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.

Thankful Thursday

It is so beautiful outside this morning. It started a little cool, but that’s ok. The Babe is mixing concrete (by hand), to replace a slab at the bottom of the deck stairs. He made a temporary extra wooden step previously, but with all the dog traffic, it didn’t hold up too well. Goldie doesn’t know what to think. She is a bit timid about new things. She kind of hangs back and watches. You have to love her. She’s been a Godsend to the Babe since we lost Roxie.

As I told you last night in my late post, the Internet was down almost all day yesterday. Wow! Does that make your life different. It really brought to mind how much we rely on it for everyday stuff. Not only does it entertain people all day, my Google Docs weren’t available since the Internet was down. Word Press was also unavailable. It made me re-think my whole day. I read a book, relaxed outside with the Babe and the pups. It was great.

Today, it’s back to work. Proofread my preview for the book coach, send it to her via e-mail (which was also down yesterday), and continue doing work on the book. I’m really getting to like one character that I didn’t think I’d like at all. It amazes me how things can change just as the story develops. It’s just something that happens in your mind during the process. I wonder if other authors have that happen? Excuse me, are there any writers out there who have had that happen? I’m new at this, I’d love to know if it’s normal.

This will be for our new grandson, Cody Wyatt, who lives with his sister Kayla Jolee and their parents and dog Chief in Colorado. The ad didn’t say it was counted cross stitch so I’m cheating. Grandma’s go the extra mile for their grandkids!

I think this little picture will be cute for a little boy. His Mama loved hedge hogs. We even had a pet one, she named him Cliff (after Cliff Claven). I’m thinking of baby toes and smiles and good scents while I’m counting stitches, etc. Babies are just the best. Our world needs more of them, who are welcomed, and loved, and cherished. We all need to feel those three things.

Our friend Jimmy Weber did not an award last night, but we did see him perform the Star Spangled Banner. He always does such a great job on a difficult song. His love for our country shows with every note. It’s refreshing to experience that. When a link becomes available, I’ll post it.

There is a bird’s nest under our deck. It’s been there since we moved in. At first, Robin’s used it. This year, however, they did not return. There are many House Finches in our wooded area, and they have now called the nest home. They sit and sing to us, then go check on the eggs. It’s a pretty neat experience, and I wish the grandkids could come see it. Next year. One year, House Finches made a nest in a hanging planter with a Fuchsia plant. We could look in on the baby when we watered. It was pretty cool to be able to do that.

Every little bit helps!

I’d better get on with the day. I appreciate you checking in today, I appreciate you taking the time. Be positive about everything today, it will make a huge difference in your day. I will be back tomorrow, and hope to see you here. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Sneeze into your elbow. These things will help keep you safe. Blessings.

Easter Sunday

So some folks are saying this is an Easter like no other. Easter comes and goes just as Christmas does. Whatever is in your heart at the time is what the holiday is for you. Since our family is scattered all over the place and five family schedules are about impossible to sync up, we don’t gather as a family. Our kids all know each other but aren’t close. They were all gone from home when the Babe and I met. It’s different, I suppose, if you get together while the kids are younger. They will have grown up somewhat together. We are kind of glad ours did not. The three oldest, the boys, were all good. The two youngest, the girls, were the type that if they had met when they were in middle school, what one didn’t think of, the other one would have. Yes, I’m sure of it. The girls were the subject of more conferences than you can imagine. They have all grown into good, responsible people, and you know sometimes getting to this point in life requires a few detours. Love them all!

So our celebration of Easter will be with food. For just the two of us. And we’ll just hang out and be together. I hope the Babe is weathering it well. I think we’re doing ok with each other, but then it’s not all that different than any other day in retirement. Except that only one of us goes to the store now. Except that I should make a face mask before a routine doctor visit tomorrow. Except that we stand at least six feet apart from the neighbors when we chat now. Our neighbors are on kid enforced lock downs. Ours didn’t do that for us. If we need something, Tracy and TJ will pick it up and drop it off for us.

