More Monday

It’s been a great day today! How about for you? I found out today my cousins became a grandma over the weekend. Congratulations, Terri and Scott! You have a beautiful family and you deserve a wonderful legacy.

I had a pretty great day beginning my re-write. A book I’m using by KM Weiland about structuring your novel has a workbook, to accompany it. I ordered it and it arrived yesterday. I photocopied pages I need to complete my first chapter. It is the one where all the action happens to hook people into committing to read the rest of the book. I’ve had very few books I couldn’t get into. Was it because they were poorly written? Or was I not in the mood for whatever kind of book it was?? I am willing to plea guilty, being distracted or needing to read an easy book. I know that happens a lot with me. I’ll also admit sometimes it IS the author’s fault. (Think 50 Shades of Gray series – ho hum writing if I ever read it. Terrible writing. I’m not the only one who thinks this.) It’s a shame that woman made so much money on bad writing. I’d rather go broke than earn a bazillion dollars writing stuff like that. It wasn’t the sex, not at all, it was the poor quality of writing.

So after a great start to the day, and a good day writing, I’m golden for the rest of the day. I have decided at some point I am also going to try poetry. The reason behind that decision is, you must say what you want to express in few words. Just like songwriting. Limited words. Huge messages. Poetry is supposed to help you in writing prose. We will see as we go along.

We are having grilled cheese and tomato soup tonight. Did you have that much as a kid? We had tomato soup, water only. The Babe has only had it with milk. I was amazed. His parents must have been rich. Or used that sneaky swap – powdered milk, not liquid milk. Mix it up when the kids are gone, they’ll never know the difference. Hah! And grilled cheese. Mmmmmm good. I love grilled cheese, melted on toasty grilled bread.

This is Auschwitz Commemoration Day. I remember as a kid seeing a movie while I babysat late at night. It was “Judgment at Nuremberg.” I was probably twelve or thirteen. It was a black and white movie, and very graphic with real photographs. I don’t know how some people cannot believe this horrible event happened. It did. My father was among the young soldiers under General George Patton who liberated this hell on earth. He never spoke of it. He did tell one of my aunts once to read a certain book and that is all that was ever said.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. I will be here tomorrow, and hope you will too.

A Saturday in January

This is about the coldest it has been in Nebraska in a while. All the Babe and I need to do is dig deep in the closet to find the warmest gloves, scarves, and hat. And we each have several coats to choose from. We are so fortunate. Yesterday, the Babe went through his closets to find warm coats he no longer wears. He has four or five of them, ready to go, in a plastic garbage bag. We know two ladies from the Post who volunteer at a Veterans Homeless Shelter, and they will take the coats to the shelter this week. He didn’t want to donate them to Goodwill, etc., because it sells them. He wanted them to go directly to a veteran in need, for free.

We did a little office work at the VFW today, getting ready for a mailing. Every year they have a fundraising initiative to raise money to maintain the building and grounds. I like this to be my volunteering so I can apply my clerical skills to helping in any way I can. It helps the Babe, since I can type faster than he can, and then he is finished sooner than later. It was a good day.

We went to Walmart for a few groceries. Few people were out. It amazed me there were so many people much older than we are. Usually we are the oldest ones there. Maybe they go on Saturday, but it just seemed so cold out for them. I think frigid temps are so hard on older people. I know it adds to aches and pains; it aggravates arthritis and other ailments most people acquire as time goes on.

Tonight, I’m writing by the fireplace as my studio is frigid again. The dogs love the fire and lay in front of it until they become too hot; then they move away quickly. What lucky pups. We heard about two men who abused a lab pup somewhere near a lake. They threw the dog, so it landed on its back, the ice broke, and the pup fell in the freezing water. How terrible. I hope the state does not allow them to own another pet. Ever again. People who do that to animals usually abuse children and other adults in their lives.

The football season is nearing the end tomorrow with the last two playoff games. The Super Bowl will follow. We are cheering for Kansas City and hoping they come out ahead. The young quarterback is fun to watch.

