Happy July First!

Good morning from the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. It was a rainy night last night, and all the lawn chairs, cushioned or not, are soaking wet this morning. And, much like any other humid July in Nebraska, well, you know the rest. It will probably be this way until school starts again, in about five weeks.

I feel badly for parents when school begins again. Blended families, families with students in different levels of education, working parents, and parents who work at home, are all in for another round of, “Will my child really benefit from the education he or she will receive during the next phase of the pandemic?” One can only hope and pray. I really don’t know what the answer is. I am leaning towards masks for all, then sanitizing to beat the devil.

I’m making a bootleg calendar for my next couple of months. Trying to carefully measure out what is possible while meeting deadlines and Zoom schedules. We all need a little structure in our lives. At times Ihen wonder if I need as much as when we were younger? No, I think no. Retirement is supposed to be about spending time whatever way you feel like. That said, I believe we should still be contributing something to others, to still shine our lights out in the world. The Babe has his Quartermaster duties at the VFW. I love to watch the kids, and yet, there needs to be more than that. You can’t count on having enough grandkids to spend your time that way.

That’s probably a lot of the why I decided to write. I’ve always wanted to write Children’s Books. My daughter encouraged me over and over, until finally, I decided, “Why Not?” In the nearly two years since that revelation, I’ve worked on a novel, started another, and have outlines for several children’s stories. One is about the loss of a family pet based on our experience last summer, losing our Roxie. I think it could do some good for kids.

I had a very loose outline when I began my novel. I definitely see now where I could have made an easier time of it to have a better outline before. Those who never outline are called “pantsters,” who write by the seat of their pants. The planners are “outliners,” who know exactly what they will write. I suppose each writer learns what works for them, then proceeds. What a learning process!

I’m going to organize all my information in a sectioned binder, so everything is organized and together. I hope this works. Time will tell, won’t it? I have the “Personality Isn’t Permanent” book to finish, too. It will help describe the transition my character experiences through her life.

Reading is a Joy!

I just printed countless photos of all our dogs who have known Gavin. I want to have a themed book for him about all of his doggies. He loves the stories he has in his mind, and I want to preserve those for him. It’s neat to listen to him talk about his doggies. What a good thing we can share with him.

The school district our grandchildren hasn’t announced yet how they will handle the school year yet. Three districts in the area will do full time, every day for everyone. Two others will have a split schedule, 3/2 and every other week they switch who has 3 and who is the 2 group. Too complicated for me. It has to be hard for working parents, single parents, and those with no one to help them out. I think we’re all a few cases away from home schooling again and stay at home suggestions again.

We have to dig in, be positive, wear masks, and think of others than ourselves. I know, that’s what we have been doing. It is going to take all of us. It is going to take a very long time for the danger to subside enough for us to abandon our efforts. Our generations have never had to make a sacrifice for a national cause, for a unified effort. Most wars in my lifetime have been undeclared (Korea, Vietnam), and lack of national support deeply affected the veterans and the outcome. Lack of national support in this pandemic is affecting us and will affect the outcome.

Let’s put our pride aside, and our sense of entitlement, and wear a mask. Always in public. Shopping, in the stores, and if we go to eat. Remove it while you eat and drink. Be vigilant. Be on your guard. Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer. Clean frequently used items such as your phone; all the remote controls, the controls on your stove, oven, and microwave, and your refrigerator handles. Door knobs and handles. Yes, it’s not fun, it’s necessary. It’s boring, but it’s necessary.

Make sure you are around to attend all the postponed weddings, graduations, and family events. Make sure your grandparents are, too. Let’s take better care of each other. Thanks for reading today. I appreciate it a lot, and am now going to do some more cleanup on Chapter 1 of “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons.” I’ll see you back here tomorrow. Be Safe. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful.

