Thankful Thursday

My writing staff and I are having a meeting of the minds this morning. Goldie (front) and Lexie (back) got the Babe up at 4 a.m. again. He was kind and let me sleep until 8 a.m. What a great guy. Typically he wakes up earlier than I do, but also goes to sleep much earlier too. It all evens out, I suppose. While the Babe is off again on VFW business, I’m here, creating with the animals.

My creative staff and I are meeting this morning.

Goldie is six months old already, and nearly the size of Lexie. Being a purebreed, she has more outstanding features than a pound puppy, but that doesn’t mean she’s superior. No, not at all. You can tell the difference, however. She is a very smart dog, and needs stimulation. They all do. Kind of like people, really. All ages of living beings need outward stimulation for a balanced life.

Last night at the VFW, we had a reunion of sorts. A good friend moved away a couple years ago after losing his wife, and came to visit for the first time since then. Although we’ve kept in touch via Facebook and texting, this was the first time we had seen him. It was a beautiful reunion. I am so overwhelmed by the men of the Post and the hugs, slaps on the back, the closely held conversations of a few words that say so much, and the checking to make sure they have current phone numbers to contact later on. This is what a band of brothers is. Each of them welcomed him with open arms. They truly love and care for each other. You have to when you depended on each other for your lives. Camaraderie is a beautiful thing to be a part of. If you can witness it as I did last night, you are truly lucky. This is why our Armed Services helps make this the greatest nation in the world. These everyday men from all walks of life, came together as youngsters to do a job they were called upon to do. They did. They are all better for having performed their duties.

Some guys made the service a career, some did not. They all remember their duty, although don’t talk about it a lot, if at all. It’s better kept in their hearts. They show such kindness towards the older guys, and it is returned a hundred fold. Yes, there are disagreements. Yes, there are differences of opinions. There is one thing that holds them tightly together. America and their love for it. Money could never buy this if it were a commodity. You can measure it, however, since all have taken an oath to serve to the death. And they still would if asked. It’s an honor to know them and call them my friends.

I’m glad to have from today until next Tuesday morning to myself (and the Babe), to regroup and plan how the next couple weeks will go. Mom needs some additional therapy for her back, and I’m all for that, so it will be more appointments twice a week. They add up, but should help build her up to have a more enjoyable time in her flower gardens this spring and summer. Right now, the plan is to rejoin the balance and strength training in September through next winter to keep her as strong as possible. Every older person needs extra conditioning to keep living a good independent life.

This is a sunny, bright, beautiful day today. It is cold, we know it’s still winter, and it won’t last too much longer. It’s a great day to create something. I’m going to try my hand at some more water coloring for the 30 Day Art Challenge. I also need to cut more fabric squares for my Snowfall quilt. And I need to write more on the novel. The words have been coming out at a good pace the last several days, so I need to capitalize on that. Thank you for reading today. I will be here again tomorrow, and hope to see you then!

SunSum: Sunday Summary

If you want to grow, you need to find these people; and learn with them, and from them (Kathy Raabe)

In my online creativity group @ICreateDaily, LeAura Alderson coined this word today, a day when we summarize our week and report stuff. Stuff meaning either successes or learning points, good things or surprises, and shared information or personal lessons. The whole gist of it is review what you used this week to promote your creativity and do more of it. If you are still not hitting it right, let’s try something different to see if it directs you to your right path. And she does this day after day for a group of us. It’s so cool. I found the group about a year and some months ago. I like it. Lots of creatives making suggestions, promoting each other, and sharing positive things about art, writing, painting, and even bee keeping. Yes, we are learning about bee keeping, too. If you’d like to join, go to FB and look for I Create Daily, and the 30 Day Art Challenge. You’ll get there.

I am well aware they discourage us to use our blogs a” Dear Diary,” but this is funny. A couple weeks ago, the Babe and I went to buy groceries at that large discount store that is everywhere. Yes, WalMart. As we were leaving, he walked towards something that was laying in the driving lane of an aisle. It was a package of Good Value Chocolate Chip Cookies to bake!

“Not run over yet or anything! The seal was still intact!” He was excited. I scoffed at him. Yes, I scoffed. I had a bazillion reasons they should go in the trash bin nearby, but still, they found their way into our refrigerator at Raabe Ranch. I smiled every time I saw them. Just thought I’d see how long it would take him to ask about them.

