Sunny Sunday!

Greetings from the Home Office Studio in Gretna, Nebraska! It is a scrumptious day out there, a bit chilly, but the sun is shining. That makes all the difference in the world. As you know, with all this social distancing going on we are not able to go out to movies, shopping, stop off and have a beverage, and go see our favorite musical entertainment. I shared yesterday about our friend, Jimmy Weber, who did a gig last night from his home. It was so good to hear him sing live again! The seating was great, no lines at the ladies room, and they stocked our favorite beverages! There were a couple technical issues, but that stuff is even happening to Netflix these days. (Buffering is still alive and annoying while watching your favorite series’ new season!). That aside, he sang a lot of his new songs that will be recorded later this year in Nashville. Hope they’re ready for you, Jimmy! Stay well.

Today, our friend Rick Tiger and a friend are on FB Live from 4 to 6 p.m. Tune in, you’ll know you’ve heard Rick’s songs before. He’s written a treasure trove of them. He’s a good guy, and you’ll feel you’ve known him forever. Thanks in advance for supporting our friends!

While high school athletes and seniors mourn the loss of their time in the sun, there are couples all over the world who are having to postpone the most important day of their lives together – their weddings. I truly feel sorry for them as weddings are something they look forward to for months and even years. How disappointing to have quarantines in place, where no more than ten people can gather together. Some can’t even include their entire families!

Which brings me to the point of this story. My cousins Mike and Mary have four grown kids, three girls and a boy. The son is in college, so they’re all grown for the most part. Their oldest had a wedding scheduled for yesterday, April 4. After much discussion, they went forward with the ceremony, in the groom’s parents yard. They were so blessed to have such a pretty day. From the photos, it was a beautiful wedding. They adjusted. They got through it. They didn’t like having to change their plans, but they did. They were grateful and everything went well. That’s what being married is about. Things don’t always go the way you want, but a compromise is found, and you go on, being grateful for the gift of each other. It’s a testament to their parents and to Marc and Katelynn too, for picking out the important part and going with it. You kids are off to a great start.

In addition to adjusting, you also need to keep your sense of humor in marriage. The Babe and I have found it to be our most important and most used tool in the arsenal. While going through the photos online, we were blessed with this one. It was the groom’s idea, and it truly speaks to their sense of humor and grace, and will be a story to tell their grandkids about. I absolutely love this!!

What a great way to start a (COVID-19) marriage.
With laughter!

Do me a favor? If you get down in the dumps over all this staying at home, come back to this blog post, and have a good laugh on Katelynne and Marc! Congratulations to them!

It ought to be interesting, my cousins Mike and Mary have another daughter getting married in August, 2020. I wish them the best of luck in keeping their schedule amidst this looming crisis. This is a family who believes in their faith, the goodness of God, and the kindness of people. They will all be ok. I hope the same for all of us.

Better days are coming again.
Be aware and receive them fully.

At the present moment, I have to say, this isn’t the worst bad time I’ve had – yet. Sometimes, as a single mom, I thought we might go bankrupt, but that worst never happened. Sometimes, as a single mom, I prayed my kids would have enough of a teacher in me that they would break the stereotype of “bad kids come from broken homes,” and they grew up good, responsible citizens. (I still hate the term “broken homes”to this day). Sometimes, as a breast cancer patient, I was afraid the cancer would have a mind of it’s own, destroying my life and taking me from this earth, but it didn’t. The list goes on and on of the things that would qualify as my worst hard/bad time. Yes, many could have happened, but by the grace of God, they did not. I am praying for all of us, that this global pandemic, is not any of our worst hard times.

Thank you for reading today. I hope it made your heart a bit lighter. I appreciate you very much, and hope to see you again tomorrow. Who knows what fun we’ll have then? I’ll be here.

Thankful Thursday

Hi, friends. Hope you’re staying amused, being productive, and getting done what you need to. I know I’m not. Well, I am, and I’m not. The sun and warm went away this morning, and now we could have freezing rain/snow. After this virus outbreak and quarantine, nothing surprises me. How could it? About the time we think we’ve seen everything, something comes along and trumps the last event. I love talking to my oldest, who will be fifty years old next year. He has a good memory of things from his youth. He actually remembers the awful tunnel at 84th and I-80. Remember it? He remembers going to Brandies when he was three to see Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory displays. He remembers being afraid of some of the characters in Star Wars. It makes me laugh when he wonders what’s wrong with kids nowadays. For those conversations, I am so thankful.

