Magical Monday

Today was bittersweet. Mom asked me to take her to the ENT today. We made a stop at her favorite Half Price Bookstore afterwards. She has terrific trouble with her vision from a stroke several years ago and has extremely poor hearing, even with hearing aids. Either of these things will cause a person to be isolated from the rest of us. She has not wanted to attend the last couple luncheons for the retiree group from my dad’s job at the Omaha World Herald, and has turned down invitations to the two wedding receptions our family is looking forward to. It’s probably part due to her age and infirmary, and part due to more isolation because of COVID-19. Last November, she was not comfortable attending the wedding of a one of her favorite grandsons, because she wouldn’t be able to hear the ceremony.

The Old Days . . . Come and Gone.

I can see a vulnerability in Mom I have not seen before. She is aging, she has taken excellent care of herself, and that can be a double-edged sword. Her independence has been reigned in due to limitations. I’m eternally grateful she quit driving on her own. With her hearing issue, it was easy for her to get rattled in traffic. It was hard at first, but we went on in-town errands and always had lunch. The first Wednesday of the month was always Shopko day. She’d stock up on paper products and what not. We’d ooh and aah at the baby clothes and laugh at goofy things. It was fun. I’m sad Shopko closed, it appears she’s kind of been declining bit by bit since then.

Of course it’s expected, especially at her age. She’ll be 91 later this month, and I’m astonished at that. She hasn’t had an easy life. Our Dad worked nights, and she was in charge 24/7. I was a junior in high school before he transferred to working days. Our two younger brothers had Dad at home while they were in high school. They had different parents than my older brother and I did. It was different at the end of the 1960s when we graduated from high school. Our younger brothers graduated in the mid 1970s, a much different time. A different generation.

We lost Dad in 1988, just after he retired. It was so unfair for him. He worked hard all his life to provide for his family and never got to enjoy retirement. He died six months after he retired. Half of the time he was fighting cancer, the other half, he was home alone while Mom tended to her dying mother with her sisters. Grandma died in September, Dad in December. What a burden on Mom. No time for grieving, there was business to attend to.

Sometimes I think it’s harder for someone to release their independence if they’ve had it for a long period of time. If you’re still independently living in your 80s, it will be hard if you have your wits about you and you need to give some independence up. Many older people don’t get a real choice, some tragic circumstance dictates the end of their driving, or living alone, or walking without assistance. Mom was really brave to give up driving when she did. It could have come sooner in my opinion, because I could see how shook up she would get in traffic.

When the low income high rises were popular in the 1970s, Mom swore if she had to live in one of those, she’d die a slow death, filled with misery. She helped my brother Steve with his South Omaha Sun paper route, and saw the inhabitants of the 10 – 12 story high rises first hand. After her mother died, she swore she would leave her affairs in good order. For that, my brothers and I are grateful. We know she’ll leave us someday. It’s just a matter or when. It will be unexpected, but it will still cause sadness.

But we will celebrate her because she did the darndest things (quote from her mother-in-law). She was a docent at the Zoo for over 25 years. Babysat the baby gorillas and orangutans in the nursery, and was on tiger-birth watch if a female tiger would start labor in the middle of the night. She might call me up and say, “If you call late at night and you can’t reach me, I’ll be at the Zoo, doing . . . .” We’d tease the hell out of her, but were always glad she was so active and out and about.

So yes, we’re grateful. And sad at the same time. She’s having a hard time not being able to go about her life. And we have to be patient even in the worst moments. My two younger brothers are good men and help her out a lot. Taking care of a house is a chore at 91. Heck, it is at 68, too. But at least I have the Babe. Another thing my brothers and I are be blessed with; she has wonderful neighbors, who help her, and who scold her when she’s pulling weeds where she shouldn’t be. Thank you, David _________. We appreciate it!

