Thanksgiving Eve

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweet Sunday

Good Sunday Morning!!

Goldie did not have a good night, therefore, neither did Dan. He went to bed before I did. When I was turning out lights, Goldie started crying, and had made the most awful mess in her kennel. In her sleep! Needless to say, I needed help keeping her dirty feet away from cleanup in Aisle 5. And Aisle 7. And Aisle 15. Wow! Such a little body could not produce so much waste!

You could tell she felt bad. She just hung her head. Wasn’t her fault. Dan took her outside for a bit and she just laid at his feet while she just looked up at us. No, sweetie. It wasn’t your fault.

At first we thought maybe she caught something from the other dogs. No, we decided it was the rapid fire treats she received for doing a good job at Puppy School. They may have been liver or something too rich for the amount she ate. Lesson learned, next week we bring our own treats. And skip your noontime feeding. AND begin to offer praise only. We want her well behaved without being a little butterball. She is a great addition to our home, and even Lexie is starting to tolerate her better. That is a huge relief.

I gave both dogs a bath this morning. Wow. What a workout! Lexie and Roxie used to go to Petsmart. The groomer was good with them, but they clearly did not like the dryers. Or the grinding tool for nail trims. Clipping is just fine and it’s less expensive. The groomers prefer grinding I think because it’s an upsell. What do you think??

Goldie wasn’t too sure about the bathtub, but she seemed to be ok after a few minutes. There’s something about a wet puppy that makes it almost impossible to hold but adorable at the same time. She squirmed but didn’t jump out. She let me take her out and bundle her up with towels to dry her. She did really well and I got to cuddle her.

Lexie, the most stubborn dog in the world, acted as if she were a water-hating cat. All four paws spread out, claws out, and I swear she weighed 200 pounds. She got in the water and was obstinate the whole time. Obstinate, isn’t that a great word unless you’re dealing with a being who is obstinate? My mother said I was an obstinate child. It’s a word I’m not too crazy about, but in this case, the word is aptly used.

Lexie didn’t allow me to get parts of her wet, so the soap and rinsing was especially tricky. She probably needs to go to the spa for a day, and get the nail trim too. The cleaning ladies are coming tomorrow, so any lingering mess will be handled, and they’ll get the carpet vacuumed super well. We will be doing carpet cleaning late Monday or early Tuesday, then the house should be rid of any puppy explosion remnants.

How, might you ask, am I doing on NaNoWriMo?? I am at 30,145 words now, and need 2,836 words per day for the next seven days. It’s still doable. Yesterday was a much needed take it easy day for both of us. We can still make it in good order. Let’s stay positive all week about it. I’ll structure my days around it, and should be ready then to edit in December, between decorating the tree that I haven’t purchased yet. I am actually looking forward to it. I’ll let you know in a week, after Goldie sees it.

Our Roxie was such a swiper!! Gavin said we should have named her “Swiper!” I had a playmat, like a rug, that we’d put on the coffee table at our other home. Gavin played with his cars on this mat that was printed to look like a city. When he wasn’t looking, she would grab a car and run into the other room with it. She just wanted something of his. Crazy dog! At this house, I had a number of sparkly, sequined birds that she would grab and try to run with. Luckily, she had a soft mouth and didn’t crunch into them. Crazy dog. We do miss her, but Goldie is a wonderful girl. Can’t replace them, but you can have them settle in a new place in your heart.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Not having plans is really having plans. You may plan to do nothing, which is sometimes a great relief. If your families don’t get along or gathering causes an issue, not going is an option. You owe it to your sanity and peace of mind to do something you want to do. Something that is not stressful.

This is it for today. I hope you have a good rest of the day. Sunday’s can be so good. Thank you for reading, leave a comment and like, you’ll have two entries for the $50 Visa Gift Card I’m giving away for NaNoWriMo. Drawing one week from today, December 1, 2019 at NOON. Stay tuned!

Laid Back Saturday

Yes, date night was a success. It starts with a Babe (a/k/a Dan) and his wife, (Moi). We just have fun. If you want an out of the way place that is a dive bar, go to Buck’s. Dan had prime rib, I had a filet. Both were very delicious, and $22, $20, respectively. Typical mid-western full plate of food. Meat, Potatoes, Salad, Hot Veggies. No wonder John Denver wrote, “Thank God, I’m a Country Boy!”

