see you again tomorrow. I’ll be here! Stay safe! Wash hands, Be Kind, Call a Friend Today!

Twofer-Tuesday

Hold onto your hats outside today in Eastern Nebraska! Wowzers, is it windy. When it’s like this all day long, I tend to stay inside. Asthma doesn’t like windy spring days. Or winter days. Hazard of the condition. What’s on your list for the day? The Babe is mowing again. The grass has greened nicely even in the back yard where the dogs do their thing. It amazes me every year. Each day, things come more alive. I love spring. Sometimes it’s my favorite season. The thought of the earth coming alive again is such a gift. Do kids still plant beans in a styrofoam or clear plastic cup to watch it sprout? We loved doing that as kids. Always a fun thing for science class. But in today’s world, do they use styrofoam or plastic? Probably not. Shoot! What can they use that’s environmentally safe/friendly/etc., that you can see through?

Our little patio garden is in the planning stages. I hope we’ll get to plant sometime right after Mother’s Day. The only things that survived the winter were some random Asiatic Lilies and a few Columbine plants. I love Columbine, they’re so delicate looking and so easy to care for. And they multiply like crazy! I’ll post a pic of the little fence maybe tomorrow.

We had fresh banana bread yesterday and it was so good. It’s been awhile since I baked it, so that made it extra special. The flour supply is a little low in the cupboard, so I need to remember to buy some next trip out. Is it in short supply or is that only on the coasts? That’s a good reason to live in the midwest, we don’t have some of the problems with supply they have further away. Trends are slow to reach us as far as fashion, music, and current movies but who cares about that stuff? We have ground-breaking research and teaching hospitals. We have so many kind people. Farmers are made of tough stuff, and so is the urban population. We’re generations closer to people who had to work very hard (physically) for a living. Yes, we have gang issues, homelessness, illnesses, and other less than desirable things. We also are first to pitch in and help each other. I love that about our people.

Right now, it’s a perfect time for a little nap. Hope you’re all staying well, busy, and happy if you’re at home or working. Keep distancing and washing those hands! We’re nowhere near done with being cautious. Thank you for reading this abbreviated blog today, and I hope to see you again tomorrow. I’ll be here, hoping that wind calms down. Be safe!

Summery Sunday

Good Sunday Morning! Hope you are all well. Hope you have a steamy cup or six of coffee, however you like it, and that you talk to someone you love today. It’s in reaching out that we reach each other. Not in a physical way, but symbolically, reach out so someone. It may be the only contact they (or you) have all day.

The Babe and I watched CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley today. I really like that program. Although it does report some news, it talks in a very positive way about the status of all, and doesn’t try to scare the Holy Heck out of you. I’m serious. It was much more uplifting to hear from Henry Winkler about his bad dyslexia and how he has dealt with it than to hear more updates on the death totals, protesters, and elections in November. It was actually refreshing.

At first, I was with everyone who wanted normal back again. The more I read and realize that may not be what we should want, the more I don’t want it back. I love seeing families trying to plant gardens, to spend time with each other in a loving way, and for many people who have finally figured out that the Almighty Dollar isn’t what we should strive for.

I used to think it was easy for people with money to tell you it wasn’t everything. While that is true, I’ve been on both sides of the equation. Dirt poor as a single Mom, and now when money isn’t what matters any more. Years ago, my mom told me when you have enough money, it doesn’t matter anymore. Truer words were never spoken. I didn’t want for much. All I wanted was enough money to go to the grocery store AND buy shoes for each of my three kids. Without worry. Without robbing the utility bills payment and still have one kid that needed shoes. Didn’t want to get greedy.

And now, I understand how families feel who are not being paid because of their jobs being shut down. I cannot fathom being a person whose livelihood depends on tips. I never had to use a food bank or apply for government cheese, but I feel for people who don’t due to pride. As I gained more training and experience and higher pay, all it did was put me in the category of the kids not qualifying for reduced lunch at school. The raise was only $.50 per hour usually. The taxes on a single person reduced take home pay. And the guidelines for reduced lunch were your gross pay, not net pay. With the higher lunch prices, it actually was a negative net pay change. Imagine that. My answer was to get more education, and I would earn more money. That and a change of employer made all the difference in the world.

The things I’ve described above have taken a couple things I never knew I had. FAITH in myself. HOPE in my efforts. BELIEF that I could do it. As I ventured further into the world, I gained more of those three things. They’re intangible but necessary for success in anything, be it college, job interview, creating your own opportunity, or learning anything new. Like a new direction for your lives. Yes, it’s frightening. But if you don’t venture out, you’ll fail by not trying.

Do you know someone like this?
Is it YOU?

Yes, this was me about fifty years ago, right out of high school. I knew I’d never finish college much less be able to pay for it, I knew I’d never meet someone so I married my high school boyfriend, I never thought about hair styling school because I was sure I’d never work. What would the nearly 68 year old Kathy tell the then 18 year old Kathy from this perspective on her life?

  • Listen to yourself, not everyone else.
  • Get some confidence in yourself.
  • You are valuable.
  • You are intelligent.
  • You are very capable.
  • Don’t listen to negativity, especially from your mom.
  • Be brave enough to ask your dad about things.
  • Do it afraid.
  • Find a group that is on your side.
  • Find support. It’s out there.

And so many other things. There were no community colleges in the Omaha area in the late 60s and early 70s. The women’s movement was just starting here in Omaha, Nebraska, behind the curve of the nation, but it was all about things that were foreign to me, my mom, my family’s way of thinking. I now embrace certain things about it, but couldn’t imagine it back in those days.

