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!

It’s Thursday Again

I’m amazed at the number of “elderly” (our age) people who tell us their kids won’t let them leave the house. What? They don’t live under the same roof at all, but the kids are making their parents stay home. It makes me wonder. Our kids just ask what we’re doing. Does that mean they don’t love us? Hardly. One of the kids picked up toilet paper for us when we couldn’t find any in our stores. Other than that, we speak to them and check in about everyday life but don’t go further than that. Is it that they trust us to be cautious? Is it they don’t think of us becoming ill and dying from it? I choose to look at it that they think we know what to do. What do you think? Have you told your parents to stay home? Our mom doesn’t listen too well. At nearly 91, she still insists on going to Walgreen’s and Hy Vee for groceries herself. She has a good chance at becoming exposed. I’d rather not be exposed.

Our Hamburger Night was good again. We visited and made plans for Taco Night tonight. The Babe heads up the kitchen staff for that. I’m not able to lift anything heavy or stand for a long time, so I come along for moral support mostly. Not sure if I’ll join him or not. It’s that or stay home to let the dogs out, let the dogs in. Let the dogs out. Let the dogs in. Let the dogs out. Let the dogs in. You get the idea.

i’m putting together some notes for the rest of my book. I need more meat in the story at certain chapters. It’ll be hard (maybe) to get another 8K words. Once they start, though, they come easier. It’s not impossible. Just need to get to it. I hope to hear from my book coach in a couple of weeks and see what the assessment of my first three chapters is. At a much younger age I used to agonize over such things. I don’t anymore. I do hope it comes back favorably though. If not, back to the drawing board.

This one is thought provoking.

Thank God for the empathy of others. We especially need that now.

I remain hopeful our Veterans graves will be decorated with the American flags this Memorial Day. It would be a shame if they remained bare. A news story yesterday stated the VA is not allowing groups such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to plant the flags as they usually do. The National Cemeteries in Long Island, New York have 500,000 graves in them. It sounds as if it will not be allowed at all. I understand the social distancing, believe me. I would think that even if they worked in pairs the Boy and Girl Scouts could find a way to socially distance and still be able to plant the flags. Yes, it is a symbolic gesture, but it is an important one I believe. After all, people are allowed to go the store now, and even pick up dinner from a restaurant. It will be interesting to see what happens. I hope someone regains their mind to let them put the flags in.

The remainder day will probably go quickly. We will start serving tacos to some hungry veterans and Honor Guard members after 4 p.m. More talking with friends tonight, and hoping everyone is well. It will be a good afternoon. Until it’s time for me to leave, I’ll do a little more editing and planning. I hope you all have a good rest of the day, stay safe, and keep up the social distancing. See you back here tomorrow!

Wahoo! It’s Wednesday!

Another dreary day that should produce rain and storms tonight. By Monday, it will be a steamy 86! That should surely be perennial planting weather. Hope we ease into summer rather than go hot and humid already.

Here’s the deal. It doesn’t feel like it’s already May. It’s already mid-May. And in May, we both have our birthdays. Normally by now we’re excited about it, not that we do crazy stuff or buy big gifts, but they fall two days apart. Two cakes! We love cake. Dan’s favorite is German Chocolate. I’ve made one (from scratch) for him before. Maybe this year, too. I love it too, as my Grandma Jewell used to bake the one from the Baker’s Semisweet Chocolate package. It’s not lacking in butter and eggs. The calories don’t count, besides, he’ll be 70, so he deserves one.

I don’t have a favorite cake. In fact, I’ve never met a cake I didn’t like. Sort of. Not fond of cream cheese frosting, although it’s a big recipe now on the baking shows and internet recipes. As a kid, my brother liked Angel Food, I would ask for Devil’s Food, so I was not like him. My dad liked the chocolate, too. Although his birthday cake was Fruit Cake. I kid you not. He was born on January 1, 1924, and he was the first New Year’s Baby in Omaha. Cool, huh? Mom baked the Fruitcake and let it age with bourbon baths every week. He loved it. As a kid, I did not. As an adult I came to appreciate it.

