Thankful Thursday

Yesterday, I wrote about venturing out for the first time. Or rather, the anticipation of going out for the first time. If you’d like to read it, check yesterday’s post, Woo-Hoo Wednesday. We all felt very strange going somewhere to dine again, and to especially see our friends after two months.

I spoke with a lady who reiterated what I felt yesterday. She mentioned feeling safe because we all know each other. I wholeheartedly agreed. It was wonderful to be out. To be among friends. To feel safe while relaxing some aspects of social distancing. The Post strictly adhered to the guidelines the Health Department insisted be followed for reopening. People understood. People were kind to each other. As I reflect back on it today, I am thinking of those who did not come out. They were not convinced they should be out yet. And that’s ok. We took a risk, and it was a good one.

It did our hearts good. Sharing a meal with friends who are like family is almost a sacred act. I can only imagine the joy we’ll feel when we are able to be with our grandkids again. Hugs for all! We all miss those the most. Yes, it felt like forever since we were able to gather. We tried to catch up on the news from each other. We had a limit of six to a table, and had to rotate in and out to not break the rules. It was so worth it. Some men hadn’t shaved for awhile. Some women needed haircuts. None of that mattered, we were just glad to be out.

All that said, I can’t say I have a desire to get on a plane, drive to Colorado (really hard to not go, with a new grandson and all!), go shopping in a crowded place, or attend a outdoor concert yet. I don’t feel we’re safe enough to do that yet. We may not be for a long time. Yes, warm to hot weather is going to make the virus unable to make us ill, but traces will still be around. It will be round two in a few months with a double punch from Coronavirus and the flu. Lucky us. We’re going to be doing this for a long time, folks. We can do baby steps getting out again. In time we will be more secure about it. Just pick a place you know you’ll feel safe. And go, when they’re open. And you will experience joy at being with your friends again. A reward for staying home these past two months, that we were all present. It will happen for all of us soon. Enjoy the experience. Savor your people.

I may have lost 3K words from my book while editing with Pro Writing Aid. Not sure if the word counter had a hiccup or anything, I don’t see where they are missing. It may take awhile to locate the gaps. There are some chapters that need more work, and I’d still like to reach 50K words or more. Lots of loose ends to tie up, and relationships to mend (those that can be mended). Hoping I can find them sooner rather than later. It will work out, things always do!

Ancient Chinese Proverbs May Be The Best

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate you taking the time to do so. Hope to see you again tomorrow. I’ll be here! Stay safe! Wash hands, Be Kind, Call a Friend Today!

Saturday Senses

The Babe used to work at Watkins Concrete Block Co., Inc in Omaha at 144th & Giles. He was a Lead then Supervisor in the truck shop, then became Labor Foreman. He also did Facilities Management, lots of other things. I think most of the guys loved working for him, he would tell it like it is and still be kind with extra chances if someone hit a rough patch. The reason I thought of this, was I saw on Facebook Watkins was going to be open Saturdays for the summer starting this week. We talked about how it used to be a relief for him to be off during the winter. As soon as the summer season started, he worked longer hours, Saturdays, and just ended up exhausted by the end of the summer.

The heat is hard to work in, and although he did have an office, he was in and out of the heat a lot. He’d come home with concrete dust on his boots, jeans, sometimes on his face, but he always came home happy. He loved his job. He was a manager who kept an eye out on the workers. Safety was always an issue, but then he also needed to find the ones who couldn’t work without supervision. Some folks will sneak a nap in, or dawdle on a simple task as long as they think they can get away with it. He saw a lot of humanity in those years. He’d help a guy out if they needed it, as long as they were honest about things. I respected him a lot for that.

As a total contrast, my job was sitting at a desk, writing code, debugging code, and all the things that go with being a “coder”. I was lucky to get to use my HR education the last few years I worked. I worked with the managers, HR, and contracting companies to find suitable candidates for open positions. It was fun, a change from what I’d been doing, and I liked working with the people. I was fortunate to be able to make the salary I did, have the benefits, and be able to go on LTD when I did.

