Thursday, or Friday's Plain Sibling

Do you like Thursday as a day of the week? If Thursday had feelings, it would probably not have good feelings. Like if you are a boy or girl with a perfect sibling, one that behaved impeccably, got perfect grades, with swimsuit model good looks. I know how that goes. My older brother earned very good grades in school. I wanted to be as smart as he is. Until someone told me I was as smart, and smarter. That made me feel good.

If he was sick, he wanted to be alone in his room. I wanted someone with me. That was not a bad thing, since children are different. I was told, “Why can’t you be like your brother?” That left me feeling like something was wrong with me. I was Thursday. A perfectly good day on my own. I was just not Friday. I did my thing quietly. My dad would come into my room when I was sick and play checkers with me. He showed me how to stay cool as a cucumber when I could see I could double jump someone. He was tricky that way. He even taught me to wink with sunglasses on. So people would know I was winking at them. That was a big deal when I was four. It was fun and passed the time.

Young parents today may not realize how it hurts a kid to be compared to a more successful sibling. Please stop doing it. It is hurtful. We are not them. Thursday is not Friday, and never will be. Why wish for a different day when you have a perfectly good one in front of you? Thursday can be productive or relaxing, snowy or clear, memorable or something to forget. But it can never be Friday. Ever. No matter how much you compare it. It can’t be Monday, either. Now that’s a day no one seems to wish for, either. Even less than Thursday.

Monday can be ready for you to start anew, give it your best, and have a different outcome than you did last week. Just follow with that same enthusiasm on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. Go to those new days enthused and you won’t believe what you can achieve when your expectation is not overshadowing what each of these beautiful twenty-four-hour units of time is on their own. Just like people. Similar, but not carbon copies of each other. God does not make them that way. Neither are people copies of each other. Or kids. Or babies. Or teenagers. Or retirees. Or baby boomers. Thank goodness for the variety we have in the people and days that surround us. Spend them wisely. Treasure their differences and similarities.

I think because the holiday weeks differed from the regular weeks of the calendar, I’ve had a time adjusting to the full week schedules now. I have been thinking Thursday was Friday the past two weeks. I love Thursdays. We get to pick our granddaughter up from school. Seeing a young person who is eager to tell you what they did at school is fun for us at this stage in our lives. It takes me back to when my kids were middle school age, and their descriptions of how their days went, all those years ago. I have that same memory Monday, Wednesday, and Thursdays every week. And I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

I hope you enjoy this Thursday and all it offers. I hope you value each of your children, grandchildren, neighbor kids, etc. for all they offer. Thank you for reading today, I appreciate the time you took. I will be back again tomorrow. I hope to see you here. Enjoy!

What day? Friday?

Hopefully, with no holidays next week, we’ll all be back to remembering what day it really is. Just about the time I remember which day it is, the Babe will say, “Really? I thought it was . . . ”

Busy again today. I took the quilt to my friend, and we decided to go to breakfast. It was so nice to get to talk without interruptions. We had some errands to do, and here we are, now. My brain is so full it almost hurts. Goals are great, and birthing them is worse, it is so hard figuring out which way we should go. There are so many choices.

My Mantra

In cleaning out e-mails just now, I discover I have a few free classes I’ve signed up for and never watched. If I’m still interested in them, I’ll keep the emails, if not, they’ll get deleted. Have you found yourself signing up for free things, or am I the only one?

All part of tidying up my mind to make these goal decisions. I will need to learn about posting on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. I already have an author page on FaceBook, and have a blog on WordPress. The website will develop more after I publish my first book. So that is a goal that is written down. Now to figure out how long each step will take.

Tomorrow, I will start reading my novel and assess how it flows. It has been out of my mind for a month or so. This is the time to do it. I’ve been told I need more dialogue to demonstrate what is going on. This is called showing, not telling. It’s amazing how I thought I knew what that is, but found out I made the same beginner mistakes every author does.

New Art Work for my Studio

I love old typewriters. I love pictures of them, replicas of them. I even have one on my business card. Since my battery is almost dead, I’m going to stop for now. I can’t wait to start reading and rewriting tomorrow. Thank you for reading, I appreciate it. I’ll be back tomorrow, and hope you do too.

Two Within Twenty Four Hours

With last night’s late blog, and my starting much earlier this morning, you’ll be getting 4 chances to register within a twenty four hour period. Take advantage of it while you can! You can comment here, at the end, scroll way past the ending, and you’ll see a box for “Leave a Comment.” That is where you can comment.

I must share with you the photo Tracy took of Gavin with us last night. He was so happy we were at his concert. He must be deep in thought because he said, “I’m so lucky to have you two for grandparents,” and said that the last time we were together. Of course, some naysayers will say, “He’s just sucking up for Christmas gifts!”

I beg to differ with you. Isn’t that a nice phrase? Rather than becoming uncivil with a comment, one may choose to “Beg to differ.” And there were no hurt feelings or name calling involved. Let’s try and think “Beg to differ” instead of “Those stupid Republicans,” or “Those damned Democrats!” Let’s be above name calling and be civil.

