Wednesday Already?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Superb Saturday & #180!

Happy Saturday, friends, family, and followers! It’s nice enough at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska to have the windows open a little. Of course, this morning the furnace is still kicking on, but it won’t be soon as it warms up. I’m fortunate, the writing staff is napping and the Babe has gone to the VFW Post 2503 for some office work and to help the Honor Guard pay last respects to a veteran who is being buried today. I’m so proud of his participation in this ritual. I sat next to my mother and heard the words said upon presenting the flag, and it has made me tear up every time I hear them. The nation is indeed grateful to each and every veteran who served with honor. I am too. Thank you all for what you all continue to do for this great nation.

Awhile back, I downloaded a free sample of the software Pro Writing Aid. I must say, I do like it a lot, and have used it on my book before the re-write after my first edit. My editor Sam cautioned me to make sure suggested changes make sense before accepting them. That is a good point and I’m glad she told me that. I would have double checked anyway, heck, being a retired software coder, I know they are only as good as the coder who wrote them. I freely admitted when I made some colossal goofs when writing code and pre-testing it. “Sometimes, I even amaze myself” was what I’d laugh and say when catching errors I made. It always only did what I told it to do. Admitting mistakes. That gets you far in life and work, too. Just don’t keep on repeating the same ones.

Anyone who has ever been burned by autocorrect can attest to the weird stuff that shows up since autocorrect and spellcheck really don’t know what they’re doing. Again, limitations enforced by the coder. Grammar mistakes are king, aren’t they? We need to be patient and proofread what we write. Memos, e-mails, letters, books, and texts take on a way different meaning when words are substituted without our knowledge or checking. Protect yourself, take the time to read.

That said, because we’re all human and no one is perfect, cut each other some slack. At times when someone posts a lot of grammatical errors in a Facebook Post, it only bothers me when the one who makes all these errors claims to be smarter than everyone else. Haughtiness doesn’t get you anywhere when you’re making a statement like that.

I’m having a good time during my re-write. I’m in Chapter 10 right now. Nearly halfway. At this rate, I may be able to get it back to my editor by the end of March. This year! Yay! I’ll keep you posted for sure. I’m a sucker for accessories. Fashion accessories, computer accessories, and now, writing accessories, commonly known as references. Here’s a book I’ve enjoyed perusing.

Tired of “nod” and “sigh”? Me, too.

This amazing little 88 page book has chapter divisions by body part. Eyes, Noses, Mouths, all body parts, except for the genitalia. Had to say it, you know you were wondering. The gist of this 1,000 Character Reactions from Head to Toe is that my characters need to do more than sigh, said, heard, and stand still. They can take a long drag from a cigar, parrot back, hear as if everything was under water, and sashaying away from someone. Don’t get too crazy with these words, though. Jerry Jenkins, who wrote the “Left Behind” series and who is a successful author, says to quit with too many descriptive words for “said.” It may be appropriate in some genres and not others. I’ll have to let you know about that theory, too.

BTW, this is our 180th published blog since last July 5, 2019. In the beginning, I didn’t write every day, but I do now it at all possible. I’m sad it took our dog Roxie being run over by a car to make me start writing every day. You never know what will strike your heart and be a story you want to share. It helped us with our grief, too. If you would like to read that first blog, here is a link for you to read. Bring Kleenex. She was a charmer.

I would absolutely love for you to continue this journey with me, right along to when we reach the 360th blog post and beyond to buying a book once we publish them. In the meantime, thank you for reading today, I’ll be here tomorrow, as I hope you are. Go out and have a beautiful Saturday.

Another Sunday in the Suburbs

It’s almost noon in Gretna, NE. We’ve had a full morning, and are getting ready for the crew we hired to come paint tomorrow. When we first moved in three years ago, the Babe painted the living room, kitchen, two small bedrooms we use for studio/office space, and our bathroom. ReBath made a tiny ugly shower into a beautiful thing. It’s all handicap ready for when the time comes, if it does. The lady that built the house had it constructed that way. Mostly all door handles instead of doorknobs. Wonderful for us arthritics! The one door with a knob is leading to the deck, and I struggle with it. But it’s a good test of what you’ve got or not.

So builders grade paint is nothing but a dirt magnet. We had the kitchen and living room share a color called “Mimosa” on a couple walls. The others are neutral. My studio/office is my favorite color – Yellow. It’s happy, bright, and makes me think of sunshine. The Babe’s office is a smoky purple, grey in nature. We brought the paint from the old house, didn’t get the guest room painted before we sold, and we liked the color. The guest level is professionally finished by Thrasher, I believe. It’s nice. The colors are very neutral and clean.