Spectacular Saturday

Hi, friends. It’s starting to get back to humid summer weather in Gretna, Nebraska, at the home office and studio. We sat on our deck before the sun rose above the tall trees in the Wetlands behind us. It was beautiful. It’s amazing how busy the birds at that hour. I couldn’t help but wonder about the flight paths of the little creatures. Do they need any air traffic control? Look at how many run into your picture window and bounce off in a season. Do any ever collide in mid-air? Wow. After one week with our grandson, this sounds like a Gavin question. Hopefully I’ll be able to give him an answer should he ever ask me about it.

One morning last week, there was a brilliant red cardinal chirping his head off, and he was sitting right on top of the flagpole. It was such a cool scene. And neither of us had our phones to snap a picture. It brought back the memories of the good old days, when we took in these things rather than only saw them through the site of the camera. We probably do miss a lot around us because of that. But that cardinal was spectacular. Glad we both saw it at the same time.

I’ve mentioned before I start the day with a daily reading from a book of Daily Meditations of Adult Children (of Alcoholics). Today’s is good. An American proverb:

“There is always free cheese in a mousetrap.”

The reading talks about feeding a weakness. The more you feed a weakness, the hungrier it becomes. If it’s food, you can become a boarder- line diabetic before you realize it. If it’s fancy cars, clothes, travel to exotic places, or any of many other things, you’ll be so far in debt you’ll never find your way out. And you’ll be just as hungry for whatever is missing in your life. I’m not an alcoholic or drug addict. The places I’ve tried to back fill my life were with clothes, things for my kids and grandkids, and a few more material things. I created debt for myself that was ridiculous. I did what all the experts tell you, and pait off the highest interest, blah, blah, blah. The Babe and I have always kept our money separate as we both had lots of bills from life before we got married. We are co-owners of accounts, etc., and manage our own stuff. It works for us, I don’t know if it would for others or not.

So often, we feed our weaknesses and hide behind them, never satisfied. We’ve all done it at some time in our life. It’s human nature, and doggone it, we’re so human. We might be slow learners that the problems aren’t “out there” but “within us.” What?? In us? It’s so easy to try and point fingers and place blame elsewhere. Anywhere but where it belongs. With us. In us. It is’t you, it’s me. Really.

You Will Get Better

You can survive many things throughout a lifetime. Some people seem to be able to survive one disaster after another. There is no other choice, is there? If you don’t survive, you perish. You may not want to go on, but you do. God gets you through things you cannot believe. I’m glad there is help for me, and love for me, when I need it. Friends help, families help, but God gets us through.

First Hibiscus Bloom of 2020.

Yesterday, the Hibiscus on the deck was about to pop open. I wanted to get a photo of it beginning the process. I got dressed and everything, went back outside, and the bud popped open! It must have opened when the sun hit it 20 minutes earlier. Dang! Missed it. But isn’t it beautiful? I hope I can keep this living over the winter in the house. The blooms only live for 24 hours. That’s it. Such anticipation, and then they die. Nature is so grand!

The reading for yesterday was certainly timely as today’s was. It was:

I have to remember this: People at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”

I think this is so timely with all the talk about socio-economic differences in our country, and issues with it. The people I know who have had good lives, regardless of color, have stayed in school at least through age 18, then gone to college, the military, or trade school. Their parents didn’t pay for them to become educated. They learned how to get loans or grants for students.

They have been dedicated to their mission of a degree, a life of service, or a life as a tradesperson. They have all earned good livings, learned to handle their finances and business, been morally uncorrupted, and do what good people do. I do believe if we all lived this way, there would be more people at the tops of the mountains. I think it is a tried and true method to get there. No excuses. No blame placing. Good mentoring helps. If your parents aren’t able to do that, ask someone who can.

I do plan to write some more today. I am writing more of significant events in my character Katie’s life, and will reassess how that will go with what I already have. I believe there is a way, I’m just not sure of the how yet. Great things to ponder on another beautiful, sunny, hot Nebraska day. Thank you for reading, I appreciate it so much! See you again tomorrow. I can’t wait!

Thursday Thoughts

On our way to the VFW Post yesterday about 4 p.m., we were in the first traffic jam we’ve been in for a long time. It was noticeable enough we commented on it. It would be nice if traffic kept being sparse, smooth flowing, and uneventful. Probably not going to happen. It was again great to be among friends and share a meal and beverages.

