A Saturday in January

This is about the coldest it has been in Nebraska in a while. All the Babe and I need to do is dig deep in the closet to find the warmest gloves, scarves, and hat. And we each have several coats to choose from. We are so fortunate. Yesterday, the Babe went through his closets to find warm coats he no longer wears. He has four or five of them, ready to go, in a plastic garbage bag. We know two ladies from the Post who volunteer at a Veterans Homeless Shelter, and they will take the coats to the shelter this week. He didn’t want to donate them to Goodwill, etc., because it sells them. He wanted them to go directly to a veteran in need, for free.

We did a little office work at the VFW today, getting ready for a mailing. Every year they have a fundraising initiative to raise money to maintain the building and grounds. I like this to be my volunteering so I can apply my clerical skills to helping in any way I can. It helps the Babe, since I can type faster than he can, and then he is finished sooner than later. It was a good day.

We went to Walmart for a few groceries. Few people were out. It amazed me there were so many people much older than we are. Usually we are the oldest ones there. Maybe they go on Saturday, but it just seemed so cold out for them. I think frigid temps are so hard on older people. I know it adds to aches and pains; it aggravates arthritis and other ailments most people acquire as time goes on.

Tonight, I’m writing by the fireplace as my studio is frigid again. The dogs love the fire and lay in front of it until they become too hot; then they move away quickly. What lucky pups. We heard about two men who abused a lab pup somewhere near a lake. They threw the dog, so it landed on its back, the ice broke, and the pup fell in the freezing water. How terrible. I hope the state does not allow them to own another pet. Ever again. People who do that to animals usually abuse children and other adults in their lives.

The football season is nearing the end tomorrow with the last two playoff games. The Super Bowl will follow. We are cheering for Kansas City and hoping they come out ahead. The young quarterback is fun to watch.

Tonight will be a little more reviewing my first chapter and assess if it’s still making the cut for the rewrite. One important thing I have learned is how authors try to cram the entire backstory into the first chapter of the book. Nothing much happens, it just gets dumped out, and the action doesn’t start until Chapter Two. I did it, too. Thanks to my editor, I have learned how that approach could make the readers drop my book like a hot rock.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate it very much. As usual, I’ll be here tomorrow, and I hope to find you here, too. Stay warm!

“Get It In Gear” Thursday

Today we got an early start. I worked on listing some preliminary goals for the first 90 days of 2020. They may be a little ambitious, but if I work like today, I’ll forget lunch and maybe lose a little weight while we’re at it! It’s now 3:30 p.m. and I’m starving! The Babe and I are having beef stew for dinner, so it’s smelling pretty good. Won’t be ready for a few hours, though. We had a snack to fill the void, but it’s not doing the trick yet.

The Babe and I both had things to do today, he did some accounting work for the VFW at home, and I finished the quilt. It’s beautiful! Here’s a little sample, it needs the binding on the edges, which is what my friend will finish to gift it to her friend. A group effort for sure, but it was a nice break. The binding is a red background with black Scotty dogs on it.

Wish I could keep this!

In the meantime, I’ve started to list my goals for 2020, and voila! Amazon delivered my 90 Day Goals Journal and Planner. My I Create Daily Group all use the same formats for the Planners, and I’m glad it came before Saturday. I’ll only have to write things down once now. You can read about the group on FB or at their website ICreateDaily.com. I have learned a lot from the leaders and other members.

So, as I continue to plan, I’m realizing how hard it is to commit to the nitty gritty part of creating. While it’s impossible to know what will come out of our minds on any given day, we need to know on Day 1, I need to create THIS. Believe it or not, it works. It organizes our minds to do the hard stuff. It’s hard to make something as abstract as art/creating/writing into concrete things. Yet we do. We continue every 90 days doing it. I do believe once we are immersed in creating, it keeps flowing. I hope to continue to tap this creativity inside of me. I’m enjoying every minute of it.