Our colors are getting a bit crazy, but who cares? We’ll have a Caribbean Blue bedroom, with a darker accent wall. The laundry room will be neutral, one accent wall grey in the living room, and the extra bathroom will be a delightful Grape color. It should be fun, and I’ll be glad when we get the carpets cleaned. We’ll be ready for spring. And for the puppy to be spayed. She’ll be six months old on Valentine’s Day. What a gift! A brown eyed yellow lab! Love her to pieces.

Character cards. Opening scene card.

Thanks to Sam, my wonderful editor, I have moved the whole story around. The family home is the scene, and Katie is my main character. An only girl in a family of boys. Seven of them! Wow, I can relate, but I only have three brothers. Some days, that was way too many. She is the dependable one, and most of the brothers are afflicted by the disease of the family – alcoholism. It’s not just a matter of drinking too much. It’s a mindset of excesses, blame, secrets, lies, and abusive behavior. Katie has broken free from the curse. She recounts how lonely that has been, but is glad she learned these lessons, and had a sixth sense about the whole lifestyle. Nothing was ever made better by having a beer/glass of wine/shot/highball or whatever. Nothing was ever made better by “needing” a drink. Society has fed the dragon, and only now can Katie see how she has been blessed.

This family is a conglomoration of many I have known, observed, and read about through the years. People end up in some terrible situations because of their vices. I know I have. I have made my worst relationship mistakes because I was lonely. That is the God’s honest truth. Parts of Katie are me, other parts are not. For the record, I consume alcohol. It has never controlled my life. I don’t need it. I won’t drink if I’m upset, need to make a coherent decision, have someone depending on me. I can have fun and not get in “fights” if I drink. All in all, not a big deal.

As I forward to my manuscript, wish me luck, creative thoughts, excellent spelling, perfect words, and good concentration. It’s just a matter of getting it done. And you’ll be the second to know when I do. I really appreciate your reading, your support, and you always come back to see what will happen next. I do too, because I don’t know either! See you tomorrow.

Super Bowl Sunday

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click link for article about the 98 year old artist.

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

Ah, the possibilities!

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

And more possibilities!

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

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

Sneaky Saturday

Today went too quickly. I’d like a recount, whoever is in charge of such things. I don’t think a review of the days events will happen, so it will just have to be late afternoon/early evening now. I remember when I was about twenty-five, my doctor told me time goes much more quickly when you get older. Wow, does it! Addison, our oldest grandchild, will be thirteen next month. A teenager! Holy smokes!

This young lady is as smart as she is beautiful. She has a way about her. Kind hearted, but no one will give her any guff. She is annoyed by her brother, but no one dare mess with him. She loves her family, and doesn’t want to be away from them for too long. She participates in competition dance, and she is on the honor roll. I’m so proud of her.

The Babe will have a special birthday this year, seventy!!! We’ll have to try and do a special trip or something. We loved Yellowstone National Park and we want to see the Grand Canyon. Maybe this will be the year. Niagra Falls was on our list, too. A few years ago, we purchased the twenty dollar lifetime senior citizen National Park Pass. Haven’t used it or our passports yet, but we are ready should the need arise.

Words to Live By

Tomorrow the Babe has Honor Guard Photos. The guys do photos once a year, near the end of their year which is April – March. Photos exist pretty far back in the Post history. While he’s doing that, I’ll be working on the Newsletter for February. The regular editor has a bad knee injury, so I”ll be subbing for him. Get better soon, Leigh!

Have you ever watched the Netflix series Peaky Blinders? I like Tommy Shelby. I was shocked by his blue eyes, so I figure it’s the gypsy in his character? I am enlarging the Irish family in my novel, and I include some personality traits from the Shelby family. Wouldn’t that be a crazy lot? Wish me luck with that one. It is amazing how differently each person in a family becomes given they all grow up in the same environment. You all have different genetic traits and the environment is somewhat the same. I can attest to the fact parents can be tired by the time the last child is growing up. We overlook infractions we consider slight now which used to be major. Resulting personalities can be so different. The longer adults are away from home can also see major changes. At times, it’s hard to believe you all lived under the same roof with any amount of harmony.

Thank you for reading my distracted thoughts today. It will be a nice quiet evening at home with the dogs for sure. They love the fireplace on chilly nights, too. I will be here again tomorrow, and hope to see you then.