Wednesday & Thursday

The overcase skies yesterday resembled what I would call “snow skies.” It feels dampish, dark, and looks like a snowstorm will happen later. In some ways, I hope it does. I’d love to have to stay home tomorrow. Yesterday was Hamburger Night at the VFW, and our usual gathering time with our friends. Simple enough, yet rich with memories. Good memories of good friends.

It has occurred to me lately how many friends we have lost. I have a number of them from my cell phone contacts and Facebook friends. Many more lie in the pages of my address book. It’s amazing how you just no longer have that person or those people in your life. Friends and family, then a memory. It’s all the more reason to be kind. You never know how long you’ll have these people in your life so make the most of it.

Once the Babe and I do our household tasks, it’s so freeing to decide what we’d like to spend time on the rest of the day. After doing this blog, I think I’ll read more of Margaret Lukas’ River People. It’s about life in Nebraska in the 1890s and are a glimpse into what women endured in that era. Anyone who lived through the hardships the prarie presented to them had a story, that is for sure. We are so fortunate to live in a time of equality. Yes, we still have some wrongs to right, but we are not where we were in the 1890s.

Have you ever watched REELZ channel on Direct TV? They have real life autopsies on celebrities which are kind of interesting. They also have a series called, “I Lived with a Killer.” Today the story is about a mob killer and it’s amazing how deep down evil those guys are. The wife and one daughter of this guy plot to put drugs and poison in his meatloaf to kill him. What a very tangled and messed up life the families had. Psychological abuse is one of the very worst things to inflict upon another person and this man was a master at it.

Evil has existed since the dawn of time. It is an inevitable thing in the world. So many people who couldn’t overcome a bad environment, or who just fell in with the wrong people are victims of themselves often. I find it sad, although many kids come from a terrible environment and somewhere, someone inspires them to break a cycle. Breaking out a cycle of family dysfunction is extremely difficult. Often your family or origin doesn’t see the dysfunction. You may be accused of thinking you’re better than they are. That isn’t the case, you simply want something different for your life. Settling isn’t what you want to do. It is no reflection on them, it’s just not in you to go along to get along.

The dysfunction doesn’t need to be evil. Any change or attempt to improve will boggle the minds of some in your family. Just expect it. If it doesn’t happen, you are fortunate. The dysfunction could be domestic violence. It could be alcoholism. It could be opiod abuse. I am from a family that has many alcoholics on both sides. I don’t think it was uncommon for men returning from WWII and Korea to drink. To drink too much. At that time in our history, men were expected to be “manly.” To not show tenderness, weakness, upset, and not to question what they did during the war. They were soldiers, and they were following orders. My own dad was in the medic corp. He was out running around on the battlefield with another guy and a stretcher to retrieve the wounded. He saw many, many horrors of war. He wasn’t even twenty years old. He returned home for six years, and was called up to do the same thing in Korea. Patching up the wounded, hoping they’d make it home. He did drink when he returned home, but not excessively once he married Mom. They probably couldn’t afford it.

The bad memories didn’t go away, they became part of his normal life. An aunt asked him what the Concentration Camps were like. He said, “I’m not going to talk about it, but here’s a book to read. This will tell you better than I can.” He was awesome taking care of my kids when they were sick and I had to work. He recorded temps, times of medications, etc. It was great. Somehow, he learned to live with his thoughts. Never a teetotaler. He just relaxed if he drank, and was very funny. I’m lucky I didn’t grow up in a home where violence lived.

And by now, it’s Thursday, late morning. I’m working on this blog, then more editing and writing on my book. I’m so glad to have a day at home to try and catch up. We still have some rearranging after the painters finished, and I’m glad that big job is done. It is quite cold outside now, five above zero, and the feels like is -9. Sunny and clear, but wow, It’s cold.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. We returned home a little too late for me to post yesterday, so sorry about that. I’m working on editing again today. It is coming along. We become impatient sometimes while waiting for the process to take care of itself, and yet, here we are, busy everywhere and not having the time to finish a thought. It will even out when Mom’s finished with therapy at the end of April, I’m hoping. I will return tomorrow, this time I’m certain.

Another Sunday in the Suburbs

It’s almost noon in Gretna, NE. We’ve had a full morning, and are getting ready for the crew we hired to come paint tomorrow. When we first moved in three years ago, the Babe painted the living room, kitchen, two small bedrooms we use for studio/office space, and our bathroom. ReBath made a tiny ugly shower into a beautiful thing. It’s all handicap ready for when the time comes, if it does. The lady that built the house had it constructed that way. Mostly all door handles instead of doorknobs. Wonderful for us arthritics! The one door with a knob is leading to the deck, and I struggle with it. But it’s a good test of what you’ve got or not.

