Superb Saturday & #180!

Happy Saturday, friends, family, and followers! It’s nice enough at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska to have the windows open a little. Of course, this morning the furnace is still kicking on, but it won’t be soon as it warms up. I’m fortunate, the writing staff is napping and the Babe has gone to the VFW Post 2503 for some office work and to help the Honor Guard pay last respects to a veteran who is being buried today. I’m so proud of his participation in this ritual. I sat next to my mother and heard the words said upon presenting the flag, and it has made me tear up every time I hear them. The nation is indeed grateful to each and every veteran who served with honor. I am too. Thank you all for what you all continue to do for this great nation.

Awhile back, I downloaded a free sample of the software Pro Writing Aid. I must say, I do like it a lot, and have used it on my book before the re-write after my first edit. My editor Sam cautioned me to make sure suggested changes make sense before accepting them. That is a good point and I’m glad she told me that. I would have double checked anyway, heck, being a retired software coder, I know they are only as good as the coder who wrote them. I freely admitted when I made some colossal goofs when writing code and pre-testing it. “Sometimes, I even amaze myself” was what I’d laugh and say when catching errors I made. It always only did what I told it to do. Admitting mistakes. That gets you far in life and work, too. Just don’t keep on repeating the same ones.

Anyone who has ever been burned by autocorrect can attest to the weird stuff that shows up since autocorrect and spellcheck really don’t know what they’re doing. Again, limitations enforced by the coder. Grammar mistakes are king, aren’t they? We need to be patient and proofread what we write. Memos, e-mails, letters, books, and texts take on a way different meaning when words are substituted without our knowledge or checking. Protect yourself, take the time to read.

That said, because we’re all human and no one is perfect, cut each other some slack. At times when someone posts a lot of grammatical errors in a Facebook Post, it only bothers me when the one who makes all these errors claims to be smarter than everyone else. Haughtiness doesn’t get you anywhere when you’re making a statement like that.

I’m having a good time during my re-write. I’m in Chapter 10 right now. Nearly halfway. At this rate, I may be able to get it back to my editor by the end of March. This year! Yay! I’ll keep you posted for sure. I’m a sucker for accessories. Fashion accessories, computer accessories, and now, writing accessories, commonly known as references. Here’s a book I’ve enjoyed perusing.

Tired of “nod” and “sigh”? Me, too.

This amazing little 88 page book has chapter divisions by body part. Eyes, Noses, Mouths, all body parts, except for the genitalia. Had to say it, you know you were wondering. The gist of this 1,000 Character Reactions from Head to Toe is that my characters need to do more than sigh, said, heard, and stand still. They can take a long drag from a cigar, parrot back, hear as if everything was under water, and sashaying away from someone. Don’t get too crazy with these words, though. Jerry Jenkins, who wrote the “Left Behind” series and who is a successful author, says to quit with too many descriptive words for “said.” It may be appropriate in some genres and not others. I’ll have to let you know about that theory, too.

BTW, this is our 180th published blog since last July 5, 2019. In the beginning, I didn’t write every day, but I do now it at all possible. I’m sad it took our dog Roxie being run over by a car to make me start writing every day. You never know what will strike your heart and be a story you want to share. It helped us with our grief, too. If you would like to read that first blog, here is a link for you to read. Bring Kleenex. She was a charmer.

I would absolutely love for you to continue this journey with me, right along to when we reach the 360th blog post and beyond to buying a book once we publish them. In the meantime, thank you for reading today, I’ll be here tomorrow, as I hope you are. Go out and have a beautiful Saturday.

More Monday

I just had a scare. After the Babe left for the VFW Post to do bookwork, I saw a clip of the news with firefighters at yet another apartment fire at 106 & Charles. My pulse quickened, my stomach rolled, my heart was in my mouth. Not again. Not another crappy life event for my eldest, Frankie and the roommate, Ryan. Not again. Please God.

Luckily, the Babe was at 108 & Maple and could run over to see exactly where the fire was. Whew! It was in a different building, one Frankie lived in when he thought his girlfriend would move in with him. So glad he dodged the bullet – (both of them). All is well, my pulse is now normal, stomach back where it belongs, and my heart is back on my sleeve. Back to normal.

This morning is a trip to the dentist. I’m a teeth grinder. I’m not aware of it, I just do it a lot. I often wake up with huge bites in my cheeks that I have no idea where they came from. My son Nick does it, too. I have some triangular bone fragments in my lower jaw that are sharp enough to interfere with my partial bridge. Sometimes they dull on their own, other times a grinder has to have surgery to remove the bone fragments. Wow. I’m hoping they are better than a month ago and don’t need a surgical intervention.