I’ll possibly make my own cake with my own buttercream frosting recipe. Might be the yellow cake mix I have in the pantry. We’ll see. Maybe we’ll break curfew and go see the grandkids. That’s the worst, not getting to see them! We signed up to have emails sent to us about Gavin’s ball games. It’s sad to keep getting schedule updates of “cancelled” every week. They may be able to start practice soon, they have to skip sharing snacks, and the governor said only immediate family (living in the same home) may attend games. What’s Grandma Kathy going to do?? I’m so sad, I don’t know. But if it keeps the kids healthy, I’m in. The film footage of those poor little babies intubated with those terrible rashes breaks my heart. When I was a kid, and with my kids too, children had measles, chicken pox, and mumps. When my little brother had chicken pox, our Grandma Jewell was afraid he’d die they were so bad. He even had them on the bottoms of his feet and couldn’t walk. Terrible stuff. I’ll do anything to keep the kids safe.

I was just thinking this morning, what do I miss while being quarantined? Hmmm. First is missing the grandkids. All of them, two in Omaha, two in Colorado, and one in Maryland. I miss going to the store and taking my time to look at fresh fruit and vegetables. Those and bread are my favorite foods. And steak. The Babe makes a great grilled steak on the grill. I miss going to church. I miss going to bookstores. I miss going to fabric stores and browsing. I miss Hobby Lobby and Michaels just browsing the crafts to see what’s new. I’m a simple girl, I suppose. Most of my clothing is ordered online, I’ve never been a traditional woman shopper. I prefer In and Out. Get what you need and get out. I like shopping at hardware stores and looking at gadgets. It’s fun.

What don’t I miss? A lot. Traffic jams. People in a hurry. An overpacked schedule. Having to hurry places. I’m hoping when this is over, people don’t put as much emphasis on things that are superficial: looks, hairdo, percentage of body fat, popularity of “celebrities,” media reporting everything in excess, media crucifying everyone in politics.

Something that scares me? Disrespect. Abuse of children and women. All are on an uptick. Women and kids at risk are in danger. I’m afraid for the children who are no longer seen by their teachers daily who can help by reporting when things aren’t right. If you know someone in a bad situation, keep an eye out for them. Skype, Facetime, Zoom, whatever you can do, make sure you get a visual of them. Their life could depend on it.

Re-opening? I would not go to a crowded place for drinks and dancing right now. Too many people too close together. The VFW Post 2503 did a perfect job last Wednesday, with a limited menu and a chance to test the waters and visit with people other than our quarantine mates. It was wonderful to be out and see other non-quarantine partners. Life continued on during the time we were away. One lady had pancreatic cancer and passed away while we were in quarantine. One had a new grandson. One is going to be a grandma in July. We all felt safe being with those friends. We look forward to going again tonight.

I’m going to finish my search for the 3K missing words in my manuscript, plan the rest of the writing I need to do, and work on a little embroidery project for grandson Cody. How about you? What are you doing today? Leave a comment below, and tell me if you feel we’re opening up too soon. Thanks for reading today. I appreciate it so much. I’m be here again tomorrow, hope to see you then! Stay safe. Masks, Handwashing, Elbow Cough, all the good stuff to keep us safe.

Thankful Thursday

Yesterday, I wrote about venturing out for the first time. Or rather, the anticipation of going out for the first time. If you’d like to read it, check yesterday’s post, Woo-Hoo Wednesday. We all felt very strange going somewhere to dine again, and to especially see our friends after two months.

I spoke with a lady who reiterated what I felt yesterday. She mentioned feeling safe because we all know each other. I wholeheartedly agreed. It was wonderful to be out. To be among friends. To feel safe while relaxing some aspects of social distancing. The Post strictly adhered to the guidelines the Health Department insisted be followed for reopening. People understood. People were kind to each other. As I reflect back on it today, I am thinking of those who did not come out. They were not convinced they should be out yet. And that’s ok. We took a risk, and it was a good one.

It did our hearts good. Sharing a meal with friends who are like family is almost a sacred act. I can only imagine the joy we’ll feel when we are able to be with our grandkids again. Hugs for all! We all miss those the most. Yes, it felt like forever since we were able to gather. We tried to catch up on the news from each other. We had a limit of six to a table, and had to rotate in and out to not break the rules. It was so worth it. Some men hadn’t shaved for awhile. Some women needed haircuts. None of that mattered, we were just glad to be out.

