Thanksgiving Eve

Are you starting to prep any dishes for Thanksgiving dinner yet? I’m trying a new sweet potato dish. I’m prepping the dish today, and baking it tomorrow. There are all sorts of dishes you can do ahead of time. I’m going to google and find any others I can do ahead.

The dish I’m making will use sliced sweet potatoes (Slice width-wise after boiling and cooling), lay in greased pan, mix cranberries, orange juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, and some other spices, pour over potatoes and bake. Sounds easy. Baked sweet potatoes are great at a steakhouse in place of a regular baked potato. And no one else likes them, so I’m going to save portions of it for later. Yum!!

I’m also making the dressing ahead, and whatever else works out ok. No big deal. Last year, we purchased a new gas range, with five top burners (I love it!) and sure enough, it cooked so much faster than our old electric stoves did. I kid you not. We had to call our daughter and her family to come early. I’m hoping that does not happen again.

NaNoWriMo successful conclusion is still in sight. I believe 2,971 words per day for the next four days will put me in the “winner’s ” circle. It will be great to be finished. Don’t forget to enter my drawing for the Completion of NaNoWriMo. Just like the posts and comment on each day for the month of November, and you could have sixty chances to win. Use tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday to catch up!! You can read them while you’re in line waiting for Target to open! Be safe out there.

If you are a Black Friday shopper, do you know when it started?? The first recorded use of the term was in 1969, and had nothing to do with shopping. It signified the crash of the gold market on September 24, 1869.

History.com reports the city of Philadelphia coined the phrase to describe the crush of traffic and pedestrians from the suburbs out shopping the day after Thanksgiving. The cops worked twelve hour shifts in an attempt to control the chaos. Poor guys! Shoplifting was rampant. In 1961, the city fathers tried to rebrand the day to be called “Big Friday” since it had a better connotation. Didn’t work. Additionally, some businesses were also open on Friday after Thanksgiving, and many, many people called in sick, thus creating a worker shortage.

So, whatever you do, if you are out and about on Black Friday, take precautions. Hydrate, eat well, and be careful to stay out of the way of anyone who thinks a cheap TV is worth trampling people for. Keep an eye on your belongings, as thieves will mix among the shoppers like always. Be aware of your surrounding. And keep up being grateful for everything you thought of on Thanksgiving.

If you are traveling over the next few days, I hope the bad weather misses you. We got some slushy stuff and a bit of snow last night, so nothing bad. The sidewalks are tricky, but watch where you’re going, you should be fine. Walk carefully. Enter to win. Thank you for taking time to read today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.

Groceries, Doctor, and more!

How was your Monday?? Ours was a little crazy, I’m hoping Tuesday is a little more laid back. (It wasn’t!) Dan’s nurse came yesterday, and I misunderstood so the cleaning lady came too, instead of today. It worked out. Goldie needed to go to the Vet, and Dan to the Post to do some work. We loaded up Goldie in her kennel, and took off to let him do payroll at the Post, we went to Blair with Goldie to see the vet. He prescribed a couple of medications for her, and a special food that is supposed to change the environment of the GI tract. It’s all about medicine and science nowadays. Still hoping Goldie will get over this quickly and not have issues anymore. We kind of need a break!

We picked up Addison from school, stopped for late lunch, and were going to stop to buy the Thanksgiving fixings. Until we saw the line of cars lined up to turn into Walmart in Gretna. And decided to go this morning instead. Dan sees his doctor, so we will go right after that.

Today’s visit to the surgeon is to check on the amount of healing the wound vac has accomplished and determine how much long it’s needed. I know the Babe is tired of not driving. He is taking pain pills when the surgery site is dealt with. He is not supposed to drive while on those pills. I can tell they change his thinking and reaction time. It isn’t safe. I can’t blame him for being antsy, he’s been pretty patient thus far. It’s going to be over soon, I hope, for his sake. He deserves to feel better.

We have sort of laughed sometimes about “what else can go wrong?” Remember my son’s apartment going up in flames before his birthday in October?? He is doing ok, got his insurance settlement, and is getting settled in the new place. Until the car broke down. Just out of warranty, the catalytic converter went out. A big chunk of cash to fix that baby. What rotten luck! He deserves for things to go better for him, too.

Breaking News!!!! Dan has been removed from the wound vac!! He’s happy about that. And he can drive again. Glad to be rid of that huge, gaping wound on his groin. He still knows it’s there, and the skin can recover from the clear tape that has held him together the past month or so. Whew!! Now, I’m going to wonder what to do with all my spare time. HAH!!

NaNoWriMo is still on my horizon for finishing Saturday. I was a bit short Monday, because I wasn’t able to start writing until 6 p.m. It’s very doable. I need 2,972 words for today. I’d like to add another 765 to that to make up for being short yesterday. Don’t forget!! I’m drawing for a $50 Visa Gift Card giveaway on Sunday, December 1, 2019, at NOON. You can get two entries a day, just like my post, and leave a comment. It won’t hurt a bit.