Fast forward to 2020. We’re both retired. Married 22 years. 5 kids and 5 grandkids. We do pretty well spending 24/7 together. That’s a blessing. I love when the Babe is telling someone a line, and I see his eyes crinkle up at the outer edges, his dimples deepen, and he delivers the punch line. BOOM! I still fall for some of the worst spoofs. And he’s still quite proud of himself for telling me yet another fish tale. At this point in life, we both are pretty reflective on how good God’s been to us. This morning, we ditched the usual news and phone browsing, and sat on the deck with the dogs while the earth came alive. The clouds blew from southwest to northeast, and the birds were singing. Nice. It’s refreshing for your soul to look at nature. To think and talk with a background like that.

Look for your blessings today. They are all around you. We’re all tired of hearing about COVID-19, coronavirus, social distancing, face masks, testing, China, and everything that goes with it. People have strong opinions. We’re all tense. We are whether we know it or not. The Babe has admitted it several times. He said the only time in his life it’s been so uncertain is when he was in Vietnam. That statement made me feel sick, truthfully. I was glad he admitted how he felt. Then I didn’t know what to do about it. Except tell him, “I’m here for you, Babe.”

The most uncertain I ever was, 1978, July 23. My son drowned. He was revived but stayed in a coma for over 15 hours. That whole week was touch and go, and he did regain consciousness. His 2 1/2 year old brother was a mess. I was a mess. He had no memory of it. I was pregnant, and tried to bargain with God. I got my son back from God. It was so close. I’ve been grateful these some 40 years and longer. Whenever I hear of a child drowning, it feels like the worst gut-punch every time. It physically hurts for a few seconds, just like it did that day. He will be 49 years old this year (did I mention I was 5 when he was born?). Good man. Happy. Hard worker. Great friend. So grateful he was spared and he had no lasting damage. My marriage did not survive. But that’s ok. I don’t think it was meant to.

Somedays it feels like we are in the middle of waiting out a tour in Vietnam, or in a hospital CCU, waiting, waiting, waiting for some news. Do the best thing we can do. Pray. Love your family. Communicate what’s going on in your mind. And when we shift to be on that plane ride home, the release from the hospital, the hugs from our family, friends, and grandkids, Pray Again! Thank God from now until forever for Him being so good to us.

Thank you so much for reading today. I appreciate it so much. I’ll be back tomorrow, and I hope to see you then. Give Thanks. Be Positive. Pray. Be Strong. Pray. Wash your hands. Hang in there, and most definitely hang on!

Sunday Songs

It’s another perfect day outside. I’m in writing this blog post, closed up the sewing machine temporarily (I have another quilt ready to put together in rows.) This will be an exciting year for our decorating in the bedroom. And the rest of the house. I’m taking my hedge hog project outside for in between the chapters to re-write. Even if we can only do one chapter a day, I’m happy with that. It would be finished before the end of May. It could happen.

This pandemic has taught me one thing. At this point in my life, the stuff I get done is more important that the stuff I don’t get done. I want to do a lot of things, but I’m accomplishing what’s important – sitting and talking with the Babe. Texting the kids. Calling my mom. Talking to that pesky baby brother who has grown into a good man who happens to be my best friend. There is a high probability I will outlive the Babe. We know this. Why not waste the day enjoying the view and talking? It’s not a waste. Money cannot buy those kinds of days. A quilting friend of mine in Kansas lost her husband a couple weeks ago. I’m not sure if he had been ill or not. That aside, this life is precious. We just never know.

While my “outing” yesterday was somewhat shocking, I decided one thing I really dislike about wearing a mask is you cannot smile at anyone. That’s the biggest thing, a smile. Everyone is a bit edgy, you know you are, too. A smile lets people know they’re around someone who understands. They’re around a nice person who wants to share a smile. That person could become encouraged with a smile to do something they are dreading. During difficult times in my life, I remember how a smile added something to my day, made me remember the world is good and beautiful.

