Tuesday, June 2, 2020

This morning, I didn’t even watch the local news. I didn’t want to know what happened in Omaha last night. I want to, but just didn’t want to hear it. I have too many thoughts from the racial tension and riots in Omaha during the 1960s and 1970s. It was bad. Very bad.

The dissention between police and civilians is nothing new. When one or the other crosses the line, havoc reigns. This is what happens now. And neighborhoods are being destroyed. Within the law, there are many, many fine details that must be present and provable in order to charge a person with a crime. You may charge with caution, that is, you should charge them with something for which you are fairly certain they will be convicted. First degree murder vs manslaughter. Intent must be proven. And it must be proven by facts. Not feelings. It is very, very complicated.

The feelings are very complicated, too. No one wants to be a hard hearted Hannah. Compassion and empathy are two things we need as humans. They need to be balanced with truth and logic. The only sure thing that would have prevented the killing in Omaha was if there was no crowd and rioting going on. People push and shove. They get shoved back. In the heat of the moment, things happen that are not well thought out. If a gun is involved, a clear head should prevail. Sometimes, it doesn’t. Gut reactions usually are fight back. Bricks. Bullets. Bad results. Shame on the humans who stirred this frenzy up. It had a terrible outcome. Again. Please. Stop it.

I actually have been able to write today. I am going to use my main character’s voice to tell part of her story in first person. The first time she talks is when she is in kindergarten. I tried to make it sound like a little kid was talking. Pro Writing Aid is trying to make me say, “I enjoy coloring.” over “I like coloring.” do you know of any five year olds who say “enjoy” when they “like” something? Probably few and far between. Thoughts? Leave them in the comment section under this blog post. Thank you!

We had a weird thing happen this morning. Somehow, one of the dogs had a whole bunch of greenery from outside somewhere in their mouth and dropped it in a big pile all over the floor. Big pile of it. Neither of us saw one of them walking around like that. It doesn’t appear one of the plants in the front yard was disturbed. I need to check the patio. And walk around the yard. It’s driving me bonkers. I’m hoping this is the biggest issue we have today. It will certainly lighten the mood. I hope it helps us work harder in our area of the world to make it a better place. We need to be kind, thoughtful, respectful, and empathetic. Start with your home. Start with your family. Start with your neighborhood. It will grow. Be the change. Change of heart.

Be This Kind of Change

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate it very much. Hope to see you again tomorrow. I’ll be here. Hopefully with the mystery of the greens on the carpet solved! Be safe. Be careful. Honor and respect the curfew and each other.

Now What?

It’s Sunday, May 31, 2020. Omaha is one of many cities with riots last night. The protesters became criminals when they started destroying things because they simply thought they should. Many of the people arrested in Omaha were young, white people. Not very many black or hispanic people. The Police Department HQ was assaulted also. So many people in the Old Market area of town were destroying property. Breaking windows in our beautiful historic Orpheum Theater. Someone started a fire in a coffee shop, three young men grabbed a fire extinguisher from their apartment in the area and put the fire out. Quick thinking.

These poor people, who own businesses in the area. So sad. As if loss of revenue from the Pandemic wasn’t enough, you add this . . . a person could really lose heart and desire to continue trying to succeed. And the protestors. Do they really know why they went from making a point to making the conscious decision to start destroying property, being disrespectful, and thinking it is perfectly ok to do this? Or are they doing it just because the guy next to them was doing it?

Omaha has a curfew at 8 p.m. tonight. No one should venture out. It will be in force for three days. I hope it puts a lid on the rioting and destruction. You are not helping your cause by being lawless. Peaceful disagreement would be much more effective. Just as Dr. King proposed. We need to pick up where he left off, not just go off in a frenzy of mayhem and destruction. A cool head must prevail for any change to take effect.

But there will always be that one person who thinks they are above the law. Maybe it’s a cop. Maybe it’s a rich white kid. Maybe it’s a poor black kid. Or an Hispanic who has to translate for his parents who don’t speak English. All of this started with a cop using a method of detention that has been frowned upon. And four of his colleagues standing still. Standing there. This is not acceptable. Period. Why did he think that was a good idea? Why didn’t the others intervene? Will we ever know the truth?