Jimmy Weber, Singing “Thank God, I’m a Country Boy”

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a ringside seat/view of the performers. The venue is pretty small, and you take whatever table is open for dinner and probably end up there for the entertainment. We had a table behind a small wall. Could hear well, but couldn’t see. I still took many photos and videos. Unfortunately, Dan still quite a bit of leg pain when he sits for any amount of time. He toughed it out until the headliner, Ray Scott, did about two songs. We just couldn’t stay any longer. Sorry Ray, maybe next time!

A sweet couple requested a song and were serenaded by Jimmy singing “Wichita Lineman.”

Wichita Lineman

Jimmy and Ken Sitler performed a couple of songs. Ken is a fellow Air Force Veteran with Jimmy and they do make great music together.

Jimmy always opens his shows with the Star Spangled Banner, and ends with “Taps, God is Nigh.” Jimmy and a couple friends wrote some beautiful additions to the original lyrics of Taps and I’ve included it here.

“Taps – God is Nigh”

If you ever get to see these people, go! You will be glad you did. I love music that makes me happy. This did.

Today, it was back to Puppy Training Class, and it was fun. The Babe told me to look at how much all the puppies grew since last week! Goldie went from being the biggest to being the smallest! I wonder what the next week will bring?? This class goes four weeks, and a lot of it seems pretty fast, but it’s to keep the attention of a puppy, then let them all play as reward at the end.

We love having Goldie. That said, it’s really a full time job keeping up with her. She was really tired on the way home and fell asleep on Dan’s chest. I think she had too much fun chasing and playing with the dogs. We’re learning a lot about teaching her things, and it’s a shame we never had the time or resources to do this for the other dogs we’ve had. I hope she continues to learn at the rate she has been. She’ll be a genius dog!

Once we returned home from Puppy training, we had lunch and just relaxed. It was so nice, not having to be anywhere else. The Nebraska Game was good, and now, here we are relaxing some more. I have the feeling next week should fly by – speaking of flying, we need to get a turkey. (Remember WKRP in Cincinnati??) Cooking will be in order.

And starting Friday, the holiday madness will begin. Don’t get bogged down in it. Do what you can do, and leave the rest. Spend time with your family, you will never regret it. Scale back on demands this time of year. Spend time just relaxing and petting your dog. It’s why we have two of them!

What are you looking forward to doing this holiday season?? Comment below, like the post, and I’ll enter you in the NaNoWriMo giveaway I’m having on December 1, 2019. You can increase your chances by catching up on all the blogs for November, you’ll have 60 chances to win!!

Thank you for reading, I appreciate it very much. See you tomorrow!

Goldie is down for the count. Until tomorrow!!

Fun Friday

Why, you might ask, would a retired person be happy it was Friday, or look forward to a Friday when their week already consists of six Saturdays and a Sunday??

Tonight, the Babe and I are going to a hole in the wall bar and grill in Venice, Nebraska, to have a great dinner and see the entertainment. We bought tickets to see Ray Scott, a country star, and our friend, Jimmy Weber, perform. We’ve seen Jimmy many times and have formed a friendship. They just returned from a Country Cruising 2019 gig where I hear it was a real chore to do all the work.

Those of you who have known me for years may say, “Country?? You???” Yes, me. I’ve always liked Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Martina McBride, Sugarland, and a few others. Over the past few years, Babe and I have gone to see other local groups where Jimmy has been a part of the band, and he really is a good musician, has a good stage presence, and is an all around good person. We had a chance to see him perform in a small venue three years ago, and have been fans/friends ever since. It’s the storytelling kind of music. Real stories. That’s what we like, along with the mastery of the instruments he and his friends have.

We have heard about Ray Scott through Jimmy, and it just seems like we’d enjoy the show, so we’re going to Buck’s tonight. It’ll be an experience for sure. We were there once before and would call it cozy. Great food, so dinner will be involved. Should be a great night.

Left to right:
Jimmy Weber, Buck, Ray Scott
Gonna be a fun night.

To catch up on NaNoWriMo, there are about nine days left to make the goal of 50K words. I’m at a strong 27,627 words right now. Nerd that I am, to hit the target, I need at least 2,445 per day for the next nine days. I was bold to order the t-shirt before I started to write, and I wouldn’t feel right wearing it if I don’t make it. It’s just words. That should make some sort of sense. Of course, vigorous editing must follow the writing.

My workspace this morning.

