Saturday Fun Times!

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

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

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

Late getting started, but the front is looking better.

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

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

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

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

Lots of Potential

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

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

Terrific Tuesday

A Dance. Not a Light Switch.

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

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

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

Yes. First Thoughts. Yes!

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

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

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

And it is exhilarating!

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

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

Mobile Monday

A Sunny Day or Six Would be Great!

Getting a late start today for the blog. I had two early appointments this morning, and the rest of the day had a conference with my writing coach, and a lot of thinking about what we talked about. It started out gloomy again. Maybe tomorrow. There is always hope.

I’ve had my temperature checked more today than I have in the past five years. Well, not really. I’m surprised Walmart didn’t check it. They had no disinfecting wipes to clean off the cart handles and didn’t require people to wear masks. They did a good job reconfiguring the aisles. They have some dividers in the middle of 12 foot aisles and nice markings in the aisles indicating the six foot apart rules. It was perfect. I found Butter Beans! And Dog Treats. Essentials for Cowboy Beans and for keeping the dogs happy. It was a win-win.

The conversation with my writing coach was good. I got some honest feedback to help me take my idea and what I’ve written so far, add some things, and be able to make it the best telling of my story about Katie and her seven brothers: Patrick, Andrew, Edward, John, Marty, William, and Michael. It is amazing to make the decisions about characters, their flaws and strengths, and the perils they will interact during. It’s a continuing process, and sometimes I get an idea and decide that may be in a follow-up story, maybe in a trilogy. That would be quite exciting!

Those of us in the 1970 Graduating Class from Archbishop Ryan High School will not be having our 50th Reunion this year. That is sad, but since we are all “of a certain age,” maybe we’ll start a new tradition of a 51st Reunion. It could become a thing, you know? And perhaps our good friend, Anna Merola, will be able to come from Italy. It would be wonderful!

As I left the dentist this morning near 144 & Fort in Omaha, I did see the Nebraska National Guard flyover doing a tribute flight to honor the state’s heroes in the trenches of treating COVID-19 patients. It would have been more spectacular against a blue sky, but the clouds accentuated it as well. The special tributes to those in harm’s way are incredible.

My nephew Don is an ER (ED) nurse in Arizona, and I know he is an angel to his patients. He is in the profession because of his mother, who died from oral cancer in 2007. He was a graduating senior at Bellevue East High School then. Wow. Talk about your graduation being messed up. Her funeral was the day after his 18th birthday. What a lot to overcome! Don enlisted in the USAF, and served his country. I love what he’s done with his life. And, still a newlywed, he married the lovely Carrie last November in Omaha. I’m so happy for them, proud of them, and am just waiting to see their new chapter. You, Don, are my hero. May God continue to bless you!

I’m issuing an apology in advance of you reading this meme. It is an important part of a theme in my book, and it is important for all of us to own our actions, words, and behaviors. If you do not you will never be able to be your best. It is especially hard for people who were raised in dysfunctional families. There is no shame in it, the shame is in not changing the things that are wrong. Not calling out the bad behavior within our own groups leaves the door open for passing along the bad things. And you don’t want to do that. Be strong. Be aware. Be brave enough to say, “It stops here. My family did the best they knew how. And some things need to change for the future.”

I thank you for reading today. I appreciate you so very much. See you again tomorrow, you know I’ll be here ! Stay Safe. Wash your hands. Call a Friend. Learn something new! Take care.

Thankful Sunday

We’re basking in the love here at home today. Yesterday, we went to visit the grandkids for about an hour. It was wonderful! They have both grown taller and matured even more than last time we saw them. Schooling at home, being quarantined, and other responsibilities have been great for them. Addison has a beautiful heart and will be as tall as I am in the not too distant future. Gavin is much taller and is having the time of his life at home. In addition to doing school work, he’s reading books and playing while social distancing with his neighborhood friends. He learned to ride his bike!! He is quite the social (distancing) butterfly.

We had a nice visit with the whole family, Tracy and TJ are always willing to help us out if we need it. How nice. We also have my Frankie in town who also would help us out if we’d need it but he lives across town and works weekends, and other times we might need an assist. I’m sure this will change as time goes on. This pandemic and quarantining have had us thinking a lot about planning for our lives as we age. It tells us we need to think twice about having control of our situation. We do to a point, and to be realistic, how can we plan for our future now? I think the answer to that is plan as if this virus and everything involved in it are not an issue. I think we will have vaccines for this. I think we may find at least part of it was manufactured. I hope whoever did that is punished.