Why Do We Think We Know Better Than God?

This is a part of our “normal” back. That said, it will never be “normal”. There is a new Commander taking over next month. The other new officers need to learn the ropes and keep the place running. The Babe is still Quartermaster. He offers the members some continuity, and that’s a good thing. The bulk of income is from room rentals, and those are beginning to pick back up. All good signs. We need to keep social distancing when in public, though. And we are meeting the requirements to be open.

God will help us adjust somehow. The whole pandemic, and the protests turned riots, have made our heads swirl. It’s intense and crazy and not civil. I posted a comment about being safe at home during riots and pandemics and some smart aleck posted I should stay home for the next 20 years. What? Wow. The invincibility of youth. You too, will be more cautious someday, young man. I hope you live long enough.

Today has not been an easy day. Pandemic blues are lingering, along with the apprehension of the tension in the nation. I still believe in my country, the United States of America. I believe we are fortunate to live in the best country in the world. I’m uncertain about current events, for sure. It feels as if the media whips us into a frenzy on a regular basis, as if we are on a bad reality show. It is very stressful for a mind and heart to endure that kind of stress continually. We need a break. We need some peace. We deserve it.

I’m weighing how to do my outlining and structuring part of my book. Being overwhelmed makes it difficult to know which way to go at this point. I’m going to do some reading on those topics tonight, and hope it’s enough to make a difference with my being stuck in neutral. It’s hard being so far along and not able to keep the momentum going to finish. If I don’t get in gear tomorrow, I think a day off may be in order. Do other creative people out there have problems like this? It’s seeming to come and go, and I so hope I’m normal. Not Abby-Normal.

Thanks for reading today. I appreciate you sticking with me on bad days like today and good days like yesterday was and tomorrow will be. Have a fruitful evening, that’s my plan! See you tomorrow.

Thanks for hanging in there with me today.

Wednesday’s Words

How do we use ordinary words to explain to our kids and grandkids what is going on in the world right now. Give me the pandemic back, please! They understand they don’t want Grandma and Grandpa to get sick, really sick. This unrest? They don’t, because it can come into their neighborhood, to their school, to their grocery store, or to the place Daddy or Mommy go to work every day. When it turns violent, everyone is at risk.

Having grown up in the 1960s, I remember all too well hearing stories about segregation. EXTREME segregation. Read anything about Josephine Baker (from the 1920s), Lena Horne (1940s), Sammy Davis Jr. (1950s-1960s and beyond), George Wallace and his hatefulness, the Tuskegee Airmen, and you will learn how one world was ok for us, and another was ok for them. Read “The Help” or watch the movie. It was true. All true. So much misinformation about how people of color functioned as humans. They can run faster. They cannot learn as well. They will pass diseases if they are allowed to use white only facilities. Really?? How sad. It makes me ashamed to be remember hearing these things. Not from my parents, but from “others.”

Henrietta Lacks was a black woman who had cervical cancer. Her journey to immortality took place at Johns Hopkins University where she was treated for her cancer. She was also experimented upon and used as a guinea pig by researchers. How they used her is sinful. It is criminal. And they just thought because she was black she couldn’t understand and didn’t bother treating her as one of God’s children, and experimented on the poor woman. After she passed, her family discovered all the ugliness that happened, and finally, her story was told. Shame on Johns Hopkins. Shame on everyone involved. The book about her life is called, “The Immortality of Henrietta Lacks.” It’s very educational.

Right in the middle of the 1960s, the unthinkable happened to my white, Irish (Polish, German, Dutch, Catholic School in South Omaha. My dad and all his brothers and sister attended there as young kids, too. We were getting a new gym teacher. We heard he was black. What? Tongues were wagging. How can that be? It was, and that was the way it was going to be. My folks didn’t say much, except to say he was attending Omaha University (now UNO), and he was a black man. We didn’t know what that would mean to us.

