Thankful, Thoughtful Thursday

It is still a dreary morning here at the home office in Gretna, Nebraska. I have a dog in my lap (a 50+ pound dog, by the way), one on the couch, a cup of hot coffee, and you guys out there. It’s been a long time since we had the news on in the morning. The Babe and I have been sitting on the deck for several hours for the past month or so. It’s quite a change for sure.

In fact, the news is now full of wildfires (although one was started by a baby reveal party gone wrong. Shame on them!), and Bob Woodward’s new book, and doom and gloom. Ah, the sky is falling, isn’t it? Or is it?

I wonder if there is any of California left, it seems as if it will burn itself out soon. I feel badly for the people who lose everything. Imagine the payouts the insurance companies will be paying out. And where will they go? What will they do? These are going to be long-term interruptions in people’s lives. Again, how much can the state do to help?

Not only are these concerns, the thing I think about is the air quality. I know what a little bit of smoke does for my asthma, I can’t imagine what that kind of smoke will do to healthy lungs. Health concerns are always near the top of my list. All we can do is pray for everyone out there. My first thought about Oregon fires was too bad the areas being destroyed by looters isn’t in the region of fires. Maybe the fires would calm the chaos that is happening out there. I thought maybe it would help.

Did you notice the difference in my thoughts here so far? I did. Instead of enjoying beauty of the outdoors and the positivity which results from that, we could have news blues. Wow. In a conscious effort to turn that around, I just have to look around me. I’m grateful for the warm, loving home we have. The Babe is off taking our beautiful Addison to school early this morning, she has a Student Council. It’s so neat to see how she is picking and choosing what she wants to spend her time doing. I was such a shy, introverted girl at that age, and I marvel at this young lady and her casual openness.

The Babe and I were talking about when Addison was little, when she’d spend the night, she would always play the same trick on Grandpa. One of the toys we had was a Curious George doll whose face lit up when you squeezed his tummy. Before she would go home, she would come whisper in my ear, telling me she was going to hide George under Grandpa’s pillow so he would see it when he went to bed later that night. He always laughed and she thought she was so sly. Those kids really leave imprints on your heart with such sweet memories.

See the difference? I’m smiling while remembering those sweet times and the warmth of life, the hope for tomorrow that grandkids give us. The world is indeed much more wonderful than the current situation would indicate. Choose hope, and life, and love to be part of your diet, not doom, media and gloom, and hopelessness.

Letting Go is the best!

The good news is I got a good start on my origin stories for characters in my book. I plan to finish it up today, and do the other homework I have for another conference with my book coach, Sam Tyler. She is making me a better writer. She is bringing out the better in my characterizations, describing the scenarios and getting out the backstory where it’s appropriate. It’s well worth it.

I’m off to another day of working on my story, switching out decorations from summer to fall, and enjoying another blessed day with the Babe and the pups. With all the “stuff” there is in life, consumer goods and difficulties, the best cure for the News Blues is gratitude. We are a blue collar middle class couple. We both started late on our retirement plans, we don’t have the million dollars some folks our ages have in their retirement plans. We are comfortable where we are. We worked hard for all we have, as did most people we know. Some have more than others, their opportunities were different.

I was taught if the opportunity isn’t in front of me, I needed to learn to create my own opportunity. I believe every school kid should learn how to do this. Then we will be equal, in opportunities and learning how to utilize them. We have to show up, learn, step up, and rely on our knowledge to make a good life. Hard work never hurt anyone, especially the Babe and me. We are truly blessed.

Enjoy your day. The rain will pass. We will have sunshine again. Thank you for reading, I appreciate it very much. Be safe, be kind, be aware. Let’s keep distancing and wearing our masks, it’s the least we can do. And yes, the days I wear my mask many hours, my face breaks out, too. So, even Grandma’s have maskne. What a deal. See you tomorrow! I look forward to it!

Fabulous Friday

It is really a beautiful day outside. I swear God sends cold fronts through the humid and hot areas like Nebraska to give us a break and make us feel like living again. It improves the general feeling of your soul and gives your mind a break. Still, I like the four seasons. Four “alleged” seasons. It seems like we skip a lot of spring and a portion of fall many times. Hope there is comfort to deal with the rest of the pandemic we are having.

