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.

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!

Super Monday Stuff

Good evening! Again, the day got away from me. It was a busy one, with another doctor visit with Mom. She wanted IHOP after that. She’s delighted they added individual Hazelnut Flavor Coffee Mates. We also hit the Half Off Book Store to look for used books. She found a whole basket full, so I hope her LED lights help her read to pass time. She really wears out quickly. I guess when you’re 90, it goes with the territory.

My brother took her last Christmas tree down yesterday, and put it all away. She told me I have to forbid her to buy any more ornaments next year. I laughed and asked, “Have you MET yourself??” She laughed, too. Makes me wonder how she’ll be next year, if she’s even still here with us. Can’t look too far ahead, just enjoy today.

I found some fun self taught Calligraphy, Watercolor, and Lettering kits today. Although they’re for kids, I thought what I really wanted was a little instruction and basic tools to practice and play with. I think they’ll all work well enough for that. I hope to try them later tonight or tomorrow early afternoon. It’s house cleaning day. I’m so grateful to have people who come clean our home for a reasonable price and do a great job. They’re trustworthy and are hard working. We found them when we had a professional cleaning before selling our other house. It was a great job, and the Babe decided I should get to keep them. It helps me so much with my messed up back to be able to delegate this big task.

I can be a young artist, can’t I??

After an absolutely beautiful day yesterday, it’s about thirty degrees cooler today. It is still winter, after all. Whatever snow falls from not until April 15 tends to not be here so long. When it does begin to thaw, I pray the rivers and creeks stay within their banks, we have people who are still homless after the floods of 2019. Those folks who did recover should not have to bear that duress again. It’s too much on a human heart to handle. Prayers for all of them.

I saw this cartoon last week and just thought how funny it way. I remember getting immersed in certain parts of learning history and science. I loved the study of Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Rome. And science, I loved astronomy. Learning about the solar system, it was so cool. And as kids, the race in space was paramount in out lives. Catholic nuns said we had to beat the Russians so they couldn’t send missles to destroy us from up there. As if Cuba wasn’t close enough! Thank goodness we all lived to talk about it all.

This is how some kids are about their learning.

Do you ever eat a type of food that really reminds you of someone or something from a long time ago? Today, being at IHOP, we had pancakes. When we were kids, my mom’s father would stop and have lunch with us on Friday. Since Catholics abstained from meat then, we would have meatless meals all day. Mom made pancakes for lunch with Grandpa. Every Friday, and we did that for a long time. When I was twelve, he had a massive heart attack and died on Christmas Eve. It was horrible. I remember the phone calls, the upset, the sadness. And after that I didn’t like pancakes anymore for a very long time. They are wonderful, but I just couldn’t eat them. Grief does strange things to us that we sometimes don’t understand. It took a long time, but I can finally enjoy the delicious, fluffy gifts from the kitchen.

I want to thank you for reading again today. I’m excited we’re gathering more readers, followers, and would love to have you share my blog with your friends who may be interested. I’ll return tomorrow, and share the works of art we create with all the fun stuff I acquired today. See you then!

MLK Monday

Today is a national holiday, thanks to Ronald Reagan, who proclaimed this day to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. We do that not by store sales, cheap travel fares, discounted cars, and consumption of things. We do that by remembering a man who invoked change in how we as a nation treated black people. He was about fairness for all. Equality. Love. Peace. Especially for peaceful resolutions to our differences. I think it would shock him at the steady slide downhill in the last thirty years. I believe we did make a lot of progress after the riots of the late sixties. There have been so many instances in the past twenty years regarding race relations, police/race relations, and all of its ramifications, I wonder if we ever gained any ground on it at all. I would hope so we have.

We need to all be respectful of each other. It goes in both directions. Start at home, with each other. Expand to your workplace, your place of worship, your school, the local Target, everywhere. It isn’t easy, we all want the best treatment and don’t want to give it all the time. It starts and continues with each of us. Let’s all make a better effort. It could go a long way.

I started a very good book yesterday. It is “Sold on a Monday” by Kristina McMorris. It is the very sad story of a newspaperman who saw a sign with two little boys sitting nearby. The sign said, “2 Children for Sale.” It takes place during the Depression. Many people were at their wits end with how to care for their children. They were desperate and did the only thing they could think. Many times they placed the children in homes where they suffered abuse or became slaves.