And now in cities all over our country, there are people who really want to protest peacefully. They come out in the daytime. Just after work. And they go home. They don’t hang out for hours and hours and turn the tide and mood of the crowd to breaking the law and destroying property. Why do they think this is a good idea? When you stoop to using those tactics, you are not helping anything. Why give credence to a stereotype when you could do something constructive and good for the situation?

So, please stop and think, my friends. What can you do? What will you do? Whom Will You Be? This editorial cartoon is shared with permission from Jeffrey Koterba of the Omaha World Herald.

Jeffrey has an unbelievable knack at depicting exactly what the people are thinking. We look to him in times like these to put our feelings and thoughts into something we look at and say, “Yes, that’s it.” I believe his cartoon for tomorrow’s edition is spot on, and I wanted to share it with the rest of you. Whichever city you live in, it’s time for all of us to ask ourselves, “Whom do I want to be??” Thank you, Jeffrey Koterba, for helping us at times like these. Be safe. Honor your curfew. Wash your hands. Stay at home.

Friday Facts

The Facts Ma’am. Just the facts.

This is what Sgt. Joe Friday told every distraught witness he interviewed on the TV show “Dragnet.” It was a cop show while I was growing up. Friday reminded me a little of my dad, serious, to the point, never dilly-dallying around. A good trait in the late 50s and early 60s. It was inherently clear who the good guys were and who the bad guys were. No chance of mixing them up.

In the late 60s up until now, the lines are so blurred. Many cops have done bad things. Very bad things. Kent State. Selma, Alabama. Omaha, Nebraska. Minneapolis, Minnesota. Do you know who hates bad cops the most? Good cops. I know they exist. My uncle was one. He was the Sarge to Larry Minard, who was killed in 1970 by a booby trap bomb in a suitcase. Jimmy Wilson, Jr. was one. Jason Tye Pratt was one. Kerrie Orozco was one. My uncle retired in the 1980s. With every news story of wrongdoing by cops or by perps, he commented how glad he was no longer on the job. That people had changed too much. Cops and citizens.

One of our sons is in Federal Law Enforcement. I know most of the cops are good cops. Unfortunately, the few bad ones and the reactions that follow are what sickens all of us. Us, the good, help out a neighbor folks who aren’t racist. Or hateful. Or vengeful. We are the ones who make masks for the first line responders. We are the ones who buy lunch for an entire shift of nurses. We are the ones who SHOP at Target, not loot it because we can. Mob mentality is terribly dangerous in the wake of this good man being killed by a police officer.

To the people protesting, I say yes, please protest. Keep it legal. Keep it civil. You have to live in the neighborhood someone has burned it down. What does activity like that promote except violence. What good does it do to destroy stores your neighborhood may never have open again? Yes, it sends a message, but what message do you want to send? More violence and destruction of property just makes everything worse.

George Floyd was a good man. He did not deserve to die, especially not in the way he did. What in the world was wrong with the cop who knelt on his neck, compromising his airway? How did he think that was a good idea or even necessary? Why did the others stand by and do nothing? Was he their superior? Why in the world didn’t someone intervene? We wouldn’t be discussing this again if they had? Or called a medic to assist?

I am sickened by what we have seen this week. Were tempers flaring because of the quarantine? My heart breaks for the Floyd family, and for the family of the firefighter who put his life savings into the bar that was torched by a mob before it could even open on June 1, 2020. I am sickened at what human beings can and do to each other. Repeatedly. My heart is heavy and sad.

I do believe we need to be civil to one another. Cop or not. I believe no one is above the law. Cop or not. I believe this has made it harder for the good cops out there with their lives on the line every shift. They must learn to trust the black people who are not breaking the law. Who are not resisting. Who are within their God-given rights. How can they do that? Their guard must stay up when talking to anyone they stop. Black or not. White or not. Hispanic or not.

Is it a question of training? I have no idea, I am not a Police Chief or advisor. Order needs to be returned. We need to be mindful of many, many things. Start at the neighborhood level. Don’t tolerate or join anti-black conversations, or anti-cop conversations. Get to know your neighborhood police officers. They are where you should be able to go for help. You should be able to trust them. Trust needs to come from both sides. Communication needs to come from both sides. Respect needs to come from both sides. Talking smack is part of hateful behavior. Just stop it. NOW.