So as I recall her telling me the ENT’s mother (also in her 90s) was on her hands and knees, scrubbing the floor before her cleaning lady came over, and how she was scolded by her son the doctor, I will also remember the story of her pulling weeds in an unsafe area. The neighbor simply said, “What do you think you’re doing?” several times, relieved her of her bucket and loppers, and waiting in the driveway until she went inside the house, and say, “You kinda are doing silly things too, that aren’t good for you.” She laughed, and said, “Well, I suppose so.” And all I can say is, “Rosemary; you do the darndest things!”

Tuesday Trifles

Trifles are defined as insignificant, or things that should not considered important. That’s as a noun. As a verb, trifles is showing a sexual attraction to someone just for fun, or spending time in aimless activity. Wasn’t there a Star Trek episode with Trifles? Little furry creatures? Oh no, a quick Google tells me they were Tribbles. We’re safe from them for now.

So much of our language is changing over our lifetimes. My piano teacher spoke with elegance and used the word trifle. I remember her very well, a kindly old lady from the neighborhood. I was so excited to take lessons. I walked across the street and over one house to her home. She wore typical granny-type dresses and shoes, always a dress, wore her hair in a bun. She could play piano quite well. I do wish I would have practiced more, I could have been good. Kids never realize what opportunities they have – or shall I say many kids don’t realize? I didn’t. I did play the organ in Church, though, from sixth grade until eighth grade. Then I just quit.

I hung out with Joyce Zagurski, a girl I rode the bus with, and I also knew her from our neighborhood. I always thought she was an only child, but she did have a brother quite a bit older than she. Her parents were quite a bit older than mine were. Last I heard, she worked selling cars. Kind of a surprise, since she was kind of shy. But then, I was too.

When I first started to dabble (or trifle?) with writing, of course I joined a lot of mailing lists. As I’ve learned to narrow my focus on information, many of these are unsubscribed to right now. The pertinent ones still make it to my writers inbox. I subscribe from Mary Adkins, who is an author and a writing coach. She is offering some good classes on writing, I will sign up for a couple. I printed and kept an article, called “5 Writing Rules I Broke, to Sell My First Novel.”

From my kitchen sink window

Adkins says there are 5 writing myths:

#1 – Write what you know

#2 – All First Drafts are S*&^

#3 – A writer writes every day

#4 – Show, Don’t Tell

#5 – Learn the Rules Before You Break Them

I find this interesting.

Writing what you know should put you at an advantage; writing what you don’t know stretches your knowledge, you expand your thinking, you learn to use imagination. It is frightening yet exhilarating. Your fire is fueled by gaining confidence in a new arena.

All first drafts need to be edited. Over and over. My original book is probably going to be a sequel or two. In the midst of having over 50K words, I reached a point where I decided the backstory was so important the story needed a prequel. I’m sure that original manuscript will be edited within an inch of it’s life, but I would just say it needs improvement.

A writer writes every day. They might. If they have a day job, kids, elderly parents, it would be hard to make the time. I do write every day, even if it’s this blog. And just like writing fiction, some days are good, some are not. I know that, and I hope you all understand. It’s pretty important.

Show, don’t tell. Sometimes, you have to tell. Telling is stating a character’s thoughts and feelings. Showing is describing the character’s actions. Adkins refers to her favorite book on craft, The Making of a Story, has information on doing both. With practice, a writer learns how to do this. I’m practicing every day.

Learning rules before breaking rules? Adkins’ truth is learn the reasoning before taking rules seriously. Use rules as guidelines to make writing easier, not restrictive. This makes sense to me, at this moment in time. I’m looking forward to the workshops, one a month for the next three months.

Thanks for reading today. We’re taking Gavin (grandson) to lunch today, then attending his ball game at 5:30 p.m. Perfect ending to a perfect day! Be kind, wash up, mask up, be thoughtful, and let’s make each others day better. Be safe!