Tonight will be a little more reviewing my first chapter and assess if it’s still making the cut for the rewrite. One important thing I have learned is how authors try to cram the entire backstory into the first chapter of the book. Nothing much happens, it just gets dumped out, and the action doesn’t start until Chapter Two. I did it, too. Thanks to my editor, I have learned how that approach could make the readers drop my book like a hot rock.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate it very much. As usual, I’ll be here tomorrow, and I hope to find you here, too. Stay warm!

Thursday, or Friday’s Plain Sibling

Do you like Thursday as a day of the week? If Thursday had feelings, it would probably not have good feelings. Like if you are a boy or girl with a perfect sibling, one that behaved impeccably, got perfect grades, with swimsuit model good looks. I know how that goes. My older brother earned very good grades in school. I wanted to be as smart as he is. Until someone told me I was as smart, and smarter. That made me feel good.

If he was sick, he wanted to be alone in his room. I wanted someone with me. That was not a bad thing, since children are different. I was told, “Why can’t you be like your brother?” That left me feeling like something was wrong with me. I was Thursday. A perfectly good day on my own. I was just not Friday. I did my thing quietly. My dad would come into my room when I was sick and play checkers with me. He showed me how to stay cool as a cucumber when I could see I could double jump someone. He was tricky that way. He even taught me to wink with sunglasses on. So people would know I was winking at them. That was a big deal when I was four. It was fun and passed the time.

Young parents today may not realize how it hurts a kid to be compared to a more successful sibling. Please stop doing it. It is hurtful. We are not them. Thursday is not Friday, and never will be. Why wish for a different day when you have a perfectly good one in front of you? Thursday can be productive or relaxing, snowy or clear, memorable or something to forget. But it can never be Friday. Ever. No matter how much you compare it. It can’t be Monday, either. Now that’s a day no one seems to wish for, either. Even less than Thursday.

Monday can be ready for you to start anew, give it your best, and have a different outcome than you did last week. Just follow with that same enthusiasm on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. Go to those new days enthused and you won’t believe what you can achieve when your expectation is not overshadowing what each of these beautiful twenty-four-hour units of time is on their own. Just like people. Similar, but not carbon copies of each other. God does not make them that way. Neither are people copies of each other. Or kids. Or babies. Or teenagers. Or retirees. Or baby boomers. Thank goodness for the variety we have in the people and days that surround us. Spend them wisely. Treasure their differences and similarities.

I think because the holiday weeks differed from the regular weeks of the calendar, I’ve had a time adjusting to the full week schedules now. I have been thinking Thursday was Friday the past two weeks. I love Thursdays. We get to pick our granddaughter up from school. Seeing a young person who is eager to tell you what they did at school is fun for us at this stage in our lives. It takes me back to when my kids were middle school age, and their descriptions of how their days went, all those years ago. I have that same memory Monday, Wednesday, and Thursdays every week. And I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

I hope you enjoy this Thursday and all it offers. I hope you value each of your children, grandchildren, neighbor kids, etc. for all they offer. Thank you for reading today, I appreciate the time you took. I will be back again tomorrow. I hope to see you here. Enjoy!

Monday with All the Magic

It’s been a little weird the last few night’s sleep-wise for me. Lexie had an upset tummy for a day or so, and she wouldn’t stay on the bed to sleep. We don’t like her roaming the house at night because a couple times she had an accident or two. She’s old enough to know better, so not sure what that was about. We make her go out at night now, and night for us can be 8:30 p.m. I can’t stay sitting upright any longer, and Dan goes to sleep. I watch TV until maybe 11 then lights out. But Lexie would have none of that. So she slept in her kennel two nights.

I read an article stating women sleep better with a pet. In that couple hours before I turn off the lights, I massage her ears, her neck, rub her belly, etc. She was tired after being sick. I hope she sleeps well tonight. And me, too. Six a.m. is an early call without enough sleep!

I am shocked to hear after two weeks off for Winter break, one local public school was not in session today. They gave the reason of teacher planning day. What??? It just seems they could have at least gone four days and taken off Friday to make it look good.

