Taco Tuesday

It’s 3:30 p.m. and I’m just starting to write the blog for the day. It was a day to take Mom to the Cardiologist for an annual visit. She has an appointment for next year, July 20, 2021. She thought it was silly to make an appointment a year in advance at her age. I told her it was an optimistic way to look at it. It’ll be here before you know it, right?

After the doctor, she “needed” to go to Hobby Lobby. She replaced some 30 year greenery in hanging baskets on the enclosed front porch. She gets her money’s worth out of stuff, for sure.

One of the best projects my folks did to their house was to enclose the front porch. It’s good sized, has combination windows, and has offered a nice place to sit in the evening without bugs of summer. It’s good for about three seasons if you push it. I spent hours playing on the open porch, and my kids all played there too. Although she lives in the house we all grew up in, it’s her home, not ours anymore. Our homes are where we live. Of the houses my kids were raised in, only one is still standing. They remember “the white house,” and talk about the neighborhood. The house was razed by the city for street improvement.

The home they left for adulthood is still standing. It’s the house I bought by myself and the house the Babe and I first lived in after we married. Home is wherever we live. Mom has only lived in probably two houses her entire life. I can’t imagine her moving to assisted living on her own. I think she’d be mad at us if we suggested it as a good idea. That big house just wears her out. Bathrooms are on second floor or in basement, there is nothing on the main level.

Considering my doctor advised us to get a ranch style house and forgo steps, I’m so glad we did. I’m looking at knee replacement whenever I decide I can’t take it anymore. I’m not ready yet. For all the surgeries I’ve survived, this one gives me the willies. I can’t see any of my major scars very well. A knee, well, it’s out there. I’m not vain about it, just gives me the creeps. And the creeps are not good.

My Memories of Summer Reading Club at the Omaha Public Library. Good Times!

Isn’t this little saying by Julia Donaldson just lovely? It reminds me of every summer, my brother and I raced to see who could read the first ten books. He usually beat me. He spent more time reading and just did it faster. That’s ok, I wasn’t a slouch at it. Almost all the kids in class received a bookmark as the award when we started back to school in September. The stories usually captivated me, and I loved the true to life stories.

Three of our grandkids say they don’t like to read. That makes me sad. I hope someday they change their minds. The two grandkids in Colorado are read to a lot, and chances are, they will read on their own when the time comes. Books are my favorite gift to give and receive. Gift cards to book stores are the best.

Now Here’s An Idea!

It’s just so easy to order books on Amazon for delivery. I do like bookstores, I just haven’t been out to one for a long time. It still feels weird to go out and get necessities. A friend of mine is releasing a children’s book. I’ll share a link when it’s available online. Shouldn’t be too long. I’m excited for her! She has a nice little family, a husband and two little boys. One was just born in the last couple months.

As I watch my mom toddle along, I wonder how long we’ll have her. She’ll be 91 next month, and still lives alone. It was old folks day at the cardiologist, and saw many “children” bring “Mom” or “Dad” to the clinic. Some couples were there, but not many. Although she complains about the cost of the blood thinner, I think it’s kept her from having any more strokes the past few years. And the Babe is on blood thinners, too. So two main people in my life are kind of living on the edge, either of them could have an event at any time. I’m not going to worry about it. It it occurs, we’ll deal with it. I’m just not ready to give anyone up yet. Prayers are always welcome.

For tonight? I’m going to read a book I’ve had going since pre-COVID. I just haven’t finished it. It’s my kind of story – former Navy Seal, Cop in Colorado, solves murder cases, etc. I just want to see if perhaps I can make good on the Goodreads estimate of number of books I may read in 2020. It’s not too exciting, but it’s an accomplishment. How about you?

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your support so much. Wash up, Mask up, Be Kind, Be Tolerant, Be Courteous. We all need each other to treat each other well. This will pass much more easily if we do. Do what’s right. Do something your grandma could be proud of. See you tomorrow, be safe.

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.

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!

This Thursday

As all anatomical auras are, Allison ached at an idea in an anthology of ideas. Allison inched along, acting as if all’s A-#1. An inkspot advanced around an Asian artwork. Allison iced an elbow as aching ebbed. “Always, an energy aching,” as Allison’s extremity acted unquestionably unusable.

