Sunny Saturday

It is a beautiful blue-sky, sunny day in Gretna, Nebraska. The day reminds me of one that starts out cool and turns beautiful. Like when you rise early and load the car to go on vacation. You remember vacations! I imagine we’ll all want to go on one when this Coronavirus is over. It could be awhile.

I’ve always thought these to be stunning, but not too functional. Perhaps their time has come?
This is pretty much all on my mind today.
Blog, write, and later some block sewing. And thinking of our grandkids. I’m missing them all!

The kids and grandkids are all on my mind this morning. I’m praying for all of them, hoping all are well and going to stay that way. In the family are: a chef, a Federal Law Enforcement Officer, his stay at home wife who is a great homeschooler, a truck driver, a real estate agent, two who manage trucking of railway goods delivered to trainyards by the Union Pacific railroad (essential personnel), a health care worker, and a project manager director. Some of them are parents of our four grandkids, two in Omaha area, one in Maryland, one in Colorado. That’s a lot of diversity and some important, essential people on that list. They may be more exposed than most, and we have to keep living our lives. With common sense at the helm.

Common sense for them will be adequate distance from others while on the job, probably avoiding the subways, and washing their hands – a lot. All we can do is check in on them once in awhile and pray we’ll all come out on the other side of this ok. I believe we will. If not, we will learn how to deal with the end results.

The Babe tells me the last time he felt this way was in Vietnam. Not having any idea of what will happen is the feeling of loss of control. I get it. My feeling of loss of control was in December, 1995, when I had a tumor compressing my spinal cord and in a week lost the ability to walk without assistance. That was the worst feeling in the world, as my daughter was still at home. My sons had just moved into an apartment. I had to get better for my kids. And for me. The Babe had his wife, Sandy to come home to. He was never the same for her.

I would bet every adult who has had a feeling like this is having flashbacks, dreams, whatever there is that tells us we know this could go very badly. Acknowledge them. Don’t let yourself dwell on them, though. Yes, we were afraid after 9/11. We need to remember how we, as a country of free individuals, came to a new normal. A new normal of a free people. We will do that again. Things will not be the same as they are now. Hopefully we will be appreciative of people who really matter in life. Doctors, scientists, first responders, nurses, truck drivers, train operators , and our military all keep our counntry going. It’s time we reorient our thinking to look up to people who really make a difference in our every day life, not sports figures, movie stars, celebrities, and people who are famous for absolutely nothing. I find it very sad we need to get a Kardashian to go on social media to get young people to understand they need to stay home while school is out. It tells me some have lost their concept of real life. You won’t find it on a reality show, despite all you hear on social media or television or in the movies.

In the meantime, keep yourself busy with positive things. Create something with words, music, paints, anything you may have around you. Be inventive. Write a note to your Grandma or Great Uncle and mail it. They will love it! Talk across the fence to your neighbors. Take your dog for a walk. It’ll do you both good. Get some fresh air. Thank you for reading. I’ll be here tomorrow and hope you are, too. Now for some creating!

These folks have my deepest respect and admiration.

A Weird Wednesday

Hump Day! In a world that was pretty normal just two weeks ago, we now have social distancing, self-quarantine, COVID-19 where Coronavirus used to be and a whole bunch of other stuff. People don’t know what to tell their kids, and in a society where we pick up and go wherever we want, whenever we want, America may have a lot to learn. I heard this morning, in Nebraska we are not to have gatherings of more than ten people in public until after April 30. No Church services. No school. No doctor appointments unless it’s an emergency. My ortho doctor called me to see if I wanted to come for my last Orthovisc injection on Friday. I told him as long as he would have me come in, I’ll go. Being two thirds through an expensive treatment, I feel in the long run, it will help me put off a knee replacement longer. I’m pretty good at avoiding people at the Bergan Clinic. I don’t think it will be a problem.