I believe it was part of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream to end this kind of event in America. End the hatred, indifference, bias, and destruction of life and property that starts with a bad act. A bad act by a cop, no less. I am embarrassed for America. How can we pretend to know what’s best for the world when we behave so badly ourselves?

God help us. God help us all.

Thankful Sunday

We’re basking in the love here at home today. Yesterday, we went to visit the grandkids for about an hour. It was wonderful! They have both grown taller and matured even more than last time we saw them. Schooling at home, being quarantined, and other responsibilities have been great for them. Addison has a beautiful heart and will be as tall as I am in the not too distant future. Gavin is much taller and is having the time of his life at home. In addition to doing school work, he’s reading books and playing while social distancing with his neighborhood friends. He learned to ride his bike!! He is quite the social (distancing) butterfly.

We had a nice visit with the whole family, Tracy and TJ are always willing to help us out if we need it. How nice. We also have my Frankie in town who also would help us out if we’d need it but he lives across town and works weekends, and other times we might need an assist. I’m sure this will change as time goes on. This pandemic and quarantining have had us thinking a lot about planning for our lives as we age. It tells us we need to think twice about having control of our situation. We do to a point, and to be realistic, how can we plan for our future now? I think the answer to that is plan as if this virus and everything involved in it are not an issue. I think we will have vaccines for this. I think we may find at least part of it was manufactured. I hope whoever did that is punished.

Back to work on this for the afternoon.
Very slow going!

Was this against the rules? Maybe. I trust our family and I know they are taking every precaution to be safe. So are we. It’s a risk. But the hugs of those two young, strong, grandkids is worth it. The hug and linger. They don’t let go. They convey their love to you. So heartwarming. We are the luckiest people on earth. All of you will feel the same when you are with your families again. It will happen. We will all be careful. We will still socially distance. We will get together with our loved ones again for a brief visit. Once the greeting hugs are done and the long goodbye hugs are finished, we will leave their homes again or have them over. Gavin loves our dogs. They love him. He needs to play fetch with Goldie. They will both love it. More hugs. Puppy loves. It’s life at it’s best. And we will all enjoy it again.

Remember the little things. Remember the warmth of a hug. Remember the love in a child’s smile. Remember the joy when they learn to do things like walk, ride a bike, or write their names. It’s all coming back again and it’ll be old normal back again. To heck with this “new normal” people talk about. Give me the best of the old normal.

I’m still reveling in the love we felt yesterday. I’m just going to enjoy that all day in my memory, Thank you for reading today. I’ll see you tomorrow, and I appreciate you stopping by every day. Smile. You will have good hugs again. Back to “work”. Stay safe. Stay distant. Stay home.

Taco Tuesday?

I have been working on reading my manuscript alongside a former copy with 3K more words. The mystery deepens, I’m up to Chapter 26 and haven’t found it yet. I think there were more paragraphs I moved from their places to the end of the pages so I could use it later if necessary. I’m glad there weren’t a lot of paragraphs that needed to be placed anywhere. At least, this is my working theory of the issue and it’s solution. Hope it’s that simple in the end.

It is an overcast day and chilly. May shouldn’t be so chilly, we keep wanting to go to the nursery but haven’t yet. I think there will be plenty of plants, I’d just really like to get something planted and watch it grow. In the peace of the quarantine social distancing. From the patio. And others from the deck. I’m envisioning warmer weather and pleasant afternoons, without rain, gale-force winds, and Japanese Beetles.

For the first time in quite a few years, we don’t have any graduates. How about you? We had one wedding postponed and two others will be in held during the summer, depending on which way the social distancing goes. I understand the disappointment the graduates feel. I cannot imagine the disappointment brides and grooms feel after all the planning they’ve done.

When I graduated from high school, because of our modular scheduling and other advances Sister Pacis introduced to the Archbishop Ryan Memorial High School, we had a lot of things that weren’t as we thought they would be.