Where we live in Gretna, it is very close to Omaha. The VFW Post we attend is in Omaha. We have concerns about the possible mask ordinance Omaha was considering. It appears the health department has backed off from enacting one. I say it’s a shame, the legalities were questioned and they asked people to use their best judgment. With those rights comes responsibilities. To me, it makes sense to wear a mask. We do not often make the best judgments. Some use motorcycle helmets as an example. I favor helmets, seat belts, and wearing masks. Yes, it’s annoying. So are helmets and seatbelts. But I’m safer using them.

My asthma doc ordered me to have a COVID test before my appointment with her last week. I thought I would test negative and did. I believe curtailing my social activity and social distancing, which includes wearing a mask when shopping is helping. Please think long term on the outcome, it may make more sense.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

In addition to working on my Poppies Quilt, I’m devouring a couple more books for writers: Write Great Beginnings, and Point of View. It appears there is more competition than ever to attract a reader who will read a book. It also appears there are fewer who start a book who actually finish one. I have only quit reading maybe 4 books in the last ten years. When I buy them, I think it’s a terrible waste to not finish. One was borrowed from the library, a biography by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Brian is a genius and has had mental illness for nearly his entire life. It’s a very sad story, and one that concludes well. There are better versions written, believe me.

In addition to having a hook to attract a reader, you have to do a lot to keep them reading. Each chapter ending should make them just want to keep reading. I love books that do that. They are easy to read and quick. No time wasted. Now to learn how to do exactly that.

I have some real characters to introduce once I build them. It is such fun to be able to do that. There is something I read to make sure to appeal to the theater of the reader’s mind. What does that mean? Simply put, have you ever enjoyed a book more than a movie? Yes, an author needs to write so well the images in our minds are vivid and our imaginations can take us through the story. That’s the challenge.

Conflict is the center of fiction. Intensifying the troubles that stand in a main characters way. The problems are big, and he or she drive the story with their decisions. Because they chose this, something else happens. I’m told it gets easier the more I understand it. I trust Sam Tyler, my writing coach. She has made this endeavor so good for me. I’m so lucky to know her from the Nebraska Writers Guild. She is a writer and coach. Very good with critique. Asks hard questions. All with good reason. If I can’t answer the questions, how can I write my answers to them?

AHA! There it is! This is also a great living example of why/how to outline everything (major events) in the story you want to tell. Sure, you have it all in your head, but trust me, your memory isn’t that great some (most) of the time. As I write, other ideas spill out and I can end up in a completely different area than I wanted to be. I’m learning to be a planner, not a pantster. A pantster is writing by the seat of your pants. When you think you have a great idea, it’s easy to think you don’t need to plan anything. I can be foolish at times!

Just as maps are not always up to date in Google, our outlines can leave a bit to be desired. We need to be open (always) to modifying the outline. Even if you’re well into the story. Lots to think about. Lots to wade through.

And There You GO!

Off to work on another unrelated issue. I’m helping get information together for the new VFW Post 2503 website. It should be a fun project. The one we have is pretty outdated and cumbersome to work on. I’ll be learning some WordPress tricks I don’t know and will benefit tremendously from it. Thank you for taking time to read the blog today. I appreciate it, and hope to see you tomorrow. Stay Safe, my friends. I want you all with me the rest of this journey. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Careful out There!

Masterful Monday

Can that be right? Masterful is defined as imposing one’s will on others. It’s being domineering, imperious, imperative, and peremptory. Huh? It does sound pretty unflattering, even to call Monday. But I don’t mean it in a bad way. My intent is all that matters here, and my intent is good. It’s a good thing. How so?

I do not want to be a person who regrets not doing things they always wanted to do. I will publish a novel and some children’s books. Before I don’t have the opportunity any more. In order to do that, I need to have my ambitions and my skills and my purpose defined, mapped out, and get with the work. In a way, I’m imposing my will to do this on my ability to procrastinate. I’m making it the most important thing to accomplish in the next couple of years. Seriously. It’s got to be first. The hitch is here: it can’t be more important than spending time with the Babe, our families, our grandkids. Moderation is the key. And work like hell in the block of time I can spend on it every day.