So builders grade paint is nothing but a dirt magnet. We had the kitchen and living room share a color called “Mimosa” on a couple walls. The others are neutral. My studio/office is my favorite color – Yellow. It’s happy, bright, and makes me think of sunshine. The Babe’s office is a smoky purple, grey in nature. We brought the paint from the old house, didn’t get the guest room painted before we sold, and we liked the color. The guest level is professionally finished by Thrasher, I believe. It’s nice. The colors are very neutral and clean.

Our colors are getting a bit crazy, but who cares? We’ll have a Caribbean Blue bedroom, with a darker accent wall. The laundry room will be neutral, one accent wall grey in the living room, and the extra bathroom will be a delightful Grape color. It should be fun, and I’ll be glad when we get the carpets cleaned. We’ll be ready for spring. And for the puppy to be spayed. She’ll be six months old on Valentine’s Day. What a gift! A brown eyed yellow lab! Love her to pieces.

Character cards. Opening scene card.

Thanks to Sam, my wonderful editor, I have moved the whole story around. The family home is the scene, and Katie is my main character. An only girl in a family of boys. Seven of them! Wow, I can relate, but I only have three brothers. Some days, that was way too many. She is the dependable one, and most of the brothers are afflicted by the disease of the family – alcoholism. It’s not just a matter of drinking too much. It’s a mindset of excesses, blame, secrets, lies, and abusive behavior. Katie has broken free from the curse. She recounts how lonely that has been, but is glad she learned these lessons, and had a sixth sense about the whole lifestyle. Nothing was ever made better by having a beer/glass of wine/shot/highball or whatever. Nothing was ever made better by “needing” a drink. Society has fed the dragon, and only now can Katie see how she has been blessed.

This family is a conglomoration of many I have known, observed, and read about through the years. People end up in some terrible situations because of their vices. I know I have. I have made my worst relationship mistakes because I was lonely. That is the God’s honest truth. Parts of Katie are me, other parts are not. For the record, I consume alcohol. It has never controlled my life. I don’t need it. I won’t drink if I’m upset, need to make a coherent decision, have someone depending on me. I can have fun and not get in “fights” if I drink. All in all, not a big deal.

As I forward to my manuscript, wish me luck, creative thoughts, excellent spelling, perfect words, and good concentration. It’s just a matter of getting it done. And you’ll be the second to know when I do. I really appreciate your reading, your support, and you always come back to see what will happen next. I do too, because I don’t know either! See you tomorrow.

Sunny Saturday

When you live in the midwest, anytime the temperature is above twenty, it’s not windy, and the sun is out, it’s like a fine summer day upon us. People are nice to each other, the stores are a little less crowded, the grocery stores are pretty much sold down in inventory. Maybe they are planning cook outs? I’m not sure, but the shelves were oddly vacant today.

We just don’t eat at home a lot, so our “grocery list” is probably like a snack supply trip. Bagels and peanut butter for breakfast, with a yogurt, coffee, and we usually eat a late lunch/dinner out. The rest is lettuce for salad, cottage cheese for me, apples, carrots, and crackers and cheese for a snack. I used to fully stock the refrigerator for dinner every night, but we just ended up throwing so much away, it was not good. I think if you eat a balanced diet, the rest will take care of itself. We both could lose several pounds, so I don’t think we’re in danger of malnutrition. I’m just not that hungry anymore. For anything. It might be an aging thing??

I’d rather have lighter fare than restaurant luncheon items. Burger and fries? Maybe once a week, no more often. Tacos? Maybe once a week. I would eat a small steak and salad, or pork chops and a potato. Baked potatoes are great, especially loaded. I like sweet potatoes baked with a dash of sugar and cinnanom. delicious. I’ve never seen the thing about smoothies. To me, it’s just mushing everything up, and sometimes there is so much sugar added. I like the purity of raw fruits and like to eat them as such. Veggies the same way. The closest to natural the better.

We have a birthday in the family on Monday. Addison will be thirteen. She was born on her Grandma Sandy’s birthday, which was really cool when it happened. Sandy lost a hard battle to lung cancer ten years ago. It was such a sad thing and we all think of her often. Sometimes I wonder what she would think of these wonderful grandkids of hers. I know she would love them to pieces. All three of them. All we can do is love the kids and tell them about their other Grandma. As long as we keep her alive in our conversations, she will live on.

It hasn’t been a good day for writing. When I start out late, it seems I cannot get things on paper. Tomorrow will be another day. I’m just going to review my printed pages and figure out where to tell stories about my additional characters. It should work. Instead of my main character just thinking the story, I’m going to have the characters talk the story. Descriptions, narrative, and lots of colorful characters should do it.