All that said, I can’t say I have a desire to get on a plane, drive to Colorado (really hard to not go, with a new grandson and all!), go shopping in a crowded place, or attend a outdoor concert yet. I don’t feel we’re safe enough to do that yet. We may not be for a long time. Yes, warm to hot weather is going to make the virus unable to make us ill, but traces will still be around. It will be round two in a few months with a double punch from Coronavirus and the flu. Lucky us. We’re going to be doing this for a long time, folks. We can do baby steps getting out again. In time we will be more secure about it. Just pick a place you know you’ll feel safe. And go, when they’re open. And you will experience joy at being with your friends again. A reward for staying home these past two months, that we were all present. It will happen for all of us soon. Enjoy the experience. Savor your people.

I may have lost 3K words from my book while editing with Pro Writing Aid. Not sure if the word counter had a hiccup or anything, I don’t see where they are missing. It may take awhile to locate the gaps. There are some chapters that need more work, and I’d still like to reach 50K words or more. Lots of loose ends to tie up, and relationships to mend (those that can be mended). Hoping I can find them sooner rather than later. It will work out, things always do!

Ancient Chinese Proverbs May Be The Best

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate you taking the time to do so. Hope to see you again tomorrow. I’ll be here! Stay safe! Wash hands, Be Kind, Call a Friend Today!

First Monday in May

Have you seen the memes about this year, so far? I love some of them. Most worthless purchase for Christmas 2019? A 2020 Planner! Yuk it up, folks! We’re here all week! I would bet more folks learned about the Ten Plagues of Egypt than during any Catechism Class on record. Seriously, I’m just glad there have been no floods to go with this (at least, so far). Too many people were underserved during that horror of last year. Some are still homeless.

All ten of these awful plagues would more seriously impact our lives than staying home would. Blood in the water? Horrid. Frogs? I cannot imagine. Maybe they’d eat the Japanese beetles this year that have destroyed our Linden tree leaves the past two years. Shows the impact of nature. Lice or Gnats? Yecchhhh! Death of Livestock? I tear up when I see the cattle freezing in the Western part of Nebraska during the blizzards of the plains. So sad. Boils? Have you ever had one? I had one on my thumb as a kid. Had to soak it in Epsom salts. I think that was the old school cure for everything. Finally went away. Hail? We’ve had horrible hailstorms in Nebraska the past ten years or so. We replaced siding on our old house twice. Total damages were at least $17K each time. That’s not counting roof, cars, and other things. They’re expensive.

Locusts? I’ve been misinformed all my life. Cicadas are what I’ve been told were locusts. Lies, I tell you! But Cicadas are what make that awesome sound on a hot summer evening. Or afternoon. There is a hornet called a Cicada killer. They’re super ugly and lethal. To Cicadas. Darkness. A permanent eclipse would be weird. Anyone who’s ever gone to Alaska or even in Canada are weirded out by the short nights. Your internal clock would be confused for sure. The last is the worst thing I can imagine. Death of all firstborn children. We will not address that, it is the most horrible fate to put on someone. God made His point.

Love this one. Appropriate for my 50th Class Reunion this summer!

Confession: It was a goal for me last week to layer and pin three or four small quilts for quilting. I failed totally on that one. I could beat myself up, but I won’t. It’ll get done. I’m looking at this week. We’ll visit that topic again later in the week.

A goal for today is to get as far as I can in correcting punctuation, spellings, reducing overused words, etc., in my novel. I had a great start yesterday, hit the wrong key and had to escape. All 250 corrections I made were wiped out. Do over starts today, when I’m finished with this. I think making those corrections in the entire manuscript will help me expand some places and tighten up others. It’s all a learning process. This appears to be the best plan as of this moment.

And how do you take it when you realize something wasn’t a good way to go, or a good choice? Not a major life thing, but say in a project, artwork or otherwise? If no one is around, I take it well. I think. Well, maybe not. I’m usually glad no one knows. In my personal life, my worst mistakes have been because I was lonely. Think about it. My worst mistakes in writing, art, quilting, etc., are due to lack of experience. Lack of knowledge. Personal mistakes can be from lack of knowledge or experience too. One thing I’m working on is to learn to be silent if someone is telling me about my writing. I have read it’s not meant to be a conversation. It’s a report, a monologue if you will, with their feedback on your story or work. You cannot defend what and how you wrote or drew or painted. You need to be open to suggestion. You also have to learn to not take things personally. I need to do that. Deep inside, I know I have something to offer. If someone’s take on it is “you’re terrible.” I can simply thank them for their input and move on. Right?

