Tactical Tuesday

Good Morning to you from the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Tuesday’s are the rare day the Babe is home and not working at the Post. So, of course, we need to do errands today, like most folks do on Saturday. The trick is, it’s not crowded. And we get done in record time, and still get to have lunch before picking up Addison from school. Yes, her Cross Country season is over. She did well for a first timer. Now it’s back to whatever normal used to be for us, before school was called.

My Yesterday and Today “Ugly Christmas Sweater” Merch.

I had to show you the whole photo of the entire piece of art hanging in my studio/office entrance. I had to buy this when I saw it, and every time I enter the room, I can hear my dad tell me, “Just keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll get there.” He told me that when he was dying of cancer. I had just told him the only regret I had was I hadn’t graduated from college. At that time, I had a couple associate degrees and certificates.

He died in 1988, and in Summer, 1995, I finished my Bachelor’s Degree, Management of Human Resources. We graduated from Bellevue University in January of 1996. It was bittersweet, I had just survived a December 1995 ten hour spine surgery to perforate a cyst on my spinal cord. I was still having home IV treatment for disk infection and nearly full bed rest. The Doc told me I needed to go to the graduation. I could rest before and after. It was great for my mental well being. And God really knows what He’s doing – I met the Babe in March, 1996. Right after I shed my “turtle shell” I had to wear constantly.

Anyway, if you want a cute, fun, sweatshirt for the colder weather, these are only $15. Check them out. I wear an XL. It’s just fun. We all need some fun at this point in time.

This morning is Day 2 of the Confirmation Hearings. I was aghast at some of the questions Diane Feinstein asked. “How do you do it, with your large family and work.” Excusssssssseeeee me? That question is illegal in an everyday job interview. It’s a Federal Law, Diane! How dare you!! Would you have asked a man the same question? If not, you need to issue an apology. Stat.

While I am working on my daily writing, the Babe is working to finish the bench he’s building for the patio next spring. It will be fun to have something new to display and use. I need to get the rest of the plants inside in the next couple days before the cold nights zap them. They did well as long as Goldie couldn’t touch them. She uprooted my Hibiscus plant from it’s pot and played with it before I saw her. The wind knocked the pot off the table, and she figured whatever was on the ground was hers. Silly puppy. Note to self: When it’s windy, check to see if anything fell into dog territory.

How do you like this meme?


Truth!

There are many people who comment to me about my blog. Yet, they don’t put a “like” on it. And that’s ok. I know they read. And they may even mention one to a friend. And the friend reads it. That’s cool, too. I love it, and I would guess that happens, too. I do this because I love doing it. I’ve always wanted to write. And, a blog counts as being “published,” just as a physical book does. I have to accept more people will probably read my book as an e-book or Kindle edition than who will buy and read a physical copy. That’s ok, too.

When I think how I think it will feel to hold a book that I wrote in my hand, and to read my name as the author, it makes my eyes teary. And as long as I keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll get there. And I’ll see my dad, off in the background, smiling at me, whether it be at a book signing, a craft fair, or a writers guild conference. We’re getting closer, boys and girls! Let’s keep each other going. Slow gets there, don’t lose hope. You can do it. Just keep doing what you’re doing, too. Thanks. See you tomorrow!

It’s Saturday!

My friend, Gabbie Wieck, published her new children’s book. Available on Amazon. It’s a delightful story.

I enjoyed Gabbie Wieck’s latest book, a children’s book. One came to my house for Gavin and Addison to read to their puppy, and one went to Colorado to Kayla and Cody. They’ll all enjoy the cute story. Thanks again, Gabbie!

My mission for these last ten or so days has been to get some origin on paper of what Katie’s flaw is, the thing she needs to change, and conquers by the end of the story. All else comes from this story of origin.

Now, if you think it’s creepy when you think of something, then your Facebook ads reflect that, I have to say it’s creepier when you’re looking at books that are in the same genre yours are, you find them AND all I want to know about stories of origin. Right in front of my face! But why did they not even jump out at me before? I believe it’s a God thing, but also, it wouldn’t have made an impact on me if I hadn’t been searching for it. Weird.

You know, I never really got into building puzzles, as some folks call them. My first husband would seal one piece and hide it so he could put the last piece in place. He’d make fun of me because I didn’t have a “sharp eye,” to find things. He’d had a lifetime of that sort of competition with his six siblings, and his mom, so he had more practice! I tried a puzzle in 2000, I think, after I was no longer able to work. Didn’t grab me.

But you know what, I work puzzles all the time. When cutting many pieces out of one piece of perfectly good fabric, then follow a pattern to reunite them all in a beautiful design. All the clothing I’ve sewn over the years is just a puzzle, too. So I might buy one this winter. I suppose the Babe will not like it on the table, but maybe I’ll put it down in the family room. Who knows. Remind me not to buy a hard one! Some are ridiculously hard. My hat is off to anyone who can conquer those beasts.