Yesterday afternoon, we attended the Parents/Grandparent’s show for Addison. She has attended Acapriccio Dance Studio since age two and a half. She has come a long way from that little girl who, at her first recital, marched on stage and faced the back curtain. After her first twirl, she figured it out and was flawless the rest of that first performance. Now she can flip without putting a finger on the floor, she can twirl again and again and again and again . . . until I get dizzy watching. She is tall, beautiful, and man, can she dance. You can tell she has put ten years of hard work into competition dance. As has her family. The families dedicate themselves and all the members of each family to competition dance each year. It keeps the kids busy beyond belief.

Watching the girls yesterday – all of them, from the tiny tots to the high school girls – I saw little girls with dreams become young women with crazy skills. We have seen many of the high schoolers grow up in front of our eyes. They have all bloomed where they are planted. They believed and worked hard. It was a joy to see them.

None of the girls yesterday thought their dreams were dumb. They believed they could do it. The little faces of the smallest girls reflected fun, magical transformations. They were all in it to be their best. I don’t believe the dream I’ve had of publishing books is dumb. I’m on my way, and it takes a lot of practice, too. I’ve imagined myself at a book launch party. I’ve imagined being interviewed about the book. Only my son Frankie knows who I imagine is interviewing. He laughed and said, “That’s cool, Mom.” He is my best fan, followed by the Babe. I’ve just known Frankie longer!

Thank you for taking the time to read today. Go out and make it a great day, I am! A lot could go and it will still be a great day for us because the worst (a second apartment fire) did not happen. We are all forever grateful. Hope to see you tomorrow!

Satisfying Sunday

Ahhhh. It’s another fantastic weather day here in Gretna, Nebraska. We went to Church today and are mentally preparing for the week ahead. We talk about what we each need to do, what we might want to do, and what we can do together. The more time I spend with the Babe, the more I miss him when our schedules take us away from each other for days on end. In the seven years since Dan retired, we have really changed a lot in our schedules and habits.

For example, he always went to lunch at 11 a.m. Even though we don’t have breakfast until 8:30 or so, he still wants lunch at 11. This drives me nuts. I was a late luncher when I worked (1 p.m. or so), and still would rather lunch later. Depending on what we have, it can take me through until a small snack in the evening, and I’m good. It’s still hard to regulate us and come to a happy medium. A work in progress for sure.

And the Babe prefers to go out for lunch. That means somewhere with Keno. I’d rather not, and instead of one more drink, one more drink, it’s one more game, one more game. I’m not a gambler at all. We played the slots in Council Bluffs on occasion, but I never spent more than $20. We no longer go there, I think because now it’s quite a jaunt.

The Pastor talked about faith and fear today. That isn’t necessarily a sermon topic only, it’s a topic we all deal with every day. When we have faith, we don’t fear. And when we fear, we don’t have faith. Faith in ourselves, faith in God, faith in our abilities, fear of the unknown, fear of other people, fear of living. I do believe strongly in God. He’s gotten me out of a lot of bad situations and medical conditions. Part of the belief comes from growing up Catholic, with twelve years of Catholic schools. My parents sacrificed for the tuition, which doesn’t seem like much right now, but it was a lot back then. After I divorced at 30, I stopped going to Mass, mostly because whatever parish I took my kids, they talked about people not committing as they should, that’s why divorce was so prevalent.

Of course, I had to tell my kids something. I told them I believe in marriage, which is why I got a divorce. It’s because marriage is about sharing, caring, working together, and cherishing each other. Their dad and I didn’t have that. We weren’t growing together, we grew apart. I was angry at my church, but never lost sight of God. He was always there. During my best and worst moments. I never stopped believing. My faith wasn’t the dwelling I went to once a week. I carried it with me everyday. My faith wasn’t the humans who were just as flawed as I am, and who preached to condemn any of us who were human. Except for them.

Whether you believe in God or not, you still operate on what you have faith in – yourself, your partner, your job, whatever it is. Believing is what makes the difference, even if you call it a higher power. Something is larger than life, larger than you. Lots of us know there is something greater than we are. Hopefully it is real, and something that is static in your life. My God never leaves me. I leave Him by fearing, doubting, and being angry.

This guy was singing his song so brilliantly this morning!

Nature is what tells me there is so much greater than me. This cardinal was singing his heart out at the top of a Cottonwood tree while I sat on the deck earlier. You know how high Cottonwoods are? About 70 – 100 feet tall. I’d guess this tree is closer to 100 feet high. How all of this exists within my view and enters different seasons to beautify my environment just amazes me. I’m so grateful to live in this Wonderful World!

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your support, and hope you come back tomorrow. I’ll be here for sure. Enjoy the sights and sounds of your world today. I hope it awes you!