Tuesday Gratitude

It’s a blue-skied day again today. I always welcome this time of year. Lots of people had strange wind damage yesterday, it was a weird event which happens once in awhile. Weather is so strange. It has to be respected because it is so powerful. Many kinds of severe weather can happen in Nebraska, and other states. I’d hate a hurricane, Floridians would hate tornadoes. Blizzards aren’t that bad when you’re retired. It doesn’t matter if you get out or not. Just fill the coffee again, and there you are. Light the fire and watch a Netflix series or two.

As we age, we need to have lots of preventative maintenance. Kind of like a car. If you don’t do it regularly, you could have a lot of unknown issues that could be costly for a car, or deadly for a person. The Babe had a colonoscopy today, and all is well. That is a huge blessing. We are grateful. Come back in three years, what is a great outcome.

It appears Joe Biden has a running mate. I have no opinion of Ms. Harris, and it matters not to me that she is a female or black. Neither makes me think a candidate more or less worthy. I have concerns about Biden, and Harris, and about Trump and Pence. I just hope there is never another Presidential assassination. It is a horrible event to happen to a nation.

I was in sixth grade when Kennedy was shot. We heard all the gory details. After all, we learned everything about the crucified body of Jesus Christ by the time we were seven, there was no reason to spare assassination details. And we all witnessed the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby. When you consider the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy happened in 1968, as did the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago; we experienced a lot of violence. The violence human beings are capable of.

That violence happens often and daily in America now. Life seems to have lost it’s value to the killers. As many grandmothers and mothers do, I pray none of our family is harmed by this violence. One of our sons serves in the U.S. Secret Service, and he is trained beyond what we could ever imagine. He is a perfect man for the job he has. We are nothing but proud. He is actually safer than we are, if you think about it. God will be good to him, and to his beautiful family.

So true . . . let’s all have a good heart.

I fared well with a quick review from my book coach, regarding my rewritten Chapter One. Very minor things, which I will submit to her again, along with a draft of Chapter Two. I have an idea of what will happen in Chapter Two, and I’ll try to behave with my verb tenses, keep the protagonist in all the scenes, and keep to the timeline. All the stuff I learned in Chapter One so far. It’s a great process, I’m glad to be experiencing it.

It’s a couple days late, but the Babe and I are going to watch this week’s Yellowstone. He can’t stay awake on Sunday night for it, so we record it for later. It’s continuing to be a great story line again this season. The scenery is so beautiful. Makes me want to go back to Montana again. We left the back entrance of Yellowstone National Park to see Big Sky Country. It was breathtaking!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I thank you for reading today. I appreciate it so much. Be safe out there. Some schools started back up today, and more will go back tomorrow. Take a little time for yourself, be kind, be courteous, be smart. I will see you right here again tomorrow. Thank you very much.

Fabulous Friday

It is really a beautiful day outside. I swear God sends cold fronts through the humid and hot areas like Nebraska to give us a break and make us feel like living again. It improves the general feeling of your soul and gives your mind a break. Still, I like the four seasons. Four “alleged” seasons. It seems like we skip a lot of spring and a portion of fall many times. Hope there is comfort to deal with the rest of the pandemic we are having.

Where we live in Gretna, it is very close to Omaha. The VFW Post we attend is in Omaha. We have concerns about the possible mask ordinance Omaha was considering. It appears the health department has backed off from enacting one. I say it’s a shame, the legalities were questioned and they asked people to use their best judgment. With those rights comes responsibilities. To me, it makes sense to wear a mask. We do not often make the best judgments. Some use motorcycle helmets as an example. I favor helmets, seat belts, and wearing masks. Yes, it’s annoying. So are helmets and seatbelts. But I’m safer using them.

My asthma doc ordered me to have a COVID test before my appointment with her last week. I thought I would test negative and did. I believe curtailing my social activity and social distancing, which includes wearing a mask when shopping is helping. Please think long term on the outcome, it may make more sense.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

In addition to working on my Poppies Quilt, I’m devouring a couple more books for writers: Write Great Beginnings, and Point of View. It appears there is more competition than ever to attract a reader who will read a book. It also appears there are fewer who start a book who actually finish one. I have only quit reading maybe 4 books in the last ten years. When I buy them, I think it’s a terrible waste to not finish. One was borrowed from the library, a biography by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Brian is a genius and has had mental illness for nearly his entire life. It’s a very sad story, and one that concludes well. There are better versions written, believe me.