If Albert Einstein really did say this, “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” It sounds like something my dad would say. He often quoted Henry Ford’s “Whether you think you can or think you can’t: you are right.” Very true stuff. We admired Henry Ford right along with Dad. He was mostly a Ford man his entire life. He had a stint as a service station owner, and was very good with cars. Once they progressed to having computers, he gave repair work up. The Jewell’s Standard Station ceased operation when Dad went to Korea. He worked at a Testing Station when I was born in 1952, at least, that’s what’s on my birth certificate. I do remember seeing him there when a was quite young, someone drove us there, maybe so Mom could get his paycheck and deposit it in the bank.

We used to have to have our automobiles “tested”, or checked on so we had safe cars on the streets. They stopped that maybe when I was in my teens. It was a source of taxation for the city and state, and the testers became scarce in the 1970s, I think. If I’m mistaken, please feel free to comment.

I read this morning most authors only sell one hundred copies of their books. And then quit. It could be worse. Always. I think we have enough relatives we can break a hundred. I know a few who may buy one copy and share. The idea is they read it, so that’s ok where you can’t afford it. I don’t expect to be a bestseller right away. That takes time. I do think I’ve kind of narrowed my fiction down to stories of families. Stuff people don’t openly discuss. Nothing illegal or immoral. Codependency, when things are hidden away from people. Lies are told to save face. Excuses made for a loved one. It affects everyone in the family, and not in a good way. What I’m writing are experiences gathered from many households with friends, relatives, and others. The family I tell about is a conglomeration of all of them. No one person or entity is talked about. All put together, they are a fictitious family.

I’m going to curl up with this today.

I have a lot of reading and writing to finish before my self-imposed deadline of 6 p.m. tomorrow evening. I will send Sam all my work and wait to hear from her. One other item on my to do list is to scour Goodreads to find similar genres. It turns out, there are many books about families, their secrets and lies, and the outcomes of each.

I believe as more people are interested in genealogy, more will find disturbing behaviors within their family bloodlines. Many, many men fled other countries and once in the United States, they may have fled another state, leaving whole other families behind. It was also common during the Great Depression. Many children were in orphanages because their dear Mothers could not afford to feed them. Some were placed because the Father’s had no idea how to cope with a houseful of kids if their mother died in childbirth or of smallpox, diphtheria, or some other dreaded disease of the early 1900s. My former father-in-law spent time in an orphanage, as did my Grandfather; the first when his mother died, the second when his father died.

All of these things help make for interesting stories for how and why people become who they are. What they believe about themselves that is categorically wrong. A lot of families just don’t talk about those kinds of experiences. They happened, though. To good people. Good people who deserved better. Life, indeed, is not fair.

I hope you had a good day today. The Babe is putting up a light fixture in the entry. It’s pretty. Film at 11? Thank you for reading. It’s a pleasure to write for you. See you again tomorrow. Be Safe.

Thankful Thursday #????

I cannot begin to count the number of Thursdays I have lived much less the number of Thursdays I’ve been Thankful. Not every one of them, for sure. I think the state of grateful/thankful comes from a conscious decision be grateful. It should be natural, but since we’re imperfect humans, it isn’t something that comes easily sometimes. Trust me, things went terribly wrong for me for many years, and even being happy was hard sometimes. Not because I wasn’t grateful, but because my life wasn’t very secure.

Part of that comes from being codependent from environment and example. It’s all my mom’s family knew, and it’s what I knew growing up. We had to do things a certain way for Mom to be happy. If we didn’t, there was heck to pay. Since she was an adult child of an alcoholic(s), she learned early if she could control the environment around her, she could predict a good outcome. If it was only that easy. She practiced what she though worked for her. She taught her little sisters how to do the same things. It’s all she had, and for a number of years, she was all they had.

I’m not mentioning all this for pity or to point fingers at people and place blame. It’s factual and it’s healthy to recognize what went on and how it affected everyone. I’ve mentioned it before, and still like to check in on myself with a Hazelden Meditations book, “Days of Healing, Days of Joy.” I was freed once I recognized our mom’s alcoholism and how I had patterns of mine that were learned.

One huge area of learning for me was fake ideas about love. Of course, the more precious something is, the more it is imitated. Love is precious. The love I have now is so different than the love I thought was real when I was young. I learned most what love wasn’t. It wasn’t sex. It wasn’t letting someone have their way to win favor. It wasn’t spending every minute only with them. It wasn’t expensive. It isn’t worth compromising your principles for. It isn’t forsaking your children.