Thoughtful Thursday

Hi, friends! Today is full of stuff for us to do away from the serenity, silence, and security of home. Mostly for the Babe. All I have is a mammogram later this afternoon. Due to the pandemic, that was considered a non-essential medical procedure/visit. I beg your damned pardon, I’m a breast cancer survivor. It’s essential I have one every year to keep the survivorship going. They dropped the ball, bigtime on this. I called, despite them telling me they would call when they opened up again for those. I’m not happy about it, but am grateful I can keep track of my own stuff. What about someone who can’t, or who is in denial?

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

I’m so grateful to be cancer free all these eleven years. A very wise friend, a minister and good friend to Dan and me, told us cancer always comes back if not in the same place, elsewhere. She has done pastoral care for a long time and knows what she’s talking about. If I want to think negatively, I’d worry over when that will happen. I cannot do that, it would ruin today. I’m glad I have my dad’s outlook; wait and see what they say, then we’ll decide what to do. His patience taught me so much. I’m glad to know about cancer returning, because it will help me should it be diagnosed again.

I’m so proud, because I had cancer and my daughter went to radiation with me, she decided to go to school and become an interventional radiology tech. This was a very demanding area, and she was on call often. Car accidents, medical emergencies, all things you can imagine happened. When she had her first baby at 40, she made the decision to do mammography. It pays ok, but she would no longer have to take call. Now, with two kids under 3, her days are full of work, and her nights are full of family.

I know Rebecca can offer comfort to someone who is scared. In 1995, (pre-Babe years) when I had a tumor in my spine, she was a rock at the age of 16. I wish she wouldn’t have had to go through that. Her brothers were great too, but she was with me at home. It was too much, but it couldn’t be helped. Say a little prayer for me at 3:30 pm, ok? I appreciate it a lot.

Sometimes I get very involved in writing and the CD ends. The silence is pretty stimulating for me with writing. The only better sound is the sound of my sewing machine, creating something else. I’m so glad to have so many hobbies, books to read and write, and things to do. So many, I’ll probably never finish them all.

That’s ok, too, because I have some fun things to finish. I have a quilt my Grandma Bobell hand pieced that needs to be quilted. It’s stained but that’s ok. My mom was born in 1929, and I know Grandma made this before Mom was born. I’m hand quilting it, so I’ll pick that back up when fall arrives, otherwise I’ll be roasting trying to do it now. Unless when the Babe cranks the A/C. Maybe it would work after all!

This quilt top is nearly 100 years old!

Back to the music of Glen Campbell. I like to listen to him. While I’m writing, sometimes I can block out the lyrics, concentrating on the orchestra in the background. Other times, it’s his mesmerizing guitar playing, or the lyrics of Jimmy Webb, who is still creating beautiful music now. The music is a great representative of the 60s and 70s, and I can recall seeing it performed on many variety shows which were so bountiful on television in those days. I miss this kind of good entertainment. There is nothing that compares with these old shows.

There is one song, however, that I didn’t like at all. It was called “Everyday Housewife.” It was about a housewife who dreamed of days past, when she was a sought after date, when people paid attention to her, and when she mattered. I always found it to be so sad, limiting, and trite. I didn’t participate in the “women’s movement” until later when I woke up and wanted some respect as an everyday housewife. We all mattered, but some of us were treated as servants, and even property. I’m so glad that time is over.

I do remember trying to justify my not working. Anyone who was my age was working or in school. I was busy all day, not watching soap operas, but teaching my kids and playing with them, and giving them what experiences we could afford. I’m glad for all the years I was able to be with my sons. My daughter didn’t have me at home, and for that I’m sad sometimes. She grew up much more outgoing than her brothers were.

And another song that was from those time: Galveston. I loved that song, but never made the connection to the fact that the man was in Vietnam. I’ve always been aware of the lyrics, “I clean my gun, and dream of Galveston.” Wow, I feel kind of silly about missing the whole point. Live and learn.