In addition to having a hook to attract a reader, you have to do a lot to keep them reading. Each chapter ending should make them just want to keep reading. I love books that do that. They are easy to read and quick. No time wasted. Now to learn how to do exactly that.

I have some real characters to introduce once I build them. It is such fun to be able to do that. There is something I read to make sure to appeal to the theater of the reader’s mind. What does that mean? Simply put, have you ever enjoyed a book more than a movie? Yes, an author needs to write so well the images in our minds are vivid and our imaginations can take us through the story. That’s the challenge.

Conflict is the center of fiction. Intensifying the troubles that stand in a main characters way. The problems are big, and he or she drive the story with their decisions. Because they chose this, something else happens. I’m told it gets easier the more I understand it. I trust Sam Tyler, my writing coach. She has made this endeavor so good for me. I’m so lucky to know her from the Nebraska Writers Guild. She is a writer and coach. Very good with critique. Asks hard questions. All with good reason. If I can’t answer the questions, how can I write my answers to them?

AHA! There it is! This is also a great living example of why/how to outline everything (major events) in the story you want to tell. Sure, you have it all in your head, but trust me, your memory isn’t that great some (most) of the time. As I write, other ideas spill out and I can end up in a completely different area than I wanted to be. I’m learning to be a planner, not a pantster. A pantster is writing by the seat of your pants. When you think you have a great idea, it’s easy to think you don’t need to plan anything. I can be foolish at times!

Just as maps are not always up to date in Google, our outlines can leave a bit to be desired. We need to be open (always) to modifying the outline. Even if you’re well into the story. Lots to think about. Lots to wade through.

And There You GO!

Off to work on another unrelated issue. I’m helping get information together for the new VFW Post 2503 website. It should be a fun project. The one we have is pretty outdated and cumbersome to work on. I’ll be learning some WordPress tricks I don’t know and will benefit tremendously from it. Thank you for taking time to read the blog today. I appreciate it, and hope to see you tomorrow. Stay Safe, my friends. I want you all with me the rest of this journey. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Careful out There!

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.

Super Sunday!

It’s been a busy couple of days for us. Last night’s Honor Guard Banquet was very nice. The food was great and we had the pleasure of listening to Bill Williams, the person who sponsored all of the Honor Flight’s to Washington DC to see the monuments built to honor each war. World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Such hard times. Such hard memories. Such healing. Mr. Williams was a good speaker, very personable, very sincere about his motivations. What a labor of love, and a healing event for these soldiers.

The Honor Guard had certificates for all the events they attended for a twelve month period. With parades cancelled this year, and a ban on burials at the Omaha National Cemetery for a couple of months, it was a difficult year to get them to add up. As things continue to open up, more funerals will be done, and more veterans families will hear the bugler play Taps. A hush falls over the crowd, and the bugle plays sorrowfully. What a moment for those who have served. A moment of pride and hope and faith all at once. They believe in their country and what it stands for. And they honor their dead as no one else does. I hope this continues on forever.

Today started a little earlier than usual, picking Mom up to go to another family bridal shower. This was a sister of the same bride we showered earlier this year. Her wedding was COVID-19 delayed. They had a civil service, but no reception yet. The sister from today, her wedding is scheduled in August, so we’re hoping it goes as planned. These girls deserve it! The makeup reception is in September. Good times ahead with my cousins, at happy occasions. That’s the best part!

So after an evening of honoring some of the most patriotic people I know, and an afternoon of laughing and wishing happiness for a young couple and their future, I find it was a wonderful but tiring weekend. In attendance at the shower were a set a twin boys who were identical. As twins usually do, they were premature, and have come a long way with quite a fight. It was amazing to watch them interact with each other. They were only about a pound and a half at birth and are small at four and a half months old. They are beautiful boys, and are very bright and attentive to their surroundings. We come from a long line of baby lovers, so we were smitten. I hope they come to the wedding so the Babe can see them.

