Mastery Monday

Good Monday Morning! I’m trying to use different words, still starting with “M” to call Monday besides Marvelous. Do you have any suggestions for me? I have a thesaurus, but they’re not set up that way – all the suggestions begin with a different letter. Darn! They’re not Marginal, or even Meager, at least not if I’m trying to be positive! Measurable, possibly, Medicinal, surely! No way they’re Melancholic, Melodramatic or Menial, but could be Mellow, Memorable, or Model. What will you choose as your Monday?

I’m selecting Mastery. In being a creative person, I seek to Master the quilt I’m making, here’s a “so far” photo:

The Poppies Quilt for Our Living Room
Still a Work In Progress

This is a little bit at a time project, since in between we’re letting the dogs in and out, seeing what the dogs are barking at, sitting still so the dogs will go to sleep, then napping ourselves, it’s all just a bit crazy. Peace will reign again, my friends, just hope it’s sooner than later. So, I hope to Master the little bits and pieces I can get accomplished today. I’m also going to assemble the goods to make a fabric mask or two for the Babe and myself. I’m hoping to talk my mom into wearing one when she goes to the store. I know, ideally she should be staying at home. We’ve told her that. She said she doesn’t worry about the virus. But she should. We all should. And I certainly don’t want to catch it. But if she insists on going out, she should at least wear a darned mask.

So Monday is a “Mastery” Monday, where I’m working my darndest to Master the Masks, my quilt, and some book writing/editing. Tomorrow may be “Tiger Tuesday,” where we watch more of the Tiger King. So far, I think the TK and that woman are in cahoots with each other. It’s all publicity stunts, over and over. They’re quite colorful, aren’t they? They make so much off of those poor cubs. I don’t see why people want their pictures with wild animals. You cannot even be sure a well trained family dog won’t bite you should a situation go terribly wrong, much less a wild animal. It seems perhaps those older men who had the younger guys live with them and gave them access to the animals used them to lure those young men and women into their beds, homes, and lifestyles. Sad. They not only prey on the animals, they prey on vulnerable people, too. Not good.

Although the sun is not out today, my scene brightens when a goldfinch flies across the yard. Against the brown of the trees and bushes in the Wetlands behind our house, the brilliant yellow of those birds lights up the background. It’s beautiful, and is a nice reward for feeding them. The little red house finches all sit in the branches of our Linden Tree (About fifteen feet from the deck and patio), and sing at the deck and patio. They’re so pretty and very proud of their songs. Already, so much right at our back door to be grateful for, and therefore be happy about.

That reminds me! I have two more quilts to finish for hanging in the house. One is embroidered blocks with Swarovski crystals hand sewn onto for embellishment. The blocks are Hibiscus flowers. The other quilt is of a Goldfinch. Both simply need layering, pinning, and quilting. Very near done. I should make every effort to finish those by the end of this COVID-19 pandemic. There. I said it out loud, so that will hold my feet to the fire to get it done! Baby steps every day. We’ll all get there. Just keep at it. Don’t give up! Dreams of finished projects can get us through to the other side. Finished quilts, books, artwork, music, whatever you can do, just do it. We’ll all be fine when this is over. Remind me, should I forget, ok?

We all have a bit to do, don’t we? Then let’s get about our business. I really appreciate your taking time from your day to read the blog. I enjoy seeing that people really are reading and relating. If you think of it, share it with your friends, and encourage them to like and follow, also. We can all cheer each other, encourage each other, and watch each other bloom. I’ll be back tomorrow, hope to see you and your friends, too. Take care!

Stupendous Saturday

It’s another Saturday here at the Home Office at Gretna, Nebraska. Another decent day, and it will be in the 60s and 70s next week. For the first time in about ten days, I’ve left the house to go with the Babe to his office in the VFW Post 2503 in Omaha. It feels strange to be out of the house, yet I don’t want to venture too far away. I feel the best at home, truthfully.

Our musician friends are making it easier to be quarantined. There are many local and national performers who are doing FB live concerts from their homes to ours. Some are posting previous performances to keep the interest piqued. All of them are done to help us get away from what’s going on right now, even if just for an hour. You will feel better after listening to music, I guarantee it.

That said, our good friend, Jimmy Weber, is performing tonight from 8 – 9 p.m. Just go to his FB page, Jimmy Weber Music, or Jimmy Weber and watch. You’ll be glad you did! Singer and Songwriter Rick Tiger and a friend will share some songs tomorrow afternoon from 3 – 4 p.m. You’ll enjoy this one, too. I’m so happy to be able to share these events with all of you, it’ll help reduce your stress and introduce you to two of the nicest and talented men I know. I’m so lucky to call them both friends. Enjoy!

This pandemic is going to get worse before it gets better, according to some of the experts. This means we will be under these stresses for a while to come. It is important to put things into perspective and be calm. Yes, things have gotten away from me several times already. I freely admit it. Some days, I’m terrified for our families, our old folks and our babies. I am afraid for myself since I want to see those grandkids all grow up too. There is way too much for all of us to lose, and that’s not even talking about the financial aspect of it. We’ve all survived with less money, fewer belongings, and in tougher times. God will be good to us.