As a late bloomer, I can only imagine what I could have accomplished with another twelve years out in the world making my way. That said, I am so grateful to have been at home with kids and having that beautiful experience. They gave me the strength to leave a bad situation and look for a better life. They were my reason for living and venturing and enjoying life. It has been quite a ride, and I regret nothing.

It’s perfectly OK to look for support outside of your family. It’s perfectly OK to be different than “they” want you to be. It’s perfectly OK to blaze a trail. Do it afraid, but do it. You’ll learn quickly. You must learn to create opportunities if you don’t see any in front of you. Education. Professional groups. Networking. Social Media. No one can take your learning away from you. Don’t keep yourself from it. It’s yours for the taking and keeping.

As we continue through these days of uncertainty, create opportunities for yourself. Work related, fine. Free time related? Sure, why not. Why do you think the baking aisle at the store is noticeably understocked right now? People are trying something new, something they haven’t had time for before. Baking is a start. Online art classes are a start. There are many, many low cost or even free ones. Check it out! Better to spend your time learning something you’ve always wanted to do than watching some of the videos out there.

And there is another benefit. A real one. If you have young kids who see you learning, it will keep them learning. They will value learning. They will value education. They will value calculated risk taking. It’s all a fantastic experience. Go for it!

Thank you so much for reading today. Enjoy this Sunday in any way you can. It remains overcast with a big chance of rain tomorrow, so the Babe is finishing the little patio garden fence. It has a gate, and is so cute! I hope to see you again tomorrow. I’ll be here, hope you are, too. Learn. Something. New. Stay healthy! Stay sane!

I’d like to believe someone wrote my story here.
It can be yours, too.

Saturday Senses

The Babe used to work at Watkins Concrete Block Co., Inc in Omaha at 144th & Giles. He was a Lead then Supervisor in the truck shop, then became Labor Foreman. He also did Facilities Management, lots of other things. I think most of the guys loved working for him, he would tell it like it is and still be kind with extra chances if someone hit a rough patch. The reason I thought of this, was I saw on Facebook Watkins was going to be open Saturdays for the summer starting this week. We talked about how it used to be a relief for him to be off during the winter. As soon as the summer season started, he worked longer hours, Saturdays, and just ended up exhausted by the end of the summer.

The heat is hard to work in, and although he did have an office, he was in and out of the heat a lot. He’d come home with concrete dust on his boots, jeans, sometimes on his face, but he always came home happy. He loved his job. He was a manager who kept an eye out on the workers. Safety was always an issue, but then he also needed to find the ones who couldn’t work without supervision. Some folks will sneak a nap in, or dawdle on a simple task as long as they think they can get away with it. He saw a lot of humanity in those years. He’d help a guy out if they needed it, as long as they were honest about things. I respected him a lot for that.

As a total contrast, my job was sitting at a desk, writing code, debugging code, and all the things that go with being a “coder”. I was lucky to get to use my HR education the last few years I worked. I worked with the managers, HR, and contracting companies to find suitable candidates for open positions. It was fun, a change from what I’d been doing, and I liked working with the people. I was fortunate to be able to make the salary I did, have the benefits, and be able to go on LTD when I did.

Fast forward to 2020. We’re both retired. Married 22 years. 5 kids and 5 grandkids. We do pretty well spending 24/7 together. That’s a blessing. I love when the Babe is telling someone a line, and I see his eyes crinkle up at the outer edges, his dimples deepen, and he delivers the punch line. BOOM! I still fall for some of the worst spoofs. And he’s still quite proud of himself for telling me yet another fish tale. At this point in life, we both are pretty reflective on how good God’s been to us. This morning, we ditched the usual news and phone browsing, and sat on the deck with the dogs while the earth came alive. The clouds blew from southwest to northeast, and the birds were singing. Nice. It’s refreshing for your soul to look at nature. To think and talk with a background like that.

Look for your blessings today. They are all around you. We’re all tired of hearing about COVID-19, coronavirus, social distancing, face masks, testing, China, and everything that goes with it. People have strong opinions. We’re all tense. We are whether we know it or not. The Babe has admitted it several times. He said the only time in his life it’s been so uncertain is when he was in Vietnam. That statement made me feel sick, truthfully. I was glad he admitted how he felt. Then I didn’t know what to do about it. Except tell him, “I’m here for you, Babe.”

The most uncertain I ever was, 1978, July 23. My son drowned. He was revived but stayed in a coma for over 15 hours. That whole week was touch and go, and he did regain consciousness. His 2 1/2 year old brother was a mess. I was a mess. He had no memory of it. I was pregnant, and tried to bargain with God. I got my son back from God. It was so close. I’ve been grateful these some 40 years and longer. Whenever I hear of a child drowning, it feels like the worst gut-punch every time. It physically hurts for a few seconds, just like it did that day. He will be 49 years old this year (did I mention I was 5 when he was born?). Good man. Happy. Hard worker. Great friend. So grateful he was spared and he had no lasting damage. My marriage did not survive. But that’s ok. I don’t think it was meant to.

Somedays it feels like we are in the middle of waiting out a tour in Vietnam, or in a hospital CCU, waiting, waiting, waiting for some news. Do the best thing we can do. Pray. Love your family. Communicate what’s going on in your mind. And when we shift to be on that plane ride home, the release from the hospital, the hugs from our family, friends, and grandkids, Pray Again! Thank God from now until forever for Him being so good to us.

Thank you so much for reading today. I appreciate it so much. I’ll be back tomorrow, and I hope to see you then. Give Thanks. Be Positive. Pray. Be Strong. Pray. Wash your hands. Hang in there, and most definitely hang on!