That is not a lot, considering I’m learning to show, not tell. Big difference, from what I’ve read. I know for sure creative writing is much better than business writing! Learning something new is all part of the process. It’s kind of strange, but I’m not concerned about failure. I’m not concerned if anyone will like it or not. Of course, it’d be great to become a NYT Bestselling Author, but I won’t be disappointed if I don’t “make it big.” I want to sell books, but my next meal does not depend on it, so that probably takes a lot of self-imposed pressure off.

I’m grateful to the people who have read the blog every day. It’s a mental challenge to write about something every single day. Putting things all down in writing makes the thoughts and ideas real. It’s kind of scary to share personal stuff, but I feel in order to be real, I need to. What do you think about all that??

Folks, there have been some things in my life that I look back at and it’s hard to believe they even happened and that we lived to tell about it. Child drowning and recovering, child with ruptured appendix (found up by the liver, not a usual place!) and recovered, unusual benign growth in my spine that grew to about eight inches long and pinched spinal cord, surgery performed on growth, punctured and will not fill up anymore with spinal fluid, recovered with no data on recovery from such a thing, lived to walk again and tell about it. My surgeon took photos and published in a medical journal. I guess you could say I’ve already been published!!

There are remarkable stories in all of these events. And you can’t make this stuff up, folks! Each and every day, I’m so grateful to God that these things did not turn into major tragedies, as they well could have. They were very difficult situations that tested my faith in God, medicine, and miracles. I firmly believe there are miracles around us every day, especially in the field of medicine. Think about it. People are healed by some really miraculous discoveries.

Immunizations have stopped horrible diseases. As a child, I had measles, mumps, and chicken pox. Every kid got them. My kids had chicken pox, one as a baby still in diapers. I remember how horrible it was to be that sick, and not be able to do much for yourself or your child. My little brother had them so bad they were inside his eyelids, he could not walk to the bathroom, and my mom and I took turns rocking him to sleep and holding him. He has some scars from the pox. Not worth the risk. Whooping cough should be a thing of the past. So many people died from it at the turn of the twentieth century until there was a vaccine invented. My former father in law’s mother and twin sisters died of the disease. The surviving children went to an orphanage until their father could get back on his feet and have them back in the home. Unless we know and tell the stories of some past things, we will not fully realize what can happen when we decide we know more than doctors and authorities. For my money, I’ll continue to trust medicine.

That said, I do ask a lot of questions. I don’t blindly follow their advice. Our internist explains the why when he prescribes something or wants us to follow a certain protocol. I trust this professional’s advice because I believe that twenty some years ago, he did an EKG on Dan due to some complaints he had. Our doc didn’t like the results. He was immediately put in the hospital and they did Babe’s first heart cath. I do believe he would have had a widowmaker heart attack if the visit never would have happened. I believe his life was saved and I’m the beneficiary of a very deep love and friendship. We are both so blessed.

Going to need a nap today to be out late tonight. We believe we’ll be able to keep our eyes open until the show’s over. Life is indeed, very, very good. Thank you for reading, and we’ll see each other tomorrow. Full report on our date night, with photos.

Like, comment, and you ‘ll be entered in my NaNoWriMo giveaway. Drawing December 1, 2019 at NOON. I hope you’re the winner!

Thoughtful Thursday

This day is pretty blustery compared to the last two. It will be like this for a few days, so we’d better get used to it.

I usually start days like this with big intentions. Anyone with chronic anything will understand this. If you don’t move too much, it doesn’t seem too bad, so you should be able to get through several tasks and still be ok to do more. Blustery days, when the barometric pressure goes wild, are so hard to overcome.

And I refuse to give up hand sewing, embroidery, and other things that make time pass while creating something beautiful. It’s just not in my DNA. And typing doesn’t help, nor does hand writing. But we persist, don’t we??

The thing of it is, I just hate to give up on anything. Especially myself. It’s not too great to wait until you retire and then find you can’t do what you were waiting to do. So do it anyway, unless it will cause you or someone else danger, harm, or a terrible injury. Chances are, it won’t. Hang Gliding would, hand sewing wouldn’t. My orthopedic surgeons have provided me with devices and other aids to still live my life. The aches kind of add to the triumph in a way. It means I didn’t give up. I didn’t cave. Sometimes you need extra rest or ice, or acetaminophen. But you will have another try at it, maybe allowing extra time, frequent breaks, or putting it away for a bit. Giving up is totally different than deciding that you have had enough. Huge difference. Think about that and comment if you’d like.