Time to “let the dogs out,” and “let the dogs in,” so we’re going to wrap it up for today. I hope you have a beautiful day, thank you for sharing it with me. See you tomorrow, and I hope you all have a good evening. Stay safe! Be Kind, Be Thoughtful, Be Courteous. Wash up, Mask up, and enjoy this day.

TRULY Tuesday.

I’m convinced it really is. You see, I pulled a classic “I’m worried I’ll get busy and forget to pick up Gavin” move. I set the alarm on my phone to go off at 9:15 a.m., sure I’d have plenty of time to pick him up and drop Addison off at dance. Except I totally blew off the fact on Tuesday, we don’t get him until 12:45 p.m. Wow. I put Goldie in her kennel, drove halfway there, and thought, “WHOA!!”

Photo by Thomas on Pexels.com

How crazy is that? Turning around, I called the Babe. He confirmed it was indeed later. Whew! Just glad I didn’t get to the house to have my sanity questioned. Instead, I decided it was so funny I had to share it. We’ve all done such things. Better than being late, right?? I have to laugh. Feel free to laugh with me, if not at me. I won’t be offended.

I think the more you can laugh at yourself, the easier life is. Young or old, once we realize humans make mistakes and it’s no big deal, we can relax so much. Perfection is not a trait of we humans. Regular people who make little mistakes, just as I did. Now, if I continued and it became obvious there was more at work than simple forgetfulness, that would be time to get a doctor involved.

So, believe it or not, I had a great session already today with my new Scene/Point plotting. I have a lot of major points plotted out for my character Katie in her quest to become free of traditional and unsaid prisons by which she is shackled. It’s an awakening story. It explains her feeling like she doesn’t fit in, like there has to be more to life than being a servant to a husband, and how her kids were better off not living under their father’s rule. Now, I can examine the emotional response she has to all of these events. Thanks, Sam, I’m getting it!

Does anyone watch Yellowstone? I am really liking this season. So much I might buy Seasons 1 & 2 to watch again. I noticed they were On Demand just before Season 3 started. Now, they’re not available. There are indeed a couple movies I have on DVD; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, no need to explain that one; Field of Dreams, came out just after my dad died; and Bull Durham, I think that is such a great story, how the older woman realizes she doesn’t want the young guy anymore, she wants a real man. WARNING: LANGUAGE!! NSFW. What a great scene this is.

OK, I hesitated because of the language, sorry if it offended anyone. But the point wasn’t the language, it was the rest of the speech that was important. Baseball players are famous for superstitions. Bull Durham plays off of that. It’s definitely not a family film, but one for grownups.

No Wonder I’m Tired! All This Writing!

Writing, like anything else we try to learn, eventually starts to “click.” Some parts don’t make sense until after you “get there.” It’s been that way with quilting, sewing garments, driving a car, taking care of a baby, or playing a musical instrument. Sometimes, as humans, we grow impatient and abandon something before it clicks or you get there. It’s so sad when that happens! Yes, sometimes something isn’t really for you, but how do you know until all your avenues are exhausted?

Money can be a big stumbling block when someone wants to self-publish. It is expensive. You have total control except for how many books you’ll sell. I am leaning that way, and some things just fell into place. Our cleaning girls quit for different lines of work. Our garbage collection is now paid for by the SID. And we’re cancelling Direct TV soon as our contract is up. All those things add up to $381 a month. Add in my stimulus money, and it’s nearly $6K for a year. Those things just happened at the right time, so far, I’m not having to rob the cookie jar in order to finance my dream. I believe these things are God’s way of saying, “Go ahead. This is the way to go.”

I’m looking forward to sharing the journey with all of you. Thank you for reading every day, it means a lot we now have 108 followers. No, one is not my mom. She will never have a computer, much less internet, so that’s a given. It’s ok, we’re in good company, and I’ll meet you again tomorrow, right here. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Respectful. Please, we’re all living this one day at a time. Let’s be good humans to each other. Wear your mask. Remember, I can’t meet my new grandson until this dang virus is over! Wash your hands, too!