Some Days!

Song of the Day: “I’m Going to Love You Through It,” by Martina McBride. I’ve been the woman waiting for that phone call. I’ve been the woman who hung up and thought, “Shit, now what?” It was terrible calling the Babe at work and telling him. He cried out, “No!” And he said, “I’m on the way home.” I felt terrible telling him on the phone. We always know when each other is upset, by the tone of voice. I couldn’t hide it at all. No, I’ll never play poker.

The month was October. Boy, was I aware of Breast Cancer by the end of the month! My mammogram came back needing an ultrasound. I went to have that done. The radiologist and nurse told me, yes, it’s a definite lump, and I’d need a needle biopsy. All through this, I was thinking about Dan’s ex-wife, Sandy. She was just diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. She had immediate chemo and radiation. We were establishing a friendship, as she was no longer working. I wasn’t either. It was wonderful talking with her about her kids with Dan. We were blessed to be able to be friends.

The Babe went with me to the biopsy. He told them he was going to be in the room with me while they did it. They tried telling him, “You might want to wait outside.” He wouldn’t hear of it. ‘I was in Vietnam, so nothing bothers me.” They talked throughout the whole procedure, and as I placed my right arm above my hand, the Babe took hold of it. He didn’t let go until the doc and nurse left the room. I knew he’d love me through it. There was never any doubt about that.

The doc seemed almost cocky, though. She said the three samples didn’t look like cancer at all. I chose not to believe her. The Babe, however, believed her. So much that he was dumbstruck when the news came. I wanted to scream at her. How could she give us false hope like that? Wow. I hope she never did that again to another woman and her family. I was angry for how hurt the Babe was.

Next step was surgeon, he was quite thorough. The lump(s) were too small to be felt, trust me, everyone tried. To get clean margins, he removed enough tissue that was baseball sized. Ponder that. I’m pretty lopsided, but not bad, didn’t have reconstruction. I was in my late 50s, and I’m so fortunate to be an eleven year survivor. I don’t like the fact the medication added 30 pounds to me while removing all the estrogen from me. I’d had a hysterectomy at 39, so I was already a “quart low.” Or more. I don’t know. It’s not ever been the same, but I’m so grateful to God. Screw the 30 pounds.

Tell Your Much Needed Story

My friend Sandy, mother of the Babe’s children, lost her battle. Her sister also had the same cancer, she is gone now, too. Oral cancer claimed my sister in law, Laura. All around us, it’s been a battlefield. How it picks and chooses is a mystery. Sounds strange, though, I have always felt I would have breast cancer. I don’t know if you’d call it a premonition or not, but I was not surprised at all when I got the call. Hard as it was to tell the Babe, it was the worst to tell my baby brother, Tim, all 6+ feet of him, lean and lanky, tattooed man. He is the kindest person I’ve known. I’m lucky he’s my best friend after the Babe. He was still reeling from his loss.

Somehow, we all made it this far. And we’ll keep going. It’s what’s in the plan for our lives, I believe. Without being cocky myself, I do find it easier to see the signs God gives me. They are everywhere. See if you can tell where your signs are. They are things you would never have considered, they must be acted upon with logical thoughts and plans, not reckless abandon. While it might be God’s plan for us, we have to do our part. Just practice, it will come to you.

Thank you for all your support and reading. You’re giving me a boost that is important. We’re getting closer and closer to that year mark for blogging. It’s kind of fun to look back, and see how the writing has changed, and how many things I discover about WordPress. I’m a work in progress, and it feels so good! Wash up, Mask up, Be Kind, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

“It’s Not Too Late and I’m Not Too Old!

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.

Mobile Monday

A Sunny Day or Six Would be Great!

Getting a late start today for the blog. I had two early appointments this morning, and the rest of the day had a conference with my writing coach, and a lot of thinking about what we talked about. It started out gloomy again. Maybe tomorrow. There is always hope.