In the book, the story included the fact first photo taken by the newspaperman sustained damage with the negatives before it went to press. It was such a great human interest story they sent the newspaperman out to re-take the photo. The family left. They moved to California. He posed the photograph with different children. He constantly questioned his ethics after that incident. He pledged to be honest. He didn’t feel honest. He wrestled with his conscience for a long time.

In today’s world, I cannot help but question if many journalists of any kind question their integrity at all. It appears we cannot rely on our news to report the truth. Many journalists are allowing their bias write their stories, tape their interviews, and report the events of the day. This is not acceptable. I find it very sad we cannot trust people to keep us up to date with current events as they really happen. It will most likely get worse before becoming better.

As prep work for the children’s books I’m writing, today I viewed videos about creating picture books. It is very interesting. I hope to finish it tomorrow. It will be a good base for my 30 Day Art Challenge for February. There is so much to learn, and I’m enjoying it, it’s easy to get frustrated. There is always tomorrow, I figure.

Thank you for reading today. Be kind. At home, work, worship, driving, shopping, whatever you do, wherever you go. I appreciate you reading and hope you’ll join me here tomorrow. Thank you!

Monday with All the Magic

It’s been a little weird the last few night’s sleep-wise for me. Lexie had an upset tummy for a day or so, and she wouldn’t stay on the bed to sleep. We don’t like her roaming the house at night because a couple times she had an accident or two. She’s old enough to know better, so not sure what that was about. We make her go out at night now, and night for us can be 8:30 p.m. I can’t stay sitting upright any longer, and Dan goes to sleep. I watch TV until maybe 11 then lights out. But Lexie would have none of that. So she slept in her kennel two nights.

I read an article stating women sleep better with a pet. In that couple hours before I turn off the lights, I massage her ears, her neck, rub her belly, etc. She was tired after being sick. I hope she sleeps well tonight. And me, too. Six a.m. is an early call without enough sleep!

I am shocked to hear after two weeks off for Winter break, one local public school was not in session today. They gave the reason of teacher planning day. What??? It just seems they could have at least gone four days and taken off Friday to make it look good.

Next month I am doing a challenge for Art. The idea is to create a small work of art every day for 30 days. I’m taking some photographs of sunrises, close-ups of objects around the house and some photos of the dogs to use as models of what to draw and paint. Just a little practice every day should be manageable.

Tomorrow I’ll have a day at home before a couple more days of taking Mom where she needs to be. After a quiet month with few appointments for her, there are three this week. I hope to get a lot of reading about my story structure done.  It will make getting started a lot easier.   

Thank you for reading tonight. I appreciate it a lot. And I’ll see you here again tomorrow.  We’ll talk about story structure.

And So It Begins . . .

This is officially a new year for us to spend however we may. We have an advantage this year, as there will be an extra day to give us 366 do-overs. What will you do with these 366 chances? The mind may be a little boggled with all this freedom to choose, with so many possibilities.

I belong to a group online called “I Create Daily.” I’ve been a member for about a year. It is a group of people who are creative in many different ways, some artists, some writers, some fiber artists, some photographers, who are united in finding more ways to push our creative selves to do all we can do. This takes a different mindset than just wandering through our lives, creating a little here, and a little there. We are reexamining how we spend our time, how we think, and how we can create better than we believe we can. LeAura Alderson and Devani Alderson are the leaders who ask the tough questions and encourage our answers. It helped me write the first draft of my novel last year. I wrote during a thirty day challenge, and learned new ways to encourage the words out of me.

Because of the group, I looked for any writing groups I could find. I found the Nebraska Writers Guild, and joined. There were two conferences I attended last year. The first one, I was surrounded by romance writers (I’m a fiction girl, or children’s books) and terminology I couldn’t decipher. It was a little tough to remain optimistic. I was also older than many people, and probably the same age as others. The second one, I was fortunate enough to meet a lot of women of all ages that clicked with me, and several I’ve kept in touch with. It is wonderful. We are learning about each other and encouraging each other to write, to tell our stories, and to keep telling them. I’m really looking forward to spending more time with these smart, dedicated women, all of us learning about ourselves and what we are capable of.