I’ll never forget the apprehension on his face as our class entered the gym. He introduced himself. He was a large man, very athletic. Muscular. He had a soft, gentle voice. Over the months that ensued, he gained our trust and love. Even through dodge ball. He was kind to us all. We learned he was married, with a little girl, and a wife who attended college also. Sometimes they were without child care and he would bring his little girl to class. The girls took turns playing with her. It was fun.

At Christmas time, my mom always went overboard doing what she loved. Baking Christmas cookies. She baked over 167 dozen cookies one year. This particular year, when giving my brother and me boxes to deliver to the teachers, she gave me one and told me, “This is for Mr. Hepburn.” I was happy and nervous to deliver it to him.

I approached him before class and handed him the package. “This is for you, Mr. Hepburn.” I was too shy to tell him it was from my brother and me. He thanked the whole class and they looked at me funny. I felt the flush in my face. After class I went to him and told him, “Mr. Hepburn, I forgot to say this was from my brother and me.” His eyes lit up. He was so grateful. I’ll never forget that look in his eyes.

A week later, he gave me a beautifully handwritten thank you note. My mom was tickled pink. He was always so nice to me as an individual person after that. In high school I learned he was on the semi pro football team the Omaha Mustangs. I was so proud to have known him, his name was often in the Sports section of the Omaha World Herald.

And then, in the fall of my sophomore year of high school, the worst happened. We heard Glen Hepburn sustained a serious head injury in a game played that Saturday night. He died two days later. I was stunned. He was such a nice man. And he had two little girls and his wife to take care of. How can this be happening? I never could understand that. But at least it was an accident. No malice or prejudice took his life. He was a good man, and I’ve remembered him often as one through the last fifty some years. A good man, gone far too soon. I wonder if his wife remarried, and I wonder about his children. I hope they had good lives, too. I just know their Dad is proud of them from heaven.

Kindness is a great teacher. I saw my mother’s kindness taught to me, her daughter, and reflected in the face of a kind black man. I’m grateful for that memory that is so fresh in my mind today. Care for each other. Share a cookie or two.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. Have a good day today, be kind to someone new, and I’ll see you tomorrow. You know I’ll be here.

Simply Saturday

It’s another rainy Saturday in Gretna, NE at the home office and studio. It’s been a lot of outside hard work for these two older folks all week, in between rainstorms. Not all the plants are planted into the dirt yet, hopefully tomorrow. I am making a public announcement right now. I am unable to continue gardening like I used to. It was nothing to dig stuff out, replacing it with my preferences instead of the previous owner’s. Not any more. I’ll have to hire a grandkid who doesn’t mind getting dirty. That’ll work. My body just can’t do these things anymore. Period. Acceptance.

It’s now officially summer. Peaches, tomatoes, watermelon, cukes, zucchini, blueberries, sweet corn and strawberries. Yum.

Yesterday, one of our errands was to establish a relationship with the folks at Huffman Produce. They have only one stand open right now, West End of Village Point in Omaha. June 1, the other locations will. Check Facebook and you’ll find them. Good stuff. I love this about summer! I’d rather grow our own, but as I just admitted, I’m probably past that type of activity. I can still enjoy the result.

There was unrest in Omaha last night as protesters filled the intersections of one of the busiest intersections in Omaha. The Police were assaulted with water bottles, rocks, fireworks, and verbal insults. Why does it always degrade to this? Yes, protest. Don’t assault anyone, don’t burn the place down, for Pete’s sake. It just doesn’t have to happen. Haven’t we learned how to avoid all this? Why can’t we just get along? All I can do is pray. And be good to the people around us. And speak up when people talk smack about people of color, police officers, etc. Talk the talk. Walk the walk. I want us to be peaceful. It’s about damned time!

After a year of COVID-19, job losses, death, economic downturns, now we have riots? Please, God. Make it stop.

All of the ugliness will only stop when we humans stop misbehaving. All of us. All of the time. My faith hasn’t failed me yet. I doubt that it will. We will find a way. Please start in your home and neighborhood. Right now. If you learn nothing else during the Pandemic, learn kindness. Kindness across races, religions, sexual preferences, economic and political differences. Differ but be civil.

