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!

Monday Habits

TRUTH!

We have all done this at one time or another. Some folks are geniuses at it. There may be perfectly valid reasons people do this. Often it’s a matter of conditioning. You may have learned it from childhood. I catch myself sometimes asking the Babe if he’s mad. He says, “No.” I need to stop that. Sometimes it flashes back at me from when I was a kid, if Mom got mad at you or someone else, she wouldn’t speak to you. It is pretty passive-aggressive, and we’d walk on egg shells the next time we’d be around whoever she was mad at. It took me a long time to learn you can be mad at someone and still have them in your life. You get over your anger and include them in your life again. Most of the time. I rarely saw people reconcile their differences. My parents never argued in front of us kids. Many didn’t. But you can rest assured, my kids and I always talked things out. So do the Babe and I. Most things don’t bother him at all. I’m glad. I’ve learned to be a lot more easygoing, too. Life is so good.

YES!!

I know we sometimes get off track when we try something new, be it a way of thinking or new habits for better living. There is always a happy medium, we just have to find it. The days I am out on errands of helping Mom are days it’s hard to readjust when I get home. All the great habits and good intentions in the world seem to be out the window. It’s time then to read a good book, research my characters, tighten up a story line, or just watch a mindless movie. It all helps clear my head. I cannot stop, I can only pause.

Mom just cracks me up sometimes. She said last night her TV quit working. It’s black. Nothing happens. Between her fear of using remote controls and her failing vision, it’s hard to tell what is going on. She has this idea, however, that only her sons know how to troubleshoot TV, Cable, and remote controls. I’ve told her many times I’m the tech geek in the family. I had to learn from the kids when they left home. I’m pretty good at it now. But you know, when you’re 90, you still don’t think girls know what boys do.

Using all my technical experience and education, I can assure you the problem is solved. She needed new batteries in the COX Cable remote. Worked like a charm then. She got the TV seven years ago, and this is the first time she’s had to change batteries. Wow. With all due respect, I wonder if she’ll outlast the new batteries? Time will tell.

We have to be patient with our elderly, after all, they taught us all the good and useful things we have retained. Until we had our own view of the world, we saw it through their glasses. Now we have our own visions, many learned the hard way. It’s still good you’re at the place you are now. All of that, whatever it is, made you who you are today.

Yes, they should have!

We’re picking up Addison later today, and going to late lunch. I finally understand why old people eat dinner at 4 p.m. You’re done for the day, won’t have indigestion from lying down and trying to sleep with a full stomach, plus the meal is cheaper. And we really aren’t that hungry anyway. Things always have a way of working out, don’t they? I appreciate you taking the time to read, it’s something I appreciate a lot. See you tomorrow, hopefully earlier. Then we’ll get more done, right? Enjoy!

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.

Marvelous Monday Morning

I’m actually starting this on Sunday just after posting my Sunday blog. Today (Monday) Mom starts her individual therapy for her back. I think she has eight sessions and we’re hoping she keeps using these mechanics and newly gained strength as she gets back out in her flower gardens this spring and summer. We talked to her doctor last fall (I spoke for my younger brothers and myself) about our seeing Mom as losing strength and tottering around, since her balance is impacted by her diminished vision and her hearing loss. Mom was not happy and felt picked on, but when I left, the doctor must have told her how lucky she was that we not only noticed her failing, but actually said something. Mom’s a very stubborn person and is hard to mention something that could be improved. And, as her ENT says, “All old people lie.” I like that statement, because they do! They all want to stay at home even when it becomes unsafe for them to do so. Many old folks turn the comment around, and point out things they don’t like that you do, and that makes it worse. At any rate, I hope she learns what she needs to so she can stay in her home for at least another year or so. Steps are dangerous at her age, and the bedrooms and bathroom are on the second story. Lots of opportunity for a disaster, especially adding in a cat who wanders all over the place. Yikes!

This is a special date for the Babe and me. On March 2, 1996, we met each other for our first date. The guy kept following me around and convincing me he wasn’t going anywhere. I folded like a cheap tent. Seriously, I did not have a great dating record. I picked people that weren’t right for me, and once I got over that, here comes this guy that tells the truth. He calls when he says he will. He wants to spend time with me. He thinks I’m wonderful. And I think he is. And he says, “I love you.” in the first week we’re together. I say, “Oh, no you don’t. You can’t. You won’t.” I just don’t want another disappointment. And here we are, married for 22 years this October. He’s not going anywhere. Neither am I. He’s my best friend and my greatest fan. I’m his, too. I told him it would be an honor to be his wife. It still is, Babe. So on this, our 24th anniversary of knowing each other, I say, “Thanks, Babe. For being who and what I always hoped for. I had been told it didn’t exist. But I found it in you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Love you.”

October 3, 1998 – we were 46 and 48, respectively. Babies! Photo courtesy of Janet Nichols.
Lucky us, to still have each other. This year, we’ll be 70 and 68, respectively. I’m his much younger wife.