English – the hardest language to learn.

I’m glad I grew up in a family of readers. My parents both read every chance they got. We were good at looking stuff up in the dictionary and encyclopedias. Dad never told us how to spell something. His philosophy was start where you think it should be. Then, if it’s not there, look further until you find it. You’ll become familiar with so many more words. Good advice, although we disliked it at the time. He would be so amazed by PC’s today. I wish he could have lived long enough to have had one. It would have been fun to help him learn how to use it. It’s hard to hear about kids who don’t read, or who don’t like to. It is so much harder when you dislike it. Dad also used to say if you could read you could do anything. There is 100 % truth to that. Directions, reading a recipe, reading a dress pattern, putting together a car, model airplane, whatever you need to do, you usually have to be able to read to accomplish it. I’m thankful to the gift of reading.

And the meme above points out an important thing about reading. For as difficult as English is, you must be able to know read from read, excuse from excuse, and so on. Would that be in language class? I truly don’t remember. Wherever it’s taught, I’m thankful to have learned it.

I sort of led my life backwards, compared to how some of my classmates lived. I married very early, had three kids by the age of 27, and was divorced at 30. I attended college classes for a long, long time and graduated from college in 1995. Twenty-five years after graduating from high school. It’s the only thing I ever regretted, was not being able to graduate from college. Dad told me, “Just keep working at it, you’ll get it done.” He was right. I’m so thankful he gave that advice and that I followed it. It meant a lot to me.

Of course, I’m thankful for the Babe. This being quarantined at home tries everyone’s patience, but there still is no one I’d rather be quarantined with. No one else may be able to put up with me, you know? It works two ways. We are watching Netflix, we finished the Ranch, are watching Ozark, it’s really good. I don’t know if we’ll watch the Tiger King or not. There is certainly a lot of hub-bub about it. What do you think? Watch it or skip it? The promos remind me of the Jerry Springer Show. Or Honey Boo Boo. Or hokey stuff like that.

Today hasn’t been that great of a day. The weather change was predicted by the fibromyalgia/arthritis combination and is currently about to put me down for the count. Even with the Super Arthritis Formula 650 mg. Acetometaphine the Babe brought home for me to try. I took two. Haven’t started to work yet and it’s been a couple hours. Wow. How are people who have this fibro stuff supposed to know when they have body aches? It’s a sign of the virus, yet so many of us live with conditions that already cause a lot of pain. How does one tell?

Maybe it’s time to go sit by the fire and read. That’s it, boys and girls. Hope you have a good rest of the evening, and I’ll do the same. Thanks for reading, be grateful, wash your hands, come back tomorrow. I’ll be here, too. And for all that, I’m grateful, too.

Wednesday Already?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunny Saturday

It is a beautiful blue-sky, sunny day in Gretna, Nebraska. The day reminds me of one that starts out cool and turns beautiful. Like when you rise early and load the car to go on vacation. You remember vacations! I imagine we’ll all want to go on one when this Coronavirus is over. It could be awhile.

I’ve always thought these to be stunning, but not too functional. Perhaps their time has come?
This is pretty much all on my mind today.
Blog, write, and later some block sewing. And thinking of our grandkids. I’m missing them all!

The kids and grandkids are all on my mind this morning. I’m praying for all of them, hoping all are well and going to stay that way. In the family are: a chef, a Federal Law Enforcement Officer, his stay at home wife who is a great homeschooler, a truck driver, a real estate agent, two who manage trucking of railway goods delivered to trainyards by the Union Pacific railroad (essential personnel), a health care worker, and a project manager director. Some of them are parents of our four grandkids, two in Omaha area, one in Maryland, one in Colorado. That’s a lot of diversity and some important, essential people on that list. They may be more exposed than most, and we have to keep living our lives. With common sense at the helm.

