Mastery Monday

Good Monday Morning! I’m trying to use different words, still starting with “M” to call Monday besides Marvelous. Do you have any suggestions for me? I have a thesaurus, but they’re not set up that way – all the suggestions begin with a different letter. Darn! They’re not Marginal, or even Meager, at least not if I’m trying to be positive! Measurable, possibly, Medicinal, surely! No way they’re Melancholic, Melodramatic or Menial, but could be Mellow, Memorable, or Model. What will you choose as your Monday?

I’m selecting Mastery. In being a creative person, I seek to Master the quilt I’m making, here’s a “so far” photo:

The Poppies Quilt for Our Living Room
Still a Work In Progress

This is a little bit at a time project, since in between we’re letting the dogs in and out, seeing what the dogs are barking at, sitting still so the dogs will go to sleep, then napping ourselves, it’s all just a bit crazy. Peace will reign again, my friends, just hope it’s sooner than later. So, I hope to Master the little bits and pieces I can get accomplished today. I’m also going to assemble the goods to make a fabric mask or two for the Babe and myself. I’m hoping to talk my mom into wearing one when she goes to the store. I know, ideally she should be staying at home. We’ve told her that. She said she doesn’t worry about the virus. But she should. We all should. And I certainly don’t want to catch it. But if she insists on going out, she should at least wear a darned mask.

So Monday is a “Mastery” Monday, where I’m working my darndest to Master the Masks, my quilt, and some book writing/editing. Tomorrow may be “Tiger Tuesday,” where we watch more of the Tiger King. So far, I think the TK and that woman are in cahoots with each other. It’s all publicity stunts, over and over. They’re quite colorful, aren’t they? They make so much off of those poor cubs. I don’t see why people want their pictures with wild animals. You cannot even be sure a well trained family dog won’t bite you should a situation go terribly wrong, much less a wild animal. It seems perhaps those older men who had the younger guys live with them and gave them access to the animals used them to lure those young men and women into their beds, homes, and lifestyles. Sad. They not only prey on the animals, they prey on vulnerable people, too. Not good.

Although the sun is not out today, my scene brightens when a goldfinch flies across the yard. Against the brown of the trees and bushes in the Wetlands behind our house, the brilliant yellow of those birds lights up the background. It’s beautiful, and is a nice reward for feeding them. The little red house finches all sit in the branches of our Linden Tree (About fifteen feet from the deck and patio), and sing at the deck and patio. They’re so pretty and very proud of their songs. Already, so much right at our back door to be grateful for, and therefore be happy about.

That reminds me! I have two more quilts to finish for hanging in the house. One is embroidered blocks with Swarovski crystals hand sewn onto for embellishment. The blocks are Hibiscus flowers. The other quilt is of a Goldfinch. Both simply need layering, pinning, and quilting. Very near done. I should make every effort to finish those by the end of this COVID-19 pandemic. There. I said it out loud, so that will hold my feet to the fire to get it done! Baby steps every day. We’ll all get there. Just keep at it. Don’t give up! Dreams of finished projects can get us through to the other side. Finished quilts, books, artwork, music, whatever you can do, just do it. We’ll all be fine when this is over. Remind me, should I forget, ok?

We all have a bit to do, don’t we? Then let’s get about our business. I really appreciate your taking time from your day to read the blog. I enjoy seeing that people really are reading and relating. If you think of it, share it with your friends, and encourage them to like and follow, also. We can all cheer each other, encourage each other, and watch each other bloom. I’ll be back tomorrow, hope to see you and your friends, too. Take care!

Groceries, Doctor, and more!

How was your Monday?? Ours was a little crazy, I’m hoping Tuesday is a little more laid back. (It wasn’t!) Dan’s nurse came yesterday, and I misunderstood so the cleaning lady came too, instead of today. It worked out. Goldie needed to go to the Vet, and Dan to the Post to do some work. We loaded up Goldie in her kennel, and took off to let him do payroll at the Post, we went to Blair with Goldie to see the vet. He prescribed a couple of medications for her, and a special food that is supposed to change the environment of the GI tract. It’s all about medicine and science nowadays. Still hoping Goldie will get over this quickly and not have issues anymore. We kind of need a break!

We picked up Addison from school, stopped for late lunch, and were going to stop to buy the Thanksgiving fixings. Until we saw the line of cars lined up to turn into Walmart in Gretna. And decided to go this morning instead. Dan sees his doctor, so we will go right after that.

