Tenuous Tuesday

I’m amazed the results are not in for the Caucus in Iowa. I never knew what that was until several years ago when my eldest son, Frankie, went there to get autographs from Bill Clinton, Hillary, and several others. He watched the process and told me what went on. I just can’t help but wonder how in the world we rely on hand counting people, who can move from one section of the room to the other, and be counted several times if someone from another group can persuade them to come to their side and be counted. Is there a minimum number of people participating? It seems the groups we saw on the news were only older people, I mean my age and older, and some impressionable high school kids.

Don’t get me wrong. I was an impressionable high school kid once. And the first time I voted for president was in 1972. I voted for Nixon, because he ended Vietnam and my husband came home early. I suppose there are worse reasons to vote for someone. But ever since then, I’ve been disallusioned by the process. And the lack of good candidates. And by how you can lie instead of telling the truth. And now, social media can really sway people who do not do their own fact checking.

I was an independent for the majority of my life, neither wanting to be Republican or Democrat. I am probably a liberal conservative now. I have grown to ask how things will be paid for before I think it’s a good idea. Being a Computer Systems Analyst and Coder for a number of years has brought out the information gathering in me. Getting all the information is important.

I voted for Al Gore in 2000, because I didn’t think a former baseball team owner could be president. I was wrong. I came to respect George W Bush for his leadership after 9/11. I actually became a Republican. It has caused some rifts in my family, but I cannot stop other people’s feelings. We have to respect people for who they are in their hearts, not for their political party. As an American citizen, an aging American woman, I feel our country has the best hope being led by someone with business experience. I have felt that for a very long time, if government were run like a business, there would be more attention paid to financial details, and less to hand shake deals, good old boy buddy systems. I believe as a nation we need to all examine our moral fiber and go back to thinking of God, family, faith, nation. What does that make me? Someone who believes in America, what it stands for, and that life is primarily good. People are primarily good. The world is a beautiful place. The grandmothers of the world can help teach our children the world will be as good as they help make it. We have to respect each other, authority, disagree respectfully, and work very hard for change that is good for all of us. There is no free lunch anywhere. Not even at Grandma’s house.

There will be those who refuse to read my work because of this revelation. Sorry you feel that way. It certainly isn’t my intent. My intent is to tell you I care about the shape of the nation and the world. And as the politicians, who left Iowa without any results, ran off to New Hampshire to troll for more votes, different caucus, same rhetoric, I’m still here. You left us in a lurch. We Grandma’s have a lot of influence, character, intelligence, and moxie. All the while we had no rights, we really ran the base of the nation. The family. Our unit of responsibility. We raised the children who bore the children who rose to greatness. Whatever party they were. Those who had good moral character, made their decisions after much consideration. I shudder to think it matters more now what party the person is representing than their character. That is not what Dr. King had in mind, or in his heart. We must come back to finding our similarities, not our differences. Come back together. With respect.

Thank you for reading today, it was a tough one to write. I try to stay middle of the road, but gee, sometimes you just can’t. Come back tomorrow, and we’ll look at some writing stuff again. See you then!

Trying Tuesday

In an age when we can communicate with someone across the world in seconds, we are still having a time with our aging parents. When they suffer from diminished vision and hearing as my mom does, it makes their lives so hard. She is attending a balance and movement class twice a week. She is upset she needs me to take her, but I keep telling her it’s keeping her in her home, and preparing her for working with her flowers this summer. She smiles and nods. She had no other issues after her stroke three or four years ago other than a part of her vision field being vacant – a black hole, if you will. Whenever we’ve talked about losses as people age, we have both been afraid to lose vision. Everything we do needs vision.

She has had some adjustments made at home. She had my brother Steve replace all her lightbulbs with LED bulbs, they help her see on dreary days. When it’s cloudy, her mood is as dark as the skies. She can’t help it. We all try to be patient, and sometimes we need to express our frustration with the situation. Other times, with all the bright lights, we tease her, “Geez Ma, what you trying to do, read the paper or land a plane?” We have always been able to tease her at the right moment. Usually she gets upset over little things and worries – a lot.

Yesterday, though, she was very upset and for due cause. A neighbor took her to the dentist yesterday. I took her a couple weeks ago, and I know she made a payment on her bill for today. She paid in advance. Yesterday, before her procedure, they told her she hadn’t paid. She couldn’t find her receipt in her purse and became very agitated. She knew she paid it. I remember the staff was busy talking about personal stuff, and not paying attention to business, in my opinion. When I talked to her yesterday, she was very upset, nearly in tears, and I told her we’d take care of it today, that it will be fine. She was worried about losing her credit rating. I told her they didn’t dare.