My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak and broken. My buckets of water are symbolic at this point in my life.

I truly do want to carry water for those in need of it. But for now, I will collect things to share with others. I will take them to the female veterans who are homeless. I will look for other ways to help. There is always a place in need of what you have to offer. Be aware. It’s essential to our very survival as a race.

Thank you for reading today. I have a lot of “homework” after my conference with the book coach this week. I love investigating things. The Internet makes it so very easy to do so. What a miracle it is, when used properly. Blessings abound. Be careful out there. Wear your mask. Wash up. Get some fruits and vegetables fresh from the farms of America. It will make you feel so good! Love your family and your neighbors. It’s a great start. I’ll see you back here tomorrow. Peace!

Mobile Monday

A Sunny Day or Six Would be Great!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marveling It’s Monday!

So this is the view from the office today. You can see the streak from an airplane above the trees and there is enough shade yet for the pups to take a nap in. They love being outside! I do too.

Can’t See This Too Much. Fresh Air is the Best Therapy for Your Soul.
The Finch Family Was Rude Last NIght!

However, the neighbor up above on the beam over the table isn’t too nice. While arranging my stuff to work, I discovered we needed a clean up on – well, Table 5? The Finch Family left some gifts for me. Ack! Note to self: Move the table away from the nest to avoid incoming. There, now where were we?

This is such a perfect time of day. It’s just warm enough to be comfortable, especially in the shade. In some ways, I was flashing back to summer mornings when I was a kid in South Omaha. Of course, when I was in 6 – 8 grades, the girls had to go to Mass and sing every morning. Yes, every morning. There was no sleeping in ever at our house. Not weekends, not summer. If we were out too late from the night before, Mom woke us up earlier.

We had no air conditioning the whole time any kids lived at home. Don’t know how Dad, a night worker, slept during the day in that oven of a house. With maybe just a window fan. Anyway, the days were pretty much all alike, kind of like now. Get up, Church, breakfast, change clothes, play. Or read, or whatever you were going to do. Riding bikes was a lot of fun with my friend Peggy. We imagined we had cars, or were part of the Cartwright family on the Ponderosa. It didn’t matter. We used our imaginations and had fun. It’s funny now to think of it. Oh, or be Ricky Nelson’s girlfriend. That was a good one. Swoon!

Goldie, the Office Manager

My productivity took a nose dive yesterday after lunch. When that happens, I need to sit in the recliner with the heating pad on my back. Hate when that happens. Had a nice short nap, and just did some reading the rest of the day. I have four quilts to quilt, three need layering right now. Poppies, Psychedelic Flower, Hibiscus Blocks, and a Wintery Cardinals Quilt I bought last fall. Those are all about the same size, and I’ll only need one King Sized Batting cut in fourths for them all. That makes it so much easier. Hope to get those all layered and pinned this week.

The Babe brought up a good subject. If one of us becomes sick, we probably should have the room ready for the patient. We have a full little apartment downstairs, minus a kitchen, but have a refrigerator, bathroom with a huge shower, and a queen sized futon couch in the craft room. Now, that means I’d need to straighten up the craft room. It is disorganized, and I’ve never finished moving into it. A day or two (depending on how my back holds up) will accomplish the task. I’m hoping to start that this week.

I don’t know that the bed needs sheets on it as of yet, but maybe that’s what he’s going for. I suppose either way, I need to get the bed ready for the Babe, since he’s probably the one who will vacate the upstairs, regardless of who gets sick. Meals on wheels? Room service? I’m not sure. We’ll have to see how he works out that little detail.

Our dog Lexie is worse than a kid. When she decides to be naughty, she’ll drink out of the big bowl she shares with Goldie. Then she sticks her paw in it to spill it. That’s OK outside, but I frown on that in the kitchen. She knows we love her, she just has to be ornery once in awhile. That’s the Raabe in her. Come bedtime, though, she snuggles right up next to my side, and I’ll often wake to find her head laying on my stomach. I’d like to think it’s because she loves me, not because I’m extra fluffy as a result of quarantine weight gain/ Maybe a little of both?

