Thriving Thursday

I swear, this formatting page area for WordPress has changed in the time we’ve been using it. Did you know I’ve posted over 200 Blog Posts?? I’m pretty excited about that. I’m even more excited to be picking up more readers, and folks that like the blog. Some are fellow bloggers, some are selling their services, some are spammy ones, but hey, we can pick and choose, you know? I love that we’re going somewhere with this.

In your social distancing, have you completed your 2020 Census yet? I haven’t. It’s on the list. And so is Mom’s. I have to laugh with her. The first notice comes and tells you to log in blah, blah, blah. She will tell you in no uncertain terms that she does not have internet, computer, cell phone, and furthermore does not wish to be bothered with one! SO THERE! I told her I’d do it online for her. “No, I’ll mail it in.” OK Mom, do it your way. A week later, “Have you done your census yet?” “No, I’m doing it online, so I’ll get it done.” She said, “Why don’t they let us fill them out like we used to.” I’m not even going into it yet. I was sent home with both of her notices to complete it online. In the last two times I took her to therapy she asked, “Did you do my census yet?” “No.” I’m doing it this afternoon, in case she asks you.

One thing we were told that must be done online is renew your license plates for your vehicles. We did. It’s kind of crummy you have to pay an online fee to a third party, the state does not get directly paid by YOU. The third party pays them the correct amount, but it’s about a twelve dollar plus fee on each renewal. We had an extra $25 charged. WHAT? That’s pretty crummy. They force you to go online, then they force you to pay extra. That stinks. What about people who can’t afford that? It’s something they should probably refund under these circumstances.

So many teachers locally are doing parades through neighborhoods their students live in. I think it’s such a neat idea, the kids are lost without their daily school routine and their dear teachers, and the everyday stuff of school. Some kids may say they hate school and like being off, but I’ll be at least they miss their friends. The news stories are cute, some families made poster board signs and had balloons.

If you take your toddler to the park, do not use the playground equipment. I am surprised it would even be a question someone would ask, but I suppose they are being thorough. If you have little ones, I can see how you wouldn’t have been able to see the stories. There is so much to this virus and all that goes with it, I really believe there is no way we can be back to business by April 12, 2020. Maybe May 12, but definitely not April.

Without the wonderful invention of the Internet, what would we be doing at this point? I’d get more done on my book, maybe. Probably get more accomplished on my other hobbies, but who knows? Rush hour video of one of our most busy and dangerous intersections looks like early Sunday morning. I was talking to someone today and told them I just feel so weird driving. Things just feel off kilter and I don’t know why. She said she feels the same way. It amazes me how something we cannot see can impact our lives so greatly. It’s making us afraid, angry, and full of angst. Whatever it is, we just can’t seem to put our finger on exactly what it is, but it’s there.

If you can at all, please support your local restaurants. Not the national chains, the locals who are needing your support right now. I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of tired of even thinking what to make for two or three meals a day. It’d be easier if the Babe wasn’t kind of “picky”. He dislikes fish and isn’t fond of chicken. I could live on the stuff he dislikes. One thing we do agree on is dessert! Ha! tonight, it’s going to be a brownie sundae. Why not? Kind of takes the edge off.

I’ve started a bag of things to give to homeless female veterans when the centers open up again. I decided to stop keeping several pairs of jeans, pants, and other clothing that just doesn’t fit anymore. It’s time to accept the reality. Losing that much weight is highly unlikely at this point in life. I would say twenty five pounds of it is from cancer medication. Glad I’m alive, just wish it was like it used to be. Not complaining, it is what it is.

Thanks for reading today. I appreciate it so much, and hope you’ll return tomorrow. I’ll be here!

Sanguine Saturday

Good day, folks! I hope you’re having a decent day. If it isn’t yet, try and make it one. Remember last week when I posted the blinking overhead lights in my studio? We replaced one bulb that was definitely burned out, all three worked, and now, one is blinking again. I suppose once Congress entered into our light bulb stash, it was all over. I’ve had more allegedly “longer life” bulbs die than the old ones. What’s up with that?

Kind of like about twenty years ago when they decided toilets had to conserve water. Good Lord, they legislated the power out for the people to flush their toilets with enough water power to get the sewage out to the curb. Now, in the words of a plumber who once did service for a family member, “There isn’t enough force behind these new ones to get rid of an adult bowel movement. So flush it twice. It’s the only way around it.” Although this may be controversial and uses the same amount of water as the old tanks, it is the only solution to the problem. Perhaps those we elect do not have the right amount of “street smarts” or ability to relate to the common person.

Just try me!

I just love this t-shirt that arrived yesterday. A girl needs some good writing fashion, doesn’t she? Do you want to be a good guy or a bad guy? Or girl?? We can make that happen. Remember, that’s where we get ideas to build character. I’d hate to inflict my imaginary friends on all of my unsuspecting readers. Or should I?

The father of an old friend passed away yesterday. My best friend from elementary school, Peggy, lost her dad. He was into his 90’s. I believe. He was a nice man, loved his family, and his wife. They have each had health issues for the past ten years or so. I’m glad she had her dad this long, and I pray her mom is OK at this awful time. It will be hard on her mom for sure. All of their six kids will have a different kind of grief to deal with, no two people ever grieve the same. I hope God is good to the family.

Yesterday on Facebook, I reposted something my nephew posted about PTSD, depression, etc. It said I’ll know who I can talk to. Today, a dear lady sent me info on a mental health conference in town that she attended. Wasn’t that thoughtful? Someday it could be me, and it’s nice to know there are people who will reach out. You know who you are, and I thank you!