Old people have enough to contend with, and need people with exceptional people skills, especially when there are problems. The receptionist was not as nice as she probably should have been under the circumstances. Luckily, even with Mom’s blood pressure shooting up to the high 170’s, a medical crisis was averted. So glad one didn’t happen. When you get to be 90 +, I don’t think it would take too much to have people be extra nice to you. You have enough hassles trying to get around. You hate asking for help, but you need it, and you hate that you need it. Give them a break, bless their hearts!

Mom always apologizes for being a burden, I tell her I’ve got nothing but time. Little does she know, the last time I saw my dad before he died in 1988, I promised him I would watch out for Mom. I would take care of her when she needed help, he didn’t need to worry. He thanked me and told me he loved me. He wasn’t a guy to say that, so I think he knew his time was nearly over. I am glad I’m able to keep a promise I made all those years ago.

So as you go about your life with your good vision and hearing, be grateful. Be grateful because we will all be saddled with some infirmity. We will all wish for better health, movement, hearing, or sight. I hope people will be kind to us as we pass through that phase of life. Teach your young and not so young, be kind. Be patient. Be who you will need when you are old. Or sick. Or deaf. Or blind.

Thank you for reading, I appreciate it very much. I will be back tomorrow, and I hope you will, too. Have a beautiful evening.

Wednesday and Still Counting!

I’m excited we are together on this frosty Nebraska morning (no relation to our new football coach, but it could happen, someday). It’s another sunny day here. In the eastern part of the state has reported some mysterious drone sightings last night. I think it has something to do with our defense system and am not worried. I grew up in South Omaha, in the shadows of StratCom, Offutt Air Force Base. Since about the age of ten I knew the “Underground” of our nation existed. What is it? Anything our great United States needs to conduct business, be it war or peace, is here in Nebraska.

George HW Bush came here during the 9/11 attacks. It amazed me at the time many young news reporters/talking heads did not understand why he ended up here. I have always felt very safe living so close. If something ever happened, it would make no difference, I would not live long enough to know of it. As I get older, that is a comfort of sorts. No sense worrying about it until it may be close to happening. I just believe God will be good to us.

Welcome to my one hundred and thirtieth post! I’m excited to write another blog post about my journey as a writer. As I’ve stated before, each day of research and reading I do, it seems I learn some cool stuff to use in my writing. “How can you find something to write about every day?” some people ask me. I have learned the days I write of happenings around the house it’s not as good as days I write of ideas, actual activity about writing, or even a news headline or two. The creativity ebbs and flows. I keep writing to stay in the habit of doing it. I have discovered three very full place to extract writing ideas.

The First is Wall Art
The Second Is Facebook Memes.
My Hazelden Meditations from 1987.

Ideas are everywhere around us. Wall art, memes, and books are full of ideas. The book I picture here is for Adult Children of Alcoholics. I am an adult child of an alcoholic. My mother is the alcoholic, not my father. I have siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, old boyfriends, and friends who are all alcoholics. I am not. Their alcoholism affected my life in a negative way. I do not say this for pity or sympathy. I say it to let others know there is help for everyone who wants it. I have never attended Al-Anon meetings, but could have. This Adult Child book of meditations taught me many things were not my fault. It was not my responsibility to make life better for Mom, a brother, aunt, boyfriend, husband, or child.

A group of ladies I worked with in 1982 told me about Al-Anon. I listened to them when they talked about their alcoholic ex-husbands, physical abuse, verbal abuse, child abuse, and a whole gambit of things I had never seen in my life. I’m grateful for that.

This tattered book has had water spilled on it, and has a part of the index missing. I bought a new copy and still use the tattered one. It reminds me of what I’ve been through to get to where I am today. Learning, growth, and change for the better has been a long journey. If you are on that long journey, please know it is worth it. You will need to examine yourself and a lot of things to deal with everything but it is worth it. Trust me it is. Even after all these years, sometimes I still need to refer to my daily guide and sure enough, the words and lesson are exactly what I need that day. Sometimes, if I leave the readings alone for a long time, you can bet a situation will arise, and I’m looking for the lesson of the day.

As always, I thank you for reading today. I appreciate it so much. I will return tomorrow and hope to find you right here, too.