I’ve had my temperature checked more today than I have in the past five years. Well, not really. I’m surprised Walmart didn’t check it. They had no disinfecting wipes to clean off the cart handles and didn’t require people to wear masks. They did a good job reconfiguring the aisles. They have some dividers in the middle of 12 foot aisles and nice markings in the aisles indicating the six foot apart rules. It was perfect. I found Butter Beans! And Dog Treats. Essentials for Cowboy Beans and for keeping the dogs happy. It was a win-win.

The conversation with my writing coach was good. I got some honest feedback to help me take my idea and what I’ve written so far, add some things, and be able to make it the best telling of my story about Katie and her seven brothers: Patrick, Andrew, Edward, John, Marty, William, and Michael. It is amazing to make the decisions about characters, their flaws and strengths, and the perils they will interact during. It’s a continuing process, and sometimes I get an idea and decide that may be in a follow-up story, maybe in a trilogy. That would be quite exciting!

Those of us in the 1970 Graduating Class from Archbishop Ryan High School will not be having our 50th Reunion this year. That is sad, but since we are all “of a certain age,” maybe we’ll start a new tradition of a 51st Reunion. It could become a thing, you know? And perhaps our good friend, Anna Merola, will be able to come from Italy. It would be wonderful!

As I left the dentist this morning near 144 & Fort in Omaha, I did see the Nebraska National Guard flyover doing a tribute flight to honor the state’s heroes in the trenches of treating COVID-19 patients. It would have been more spectacular against a blue sky, but the clouds accentuated it as well. The special tributes to those in harm’s way are incredible.

My nephew Don is an ER (ED) nurse in Arizona, and I know he is an angel to his patients. He is in the profession because of his mother, who died from oral cancer in 2007. He was a graduating senior at Bellevue East High School then. Wow. Talk about your graduation being messed up. Her funeral was the day after his 18th birthday. What a lot to overcome! Don enlisted in the USAF, and served his country. I love what he’s done with his life. And, still a newlywed, he married the lovely Carrie last November in Omaha. I’m so happy for them, proud of them, and am just waiting to see their new chapter. You, Don, are my hero. May God continue to bless you!

I’m issuing an apology in advance of you reading this meme. It is an important part of a theme in my book, and it is important for all of us to own our actions, words, and behaviors. If you do not you will never be able to be your best. It is especially hard for people who were raised in dysfunctional families. There is no shame in it, the shame is in not changing the things that are wrong. Not calling out the bad behavior within our own groups leaves the door open for passing along the bad things. And you don’t want to do that. Be strong. Be aware. Be brave enough to say, “It stops here. My family did the best they knew how. And some things need to change for the future.”

I thank you for reading today. I appreciate you so very much. See you again tomorrow, you know I’ll be here ! Stay Safe. Wash your hands. Call a Friend. Learn something new! Take care.

Summery Sunday

Good Sunday Morning! Hope you are all well. Hope you have a steamy cup or six of coffee, however you like it, and that you talk to someone you love today. It’s in reaching out that we reach each other. Not in a physical way, but symbolically, reach out so someone. It may be the only contact they (or you) have all day.

The Babe and I watched CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley today. I really like that program. Although it does report some news, it talks in a very positive way about the status of all, and doesn’t try to scare the Holy Heck out of you. I’m serious. It was much more uplifting to hear from Henry Winkler about his bad dyslexia and how he has dealt with it than to hear more updates on the death totals, protesters, and elections in November. It was actually refreshing.

At first, I was with everyone who wanted normal back again. The more I read and realize that may not be what we should want, the more I don’t want it back. I love seeing families trying to plant gardens, to spend time with each other in a loving way, and for many people who have finally figured out that the Almighty Dollar isn’t what we should strive for.

I used to think it was easy for people with money to tell you it wasn’t everything. While that is true, I’ve been on both sides of the equation. Dirt poor as a single Mom, and now when money isn’t what matters any more. Years ago, my mom told me when you have enough money, it doesn’t matter anymore. Truer words were never spoken. I didn’t want for much. All I wanted was enough money to go to the grocery store AND buy shoes for each of my three kids. Without worry. Without robbing the utility bills payment and still have one kid that needed shoes. Didn’t want to get greedy.