I treasured that slight human action that means so much. Maybe I’m a sappy romantic, but I love if I approach someone and their face lights up in a smile. It tells me they’re glad to see me. You can tell a fake one, too. Just wait until this mask thing is lifted. You’ll see what I mean. In the meantime, I have to come up with an alternative to a smile. I have a tendency sometimes to be thinking about stuff and have a furrowed brow (some would call them wrinkles, but I refuse. They are a furrow.) and be considered a crabby old lady. Gosh, I hope not. I’m really not. Unless you mess with our kids or grandkids. They certainly don’t need me to protect them, their parents are so in tuned to everything about those precious children. As it should be. Kids should get to enjoy their childhoods, without someone stealing it from them.

Gavin, our nearly nine year old grandson told me we couldn’t be around each other because of this virus thing. Had I heard of it? Yes, Gavin, I have. Well, we can’t go to school, and we have to stay home, but I can have fun playing in my yard or riding my bike. He is having a blast, I’m so glad. He will remember the positive about this, not the bad stuff. God Bless our Children!

Every single day.

I believe we all realize how fragile life is. As our scientists scramble to identify something every case of COVID-19 has in common (I’m betting there is nothing), we are kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop. The other big bang in our lives that will let us know what we are dealing with. We may never know. Science is precise, exacting, and takes time we may not have. Have we over reacted? I don’t think so. Should we be working on re-opening our lives and businesses and entertainments? I think we’re a little early on that. Wearing a mask might not be a bad idea should you go places where business is being transacted. Maybe wearing a mask in cubicle world at your job is a good idea. Be mindful. We have a lot to lose, people. Please put up with these little inconveniences to save others lives. It could be your baby, toddler, teenager, forty-something child, or your Grandma who you save. It’s what good people do. Think of others right now. Be kind. Wash your hands. Wear your masks. Keep doing what you’re doing to keep our world going.

Music is an important part of my world. It helps me cope with the unthinkable. A local musician, Jimmy Weber, did a “show” from Buck’s Bar in Venice, NE last night. I hope you were able to catch it on FB Live. If not, I’m sure it will be reposted. You have to tune in just to see the most beautiful guitar I may have ever seen. He introduces it and plays one song on it. Hotel California. Shut the Front Door! It was awesome. You have to hear it for yourselves. Jimmy Weber, Facebook Live Video, from last night. Enjoy!

Thank you for reading today. I’m hopeful this will be a very productive week for all of us. What have you planned? I’m working on a list for the week. I appreciate being part of your day. You’re definitely part of mine. See you tomorrow!

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!

Monday. The Start of . . .

The Lunch of Champions!

This wasn’t such a bad lunch. Took Mom for PT again today then to her accountant’s to drop off tax prep stuff. Usual Monday things that you do in everyday life. By the time I had a glass of iced tea with her and visited, it was 1:30 p.m. before I arrived home. The Babe ate already, so this seemed like a good option at the time. Busy day for us.

Measure Twice, Cut Once!

So this thing happened. My half square triangles (lower left) should have measured 4 1/2 inches at this point. Just like the 4 1/2 inch squares (top right). So now, everything must be adjusted. Good thing it’s not a quilt for a bed. You would think after doing this for twenty plus years, I’d check the instructions better. Human Ego gets in the way from time to time, no matter what we are doing. So, in the words of my dad, every contractor with an apprentice crew, and quilters all over the world, “Measure twice, cut ONCE”. It bit me again. No lives lost. No one but you and me will ever know.

You know though, years ago, a mistake like this would have devastated me for days. It would have. OCD or perfection, or fear of failing can make us crazy sometimes. When I think of when I was young and would be upset by stuff like this, it’s sad the time we waste. We know we are but mere humans, and mere humans make lots of mistakes. Yet we cannot accept when we make those very human mistakes. It’s making them ten or fifteen times that would concern me now. Not learning or not caring would concern me a great deal now. How about you? Perfectionistic or not?

I’m getting through some books I’ve wanted to read, and the Magdalene Girls is a good book. It makes me so angry how these girls were treated, even in the early 1960’s. The story takes place in Ireland, and this nunnery takes in wayward girls. Very few of them are pregnant. They are disobedient to their parents, etc., and stuck in this terrible place to toil at work that is so demanding it makes them lose their will to live. They exist as mere shells of their former selves. Only about fifty more pages, so I’m hoping I finish tonight.