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.

Wednesday Blessings

Pretty quiet today. Some days you have to do necessary things to keep your home running well. We did a few errands and this afternoon, it’s sort of a regroup and planning the rest of the week. We have a cookie exchange Sunday and that means one day will be cookie baking day. The dogs will love it. And so will the Babe.

I have started to read a series by fellow Nebraska Writers Guild member Bonnie Lacy. She also wrote a Rage Rising: My Walk Through the Dark Tunnel of Anger, which I just finished. It was a remarkable story. I can understand how anger can bubble up from within a person, especially when a number of terrible things happen one after another. You may find her at the website: http://www.bonnielacy.com. You can find her books, read about her, and correspond with her if you wish. Her second book I’m reading is called “Released, The Great Escapes Series.” It already feels like a book I want to spend time reading and finish soon. That is how I want to write. I want to tell compelling stories. I want to tell stories that make you want to spend the time with on a free afternoon.

I’m just about finished with the Christmas tree. I was going to add a lot more ornaments but decided it had enough. I don’t want to overload it. The ornaments I didn’t put up are a collection of official White House ornaments from 1999 until now. I am collecting them for our grandson Joell. I thought he might like them to remember the time his dad worked in Washington, DC. Those ornaments are pretty cool. This year, it’s a replica of the helicopter used to transport President Eisenhower, the first president to use the helicopter. Last year, it was Truman’s White House.

Official 2018 and 2019 White House Ornaments

I have enjoyed buying these each year, and reading about the history behind the ornament and which President it honors. They are about $25, and well worth it. They are from the White House Historical Society.

Some Favorites for the Memories they Evoke

As kids, my brother and I walked to an area the fire department would flood every winter in a local park for ice skating. There is now a city swimming pool where the site was. We walked quite a way to get there, then put on our skates, and skated around until we were too tired and too cold, and then put our frozen boots back on, and trudged up the hill to our house. It was the best. Mom gave us hot chocolate and cookies. No one else was around, it was like having our own private rink. Sometimes on weekends, we would go to the local horse racing track/hockey rink and skate inside. That was always crowded and peoples skills ranged all the way from beginner to very good. I was learning how to turn and skate backwards. We became quite good. When he left home and went away to school for his freshman and half of his sophomore years, then I went there alone, rarely a girlfriend came along.

Eventually, I believe the rink closed, and they no longer flooded the park area. It was always a fun thing to do and great exercise. When I see ice skates, I think of skating as a kid. Great memory. I even have a figure skate with greenery and glitter instead of a Christmas wreath on the front door.

Looking to get some reading in before we leave to pick up our granddaughter Addison from school. Then off to meet friends for beverages and dinner at the VFW. Wednesdays are fun. Thank you for reading today, I’ll be here tomorrow, I hope you are, too.

Magnificent Monday!

The sun is shining despite some gale force winds and a flurry of snow this morning. I’m so glad I can stay in today, finishing my decorating (maybe) unless I start looking at storage boxes in our basement and rediscover fun stuff. I think Addison remembers a lot from years ago, but maybe not. Surprises are fun.

Talking about surprises, I moved a box of CD’s and saw this one on top. Playing it now. This was such a good one! So, with the help of Eric Clapton, I’m going to get a lot done today, providing the dogs are good and my achy, breaky body holds up.

Eric Clapton. One of the best.

A lot of this music is almost reverent. I believe it was Clapton’s tenth album solo, in 1986. The song, “Holy Mother,” just tears at my heart. A relative was in the throes of several addictions and this song always made me think of him trying to fight his demons. He struggled a very long time. He is over twenty-six years sober. He has a lot to be proud of, but he is modest about it. He has come so far, and I’m so proud of him.

Holy Mother

written by Clapton/Bishop

Holy Mother, where are you?

Tonight I feel broken in two.

I’ve seen the stars fall from the sky.

Holy Mother, can’t keep from crying.

O I need your help this time,

Get me through this lonely night.

Tell me please, which way to turn

To find myself again.

Holy Mother, hear my prayer,

Somehow, I know you’re still there.

Send me please some peace of mind

Take away this pain.

I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait any longer,

I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait for you.

Holy Mother, hear my cry,

I’ve cursed your name a thousand times.

I’ve felt the anger running through my soul;

All I need is a hand to hold.

Oh I feel the end is come,

No longer my legs will run,

You know I would rather be

In your arms tonight.

When my hands no longer play,

My voice is still, I fade away.