And now, I understand how families feel who are not being paid because of their jobs being shut down. I cannot fathom being a person whose livelihood depends on tips. I never had to use a food bank or apply for government cheese, but I feel for people who don’t due to pride. As I gained more training and experience and higher pay, all it did was put me in the category of the kids not qualifying for reduced lunch at school. The raise was only $.50 per hour usually. The taxes on a single person reduced take home pay. And the guidelines for reduced lunch were your gross pay, not net pay. With the higher lunch prices, it actually was a negative net pay change. Imagine that. My answer was to get more education, and I would earn more money. That and a change of employer made all the difference in the world.

The things I’ve described above have taken a couple things I never knew I had. FAITH in myself. HOPE in my efforts. BELIEF that I could do it. As I ventured further into the world, I gained more of those three things. They’re intangible but necessary for success in anything, be it college, job interview, creating your own opportunity, or learning anything new. Like a new direction for your lives. Yes, it’s frightening. But if you don’t venture out, you’ll fail by not trying.

Do you know someone like this?
Is it YOU?

Yes, this was me about fifty years ago, right out of high school. I knew I’d never finish college much less be able to pay for it, I knew I’d never meet someone so I married my high school boyfriend, I never thought about hair styling school because I was sure I’d never work. What would the nearly 68 year old Kathy tell the then 18 year old Kathy from this perspective on her life?

  • Listen to yourself, not everyone else.
  • Get some confidence in yourself.
  • You are valuable.
  • You are intelligent.
  • You are very capable.
  • Don’t listen to negativity, especially from your mom.
  • Be brave enough to ask your dad about things.
  • Do it afraid.
  • Find a group that is on your side.
  • Find support. It’s out there.

And so many other things. There were no community colleges in the Omaha area in the late 60s and early 70s. The women’s movement was just starting here in Omaha, Nebraska, behind the curve of the nation, but it was all about things that were foreign to me, my mom, my family’s way of thinking. I now embrace certain things about it, but couldn’t imagine it back in those days.

As a late bloomer, I can only imagine what I could have accomplished with another twelve years out in the world making my way. That said, I am so grateful to have been at home with kids and having that beautiful experience. They gave me the strength to leave a bad situation and look for a better life. They were my reason for living and venturing and enjoying life. It has been quite a ride, and I regret nothing.

It’s perfectly OK to look for support outside of your family. It’s perfectly OK to be different than “they” want you to be. It’s perfectly OK to blaze a trail. Do it afraid, but do it. You’ll learn quickly. You must learn to create opportunities if you don’t see any in front of you. Education. Professional groups. Networking. Social Media. No one can take your learning away from you. Don’t keep yourself from it. It’s yours for the taking and keeping.

As we continue through these days of uncertainty, create opportunities for yourself. Work related, fine. Free time related? Sure, why not. Why do you think the baking aisle at the store is noticeably understocked right now? People are trying something new, something they haven’t had time for before. Baking is a start. Online art classes are a start. There are many, many low cost or even free ones. Check it out! Better to spend your time learning something you’ve always wanted to do than watching some of the videos out there.

And there is another benefit. A real one. If you have young kids who see you learning, it will keep them learning. They will value learning. They will value education. They will value calculated risk taking. It’s all a fantastic experience. Go for it!

Thank you so much for reading today. Enjoy this Sunday in any way you can. It remains overcast with a big chance of rain tomorrow, so the Babe is finishing the little patio garden fence. It has a gate, and is so cute! I hope to see you again tomorrow. I’ll be here, hope you are, too. Learn. Something. New. Stay healthy! Stay sane!

I’d like to believe someone wrote my story here.
It can be yours, too.

Friday, I Think

COVID-19 Quarantine Day # 6,385.

I’ve seen some folks posting on The Facebook they’re in quarantine for 8,365 days. It’s all in how we look at it. I know it’s probably easier for retired people like the Babe and me. If we were gone from a job we loved with or without pay, yes, it would seem like torture.