Next month I am doing a challenge for Art. The idea is to create a small work of art every day for 30 days. I’m taking some photographs of sunrises, close-ups of objects around the house and some photos of the dogs to use as models of what to draw and paint. Just a little practice every day should be manageable.

Tomorrow I’ll have a day at home before a couple more days of taking Mom where she needs to be. After a quiet month with few appointments for her, there are three this week. I hope to get a lot of reading about my story structure done.  It will make getting started a lot easier.   

Thank you for reading tonight. I appreciate it a lot. And I’ll see you here again tomorrow.  We’ll talk about story structure.

Sunday Fun

We always start with the best of plans. We went to Church at the Gretna UMC. They only have one service, 9:30 a.m. It is a nice little country Church and the people are friendly. Pastor Gary Main has visited Dan when he has had surgeries and he makes sure pastoral care is on the top of his list for serving the people. We are glad to be in such a Church family.

We drove to the VFW Post for Dan to print some paperwork. The Babe decided a burger was in order on the way home, and before you knew it, the clock read 3:00 p.m.  We finished taking down the Christmas tree.  The room looks bare, but now I have my recliner back in its rightful place.  Ahhh!

I’m in off the ledge, folks, and don’t feel so overwhelmed.  I found some software I’m experimenting with, called Pro Writing Aid.  Has anyone ever used it?  Let me know your thoughts.  I used the software on a shorter book I’ve written, called “Grandpa’s Gone”  It’s about when my grandfather died on Christmas Eve when I was twelve years old. It is something you can’t help but be remember every year.  The software had some good suggestions for my book.  It is one of several I hope to publish this year. 

Between the software and the book I’m reading about structuring novels, it has set me back on the right track. I might request a trial of Pro Writing Aid and run my novel through it. It could point out a lot of beginners errors I have made. Helpful tools are out there, and I’ll use them every time they make sense. A person is never to old to learn something new. Or start something new. It’s my mantra. What is yours?

Have a nice evening and thank you for reading today. You know how I appreciate it. I’ll be here tomorrow and hope you are too.

Story Abstract

My editor friend told me I should set out and re-read my book. I foolishly thought I could sit down and just start writing. Silly Person. Foolish Mortal. Dreamer! I sat down today with a lot to say and do.  I couldn’t get started.  I read my editor’s notes and was clueless.  They weren’t that hard. Why couldn’t I get started? 

Because this is the first time I’ve ever written a book. A novel at that. In looking at the goals I wrote with little hesitation this morning, I saw something that sparked my brain.  A year ago, I purchased a book called Agile Writer Method.  It’s a Kindle version, so I grabbed my Kindle, hoped I had charged the battery, and set off to get a clue on what to do first. Writing an abstract for my story sounds like a good place to start.  

I have done the abstract and now feel like there will be more focus in my work. Whew! I was hoping I wouldn’t freeze, unable to start the edit.  It will just take me a little longer, taking these preliminary steps, then diving in.

Does anyone out there use Pro Writing Aid?  I am using the free version here, and I like it.  Has anyone bought the Lifetime Version?  It seems it might be worth it, but it’s always good to check with users before making a purchase like that. 

My Rough Draft of Goals for 2020

So for this evening, I’ll just keep plugging away. I will reduce my ambitious estimate of editing one chapter daily. That may face further downturns as I work. It’s all an education, my friends.  And a free education at that.  Lucky me!  I am so glad to pursue becoming a published author.  As always, I appreciate you reading today.  I hope you will come back again tomorrow.  I’ll be here, see you then! Thank you for reading!

The Last Day of 2019

I’ve been quilting today. For the first time in a long time, I’m using invisible thread. It’s not something I dreamed up as a prank, there is truly invisible thread. It keeps me from having to change thread over and over to make it match different colors on the quilt. Anyway, it’s challenging because it’s nearly impossible to see. It taught me some patience today, and I’m grateful for that. If it was easy all the time, where would the fun be?