Let’s Remember This and Be Courteous.

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.

Super Sunday!

It’s been a busy couple of days for us. Last night’s Honor Guard Banquet was very nice. The food was great and we had the pleasure of listening to Bill Williams, the person who sponsored all of the Honor Flight’s to Washington DC to see the monuments built to honor each war. World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Such hard times. Such hard memories. Such healing. Mr. Williams was a good speaker, very personable, very sincere about his motivations. What a labor of love, and a healing event for these soldiers.

The Honor Guard had certificates for all the events they attended for a twelve month period. With parades cancelled this year, and a ban on burials at the Omaha National Cemetery for a couple of months, it was a difficult year to get them to add up. As things continue to open up, more funerals will be done, and more veterans families will hear the bugler play Taps. A hush falls over the crowd, and the bugle plays sorrowfully. What a moment for those who have served. A moment of pride and hope and faith all at once. They believe in their country and what it stands for. And they honor their dead as no one else does. I hope this continues on forever.

Today started a little earlier than usual, picking Mom up to go to another family bridal shower. This was a sister of the same bride we showered earlier this year. Her wedding was COVID-19 delayed. They had a civil service, but no reception yet. The sister from today, her wedding is scheduled in August, so we’re hoping it goes as planned. These girls deserve it! The makeup reception is in September. Good times ahead with my cousins, at happy occasions. That’s the best part!

So after an evening of honoring some of the most patriotic people I know, and an afternoon of laughing and wishing happiness for a young couple and their future, I find it was a wonderful but tiring weekend. In attendance at the shower were a set a twin boys who were identical. As twins usually do, they were premature, and have come a long way with quite a fight. It was amazing to watch them interact with each other. They were only about a pound and a half at birth and are small at four and a half months old. They are beautiful boys, and are very bright and attentive to their surroundings. We come from a long line of baby lovers, so we were smitten. I hope they come to the wedding so the Babe can see them.

It sure won’t be a very late night for us tonight. We’re needing to think of what needs to be done this week, and Gavin will be with us the next three days. It was fun to see our grandkids interact with their cousins Thursday evening, and then to interact with mine today. The circle of life, surely goes on, doesn’t it?

Still mapping out my work schedule for the next two months. I will accomplish more on it tomorrow, for now, I think I’m just going to finish reading Personality Isn’t Permanent. We don’t serve ourselves by adhering to self-limiting beliefs such as, “I’m an introvert. I’m too shy to answer questions about my books.” Wrong! This is exactly the time you will become extroverted! Or such as, “I am retired and think it is foolish for someone my age to take a risk like writing a book so late in life.” Baloney! This is the best time! You’re not limiting yourself because you do not care what people think!

Your personality has really changed all throughout your life. It will continue to change as long as you allow it room to grow and change. Look at how far you need to go to become what you wish to be. And keep on that path until you get there and further. You will never want to quit.

Have you ever been forced to take a personality test for your job? I have. It’s a bunch of hooey, really. One part was answer qualities you need to do your job. The other part was what qualities you think you have. It was a bunch of hooey all right. Who doesn’t want to be precise, technical, exacting, consistent, and accurate when you program software? And who doesn’t want to be flexible, warm, caring, adaptable, and understanding as a human being? Well, they told me I’d never make it as a programmer because I couldn’t pay attention to detail, be consistent, blah, blah, blah, my personality would be my undoing. The president of the company told me I’d better find a different line of work.

Well, I had news for him. I wanted to prove you could be all those wonderful things and still pay attention to detail and program like nobody’s business. And I did. Tests like this are bunk. I’m glad this book tells people that. I’m glad the Meyer’s Briggs test is also questioned. I think it’s too stifling to have only one set of four letters to tell you who you are. People can truly change. I have. People are more interested in what you’re about to become than what you have been categorized as.