Lexie is in charge of Security!

I’m off to do some research on Alcoholics Anonymous. I purchased their 75th Anniversary Edition of their Big Book. It reminds me of the Missals we carried in the 60s to Mass in the Catholic Church. It has a ribbon page marker like they had, it’s a plain black cover, and the edges are gilded in red metallic. It’s beautiful. There is a companion book called “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions that I hope to learn a lot from. It is research to figure out how to deal with the family created to write about.

There will be some work on Chapter 10 of the book, too. And embroidery on the little hedge hog picture for baby Cody’s room. Looking forward to the rest of the day. Thank you for spending this time with me, I hope you have some goals for the day, even if it’s to work on your Quarantine Tan. Sunscreen, please! We all should use it. Hope to see you tomorrow, and we’ll see if this day went according to plan! Enjoy!

COVID-19 Blues

When I opened WordPress this morning, I was greeted with a meme that wished me Happy Anniversary. It was one year ago today I started my website and blog. I established it and wanted to learn more before I dove in headfirst. You see, I don’t swim. At all. Water terrifies me. I can use pool noodles and not hyperventilate, but take them away, and I sink. It’s a fear I’ve never overcome. I’d rather speak in front of an auditorium than try to swim. And I have spoken in front of an auditorium. I emceed a dinner at Metro Community College once about twenty five years ago. Probably a thousand people attended. Bob Boozer was a speaker. I knew nothing about it until the emcee was sick and they called me. What a surprise! I lived to tell about it.

I blogged a couple times between April and July, 2019. When we tragically lost our Roxie was when I started daily (almost). I can see a lot of differences depending on the day, and I’m glad for those of you who continue to follow. As soon as I finish my book and get closer to publishing, I will add website pages, about ordering, what we’re working on, and whatever else that entails. But as of now, we’ve met over two hundred times! That’s a lot of blogging, a lot of reading, writing, and a lot of trying to decide what to talk about. Thank you for bearing with me.

I’m sure you all know how much I love quilting. In ten years, I hope to see the improvement in my writing just as I’ve seen the improvement in my quilting skills. At first, I thought I’d never be able to make a nice quilt. Quilters always feel the need to confession, sort of like the Catholics do. It’s not necessary at all. Most of the time, no one else even notices mistakes. We are often our own worst enemies. Writers are also their own worst enemies, believe me.

As a quilter, a lot of friends have shared this pattern with me. I purchased it, and it arrived a couple days ago. I love the irony there is in this piece. The overs and unders of roll placement, patterned vs. white, and the glaring example of that one piece left on the roll, half covered with glue. What good is that? Who does that? It might make a good raffle prize for the Nebraska Writers Guild Fallish Conference later this year. I’ll have to see if my good intention comes to fruition. It might make a good memory quilt for our youngest grandson, Cody, who was born in January, before all this hoarding started. That remains to be seen.

I just couldn’t resist!

Do any of you have the problem of enjoying too many creative endeavors? Like art, writing, quilting, photography, etc., etc., etc.? I do. It’s a hard thing when you like a lot of things. Even back in the 80s when I took a placement test at the community college to see what areas of interest I had. It’s hard when you like a lot of things. It’s great if you can devote enough time to each facet, but not if you are simply hacking away at each part. I did decide to forgo the art part until I finish the novel. And relax starting another one for at least six months, unless there’s a valid reason to start another novel right away. If a publisher is hounding me for a series, and I must get started quickly. It could happen. Not likely, but I’m new at this, how am I to know?

Once Bitten Twice Shy?

Wasn’t there a metal band in the 80s who sang a song “Once Bitten Twice Shy?” Through the blessing called GOOGLE, I find it was by White Snake. Yes, my oldest liked Metal and Hair Bands (Bon Jovi & Van Halen), heck I even liked those last two. And now you can hear them all on elevator music. It happens to all of us. My younger son Nick liked the boy bands, Pointer Sister, girl soloists, etc. Daughter? She liked the Death Metal garage band that went onto become the Faint. Yes, the Faint. She had a boyfriend (Mike) who was the lead singer/guitarist. She broke up with him before they got big. Funny how things go along. She now likes Country music, and they have their two beautiful kids, named after western heroes (Cody Wyatt) and a Country singer (Kayla Jolee). I can’t help but wonder what those kids will listen to. Hopefully not rap. Sorry, I just don’t like angry sounding stuff that rattles my fillings. I can even get to like lots of stuff, but not rap. Not in me.