The Babe is a man of his word. He vowed to turn my hair gray when we got married. Nearly twenty two years later, see what a good job he did! It’s been a wild ride, mostly due to health issues. Cancer (me), heart disease (him – over and over), a stroke (him), carotid artery surgery (him). From the beginning, we thought we’d be lucky if he lived twenty years – and he has beaten that number and we reap the benefits of it every day. We are grateful.

Enough mushy stuff, as my son Frankie would say. It’s pretty overcast this morning. We had a snow shower, but only in the back yard. There are piles of snowflakes there, but the front yard is bare. Go figure! This past weekend was Addison’s first Dance Competition, at the MAC in Council Bluffs. Waiting to hear how she did, but usually she’s high in the rankings. She has eight dances this year, so there are eight opportunities to shine.

It’s time to finish cutting out some fabric for my Poppy quilt. It’ll be good to have something new to hang on the freshly painted wall. Quilts will be my Art for the rest of the year. I want to concentrate on publishing my books, and quilting, not add any more to my plate. The Nebraska Writers Guild has created online training for Authors posting on social media. The concentration right now is on Pinterest. I need to make some time in the next couple months to learn this well, so it becomes second nature, kind of like Facebook is. So many pieces to create your marketing plan. It’s amazing.

Thank you so much for reading today, I appreciate it. I’ll be here tomorrow, I’d love to have you return. Have a beautiful Monday.

Special Sunday

Yesterday, after I wrote awhile and the Babe was finished with the Honor Guard after a veterans funeral, he called for me to meet him at Addy’s in Elkhorn for lunch. It was closer to 2 p.m. and we were starved! Usually on Saturday there is a tournament of some sort, soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc. and the parents take kids to Addy’s to eat. No problem. We love kids. All ages. That said, we also believe there is appropriate behavior expected in public places like restaurants from children who are eight years and up. You would expect them to sit at their table and talk, play video games, and you would expect their parents to enforce some sort of rules for when they are in public. Not so yesterday.

We just received our food and started to eat. These kids started running (yes, running) between the tables, over to the game machines, and weaving all around the tables. There was not much room, and there were people eating at many of the tables, ours being one of them. Nothing from the parents. They didn’t look up from their beverages or anything. OK. The kids then started yelling loud like they were in a game or on a playground. Ten boys and one girl. The little girl was probably seven or eight, one boy was probably two years old. The little girl was in charge of the little boy. All the other boys were at least ten years old or very close to it. Old enough to know better.

A boy yelled out “all the boys to the bathroom,” and all nine of them ran into the men’s room. The servers were trying to do their work, and were concerned the little girl went into the men’s room too. She didn’t. The baby did, though. All nine boys ran back out and to the machine that mimics deer hunting. They picked up the rifles and turned around with them, pretending to shoot the crowd. Yes. I am not anti-gun. I am for teaching children the proper way to handle firearms when they are old enough. Did a parent correct anyone? No. Even when my little brothers played cops & robbers or cowboys, our parents always told us never point a gun, a toy gun, a nerf gun, at anyone. Period!

Cue all eleven kids now, and they ran up to the digital jukebox, and five of them pounded on it with their fists. Any correction? No. They kept doing that until they all decided to run around all the tables again. All in different directions. By then the Babe went to the restroom. While I was looking at my phone, a boy approached the chair the Babe left out a little bit, put his foot on the seat, and jumped over, landing right next to me. All I could say was, “What in the hell?” Another diner looked at me and shook his head. By then, the waitstaff were all watching these kids, waiting for a reprimand. Was there one? No, not at all.

I’m always ready to give someone the benefit of the doubt. Especially kids. But these kids were so out of line in so very may aspects of their bad behavior it isn’t even funny. I know kids have excess energy. The place to expel it is not in a restaurant. I know kids get excited and forget sometimes. Again, the place to forget is not in a restaurant. Most kids know the difference between appropriate behavior and inappropriate behavior by the time they are eight or nine. We had to know the difference much younger. Like about four or five. They appeared to have no control over anything. Their parents certainly didn’t. I would hate to have these kids in a classroom. Or try to coach them. I hope they learn very soon how to control themselves. There could be consequences. I hope there would be some from the parents. Letting them run wild is never appropriate. If you child is autistic, ADD or ADHD, they can still learn to exhibit appropriate behavior. Someone has to be the grown up and let them know what they’re doing isn’t right. And please, parents, do it soon. You may end up with a real problem child on your hands before you know it. Boundaries. Set them. Enforce them. You will be sorry if you don’t. I have seen it happen before.

I know, I know. Get off the Babe’s lawn, too. Other diners should not have had to put up with this while they were out paying for a meal, even at a sports bar. The End.

I do. I’m writing this book, you see . . .

