Taco Tuesday and Other Truths

You won’t believe what I just did. After about 45 minutes of working on a pretty good blog (if I must say so myself!), I hit the wrong key and exited from the 700 word masterpiece I was nearly finished with. Much to my dismay. Wow. It’s vanished in cyberspace. Do I have any idea how to reconstruct it? Heck, now. So for now, it’s:

Take Two Tuesday and Other Truths

There is a reason anyone who uses a computer will always tell you: Save Often! Save Before Printing! Save After Changing! So I just committed the #1 mishap in computer use history. I hadn’t saved. So now, upwards and onwards, while saving often.

Today is another Gavin day for the Babe and I. We will pick him up and he’ll be contented to play with the dogs all afternoon. They like him, too. He has loved many of our dogs through his eight years, some he remembers, some not. But we have photos, and he asks questions about their personalities and quirks. He tells me, “Grandma, all dogs deserve love.”

I tell him back, “Yes, Gavin. And all kids deserve love, too.” And he agrees with me. A long time ago, a good friend of mine told me how kids do listen to what you tell them, even though it seems as if they have no idea you exist. They listen and you can see they did when you observe them growing up and being a leader with others. And she was right.

My friend passed away several years ago, and it was sad for everyone who knew her. She was a good lady, always there to help. Always there if you needed to talk. She had several types of cancer in her lifetime, which eventually took her. She was so strong, but what choice did she have? I’m so glad to have good memories of many talks with her. I still consult my mental pages of the Joyce Cross Alexander Book of Hope, Faith, and Love.

Confidence is a great asset if you have it. It is so eluding if you can’t stand up for yourself, either not caring to or by not knowing how. My lack was in not knowing how. There was a fine line between confidence and vanity, according to our elders in the 1950s and 1960s. Especially if you were a girl. I believe this is why many Moms lived lives through their children. Their children’s successes became theirs. Their children’s failures became theirs, also. (The term, “I have failed as a Mother,”) that TV character Beverly Goldberg uses is used for humor, but I believe there were a lot of Mom’s who felt they were failures. It’s a shame it took women so long to find their worth in additional areas besides motherhood. Don’t get me wrong, motherhood is wonderful and fulfilling, as long as you raise those children to leave you. Your job is to teach them so they can leave you, as it should be.

I have to say, it’s harder to let go when you’re a single parent, in my opinion. I struggled for a long time trying to figure out, “So, what’s next?” I still had a good relationship with my three kids, but I hadn’t a clue what to do with all that time, despite all my hobbies. I finished college for me. I was happy to have earned a promotion at work, so I would finally have a great income. (Mom always said when you don’t need money anymore is when it comes your way.)

I became ill after that, and within six years could no longer work. At the age of 49. That was a blow to me. I turned it into gratitude, though, but being grateful I was well and working until my kids could go out on their own. After that I met the Babe. By the time I couldn’t work, we were married and my time was filled. I’ve picked up on a lot of my old interests and some new ones, too. Filling my time is no longer a problem.

So with all that, thank you for reading today. Keep good thoughts in your heart today. Be positive. Wash up, wipe down, wear masks. We’ll all come out on the other side of all this in a better place. I’ll see you tomorrow. And by then, maybe I’ll remember what I wrote about in the blog that is now forever lost, out there floating in the wasteland of the Internet, unfinished.

Wednesday’s Words

How do we use ordinary words to explain to our kids and grandkids what is going on in the world right now. Give me the pandemic back, please! They understand they don’t want Grandma and Grandpa to get sick, really sick. This unrest? They don’t, because it can come into their neighborhood, to their school, to their grocery store, or to the place Daddy or Mommy go to work every day. When it turns violent, everyone is at risk.

Having grown up in the 1960s, I remember all too well hearing stories about segregation. EXTREME segregation. Read anything about Josephine Baker (from the 1920s), Lena Horne (1940s), Sammy Davis Jr. (1950s-1960s and beyond), George Wallace and his hatefulness, the Tuskegee Airmen, and you will learn how one world was ok for us, and another was ok for them. Read “The Help” or watch the movie. It was true. All true. So much misinformation about how people of color functioned as humans. They can run faster. They cannot learn as well. They will pass diseases if they are allowed to use white only facilities. Really?? How sad. It makes me ashamed to be remember hearing these things. Not from my parents, but from “others.”