Holy Mother, then I’ll be

Lying in, safe within your arms.

This song helps me heal, it helps me accept things I don’t want to accept. I look at it as a prayer. What do you think?? Is that possible?? I believe it is. Here are a couple of links to YouTube, so you can listen to the song. The first is Clapton alone, the second is Clapton and Pavarotti. Like most good, beautiful music, it can be sung a variety of ways.

Love this guy. His guitar playing is stellar!
Same song, different setting.

Much of what we hear in the backgrounds of our lives can help make our mood. It may depend on the genre of music, some writers can only write while instruments play in their background. I can listen to rock and roll, complete with words, and it peps me up considerably. Jazz in the background makes me get through some really mundane tasks. I have not tried writing to it, but I think it will be the same experience. I can really sew to music. It’s amazing how the repetition helps you with the words, too.

Much of what I listen to, my kids listened to at home. On Sunday mornings, we had our own “Jazz Brunch” and listened to a local radio station who played Jazz from 9 am to NOON on Sundays. It was a great time, we read the paper, ate, talked, and cleaned up the kitchen. Good times!

Thank you for joining me today. If you are out, stay warm, and be kind. Your day will go much better. I hope to see you tomorrow!

This Too Shall Pass

It’s all going to be all OK. I know it is. Just have to get through the next two and a half weeks.

You know the feelings you have when you’ve been dealing with things out of the ordinary (say, medical/health issues)? It’s been a very long six weeks, and this tough exterior is starting to crack. Yes, as together as we all think we are, we’re but mere humans and we get worn out, worn down, and wobegon. Don’t you just love the word wobegon? It brings to mind hearing Garrison Keillor and his stories told, painstakingly slow, as only he can. They were worth waiting for every word. He can make me laugh. That’s what I’m in need of right now, laughter.

I get a tremendous kick out of reading things that make me laugh out loud. Babe (Dan) just looks at me, then I say, “You’ve just got to listen to this.” Then I proceed to read sometimes an entire page to him from what I’m reading. Sometimes he’ll laugh, sometimes not. He never says anything, he just listens. That’s the Babe, always listening. It is one of his finer qualities, for which I’m eternally grateful. He’s patient while I carry on.

I am also listening to Peanuts Greatest Hits, by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. This is on purpose, it’s some of the greatest Jazz there is. Jazz always lifts my spirits. And even more so with Snoopy on guitar, Schroeder on piano, and Pig Pen on bass.

In two and a half weeks, I’ll be hearing the Christmas tunes while I’m working on my novel. Last year, I didn’t put up a Christmas tree. Things weren’t going great and I just didn’t have any Christmas cheer. First time since I left home. It is way different when your kids are all gone, and no one wants anything but cash or gift cards. Sure, it’s easier, but nothing can make a person feel as good as picking out something with the gift receiver in mind. It is a good feeling. I miss the whole activity, shopping, wrapping, watching the person open the gift. Hopefully you get it right and they love it.

In the past, we have adopted kids through our church to shop for. Samaritan’s Purse had a very good program. When our granddaughter Addison went to Sunday School, we did that, and filled a red box for a little boy and a red box for a little girl. The photos and email’s about those children really make you think about how very fortunate we all really are.

Aside from Garrison Keillor, another humorous author I love to read is Bill Bryson. It all started with the movie, A Walk in the Woods. I read the book after seeing the movie, and the first half of the book, I laughed until I couldn’t stop. It was addicting. The Babe had a lot of passages read to him from that book. The second half of the book educated me about the National Parks and many things about these beautiful places I did not know. My family was all about learning from reading. I really appreciate that about that crazy bunch of people I grew up around. Always an adventure with them and a book.

The key to any reading experience at this point in time is time and quiet. With a puppy in the house, that’s about impossible. She explores a lot, and the doors to Babe’s office and my studio remain closed, as do the bathroom door, our bedroom door, and the laundry room door when I remember. Otherwise, the familiar search for Goldie, making sure she’s not squatting somewhere she shouldn’t, and saying, “What are you chewing on?” The Babe is doing great with taking care of her, it’s really lifting his spirits. That is so necessary for healing.

So for now, this is my circus and these are my monkeys, so to speak. It is a beautiful sunny day. I will find a stack of beautiful, happy music to hear while I write today, and all will be well, here at my little part of Lake Wobegon. It’s OK to visit there, but I don’t want to stay too long. That just isn’t me.