Anyway, while begging to differ with you, I say I do believe some kids really do realize when they are lucky. And it doesn’t have to do with material things, they can actually feel the love someone gives them. And they appreciate it. And kids are honest, they will tell you what they believe. I love their honesty. It’s so pure.

So, call me crazy, I know Gavin meant what he said. He wasn’t schmoozing.

Gavin after his “The Giving Tree” program last night.

I’m still thinking about the message from the tree decorations my mom bought yesterday and the fact I’m getting a new Christmas tree for home this year, AND the fact that Gavin’s program was about The Giving Tree. I do believe there is a message there for me. I believe it’s telling me something about Christmas, giving, and the past. Maybe like Marley (In The Christmas Carol) I’m weighted down by something in the past about Christmases. Maybe I’m not giving as much of myself where I should be doing so. Maybe the best thing I can give myself is a different outlook on things.

One thing I want to do is concentrate on the real meaning of Christmas. It has nothing to do with Black Friday (I honestly do not know when that became a thing!), with last minute bottom lines, how much money businesses make this shopping season, and with who wins the next debate. Those things don’t warm my soul or make me feel good.

So what is it I should do?? Be generous with the Red Kettles I see at shopping centers.

Be willing to help someone out. I am finishing a project for someone who is unable to. I will make time to finish their project for them. In keeping my word to another human being, I am helping others a lot.

Learn to graciously say, “I just can’t do this.” No explanation. Sometimes you need to know when to turn things down that you can’t possibly do and still function well. The wisdom to know the difference is worth our weight in gold.

There is a great deal of wisdom existing in the world, and I think some comes from out of the mouths of children. Their innocence is unbelievable at times, yet they can be wise beyond their years. Many little children are exposed to things they never should be.

When my oldest son was in kindergarten, a classmate came over to play. They played house within sight of me. I heard the little girl give a detailed explanation of a scenario. “You didn’t come home from work, and I went out with my friends to a movie, dinner, and drinks. You got mad I wasn’t home and I’m not going to tell you where I was.” This was really way too old for a kindergartener. I don’t like how it makes me feel at my age right now!

Sometimes, I wonder what happened to this little girl. She was a good kid but came from a really dysfunctional family. Alcoholism in spades, generational and it was severe. A lot of us had difficulties in our childhoods, and may still be shaking off the past. This year is the time to find out how to shed it for all time. The rest of our life doesn’t have to be how the first part was, especially if it was bad. It was there to shape us and teach us what to do or not do.

In the next week, many people will be gathering for their Thanksgiving dinners and “Thanksmas” and whatever else may be scheduled. Some will be happy gatherings, some may not. Whichever yours is, be sure you stop and think about what you have to be thankful for. Sometimes, it is hard to think of things. Just remember that there is good everywhere. We just need to look for it. There have been times in life when things have gone so wrong that I was thankful for the fact my car started. Period. Presently, my life is so abundantly blessed it’s hard to find things that are so wrong they will ruin my day.

Today, I’m grateful for Gavin, Joell, Addison and Kayla. They’re the best grandkids I could ever hope for. I’m grateful for a man like Dan who encourages me to be myself. It’s a relationship that is perfect for me. I’m grateful that my children grew into good grownups, and that they are independent in their lives. All mothers probably wish they could see their grown kids more often, I am no exception.

I’m so grateful that we have the home and environment we have. It’s a very contented, happy place. Our two dogs add considerably to it.

Think of what you are thankful for. Really think. You may even surprise yourself. Leave a comment on these things. Give us a like and you are on your way to chances to win the $50 Visa Gift Card. It will be given away on December 01, 2019, drawing will be at NOON. Thank you for reading, and please, come back tomorrow!

Messy Characters and More

After attending the Nebraska Writers Guild Fall Conference, I arrived home with a renewed sense of purpose, charged to jump headfirst into NaNoWriMo, and easily finish my novel with 50,000 words that all made sense with each other, and simply breeze into the sunset come November 30, 2019, with a deep sense of accomplishment about the novel being close to finished.

Today is November 17. I’m running behind with the number of words per day, but it’s still in the realm of completing. I could have some fantastic days coming up after doing some more research about what I’m missing in the first 40,000 words. It’ll come, I know it will.

I came across a mysterious Post It note in pink, that had scribbled diagonally across it,

“Chuck Windig – Messy Characters.” I’m assuming that was an author and book that I really needed to seek out to get answers on how to keep going, and make sure the characters are completely fleshed out.

I’m completely wrong about what is written there. Why can’t I remember why this is so important to my destiny? My story? My characters? Googling proved I spelled Mr. Windig’s name wrong. It is really Chuck Wendig, and he is a science fiction writer. Not my genre, but ok. Why did I make this note?? Could it be because he is not only a writer but a blogger as well?? His blog is TerribleMinds. If you Google his blog and go back to November 1, 2019, (Not now, when you’re finished with reading mine, silly!) he discusses two things. Writing a novel is hard, because it’s supposed to be hard. Writing a novel is hard, because it has to be done your way. Wow. This blog hadn’t yet been written when I jotted this down. And now, I’m finding something that is speaking volumes to me.