Henrietta Lacks was a black woman who had cervical cancer. Her journey to immortality took place at Johns Hopkins University where she was treated for her cancer. She was also experimented upon and used as a guinea pig by researchers. How they used her is sinful. It is criminal. And they just thought because she was black she couldn’t understand and didn’t bother treating her as one of God’s children, and experimented on the poor woman. After she passed, her family discovered all the ugliness that happened, and finally, her story was told. Shame on Johns Hopkins. Shame on everyone involved. The book about her life is called, “The Immortality of Henrietta Lacks.” It’s very educational.

Right in the middle of the 1960s, the unthinkable happened to my white, Irish (Polish, German, Dutch, Catholic School in South Omaha. My dad and all his brothers and sister attended there as young kids, too. We were getting a new gym teacher. We heard he was black. What? Tongues were wagging. How can that be? It was, and that was the way it was going to be. My folks didn’t say much, except to say he was attending Omaha University (now UNO), and he was a black man. We didn’t know what that would mean to us.

I’ll never forget the apprehension on his face as our class entered the gym. He introduced himself. He was a large man, very athletic. Muscular. He had a soft, gentle voice. Over the months that ensued, he gained our trust and love. Even through dodge ball. He was kind to us all. We learned he was married, with a little girl, and a wife who attended college also. Sometimes they were without child care and he would bring his little girl to class. The girls took turns playing with her. It was fun.

At Christmas time, my mom always went overboard doing what she loved. Baking Christmas cookies. She baked over 167 dozen cookies one year. This particular year, when giving my brother and me boxes to deliver to the teachers, she gave me one and told me, “This is for Mr. Hepburn.” I was happy and nervous to deliver it to him.

I approached him before class and handed him the package. “This is for you, Mr. Hepburn.” I was too shy to tell him it was from my brother and me. He thanked the whole class and they looked at me funny. I felt the flush in my face. After class I went to him and told him, “Mr. Hepburn, I forgot to say this was from my brother and me.” His eyes lit up. He was so grateful. I’ll never forget that look in his eyes.

A week later, he gave me a beautifully handwritten thank you note. My mom was tickled pink. He was always so nice to me as an individual person after that. In high school I learned he was on the semi pro football team the Omaha Mustangs. I was so proud to have known him, his name was often in the Sports section of the Omaha World Herald.

And then, in the fall of my sophomore year of high school, the worst happened. We heard Glen Hepburn sustained a serious head injury in a game played that Saturday night. He died two days later. I was stunned. He was such a nice man. And he had two little girls and his wife to take care of. How can this be happening? I never could understand that. But at least it was an accident. No malice or prejudice took his life. He was a good man, and I’ve remembered him often as one through the last fifty some years. A good man, gone far too soon. I wonder if his wife remarried, and I wonder about his children. I hope they had good lives, too. I just know their Dad is proud of them from heaven.

Kindness is a great teacher. I saw my mother’s kindness taught to me, her daughter, and reflected in the face of a kind black man. I’m grateful for that memory that is so fresh in my mind today. Care for each other. Share a cookie or two.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. Have a good day today, be kind to someone new, and I’ll see you tomorrow. You know I’ll be here.

Evidence shows . . .

In Omaha, NE, after two nights of demonstrations and subsequent riots, there will be no charges in the death of a black man Sunday night. It appears we have video evidence that shows the shooter was defending himself. The whole thing should have never happened. The demonstration turned somewhere, and it became a riot. The best advice I could give someone is, demonstrate. But be keenly aware. To younger people who don’t have a lot of experience out in the world, it just takes less than a minute for things to go terribly wrong. The best choice is just stay home. You will be safe. It’s the only 100% sure thing in life.

New Life and Growth in the Garden.

All that’s left for us to do now is stay home and pray. We are safest there, just as with COVID-19, which is still very much on the horizon. Do what makes sense. The best sense.

The Babe is the world’s best husband for me. He planted all the perennials I purchased where I wanted them. There is a little cleanup/leveling that needs to be done, but they are getting a great start. After my confession I just can’t do this anymore, he did what needed to be done. Bless his heart! To the left is the brand new fence he built so Goldie wouldn’t eat the daisies, hibiscus, columbine, and all the other beautiful plants. Last fall she ate the sticks from a hydrangea, and by gosh, it grew back. It’s the greenery in the middle of the photo. I can’t wait to see how this will all look in a few months. It will be a great distraction from the virus, the civil unrest, and the rest of the stuff that disrupts life as we know it.