Back to work on this for the afternoon.
Very slow going!

Was this against the rules? Maybe. I trust our family and I know they are taking every precaution to be safe. So are we. It’s a risk. But the hugs of those two young, strong, grandkids is worth it. The hug and linger. They don’t let go. They convey their love to you. So heartwarming. We are the luckiest people on earth. All of you will feel the same when you are with your families again. It will happen. We will all be careful. We will still socially distance. We will get together with our loved ones again for a brief visit. Once the greeting hugs are done and the long goodbye hugs are finished, we will leave their homes again or have them over. Gavin loves our dogs. They love him. He needs to play fetch with Goldie. They will both love it. More hugs. Puppy loves. It’s life at it’s best. And we will all enjoy it again.

Remember the little things. Remember the warmth of a hug. Remember the love in a child’s smile. Remember the joy when they learn to do things like walk, ride a bike, or write their names. It’s all coming back again and it’ll be old normal back again. To heck with this “new normal” people talk about. Give me the best of the old normal.

I’m still reveling in the love we felt yesterday. I’m just going to enjoy that all day in my memory, Thank you for reading today. I’ll see you tomorrow, and I appreciate you stopping by every day. Smile. You will have good hugs again. Back to “work”. Stay safe. Stay distant. Stay home.

Monday, Monday

Good afternoon, folks. Glad it’s a dry day so far. That can change at any second. We had some errands to do, so the day has been kind of haphazard. I had a dental appointment for the first time since the COVID-19 issue started. It’s quite the ordeal now.

Our dentist came to Omaha from Oklahoma a few years ago when a tornado came through their town, destroying schools and homes and buildings. He knew many people from the news stories. It was very hard with his wife there with the kids, selling their house. He drove home each weekend and has sort of become a friend rather than a dentist. His work is quite thorough and we both trust his opinion.

So the new rules are, you call the office when you park, or message them. Someone will talk with you and ask if you have a fever, etc., then they come out and give you a form to sign, take your temp, and the hygienist comes out to escort you in. What a great way to do it. One of the forms you sign is a specific permission to be treated, and it states the extra risks to everyone to have oral work done. It is a concern, but I figure as long as people all do what they should, this should alleviate any issues. I’m certainly not going to sue anyone, you know?

The hygienist wears a shield over her face, and they don’t irrigate as much as they used to. Alleviating any splash back on either of us. Good idea. They do a little more digging with those pointy instruments, so I still feel it three hours later, but they did their usual good job. Masks and all, it wasn’t a bad experience. The calling from the car will work as long as people have cell phones. I’m sure that will be a point of contention should Mom need to go to the dentist. Even though I would call for her, she would pontificate about her feelings on cell phones. They are something she just can’t abide. Everyone has their opinion. She readily shares her thoughts with the world.

I would love to have bookshelves again.

When we moved to this house almost four years ago, we had donated our very old, inexpensive bookcases to Goodwill. All my books and quilting books are in boxes in the basement. I would find many old friends and memories should I start going through them. I do intend to look through them, donating some, and saving others. I will see if the high school might be interested in the quilting books. They’re pretty good, or the city library may be interested. It’s a place to start. I also could donate the quilting books to my quilters guild library. They are always glad to have them come through the door.

Fighting for Your Dreams is One of the Most Important Fights to Engage In.

I feel a little out of sync today. Going to the dentist really made the coronavirus front and center in our day. Numbers have gone up in parts of Nebraska. We’re considered a hot spot. People are going to restaurants with restrictions. The numbers will probably never reflect what they need to since testing takes different avenues. Are all the tests the same? Are there many false positives? The Babe and I are registered on the Nebraska List. They informed us we could request a test to see if we’d been exposed. You click on the button, and they tell you they’re all filled up for appointments.

I do believe we will find our way through this. I think it’s worse than anyone could imagine. I think there are challenges with many people about staying home. Someone will always act in a disagreeable manner, but I do not think that is the norm. I think most people will behave in a good manner, and we all want this to end well. With as few as possible losing their lives, with as few as possible maimed permanently because of complications, and with all of us back to work and having a comfortable life. We need to act in faith that our medical leaders know what to do, we need to act in hope that we can work together to flatten curves and provide information that is truthful and useful. We need to act in love to our friends, family, neighbors, and anyone who needs a hand that we can comfortably offer. Be open to what your faith, hope, and love lead you to do.

Thank you for reading today. I hope you all have a beautiful evening and know that I appreciate you. I hope to see you again tomorrow, you know I’ll be here. Stay safe.

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!

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!