Writing, I’m going to just work a little bit at this late hour. I do so much better in the mornings. I’ll start right away tomorrow, and get more done. I’m just glad to be getting anything done on the book, it’s somewhat hard to concentrate these days. I’m glad there will be an economic stimulus passed and paid out, and I believe it should not contain ANY pork. No Planned Parenthood dollars. No forgiving Student Loans, nothing. JUST the stimulus money. Period. The other stuff can be discussed later. You know, no one forgave our student loans. We learned to budget. Forgiving $30K is out of the question. I am open to forgiving month by month payments, but not big chunks like the folks tried to push through. Don’t mess around with that stuff now. Get some work done. You don’t deserve to represent us if you are holding onto your pet projects and promises. It must benefit the whole nation NOW.

I cannot imagine being a parent of young kids, pre-teens, and having aging parents at the same time. This may not happen a lot, but just dealing with one generation is enough work. I admire couples and singles who do both generations at once. I feel badly for Mom, but she does great with keeping herself busy. Sometimes she goes off on tangents but then she’s better by the next time I see her. She seems pretty nervous in traffic. We were driving today and a car got close, but she gasped and hollered, scared the heck out of me. I get it. She can’t see very well. Sometimes she makes me think I’ve overlooked something, so it’s a challenge. I just want to get her out and home with no incidents. That would be great. Just want her safe!

It’s just not very warm outside. The overcast skies make it seem as if it could be a really long time before spring actually gets here. Hope not. Either way, we’ll be home experiencing it. Yep, not going anywhere different anytime soon. Cancelled haircuts for tomorrow, the hairdresser just got back from a trip to Florida. Needs some time to self-quarantine, so Mom and I will oblige.

I’m going to get back with my book and the girls of Magdalene House. I hope it has a better ending than it probably will. Thank you for reading today! Stay home, be safe, wash those hands, and we’ll all come out the other side of this as better humans. See you tomorrow!

Monday Measures

The Internet is becoming one of the most important commodities we have right now. No, you can’t eat it, drink it, or anything like that, but we can communicate with it. We can learn with it. We can be entertained with it. We can learn what is going on in the world while we practice social distancing at home.

So what does this all mean, the world changing so dramatically in the past seven days? We need to be grateful. By that, I mean that although the media could have been crying the sky is falling in the beginning, at least we have had some advance warning about this terrible virus. I’m most concerned about my mom, who is almost 91 and, well, she’s old. She’s been to the grocery store and to physical therapy. Period. Her parish priest visited her on the First Friday of March, after returning from South America. I must say I think the priest has some extra protection, not only because he’s a priest, but because two of his brothers are top-notch epidemiologists. He’s got the best insider information that exists in the State of Nebraska!

Many things have changed. For one, I no longer have to look up the word epidemiologist. I’ve always been a good speller. In fact, I beat one of those now-epidemiologists in a spell down in grade school. I was so thrilled! I’ll never forget it was the word “satellite.” He must have had a brain toot or something, he spelled it with one l. I won a statue of the Virgin Mary, a Holy Card, and the sweet taste of victory. I had a lot to tell my mom after school that day. I also lost a tooth that was ready to fall out, making way for an adult tooth. Fourth grade was quite memorable. Isn’t it funny how we remember some things so well?

Our Nebraska Writers Guild may cancel our conference this Spring. I’m so sad about that! I had such a great experience at the Fall Conference, I was so looking forward to it. Since the CDC has suggested banning gatherings of fifty or more, I’d say we’re doomed. The Board will meet today and email us later today. Teleconferencing may be an option.

All any of us can do right now is be calm, wash our hands, don’t hoard household supplies, and be patient. Since we’re more or less at home constantly for awhile, be patient with your housemates, children, spouses, partners, and medical workers. They are most at risk and they are our best chance of regaining our health. Be respectful, they deserve it.

Mom will have therapy again this morning and Wednesday. I hope they are open. The clinic has no waiting area in the PT area, so I must wait in the reception area of the clinic. That said, I choose a seat in a row, by the windows, with a table on one side, and I put our coats and purses in the chair next to me. No one will sit beside me, and I feel pretty safe doing that. If that seat is not not available, I will simply go wait in my car. Safety first, folks!