Today’s visit to the surgeon is to check on the amount of healing the wound vac has accomplished and determine how much long it’s needed. I know the Babe is tired of not driving. He is taking pain pills when the surgery site is dealt with. He is not supposed to drive while on those pills. I can tell they change his thinking and reaction time. It isn’t safe. I can’t blame him for being antsy, he’s been pretty patient thus far. It’s going to be over soon, I hope, for his sake. He deserves to feel better.

We have sort of laughed sometimes about “what else can go wrong?” Remember my son’s apartment going up in flames before his birthday in October?? He is doing ok, got his insurance settlement, and is getting settled in the new place. Until the car broke down. Just out of warranty, the catalytic converter went out. A big chunk of cash to fix that baby. What rotten luck! He deserves for things to go better for him, too.

Breaking News!!!! Dan has been removed from the wound vac!! He’s happy about that. And he can drive again. Glad to be rid of that huge, gaping wound on his groin. He still knows it’s there, and the skin can recover from the clear tape that has held him together the past month or so. Whew!! Now, I’m going to wonder what to do with all my spare time. HAH!!

NaNoWriMo is still on my horizon for finishing Saturday. I was a bit short Monday, because I wasn’t able to start writing until 6 p.m. It’s very doable. I need 2,972 words for today. I’d like to add another 765 to that to make up for being short yesterday. Don’t forget!! I’m drawing for a $50 Visa Gift Card giveaway on Sunday, December 1, 2019, at NOON. You can get two entries a day, just like my post, and leave a comment. It won’t hurt a bit.

I thank you so very much for reading my post today. I received a very nice message from our grandson Joell. He loved being featured in yesterday’s blog. I tell you, that boy is going to the Olympics as a swimmer! He will make Mark Spitz (1972) look like a slacker. Michael Phillips, too. Thank you so much, I’m hoping you’ll come back tomorrow. Lots to talk about the next few days.

Three Young Sailors

Back in the Korean War, three young men from South Omaha, Nebraska, set out on the journey of their lives. Soon, they were trained in Naval flight deck procedures and set off to protect their country. Two were brothers, Joseph and James Conrad. And a fellow named Bob Blakeman. All three served on the USS Essex. I never knew this bit of family history until my uncle, Joe Conrad, passed away a few years ago. The Honor Guard from Benson VFW Post 2503 provided Military rites at his service, along with the Honor Guard from the Omaha Police Department.

The next time I saw Bob Blakeman, he and his wife, Mabel Vankat, were at the VFW. Bob told me about his connection to Joe Conrad, and asked how Jim was doing as well.

James (left) and Joseph (right) Conrad

I posted this photo on Facebook for Mabel to show Bob. In her nineties, Mabel was up on FB and loved it. Back to the story though, it was awesome to know the three men had a connection, and I knew them all. That sort of thing happens frequently in South Omaha. Everyone is connected in some way or another. Directions are given by “You know where Darby’s is?? Go up the hill across from it, and you’ll find our house.” Bars are the way to find your way around, and Lord knows there were enough of them.

Bob Blakeman felt awful he was not physically able to attend my uncle’s funeral. It really touched my heart. That’s how these older veterans are. If they knew someone, they felt they should see them home. Band of Brothers and then some.

The next person to lose was Bob himself. He had many struggles with health issues, making it difficult for him to get around, Mabel had to drive, his prosthesis didn’t fit or work properly. Struggles that were hard to witness. And such a nice man. I think he didn’t give compliments readily, but when he acknowledged the job my husband Dan was doing as the Post Quartermaster, he told him he was doing a good job, and thanked him. You could tell he meant it.

All that was left was Jim Conrad. He just passed away this week. I immediately thought of these three young kids, these three musketeers, these three amigos from South Omaha. I hope they have one heck of a reunion, reunited and swapping stories for eternity. We here on earth will miss the three of you. Thank you all for what you did for the world, the United States Navy, the Korean War, your families, friends, and the folks you were kind to. This world is a better place for your kindness. Be kind to people today, it’s National Kindness Day, and it would be a great way to remember these three kids in uniform.

A photo, an Eagle, and Bob’s favorite beverage at his table in the Canteen. It took my breath away. God Bless Him.
Joseph Conrad was laid to rest next to his wife, Lois. VFW Post 2503 Honor Guard and the Omaha Police Department provided honors for this good man. God Bless You, Uncle Joe.

And now, Jim’s family will be laying him to rest too. Thank you, God, for allowing all three of these kids in uniform to come home, meet their sweethearts, and raise families, contribute to their communities, and help make the world a better place.