I may have mentioned yesterday, but I do want to learn so much more about how WordPress works. I want to improve the website and blog. I hope you stay the course with me, it’s going to be a great adventure. Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it very much. I’l be here tomorrow, and I hope you are here, too.

Tonight, I’m going to write out some goals in my new Journal/ Planner, and think about about book covers, blurbs on the covers, artwork in the children’s books, and so forth. It’s just too much fun. I’m delighted to spend my days like this.

The Last Day of 2019

I’ve been quilting today. For the first time in a long time, I’m using invisible thread. It’s not something I dreamed up as a prank, there is truly invisible thread. It keeps me from having to change thread over and over to make it match different colors on the quilt. Anyway, it’s challenging because it’s nearly impossible to see. It taught me some patience today, and I’m grateful for that. If it was easy all the time, where would the fun be?

In the back of my mind, I’ve thought over and over about things that would be great to accomplish during the brand new year that begins tomorrow. Why wait until then? You can start today, tomorrow, or a week from now. The two main things are: 1. START. 2. KEEP MOVING. All steps that keep you moving towards the goal, however small they are, will get you there. How do I know?

I know because a few goals have been very important in my life. When my dad was dying, I talked with him about the only regret I had. At 37, I had not graduated from college. I got married at 18 because I wanted to, and was divorced at 30. I had a couple years of community college level classes and had earned a programming certificate and started working in that field. My dad said, “Just keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll make it.” I have remembered that my whole life. I graduated from college in 1995, twenty-five years after I graduated from high school. Yes, it took a long time, and it was worth it. Having my degree in my forties made me more marketable. It was hard, raising three kids, working full time, and having a life. My kids were so good during that time. They had a good example of someone working towards a goal.

My point with all this is we set goals all the time. We take up a new hobby, we decide to spend more time reading or playing piano, or spend more time with our spouses and children. Whatever it is, start doing it. Keep doing it. You will not be sorry. You will be happy you did. My dad taught me so very much. As a little girl, I remember if I went somewhere downtown and had to walk to a store, he would take my hand. I could hardly keep up with him, but he slowed just enough so I could. He teased as most dads tease daughters. I was so proud to go places with him. I’m a very lucky woman to have had such a gentleman for a father. If he were still alive, he would be 96 years old tomorrow. He guides me even now, thirty one years after the last time I talked with him. He is missed.

My new reminder for 2020. It will spark a great memory and spur me onward.

Tonight, the Babe and I are meeting friends at the VFW for the annual New Year’s Eve dinner and dance. The band is DayBreak. It will be fun to see our friends after a few weeks of being other places. Dan doesn’t drink, so we have a designated driver. I pray for all of you to be safe, make it safely home, and wake up well tomorrow.

Thank you all for reading today, I appreciate you taking time to do so. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope to see you then.

Twas the Night Before Christmas

How are the stirring creatures in your house tonight? Have you had a busy day of last minute preparations? Need to shop? I hope you are through with the work part of this holiday and ready for the enjoyment.

No one came home for Christmas, and they’re all celebrating in their homes tonight. We will spend time with the Babe’s daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren tomorrow. It’ll be great, as always.

Do people need to do lots of returns and exchanges after Christmas anymore? It seems like it’s been decades since people had to shop in stores, so I’m not sure what customs are still applicable and which ones are not. I don’t think as kids we actually were ever allowed to return things. Usually everything fit, especially the underwear, socks, and pajamas. We received gifts that we needed, mostly, nothing frivilous, and no Easy Bake Oven for me.

In some ways, I can’t help but think that may be why Christmas seemed so magical, so special. We were always grateful. I want to consciously practice gratitude from now on. I am very grateful for my life as it is. I’ve been blessed in countless ways. Being human, I want to be sure I’m as grateful as I should be. I try to be mindful of teaching the grandkids little things to be glad about. They are really good at telling us about the good things in their lives. We love to hear the conversations with Addison when we pick her up from Middle School. We are learning so much! And we are grateful she so eagerly talks with us and shares so freely.