It just feels so eerie. The grocery shelves were not bad in Walmart in Gretna. I couldn’t find rubbing alcohol or clear Aloe Vera lotion, or hand sanitizer. I gave my mom my hand sanitizer to carry in her purse. It was a perfect travel size. Not a lot of traffic out, and I did witness a couple of teenagers or early 20’s on I-80 from 42 Street to 84 Street traveling at least 85 MPH. You see them on weekend nights after 11 p.m., like it’s a thing they do from Iowa to Gretna. Very dangerous.

The Babe has further endeared himself to me, as if that were possible. Doing the housecleaning while I’m taking Mom. Our cleaning lady is on leave for at least two weeks. He may have himself a job if she’s gone longer. I’d love to help, I just can’t do much stuff like that due to my back issues and injuries. He’s the best gift in the world, and there’s no one I’d rather be self-quarantined with. Check back in a couple weeks and see if that’s still the case! And it goes both ways, folks. I may be living in his shed if things fall apart from his end.

For me, I know I need to do what makes me feel better about everything. I need to create. Really sit down for two to three hours at a time and write. Twelve to fifteen hours of good writing, it will make a world of difference. And then, I need to sew my Poppy Quilt. Everyone needs something, and mine is creating.

Sometimes in the depths of my imagination, my characters will speak up in a way I wouldn’t have thought of, they say something or do something, and I get excited and think, “This is cool, I wonder where he’ll go now.” It’s as much of a surprise for me as it will be for you when you read it. It is amazing how much time it takes to make sure things are just right. Then you talk with your editor. Sam is so gentle, and kind with her critique. I know it will not always be that way. I just appreciate that so much about her. I’m so disappointed the Nebraska Writers Guild had to cancel the Spring Conference. I was going to get to see her again there. We’ll figure it out. Maybe meet for an outdoor meeting on a beautiful spring day in April or May, somewhere between Gretna and Lincoln. At any rate, the conference will be later in the Fall, we hope.

In the midst of writing, it sounds a little weird, but you are supposed to read as much as you can. Why? I’m sure seeing why lately. The things I’m learning about writing are reflected in what I’m learning about how to write. It’s funny sometimes, I’ll be reading and think, “So THAT’s what they mean . . .” And it sticks in my mind for next time I write. The whole thing about this is the amount of things I’ve learned. It’s just so cool. I don’t ever want to stop. That’s when they’re throwing dirt over you.

This screenshot from Facebook reminds us. We don’t have to be perfect. We just have to be courageous. It’s difficult to say, “Yes, I’m good at this.” And then let people read. That takes real courage.

With that, go draw, write, or learn a new thing. Be courageous and share it with someone. Even if you share it with a child. They appreciate everything. Great place to start! Thank you for reading today. I’m back at it again tomorrow, but it should be earlier. The next four days should yield a good twelve or more hours in here writing. Gotta meet goals, make those dreams happen! See you then.

Monday Measures

The Internet is becoming one of the most important commodities we have right now. No, you can’t eat it, drink it, or anything like that, but we can communicate with it. We can learn with it. We can be entertained with it. We can learn what is going on in the world while we practice social distancing at home.

So what does this all mean, the world changing so dramatically in the past seven days? We need to be grateful. By that, I mean that although the media could have been crying the sky is falling in the beginning, at least we have had some advance warning about this terrible virus. I’m most concerned about my mom, who is almost 91 and, well, she’s old. She’s been to the grocery store and to physical therapy. Period. Her parish priest visited her on the First Friday of March, after returning from South America. I must say I think the priest has some extra protection, not only because he’s a priest, but because two of his brothers are top-notch epidemiologists. He’s got the best insider information that exists in the State of Nebraska!

Many things have changed. For one, I no longer have to look up the word epidemiologist. I’ve always been a good speller. In fact, I beat one of those now-epidemiologists in a spell down in grade school. I was so thrilled! I’ll never forget it was the word “satellite.” He must have had a brain toot or something, he spelled it with one l. I won a statue of the Virgin Mary, a Holy Card, and the sweet taste of victory. I had a lot to tell my mom after school that day. I also lost a tooth that was ready to fall out, making way for an adult tooth. Fourth grade was quite memorable. Isn’t it funny how we remember some things so well?