I thank you so very much for reading my post today. I received a very nice message from our grandson Joell. He loved being featured in yesterday’s blog. I tell you, that boy is going to the Olympics as a swimmer! He will make Mark Spitz (1972) look like a slacker. Michael Phillips, too. Thank you so much, I’m hoping you’ll come back tomorrow. Lots to talk about the next few days.

Happy Birthday, Joell!

Today is a very special day in our family. Our oldest grandson, Joell, turns twelve today. It is so hard to believe! He is in sixth grade, which is middle school where he lives in Maryland. We visited in May, 2019, and were present for his Promotion Ceremony from elementary school to middle chool. He has attended a Spanish Immersion program since first grade, and the school is pretty amazing. He will continue the SI program until he graduates from high school, I believe. His mother’s family is Puerto Rican, so it is good that he can practice the language with his mother and some relatives.

No More Elementary School for This Guy.

I hope Joell realizes how special he is to us. We talk about you a lot at our home. We are getting better at texting you and communicating since you now have a phone # of your very own. We love you for a lot of reasons, one being your big heart, so full of love.

You have been taught to share from a young age. Sometimes, when we have been visiting you for Thanksgiving/your birthday, we have seen your parents take boxes of hot meals they have shared from our dinner table to downtown Washington DC and you have helped give them away to the homeless. You were with your Mama on Thursdays to deliver Meals on Wheels. You saw many older people who were lonely and couldn’t afford nourishing meals. You and your mama took food to them and visited them. You helped them be less lonely. You think about other peoples’ feelings. You are a generous young man. I remember when you, your parents, cousin Addison, Grandpa and me, and Shucks from South Dakota went to Puerto Rico.

You were happy to show cousin Addison the places your family loves in Old San Juan. You and Addison posed for photos at the ruins there, and flew kites as your mama did as a little girl when she visited her Grandma who still lived there. And when you and Addison came upon the man who sold ice cream from a cart on the street, you pulled out your wallet so you could treat your cousin. What a generous soul!

Through the years, we have seen you have parties with your school friends, and were happy with all the good friends you have made. You will continue to be a good friend to many people who will continue to meet and get to know. It’s part of a balanced life. Your parents have taken great pride in making sure you learned from an early age about the important things. Family. Friends. Faith.

Last Day of Safety Patrol, May, 2019

You are an accomplished world traveler! You have been many, many more places than some adults have been in your life. You and your family were in Hawaii for a couple of Christmas’, have traveled to Europe and seen good and bad parts of world history. The beauty of Rome and the horror of Auschwitz have made impressions in your young mind. You are curious about things like this, and make it a point to learn the lessons the world needs to learn about such events. You have learned about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad and saw where many of the slaves crossed into Canada. Your experiences have been very rich, thanks to your parents. What a lucky young man!

At the Vietnam Wall, Summer, 2019. You are helping your Grandpa heal.

Your dad took this photograph at you and Grandpa at the Vietnam Wall in Washington, DC, his summer. It is a perfect reflection of the two of you, a first and third generation of males of this family, and signifies your importance in Grandpa’s heart, and mine too. You can learn about Grandpa by knowing what experiences he has had in life, just as we learn about you by going to swim classes and competitions with you. You are an incredible swimmer! It’s something I never learned because I was too scared. You have mastered something that is a real accomplishment.

One day, we hope we can all go on a trip through South Dakota, so you may learn about the family and surroundings Grandpa Dan had as a boy your age. We look forward to spending more time with you, and would love to show you Mount Rushmore, one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen in my life. The Black Hills played a huge part in Grandpa’s life. We’d love to show it to you. Great camping, but we will probably stay at a motel. I think our camping in a tent days are over. Yours are just beginning. You have been to many National Parks in your area, which is rich in history and stories.

So Happy Birthday, Joell. We hope you have a year as incredible as you are to us, and that Grandpa gets better so we can visit again. He is feeling much better, thank you. Don’t forget how much we love you, and remember, you can text or call us, too!! Love you, Grandpa Dan and Miss Kathy.

To my regular readers, I hope you remember the $50 Visa Gift Card Giveaway drawing is December 1, 2019 at NOON. Like the post, comment on the blog, you can have two entries per day during the month of November. If you haven’t read all the blogs, catch up during the Thanksgiving Days off! Read while you’re in the Black Friday shopping lines. I’ll be cozy at home, writing. Thank you for reading, and see you tomorrow!!

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.

The Day After

Yesterday, my adrenaline must have been excessively high. Today, I’m wiped out, but very happy inside. The family wedding was beautiful. In the words of my late Aunt Carol, ” It’s just so fun to see a young couple so in love with each other, who have plans for their life together.”