Other than that, I’m just dying missing Gavin start a new level of baseball this year. I think he’s been ready to play in an advanced league, not only because of his awesome skills, but because I think he needs to be at a more competitive level player wise. I hope it brings him past some of the issues there were apparent with younger kids. Younger kids tend to play in the dirt. Yes, play in the dirt when they’re bored, tired, don’t care, or whatever makes them do this. If he is around boys who are in position, watching the pitcher and batter, ready for the ball he won’t have time to play with the dirt. His potential is there, I’ve seen it. Ever since he could hold a toy it’s been a ball. I want to watch his Dad coach him as Grandpa Randy coached his Dad.

We’ve lost Grandpa Randy, but gosh, he’s still here making us laugh at his antics. The Babe and Grandpa Randy would look at each other and say, “That’s the Raabe in him.” “No, that’s the Stricklett in him.” Now Grandpa Randy has front row, third base, front row seats to watch his grandson play ball. Once this virus hits the bricks. And it will. If it’s later than sooner, I just want us all well. Whatever it takes.

I started to re-read some of my printed out novel yesterday. It’s kinda cool, you can turn on an add-on before opening the document in Chromebook, and Pro Writing Aid will flag whatever they think were my goofs in each paragraph. Some aren’t goofs, sometimes they suggest a different word or phrase, some I just ignore. I like it a lot. It’d be great to be through it by the end of the week, then tidy other things up on it for the rest of the month.

I’m not sure if I need to have a whole group of people read, re-read, critique, edit, and pulverize what I wrote. Feedback is great. What do you do if you’re a writer? I have moved a bit off the center of what I was telling my original story about. It was “flat” I suppose, a person simply remembering different rooms in her house, after it’s empty. All that is left are the memories. Past that, it was her recollections. Now, I’m telling the story but have added a cast of characters who are her brothers, who help tell the story. I think it is told better, and I’m finding I took parts of real people and combined them to land on these brothers. Some are good people, some are not. They all have a different bad habit or addiction to deal with. Several individuals do not have the family “illness” of dependency, co-dependency, or addiction. They may have a different form of the same sickness, but they are quite aware of it and all it entails. It’s a story about saying, “I am not inheriting this part of my family.” Some do, and some don’t.

My hope for all of you who are stressed out is that you all learn this about life.
It will make your living so much better!

I thank you for stopping by today and reading. I’m off to enjoy this person, the Babe, who is my best friend. We will have a nice, quiet day. No Easter egg hunts, but just a few thoughts about the gift all Christians received today. Whether you asked for it or not. We are all blessed. Thankful. Grateful. I will see you here again tomorrow. Blessings!

Thriving Thursday

I swear, this formatting page area for WordPress has changed in the time we’ve been using it. Did you know I’ve posted over 200 Blog Posts?? I’m pretty excited about that. I’m even more excited to be picking up more readers, and folks that like the blog. Some are fellow bloggers, some are selling their services, some are spammy ones, but hey, we can pick and choose, you know? I love that we’re going somewhere with this.

In your social distancing, have you completed your 2020 Census yet? I haven’t. It’s on the list. And so is Mom’s. I have to laugh with her. The first notice comes and tells you to log in blah, blah, blah. She will tell you in no uncertain terms that she does not have internet, computer, cell phone, and furthermore does not wish to be bothered with one! SO THERE! I told her I’d do it online for her. “No, I’ll mail it in.” OK Mom, do it your way. A week later, “Have you done your census yet?” “No, I’m doing it online, so I’ll get it done.” She said, “Why don’t they let us fill them out like we used to.” I’m not even going into it yet. I was sent home with both of her notices to complete it online. In the last two times I took her to therapy she asked, “Did you do my census yet?” “No.” I’m doing it this afternoon, in case she asks you.

One thing we were told that must be done online is renew your license plates for your vehicles. We did. It’s kind of crummy you have to pay an online fee to a third party, the state does not get directly paid by YOU. The third party pays them the correct amount, but it’s about a twelve dollar plus fee on each renewal. We had an extra $25 charged. WHAT? That’s pretty crummy. They force you to go online, then they force you to pay extra. That stinks. What about people who can’t afford that? It’s something they should probably refund under these circumstances.

So many teachers locally are doing parades through neighborhoods their students live in. I think it’s such a neat idea, the kids are lost without their daily school routine and their dear teachers, and the everyday stuff of school. Some kids may say they hate school and like being off, but I’ll be at least they miss their friends. The news stories are cute, some families made poster board signs and had balloons.