So as I’m off to see if my plot will bite me again, I hope you have a beautiful day today. We have winter ick again, but it won’t last long. The last couple days I think I’ve given in to some of the COVID-19 Blues, and I don’t want to give away any more of my time to him. Not unless I could write a blues song about it like an old, wise, gravelly voiced black man could. With that life experience, it’d be a great song, don’t you think? What a character he would be. I think he could tell a lot of stories about lives he’s lived. But that’s for another time.

And thanks for reading today. I’m glad you were here with me, it’s given me a boost to keep working today. I hope your day is good. Do whatever you wish to. Reward yourself for staying in. We must if we want to emerge on the other side of this with our communities intact. Please don’t think you won’t catch it. You might not, but you could infect me. Or the Babe. Let’s be sensible. Thanks! See you tomorrow.

Hump Daaaaay!

A pessimist would say, “Why bother? Hump Day? Every day is the same as another when you’re stuck at home.” An optimist would say, “Wednesday is just a great as any other day! You woke up today, the sun is shining AGAIN!” And aren’t we lucky we have some place, whatever it is, to self-distance/quarantine ourselves? Yes, we are. When you look at countries like China, India, the Middle East, Africa, they don’t even have basic sanitation and clean water to drink. How on earth would we survive that? We need to count our blessings and be grateful.

Even if you are diagnosed with Corona Virus (COVID-19) chances are, you will survive with little damage to your lungs. People like myself, who have asthma or any other underlying health issue, will have a harder time if they have the lung damage associated with the virus. This IS different than the flu. The mucous is extra thick once it settles into your lungs. It causes permanent damage to the lungs where it sets up house, so to speak. I’d hate like hell to have my lungs compromised because some person decided they were bored and gathered with a crowd, playing a game of soccer, went shopping to Target to get their Starbuck’s and just browse the racks, or sent their kids to visit Grandma and Grandpa because they needed a break from home-schooling. Please, don’t do it!

Even though we need to be vigilant, we can still keep occupied and not go stir crazy. If you are a person who is still working, maybe enjoy how your home (apartment or house) looks all day long. You’re usually at work and don’t often get to enjoy it during the day. It makes you have a different perspective of your abode. You may (safely) have a little talk over the fence with the neighbor. The Babe is out doing that all the time. He knows everyone by first name. I love that about him. Everyone loves him. I’m lucky. And so is he!

A cousin’s daughter scheduled her wedding for April 4, 2020. They have had to cancel the reception. They will still have the ceremony, reduced to 7 people, them, the officiant, and have rescheduled the reception for later this year. Her younger sister is set to marry in August, along with another cousin’s son, also in August. Hoping these young people get started on their lives together and all brides and grooms get to have their time. I can imagine how devastated they all feel, and at the same time, they’re all very responsible people who know they must follow these new rules for living. They’re temporary restrictions, not permanent ones. God Bless all of you!

As a fund-raiser for their tip wage staff, Union Pizzaria and Sports Bar in Omaha, NE, printed some t-shirts with their various businesses on it and is donating all the proceeds to a fund for their impacted workers. What a great employer in the food and beverage business! My son works at Union, along with his room-mate. When they lost everything in an apartment fire last fall, these guys were right there, making sure they were getting what they needed, time off, whatever needed to be done. So grateful my son is associated with people like this. God Bless you guys! Go to their Facebook post for more info!

A great way to feel better? Help someone else. There are many, many restaurants who have gone to pick-up food to keep their doors open. Try ordering out! I don’t know about you, I’m a bit tired of cooking, but I do like it’s healthier than what we eat out. I just need to get back to salads and the like. It just all takes time. I’ve probably had quite enough comfort food for awhile. I truthfully don’t even like french fries that aren’t done to a certain degree of crispness. Nothing soggy, thank you very much.