Love this beautiful picture!

I have a project for the Babe when he gets home later. I hope he feels like hanging all the pictures we haven’t re-hung since we had the house painted inside. He might not, since he took our Goldie this morning to the Vet to be spayed. We can pick her up after 3 p.m. It’s so weird with only one dog here this morning. I’m glad we have the two, and I know Goldie will be different when she’s older. Right now, she sure keeps us moving! We can hang our art later.

Thanks for reading today, I’m off to pick up Mom right now. I hope you have a good day, whatever you’re doing. I’ll be back tomorrow and hope to see you then.

Terrific Tuesday

The Coronavirus has really become about the only topic of discussion today on the news. Travel appears to be severely affected. The stock market closed up today. Some people are very afraid. It is sad we are fearful of something that cannot even be seen. Sixty million people in Italy are in lockdown, yet people may go to work. How can they enforce that? Wow.

I would be concerned about Mom if she were in a nursing home. The home Dan’s Mom lived in for twelve years in Sioux Falls, South Dakota was quarantined many times for the flu. It protected the residents and they did stay in their rooms. I believe this saved many vulnerable people. It could be what saves many older people during this outbreak of a not so new virus.

A can of Lysol lists Coronavirus as something the disinfectant kills. It has been on the label for over twenty-five years. I would imagine a different strain exists now and it is much stronger than in the old days. Clean up your surroundings at home and at work. Disinfect your phone, your keyboard, your workstation, your steering wheel and doorhandles. Clean places you never clean. And take care of yourself. And then do it again.

Our local newspaper printed an article where the father of the girl who was at the VFW Post 2503 last Wednesday was interviewed. He told her story. It is a beautiful story of unconditional love for a little girl who was adopted. She has been prone to respiratory illnesses frequently throughout her life. She visited the doctor many times since her return from the United Kingdom. They were sure it was just a cold or her normal illness. No one over there is ill in the family group they visited. The father and stepbrother are both on home quarantine. It is very sad for him. Here is the article:

I just find the whole story so very sad. Until the whole story was known, I too passed judgment on someone being out when they were ill. Being human, I think we tend to judge without the proper information. I am sorry I thought these things. At this point, all we can do is pray for her and her family. Faith can take people through things that they cannot imagine handling on their own. We hope this is the case. No one else from our organization has become ill. A couple other people are staying home due to contact that included a hug and a greeting. Both were elderly. There again, our VFW family will encircle it’s own and will help however and wherever we can.

There have been a lot of frenzied phone calls, asking if the building is going to be sanitized. The Health Department assured the Commander cleaning the tables and chairs with bleach, along with the door handles, door knobs, the bar, and any other surfaces we can think to clean. All will be well. We will be open tonight for darts and tomorrow night for food night.

The informational e-mail we sent out telling people about the situation ran into a technical glitch which my limited network knowledge could not solve, so we made a trip to the Post to send the emails. Technology is quite grand until it doesn’t work and you cannot fix it. Then it’s difficult and can torment your brain until you find out both what the issue is and how it can be solved. A curse.

Needless to say, there was no writing time today. Tomorrow will be another day of PT for Mom. Hopefully there will be time I can quarantine myself in my studio and work uninterrupted for a time between Thursday and Monday, the 16th of March. I’m kind of running behind the plan, you know? What do you do when you plan to do things that are interrupted by life? You want to be flexible but don’t want to be a doormat either. There is a fine line, and it seems as if it is constantly moving in my life.

I am going to push for some time tomorrow after taking Mom. It’s amazing how a scene can live in your head and take on a life of it’s own when you put it on paper. I’m hoping that happens. It’s a scene that connects cigar smoke with some memories my main character has. She tells the recollections as someone in the group lights up a cigar. The rest will come when it gets here. That will be my starting point. I may need to move it to another chapter if it makes more sense there. I will share it with you here when it is written.

Thank you for reading today, I’m looking forward to seeing you back here tomorrow.