In the back of my mind, I’ve thought over and over about things that would be great to accomplish during the brand new year that begins tomorrow. Why wait until then? You can start today, tomorrow, or a week from now. The two main things are: 1. START. 2. KEEP MOVING. All steps that keep you moving towards the goal, however small they are, will get you there. How do I know?

I know because a few goals have been very important in my life. When my dad was dying, I talked with him about the only regret I had. At 37, I had not graduated from college. I got married at 18 because I wanted to, and was divorced at 30. I had a couple years of community college level classes and had earned a programming certificate and started working in that field. My dad said, “Just keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll make it.” I have remembered that my whole life. I graduated from college in 1995, twenty-five years after I graduated from high school. Yes, it took a long time, and it was worth it. Having my degree in my forties made me more marketable. It was hard, raising three kids, working full time, and having a life. My kids were so good during that time. They had a good example of someone working towards a goal.

My point with all this is we set goals all the time. We take up a new hobby, we decide to spend more time reading or playing piano, or spend more time with our spouses and children. Whatever it is, start doing it. Keep doing it. You will not be sorry. You will be happy you did. My dad taught me so very much. As a little girl, I remember if I went somewhere downtown and had to walk to a store, he would take my hand. I could hardly keep up with him, but he slowed just enough so I could. He teased as most dads tease daughters. I was so proud to go places with him. I’m a very lucky woman to have had such a gentleman for a father. If he were still alive, he would be 96 years old tomorrow. He guides me even now, thirty one years after the last time I talked with him. He is missed.

My new reminder for 2020. It will spark a great memory and spur me onward.

Tonight, the Babe and I are meeting friends at the VFW for the annual New Year’s Eve dinner and dance. The band is DayBreak. It will be fun to see our friends after a few weeks of being other places. Dan doesn’t drink, so we have a designated driver. I pray for all of you to be safe, make it safely home, and wake up well tomorrow.

Thank you all for reading today, I appreciate you taking time to do so. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope to see you then.

Christmas Cookies, Part Two

Second day of cookie baking, and we now have Mint Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies and Almond Joy Bar Cookies. They are both new recipes, and I think they’ll be pretty good. I had to make the Mint Chocolate Chip’s while thinking of my daughter, Becky. She has always loved mint chocolate chip ice cream. I hope she likes these cookies. I’ll know by this time next week, I think.

I heard from my editor friend. We are going to re-work some things in my book, but I won’t begin until after Christmas probably. I am enthused to have a professional with whom I can work and complete my novel. It will be a lot of work, and I’ll learn a lot.

Tomorrow, Gavin will spend the night with us, and he’ll be happy to spend time with the puppies. He loves dogs and has fun with Lexie and Goldie. It’ll be another fun night with him. It won’t be much longer and he will not want to come hang out with Grandpa and Grandma anymore. It’s kind of tough to keep them entertained when they are old enough to go be with their friends. My mom used to say, “It’s one thing when your kids outgrow you, but it’s really bad when your grandkids outgrow you.” That will be true.

It sounds as if there are a lot of people getting the flu. If you haven’t had a flu shot, please get one. It will take at least a couple weeks for the immunity to build. You don’t want to feel crummy and you don’t want to pass these sicknesses on to other people. Small children and older adults are very vulnerable. Take care of each other, and we’ll all get through the winter.

Sometimes these dogs do things I cannot believe. For some reason, the lower corner cabinet with the lazy susan shelf was opened. Lexie opened it. And as I walked into the kitchen, I see her with her head stuck inside a box of cereal, eating it up. Naughty puppy! It’s funny how they can imitate us by watching how we do things. That’s how Goldie learned to pick up the newspaper and carry it in the house. Who knows what they will learn next??

Thank you for taking time to read today, I appreciate it so much. I’ll be here again tomorrow, and I hope you are, too.

VA Hospital, Parking, and More

It’s 10:17 am on a beautiful, sunny morning. I’m currently waiting for Dan (Babe) after a check in with his research team for the study he is participating in. It’s been awhile since I’ve been down here, and wow, has it changed.

Isn’t there always chaos when any entity attempts to change the configuration of their campus, grounds, territory, or property. What do you view as the most impacted service during the chaos?