I am going to make masks for my family should they want any. And I’m going to create from my studio, deck, and/or patio every day. It is what I know will make me feel better. You make sure you find what will make you feel better and do it. Music, creating, and being with my best friend top my list. The Babe is true blue in good times and in bad times, as I am with him. I have learned, however, that he has many women friends, whom I’ll gladly share him with. After all, he shares me with my men friends. It’s a grown up relationship, no jealousy, just as it should be. Lucky me!

Truer words never spoken!

I want to thank you for reading today. I suppose we have dawdled enough today, and it’s time to publish this post. We ended up having drive through lunch and going for ice cream on the way home. I’m ready to cocoon again for awhile. We don’t ask for much, and we’re so richly rewarded!

The photo above and story that goes with it is humorous yet sadly true. Just remember the moral of the story as you go about this quarantine. Wash your hands, stay home, and keep the jackasses under control. Thank you for reading today, tune into Jimmy Weber tonight and I’ll see you again here tomorrow. Be safe until then.

A Weird Wednesday

Hump Day! In a world that was pretty normal just two weeks ago, we now have social distancing, self-quarantine, COVID-19 where Coronavirus used to be and a whole bunch of other stuff. People don’t know what to tell their kids, and in a society where we pick up and go wherever we want, whenever we want, America may have a lot to learn. I heard this morning, in Nebraska we are not to have gatherings of more than ten people in public until after April 30. No Church services. No school. No doctor appointments unless it’s an emergency. My ortho doctor called me to see if I wanted to come for my last Orthovisc injection on Friday. I told him as long as he would have me come in, I’ll go. Being two thirds through an expensive treatment, I feel in the long run, it will help me put off a knee replacement longer. I’m pretty good at avoiding people at the Bergan Clinic. I don’t think it will be a problem.

It just feels so eerie. The grocery shelves were not bad in Walmart in Gretna. I couldn’t find rubbing alcohol or clear Aloe Vera lotion, or hand sanitizer. I gave my mom my hand sanitizer to carry in her purse. It was a perfect travel size. Not a lot of traffic out, and I did witness a couple of teenagers or early 20’s on I-80 from 42 Street to 84 Street traveling at least 85 MPH. You see them on weekend nights after 11 p.m., like it’s a thing they do from Iowa to Gretna. Very dangerous.

The Babe has further endeared himself to me, as if that were possible. Doing the housecleaning while I’m taking Mom. Our cleaning lady is on leave for at least two weeks. He may have himself a job if she’s gone longer. I’d love to help, I just can’t do much stuff like that due to my back issues and injuries. He’s the best gift in the world, and there’s no one I’d rather be self-quarantined with. Check back in a couple weeks and see if that’s still the case! And it goes both ways, folks. I may be living in his shed if things fall apart from his end.

For me, I know I need to do what makes me feel better about everything. I need to create. Really sit down for two to three hours at a time and write. Twelve to fifteen hours of good writing, it will make a world of difference. And then, I need to sew my Poppy Quilt. Everyone needs something, and mine is creating.

Sometimes in the depths of my imagination, my characters will speak up in a way I wouldn’t have thought of, they say something or do something, and I get excited and think, “This is cool, I wonder where he’ll go now.” It’s as much of a surprise for me as it will be for you when you read it. It is amazing how much time it takes to make sure things are just right. Then you talk with your editor. Sam is so gentle, and kind with her critique. I know it will not always be that way. I just appreciate that so much about her. I’m so disappointed the Nebraska Writers Guild had to cancel the Spring Conference. I was going to get to see her again there. We’ll figure it out. Maybe meet for an outdoor meeting on a beautiful spring day in April or May, somewhere between Gretna and Lincoln. At any rate, the conference will be later in the Fall, we hope.

In the midst of writing, it sounds a little weird, but you are supposed to read as much as you can. Why? I’m sure seeing why lately. The things I’m learning about writing are reflected in what I’m learning about how to write. It’s funny sometimes, I’ll be reading and think, “So THAT’s what they mean . . .” And it sticks in my mind for next time I write. The whole thing about this is the amount of things I’ve learned. It’s just so cool. I don’t ever want to stop. That’s when they’re throwing dirt over you.

This screenshot from Facebook reminds us. We don’t have to be perfect. We just have to be courageous. It’s difficult to say, “Yes, I’m good at this.” And then let people read. That takes real courage.

With that, go draw, write, or learn a new thing. Be courageous and share it with someone. Even if you share it with a child. They appreciate everything. Great place to start! Thank you for reading today. I’m back at it again tomorrow, but it should be earlier. The next four days should yield a good twelve or more hours in here writing. Gotta meet goals, make those dreams happen! See you then.

This Thursday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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