I feel especially bad for people who live in areas this rioting is taking place. They have been advised they may want to find somewhere else to stay, since they may not be safe at home until this is over. There are so many beautiful lofts and apartments in the Old Market area, things like this just shouldn’t happen. Most people disrupted by all this are not even perpetrators of anything immoral or illegal. They are collateral damage. It’s just not right.

It is hard to concentrate on what I need to be doing right now, enhancing my novel. I should be able to do a lot tomorrow. I just need to stick with it for several hours. Perhaps tomorrow. Someday, we won’t have to hope for a normal kind of day to accomplish something we may have taken for granted. I miss those times. Normal days. With normal events. Not Pandemics and Riots.

After waiting patiently for spring, we have turned full tilt into summer, at least weatherwise. It’s pretty humid out, and was near ninety degrees. It’s going to be this way all week and probably beyond. Summer already. Where does the time go?

After checking in with our kids, we feel safe and know our family is. The words on our last text from one of the kids was so sweet, yet said so much. In light of the unrest that is in the area right now, the words leapt from the screen and said, “Love you guys. Stay Home.” This says it all. My heart is warm and happy. We will all be ok. We have to be. Wishing you all a safe night, and if you be kind, wash your hands, and stay home, we will all have a wonderful day tomorrow. One day at a time, we will all get better. See you tomorrow. Thank you for reading.

Thankful Thursday

Hi, guys!

We’ve been outside before the wind picks up to the 50 mph they’re predicting. It was a good time to get the winter layer of dirt off the deck, patio, and few lawn chairs we’ve put out. The rest will come out and be cleaned off after the snow goes away. They’re predicting something frozen for the Easter weekend. It’s ok. It’s not as if we are going anywhere anyhow. Yes, we’ll watch the FB Live of the Service at our Church. It’ll be a good day.

I’m listening to Ray Scott for inspiration music today. And I have to say, I’m hooked. I will snag up all his music today. His voice is unbelievable. So far, I have “Guitar for Sale,” and “Nowhere Near Done.” We saw only a couple songs in person last November at Buck’s Bar. Our friend Jimmy Weber opened for him, but by the time we had several beers and dinner, listened to Jimmy’s set, the Babe wasn’t feeling well. It was when he still had the wound vac to heal the huge wound still open after a heart cath. It was not a good time to stay out late. The Babe apologized all over the place, sweet man that he is. Next time, Ray! I’m loving your work.

Music of the Day. Go Ray Scott!

Our son-in-law is stopping by with his battery charger later. The Babe needs to borrow it to re-charge his riding mower battery. We’re so lucky to have some kids here. I suppose people with no children at all have a network of people who are able to help them. Having kids is no guarantee they will help you when you get older. They may not live nearby. They may also not be able to help. Emotionally or financially. It’s best not to expect things from them that they can’t or won’t do. It saves a lot of hurt. Lord knows we don’t need any more hurt in this world.

Although the Feds have extended the deadline for paying your taxes, the deadline for filing will be in about a week or so. I’ll get finished, just a matter of totaling up all the medical, dental, and drug costs for us retirees. I’m so grateful I have good insurance. It’s been a blessing all through my single Mom life, my married and working life, and the retiree/author life. For all the bad press corporations receive, I cannot badmouth them at all. They have generously reimbursed my tuition for a college education, and have covered my many and unusual long term illnesses. I’m grateful for them.

This morning, as we were having coffee and listening to the news, the topic of unemployment came up. We are so fortunate to not be impacted by that. Of course, our IRAs and other investments have dropped substantially, but we are still getting pensions and are fine. God has been so very good to us, and we’re grateful for that, too.

I don’t know of anything that is so joyful for me as answering the phone to hear grandson Gavin say, “Grandma, I really miss Lexie and Goldie.” They miss him, too. So do Grandpa and I! It’s been way too long since we saw the kids. Addison isn’t a dog kid, so she will never say that. She does say she misses us, however. Grandkids are the bonus round of life, you know? They are so much fun. I can’t wait until Gavin starts to play baseball again this summer. His new team practices all year, but they of course cannot right now. That’s too bad, but necessary at this time.

The Mayor of Omaha had to close all the city parks. Some people (over 200) were gathered at a park the other night at 10 pm for a barbeque (!?) and of course, someone shot three people. One died, two wounded. Pitiful. People have been behaving badly at a few places, and I hope they stay away from everyone now. Yes, it’s hard. But don’t think the rules don’t apply to you. There is always someone, isn’t there? The naughty kid who misbehaved and made everyone in the class have to stay after school. The cheater in high school who stole the test beforehand and aced it, causing everyone’s grades to be tossed out. And now there is the person who gathers at the dog park, the playground equipment, or the baseball field, causing all city parks and trails to be closed. It never fails.