Thank you for reading my very late blog today. Hug your cousins when you see them. They’re great people and a lot of fun, too. I appreciate your time tonight and look forward to seeing you back here tomorrow. Be safe. Take care. Wear a mask, Wash your hands, Watch your step, and Be Kind. It’s always in style.

Swinging Saturday!

Yeah! Gavin started playing ball last night in his Youth League. They have a tournament all weekend. Nothing like going big or going home! I’m excited about this for many reasons. I love baseball. I love when kids get to learn and play. I love this team because his dad, our son-in-law, is one of the coaches. From what I hear, he was quite the player in his day. Never got to see him play, but I’ve heard the stories. Good ones, of course. His dad is a good father to both the kids, and a terrific son in law. We have three great ones, TJ, Aaron, and Brian.

So if the rain holds off, we may get to go to the game later on. Addison is back at dance now, and she’s enjoying seeing her friends. I don’t think there are many girls in her neighborhood to hang out with, so she’s glad to have human contact again. While it’s all good now, I’m concerned about what will happen later, in October and November. Just praying and taking precautions for now.

I am having some challenges with the office help this morning. Letting them in. Letting them out. Getting them water. Right now, a squeaking squirrel is making it’s way up my thigh, complete with bad doggie breath making it a little warm in here. And now, here is the dinosaur, doing the same. If I stop writing and go to the living room to sit with them, they go to sleep. Can’t win, but I can laugh while I’m doing it. Finally, twenty minutes later and she found a place to lay down and nap. Lexie prefers the couch. In fact, she knows the word “couch.” Funny what we do for our pets.

I am writing a scene/point page for my new story about a girl who has to find courage to leave her unhappy marriage. She is discovering many resources to help her leave, she just has to be vigilant to make sure she sees them, and has the courage to act on them. The more she discovers, the more there is to discover. I think life works this way. The scenes are major events she experiences, and the points are the way she feels about the experiences.

I’m beginning to think ideas are full of fluffy, filler words. It’s a real challenge to tone them down and not make the meaning difficult to find. I think we speak with a lot of filler words, and tend to try and write that way, too. Quite different from business writing. Then it’s the facts, summarized for an executive in fewer words. Almost as if they don’t want to waste their time knowing what goes into researching what they ask us to, then only wanting to know the important things.

And technical writing is really precise, with all the details, and sometimes hard to understand. Learning ASSEMBLER computer language was so painful. I attended a two night per week school and my younger son had his appendix rupture during that time. He required emergency surgery and I missed two of twelve classes. He nearly died. I almost didn’t pass the class, too. Neither of these things happened, thankfully. Never want anything so awful again. Either that class or one of my kids nearly dying.

This is going to be an afternoon I need a little nap, so I’m heading that way. Hope you have a wonderful rest of your Saturday. Thank you for reading, I appreciate your support. Wash your hands. Wear your mask, thank you. Call your mom. Be a good example. Share a smile with someone. Listen.

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!

Song of the Day?

While driving to Omaha to get my mom for the first time in a long time, I listened to my mixed-USB in the car. Up came one of the most beautiful renditions of a very popular song that was sung first by Judy Garland. It has been recorded by many, many people over the years. The woman who sang it as I heard it today has one of the most versatile, powerful voices I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy. It was. My brother Tim had it sung at his wife’s funeral. It was Laura’s favorite song, and it was quite fitting. I’ll always remember Laura when I hear this song. I’m so glad I had her for a sister for a little while. Very special woman.

Laura Elliott Kraft Jewell

My mom was able to purchase all of her cleaning supplies, dish soap, hand and body lotion, and garbage bags. The supply she got should last her for awhile. If I’m guessing right, she really wasn’t out of these things. She used to keep one item open for use, a second as a backup, and a third as a backup backup. You never know. I suspect she may have opened a backup and needed to rotate her stock again. Now she has no cause for anxiety until she thinks of something else. I’m sure it will be something. Poor thing. I hope when I’m old and alone that I go to the assisted living facility and don’t worry about anything. I’ll eat ice cream every day, and the world will be wonderful. You have to make it that way. Bless her heart.