If it isn’t all those things, what is it?

This is key in any growth

It is enjoying each other’s company when the passion can’t be the same as it was in your 20s. It’s being able to trust. Trust was a huge issue for me. Infidelity isn’t in our vocabulary. It never has been. You know that when you are with someone who has principles. High standards. When you learn you deserve better than what you’ve allowed. When you claim your part of the responsibility for prior mistakes. Once you know better, you must choose differently. If you don’t, it’s on you from then on. Once you see how much better living the new way is, there is no going back.

Love isn’t accepting lies for truth. It isn’t lying for you. It isn’t cheating for you. It isn’t looking the other way while you commit terrible acts. It isn’t the deception you want me to buy into. No one but an alcoholic can fool themselves so well. The trouble with that, is they come to believe their own lies. Their own flattery. Their own cheating. They accuse you what they are doing. They gaslight you. They try to place the blame on YOU, instead of on them. You lose who you are and your own integrity helping them live their lie. No more. Don’t participate in their lie. Your life cannot be their lie. Let the chips fall where they may. If they leave, you know you never had them in the first place, and it’s not your fault. It’s all on them.

These are hard truths to learn and apply to our own lives. Being the truth, there is nothing to buffer it and it does hurt. It hurts like hell sometimes. Your mom may not be who you thought she was. Your brother may not be the kind of person you would pick for a friend, once you look past the lies. Your sister may have to hit their bottom before they see what they’ve done. And none of it is caused by you or is your responsibility. It’s theirs.

With all that said, I do love my family. I can look at every bad relationship I had when I was divorced was because of my uniformed, bad choice. Once I learned, oh boy. Never again. But I need to remain vigilant.

I’m looking to share some truths with my writing. Maybe, just maybe, it will spark something in a young person who needs to come to terms with their own family. It’s all hard. Changing is hard. Growing is hard. Outgrowing your life is painful. Speak the truth, and it will set you free.

A couple years ago at Mom’s Birthday dinner @ Piccolo’s. Left to right: Me, Mom, The Babe, and Tim, my baby brother.

While you’re becoming your best, authentic self, learn to take care of yourself, too. Kindness and consideration are great, and being thoughtful is fabulous, and you need to give yourself all of those things, too. You can’t give what you don’t have. Rest up, rejuvenate, and relax. Then give care to others.

One more thing on the topic of trust. As a single mom, I let my kids know, “I will trust you until I find out I can’t.” I think this led to more honesty on their part. They knew if I lost trust in them, it would only hurt them in the long run. Of course, every kid spoofs their parents. Every kid tries to put one over on their parents. I think there were fewer episodes of that because we always talked things over. They weren’t perfect, but they learned trust was very important.

Have a good rest of the day. Wear a mask, wash up, help out. Let’s all be good to each other. It spreads like a California wildfire if you do. Be careful out there, and I’ll see you again tomorrow. Thank you for reading!

Sunday Reflections

This was a week of incredible learning for me. My sessions with my book coach are getting even more interesting and deep. Some days, I’m not sure I want to discover all these emotions needed to tell the story that is on my heart. Yet I know I need to do it. It won’t rest until it’s on paper. Once it’s there, I can discover more about it, shape it into what my definition of fiction is. I believe it’s a story that may or not happen in real life, one people can learn from. It has a lesson, as does all of life. It should teach a lesson that is relatable. I suppose I was taught at an early age we learn from everything. Seeing, doing, not doing, doing right, doing wrong, and observing others in the same way. The actual definition of fiction is a narrative of people, events, or places that are imaginary. It will be interesting to see how this all develops.

These Books are Extremely Helpful to an Author

I already have “The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression (Second Edition).”It’s been a Godsend to me. I placed an order for “The Emotional Wound Thesaurus:A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma,” in which I should find a lot of valuable information for conveying the trauma my main character carries, adding depth and soul to the story. These are humbling sessions. I have a lot to learn, and I’m eager to learn it, and welcome the teaching.

Have you ever heard the word Schadenfreude? I included it in a past blog, and loosely defined, it is malicious enjoyment from the suffering or unhappiness of others. We’ve all known people who delight in others misfortune. This is one step beyond. I’m not sure a person is necessarily “right” to do this to another person. A person who is vengeful enough will do this and be delighted by breaking the other person’s spirit. I’ve had it done to me, and it’s no picnic, believe me. Bullying is a form of this, in my opinion. Passive aggressiveness sets in, and continues to destroy another’s confidence. Not a pretty sight or sound. It is defined quite well in the The Emotion Thesaurus. I just ran across it, and thought it may prove useful in the story. A person delights in tormenting Katie, and this would be a great way to describe one of their evil traits.

Be Careful What You Ask For!