While I dearly miss my kids, I know that life at the present is what we need to concentrate on. I enjoy the here and now, and am so grateful for the time the Babe and I have together. We are getting to the ages where you never know what can happen to one or the other of us. He has ischemic heart disease. The past two years have seen new complications so we are counting any more time together as a bonus.

When I was a little girl, we learned first hand of how suddenly life can change. The Christmas Eve of 1964, our mom’s father had a massive heart attack and died. We were not at the family gathering that year, because one of my little brothers was sick. We received two phone calls. One, to say Grandpa had a heart attack and was in the squad en route to the hospital. The second call, to say Grandpa died, came within another half an hour. At twelve, I was devastated. So was my older brother. The other kids were little, as were most of my cousins. It was the most confusing Christmas ever.

I do touch on this memory every year, not to be depressing, but to be remembering. Remembering is what makes us learn from the past, and not repeat mistakes. From what I remember, there was talk of family division, differences of opinion, and unresolved conflict. The family was no different from others. These problems are present everywhere more than one person is living. How a family operates during times of crisis and loss is what makes or breaks it. Grandma did go on and have a productive life at the age of 59. She learned to drive and purchased several different homes. She moved quite a bit. We didn’t get to spend any summer days with her anymore, since she had to work. My mother and her sisters were close for a very long time. They seemed more forgiving than they had been.

So, if you are at odds with anyone, make peace with them. You may only have one chance. If you haven’t seen someone, call them. Forgive. And seek forgiveness. Go to sleep tonight with the gift of peace in your life. Wake up tomorrow with joy that you have another day to love and hope. Tomorrow is the first new day after the birth of Jesus. And all will be right with the world. Make sure it is with you, too.

Thank you for reading today. Please come back again tomorrow, we’ll have tales to tell of Christmas dinner with our dear friend, Lou. He is in his eighties and had to rebuild the damaged part of his lovely lake home. What a job!

Until then, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Super Saturday??

Well, folks, you have stuck with me on this journey for thirty whole days. I have written nearly every day, letting you know what I’m doing and how I was getting ready to write the 50K words in those thirty days. Thank you for doing that.

This is my last day for writing, and I have another 4K words to write today, so I can declare myself a winner. I will finish those 50K words. It’s an accomplishment that boggles the mind.

I am so looking forward to having my life back, so to speak. I have a project I’m completing for a friend that is a Christmas themed item, so I’ll hit that hard next week. I’m going to put up out new Christmas tree, and see how that cheers the household up. The Babe and I have so much to continue giving thanks for, now that his health is improving so much.

I also have a friend whom I haven’t seen forever. We are going to go to a movie or lunch, we both need to get out and away from our houses. There is a luncheon I’m driving my mom to this week, and she has some errands no doubt. Next Friday night, we have tickets to go see Yesterday and Today at our Omaha Community Playhouse. It is a show starring three brothers, who sing the Beatles songs like you cannot believe. They are incredible entertainers and musicians. They do an interactive show, taking written requests before the show, and reading the requests, saying hi to the person who requested the song, and then doing the song. Previously, the second half of the show was all pre-planned, all mapped out and rehearsed, the same every time. They decided to challenge themselves this year, and go to all request. And they will draw the requests live. That will be a neat twist.

I have one package to mail for Christmas, for our youngest granddaughter, Kayla, in Colorado. Her parents do not want her photo on the Internet, including my blog and Facebook accounts, so I can only tell you she is an adorable twenty-one month old. She will be two years old on Pi Day, March 14 this little cutie made her appearance in 2018. We do not see her nearly enough.

I’m dying to buy her some clothes, but her mommy tells me that have no room in their house for storing things, and she prefers to buy clothes. A gift card to Carter’s will be her gift, along with a little musical plush animal that plays Christmas music. Toddlers love those things. And Grandma’s always can give the grandkids noisy toys because it’s the Grandma’s job.