Common sense for them will be adequate distance from others while on the job, probably avoiding the subways, and washing their hands – a lot. All we can do is check in on them once in awhile and pray we’ll all come out on the other side of this ok. I believe we will. If not, we will learn how to deal with the end results.

The Babe tells me the last time he felt this way was in Vietnam. Not having any idea of what will happen is the feeling of loss of control. I get it. My feeling of loss of control was in December, 1995, when I had a tumor compressing my spinal cord and in a week lost the ability to walk without assistance. That was the worst feeling in the world, as my daughter was still at home. My sons had just moved into an apartment. I had to get better for my kids. And for me. The Babe had his wife, Sandy to come home to. He was never the same for her.

I would bet every adult who has had a feeling like this is having flashbacks, dreams, whatever there is that tells us we know this could go very badly. Acknowledge them. Don’t let yourself dwell on them, though. Yes, we were afraid after 9/11. We need to remember how we, as a country of free individuals, came to a new normal. A new normal of a free people. We will do that again. Things will not be the same as they are now. Hopefully we will be appreciative of people who really matter in life. Doctors, scientists, first responders, nurses, truck drivers, train operators , and our military all keep our counntry going. It’s time we reorient our thinking to look up to people who really make a difference in our every day life, not sports figures, movie stars, celebrities, and people who are famous for absolutely nothing. I find it very sad we need to get a Kardashian to go on social media to get young people to understand they need to stay home while school is out. It tells me some have lost their concept of real life. You won’t find it on a reality show, despite all you hear on social media or television or in the movies.

In the meantime, keep yourself busy with positive things. Create something with words, music, paints, anything you may have around you. Be inventive. Write a note to your Grandma or Great Uncle and mail it. They will love it! Talk across the fence to your neighbors. Take your dog for a walk. It’ll do you both good. Get some fresh air. Thank you for reading. I’ll be here tomorrow and hope you are, too. Now for some creating!

These folks have my deepest respect and admiration.

Throwback Tuesday (3-3-1961)

I’ll never forget how mad I was this day in 1961. Our mom was at the hospital getting a new baby. I wanted a sister. I already had two brothers. One older, one younger. I thought it was time for a sister. My friends all had at least one. Why couldn’t I have one?

I vividly remember getting ready for school, Grandpa Jewell would drive us to school. We spent the night at his house because our dad was at the hospital with Mom. I’ll never standing in Grandma’s kitchen, next to the sin, and our dad came through their door and said, “Mom had a boy. You have a new brother!” My eyes immediately filled with tears. I turned around and walked fast up the stairs to the bathroom. I cried it all out. My older brother was happy, my younger brother Steve didn’t understand yet, and I was devastated. I got over it when Mom brought this creature home. Sort of.

There is always something about babies. Many people love them. Many people don’t. It’s all good. I happen to love them. Over the years I helped Mom with the creature and learned to entertain him while she was busy. Dad worked nights, so we had a very different schedule and home life than anyone else we knew. Timothy Michael and I became friends. Best friends. We can count on each other. It’s a wonderful relationship. I’m blessed. He’s blessed.


My baby brother, Tim. Happy 59th Birthday, Man!

Like many kids of the 60’s and 70’s, Tim had some moments of bad behavior. He has learned from them and made amends. He was married to his kindergarten sweetheart from 1996 until she passed away from cancer. He’s a widower now. I’m sad she is gone, because she was a sister to me. It was a role I didn’t know enough about for a long time. Laura had a beautiful heart and she loved my brother deeply. I know he loved her the same. He was a wonderful caregiver for her.

Tim’s wife Laura on their wedding day, 1999.

Time has passed and we still miss her. One day, I know, he will meet someone again and have a beautiful rest of the story with her. It just takes time for things to be right. Tim and I laugh about a lot of things, and we have each other’s backs. Our dad is proud of him, I know. Tim changed his life from what it was in the 80s to what it is now. And now it’s good. He’s kind, generous, caring, a hard worker, a good friend, an honest man, and lives up to what Dad told me about Tim before he died, “Tim’s going to be ok.” Yes, yes he is.