Today is National Kindness Day. Be kind to people today. It would be a great way to honor these three kids in uniform. Please leave a comment, like this post, and like the Blog, please. You’ll be entered (limited to once a day) for every comment and every like (limited to once a day) to win a $50 Visa Gift Card, in honor of NaNoWriMo. Drawing is December 1, 2019. Who couldn’t use an extra $50 at this time of year?? Thank you for reading, I appreciate it very much.

A Wedding Kind of Friday

Looking forward to going to a wedding later today. My nephew Don Kraft is marrying Carrie Grinnell. I would be correct in saying she is the love of his life. They have known each other since high school.

When Don’s mother died of oral cancer, it was a few days before Don’s birthday. She didn’t make it to his high school graduation because she had a terrible bout of being very ill that day. Don never complained, or acted out because of that. He just made his life plans, and set about completing them. And boy, did he have plans. And perfect execution. He deserves all the great things that come to him.

After starting at UNO, Don entered the USAF shortly thereafter. Talk about a man with a plan! He has always been a fabulous student, every teacher’s dream I would think. He planned to commit to the Air Force and planned to have them pay for his schooling later on. And after leaving the service of our country, he went to nursing school. He excelled at all of it. He had a very good reason and inspiration to go into nursing. His mother, Laura. His mom fought hard against a cancer that plagued her family. There is no better profession for a man like Don. He is very caring, attentive, and acts purposely. He gathers information, assesses, and makes a plan of action.

Don (right), what a great experience for him.

And so today, after waiting for each other since high school, after each becoming successful people in their own areas of expertise, after getting a house, planning their future, and working together, he is going to marry Carrie. After all, he proposed in Italy last year, where they went on holiday. You can bet he had it all planned out.

Carrie and Don. Congratulations!

Don and Carrie, Dan and I wish you every wonderful thing in life that you can imagine, and plan for. You will weather the bad things, you already have. The whole family is happy for you, and know you will be best friends forever, and an example for young or old people. Seriously. Keep loving each other more every day. The rest will come in it’s due time.

Much love,

Aunt Kathy

The Human Body . . .

God’s very best creation.

I have always been fascinated by our human body. It’s an awesome mix of mechanics, electricity conduction, anatomy and physiology, and I am a constant student of this magical mystery.

As I wrote earlier, Dan had a heart cath in early October. The femoral artery didn’t close properly. He had some bleeding, had an ultrasound, diagnosis, and went under the knife. It’s very painful with all the staples in for another week. He is slowly healing, and just wants to be over this. Our neighbor said he’s earned about ten years of good health. That would be great!

What kind of books do you like to read?? I love crime stories, true crime, cop stories, mysteries, historical fiction, history, and based on true events books. And of course, anything educational about the human body.

What am I writing? A realistic fiction book. It details memories and events that happened in a home as a family grew up and older. It is called “These Walls DO Talk.”  It follows a woman through the rooms of the family home, as she is taking one last look. The memories of a lifetime flood into her and she sees how she has grown and learned about life. Her life. She has learned her value. And has answered hate and discontent with love and acceptance.

I am also working on some books to introduce children and families to grieving in a healthy manner. Events such as the loss of a dog can be a child’s first experience with loss. It is best to be honest with them.

There is also book about losing a grandparent on a major holiday. It is very hard to recover from a loss like that. This is a true story, and I have a co-author for that one. It is a labor of love.

My very first book idea for children is called “Bonus Grandma’s.” It is about a little boy trying to understand why he had six Grandma’s instead of only two. He and his cousins talk about families, step parents, and the positive things about large families.

These projects are like adding to my family. More siblings for our kids. I hope you like them. Please, tell me what you think about any and all of these ideas. After all, if people won’t read them, no one will know these stories.

As always, please comment and let me know your thoughts. Thank you for reading. I appreciate your time.

Simply Sunday

Today is one of my favorite days of my life. Forty eight years ago, I became a Mom.

For some reason, my water broke at 6:30 am, and my son arrived at 12:26 pm. Yes. First baby, 6 hours of labor. Very fortunate. I just love this kid. I was 19 years old. We grew up together. He has a strength I admire.

I had another great event happen on this, one of my favorite days. It was the day I became cancer free – by having a lumpectomy. My husband Dan insisted on holding my hand through the needle biopsy, and they let him. The doctor told him she was sure it wasn’t cancer. He believed her.

A few days later, she called to tell me it was cancerous. I was to see a surgeon. No apology for mis-diagnosing. I was very upset. So was Dan.