And that brings me to Goldie, the young blonde the Babe decided would come home with us about a month ago. She is delightful. She is a very smart dog, like one I’ve never seen. It must have to do with her breeding and the family who raised her to ten weeks of age.

When Babe takes her out first thing in the morning, they walk out the front door, and into the yard. While doing her business, Babe picks up the newspaper from the driveway. I swear on all that is holy, Goldie now walks out and picks up the newspaper, gives it to Dan, and goes to do her business. Totally uncoached. She just learned by watching. It is pretty cool the things she is learning. They are diligently working on homework for the next puppy class on Saturday. What a great team they are!!

She sits at Dan’s feet and sleeps sometimes. She truly is a good girl.

As this blustery day continues, it’s easy to let the grey skies and cold wind make your mood the same way. Don’t let the weather win. If it takes happy music in the background, play some happy music. The people who truly have a challenge are those who cannot drive themselves anywhere to get out of the house when they need to.

I see this a lot with my mother. She is a great worrier, the best worrier that ever worried her way through any crisis, real or imagined. I tend to not worry. By that I don’t mean I’m not concerned about a situation, but I don’t let my thoughts get all out of control by adding my imagination to the facts, creating the worst possible scenarios. She does. She doesn’t see that this type of thinking/worrying doesn’t help an unknown situation. It destroys things. I read once a Mark Twain saying. “I have survived many terrible ordeals. Most of which, only happened in my mind.”

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, Mom wanted me to meet her friend who had a different stage of breast cancer, and who had a much different journey than mine was. She had a double mastectomy, chemo, and radiation. She was quite ill. She has been ill for a long time. I chose to not meet Mom’s friend. I wanted to take my own journey with my husband and our kids and grandkids. I didn’t need to worry about what could happen. I knew God would be good to me, regardless of the outcome. I was so blessed.

I had a lumpectomy, followed by radiation treatment, followed by medication. I’ve addressed how those affected me in another post, Simply Sunday, on October 20, 2019. Meanwhile, our extended family (stepkids, grandkids) were all in a much greater and much harder cancer fight. Dan’s former wife Sandy, the mother of his children, had lung cancer, Stage 4. She e was given about six months with treatment. She had two and a half years with treatment, support, and love of a huge extended family. She looked cancer in it’s face and stood up to it. She did a wonderful job. The most important thing to her was time with the kids and grandkids. We became friends, good friends. I was blessed to know her as I did, and miss her. I know the Babe will always love her too, and that’s ok.

One thing I didn’t want to do was shout out my triumphs when she had news that was not so good. I still don’t want to boast about surviving, because you never know if something worse is ahead. I’m content to be grateful to God for being cancer free at this time. Always, at this time.

Now, this is not idle worry. I know the odds. I know the chance of it coming back. It could at twenty-five years. It doesn’t steal my time and make me worry about it. My dad was very calm about things until he knew what he was dealing with. I’d like to think I inherited that from him and I believe I did. For that, I’m grateful.

Submit a comment, like the post, and you’ll receive two chances for my NaNoWriMo giveaway of a $50 Visa Gift Card. Drawing is December 1, 2019 at NOON. Join us tomorrow, and we’ll have fun again then. Make your own sunshine. Be grateful.

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!

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.

Three Young Sailors

Back in the Korean War, three young men from South Omaha, Nebraska, set out on the journey of their lives. Soon, they were trained in Naval flight deck procedures and set off to protect their country. Two were brothers, Joseph and James Conrad. And a fellow named Bob Blakeman. All three served on the USS Essex. I never knew this bit of family history until my uncle, Joe Conrad, passed away a few years ago. The Honor Guard from Benson VFW Post 2503 provided Military rites at his service, along with the Honor Guard from the Omaha Police Department.

The next time I saw Bob Blakeman, he and his wife, Mabel Vankat, were at the VFW. Bob told me about his connection to Joe Conrad, and asked how Jim was doing as well.

James (left) and Joseph (right) Conrad

I posted this photo on Facebook for Mabel to show Bob. In her nineties, Mabel was up on FB and loved it. Back to the story though, it was awesome to know the three men had a connection, and I knew them all. That sort of thing happens frequently in South Omaha. Everyone is connected in some way or another. Directions are given by “You know where Darby’s is?? Go up the hill across from it, and you’ll find our house.” Bars are the way to find your way around, and Lord knows there were enough of them.