This is a great day to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, milestones, and life in general. I love Tim’s positivity, and the fact he can laugh when he’s rather be grumpy. There are so many ways he reminds me of our dad. In all the good ways. I know Dad’s smiling on you, Tim. He knew before any of us that you would be the good man you are. Happy Birthday! Love you. And thanks. Because of you, I always had my own room!

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. Hope you will stop back again tomorrow, so we can visit again. I’ll be here.

Ahhhh Sunday!

Today is a special day for my cousin’s family. We gathered at a local winery to have a wedding shower for his oldest daughter. What a happy family. They have two daughters getting married this year! Mike and his wife Mary are taking it in stride. They are one of the best couples you could ever find. They are very devoted to the Knights of Colombus, and have traveled well with the group. Mike has been blessed to kiss the ring of the Pope during a special audience. What an honor!

Mom will be in her glory, since she is the elder of this tribe. She loves to see the kids, their kids, and grandkids. All of her sisters will be watching from heaven. Aunt Lois will play jokes on everyone. Aunt Carol will be in the food line four times, claiming each trip is for another person each time. Aunt Judy will be making funny faces at any babies present. I miss my aunts, and am glad for all the good memories with each of them. Aunt Lois and Uncle Joe in particular would have been so proud of the events of the day. Cousin Mike is the host with the most, just in line behind his dad, who was the quintessential host of all time. Such good memories.

Brides are so happy at their showers. Katelynn look stunning! She had the most beautiful off white lace dress on, I loved it. Can’t wait to see her wedding dress. My late Aunt Carol told me about her granddaughter in Rapid City, who is getting married at a later date, and said, “It’s so nice to see a young couple so in love and working together, when they are just starting out.” She was right. Sometimes you get jaded or forget the thrill or just don’t think about the spark anymore. My cousins are happy people and happy couples. The men married to the girls were all present in another room. They jumped into action when it came time to clean up the room and carry stuff to the cars. I know Lois and Joe were smiling down from heaven. Their six noisy, crazy, good people kids, are all doing fine. You can tell they had good teachers of good values, caring, and taking care of each other. We didn’t get to meet the new baby in the family, but her mama was wise to stay home, she doesn’t want to expose the baby to any flu or strange germs. I don’t blame her, babies are too precious, and that’s a parents job, protect those babies! We’ll meet her later. Stay safe, sweet baby!

I realized yesterday, I’ve hit a milestone of sorts with my novel re-write. I’ve got 40K words now! That’s up about 6K, so it seems I’m making more progress than I thought. Love when that happens! Tomorrow is a morning with the house cleaning crew, so I’ll be entertaining the pups while the girls clean the house up and down. So fortunate to be able to afford this service. It helps me so much.

More novel work tomorrow, hoping time permits. And I’m seriously behind on the I Create Daily Art Challenge for February, 2020. I need some serious catching up. Need to locate the jean jacket pattern I bought to make a dusty pink jean jacket from. There is enough for pants, too. The fabric is a yummy soft draping stretchy denim. Hope to at least get it cut out during February. Folks, it’s a problem when you like a lot of different creative things. Hope to coordinate them someday. Soon.

In the meantime, if you live in town or close to family, plan an event like a pot luck where everyone brings a dish and gets together. The sooner the better. Life is so scattered anymore, keep in touch with the people who came from where you came. Who came from the same folks you did. Their kids and grandkids will have a rich history, and lots of memories to fall back on.

Thanks for reading today, I appreciate it so much. Have a great Sunday evening, and I’ll see you here tomorrow. Good Evening!

Super Bowl Sunday

STOP!! This has nothing do to with the football game later today, except to say I’ll be watching later. I’ve become a fan of Patrick Mahomes, and admire this very young man for how he is handling the intense spotlight. He comes from good stock, as his father was a professional baseball for the Minnesota Twins. It’s a great story. Hard, hard work, dedication, confidence, humility, generosity towards others, it’s all there. This is a story like many others of us who work day after day. Month after month. Year after year. Some of it is very hard and others never see it. As we build our foundations concrete block by concrete block, others resort to the poured walls method we see in construction now. It’s a quick way to get the job done, with fewer materials and less (much less) labor costs. Many block and brick layers are no longer in business, but the trade misses them. Just like many trades today. Hurting for skilled, dedicated workers, who are not afraid of hard work, and who will go the extra mile to do the job right. I have always been a huge fan of men (and now women) who can work with their hands. We need them all desperately.