The Babe and I spent a little time at the VFW this afternoon. I volunteer to help him in the office, so I updated the spreadsheets they use for inventories and accounting, to prepare them for another month of keeping track of all the parts of the business side of the volunteer organization. It’s a good way to use some of my abilities to help the veterans out. I enjoy it a lot.

Yesterday, I mentioned it is my Dad’s birthday today. It dawned on me this afternoon, I made a mistake reporting his age. I have corrected it in the blog, and am here to announce I made the mistake, and fixed it, and am continuing on. It’s my first humility lesson, and I’m listening. Instead of 95, he would be 96 today. I loved his birthday. Since it was a big holiday, the family actually came to our home and celebrated New Year’s as well as his birthday. It was a fun day. At that time, all the bowl games were played New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Some folks grazed at the buffet, the men had adult beverages in front of the TV, and the women sat at the dining room table with their wine or cocktails and talked. I usually had to find the kids when they escaped the room. Most of them played either in my little brothers’ bedroom or in the rec room in the basement. It was a great way to start the year.

Dad died in 1988, three weeks before his 65th birthday. What a shame, he had just retired. We miss him, and I really wish he could have met the Babe. They would have gotten along famously. So plan your goals. Set them out in front of you, and think of how you will execute them. Join the FaceBook group I mentioned if you’d like. The people are becoming friends and quite a support system.

My goal for this year is to publish several children’s books, and my novel. I have 365 more days to work with, and I don’t want to waste any. We all only have so much life, so many days allotted to us. I’ll be sixty eight years old in May. That’s entering the age where you never know what may happen. The body is aging. Many of our friends have had strokes. I pray I don’t have one. Everything I enjoy requires use of my mind, my vision, my hands, and attention. I pray these all stay intact.

With our good VFW Friends.
back row: Judy, Nugent, Lora
front row: The BABE (Dan), me, Kris, Lenny
The Babe and me on New Year’s Eve

Thank you for reading today! I appreciate your time and your input. Any topics you’d like to see covered? Anything but politics, thank you. Come back tomorrow, I’ll be here. I hope you are, too.

Finally Friday

I am so blessed. Dan and I have been married for twenty-one years. Prior to that, I was divorced for sixteen years. My ex husband had a huge family, since he was the middle of seven children. We actually babysat some of the older nieces and nephews in our early dating and marriage. Some were in high school when we divorced.

Some of the nieces send us Christmas cards. I feel so lucky to receive this mail from them! I can hardly believe their children are so grown and handsome, and the girls themselves are women of strength and spirit. I thank God for those continued relationships even after all these years. Christmas bears gifts of the type you least expect. And those are the best surprises!

Today was another day working on the quilting project I’m finishing for a friend. The deadline is whenever it’s finished, and that will be before January 1, 2020, so I’m not concerned about anything. It’s good not to be stressed during this busy week.

I’m hoping all of you stay well during the next week, too. I hear the flu is at high in Nebraska, based on the number of prescriptions for flu filled at Walgreens. Isn’t it interesting how data is collected sometimes? I wonder how their figures are broken out by age and sex? Have these people had flu shots?? I hope they all recover with no further complications. Flu can be such a wretched disease. The Babe and I are no longer in the “under 65” age category, so we are in more danger of being very ill. Yes, give us the big flu shot, and the jumbo shingles shot, too. Anything else you have for people of a certain age? Sign us up.

Yes, the time is getting shorter before Christmas. I only have two gifts to wrap, for Gavin, and I hope we have enough wrapping left to do those two gifts. I do wish we had more to wrap, it wasn’t a bad task overall. It used to take me a couple of nights (very late at night) to wrap gifts when the kids were still at home.

If you are driving to where you will be celebrating Christmas, please be careful. In the Omaha, Nebraska area alone, there have been several fatal accidents. Many were folks not wearing seat belts, some were speeding and using alcohol, some were due to weather. Please be careful as you travel, we want you back home safe and sound.

Once again, thank you so much for reading today. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. And I’ll see you back here tomorrow. One day closer! Have a good evening.