It sure won’t be a very late night for us tonight. We’re needing to think of what needs to be done this week, and Gavin will be with us the next three days. It was fun to see our grandkids interact with their cousins Thursday evening, and then to interact with mine today. The circle of life, surely goes on, doesn’t it?

Still mapping out my work schedule for the next two months. I will accomplish more on it tomorrow, for now, I think I’m just going to finish reading Personality Isn’t Permanent. We don’t serve ourselves by adhering to self-limiting beliefs such as, “I’m an introvert. I’m too shy to answer questions about my books.” Wrong! This is exactly the time you will become extroverted! Or such as, “I am retired and think it is foolish for someone my age to take a risk like writing a book so late in life.” Baloney! This is the best time! You’re not limiting yourself because you do not care what people think!

Your personality has really changed all throughout your life. It will continue to change as long as you allow it room to grow and change. Look at how far you need to go to become what you wish to be. And keep on that path until you get there and further. You will never want to quit.

Have you ever been forced to take a personality test for your job? I have. It’s a bunch of hooey, really. One part was answer qualities you need to do your job. The other part was what qualities you think you have. It was a bunch of hooey all right. Who doesn’t want to be precise, technical, exacting, consistent, and accurate when you program software? And who doesn’t want to be flexible, warm, caring, adaptable, and understanding as a human being? Well, they told me I’d never make it as a programmer because I couldn’t pay attention to detail, be consistent, blah, blah, blah, my personality would be my undoing. The president of the company told me I’d better find a different line of work.

Well, I had news for him. I wanted to prove you could be all those wonderful things and still pay attention to detail and program like nobody’s business. And I did. Tests like this are bunk. I’m glad this book tells people that. I’m glad the Meyer’s Briggs test is also questioned. I think it’s too stifling to have only one set of four letters to tell you who you are. People can truly change. I have. People are more interested in what you’re about to become than what you have been categorized as.

Thank you for reading my very late blog today. Hug your cousins when you see them. They’re great people and a lot of fun, too. I appreciate your time tonight and look forward to seeing you back here tomorrow. Be safe. Take care. Wear a mask, Wash your hands, Watch your step, and Be Kind. It’s always in style.

Swinging Saturday!

Yeah! Gavin started playing ball last night in his Youth League. They have a tournament all weekend. Nothing like going big or going home! I’m excited about this for many reasons. I love baseball. I love when kids get to learn and play. I love this team because his dad, our son-in-law, is one of the coaches. From what I hear, he was quite the player in his day. Never got to see him play, but I’ve heard the stories. Good ones, of course. His dad is a good father to both the kids, and a terrific son in law. We have three great ones, TJ, Aaron, and Brian.

So if the rain holds off, we may get to go to the game later on. Addison is back at dance now, and she’s enjoying seeing her friends. I don’t think there are many girls in her neighborhood to hang out with, so she’s glad to have human contact again. While it’s all good now, I’m concerned about what will happen later, in October and November. Just praying and taking precautions for now.

I am having some challenges with the office help this morning. Letting them in. Letting them out. Getting them water. Right now, a squeaking squirrel is making it’s way up my thigh, complete with bad doggie breath making it a little warm in here. And now, here is the dinosaur, doing the same. If I stop writing and go to the living room to sit with them, they go to sleep. Can’t win, but I can laugh while I’m doing it. Finally, twenty minutes later and she found a place to lay down and nap. Lexie prefers the couch. In fact, she knows the word “couch.” Funny what we do for our pets.

I am writing a scene/point page for my new story about a girl who has to find courage to leave her unhappy marriage. She is discovering many resources to help her leave, she just has to be vigilant to make sure she sees them, and has the courage to act on them. The more she discovers, the more there is to discover. I think life works this way. The scenes are major events she experiences, and the points are the way she feels about the experiences.

I’m beginning to think ideas are full of fluffy, filler words. It’s a real challenge to tone them down and not make the meaning difficult to find. I think we speak with a lot of filler words, and tend to try and write that way, too. Quite different from business writing. Then it’s the facts, summarized for an executive in fewer words. Almost as if they don’t want to waste their time knowing what goes into researching what they ask us to, then only wanting to know the important things.