For the first time, we had no yearbook. Normally, the yearbooks were hard covered, had the usual photos and copies of all our Ryan EYE (school newspaper) published during the school year. At the last minute, there was a small, paperback edition for a yearbook. Disappointing at best. We also weren’t called “Seniors.” The class distinctions were done away with. Some of my class graduated six months early, as they had their requirements met. I could have, but had no plans for after graduation, so I just hung out for another semester. I tutored a couple “Under Classmen” and spent my spare time in the Library, and Art Room Lab. Didn’t skip classes, I didn’t drive or carpool. I would have had to walk several blocks to get the bus if I wanted to leave. So much for sneaking out!

For my first three years, my homeroom was on the second floor. Traditionally, the Junior and Senior classes had homerooms on the first floor. I was so looking forward to not having to walk up both flights of stairs. I was the only one of my group of friends that had to go to the top floor (AGAIN). I was not happy. Yes, it seems silly now, but nothing seemed to be turning out as I dreamed my senior year would be. We had a ceremony, my parents couldn’t find me in the line or on the stage. We were arranged by height, all the girls seemed to have long, straight hair and tortoise shell glasses. (We did).

We thought we were on top of the world, despite the changes and things we lost. I’m sure the kids who missed graduations, the last quarter of classroom work, and saying goodbye to everyone will be fine, too. We don’t get a choice about these things. We have to be ok. If we’re not, we might miss the next best thing that’s coming down the line for us. That would put us a day late and a dollar short for the rest of our lives. We can’t let that happen. Mourn the loss (because it IS a loss). And get ready for the next great adventure of your life. C’mon. You’re just starting out. Keep going on adventures. Keep reaching for the next star. Don’t ever stop. You will soon forget about the things that didn’t happen.

Thank you for reading today, and for your support. I greatly appreciate it. Hope you have a good evening and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow. Stay safe, hydrate, wash those hands, wear your mask, and socially distance to stay safe. See you tomorrow!

Saturday Senses

The Babe used to work at Watkins Concrete Block Co., Inc in Omaha at 144th & Giles. He was a Lead then Supervisor in the truck shop, then became Labor Foreman. He also did Facilities Management, lots of other things. I think most of the guys loved working for him, he would tell it like it is and still be kind with extra chances if someone hit a rough patch. The reason I thought of this, was I saw on Facebook Watkins was going to be open Saturdays for the summer starting this week. We talked about how it used to be a relief for him to be off during the winter. As soon as the summer season started, he worked longer hours, Saturdays, and just ended up exhausted by the end of the summer.

The heat is hard to work in, and although he did have an office, he was in and out of the heat a lot. He’d come home with concrete dust on his boots, jeans, sometimes on his face, but he always came home happy. He loved his job. He was a manager who kept an eye out on the workers. Safety was always an issue, but then he also needed to find the ones who couldn’t work without supervision. Some folks will sneak a nap in, or dawdle on a simple task as long as they think they can get away with it. He saw a lot of humanity in those years. He’d help a guy out if they needed it, as long as they were honest about things. I respected him a lot for that.

As a total contrast, my job was sitting at a desk, writing code, debugging code, and all the things that go with being a “coder”. I was lucky to get to use my HR education the last few years I worked. I worked with the managers, HR, and contracting companies to find suitable candidates for open positions. It was fun, a change from what I’d been doing, and I liked working with the people. I was fortunate to be able to make the salary I did, have the benefits, and be able to go on LTD when I did.

Fast forward to 2020. We’re both retired. Married 22 years. 5 kids and 5 grandkids. We do pretty well spending 24/7 together. That’s a blessing. I love when the Babe is telling someone a line, and I see his eyes crinkle up at the outer edges, his dimples deepen, and he delivers the punch line. BOOM! I still fall for some of the worst spoofs. And he’s still quite proud of himself for telling me yet another fish tale. At this point in life, we both are pretty reflective on how good God’s been to us. This morning, we ditched the usual news and phone browsing, and sat on the deck with the dogs while the earth came alive. The clouds blew from southwest to northeast, and the birds were singing. Nice. It’s refreshing for your soul to look at nature. To think and talk with a background like that.