Part of what we need is the mindset that comes with those professions. Not afraid to get dirty. They are really artists when you get down to it. A framer can eyeball things and often come up with the right measurement and right angle to cut the wood. Just to be safe, they measure and cut. Yes, mistakes are sometimes made, but not like people who have no idea what to do or how to do it. It’s that way when trying to learn new skills. Whether it be carpentry, block and brick wall building, quilting, writing, sewing garments, or blogging. Practice is needed. Sometimes years of practice. And the better materials you can afford, the better your outcome. But you can still do the job if you have budget concerns.

My family is a family of people who learned how to do many things by building and creating. My dad owned a full service gas station and garage after WWII. He sold it before he went to Korea. He could always listen to an older engine or drive the car and tell you what could be wrong with it. He was skilled that way. He could work with electricity in the house, (plumbing, not so much), building walls, (finishing and refinishing woodwork, he could do it all. My brothers have followed suit. My mother sewed a lot of our clothes. She did flower arranging about twenty years ago, when she was a youngster of 70. My older brother was good with cars and due to his small stature, ran many of the first computer cables in the old Omaha World Herald building in the 1980s when the computer age was beginning. He is good at the guts and workings of some electronic things. A younger brother worked as a machinist, a draftsman, and now works for that gutter guard company. The youngest brother works for CAT, or whatever they’re calling themselves these days. He is a mechanic, and is very good. His people skills make him perfect for the customer service he provides. They’re all good guys. I’m a lucky sister, indeed.

Then you get to me. Growing up, I learned embroidery, as did many young girls in my time. I learned to sew in high school, and even sewed wool suits for my career in computers (coding, application development, etc.) because I was a single mom with three kids. It’s how I could afford to dress for the next job I wanted. I was glad some of those homemaking skills were so handy. Now, the kids are raised, two grandkids need rides or watching weekly, and two live too far to participate daily in their lives. I always thought I’d have a constant influx like my grandmothers did. Nope, didn’t happen. Now what? Learn new stuff. Learn how to reinvent yourself.

I was delighted earlier today to see a Facebook Post that depicted a 98 year old woman in London who had her opening art show. Yes, at 98! Ahem! That phrase across my face at the top of this blog?

I’m not too old, and it’s not too late!

Click link for article about the 98 year old artist.

So commences the I Art Daily challenge from my friends at I Create Daily. Yesterday, I prepped fabrics for the Snowball Quilt I’m making. I’m allowing one day a week to sew this beauty. I only want to finish by next winter, so no hurry. And I dug my milk crate full of art supplies out of the closet in my studio. Going to jump in today, did a little planning yesterday.

Ah, the possibilities!

Sometimes in planning, we need to look back at last month just to see where we are. I’m further along than I ever dreamed I would be. One goal in 90 days was to learn more about Social Media promotion of my blog, establish myself as an author, and gain a following. Interesting enough, the social media part was the part that ran out in front, thanks to the Nebraska Writers Guild Social Media training. If you’d like, join the Guild, and you’ll have access to this, too. You can find them at Nebraska Writers Guild. Does my heart good that even while I was feeling as if I was behind again, I really wasn’t.

And more possibilities!

Yesterday, I mentioned my friend Shannon Schofield, a newly published author from an I Create Daily writing group we both belong to. Here’s a link to her gritty tale of her life, bad choices, and her redemption. I applaud her for telling her tale. I have not read it, but as soon as I can purchase it in paperback, I will. Here is that, too.

And, here’s a link to my author Facebook Page. I’d love to have you follow me there as well. WordPress automatically posts there everyday to let you know the blog is up. I hand post to my personal FB page as well, but sometimes I get busy and forget. All new stuff. All good stuff. All stuff that will get this last third of my life going to be the best of the whole thing. I’m planning on living another 30 years, at least. How about you? Thanks for reading today, I got a little talkative. Just ask the Babe. I do that sometimes. See you tomorrow, I’ll be here. Hope you are, too.