How did this happen?? Is it yet another sign that I really do have a story to tell?? Yes, yes it is. I cannot waver and say, “Well, I’m not sure,” because I have to be sure. I have to be sure this is very hard, it will probably get much harder before it gets easier, and I haven’t even begun to see hard work yet. And I have to be mentally ready for it.

It is hard. It is hard because I have a story I want to tell. It will be a story realistic in as much as I haven’t sanitized anything, left uncomfortable parts out, or failed to tell the complete truth about a situation because I didn’t want to have to explain where that idea came from. It’s coming from life. It’s coming from observations from life for a period of sixty seven years. That’s a long time, really. And to find each and every just right word to tell that story is hard. Somedays it flows, somedays it’s clogged up worse than an old septic tank. (That’s all I could come up with folks, sorry!)

The days you can coax the words and they flow endlessly are the days your energy level goes through the roof and you feel great. Nine out of ten times, this one day of brilliance is followed by one to ten of clogged up words, gelling together to make a tremendous mess if they ever are broken apart and allowed to flow, unfettered, into the great beyond. Lots of cleanup is required after that, and usually, it all goes in the sewer. Sorry, that’s the fact, the reality of writing. Not as glamorous as it sounds. And I haven’t even gotten near the hard part yet.

So now that I discovered how a note to look Mr. Wendig up ended with my finding him giving me some great advice that he hadn’t written yet when I jotted his name down, I will say good day for now and go on to writing more on my book. After all, I have been told it will be hard because it’s my own. And it will be.

Thank you so much for reading today. Make sure to comment in the blog and like to have your name entered in my NaNoWriMo Giveaway. I will draw on December 1, 2019 to give away a $50 Visa Gift Card. Comment, like blogs and you can have two entries a day! That makes 60 free chances in all, just for reading, commenting, and liking. Easy enough.

This Too Shall Pass

It’s all going to be all OK. I know it is. Just have to get through the next two and a half weeks.

You know the feelings you have when you’ve been dealing with things out of the ordinary (say, medical/health issues)? It’s been a very long six weeks, and this tough exterior is starting to crack. Yes, as together as we all think we are, we’re but mere humans and we get worn out, worn down, and wobegon. Don’t you just love the word wobegon? It brings to mind hearing Garrison Keillor and his stories told, painstakingly slow, as only he can. They were worth waiting for every word. He can make me laugh. That’s what I’m in need of right now, laughter.

I get a tremendous kick out of reading things that make me laugh out loud. Babe (Dan) just looks at me, then I say, “You’ve just got to listen to this.” Then I proceed to read sometimes an entire page to him from what I’m reading. Sometimes he’ll laugh, sometimes not. He never says anything, he just listens. That’s the Babe, always listening. It is one of his finer qualities, for which I’m eternally grateful. He’s patient while I carry on.

I am also listening to Peanuts Greatest Hits, by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. This is on purpose, it’s some of the greatest Jazz there is. Jazz always lifts my spirits. And even more so with Snoopy on guitar, Schroeder on piano, and Pig Pen on bass.

In two and a half weeks, I’ll be hearing the Christmas tunes while I’m working on my novel. Last year, I didn’t put up a Christmas tree. Things weren’t going great and I just didn’t have any Christmas cheer. First time since I left home. It is way different when your kids are all gone, and no one wants anything but cash or gift cards. Sure, it’s easier, but nothing can make a person feel as good as picking out something with the gift receiver in mind. It is a good feeling. I miss the whole activity, shopping, wrapping, watching the person open the gift. Hopefully you get it right and they love it.

In the past, we have adopted kids through our church to shop for. Samaritan’s Purse had a very good program. When our granddaughter Addison went to Sunday School, we did that, and filled a red box for a little boy and a red box for a little girl. The photos and email’s about those children really make you think about how very fortunate we all really are.

Aside from Garrison Keillor, another humorous author I love to read is Bill Bryson. It all started with the movie, A Walk in the Woods. I read the book after seeing the movie, and the first half of the book, I laughed until I couldn’t stop. It was addicting. The Babe had a lot of passages read to him from that book. The second half of the book educated me about the National Parks and many things about these beautiful places I did not know. My family was all about learning from reading. I really appreciate that about that crazy bunch of people I grew up around. Always an adventure with them and a book.

The key to any reading experience at this point in time is time and quiet. With a puppy in the house, that’s about impossible. She explores a lot, and the doors to Babe’s office and my studio remain closed, as do the bathroom door, our bedroom door, and the laundry room door when I remember. Otherwise, the familiar search for Goldie, making sure she’s not squatting somewhere she shouldn’t, and saying, “What are you chewing on?” The Babe is doing great with taking care of her, it’s really lifting his spirits. That is so necessary for healing.

So for now, this is my circus and these are my monkeys, so to speak. It is a beautiful sunny day. I will find a stack of beautiful, happy music to hear while I write today, and all will be well, here at my little part of Lake Wobegon. It’s OK to visit there, but I don’t want to stay too long. That just isn’t me.

 

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.

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!