I believe it is parking. No matter what, I believe parking is impacted the most. The VA Hospital tries quite hard, providing shuttles to ride. So many of these veterans have conditions that prohibit them from walking far. And face it, I’d venture to say most of the patients here have at least one disability. You must arrive early to attempt a spot in the Handicapped Lot. The rest of the day, you get one by dumb luck.

The Visitor/Patient Lot is a terrifying place. Just observing here for the past 30 minutes, I know my life will be on the line backing out of this parking place. Cars all gather, each vying for the spot. Pedestrians are everywhere, not really looking for a car backing up much less out of said parking spot.

I see the parking for construction workers is close to their worksite, a luxury never afforded by the hospital workers. I wonder what would happen if someone were to park in the “Hard Hat Area”. Might the earth swallow them up? You never know.

When I worked at Mutual of Omaha, their lack of parking was well known. As their employment level dropped along with their insurance business, it became routine for a new employee to be assigned a parking area on the first day. In my time, it took five to seven years to creep up the list. Many folks would not work these that long.

The Midwest may be different from New York City or Los Angeles as far as vehicles go, but I’d like to hope we are “Nebraska Nice” with how we deal with driving during construction while parking is chaotic.

Parking will be disrupted with all the people out Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping too. Please stop and think about being kind and cooperative while you are out on extra trips during the next month or so. It will help things go a lot smoother. If we are all thinking only of ourselves, there will be much more of a chance for tempers to flare, accidents to happen, and failure on our part to remember the reason for the season.

Give a like, make a comment in WordPress, and I’ll put your name in my drawing for the $50 Visa Gift Card. Thanks so much for reading, and make sure you come back tomorrow. I’ll be right here.

A Cold, Windy Tuesday

Wow! What a busy week already. We made a trip to Dan’s surgeon today. He looked at the unhealed incision and said it looked good. Continue with the wound vac and come back in two weeks. Tomorrow, the nurse will come and repack the wound, and we’ll start again on the healing journey.

So, that said, I also had my mom for a trip to the hairdresser. It’s always good when you feel good and put together. A good haircut does that for men and women. Suffice to say Mom should be good until Christmas Eve Day when we’re scheduled to get another haircut.

My cousin from California messaged me earlier tonight with a photo of a framed picture from our Grandmother’s home. Her sister Anna lived with the family. Great Aunt Anna gave my aunt a beautiful picture framed in downtown Omaha. The framer is no longer there. It was neat to hear him say how he loved that framed artwork and always wished he could have it. His mother is now living with him, and she presented it to him tonight. How wonderful.

I love when people value special things like that. Something from Grandma’s and Great Aunt’s home was so special a little boy who lived in California remembered this item and thought it would be nice to have.

It seems the next generation may not have any interest in inheriting any Doo-dads from my home. In a way, I find that sad.  We are a blended household, so I know Dan’s kids won’t want any of my Aunt Cynthia’s glass bowls and my kids won’t want any of his Grandma Meirose’s bird salt and pepper shakers.

Maybe it’s all part of the minimalistic movement. Just because you have something from Grandma’s home doesn’t mean you are materialistic. Many items spur pleasant memories. What’s wrong with that?

Not a darned thing. Unless you have all of Grandma’s stuff crammed into your 1000 square foot house along with yours, Uncle Henry’s, and Aunt Jane’s. At some point, things can take the place of people in your life. You become detached from humans and attached to stuff. The stuff takes over, nothing is clean, including you, and it’s a very sad situation. Hoarders are not something to laugh about. A reality show on A & E is not to be thought a dramatization, but it is really how they live and feel. The reality of how dire their situation is cannot be grasped.

If you add hoarding to alcohol and drug abuse, chances are extremely low that both excesses can become under control. It may take years, and with hard work, it would be phenomenal.

If you have any comments, please leave them below. And add a like. You will have two chances on my NaNoWriMo Drawing. On December 1, I’ll draw for a $50 gift card. Will you enter to win?? Hope so.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate it. See you tomorrow!