And technical writing is really precise, with all the details, and sometimes hard to understand. Learning ASSEMBLER computer language was so painful. I attended a two night per week school and my younger son had his appendix rupture during that time. He required emergency surgery and I missed two of twelve classes. He nearly died. I almost didn’t pass the class, too. Neither of these things happened, thankfully. Never want anything so awful again. Either that class or one of my kids nearly dying.

This is going to be an afternoon I need a little nap, so I’m heading that way. Hope you have a wonderful rest of your Saturday. Thank you for reading, I appreciate your support. Wash your hands. Wear your mask, thank you. Call your mom. Be a good example. Share a smile with someone. Listen.

More Monday

Today started an hour earlier for me today. It is so beautiful on our deck in the mornings, I don’t want to waste the view and fresh air by sleeping an extra hour. I can always sleep in the winter when it’s dark and cold, but it’s worth getting up early. The Babe is always up by 6 am with the dogs, so why not join him? I do stay up later than he, but a nap is always ok.

Music of the Day is the soundtrack for “A Star is Born,” by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. I have the song, “I’ll Never Love Again” as my ringtone for when the Babe calls me. Not only do I love the song, but it serves as a reminder to be patient with him. Sometimes he’ll call when I’m in the middle of something. I don’t want to be grumpy at him when he doesn’t deserve that. Kindness is always the best way to go. Patience, too. Being human, I need a reminder now and again, and it works to keep me respectful and loving. He deserves no less. I like to encourage my single friends, both men and women. It is possible to find lasting love in your life no matter what age you are. We both were married previously, and it didn’t matter. Those weren’t our everlasting loves. They were strong, they were good but they didn’t last. And that’s ok. You can all find love. You will. Just keep being a good person and be kind. It always happens when you least expect it.

I read some research about later in life love yesterday. Much, much later in life. Like the people were in their late 80s, early 90s, and were widows or widowers. That’s pretty late, but not too late. The researcher said it never dawned on her that people at those ages would even think about love. Love isn’t just for the young. It’s about fitting with someone else. It’s about having a best friend. It’s about companionship. If it includes some great sex, then you’re doubly blessed. If not, closeness is demonstrable. How? I’ve read about holding hands. It never stops making your heart beat a little faster. It’s wonderful, in fact.

When Gavin and Goldie First Met
Two Friends for Life!

These pictures were of Goldie when we first got her back in October. Wow, I think the Babe better cut her food back a tad. We’ve all gotten fluffier since the quarantine, but she really grew into her loose skin. Seriously, she still has a lot, but you can’t see her ribs anymore, so the Vet wants her to lose some pounds. Just like people, right? Of course.

Doesn’t October seem like such a long, long time ago? I remember the crisp fall days, and the sadness we felt after losing Roxie. Roxie, our sweet, lovey, sister to Lexi, mixed lab/basset. The Babe had a heart cath and the wound didn’t heal. He was prescribed a wound vac. That day, he was especially down in the dumps. He was watching the paper for puppies and found Yellow Labs at a house near us. It was such a happy meeting. She bonded instantly with the Babe, what girl wouldn’t? Here’s what Lexie thought of the whole thing. I must admit, they are friends now, and Lexie isn’t afraid to keep Goldie in line, though.

Today, I’m doing more writing, yesterday was a good day with 1,560 words. I’m writing about an event that is based on an experience I had years ago, and it’s pretty emotional. It is still very fresh in my memory and I’m forever grateful to God for how it all turned out. Be careful today, I’ll be safely replanting some flowers in pots and writing. And spending time with our young man, Gavin. Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. See you back here tomorrow! Stay healthy. Be Kind. Wash your hands (I’m afraid it’s going to surge). Wear a mask. Please.

I believe this is pretty accurate. Please, wear a mask.

Sum Sunday

I think Sunday is a great day of the week for reflecting. I’m doing some of that after the Babe and I cleaned the upstairs of the house today. Whew! I was spoiled by paying someone to do this the past three years. I wish she hadn’t quit, and I’ll probably get some help later, but for now, it’s just the Babe and me.