Today was the day, boys and girls! He asked how to turn on our new gas oven. I showed him. He usually acts helpless like that so I’ll do things for him. Haha, not this time. So bake them, he did. They are dark and crispy. Overdone. But he gets Kudos for trying. And on a day I need to work on my writing, he can watch football with the dogs and have his own snacks.

Now, a poll, if you please. How many of you would have picked the package up, taken it home and baked cookies? How many would have left the package in the parking lot? I’m really curious. Leave a comment and tell me your reaction. I’ll let you all know tomorrow if we have parking lot shoppers here or not. p.s. I did eat one cookie. They’re too crispy for me, so I won’t eat any more.

We are not leaving the house today. It is way too cold and icy in Gretna, Nebraska, to be doing things outside of the comfort of your own home. Stay warm, stay inside, stoke the fire, and Go Kansas City Chiefs! I hope the kid leads them to victory.

Thanks for reading today. I appreciate your time. I will be here again tomorrow, and I hope you will be, too. You need to see how many others would:

Picked up the package of cookies?

or

Left it in the parking lot? Comment below, thank you.

Photo by Marta Dzedyshko from Pexels

VA Hospital, Parking, and More

It’s 10:17 am on a beautiful, sunny morning. I’m currently waiting for Dan (Babe) after a check in with his research team for the study he is participating in. It’s been awhile since I’ve been down here, and wow, has it changed.

Isn’t there always chaos when any entity attempts to change the configuration of their campus, grounds, territory, or property. What do you view as the most impacted service during the chaos?

I believe it is parking. No matter what, I believe parking is impacted the most. The VA Hospital tries quite hard, providing shuttles to ride. So many of these veterans have conditions that prohibit them from walking far. And face it, I’d venture to say most of the patients here have at least one disability. You must arrive early to attempt a spot in the Handicapped Lot. The rest of the day, you get one by dumb luck.

The Visitor/Patient Lot is a terrifying place. Just observing here for the past 30 minutes, I know my life will be on the line backing out of this parking place. Cars all gather, each vying for the spot. Pedestrians are everywhere, not really looking for a car backing up much less out of said parking spot.

I see the parking for construction workers is close to their worksite, a luxury never afforded by the hospital workers. I wonder what would happen if someone were to park in the “Hard Hat Area”. Might the earth swallow them up? You never know.

When I worked at Mutual of Omaha, their lack of parking was well known. As their employment level dropped along with their insurance business, it became routine for a new employee to be assigned a parking area on the first day. In my time, it took five to seven years to creep up the list. Many folks would not work these that long.

The Midwest may be different from New York City or Los Angeles as far as vehicles go, but I’d like to hope we are “Nebraska Nice” with how we deal with driving during construction while parking is chaotic.

Parking will be disrupted with all the people out Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping too. Please stop and think about being kind and cooperative while you are out on extra trips during the next month or so. It will help things go a lot smoother. If we are all thinking only of ourselves, there will be much more of a chance for tempers to flare, accidents to happen, and failure on our part to remember the reason for the season.

Give a like, make a comment in WordPress, and I’ll put your name in my drawing for the $50 Visa Gift Card. Thanks so much for reading, and make sure you come back tomorrow. I’ll be right here.

Three Young Sailors

Back in the Korean War, three young men from South Omaha, Nebraska, set out on the journey of their lives. Soon, they were trained in Naval flight deck procedures and set off to protect their country. Two were brothers, Joseph and James Conrad. And a fellow named Bob Blakeman. All three served on the USS Essex. I never knew this bit of family history until my uncle, Joe Conrad, passed away a few years ago. The Honor Guard from Benson VFW Post 2503 provided Military rites at his service, along with the Honor Guard from the Omaha Police Department.

The next time I saw Bob Blakeman, he and his wife, Mabel Vankat, were at the VFW. Bob told me about his connection to Joe Conrad, and asked how Jim was doing as well.

James (left) and Joseph (right) Conrad

I posted this photo on Facebook for Mabel to show Bob. In her nineties, Mabel was up on FB and loved it. Back to the story though, it was awesome to know the three men had a connection, and I knew them all. That sort of thing happens frequently in South Omaha. Everyone is connected in some way or another. Directions are given by “You know where Darby’s is?? Go up the hill across from it, and you’ll find our house.” Bars are the way to find your way around, and Lord knows there were enough of them.