Communication is so important, make sure the tattoo artist knows what you mean exactly! I’d rather be remembered for being kind to people than to appear to have money. As the Babe says, I’ve had it, lost it, had it again. It comes and goes. Isn’t that the truth? Mom always told me, “By the time you have enough money, it doesn’t matter anymore.” I remember lean times as a kid. You got new shoes for school. Maybe new Keds for summer. Nothing extra. We wore uniforms, so that cut down on our clothing immensely. She was right. By the time I completed enough education to afford being a single mom of three, they flew the nest and it didn’t matter anymore. Strange how that happens.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

I’m starting a list of little things around the house we need to clean vigorously or re-do in the next month or so. Yes, things like washing the outside windows, stuff like that. I’d like one thorough cleaning of everything (and dispose of unwanted stuff) just as fall sets in. It will take me about 5 – 6 weeks to do it all, but that’s ok. If I get it done once a year it’s good. I used to do it all twice a year. Not anymore. My energy has to be saved for the good stuff. The creative stuff. The stuff dreams are made of, that make you happy. It’s a great place to be in life. May you all get there.

Thank you for reading. I’m grateful you are doing this journey with me. Back again tomorrow, hope to see you then. Be Safe.

#Three Hundred Fifty!!!!

I am so proud to share with you, this is #350 of the posted blog pages. It is an accomplishment, a routine to establish, a goal met. I write every day, and I have proof. I know some days have been better than others, and that is normal. The days I have a block, I concentrate on beauty around me. The Babe, Our dogs, nature, my flowers, whatever sticks in my mind. For instance, yesterday I did not set out to talk about my history of Presidential Voting. It just flowed there. It seemed to come from the place of my heart that knows arguing will not solve this issue with people. I wasn’t looking to lose readers, friends, or anything. I don’t think that happened. Thank you.

THIS is what yesterday’s post was.

The flooring guys finished up yesterday, and had to come back today for 1/2 hour to finish up setting the toilet in the guest bath upstairs. No big deal. The dogs, bless them, are so worn out from not being able to nap on their respective couch spots, that they will probably sleep until it’s time for us to go to the Post later for Hamburger Night.

We’ve been helping Tracy get Addison to and from school this week since Dad’s out of town for work. Grandpa takes the responsibility seriously. He missed out on school stuff with his kids, so this is an eye opener. Granted, it’s totally different than back in our day, but it’s even so different than when my kids were in school. Addison and Gavin are happy to be back at the school. It’s built just outside their fence. What a great thing! The lot was empty when they moved in, and suddenly, there was a school.

I received my first two chapters of “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons” back from my writing coach, Sam Tyler, and they’re coming along nicely. I have some homework for today, and we’ll have a conference tomorrow. I am so excited about this whole process. I’m learning, my brain is engaging, and I’m telling a story that’s been on my heart for a lot of years. Yes, it takes a long time, but nothing good is easy. Hard work yields great things. Sam is teaching me how to pull good stuff from myself. It’s amazing.

Yes, It Is!

So my workshop class yesterday was pretty flat. She had us read the first thirty pages of three different “Literary Fiction” novels. One was a Pulitzer Prize Winner. I’m quite open minded. One was total garbage. Almost pornographic. It should have had a warning. Anyone who knows me knows I am pretty accepting of most things. This book was not steamy in a good way, it was full of shock value, nothing of substance. And a third one, I couldn’t take seriously because a gay writer was the narrator about his life and loves, and I pictured this guy talking through the story.

Remember that voice? It’s all I could hear reading the first 30 pages of “Less.”

Ever since I was a kid, I have always pictured the characters in books as a tv or movie star. Or a real person, if I know one who fits the description. The voice always mimics a character I have heard. It’s imagination, at work. And I’ve always had an active one.

As my work on storytelling continues, it is exciting and a little intimidating at the same time. It definitely stretches you as a human, so you notice more things, wonder how to describe situations and people, and search for words you may not have used in an eternity. Sometimes, when writing about an era 50 years ago (after my high school graduation in 1970, for example), it’s a challenge to remember clothing styles, manners of speech, and even what the laws were back then. Some things we take for granted now were not possible in the 1960s and early 1970. Equality for women. Establishing credit in a woman’s own name. Having a bank account if you’re a female. Seriously, it was that bad. This is what feminists really did for us as women. Basic rights, equality in the eyes of the law.

As you ponder that fact, just remember how fortunate we are, as women and men, to be free to live as we do. It is a precious commodity. Let’s protect it. Let’s revere it. Let’s remember how it came to be. Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it a lot. Be safe out there. Be cautious, courteous, and caring. Wash Up, Mask Up, Let’s get rid of the COVID-19 Blues. See you again tomorrow.