Our Nebraska Writers Guild may cancel our conference this Spring. I’m so sad about that! I had such a great experience at the Fall Conference, I was so looking forward to it. Since the CDC has suggested banning gatherings of fifty or more, I’d say we’re doomed. The Board will meet today and email us later today. Teleconferencing may be an option.

All any of us can do right now is be calm, wash our hands, don’t hoard household supplies, and be patient. Since we’re more or less at home constantly for awhile, be patient with your housemates, children, spouses, partners, and medical workers. They are most at risk and they are our best chance of regaining our health. Be respectful, they deserve it.

Mom will have therapy again this morning and Wednesday. I hope they are open. The clinic has no waiting area in the PT area, so I must wait in the reception area of the clinic. That said, I choose a seat in a row, by the windows, with a table on one side, and I put our coats and purses in the chair next to me. No one will sit beside me, and I feel pretty safe doing that. If that seat is not not available, I will simply go wait in my car. Safety first, folks!

Love this beautiful picture!

I have a project for the Babe when he gets home later. I hope he feels like hanging all the pictures we haven’t re-hung since we had the house painted inside. He might not, since he took our Goldie this morning to the Vet to be spayed. We can pick her up after 3 p.m. It’s so weird with only one dog here this morning. I’m glad we have the two, and I know Goldie will be different when she’s older. Right now, she sure keeps us moving! We can hang our art later.

Thanks for reading today, I’m off to pick up Mom right now. I hope you have a good day, whatever you’re doing. I’ll be back tomorrow and hope to see you then.

Friday Highlights!

Today has been full of surprises. A National Emergency has been declared. The President has met with heads of major corporations and has negotiated cooperation and coordination of efforts to help people who are sick, lacking food, and need to be tested for the virus. I applaud all of this because we need some direction. Our govenor has told us if two more people are diagnosed with the virus, schools will remain for six to eight weeks. I feel badly for people who have children young enough to require care in that situation. They are not old enough to be home alone, and maybe there is no money available for pay for day care. I’ve been there, and it’s no fun. I’ve also been where you’ve started a new job and the sick leave benefit did not start until your first anniversary of your start date. Nowdays you may be lucky to get that. I hope there is a allowance made for these people.

On another note, I had to go to two different doctors today, both non-emergency visits. At the Bergan Mercy Offices, no delivery trucks were in the drop off area today. The parking garage had a lot of empty spaces. Not a lot of patients either. The other office at Lakeside had many, many parking places. Usually it takes awhile for them to be found. The Babe and I are having grilled steak, baked potatoes, and veggies for dinner tonight. It will be weird, but we’ve decided we need to quit lunching out all the time.

It is almost 4:30 p.m., and I didn’t feel like writing until now. Just kind of burned out on everything at the moment. I think it’s the sinus infection. Going to rest and read a lot the next couple of days. We are prioritizing little things that need to be done around the house. Right now, I want spring and Easter decorations all over. We do expect snow late tonight and tomorrow, but it’ll melt quickly. It always does.

Our city of Omaha, Nebraska will take a huge hit in the pocketbook here over the next quarter. The NCAA cancelled the basketball tournaments, the College World Series and everything associated with it. The health department cancelled the Catholic Church Fish Frys held on Fridays during Lent. The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade was cancelled, and I think the Corned Beef Dinners probably should be also. Why let that go on if you can’t have a Church Fish Fry?

Great way to start the day!

So this morning, the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska looked beautiful at about 7:30 a.m. when Goldie wanted company outside on the deck. No wind and the temp in the 40s was pretty. You can see the steam from my coffee here if you look closely enough. I love sitting on the deck or on the patio below. We have two different views of the tree line behind our home, which is a wetlands. There are lots of birds, squirrels, and critters wandering about there. I could sit there all day, so relaxing.