Bob Blakeman felt awful he was not physically able to attend my uncle’s funeral. It really touched my heart. That’s how these older veterans are. If they knew someone, they felt they should see them home. Band of Brothers and then some.

The next person to lose was Bob himself. He had many struggles with health issues, making it difficult for him to get around, Mabel had to drive, his prosthesis didn’t fit or work properly. Struggles that were hard to witness. And such a nice man. I think he didn’t give compliments readily, but when he acknowledged the job my husband Dan was doing as the Post Quartermaster, he told him he was doing a good job, and thanked him. You could tell he meant it.

All that was left was Jim Conrad. He just passed away this week. I immediately thought of these three young kids, these three musketeers, these three amigos from South Omaha. I hope they have one heck of a reunion, reunited and swapping stories for eternity. We here on earth will miss the three of you. Thank you all for what you did for the world, the United States Navy, the Korean War, your families, friends, and the folks you were kind to. This world is a better place for your kindness. Be kind to people today, it’s National Kindness Day, and it would be a great way to remember these three kids in uniform.

A photo, an Eagle, and Bob’s favorite beverage at his table in the Canteen. It took my breath away. God Bless Him.
Joseph Conrad was laid to rest next to his wife, Lois. VFW Post 2503 Honor Guard and the Omaha Police Department provided honors for this good man. God Bless You, Uncle Joe.

And now, Jim’s family will be laying him to rest too. Thank you, God, for allowing all three of these kids in uniform to come home, meet their sweethearts, and raise families, contribute to their communities, and help make the world a better place.

Today is National Kindness Day. Be kind to people today. It would be a great way to honor these three kids in uniform. Please leave a comment, like this post, and like the Blog, please. You’ll be entered (limited to once a day) for every comment and every like (limited to once a day) to win a $50 Visa Gift Card, in honor of NaNoWriMo. Drawing is December 1, 2019. Who couldn’t use an extra $50 at this time of year?? Thank you for reading, I appreciate it very much.

Love my Veterans

What I remember about Veterans Day as a kid was about the Armistice which ended WWI. From Wikipedia:

The Armistice of 11 November 1918 was the armistice signed at Le Francport near Compi├Ęgne that ended fighting on land, sea and air in World War I between the Allies and their opponent, Germany. Previous armistices had been agreed with Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Once I started high school in the fall 1966, Father Vernon announced a moment of silence, at 11:11 am, on 11/11, and every classroom was quiet. We understood what it all meant. And we respected it.

Now, in present times, we have a kid in You Tube saying kids shouldn’t know about WWII. It’s too traumatic. Life is traumatic at times. Everyone needs to learn to deal with it. Period. Yes, even little kids. Life isn’t touchy-feely. It will eat you up and spit you out if you do not know to cope with the harsh parts of it.

As the Vietnam War dragged on, I was appalled at how the veterans were treated. It was very wrong. This era may have been when as a society, we began to consider respect a thing of the past. I believe we quit having respect for those who keep us free, those who serve and protect as first responders, and those who are elected to lead our great nation. Can you disagree?? Yes, and you should do it respectfully.

We have many veterans my extended family. My dad and his three brothers all served. A few years ago, I purchased memorial bricks to be placed around the flagpole at the Benson VFW Post 2503.

From the far right, my Grandfather, Father, and two Uncles. The family served in WWI, WWII, and Korea. Proud of them all.

A few years ago, I petitioned the Army to receive my dad’s medals. Two Bronze Stars. We never knew.

Veterans Day isn’t about free meals, it isn’t about a sale at JC Penney or Nebraska Furniture Mart. It is about those who
who served. Those who came home and those who did not. Those who came home and settled into mundane lives, all the while thanking their God that they returned home. Those who returned home but are still fighting a worse war because it is a war within themselves.

The Band of Brothers and Sisters extends through all branches, none are omitted. The example of their brotherhood is amazing. They are always there for each other. When you have entrusted your life to another soldier, you can say you are comrades, brothers in arms.

God Bless all of you. And may God continue to bless America. What do you think of on Veterans Day? Leave a comment, like the blog post and my site, and you will be entered to win a $50 Visa Gift Card. Drawing on December 1, 2019. Thank you for reading and see you tomorrow!