And, amongst those ranks are the people who do what is right, what is the next right thing to do, and follows the rules and directions. There are, fortunately more of us than the other kind. Continue being a good citizen, ok? That is how we will all survive this quarantine and the aftermath. Do what’s right. Be grateful. Learn to smell the roses while being cautious of the thorns. Thank you for reading today. I deeply appreciate it, and hope to see you again tomorrow. I’ll be here. See you then.

Sunny Sunday!

Finally! At Long Last! It’s sunny outside. Not one cloud in the sky. Although it’s quite windy, I do believe there will be some good opportunity to sit on the deck or patio today. I’m currently in my studio to write this so I don’t get sidetracked as I did yesterday.

You may remember I’m not allowed by my daughter to post photos of them, their daughter or their dog. That said, I can finally share. On January 13, 2020, I became a Grandma and the Babe became a Grandpa again, to a little boy, Cody Wyatt. He’s a cutie in his pics and videos. They are quite private about their business, so announcement had to wait until now. Kayla Jolee is a big sister, and loves him. Until he’s being held. Then she wants to be held. You know the drill if you’ve ever been around babies. All is well.

So, every once in awhile, there is a different way people conduct their lives. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it’s just different. I have to respect their wishes, as they’re the parents, not me. So I try to do the best. There will be a little socially distant shopping in my future.

So today is going to be a productive day. I need this sunshine to perk me up. Seriously, I was getting down in the dumps, no matter how hard you try sometimes, and God gave us all a sunny day. After the forty days and nights of rain, God gave a rainbow. If that’s ahead, that’s great. The blue skies are plenty for me right now. We’ve been hearing birds singing for weeks now. You can pick out the Blue Jay calls, the Cardinals, and plain old chirping of Robins, but now we’re hearing a Woodpecker hammering away at something. You’d think those guys would get a headache from the constant hammering all day long. God thought of everything, though. I guess they don’t get headaches.

I’m all for going to buy more bird feed. The Babe’s not quite on board yet but will be. The Gold Finches are plentiful here, as are Cardinals and all kinds of birds I can’t even identify. A couple years ago, I bought binoculars as a shared birthday gift, since our birthdays are only two days apart. I need to make a point to use them this year. That and put orange peels out for the Baltimore Orioles. That one is tough for the Babe, he doesn’t want critters and varmints coming in the yard, but we can place it out of reach. We’ll figure it out.

Sometime today I’ll do a walk around the yard to see if any plants are sprouting. I need the reassurance the hardy stuff will do it’s thing here as soon as Spring is here to stay. It’s also a great time to spot any dandelions who may be sprouting already. Luckily, our neighbor who sported a completely full of dandelions lawn has moved away. The owner gutted the house (I hear it was really bad inside) and I hope he included some extensive lawn service along the line. It has to be an improvement.

You know, in our old neighborhood, we had quite a diverse population. No kidding, folks from China, Pakistan, the Ukraine, Viet Nam, and others we couldn’t identify. The front yard of the Pakistani people was filled with trees. No kidding, a peach tree, a couple apple trees, beautiful evergreens, and plants all over too. I think the reason they did that is they never had a green space before. Can you imagine living somewhere you had dirt, no toilet, and little else? They were the nicest people. After 9/11 they were taunted by folks that didn’t live in the neighborhood. I’m glad they didn’t leave, they were very good citizens. And a side of karma to their naysayers: Their boys had scholarships to college, and not long after that, they were driving Porsche’s. Good job, young men. You did very well. I hope the rest of your lives is so productive.

Stretch your legs today. I need to. Crazy, heartbreak, unsureness, you can leave today. Leave your key, and stay gone. Laughter, Love, Living, come on in and stay. I’ll give you a key. But not those other guys. They’re gone. Immediately. Thank you so much for reading. I appreciate you keeping up with me, it’s been a downer of a week, we’re better for it, though. New Life. New Love. New Laughter. We’re going outside! C’mon back tomorrow, I’ll be here! Coronavirus be damned! Stay home and wash your hands. We’ve been thrown out of better places.

Wednesday Already?