Bob Blakeman felt awful he was not physically able to attend my uncle’s funeral. It really touched my heart. That’s how these older veterans are. If they knew someone, they felt they should see them home. Band of Brothers and then some.

The next person to lose was Bob himself. He had many struggles with health issues, making it difficult for him to get around, Mabel had to drive, his prosthesis didn’t fit or work properly. Struggles that were hard to witness. And such a nice man. I think he didn’t give compliments readily, but when he acknowledged the job my husband Dan was doing as the Post Quartermaster, he told him he was doing a good job, and thanked him. You could tell he meant it.

All that was left was Jim Conrad. He just passed away this week. I immediately thought of these three young kids, these three musketeers, these three amigos from South Omaha. I hope they have one heck of a reunion, reunited and swapping stories for eternity. We here on earth will miss the three of you. Thank you all for what you did for the world, the United States Navy, the Korean War, your families, friends, and the folks you were kind to. This world is a better place for your kindness. Be kind to people today, it’s National Kindness Day, and it would be a great way to remember these three kids in uniform.

A photo, an Eagle, and Bob’s favorite beverage at his table in the Canteen. It took my breath away. God Bless Him.
Joseph Conrad was laid to rest next to his wife, Lois. VFW Post 2503 Honor Guard and the Omaha Police Department provided honors for this good man. God Bless You, Uncle Joe.

And now, Jim’s family will be laying him to rest too. Thank you, God, for allowing all three of these kids in uniform to come home, meet their sweethearts, and raise families, contribute to their communities, and help make the world a better place.

Today is National Kindness Day. Be kind to people today. It would be a great way to honor these three kids in uniform. Please leave a comment, like this post, and like the Blog, please. You’ll be entered (limited to once a day) for every comment and every like (limited to once a day) to win a $50 Visa Gift Card, in honor of NaNoWriMo. Drawing is December 1, 2019. Who couldn’t use an extra $50 at this time of year?? Thank you for reading, I appreciate it very much.

A Cold, Windy Tuesday

Wow! What a busy week already. We made a trip to Dan’s surgeon today. He looked at the unhealed incision and said it looked good. Continue with the wound vac and come back in two weeks. Tomorrow, the nurse will come and repack the wound, and we’ll start again on the healing journey.

So, that said, I also had my mom for a trip to the hairdresser. It’s always good when you feel good and put together. A good haircut does that for men and women. Suffice to say Mom should be good until Christmas Eve Day when we’re scheduled to get another haircut.

My cousin from California messaged me earlier tonight with a photo of a framed picture from our Grandmother’s home. Her sister Anna lived with the family. Great Aunt Anna gave my aunt a beautiful picture framed in downtown Omaha. The framer is no longer there. It was neat to hear him say how he loved that framed artwork and always wished he could have it. His mother is now living with him, and she presented it to him tonight. How wonderful.

I love when people value special things like that. Something from Grandma’s and Great Aunt’s home was so special a little boy who lived in California remembered this item and thought it would be nice to have.

It seems the next generation may not have any interest in inheriting any Doo-dads from my home. In a way, I find that sad.  We are a blended household, so I know Dan’s kids won’t want any of my Aunt Cynthia’s glass bowls and my kids won’t want any of his Grandma Meirose’s bird salt and pepper shakers.

Maybe it’s all part of the minimalistic movement. Just because you have something from Grandma’s home doesn’t mean you are materialistic. Many items spur pleasant memories. What’s wrong with that?

Not a darned thing. Unless you have all of Grandma’s stuff crammed into your 1000 square foot house along with yours, Uncle Henry’s, and Aunt Jane’s. At some point, things can take the place of people in your life. You become detached from humans and attached to stuff. The stuff takes over, nothing is clean, including you, and it’s a very sad situation. Hoarders are not something to laugh about. A reality show on A & E is not to be thought a dramatization, but it is really how they live and feel. The reality of how dire their situation is cannot be grasped.

If you add hoarding to alcohol and drug abuse, chances are extremely low that both excesses can become under control. It may take years, and with hard work, it would be phenomenal.

If you have any comments, please leave them below. And add a like. You will have two chances on my NaNoWriMo Drawing. On December 1, I’ll draw for a $50 gift card. Will you enter to win?? Hope so.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate it. See you tomorrow!