It is actually a beautiful day today, not too windy or hot. I’m hoping Billy McGuigan and his brothers have a great opening night for Rave On at the Drive In. Omaha Community Playhouse is sponsoring a parking lot drive in concert. I love the idea. At first I thought no. But I miss live music too much. The Babe and I will look at going next week, I think. Here is a link to The Omaha Community Playhouse. You can never go wrong going to see Billy McGuigan and his bandmates. All the people who play in any of his band selections are exquisite musicians. They just all play well together. Check it out.

Just saw the weather. This is a first. It’s 88 degrees out, with light humidity. In fact, it feels like it’s only 85 degrees out. Gosh, hope there’s no wind chill! This is perfect weather for an outdoor drive in concert. Hope the boys have such great weather throughout their run.

I hear Black Diamond watermelons are in stock at Huffman’s Produce. I’m after one ASAP, because they are unbelievably good. Our little group of friends at the VFW have talked about how hard it is to find a good watermelon the past years in memory. You’ll be pleasantly amazed. I was.

Tomorrow will be a day I hope to spend at home. Home with the dogs. The Babe will go to the Post for awhile, and then we’ll decide how to spend the days of the weekend. I’ll make sure to write a lot earlier tomorrow than I did today. It just goes better, I think. Thanks for reading today. I appreciate your time, and will see you tomorrow. Take care of one another. Wash your hands. Socially distance. Be Kind. Be Mannerly. Be Civil. We all deserve it.

Fortunate Friday

This, is what I needed yesterday

Today is already a much better day than yesterday was. For some reason, I was ready to burn all my manuscripts, all of my “how to write” books, and just give up. I tried all my tricks to get out of the funk. Every single one. Except for the most important one. Give into the physical fatigue I was feeling and get a good night’s sleep. Guess what? It worked.

Each and every time I commit this crime of omission, I feel pretty silly. Why? Because I know the best thing for me, when things are out of control, is to just go to sleep. I wake up again and my soul is refreshed, the fight is still in me, and I’ll go slay the dragons of my mind again. Every time. I’ve known this for over forty years. Why did I forget it?

Because the world has gone crazy, the messages are in an out of control feeding frenzy, and I got caught up in the vortex of the tornado. Again. The fact that I’m feeling silly is just because I’m human. Most of us don’t like to admit all humans are flawed. We are all flawed. Being imperfect is something we need to admit. Once we admit it, we can work on it. We’ll never become perfect, at least not in this world, on this earth.

I believe that is for whatever Heaven is. I sometimes think Heaven is whatever is best for us on earth, it is what we have in heaven. Family and friends, kids and grandkids, music and dance, puppies and dogs, flowers and breathtaking scenery, it’s all going to be there. And never end. No one will die. Or fall out of love. No one will be mean. Or bullied. No one will murder the body with objects or the heart with words. We will have never seen anything like it. It sounds pretty incredible.

Whatever you believe, I think belief in something bigger than ourselves is critical to living now. We are not the “it” that exists at the top of the heap. We are simply sharing the middle ground with others we need to get along with. Don’t infringe on others. Share with one another. Don’t hurt or kill each others. Do good. Do be good to each other. Do know you’re all just as lovable in God’s eyes. And your mama’s. You’re equal. Now all of us need to act like it. And stop the insanity. Please. Before it’s all too late for all of us. I have hope it is not too late.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate you returning after a sub-par blog yesterday. I feel it’s necessary to share those to show we all have terrible days we can and do recover from, believe it or not. Show, don’t tell. That’s what authors are supposed to do. Have a beautiful day. Get some rest. Make some progress. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be the change. I’ll see you tomorrow.

My Hope for All of You!