My Grandma Bobell was a real jokester. One year, since there were several little boys within two years of the same age, she bought them all a gun that shot projectiles and made a horrible noise. She giggled as she looked at her daughters and said, “I thought the boys would have fun.” In return, she got the look from each of her four daughters, that indicated they were less than pleased. So, Steve and Tim, Mark and Rick, Joey, and Bobby, all were thrilled to death. I don’t know how long such toys lasted, but they were to play with only when my dad, who was a night worker and day sleeper, was not at home.

I would not do that to any of the grandkids parents, I promise! The rest of today, I’m going to hit my 50K word goal, before midnight tonight. I had an inspiration about a topic this morning, which I think should give me a lot to write about. Goals, reaching them, and being accountable to yourself for something. It’s all just about good living. And living to do good in the world.

So, up until midnight tonight, you may enter to win the $50 Visa Gift Card I’m giving away in celebration of making my NaNoWriMo goal. I just wanted to share something with one of you to thank you for staying with me through this past month. I’ve never done the challenge before, and it’s been fun. You may enter a total of twice a day, for each day I posted a blog, which was 30 days. You can have up to sixty chances to win. Do a little speed reading, like the blogpost, leave a comment, and you’re in!!

Thank you for reading today and every day. I will see you all tomorrow. And remember, at NOON, I will draw and post who the winner of the gift card is. And the Babe will be glad I’m done with that much daily writing. I haven’t told him yet how much fun the next steps sound. Have a beautiful Saturday.

Black Friday??

Can you touch your toes after all that great food yesterday?? Can you still see them?? The best part about Thanksgiving is the leftover turkey in a sandwich. My dad liked his with my mom’s homemade cranberry relish. It was made with ground cranberries, and ground pieces of an orange, and sugar. It was a cold relish and was really good. I didn’t have a grinder to use, but you can chop the cranberries in a blender, filled to the top with water. Just drain the chopped cranberries in a colander, add sugar to taste, and you have a simple way to make something that tastes like it was complicated. I love the stuff.

How do you reheat leftovers?? You know, microwaves are truly incredible machines. They did not exist in my childhood. Or into my adulthood. You had to warm things up on the stove or in the oven. And had to be careful not to dry everything out so badly you could not identify it. Some things, like rolls and bread, are awful heated in the microwave. Trust me, it’s awful. Mashed potatoes are heavenly reheated in a microwave. I’m convinced the inventor of the microwave was a guy who loved mashed potatoes and wanted a decent way to reheat them. Give that man a hand!

Who is shopping today?? I am not, I assure you. Crowds do not entice me. I have some 8,000 words to write and finish up before Saturday at midnight. I sure hope to be able to tell you I accomplished the goal of 50,000 words. I want to be able to wear the t-shirt declaring me a winner. I hear there are some prizes from NaNoWriMo for we who finish the challenge. I confess I did not do well writing last evening after the festivities of the day. My old, aching back decided it would not work anymore last evening, so we spent the evening in the recliner with the heating pad and my TENS unit.

There is still time to enter my drawing for NaNoWriMo, and to enter again! You can have two entries for each like on the blog you like, and make a comment. Two entries a day. There are thirty days times two chances each. You can really go back and submit on previous ones back to November 1, 2019. Sixty chances to win! Read the previous blogs while you wait in line to check out with your purchases today!!

Drawing is December 1, 2019, NOON. I will announce the winner on the blog that day, and on my Facebook page. If I do not hear from the person drawn by the next morning, I’ll draw a new name. I’d love to draw your name and mail you a $50 Visa Gift Card. Enter!