Unless money is an awful hardship for you, try looking at your time at home in a different way. While I was working, I left for work in the dark and came home in the dark. Yes, it was a long day, every day. And it seemed as if I never saw my house in the daylight. I was on medical leave after a surgery in the early 90s when I truly saw my house at all hours of the day. I realized how nice it was.

My kids and I were alone at that time, and it was really a long time off work and school. And yes, I was younger, 39 I believe. I came to see our home and the isolation in a much different light. I appreciated what I had been working so very hard to earn and possess. It was a time that stopped my daily frenzy and made me grateful. If you’re feeling like you can’t take it anymore, try that. It’s like looking at the world through different lenses. Not rose colored. But reality colored. Big difference.

This is my inspirational plaque.

I mentioned this plaque yesterday, and the computer gods prohibited me from showing you the photo. If you missed the post, here’s a link to it. Thank you, my dear niece and friend, Wendy. It’s hard to imagine that we used to babysit for you. You were a fun little toddler. And you are a blessing to all that know you now. I’m grateful to have you in my life.

It will be a different kind of day. Since our VFW Post is going to launch a scaled back food night for Wednesday, May 6, 2020. They have been closed since before St. Patrick’s Day. It’s not just a financial thing, it’s to help life the spirits of people who have formed a family or sorts. We miss each other. None of us know what’s going to happen in the next six months, I have a feeling it could go either way. Nebraska has lifted the stay at home life a bit. Restaurants have been given the ok to open with restrictions, and many have decided to remain take out only. It’s up to the individuals.

I’m going to go to the Post later to do some EXCEL spreadsheets for the Babe who is their Quartermaster. It’s the first of the month, and the books need to be reconciled, despite bringing in $0.00 and having expenses despite being closed. The officer group will meet and decide how to place tables, members, food service areas, and keep the doors sanitized. We have to start somewhere. We will see how it goes. People have to make their decisions. We always have the option to stay home if we don’t feel safe.

I’m really working hard to get my novel to the place of showing, not telling. That is much harder to do than it sounds. Telling is so easy. Showing is hard. I need to find how to show during a narrative of things that happened fifty years before. How the heck do you do that? I have a good reference called “Show, Don’t Tell,” and I hope the answer lies somewhere in there. It will make the process so much better. I have a feeling I have much more to rewrite than I thought. But it goes with the territory.

It is quite nice not having to take Mom to her appointments and errands. It’s been about four years since she quit driving. My younger brothers have been great about helping her out, too, and I’ve been the solo driver for weekday needs. It’s been something you do for your elders when they need it. No questions asked. It feels weird to not have the commitments, but I am enjoying my free time. I’ve told her not to hesitate should she need my help again. The danger of us getting COVID-19 will go down in the coming months. We’re social distancing like we should have been. I’m concerned about her not letting people go to the store for her, but the decision is hers. She’s insisting she needs to go, so I hope she’s surrounded by a mantle of protection from the virus. Check the definition of mantle vs. mantel. Word of the Day!

Truer words were never uttered!

We humans think we can control our destiny. We can’t. The sooner we realize that, and make adjustments in our attitudes and lives, the sooner we can live with much more ease, happiness, and joy. Yes, joy. It’s ours for the taking, all we have to do is relinquish control. Control is really an illusion anyway. We must not lie to ourselves.

It’s about time for me to meet the Babe. It will be a good rest of the day. When I return home, I’m going to layer and pin some quilts. Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time, and look forward to seeing you here again tomorrow. Be safe!

Is It Thursday?

By the time I go from the bedroom to the kitchen, I can lose track of what day it is. I also lose it by the afternoon or early evening, even though it doesn’t matter. Losing track. Used to be we needed to at least act we were with it, on top of the world, holding our finger on the pulse of business, industry, creation, religion, and whatever else arena we needed to compete in. It just isn’t that important any more. In some ways, I hope that remains, so we don’t put so much pressure on ourselves. So that our jobs, society, and leisure times don’t put so much pressure on our psyches. It’s too much. I hope we never get that way again.