I thank you for reading today. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope to see you, too.

Finitely Friday

There are only twenty-four hours in this highly touted day of the week. When you are working for a living, you cannot wait for it to arrive. What do you do once it’s there? Maybe we put too much into this one day a week, why should all it’s siblings have a lesser fan club? Especially Monday. What happens when you are retired? You have six Saturdays and a Sunday. Those days are not that different, one from another, and it is difficult for new retirees to keep track of what day it is.

When I was moved into early “retirement” in 2000 due to my health, I was kind of a mess. I was only forty-eight years old and was a newleywed. It just didn’t seem like something I should be doing. It was hard. My body let me down and I was a bit angry about that fact. As one of my brothers’ said, “That’s what you get for taking care of yourself.” Well, maybe.

I have since recovered from the overwhelming feeling to explain my early departure from the working world. When I told my doctor I couldn’t do it anymore, he said, “I’m surprised you made it this long.” What? And the rub is it’s one of those things a person cannot identify on sight. That may be what made it so hard. That and my age. And the fact after keeping it together through being a single mom, college student, friend, sister, you name it, that it finally was my turn. Bitterness could have easily taken over.

I met the Babe right after that horrible illness, and he was more than ok with me having a hidden illness. His mother battled MS for most of her adult life and he was well aware of people who lost their health. From watching his interactions with her over the years, I came to know what type of compassionate caregiver he is. And he is. Like most men, he’s a better caregiver than patient, but that’s another story. Initially I felt I kept him from doing things, but he said no, he’d rather be hanging out with me. And it turns out we’re perfect for each other. Sure, we get frustrated. We’re human. But in the long run, neither of us will give up or quit on the other. And that’s a quality I”m glad we both have.

Each day we have is the same twenty-four hour period on the clock, calendar, and moment in time. I had a boss who would take Monday off instead of Friday for a long weekend. His thinking was everyone takes Friday, Monday can be less crowded and just as special. Just a little change in thought, and powerful things can happen. Try it. You might like it. It could change the way you view your world, life, and creativity.

In the creative realm, for those who create things from other materials, you need to strike while the iron is hot. While the ideas are flowing, get them down, cut the fabrics, paint the pictures, write the words. And then coax them to become their best. I cannot say, “Friday is not a good day for creating, come back Monday,” because the idea most likely will be lost forever. Write down a note to spark the memory when you are able to capture the idea more fully. After a while, it won’t matter where or when you get those ideas. You will be able to make a note then coax it back into a more full statement. Practice. We all have enough time for that.

Don’t wish your life away. Make the most of each twenty-four hour trip around the sun. Give thanks for each day no matter how bad it can be. Tomorrow could be worse, but chances are, it won’t be. Some days the best thing you can say about it is, “It’s over now.” Do-overs. How lucky we are to have one every day. We may look back and decide these days weren’t so bad after all. All the Thursdays, Tuesdays, and Sunday nights have the capacity to be awesome. Just like we do. Every day people. Doing extraordinary things. Every day of the week.

Thank you for reading today. I’m grateful you did. I’ll be back tomorrow, and hope you will be, too. See you then. I’m off to work on my second chapter in the novel re-write. Go figure!

Thankful Thursday

My writing staff and I are having a meeting of the minds this morning. Goldie (front) and Lexie (back) got the Babe up at 4 a.m. again. He was kind and let me sleep until 8 a.m. What a great guy. Typically he wakes up earlier than I do, but also goes to sleep much earlier too. It all evens out, I suppose. While the Babe is off again on VFW business, I’m here, creating with the animals.

My creative staff and I are meeting this morning.

Goldie is six months old already, and nearly the size of Lexie. Being a purebreed, she has more outstanding features than a pound puppy, but that doesn’t mean she’s superior. No, not at all. You can tell the difference, however. She is a very smart dog, and needs stimulation. They all do. Kind of like people, really. All ages of living beings need outward stimulation for a balanced life.

Last night at the VFW, we had a reunion of sorts. A good friend moved away a couple years ago after losing his wife, and came to visit for the first time since then. Although we’ve kept in touch via Facebook and texting, this was the first time we had seen him. It was a beautiful reunion. I am so overwhelmed by the men of the Post and the hugs, slaps on the back, the closely held conversations of a few words that say so much, and the checking to make sure they have current phone numbers to contact later on. This is what a band of brothers is. Each of them welcomed him with open arms. They truly love and care for each other. You have to when you depended on each other for your lives. Camaraderie is a beautiful thing to be a part of. If you can witness it as I did last night, you are truly lucky. This is why our Armed Services helps make this the greatest nation in the world. These everyday men from all walks of life, came together as youngsters to do a job they were called upon to do. They did. They are all better for having performed their duties.