What will March bring for us? I hope reasonable moisture. Not a driving, torrential rain, but nice showers. That don’t make too much mud in the yard, so that the dogs track it in everywhere. It would be most appreciated. March is a special month for our family. On the 3rd is my youngest brother’s birthday. On the 14th is our beautiful granddaughter Kayla’s birthday. She will be two. How the time flies! Hope we get to see her soon, it’s been awhile. Her parents don’t allow photos on FB or in my blog, otherwise I’d post a pic of her. She’s so sweet. On the 19th is both our daughter in law’s birthday (in Maryland) AND our son in law’s birthday (in Colorado). Lots of celebrating and happiness all around.

Spring training is ongoing in MLB. The Cubs have put Kris Bryant in as lead off batter; a slight promotion in the ranks, he was the second batter before. Have fun watching your favorite teams. My very favorite is our grandson Gavin’s. He is playing in a higher age group, more appropriate for his skillset. He will have to pay attention to keep up, and that’s a good thing. He was surrounded by kids before that played in the dirt, goofed off, and naturally he would do the same thing. It’s going to be fun to see how he does. And his Daddy is helping coach. I’ve looked forward to watching him, too. He was a heckuva player. I didn’t know him during high school, so I missed out on watching him.

As I get ready to work on another chapter or two today, make sure your get outside and enjoy the nice day. In March you never know when it’ll be bad so enjoy the good days. Blizzards happen now and in April but they melt quickly. Thank you for reading, comment and like if you will, please. I appreciate your support and will see you again tomorrow. I’ll sure be here.

Superb Saturday & #180!

Happy Saturday, friends, family, and followers! It’s nice enough at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska to have the windows open a little. Of course, this morning the furnace is still kicking on, but it won’t be soon as it warms up. I’m fortunate, the writing staff is napping and the Babe has gone to the VFW Post 2503 for some office work and to help the Honor Guard pay last respects to a veteran who is being buried today. I’m so proud of his participation in this ritual. I sat next to my mother and heard the words said upon presenting the flag, and it has made me tear up every time I hear them. The nation is indeed grateful to each and every veteran who served with honor. I am too. Thank you all for what you all continue to do for this great nation.

Awhile back, I downloaded a free sample of the software Pro Writing Aid. I must say, I do like it a lot, and have used it on my book before the re-write after my first edit. My editor Sam cautioned me to make sure suggested changes make sense before accepting them. That is a good point and I’m glad she told me that. I would have double checked anyway, heck, being a retired software coder, I know they are only as good as the coder who wrote them. I freely admitted when I made some colossal goofs when writing code and pre-testing it. “Sometimes, I even amaze myself” was what I’d laugh and say when catching errors I made. It always only did what I told it to do. Admitting mistakes. That gets you far in life and work, too. Just don’t keep on repeating the same ones.

Anyone who has ever been burned by autocorrect can attest to the weird stuff that shows up since autocorrect and spellcheck really don’t know what they’re doing. Again, limitations enforced by the coder. Grammar mistakes are king, aren’t they? We need to be patient and proofread what we write. Memos, e-mails, letters, books, and texts take on a way different meaning when words are substituted without our knowledge or checking. Protect yourself, take the time to read.

That said, because we’re all human and no one is perfect, cut each other some slack. At times when someone posts a lot of grammatical errors in a Facebook Post, it only bothers me when the one who makes all these errors claims to be smarter than everyone else. Haughtiness doesn’t get you anywhere when you’re making a statement like that.

I’m having a good time during my re-write. I’m in Chapter 10 right now. Nearly halfway. At this rate, I may be able to get it back to my editor by the end of March. This year! Yay! I’ll keep you posted for sure. I’m a sucker for accessories. Fashion accessories, computer accessories, and now, writing accessories, commonly known as references. Here’s a book I’ve enjoyed perusing.

Tired of “nod” and “sigh”? Me, too.

This amazing little 88 page book has chapter divisions by body part. Eyes, Noses, Mouths, all body parts, except for the genitalia. Had to say it, you know you were wondering. The gist of this 1,000 Character Reactions from Head to Toe is that my characters need to do more than sigh, said, heard, and stand still. They can take a long drag from a cigar, parrot back, hear as if everything was under water, and sashaying away from someone. Don’t get too crazy with these words, though. Jerry Jenkins, who wrote the “Left Behind” series and who is a successful author, says to quit with too many descriptive words for “said.” It may be appropriate in some genres and not others. I’ll have to let you know about that theory, too.

BTW, this is our 180th published blog since last July 5, 2019. In the beginning, I didn’t write every day, but I do now it at all possible. I’m sad it took our dog Roxie being run over by a car to make me start writing every day. You never know what will strike your heart and be a story you want to share. It helped us with our grief, too. If you would like to read that first blog, here is a link for you to read. Bring Kleenex. She was a charmer.

I would absolutely love for you to continue this journey with me, right along to when we reach the 360th blog post and beyond to buying a book once we publish them. In the meantime, thank you for reading today, I’ll be here tomorrow, as I hope you are. Go out and have a beautiful Saturday.