Our dinner yesterday was perfect. We are so blessed to have the kids and grandkids we have. Gavin is seven, and he just git his first pair of grown up man kind of shoes. Black dress shoes look great on any gentleman, and Gavin is proud to be dressing up. He is such a blessing in our life. He has such a beautiful heart, and if he loves you, you know it. Addison is at the age where she would rather be with her friends, or in her room. Good kids are a blessing.

Dan has two children, I have three. We laugh and say it’s a good thing we didn’t meet when they we were younger. That would have been quite a herd of kids. Our boys are forty-eight, forty-six, and forty-four, and the girls are forty-two and forty. Their birthdays are in the months of October, August, November, October, and January. It would have been quite a household even if they were only all together on weekends. As it is, they were almost all off on their own when we met. It’s just about impossible to get them all together for an event, vacation, or just a meal. Three of them live in different states, so it’s complicated.

If you go out shopping in the Midwest today, please be careful. We have some wet, icky weather. It will take longer to get to where you are going. Your family would rather have you, healthy and happy, than some great deal for a gift and have you maimed or worse.

Thank you for reading today, I greatly appreciate it. We will see you again tomorrow, and just be safe today!

Happy Thanksgiving, 2019!

One of the things people do on this day is share memories. The present day is indeed worth celebrating, but there is something wonderful about sharing memories that reinforces the bond among family members. I realize some families have bad memories, and I have some myself. Today, we’re talking about the good memories.

After I was divorced in 1982, I started cooking Thanksgiving for my family. My brothers and parents were invited. I believe I usually had my kids for that holiday, I don’t remember being without them on Thanksgiving. It was a nice dinner, and we had fun. The fun really began when my kids were older (Frankie was 16, Nick was 12, Becky was 9), and we moved to our own house from the family home we had.

In 1987, I was able to purchase my own home, a nearly fifty year old raised ranch in an established neighborhood in Omaha. It was so exciting. With help from my youngest brother, Tim, and my son’s friend, Chuck, my kids and I moved. I even drove the U-Haul.

It was that year that we started the Thanksgiving tradition of putting up Christmas lights on the house. The boys were old enough to do it, and they took quite a bit of the day creating their version of Christmas lighting beauty. Some years, their fingers froze from the weather. Many more breaks were taken, inhaling the turkey smell and drinking hot chocolate. They strung lights, unrolled extension cords, and weighted down figures like they had done it all their lives. It was so fun to watch them see their vision come to life! Becky kept checking their progress, playing with our dog Shadow, and telling me Thanksgiving was her favorite holiday EVER! She was so funny. Not a month before, she told me Halloween was her favorite holiday ever. I love that girl. Always is happy with what is in front of her.

Once they were finished, we would continue in the house, watching football, cooking, laughing, and having fun. When we were finished with dinner, we would eagerly wait until darkness came and we would have a grand lighting ceremony. We lived on a dead end street, so we’d stand in the middle of the street, and cheer when Frankie plugged in the lights. We whooped and hollered, clapped, and congratulated the boys on a job well done. This is one of my favorite memories of all time. We really were a good, strong, single parent family. It was a lot of hard work, and I know I made a lot of mistakes, but I also did some things right. I do miss them a lot. They are all off on their own adventures, and I love that they are.

And you know what?? This was in the early to mid 1990’s, before cell phones. I do not have one photo of that whole event, or the others that followed in subsequent years. We repeated what worked. I hope my kids think of it as well, with a smile. So please, put your phones down. Your family is much more important than the football scores, the Kardashians, or your friend and you texting. Do that stuff tomorrow. Soak in your families today. We’re cooking, only one of our five is coming for dinner with her husband and two kids, and we’re going to have fun. You have a fun day, too.

Thank you for reading, and please come back tomorrow. I’m going to tell you about all the money we save on Black Friday. You’ll love it. Like and comment, you get two chances to win the $50 Visa Gift Card I’m giving away to one lucky winner. Honoring the end of NaNoWriMo. And we’re going to celebrate me making it to 50,000 words. There’s no looking back now! See you then.