My cousins and I are mourning the loss of our cousin Rich. Rich died from cancer and he’s the first of our immediate family of our generation to die. We’re so sorry for all of his kids, and hope they find comfort in their memories of him. He served in the USMC in the mid-seventies, and was an excellent carpenter. He must have inherited that from his biological father, who was a carpenter. He was adopted by his step dad, along with his brother Mark, and sister Joleen. Hugs to Mark and Joleen. What a time to lose someone, when you cannot even hold a funeral. Tough times in those situations.

Following a lot of folks on the Facebook, I’m glad I’m not the only one who loses track of what day it is. It’s the bane of retired folks, but with so many people home all day, I think it has finally struck the general population. I think it’s perfectly normal, and we’ll get adjusted how humans have adjusted for centuries, and then it will be time to go back to whatever normal will be. Retired folks will still have the problem, but it’s an ok problem to have. Really. Trust me!

Music of the Day. Love to have Jimmy serenade me while driving to and from Mom’s. Relaxing!

My listening stuck at Jimmy Weber today while driving to Mom’s for her last PT appointment. It’s been a very long three months (for me) and it has helped her a great deal. She’s still not super steady on her feet, balance is affected by her loss of hearing and sight. At least she’s stronger. Her right leg remains much weaker, which is from the strokes a couple years ago. She is looking forward to working in her gardens this year. Mostly all flowers. I always joked, “It keeps you out of pool halls.” And it does!

We are truly living in strange times. Just driving into Omaha and back, the number of cars is fewer than before. It seems like a lot more semis are using the roads, and a big thanks goes to the truck drivers. You and the railroads are moving much needed goods in America right now. I’m just going to need to by some toilet paper by the weekend, I do believe. We have three bathrooms, so each is stocked, but with sharing back and forth the supply is dwindling right now. I think a lot of people that aren’t in their 60’s are going in at old people hour and stripping the shelves earlier. We, as a country, need to share with others better. C’mon, let’s be good humans. Leave some for the rest of us. Please. Thank you!

I typed over 1,000 words for my book yesterday. One of the characters really started to take form. I’m telling about each person separate from the story. It’s a hard choice to make, backstory, as they call it, ruins the flow of the telling of the story. I’m trying it out to see if the juicy tidbits about this crazy family can be told alongside the story to fill in what may be missing. If it doesn’t work, I’ll have more research to do. How do you introduce characters who are close to seventy years old and reveal how they got the way they are? Any suggestions? Ideas? Leave me a comment at the end here, we’ll learn how to do that together.

It’s too late today to really dig in and get much done but I’ll be able to do that tomorrow. It’ll free up a lot of my time now that Mom’s finished with therapy. Another new normal. And pray she doesn’t fall and get hurt! She’s been so fortunate thus far. Hope it continues.

I also want to take a walk around the yard and see if there are any flowers trying to push their way skyward. I didn’t get tulips planted in the ground, but did in a pot. Might be time to start watering that and hope for the best. They can go in the ground anytime after they bloom. Crossing fingers, hoping the dogs didn’t dig everything out. Goldie will have to be taught not to eat the stems, leaves, and blooms. They all go through the billy goat stage, I just hope hers doesn’t last long.

I think the reality of our nation’s situation is business will not be back by April 12. Not if we want to live. I see more info regarding quarantining for at least another six to eight weeks. That sounds much more reasonable to me. I think the President is trying to say what everyone wants to hear. I think some folks dislike him so much, whatever he says will be criticized. No, he’s no wordsmith, I’ll agree with that. I would bet there is so much more to everything right now he must be switching gears quicker than anyone can. He gets stuck going back and forth, hence the hesitation. Let’s just be civil. And safe. And stay home. Wash. Be positive. We all need it!

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. Please be safe. Be positive, and we’ll meet again tomorrow. I’ll be here.

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!

Monday Coming at You!

Monday is here again! What kind of week will you have? No matter what the world throws at you this week, you can choose to have a great week. I know, there are bad things that happen to mess you up, and mess your attitude up. Don’t react. Act instead. It takes practice. Years of practice. The Babe and I have come up with some things to make us laugh. Not that we don’t take things seriously, we do. We are cued in on the positive rather than the negative. Yes, sometimes it takes a day or two. Or a week. But we are conscious of making the best of anything.

Today, I’m working on editing and re-writing more chapters of my novel. It doesn’t seem like too much work, but you know, it takes a lot of time. Foolishly, a month ago I thought it would be totally possible to knock out a chapter a day. How funny! No, it takes longer, and I’m incorporating some other paragraphs into what I wrote, and that takes time to get it exactly where it flows. Sure, it may not be the best method, but as a novice, I’m trying this way first. There are no guarantees, especially while you’re learning. Such fun.