If you take your toddler to the park, do not use the playground equipment. I am surprised it would even be a question someone would ask, but I suppose they are being thorough. If you have little ones, I can see how you wouldn’t have been able to see the stories. There is so much to this virus and all that goes with it, I really believe there is no way we can be back to business by April 12, 2020. Maybe May 12, but definitely not April.

Without the wonderful invention of the Internet, what would we be doing at this point? I’d get more done on my book, maybe. Probably get more accomplished on my other hobbies, but who knows? Rush hour video of one of our most busy and dangerous intersections looks like early Sunday morning. I was talking to someone today and told them I just feel so weird driving. Things just feel off kilter and I don’t know why. She said she feels the same way. It amazes me how something we cannot see can impact our lives so greatly. It’s making us afraid, angry, and full of angst. Whatever it is, we just can’t seem to put our finger on exactly what it is, but it’s there.

If you can at all, please support your local restaurants. Not the national chains, the locals who are needing your support right now. I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of tired of even thinking what to make for two or three meals a day. It’d be easier if the Babe wasn’t kind of “picky”. He dislikes fish and isn’t fond of chicken. I could live on the stuff he dislikes. One thing we do agree on is dessert! Ha! tonight, it’s going to be a brownie sundae. Why not? Kind of takes the edge off.

I’ve started a bag of things to give to homeless female veterans when the centers open up again. I decided to stop keeping several pairs of jeans, pants, and other clothing that just doesn’t fit anymore. It’s time to accept the reality. Losing that much weight is highly unlikely at this point in life. I would say twenty five pounds of it is from cancer medication. Glad I’m alive, just wish it was like it used to be. Not complaining, it is what it is.

Thanks for reading today. I appreciate it so much, and hope you’ll return tomorrow. I’ll be here!

Thankful Thursday

All things considered, it’s a good day to be above ground.

Some days, some folks will have to dig deep to find something to be positive about. And Lord knows, we NEED to remain positive about things while we deal with this COVID-19. As a person who blogs daily, I can tell you, it’s hard to ignore that it’s out there. It is consuming our airways, our conversations, and our lives. In talking with Mom the other day she said, “I’m not dwelling on it. I just don’t know why I’m not sleeping.”

Our Mom is from the generation of women who wore worry as a badge of honor. I have had concerns about my kids and family, but have never lost sleep over their decisions and so forth. Mom has lost sleep over what my brothers and I haven’t – and it’s been about our lives. My attitude has consistently been God will take us through things. He’ll be good to us. Miracles happen every darned day. And they will continue to. How do you get to that place?

I think my first thing has always been to believe in God. Faith is everything. Faith needs to guide you through things you don’t understand, be it loss, a pandemic, or cancer. Don’t try and wrestle the problem away from God. He’s waiting for you to hand it over to Him. Pray. Do good things for others. Distract yourself. You may need some practice. Just note how you feel when you’re living life, even being self-quarantined, vs. how you feel while you’re sick with worry. Or sleepless with it.

It takes extra work to try and have a normal life right now. Do it. Do it afraid. Be grateful. For today, I’m going to concentrate on the miracles we see with medicine in our times. Just the fact that scientists and doctors have been able to identify this COVID-19 is a miracle. The fact it didn’t have to kill millions before it was discovered is a miracle. The fact we’re self-distancing is such an easy thing to do, if we adhere to it. We will not be ill if we don’t go on Spring Break, to the beach, in Florida. A friend who lives there told the Babe yesterday that he went on a motorcycle ride yesterday and the beaches were packed. And now, younger people are becoming ill. I know most of them are smart enough to follow directions. I know many of them don’t care, and at the same time, many more DO care what happens. They don’t want their parents and grandparents to take ill. As a grandparent myself, I’m thankful many of you are that thoughtful. You can always go to the beach when this is all over. And it will be, trust me.

The Polio Epidemic was the first time I remember something that was big and scary. I was maybe four years old? Mom, my older brother and I walked to his school for kindergarten, and we waited in line for what felt like forever. When it was our turn, a nurse in a crisp, white uniform, complete with starched nurses hat, gave all three of us a little cup like they serve nuts in. It had a clear liquid in it. We all drank it and left. And that probably protected us from that horrible epidemic. We knew one man who was affected by it, and it left one hand useless for the rest of his life. Despite that, he was an incredible carpenter, handy man, and artistic creator. I think he was one of two “away from work friends” my dad had. They were fast friends until Martin moved his family back to Florida. We all survived Polio.