I hope we don’t because the time we are making for our families right now shouldn’t be lost. Yes, parents probably need a break right about now, but so do the kids. If you’re unfortunate and have badly behaved kids, you can fix that right now. Before school starts again. Before sports start again. Before work starts again. The most important thing for us all to learn is be kind to the world. Be kind to your kids, school, sports teams, and co-workers. We can unlearn any bad habits we have, so can our kids. Make up for lost time in what’s left before we can go out again with no masks. Think long and hard about it. Your whole life can change for the better right now.

We must begin somewhere

After my breast cancer treatment and after my wonderful niece and friend Wendy lost her husband, she came to see me and brought a gift. It was a plaque and stand. It helped me get up out of the chair, start walking, start doing all the things I’d stopped doing while I was too tired to do anything. It did the trick. And since that day over ten years ago, I put it out where I can see it when I need a jumpstart to get back to living. I took it out this week, and it’s now on the mantle again. The Babe and I both see it every morning while we have coffee. It’s gotten us both going. Let’s all get going. Let’s be interested in life whether you’re still in quarantine or whether you’re going to ease back into life outside of your home. Be cautious, but do it. You have to start somewhere. We all have to start somewhere.

Due to technical difficulties, I cannot post a photo of the plaque. It says “today BEGIN”. I’ll post a pic when it is available. The words are powerful for me, and I hope they are for you, too, it you need them. At different times in life, we all do. And in times of pandemic, we all do at the same times.

Restrictions in restaurants are lifted, with certain new rules in place. Many places are continuing take out orders only. Some are opening. The VFW Post 2503 is planning on opening on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, at 4 p.m. for a Hamburger Night. A limited menu will be available. No drinks sold unless they are sold with a dine-in meal.

Taco Tuesday

It was an early start to the day for us today. There is some animal who makes a horrid noise during the night and early in the morning. No, the Babe is wearing his CPap machine faithfully. It could be a raccoon, or do possum make noise? It’s not a cat. Well, it makes this awful noise and wakes me up about 4 a.m., and I can’t see what time it is. If you don’t know what time it is, you have no concept of how horrible it is that you were awakened by some animal shrieking in the Wetlands. If it’s 3 a.m., you can go back to sleep, hopefully. If it’s 6:30 a.m., you may as well get up for the day. It’s important to know the time, so you know how miffed to be.

This morning, the wonderful cleaning duo came to work wonders to our house. It’s always such a welcome thing to have them in and do more work in two hours than I can do in a week. No guilt anymore, I do need the help, and it takes the work off the Babe’s plate. He can do it, too, but he deserves a break, too. The house always smells so good when they leave. I admit it, we have two dogs, and two adults who are home all day. It gets dirty and stuffy smelling. It’s home. It’s lived in.

We often have eight Goldfinches at a time at our feeder.

The birds are loving their perches around the fence. I read a post today that said the Baltimore Orioles are in Bellevue, so I’d like coaxing some with the Grape Jelly feeders. I’ll have to look at Amazon later. Heck, I’d be attracted to a Grape Jelly feeder! What a treat. Once when I was pregnant with my oldest, I craved buttered toast with Grape Jam. It was so good!

It sounds as if some places are going to slowly reopen May 4. It is the choice of restaurants if they want to. Union, where my son works, is opting to stay pick up service only. They are eliminating the possibility of anyone getting ill that way. Good for them! I know there are other folks who are adamant about opening everything. I also know there are folks who are adamant about staying closed. Period. We’re not going to go crazy, but will wear masks where we should. There was a second style I wanted to try. Maybe by the time Church reopens, I’ll have them finished.

After a bit, I’m going to sit down on the patio and work on an embroidery project I’m making for our new little grandson, Cody Wyatt. I wish I could show you a photo. His Mom and Dad do not want photos out there of their kids. I respect that, they’re the parents. He looks like a little man. Our daughter Becky tells me his sister Kayla is a sweet sister to him. She just turned two. My, Becky has her hands full! Two in diapers, my hat is off to them. Lots of work. Also lots of love.

I just did a couple more chapters of re-writing and am calling it quits for the day. Going outside to enjoy the Babe’s company. Thank you for your time today. Stay safe, washing hands, and don’t venture out until you feel safe to. I’ll see you again tomorrow.