So we scheduled the lumpectomy with the surgeon. I’m told what a beautiful job he did despite removing a baseball size margin around where the tumor was. Those cells had spread. The lump could not be felt, it showed on the mammogram.

We got rid of the cancer. 33 radiation treatments later, and 8 years of Arimidex/Anastrazole, here I am. It has been 10 years. I am grateful every day. I sometimes can’t believe God spared me. I pray He continues to do so.

No one tells you how the radiation causes pain. Lots of pain. I have lymphoedema, but not in my arm. My right breast swells and is extremely tender. It took eight years to find that out. The oncologist told me the pain was from radiation. He retired, and my new oncologist said, no, you have lymphedema. Amazing. No wonder they say you want a young doctor and an old attorney.

And the hormone blocking medication?? It has put a crimp in our intimacy. No one had an answer for my questions about that, until a nurse told me about a female doctor (PhD) who treats this sexual dysfunction. It’s caused from medication that is intended to save your life. All while dramatically changing that life forever. Go figure.

I am extremely grateful. I do wish someone would have been upfront about these devastating side effects ten years ago. I probably would have chosen the same course of treatment. I just would have known about the side effects.

It occurred to me that if you do not have chemo, the office, nurses, techs, and even the doctors, do not know you by name. The radiation oncologist and techs do. They see you on a daily basis and the doc sees you once a week. You do not see the techs anymore, but you do see that doc. The oncologist sees you every three or four months. Then six months. Once a year. And then doesn’t need to see you. Then what?

It’s a chapter in life I had to go through. Sometimes I do wonder if it will come back. It can, even twenty years later. We will deal with it if it comes. There is no other choice. Until then, we pray. A lot.

For now, still working on Dan’s recovery from a pseudo aneurysm surgery last week. The staples are in a very bad place. Uncomfortable as heck. Two doctor visits this week. Staples out next week.

My son will find out when they are able to remove any salvageable items this week, hopefully tomorrow. Lots of hard work ahead of him. He is a very positive and strong man. I’d like to think he gets that from me!

We are grateful for this day and all of the memories that come with it. My heart is very full for the love in my family for one another. Being this fortunate is such a gift.

Do you have any special days you celebrate? Share with my by leaving a comment. Share my blog with your friends, too. I’d appreciate it, like I appreciate my readers and visitors. Have a great week.

In Sickness and in Health

For everyone who takes these vows, many are young and vibrant, some are mid-life and still doing well. And then there are those of us, who in middle age, meet and marry the loves of our lives but . . .

But we know full well that both our spouse and ourselves have some health issues that may loom at any moment.

The happiest day ever. Still an honor to be this guy’s wife.

For us, Dan has ischemic heart disease. That comes with a lot of ups and downs. By the grace of God, he has not had a heart attack.

What he has had is a roller coaster of procedures and scares. What WE have had. We are equals and partners. We are here for each other no matter what. Much easier said than done.

Two weeks ago, Dan had a heart cath to see if he had any blockages since the quad bypass five years ago. No blockages, yay!

However, two weeks later, after too much tenderness at the site he returned to the doctor. Ultrasound reveals a psuedo aneurysm. Since the site was bleeding internally, it required surgery to get the bleeding stopped and clean out the area. More recovering for a guy who’s already been through the mill.

Last summer, he had a stroke followed by an left carototid endarterectomy. That was very scary. His stroke was at the base of the brain, causing a visual field blackout. This healed and recovered about 95%, so he can drive again.

It’s been one thing after another, and men may have less patience to recover. Their pride is hurt. They are slower to admit they’re scared or apprehensive. They may not want to be patient while recovering. They may be so angry they’re not 100%, a normally upbeat person could become a crabby old curmudgeon. It happens.

That’s where that vow comes in. A little complaining is normal, but no one can be verbally abusive and be normal. Abuse is never acceptable. Ever. A reminder is in order about what’s appropriate and what isn’t.

Encouragement and positive reinforcement of the patient to recover is vital. It’s exhausting for the caregiver. Take care of yourself. You cannot give when you are tapped out. Take time out for you.

It’s not all been Dan’s issues. I’ve had a bunch. Orthopedic, cancer, a lesion on my spinal cord in the neck area that could have been MS but wasn’t, and he has given care beyond what I could hope for.

We’re good together. I’m praying it will go on for a very long time.

He’s only a dancer once in awhile.

Thank you for reading. I’d love your comments, we can encourage you as well. That’s why we are all here, to be kind to each other, and help each other, within respectable boundaries. Have a happy Wednesday!