Yes, it is. I had a blast sitting with my brother, eating cake and drinking ice water, watching the crowd of friends and relatives. Dan wasn’t feeling up to attending, so he stayed home.

The girls and young women who appeared single were belting out magical, love charged songs. You could tell they were wanting what they were singing about.

There were very few young men actively dancing. One young black fellow could really move with the groove of the music. The others were standing about talking, some were in line at the bar. My brother is going to take dancing lessons when he feels ready to meet some ladies again.

I have to say, he is a catch. Good job, devoted, reliable, gentleman (like our dad), and an all around good man. He lost his wife to oral cancer. We could feel her presence last night. He misses her terribly, and I do too. He finished raising her youngest two sons after her death, and had always been so good with all four of them.

Yes, I’m a bragging big sister. More than that though, he is a very good friend. I used to help our mom with him when he was a toddler. Yes, he was the pesty brother I wanted to make vanish when I was in high school, but no matter what, we would always be friends. And it’s such a gift.

Sitting with him at midnight at his wife’s bedside, we had some very deep discussions. I was honored he shared his thoughts with me. As I reached for his hand, I remember thinking, “when did he get into our dad’s hands??”.

The shoe is on the other foot, so to speak. Since that night, I’ve many times felt him reaching out to care for me. Life has taken us both to the place where I may need his help some day. We share a strange sense of humor, and many folks may not understand, but we are family. I tease him and tell him, “You’re the sister I never had!” Well, at least I had my own room!

Tim, left, Don, right.
My brother and nephew.

As unhappy as I was when he was born, I’m so very happy to have this great guy for my baby brother.

Hope you all had a good Saturday! Leave a comment, like my post and follow my page. I’ll enter you in my giveaway. $50 Visa Card Giveaway. Drawing held Dec 1, 2019.

Happy Birthday, Nicholas!

Nick on his Kindergarten Graduation Day.

Nick is my second son, born this day in 1975. Wow. That seems like such a long time ago. I was twenty-three years old. There was the blizzard on January 10 1975, the tornado May 6, and then along came Nick in November. Here I go with a story he has heard probably too many times.

Since their father couldn’t miss bowling night, I took Frankie, his older brother, Trick or Treating that night. In an old neighborhood like ours, many houses on a street may have one side of the street up on high banks, with two sets of stairs going up to the houses. It was crazy. There were fences in between the yards, so there was no cutting through the yards. Up the hundred stairs, trick or treat, then down the hundred stairs. Up the hundred stairs, trick or treat, then down the hundred stairs. And so on, over and over again.

With all this activity, I prayed God would not make this baby come tonight on Halloween. I’m glad he wasn’t, it really didn’t matter. I would have loved him the same. He was one of three babies in the hospital nursery who had black hair at birth. He always looked older, I thought. One baby was black, and the other dark haired baby was our neighbor’s grandson. Nick was easy to pick out in the nursery. As time went on, he did bear a resemblence to my father, who had black hair and big brown eyes. So did Nick.

Nick has a big heart, loves to help people, is a talented handy man, has learned a lot of things from taking stuff apart and puttinig it back together. He was always tearing apart his wagon, bike, and toys. He didn’t try with my car, however.

He amazed me as a toddler, he loved being read to. I was shocked because he could read at the age of four. I thought he should go to kindergarten early so he wouldn’t be bored when he got older. He wasn’t, and he loved numbers. When he was three, he spread the financial page of our newspaper out on the floor, and moved his index finger along the lines of numbers and said, “I just love the little tiny numbers.”

Today he lives with his husband in Gladstone, Missouri. I don’t get to see him as much as I’d like, he has an odd work schedule. I do miss him, it’s always fun to get together. Hope we can soon, Nick.

Lve me some Snoopy!

As far as writing goes, it’s 4 p.m. and my blog isn’t finished yet. Had to get Dan out to do his duties at the VFW Post he Quartermaster’s at, I got to see our dentist, we did some errands, had lunch, and poof, it was 3:30 p.m. I swear, the days go far too fast.

Still adding flesh to my characters, it takes a bit more than I thought. Describing everything about these characters may be overload, but I most likely will edit out anything that is a back story to the story at hand.

It’s a beautiful sunny afternoon, only 34 degrees, though. The early darkness is helping make it cozy by the fireplace in the evening. I’m wishing you a cozy evening, too.

What do you like to know about characters in stories before you begin to read?? Or do you just like to discover quirks and faults as they become evident?? Or should they be spelled out in a prologue?? Let me know what you think. I’m interested in your thoughts. Leave a comment, give a like and you will have two entries in my NaNoWriMo giveaway, one $50 Visa Gift Card. Drawing will be December 1, 2019. It could be you with a little extra Christmas cash!

Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.