It doesn’t smell as fresh probably because we’re the ones cleaning. Before, we’d go downstairs while they cleaned upstairs. Then we switched while they did the downstairs. Coming upstairs we could smell the freshness from their cleaning products. It was worth what we paid. I can especially see that now. But not now. I just think it we did a little something each day, it wouldn’t get out of hand. Decluttering is what we need to do. We will be doing it now on a regular basis. I’m terrible at filing stuff when I’m done with it. That will change this week. And it felt good to go through my t-shirts and put the ones I no longer loved into the bag for female homeless veterans. I hope someone finds them fun to wear.

It is tragic to stagnate, to never grow.

I love to learn new things. It’s much easier to set about doing it alone, though. If you don’t quite get it, or it turns out you’re not very good at it, you can keep it to yourself. No one will know you quit. But you will know. That is worse than everyone else knowing. So there is a risk in writing a book for the first time, for having an art show the first time, or doing anything for the first time. Having a group of people who know what you are doing keeps you honest, and gives you a little more reason to succeed.

I finished writing scenes and points for them for 37 chapters in my book. Take heart, some chapters are only one or two pages long. It will take a little critical thinking on my part to rearrange these chapters for a better flowing timeline. We will see. It is shaping up. We’ll see how my zoom meeting goes tomorrow with Sam, my book coach.

It is currently is 94 degrees with a lot of wind and humidity. We are about melting. We did major cleaning so far, and are taking it easy for awhile. a nap wouldn’t hurt my feelings too much, but it’s probably too late for that. It is mighty tempting, though. I think I’ll have Gavin tomorrow for awhile, so we will see. He hasn’t seen Goldie in awhile, so I think he’ll be outside a bit with her. It’s nice to be able to think of making plans again. To do normal things again. To enjoy our family again. It’s been a long time coming.

I’m excited to talk with my book coach Sam tomorrow. It should give me a good push towards finishing what I need to do. Hopefully it will be a productive conversation, they usually are. In the meantime, thank you for reading today. I deeply appreciate it. I will be here again tomorrow, and hope you are, too. Take care! Wash your hands. Cover your cough. Be safe.

Being led is much better than being pushed.

Clean Sweep Tuesday

Oh gosh, it’s pretty late in the day to be writing my blog. Sorry to be so late! It’s been a pretty busy day.

So, our cleaning lady has quit, she got a job where she can have benefits, and I don’t blame her. We had two people offer their person since they are looking for more houses to do. We turned them down for now, the Babe says we should be able to do it ourselves. Wow. Haven’t cleaned much in the past nearly four years! I may need retraining! So, first thing this morning, I emptied the cleaning pantry, where I kept the extra things and cleaning supplies we moved here from the old house.

WOW! I’m ready for a lot of cleaning, looks like

OK, the Babe took the kitchen, bath, office and studio. He even dusts, have I told you that? What a guy. While I was vacuuming the bedroom, I thanked his sweet Mom in heaven for raising her sons to know how to take care of themselves. They learned because she worked, and they had to earn their keep. The boys babysat for the girls when they were born, so the Babe is even good with feeding babies and changing diapers – all kinds – yes, he does. Too bad I didn’t know him sooner, but that’s another story.

So, it took me a long time to do some rearranging in the dresser, and the bedroom before I finished. We had lunch and I worked out some things for the book coach I’m checking in with tomorrow, and here we are. Sigh. Time just goes so quickly! It’s time for dinner and to regroup for the evening. It’ll be indoors again, the rain has been off and on all day. Goldie was napping most of that time, good thing. She has quite an active voice when she communicates what she wants. And loud. She’s not a passive wallflower, that’s for sure. Too much fun.

I need to cut this short, need to get the Chicken Alfredo leftovers going. I love leftovers at the end of a busy day. It’s still good food, but no fussing over it. Thank you for reading, and for reading yesterday, too. I appreciate the time you spend with me. I’ll be here tomorrow, too. Hope to see you then! Stay safe. Stay home. Stay connected. Socially distance as you venture out for necessities. We’re not over this yet. It’ll be awhile. Blessings until tomorrow!

Bears Repeating!