Thank you for reading, I appreciate it. Union’s tip wage staff would appreciate it greatly if you’d stop by 156 & Maple for a t-shirt or two. Order their daily special before you go and you can solve the dinner problem. They appreciate it greatly. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope you come back. Have a happy, safe day.

Sunny Sunday!

Finally! At Long Last! It’s sunny outside. Not one cloud in the sky. Although it’s quite windy, I do believe there will be some good opportunity to sit on the deck or patio today. I’m currently in my studio to write this so I don’t get sidetracked as I did yesterday.

You may remember I’m not allowed by my daughter to post photos of them, their daughter or their dog. That said, I can finally share. On January 13, 2020, I became a Grandma and the Babe became a Grandpa again, to a little boy, Cody Wyatt. He’s a cutie in his pics and videos. They are quite private about their business, so announcement had to wait until now. Kayla Jolee is a big sister, and loves him. Until he’s being held. Then she wants to be held. You know the drill if you’ve ever been around babies. All is well.

So, every once in awhile, there is a different way people conduct their lives. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it’s just different. I have to respect their wishes, as they’re the parents, not me. So I try to do the best. There will be a little socially distant shopping in my future.

So today is going to be a productive day. I need this sunshine to perk me up. Seriously, I was getting down in the dumps, no matter how hard you try sometimes, and God gave us all a sunny day. After the forty days and nights of rain, God gave a rainbow. If that’s ahead, that’s great. The blue skies are plenty for me right now. We’ve been hearing birds singing for weeks now. You can pick out the Blue Jay calls, the Cardinals, and plain old chirping of Robins, but now we’re hearing a Woodpecker hammering away at something. You’d think those guys would get a headache from the constant hammering all day long. God thought of everything, though. I guess they don’t get headaches.

I’m all for going to buy more bird feed. The Babe’s not quite on board yet but will be. The Gold Finches are plentiful here, as are Cardinals and all kinds of birds I can’t even identify. A couple years ago, I bought binoculars as a shared birthday gift, since our birthdays are only two days apart. I need to make a point to use them this year. That and put orange peels out for the Baltimore Orioles. That one is tough for the Babe, he doesn’t want critters and varmints coming in the yard, but we can place it out of reach. We’ll figure it out.

Sometime today I’ll do a walk around the yard to see if any plants are sprouting. I need the reassurance the hardy stuff will do it’s thing here as soon as Spring is here to stay. It’s also a great time to spot any dandelions who may be sprouting already. Luckily, our neighbor who sported a completely full of dandelions lawn has moved away. The owner gutted the house (I hear it was really bad inside) and I hope he included some extensive lawn service along the line. It has to be an improvement.

You know, in our old neighborhood, we had quite a diverse population. No kidding, folks from China, Pakistan, the Ukraine, Viet Nam, and others we couldn’t identify. The front yard of the Pakistani people was filled with trees. No kidding, a peach tree, a couple apple trees, beautiful evergreens, and plants all over too. I think the reason they did that is they never had a green space before. Can you imagine living somewhere you had dirt, no toilet, and little else? They were the nicest people. After 9/11 they were taunted by folks that didn’t live in the neighborhood. I’m glad they didn’t leave, they were very good citizens. And a side of karma to their naysayers: Their boys had scholarships to college, and not long after that, they were driving Porsche’s. Good job, young men. You did very well. I hope the rest of your lives is so productive.

Stretch your legs today. I need to. Crazy, heartbreak, unsureness, you can leave today. Leave your key, and stay gone. Laughter, Love, Living, come on in and stay. I’ll give you a key. But not those other guys. They’re gone. Immediately. Thank you so much for reading. I appreciate you keeping up with me, it’s been a downer of a week, we’re better for it, though. New Life. New Love. New Laughter. We’re going outside! C’mon back tomorrow, I’ll be here! Coronavirus be damned! Stay home and wash your hands. We’ve been thrown out of better places.