“The truth shall set you free but first it will make you miserable.” (Garfield)

Truth is wonderful. Sometimes though, knowing the truth and what you should do to change a bad habit, for instance, are at opposite ends of the spectrum. You know you need to lose forth pounds but consume all sorts of junk food when you are nervous. You know you drink too much, but after the first beer, it’s all downhill from there. You claim, “I can quit anytime I want.” Sure you can. But do you want to?? Most likely not. And you know your seventh grader is addicted to games. He misbehaves so badly when he can’t have them, it’s just too hard for you to enforce the rules. He knows it, honey, he knows it. You need to be the strong parent.

No change is easy at all. Learning new behavior even when you know it’s for the best is not easy. It’s so easy to let it go on and on and on. Until you can’t. Then the road back could be a transcontinental plane ride instead of a walk down the road to recovery. Think about a habit you’d be better off without. It could be picking up after yourself. Don’t make someone else do it. It could be walk everyday. Don’t sit on the couch and veg out. It could be write your novel, draw your art, sew your quilts. Don’t wish your time away, wishing you had more of it. Lose one bad habit that keeps you from doing something you need to do. Like riding an exercise bike. I’m getting mine out of the storage room this weekend. More on that later.

Thank you again for reading. I’m off to write some more, then go get my sinus infection Rx. Might as well go have lunch in the meantime. Union Pizza, here we come! Have a beautiful day and I’ll be here tomorrow. Hope to see you again then.

Thankful Thursday

Don’t need to get Mom anywhere for a few days, so we’re plotting how productive we’re going to be later. I still have some Christmas items to pack away. They’re downstairs littering the storage area. The 1300 lights still need to be detangled and secured. The two beaded garlands need to be unknotted and secured. A few ornaments still belong in their storage containers. It’s just a matter of starting, and I’m sure I’ll finish in maybe an hour. Except for the lights. That could be lengthy. Putting those things in their place will declutter our storage area and lead to getting the patio and deck furniture out for the weekend when it will be great outdoor weather. Rewards make tasks like that go much easier.

My handy daily reminders on how to behave and help others while helping myself

I mentioned this book awhile ago when writing about three places I look for inspiration to write. This one helps me remember how to be a good citizen and help others while providing opportunities for growth. Growth for myself and others. They go hand in hand sometimes. For example, today, March 5 speaks to not having a voice.

People who meet me today have no clue I had no voice about my own life until I took charge of making my voice heard. Growing up, my parents voice was the only one that could be heard in the home. Since I got married after high school graduation, there was no opportunity to speak up while I was still at home. My dad could have a conversation that was an exchange with me, but Mom could not. At times we still use the weather and whatever she talks about as topics for the time we’re together. I tend to shut down while she pontificates about a lot of things. Yes, it’s an unhealthy pattern from life. She can’t see a need to change now, and I’m keeping quiet to pick a better battle. She has always been this way, and will stay this way. I have come to forgive her and leave her quirks in her house, not mine. It’s saved me a lot of frustration. It’s just not worth trying to resolve at this point in her life.

This daily discussion piece tells of not having power or choice without a voice. It’s true. Children often have no voice. In a baby boomer world, you were seen and not heard. Currently, children are often allowed the same voice as an adult. I think you can only have an adult voice when your experiences and level of learning are equal to an adult. No five year old should be allowed to choose where to eat, what time to go to bed, what time to get up, etc. They can, however, learn to make those choices for when they’re older.

In highly dysfunctional homes, homes with high levels of drug addiction, alcohol abuse, and violence, the children have no choice in what happens to them. It is a devastating result all the time. They know no better. They need to learn an alternative exists and how to achieve it for them. I must stress here, there was no violence in our home. My dad was a perfect gentleman to my mom. My mom was the alcoholic as I’ve revealed before. My younger brothers, like most kids in the 70’s, experimented with whatever their friends were doing. No longer. Thank God!

Society told me I needed to rely first on parents, then husband #1 to provide for me, protect me, and yes, even think for me. I was a latecomer to the whole equality issue. Yes, I was a very late bloomer. When I filed to divorce at 29 was when I found my voice. Maybe I went a little crazy with it, but eventually, I loved speaking up and out about what was best for my life. What was best for my kids’ lives while they were young and lived with me. And I made sure they learned their voices by teaching them respect of others’ opinions, decisions, and life choices. I think they had massive doses of reality before they set out on their own.

Compared to the wallflower I used to be, I enjoy speaking up. One thing I have noticed is if I get a bad vibe from someone, chances are they are a manipulator and either alcoholic or drug abuser. I don’t want to stop being a caring person who helps others. I want to be a caring person who helps others without being taken advantage of. I’m learning how to use my voice loud and clear. I know who I have to stay away from. I know when to leave. I know who to avoid. I’ve learned the hard way in some instances.

I am grateful for the miracle of growing and finding my voice. It’s not my mom’s, or my dad’s, my husband’s or my children’s. It’s mine. And God gave it back to me, ready to use at my discretion. I tell you about this voice because it’s in my book. Katie is the main character who needs to find and use her voice. She recalls the family dynamic, the lessons that taught her she had a voice, and even lets it roar when it needs to. It’s a journey many women take in their lives. You can too, male or female. Young or old. Gay or straight. Use your voice to make your own best life. I hope to see you again tomorrow. Thank you for reading today.

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.