No Place I’d Rather Be

Yesterday was such a great day. I met our daughter Tracy, Gavin, and son-in-law TJ at the ballfield to watch Gavin play. TJ coaches. Despite wearing a hooded sweatshirt, and a down vest under a winter coat, and gloves, we were able to brave the elements and watch his two games. He is a pitcher or shortshop, depending on the rotation. He loves to pitch.

It warmed my heart to see Gavin warming up, and his dad behind home plate, catching. I know Gavin gets his athletic ability from his dad. The first toy he grasped and threw was a ball. It’s in his blood. I thought of his Grandpa Randy watching him, too, from a good seat from heaven. Bittersweet, but reality. He’s watching, Gavin. He’s watching. And proud. So proud.

I’m so fortunate to have the step-kids I have. Tracy’s always thoughtful with me. I use my cane to navigate the field around the ball diamond. She brought an extra chair so I wouldn’t have to carry one across the field, juggling cane, water bottle, and chair. I’m grateful for them and their families. Blake is always at the ready to offer his arm to me if I need it walking, and to open my door getting in and out of the car. They’re sincere and I know they would always be available to us for anything we may need. We are grateful.

From my seat at the sidelines, I could tell how tall Gavin has gotten since the last time we were able to watch him play. Last season, I think it was only once because of COVID. What we’ve all had to miss since last year! I hope we are on our way to fewer restrictions (with caution). I hope we will all remain healthy, too. We appreciate the fact no one in our families has become ill with the virus. It’s still a frightening thing. I think we still need to take precautions until we see how the long term effects of the vaccines is. I’m expecting to have to get a booster shot, and I’ll be there for it! I have a lot of important baseball games in my future to watch. I don’t want to miss any; there is truly no place I’d rather be.

I love his determination, his skill, he’s got an arm on him! And to think, he’s grown into this baseball player from this little guy:

Gavin, about two years old, giving Roxie and Lexie with water from his watering can.

I love being a Grandma! I love being a Mom, too. And wife. And author. There is so much to learn with all of these things. You never stop learning, even if it’s just to learn little known facts about something obscure. The more I’m hearing about the unheralded contributions to science, the military, engineering, and the space program by women the more I want to find out. I tell Addison not to ever “dumb yourself down” to have friends. It used to be preached to girls to “let him be smarter than you. Don’t embarrass him.” Yes, I read it in a magazine for Catholic girls while I was growing up. Seriously.

I am very happy we no longer encouraged to do that anymore. Girls used to be raised as “less than” boys. Boys were valuable. Girls? Not so much. So happy those days are gone. A brother-in-law of my ex-husband had three girls with his wife. He always commented first on their intelligence, not their looks. I loved that, too. The focus was not on anything superficial like looks. They are all stunning women, as well as intelligent. they have done well, and they have the best dad! He and his wife are one of my favorite couples, and I’m grateful to have them in my life after all these years.

The Babe is home today, and we are just going to spend time on the deck or patio. We seem to rarely have a day home together. I plan to make he most of it, so I’m going to hit “Publish” and do just that. Thank you for reading, and have a beautiful, safe day. Be Kind. We’ll get through this. Be Thoughtful. Wear your mask. See you tomorrow!

Hillbilly Elegy and Reading

I’m concluding I’m tired with football. It seems endless, and I read a book or anything else to pass the time. Maybe too much being cooped up, not sure. Last night, though, we watched “Hillbilly Elegy.” It takes some understanding before you can see how good it is.

Why? It’s a very hard subject. While I’m told the book is much better with essential backstory, the story absorbed me. I know families led by adult children of alcoholics/addicts. As the sister says in the movie, “It didn’t start with Mom.” I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject, I have seen the damage and destruction by these inherited traumas/dysfunction. People just don’t know any better. It seems normal to them. They don’t know there is another way.