I have a beautiful large Dahlia print on fabric panel we’ve chosen for me to quilt and hang on the wall above our bed. I need to layer it and get going before I get distracted any more. I know, just what we need is something new to do. I bought the panel a long while ago, and it will complete decorating in one room we just had painted. And I’m not spending any money, just my precious time. It will be worth it. Adjusting to these fun things is not a hard thing to do, I just want to continue focusing on big things, like the daily blog, the novel, and several of my other books I want to see published this year.

Isn’t it beautiful?

I’m still doing reading and research about co-dependency and other issues non-alcoholics learn from living with alcoholics. There may be a book later about dating while being co-dependent. It’s a wild ride, and not a good one. It seems the folks who can take advantage always find a way to fool you, then use your weaknesses to hurt you. It happens. It’s happened to me, luckily over twenty years ago, and will not happen again. If something happens to the Babe, I’m going to the convent!

Yes, it’s about time for me to take the pups upstairs so the cleaning girls can spruce up the family room area. Hoping you all have a creative day, and thank you for reading today. I’ll be here tomorrow, so stop by then.

Happy Birthday, Addison!

Today, thirteen years ago, the Babe and I became Grandparents. What a life altering experience! It’s been quite a ride, and I pray the next thirteen years is as memorable and filled with love. The day Addison was born, we made a trip up to Sioux Falls to attend a wedding shower. I was helping throw the shower for Dan’s niece, Michelle. We knew Tracy was experiencing something, but didn’t think anything would come of it. We arrived, set the tables up, and had to turn around and go home. We hoped to make it back in time, and figured we would. It was about three and a half hours to get there. Nothing was happening yet, she was in the L&D room, her mom Sandy and Aunt Sharon were there, along with Grandpa Randy and Grandma Peggy.

It so happened February 10 was also Grandma Sandy’s birthday. How fun to become a Grandma on your birthday! Sandy passed away ten years ago from lung cancer, but she enjoyed her grandkids so much in the short time she lived after they were born. Sandy and I became good friends, and talked a lot about her kids growing up. The Babe and I married when our kids were all adults, so I didn’t experience them growing up. Together we have five kids, and now four Grandkids.

It was a beautiful thing to hear Sandy and Dan talk about when they were expecting Blake all those years ago in Sioux Falls. They talked about how broke they were (we all were, back in the day), and the cradle the Babe made. He made two more, one for each of his grandkids. It was truly a labor of love. They were one couple who could get past the divorce stuff and be friends. I’m sure they took the long way around to get there, but it was a wonderful thing to see. We would all be very lucky to be in that mindset for our kids of divorce.

I waited until everyone else held Addison, and the room was packed with people. Grandma Sandy brought her over to me, and said, “You haven’t had your turn, yet.” She placed the little pink baby in my arms. The tears came for both of us, and it was a beautiful moment. I think of Sandy often when the kids do something funny or even naughty, and how we talked so much. And that moment I first held our girl.

“Being a teenager means you’re not a little kid anymore”- Addison, on turning thirteen.

Sandy was still working when Addison was born, and I was not. Luckily, I got to watch her when the sitter had something else to do, or later when she couldn’t go to daycare due to the sniffles. I had so much fun with her. I think we have a special bond, and it would be there even with all the other grandmas Addison has. Her family extends as far as she can see, and it’s awesome. When I made them all Christmas stockings, she asked if we could make one for her daddy’s sister’s baby. We did. She is generous, happy, knows her own mind, expresses herself in times of trouble, and isn’t afraid to tell the teacher(s) if someone is treating her or someone else badly. She just gets it. She’s always “in” to go for ice cream, too.

We have watched countless dance recitals, classes, demonstrations, and competitions. This girl loves to be on stage dancing a solo. It amazes us a kid can learn to do that. We didn’t have experience speaking in front of people until we became adults. Glad they teach kids that now. So when they’re not kids anymore, they’ll be comfortable dancing, giving a speech, directing their workforce, etc. Addison has a heart of gold, and I pray she always looks at life with the joy she does. She loves her family so much, and her cousins in Maryland and Minnesota.

Thanks for reading today. It’s my pleasure to see you here, where I’ll be tomorrow. Hope you are, too. Now, it’s back to the book rewrite. Have a blessed day.

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.