Zelda rang the bell. She was not wanting someone to come to the door. Zelda crept the perimeter, holding the crucifix near her head. The magic would come soon. Most would then be forgiven, noted, brought to the jail per the magistrate, following the hearing.

When All Else Fails . . .
Consult a Book of Prompts!

Hoping you are still reading. Did you think I totally lost my mind? My ChromeBook was malfunctioning? Someone changed my keyboard to type gobblygook? None of the above.

Most of the time when sitting down to write my blog, I already have an inspiration of some sort. Either it’s an experience, someone did something funny, aggravating, illegal, or I try to capture a strong feeling that is in my heart and on my mind. There is so much out there to share, and I’m lucky you listen by reading.

Some days, the ideas, words, thoughts, and stories just don’t happen. I would imagine a songwriter or poet experiences much the same. Poetry, I’ve read, forces you to use fewer and more exact words to get your point across, to complete your story, and help the reader use their imagination. A songwriter uses fewer words, also. The music can fill in where words cannot, where they are inadequate or fail to convey what is intended. A beautiful song, thoughtful lyrics, and a melody that sweeps you away, in my mind, is a huge #1 hit. It doesn’t matter how much airtime it gets, how many people buy it, if it strikes me in my heart and soul, it’s done it’s job. I’ll always remember what I felt when I first heard it. That songwriter did their job well.

For the times the words don’t come, when the ideas are elusive, when no words exist for a writer, the feeling keeps nagging, and you are still coming up empty, prompts work sometimes. Prompts like I pictured above, Writer’s Digest presents A Year of Writing Prompts. The second photo lists specific dates and ideas. February 27, Vowel-uable Writing. I wrote the first paragraph all with words that began with vowels, the second paragraph is written with words that began with consonants.

I know my readers are very bright people and have already seen what I just described along with the prompt. The whole idea of this is to get the brain thinking, how can you phrase this with only vowels, are consonants easier (you bet!), do people still use a Thesaurus? I just did. For the first time ever, I think. You could entertain yourself all day doing this. You may come up with some unintelligible sentences, but you would have exercised your brain. This is why I blog every day. If there is no time to work on my book or my quilting or my art, it all goes into my blog. I enjoy it so much.

Yes, I noticed also the prompts are only for 365 days and we have the elusive 366th day this year, since it’s Leap Year, an election year, and we have to even up the Gregorian Calendar. We have used this calendar for over 400 years. The primary motivation for this was primarily religious, to calculate when Easter would be. Lent begins 40 days prior to Easter.

All in all, it helps even time out. In reading this Huffington Post article, I was unaware of skipping a leap year. I don’t recall ever doing it, but is sounds as if it does happen. Read the article here. Why did we not know this before?

All the while I worked as a programmer, coder, systems analyst, and before the Y2K date stuff hit the fan, we used Julian Dates to define our date fields in the programs we used. It’s just what we did. I liked the old COBOL programs we wrote and maintained. I’ve heard many companies are searching for us old, retired COBOL programmers and will pay a good chunk of change to those of us who know what to do with these programs. Done right the coding is a masterpiece. When debugging, it was always one little thing, like a period, that usually caused your program to loop on into infinity and beyond! Some could be out there, still chugging away. Usually it fixed the problem when you either deleted the period, or added it in. Sometimes, when I finally found an elusive error, I would state, “Sometimes, I even amaze myself.” It keeps your ego in the humble zone for sure. I loved being able to write something from scratch or even modify someone else’s program, and make it work, adding an entirely new function. So glad I had a mentor who steered me towards that field of work so I could earn the amount of money I needed to help raise my kids, have a house, retirement, and all the things normal families do. It was a great run.

Thank you so much for reading today, I am appreciative of your time. For not knowing what to write, this prompt took us a few places I would never have expected when I started writing. And in that, dear friends, is where I can say humbly, “Sometimes, I even amaze myself!” And it’s a good thing. See you tomorrow! Have a great afternoon!