There can be one person in the lineage who changes those dynamics for their life. This is what the young man did. He had to set boundaries and enforce them. He knew he could not help his mother. He knew he had to make his own way. It is a very lonely path to follow. I’ve been there. I also had an aunt who knew my struggle, and she was good company on that path. None of that means you don’t love the people. You just cannot help them. Do for yourself. It ends enabling, which is what they want from you. It stops here, folks.

I’ve always liked Ron Howard’s directorial work. I hear the book has many more parts of the story about Grandma, played by Glenn Close. She was superb. I think he did a great job with showing how families can pull a person back and forth, defying set boundaries to achieve their own agenda. It happens, people. It’s called life. It could trigger some people, for sure. Those at a certain level of recovery will see it for what it’s worth, a true story of an overcomer. And they leave you with the impression he succeeds. And for that, I was so happy. It can be done, folks.

My Heart Just Melts!

The pic above is of our Roxie (RIP) and Lexie as puppies, probably seven years ago. They were so cute as puppies. Especially sleeping! Just lightening up the mood here a bit. And who doesn’t love puppies?

Won’t be doing any writing today, still working my way through the pile of papers I may want, and need to scan a bunch of papers for the VFW Website. Just stuff like that, takes up an item on the to do list, yet easily accomplished. Helps you feel successful on a freezing but sunny day. The wind is shaking a bunch of stuff outside. I’m glad I have a spot by the fireplace reserved for the afternoon with the Kansas City football game on. I just love Patrick Mahomes, he is an outstanding young man, quarterback, and citizen.

I remember my Grandma referring to people as “young man,” or “young lady,” and it’s funny to hear myself, probably at her same age, referring to people that way, too. Age is a funny, fickle thing. First you don’t feel any differently as you did at age thirty until you move or get up from a chair. When did all that happen? You just can’t place an exact time, you were busy living when it happened, and now, boy, do you notice it.

With that age and creakiness, you earn a different point of view about life. It just goes by so fast. No one has invented something to slow it all down. When you stop, you’re an age you never imagined you could be. I’m older now than Dad was when he died. That’s hard to believe. Yet, time keeps going on, and I’m so grateful for that.

One thing which stays the same is the touch of the person you love. In a lifetime together (or even 22 years), you sometimes don’t hug as much or even hold hands. As things change with age, it’s a beautiful thing to just hold hands. I like to hold the Babe’s hand while I fall asleep. Of course, he’s already asleep, but he still holds on to my hand. It’s nice. A simple yet beautiful thing.

A touch, a glance, our minds can spark a memory that can excite your soul. Sometimes, it catches me by surprise after all these years, but then I remember our first years together. You never forget the love of your life, and the Babe is mine. And now, as he would say, enough mushy stuff.

I had to have this painting. It’s just Goldie.

Let’s all finish out this Sunday with gratitude and humility. God has been so good to all of us, and we are so blessed He loves us all. Even at our worst. Thanks for reading, I’ll see you tomorrow. Be Safe, Be Courteous, Be Kind. Be careful out there and make it a great day!

Wonderful Wednesday

Hi, folks! It’s another sunny summery day in Nebraska. I know we need rain, it’s just so much more beautiful when we can enjoy sunshine. The pups have been in and out, and in and out. They’re just getting warmed up! The header today has a picture of Lexie when we first had her. She weighed 4 pounds and was 4 weeks old. We did get Roxie at the same time, she had a parasite and only weighed 3 1/2 pounds. The mom was sick, so they were placed as soon as possible. They were only on solid food for two days. Lots of love later, we’ve had wonderful companionship with them.

I’ve seen many articles written on forgiveness lately. Not sure if I’m being told something or if it’s a coincidence. It is hard to forgive another who hurt you to the depths of your being. I believe it’s worse when you don’t know why they did what they did to you. In situations like this, I think women tend to overthink and take too much responsibility for doing something wrong. Nothing is further than the truth! You picked the wrong person with which to share that part of you!