Look for your blessings today. They are all around you. We’re all tired of hearing about COVID-19, coronavirus, social distancing, face masks, testing, China, and everything that goes with it. People have strong opinions. We’re all tense. We are whether we know it or not. The Babe has admitted it several times. He said the only time in his life it’s been so uncertain is when he was in Vietnam. That statement made me feel sick, truthfully. I was glad he admitted how he felt. Then I didn’t know what to do about it. Except tell him, “I’m here for you, Babe.”

The most uncertain I ever was, 1978, July 23. My son drowned. He was revived but stayed in a coma for over 15 hours. That whole week was touch and go, and he did regain consciousness. His 2 1/2 year old brother was a mess. I was a mess. He had no memory of it. I was pregnant, and tried to bargain with God. I got my son back from God. It was so close. I’ve been grateful these some 40 years and longer. Whenever I hear of a child drowning, it feels like the worst gut-punch every time. It physically hurts for a few seconds, just like it did that day. He will be 49 years old this year (did I mention I was 5 when he was born?). Good man. Happy. Hard worker. Great friend. So grateful he was spared and he had no lasting damage. My marriage did not survive. But that’s ok. I don’t think it was meant to.

Somedays it feels like we are in the middle of waiting out a tour in Vietnam, or in a hospital CCU, waiting, waiting, waiting for some news. Do the best thing we can do. Pray. Love your family. Communicate what’s going on in your mind. And when we shift to be on that plane ride home, the release from the hospital, the hugs from our family, friends, and grandkids, Pray Again! Thank God from now until forever for Him being so good to us.

Thank you so much for reading today. I appreciate it so much. I’ll be back tomorrow, and I hope to see you then. Give Thanks. Be Positive. Pray. Be Strong. Pray. Wash your hands. Hang in there, and most definitely hang on!

Hump Day!

How much we wish our lives away! Most of the talk surrounding the days of the week is we wish it were another day. Not like, “I wish every day was my birthday,” but more to the tune of, “I HATE Mondays!”, “Almost Friday!”, “Friday Eve!” and so on. Why isn’t today good enough? There are movements among self-help groups now that everyone should know they are “Enough.” I agree.

Maybe this “Enough” movement ought to include the thoughts that each and every day of the week ought to be “Enough.” I don’t think we find enough joy in each twenty four hour period. If Mondays have the bad rap of being the worst day of the week, the first Monday after daylight savings time begins is always tagged as, “the worst day of the year.” Sad. You could have the best day of your life on that day, but you don’t think it has anything to offer. Kind of how we view people sometimes. “She’s old, she’s not hip with the times,” “She’s too young to teach me anything,” and a good one, “She has such a pretty face, it’s too bad she’s overweight.” Think about it. It’s all a bunch of hooey!

Know you are enough. Preach it to the choir if you must. And also know each day of your life is more than enough to do the things you can do to make your day and your month and your year wonderful. I know this from experience. In being a very broke single Mom, I found happiness in the fact I got to make all decisions for myself. No one hassled me if it was wrong If it was wrong, I just made a mental not not to do it again.

If the car broke down, I could have chosen to complain and grouse about the situation. But I could be happy if it only cost $50 to fix instead of $500. You can find something in every situation to be positive about. When my dad died of cancer at 64, I was glad I had someone that the kids and I missed. He was a great man and a good person. A lot of people are estranged from their parents for any number of reasons. But Dad was always present as much as he could be, working at night. He was a good example. He was kind.

It’s Wednesday and so far, Monday and Tuesday have been challenging. I’m happy it’s food night at the VFW and we’ll meet with our friends again. Check in with everyone, and make plans to meet on St. Patrick’s Day at the Post for their dinner. We can use today to plan for a week from now, but I’m not going to waste the next week and all those days have to offer me in terms of living. I can wait as opposed to, “I can’t wait until . . . ” Our lives can be perfect and fulfilling right now. Not when something else happens. It take a mind set change. Be a maverick. Be living in the moment. Be aware of today, not just wishing for tomorrow. This day is enough. You are enough.

Thank you for reading today, I love when you take the time. See you tomorrow, as I’ll be right here. Have a great Wednesday!