The worst thing I could do is figure Pro Writing Aid can make all my corrections for me and I don’t need to proofread it again. Baloney! There have been many times it tells me I’ve mixed up a word for another when I haven’t . The things I’m learning along the way are really eye opening about our language, the meaning of words, and how important they are. Kind of like writing a song. I probably couldn’t do the music part but I could do lyrics, I believe. It’d take some learning, but it would be an awesome experience. I can read music, but it’s been a very long time. Bucket list!

Our class has a member, Anna Merola, who was originally from Italy. I did not know that until we were reunited through Facebook. She was such a nice girl, fun, intelligent, and someone I’d love to see again. Through the pandemic, we’ve shared reports, along with other classmates, and her best advice through this whole thing has been to stay home. She has and I know it’s been hard. She’s a widow and misses her children, grandchildren, like the rest of us. It has been a good thing about this pandemic is getting to know her again. We’re sorry she cannot make the trip to the U.S.A. from Italy in June as she planned. Maybe another time, Anna. Stay safe and healthy. Caio, baby!

Easier to do later in life than when we’re younger. Why?

With my 50th Class Reunion this year, it’s opened my brain to do a lot of thinking. If anyone may have been as self conscious as I was during those years from 9th grade to 12th grade and beyond, it’s easier to understand the saying above. I was a horrible mess. It was my lack of confidence. My inability to speak up. My lack of asking questions. My lack of setting boundaries. My learning what rights I have as a member of the human race. No early teenage kid knows this stuff. Do they? Did you? From the sidelines where the wallflowers and I were, it seemed the kids in Debate and Drama and Chorus had no issues with confidence. After all, they could speak, sing, and act in front of hundreds of people. And the Honor Roll kids were so smart, they oozed intelligence. They were headed somewhere. The athletes and cheerleaders, everyone wanted to be them. I did. They had perfect lives we all envied.

I couldn’t do any of that. I couldn’t draw well, even though I took mostly Art classes for electives. I was best at Lettering and Layout. I wanted to take Drafting, but wasn’t allowed to because there were no other girls. Coach Ponsiego was ok with it. Sister Peter Julian put the kibosh on my registering. She was my advisor for that year, and said, “Absolutely NOT. You have no business there as shy as you are.” Maybe it would have gotten me out of my shell sooner. Fifteen years sooner. As much as I hated Home Ec, I did learn to love making clothing, decorating, costumes, and now quilting. The art training didn’t go to waste, although I need to take drawing and painting again. I will. After my book is published. I have always loved to write. I wanted to, be a reporter, but didn’t know how to start. College? My parents couldn’t afford it, and I only earned $1.25 and hour, I think.

I’m off to work more on my book, “These Walls DO Talk.” (Working title.) I’m thankful for your visit today. I hope you return tomorrow, and we’ll chat some more. I appreciate you so much! Take care. I hope you have a fabulous day!

Friday, I Think

COVID-19 Quarantine Day # 6,385.

I’ve seen some folks posting on The Facebook they’re in quarantine for 8,365 days. It’s all in how we look at it. I know it’s probably easier for retired people like the Babe and me. If we were gone from a job we loved with or without pay, yes, it would seem like torture.

Unless money is an awful hardship for you, try looking at your time at home in a different way. While I was working, I left for work in the dark and came home in the dark. Yes, it was a long day, every day. And it seemed as if I never saw my house in the daylight. I was on medical leave after a surgery in the early 90s when I truly saw my house at all hours of the day. I realized how nice it was.

My kids and I were alone at that time, and it was really a long time off work and school. And yes, I was younger, 39 I believe. I came to see our home and the isolation in a much different light. I appreciated what I had been working so very hard to earn and possess. It was a time that stopped my daily frenzy and made me grateful. If you’re feeling like you can’t take it anymore, try that. It’s like looking at the world through different lenses. Not rose colored. But reality colored. Big difference.

This is my inspirational plaque.

I mentioned this plaque yesterday, and the computer gods prohibited me from showing you the photo. If you missed the post, here’s a link to it. Thank you, my dear niece and friend, Wendy. It’s hard to imagine that we used to babysit for you. You were a fun little toddler. And you are a blessing to all that know you now. I’m grateful to have you in my life.

It will be a different kind of day. Since our VFW Post is going to launch a scaled back food night for Wednesday, May 6, 2020. They have been closed since before St. Patrick’s Day. It’s not just a financial thing, it’s to help life the spirits of people who have formed a family or sorts. We miss each other. None of us know what’s going to happen in the next six months, I have a feeling it could go either way. Nebraska has lifted the stay at home life a bit. Restaurants have been given the ok to open with restrictions, and many have decided to remain take out only. It’s up to the individuals.