Some guys made the service a career, some did not. They all remember their duty, although don’t talk about it a lot, if at all. It’s better kept in their hearts. They show such kindness towards the older guys, and it is returned a hundred fold. Yes, there are disagreements. Yes, there are differences of opinions. There is one thing that holds them tightly together. America and their love for it. Money could never buy this if it were a commodity. You can measure it, however, since all have taken an oath to serve to the death. And they still would if asked. It’s an honor to know them and call them my friends.

I’m glad to have from today until next Tuesday morning to myself (and the Babe), to regroup and plan how the next couple weeks will go. Mom needs some additional therapy for her back, and I’m all for that, so it will be more appointments twice a week. They add up, but should help build her up to have a more enjoyable time in her flower gardens this spring and summer. Right now, the plan is to rejoin the balance and strength training in September through next winter to keep her as strong as possible. Every older person needs extra conditioning to keep living a good independent life.

This is a sunny, bright, beautiful day today. It is cold, we know it’s still winter, and it won’t last too much longer. It’s a great day to create something. I’m going to try my hand at some more water coloring for the 30 Day Art Challenge. I also need to cut more fabric squares for my Snowfall quilt. And I need to write more on the novel. The words have been coming out at a good pace the last several days, so I need to capitalize on that. Thank you for reading today. I will be here again tomorrow, and hope to see you then!

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!

Super Monday Stuff

Good evening! Again, the day got away from me. It was a busy one, with another doctor visit with Mom. She wanted IHOP after that. She’s delighted they added individual Hazelnut Flavor Coffee Mates. We also hit the Half Off Book Store to look for used books. She found a whole basket full, so I hope her LED lights help her read to pass time. She really wears out quickly. I guess when you’re 90, it goes with the territory.

My brother took her last Christmas tree down yesterday, and put it all away. She told me I have to forbid her to buy any more ornaments next year. I laughed and asked, “Have you MET yourself??” She laughed, too. Makes me wonder how she’ll be next year, if she’s even still here with us. Can’t look too far ahead, just enjoy today.

I found some fun self taught Calligraphy, Watercolor, and Lettering kits today. Although they’re for kids, I thought what I really wanted was a little instruction and basic tools to practice and play with. I think they’ll all work well enough for that. I hope to try them later tonight or tomorrow early afternoon. It’s house cleaning day. I’m so grateful to have people who come clean our home for a reasonable price and do a great job. They’re trustworthy and are hard working. We found them when we had a professional cleaning before selling our other house. It was a great job, and the Babe decided I should get to keep them. It helps me so much with my messed up back to be able to delegate this big task.

I can be a young artist, can’t I??

After an absolutely beautiful day yesterday, it’s about thirty degrees cooler today. It is still winter, after all. Whatever snow falls from not until April 15 tends to not be here so long. When it does begin to thaw, I pray the rivers and creeks stay within their banks, we have people who are still homless after the floods of 2019. Those folks who did recover should not have to bear that duress again. It’s too much on a human heart to handle. Prayers for all of them.

I saw this cartoon last week and just thought how funny it way. I remember getting immersed in certain parts of learning history and science. I loved the study of Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Rome. And science, I loved astronomy. Learning about the solar system, it was so cool. And as kids, the race in space was paramount in out lives. Catholic nuns said we had to beat the Russians so they couldn’t send missles to destroy us from up there. As if Cuba wasn’t close enough! Thank goodness we all lived to talk about it all.

This is how some kids are about their learning.

Do you ever eat a type of food that really reminds you of someone or something from a long time ago? Today, being at IHOP, we had pancakes. When we were kids, my mom’s father would stop and have lunch with us on Friday. Since Catholics abstained from meat then, we would have meatless meals all day. Mom made pancakes for lunch with Grandpa. Every Friday, and we did that for a long time. When I was twelve, he had a massive heart attack and died on Christmas Eve. It was horrible. I remember the phone calls, the upset, the sadness. And after that I didn’t like pancakes anymore for a very long time. They are wonderful, but I just couldn’t eat them. Grief does strange things to us that we sometimes don’t understand. It took a long time, but I can finally enjoy the delicious, fluffy gifts from the kitchen.

I want to thank you for reading again today. I’m excited we’re gathering more readers, followers, and would love to have you share my blog with your friends who may be interested. I’ll return tomorrow, and share the works of art we create with all the fun stuff I acquired today. See you then!