My headaches are still happening despite the sinus infection meds. Not sure what’s causing it, usually the barometric pressure stabilizes quickly and they’re gone in a couple hours. We’ll see. It’s kind of distracting and disturbs my train of thought. With that said, I hope you are well today. I hope you stay out of large crowds. Our Nebraska Writers Guild has no plans to cancel the conference in April as of this time. Since most writers are introverts, they will be an arms length away anyhow. I suppose if someone coughs or sneezes on you, you can bop them with the closest manuscript and tell them to go away. Hoping this is the way it goes, as another month from now, the whole pandemic could change it’s shape and direction. I am still looking forward to it.

Thank you for reading today. I’ll see you here again tomorrow. Wash your hands! Be Safe!

Terrific Tuesday

The Coronavirus has really become about the only topic of discussion today on the news. Travel appears to be severely affected. The stock market closed up today. Some people are very afraid. It is sad we are fearful of something that cannot even be seen. Sixty million people in Italy are in lockdown, yet people may go to work. How can they enforce that? Wow.

I would be concerned about Mom if she were in a nursing home. The home Dan’s Mom lived in for twelve years in Sioux Falls, South Dakota was quarantined many times for the flu. It protected the residents and they did stay in their rooms. I believe this saved many vulnerable people. It could be what saves many older people during this outbreak of a not so new virus.

A can of Lysol lists Coronavirus as something the disinfectant kills. It has been on the label for over twenty-five years. I would imagine a different strain exists now and it is much stronger than in the old days. Clean up your surroundings at home and at work. Disinfect your phone, your keyboard, your workstation, your steering wheel and doorhandles. Clean places you never clean. And take care of yourself. And then do it again.

Our local newspaper printed an article where the father of the girl who was at the VFW Post 2503 last Wednesday was interviewed. He told her story. It is a beautiful story of unconditional love for a little girl who was adopted. She has been prone to respiratory illnesses frequently throughout her life. She visited the doctor many times since her return from the United Kingdom. They were sure it was just a cold or her normal illness. No one over there is ill in the family group they visited. The father and stepbrother are both on home quarantine. It is very sad for him. Here is the article:

I just find the whole story so very sad. Until the whole story was known, I too passed judgment on someone being out when they were ill. Being human, I think we tend to judge without the proper information. I am sorry I thought these things. At this point, all we can do is pray for her and her family. Faith can take people through things that they cannot imagine handling on their own. We hope this is the case. No one else from our organization has become ill. A couple other people are staying home due to contact that included a hug and a greeting. Both were elderly. There again, our VFW family will encircle it’s own and will help however and wherever we can.

There have been a lot of frenzied phone calls, asking if the building is going to be sanitized. The Health Department assured the Commander cleaning the tables and chairs with bleach, along with the door handles, door knobs, the bar, and any other surfaces we can think to clean. All will be well. We will be open tonight for darts and tomorrow night for food night.

The informational e-mail we sent out telling people about the situation ran into a technical glitch which my limited network knowledge could not solve, so we made a trip to the Post to send the emails. Technology is quite grand until it doesn’t work and you cannot fix it. Then it’s difficult and can torment your brain until you find out both what the issue is and how it can be solved. A curse.

Needless to say, there was no writing time today. Tomorrow will be another day of PT for Mom. Hopefully there will be time I can quarantine myself in my studio and work uninterrupted for a time between Thursday and Monday, the 16th of March. I’m kind of running behind the plan, you know? What do you do when you plan to do things that are interrupted by life? You want to be flexible but don’t want to be a doormat either. There is a fine line, and it seems as if it is constantly moving in my life.

I am going to push for some time tomorrow after taking Mom. It’s amazing how a scene can live in your head and take on a life of it’s own when you put it on paper. I’m hoping that happens. It’s a scene that connects cigar smoke with some memories my main character has. She tells the recollections as someone in the group lights up a cigar. The rest will come when it gets here. That will be my starting point. I may need to move it to another chapter if it makes more sense there. I will share it with you here when it is written.

Thank you for reading today, I’m looking forward to seeing you back here tomorrow.