That last sentence is truth spoken with the utmost love. Really. I have done that more than a few times. Not everyone is a candidate to know you and your insecurities/faults/secrets. They gain your trust (because you’re a trusting person), and use the information to hurt you deeply later. Been there, done that, over and over.

One thing I can tell you, it’s not always the guys fault. They are either a cad or they don’t care. Or they are a cad and they don’t care. We women are by nature sharers. Adult Child of an Alcoholic? You’re probably just following the family tradition of dysfunction. It manifests itself all over your life, and you don’t even drink. The dysfunction is learned behavior, passed down from generation to generation. If you want to change your life, you can learn a new behavior. It took me a long, long time to unlearn behaviors that no longer served my life. Once I learned my truth, life has been so incredible. I believe I was in the dark all those years, struggling with who I was and who I attracted, I wasn’t ready to see I played a part in all of it. Not playing that game anymore.

I’m also reading a lot about creating new habits. It is very hard to do that if you historically have done the opposite, that is, discouraged new habits. Being positive and forward thinking is hard to do, you need a lot of practice. Before I started thinking for myself, I was negative. I thought all people were. I thought all adults were.

I thought love always hurt. That’s what all the music I listened to told me. I saw examples all around me. I came to expect hurt and disappointment in love. Movies always portrayed dramatic arguments between couples, “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” I heartily disagree with that statement. Love Story was the movie people talked about when I married young (19). Now that I’m a grown woman, I’ve learned.

Love is exactly why you have to say you’re sorry.

You will be surprised by what you hear.

Forgiveness is for you, not for them. It doesn’t let them off the hook, it doesn’t mean you have to accept treatment that is abusive, verbally and certainly not physically. Abuse starts out verbal. That’s what kept someone like me under control. I’d go along to get along, never thinking there was a choice. Now I see nothing but choices. Time changes everything. So does knowledge. And self-esteem.

When the Babe’s mom was clearing out her home before going to the nursing home, she made a photo album for each of her kids. It was so fun to look back at the Babe’s life in photos. An ornery little tow headed kid, dimples galore, and such an impish grin. Handsome, strong, young. We all were once. It was beautiful photos of him holding his children the first time, coming home from Vietnam, gathering with his extended family, and the like. When he turned the page to his second marriage, his mom said, “Oh, I should have cut Debbie out of these.”

I told her, “Oh, it’s ok, I have a past, too. I’m with him now, that’s all that matters to me. The Debbie years have been over for quite a while.”

I joked with her when we got to the photos I was in, “Now we’re in the Kathy years!” She laughed. How I miss that beautiful lady. She raised a good man. And his brother. And two good women in his sisters. We don’t see them nearly enough. The Babe’s sister-in-law passed about six months after his mom did. She was adamant we need to seek each other out, keep the connections alive. She was right. Miss her, too.

It’s a good feeling to forgive past loves, past friends, past hurts. It doesn’t mean you forget. You need to remember what people are capable of to forgive them. That keeps you from repeating the mistake. And yes, they were mistakes. Situations that happened are over, please work to put them in their proper places. Forgiveness. A mighty gift you give yourself.

I love the sentiment expressed here!

This is a great sentiment. I would change it to read: “Because I do not want to live without you.” We are both grown enough to know life will go on without each other. One of us will be left alone when one of us dies. That is what we mean by this. I’m delighted to be the last. Trust me, we have words. We get mad at each other. We get over it quickly. We try to live every day like it could be our last together. No regrets that way. It’s never, ever too late!

My wish for all of my single friends: May you find the kind of love you need and want. I know it’s hard. When you least expect it, you will find it. Be open. Protect your heart, though. It will happen. Like you, I was skeptical (maybe even negative). I was never more wrong in my life. You will see. Message or comment to me when it happens for you.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. Keep distancing, masking, washing hands, sanitizing, and being safe. No political agenda here. Just want you all to be healthy. If you are, then I am. And I’ll be one step closer to being able to meet our newest grandson. Yes! Be safe. See you tomorrow!

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.

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.