I’m going to go to the Post later to do some EXCEL spreadsheets for the Babe who is their Quartermaster. It’s the first of the month, and the books need to be reconciled, despite bringing in $0.00 and having expenses despite being closed. The officer group will meet and decide how to place tables, members, food service areas, and keep the doors sanitized. We have to start somewhere. We will see how it goes. People have to make their decisions. We always have the option to stay home if we don’t feel safe.

I’m really working hard to get my novel to the place of showing, not telling. That is much harder to do than it sounds. Telling is so easy. Showing is hard. I need to find how to show during a narrative of things that happened fifty years before. How the heck do you do that? I have a good reference called “Show, Don’t Tell,” and I hope the answer lies somewhere in there. It will make the process so much better. I have a feeling I have much more to rewrite than I thought. But it goes with the territory.

It is quite nice not having to take Mom to her appointments and errands. It’s been about four years since she quit driving. My younger brothers have been great about helping her out, too, and I’ve been the solo driver for weekday needs. It’s been something you do for your elders when they need it. No questions asked. It feels weird to not have the commitments, but I am enjoying my free time. I’ve told her not to hesitate should she need my help again. The danger of us getting COVID-19 will go down in the coming months. We’re social distancing like we should have been. I’m concerned about her not letting people go to the store for her, but the decision is hers. She’s insisting she needs to go, so I hope she’s surrounded by a mantle of protection from the virus. Check the definition of mantle vs. mantel. Word of the Day!

Truer words were never uttered!

We humans think we can control our destiny. We can’t. The sooner we realize that, and make adjustments in our attitudes and lives, the sooner we can live with much more ease, happiness, and joy. Yes, joy. It’s ours for the taking, all we have to do is relinquish control. Control is really an illusion anyway. We must not lie to ourselves.

It’s about time for me to meet the Babe. It will be a good rest of the day. When I return home, I’m going to layer and pin some quilts. Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time, and look forward to seeing you here again tomorrow. Be safe!

Is It Thursday?

By the time I go from the bedroom to the kitchen, I can lose track of what day it is. I also lose it by the afternoon or early evening, even though it doesn’t matter. Losing track. Used to be we needed to at least act we were with it, on top of the world, holding our finger on the pulse of business, industry, creation, religion, and whatever else arena we needed to compete in. It just isn’t that important any more. In some ways, I hope that remains, so we don’t put so much pressure on ourselves. So that our jobs, society, and leisure times don’t put so much pressure on our psyches. It’s too much. I hope we never get that way again.

I hope we don’t because the time we are making for our families right now shouldn’t be lost. Yes, parents probably need a break right about now, but so do the kids. If you’re unfortunate and have badly behaved kids, you can fix that right now. Before school starts again. Before sports start again. Before work starts again. The most important thing for us all to learn is be kind to the world. Be kind to your kids, school, sports teams, and co-workers. We can unlearn any bad habits we have, so can our kids. Make up for lost time in what’s left before we can go out again with no masks. Think long and hard about it. Your whole life can change for the better right now.

We must begin somewhere

After my breast cancer treatment and after my wonderful niece and friend Wendy lost her husband, she came to see me and brought a gift. It was a plaque and stand. It helped me get up out of the chair, start walking, start doing all the things I’d stopped doing while I was too tired to do anything. It did the trick. And since that day over ten years ago, I put it out where I can see it when I need a jumpstart to get back to living. I took it out this week, and it’s now on the mantle again. The Babe and I both see it every morning while we have coffee. It’s gotten us both going. Let’s all get going. Let’s be interested in life whether you’re still in quarantine or whether you’re going to ease back into life outside of your home. Be cautious, but do it. You have to start somewhere. We all have to start somewhere.

Due to technical difficulties, I cannot post a photo of the plaque. It says “today BEGIN”. I’ll post a pic when it is available. The words are powerful for me, and I hope they are for you, too, it you need them. At different times in life, we all do. And in times of pandemic, we all do at the same times.

Restrictions in restaurants are lifted, with certain new rules in place. Many places are continuing take out orders only. Some are opening. The VFW Post 2503 is planning on opening on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, at 4 p.m. for a Hamburger Night. A limited menu will be available. No drinks sold unless they are sold with a dine-in meal.