The second memory of something scary was the Cuban Missle Crisis. Living less than twenty miles away from Strategic Air Command and the underground at Offutt Air Force Base, we knew this area would be hit first by enemy bombs. I was in ten years old at the time. Younger than our oldest grandchild. I was in fourth or fifth grade. Being Catholic, the nuns spared no details from us. We were to pray, and be calm because God would take care of us. Little did we understand at the time, there would be no survival in bomb shelters. We would have all died. Looking back, that was a lot for such young kids, but still, we knew the reality of our world. It probably helped us more than hurt us. We survived this crisis.

I’d like to share my trust and faith with anyone who is afraid right now. You can overcome your anxiety. If you are working with a medical professional to do so, good for you. I’d like all of us to come out on the other side of this with some life experiences that are good. Reconnecting with people is a great thing to do right now. Do that. Reach out if you can. Talk to your family if you can. Watch videos of babies laughing. Watch some music videos. Try a different genre, expand your horizons while you’re social distancing. Let’s use this time to grow and be grateful we live in these miraculous times.

I want to thank you all for reading today. If you have a minute, share my FB post about my blog with your friends. I’d appreciate it very much. I’ll see you again tomorrow, and I’ll let you know how my writing went. It’s where I’m headed now. Be safe. Be healthy.

Hope this gives you a good laugh and something to talk about.

Monday Habits

TRUTH!

We have all done this at one time or another. Some folks are geniuses at it. There may be perfectly valid reasons people do this. Often it’s a matter of conditioning. You may have learned it from childhood. I catch myself sometimes asking the Babe if he’s mad. He says, “No.” I need to stop that. Sometimes it flashes back at me from when I was a kid, if Mom got mad at you or someone else, she wouldn’t speak to you. It is pretty passive-aggressive, and we’d walk on egg shells the next time we’d be around whoever she was mad at. It took me a long time to learn you can be mad at someone and still have them in your life. You get over your anger and include them in your life again. Most of the time. I rarely saw people reconcile their differences. My parents never argued in front of us kids. Many didn’t. But you can rest assured, my kids and I always talked things out. So do the Babe and I. Most things don’t bother him at all. I’m glad. I’ve learned to be a lot more easygoing, too. Life is so good.

YES!!

I know we sometimes get off track when we try something new, be it a way of thinking or new habits for better living. There is always a happy medium, we just have to find it. The days I am out on errands of helping Mom are days it’s hard to readjust when I get home. All the great habits and good intentions in the world seem to be out the window. It’s time then to read a good book, research my characters, tighten up a story line, or just watch a mindless movie. It all helps clear my head. I cannot stop, I can only pause.

Mom just cracks me up sometimes. She said last night her TV quit working. It’s black. Nothing happens. Between her fear of using remote controls and her failing vision, it’s hard to tell what is going on. She has this idea, however, that only her sons know how to troubleshoot TV, Cable, and remote controls. I’ve told her many times I’m the tech geek in the family. I had to learn from the kids when they left home. I’m pretty good at it now. But you know, when you’re 90, you still don’t think girls know what boys do.

Using all my technical experience and education, I can assure you the problem is solved. She needed new batteries in the COX Cable remote. Worked like a charm then. She got the TV seven years ago, and this is the first time she’s had to change batteries. Wow. With all due respect, I wonder if she’ll outlast the new batteries? Time will tell.

We have to be patient with our elderly, after all, they taught us all the good and useful things we have retained. Until we had our own view of the world, we saw it through their glasses. Now we have our own visions, many learned the hard way. It’s still good you’re at the place you are now. All of that, whatever it is, made you who you are today.

Yes, they should have!

We’re picking up Addison later today, and going to late lunch. I finally understand why old people eat dinner at 4 p.m. You’re done for the day, won’t have indigestion from lying down and trying to sleep with a full stomach, plus the meal is cheaper. And we really aren’t that hungry anyway. Things always have a way of working out, don’t they? I appreciate you taking the time to read, it’s something I appreciate a lot. See you tomorrow, hopefully earlier. Then we’ll get more done, right? Enjoy!