Blizzard Friday

I’m looking out the Home Office window, seeing the snow dance across the driveway. As a kid, I always thought there was a requirement of a lot of snow (over eight inches), and very high wind. Now, as an adult, we’re told it’s simply the high wind and the blowing of snow that makes a blizzard. It could simply be blowing existing snow. I have to say, the view is magnificent. My thoughts are with those who don’t have warm coats, homes, and food. Help them out, if you’re able. Together, we can make a difference! Our friends at Moving Veterans Forward Nebraska can give you some ideas for some immediate needs as they move some of their clients into apartments, out of the cold.

I have an announcement to make tomorrow on the occasion of my 500th blog! It’s huge for me, and it will be shared right here, in Blog #500, tomorrow.

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Today, I’m watching more educational/craft videos on writing, producing books, being your own publisher, with a KidLit slant. What’s interesting, is when I first started learning about all of these things, I had to pull back and not read the barrage of email from everyone and their dog, touting their classes/kits/fool-proof plans for success. I had to put them all out of my mind and just write. I felt torn, according to the folks peddling their wares, I had to market, sell, entice readers and build my sacred email list.

I am a skeptic to all these offers and claims. Luckily, I’ve asked a group of writer friends from Nebraska Writers Guild if they’ve seen or bought any of these great things, we share that kind of information, and help each other avoid scammers. It’s a good practice.

Whatever information I gleaned from those who weren’t scammers, I’m recalling now and it isn’t confusing or so foreign. My brain is telling me, “You’ve heard this before, and this is how you can use it now.” It’s a good feeling. That all tells me this plan of publishing a book for children is coming together. Accomplishment is what spurs a creative human on to create more.

My “makeup” class from Picture Book Challenge by Storytellers Academy is about Crafting Voices for your character/drawings. Looking forward to it. My “live” class today is, “How to Make a Picture Book Summary,” and I’m waiting to enter it via Zoom right now.

Stay warm, if you’re in the blizzard region. Be Safe. Help each other out! Have faith, everything will be ok again. I’m sure of it. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow! #500!

Fluffy, Flaky Friday

I’m keeping a watch out the windows for the snow predicted this morning. I enjoy a pretty snow, with little traffic impact. Goldie had a blast running in it last winter. I think she’ll be just as happy this year, too. I think it’s in the breed. Labs are smart, beautiful, and so happy.

I’m trying to teach her to be patient and wait until I can take a break from writing to play fetch. She isn’t too happy right now, but she went to the living room for a nap. The rope toy is at my feet. Good girl!

She likes the Christmas tree so far. It’s only half put together, I just ran out of energy yesterday. The top pieces go on today, and it’s pre-lit, so it complete half of the work. I hope to finish decorating and stowing everything by late tomorrow, then just relaxing on Sunday. The best laid plains of mice and men, right?

If you live where it snows, do you appreciate the beauty of it? Seriously, we often complain. Do we view it as a nuisance or with childlike wonder? It’s all in the attitude. I remember joining the guys I worked with during their “perilous journey to work” stories. I had three stops to make every day before going to work, since each child went to a different school. It was quite a ride.

Snowstorms are never a perilous as they once were, and that’s kind of too bad. From what I understand, the coveted “Snow Days” will no longer exist in this age of remote learning. We rarely had school called off, but my kids often did. They were great at shoveling the driveway out for me, and that was so nice. They shoveled, then played. Bless their hearts.

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No, our snow won’t look this beautiful, but it will be pretty enough. It’s all in the attitude. Everything is. Although you can mouth the words over and over, sometimes it takes a while before it penetrates your soul. Being human, we resist learning certain things that would make our lives easier. We’d rather hold our grudges until they sink us than let loose of them. Why? They have taught us that way. They can be our parents, teachers, friends, trusted adults. It doesn’t always have to be that way.

Seeking revenge is another area we make more difficult than it needs to be. Revenge is not ours to have. It’s spiteful and probably damages the host as much as the object. Let Go. Give it to God. Lighten your own load for things like love, peace, harmony, brotherhood and forgiveness.

“What?”

You heard me. Love, peace, harmony, brotherhood, and forgiveness. Forgiveness is hard. Yet your load lightens when you forgive. And just because you forgive doesn’t mean you forget. Resentment keeps you in the past where things decay and die. Is that where you want to dwell? I didn’t think so. I know several people who court their resentment grandly. You’d think it was an actual living thing. Well, it is, as long as they keep it alive and destructive in their heart, their life, and their mind. They become permanently stuck, bogged down and unable to move. How unhappy their lives are and how heavy the burden became.

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At one time in my own life, I was very unhappy and rarely smiled, except with my children. A new neighbor moved in next door before my first husband left and she commented to me after he moved out, “You are finally smiling. You never did when he was still here. You know, that means it was the right thing to do.” I couldn’t believe it. I thought I hid the unhappiness. Guess again. I learned a lot from that statement.

It’s snowing! Goldie just alerted me it’s time to go outside. I’ll be finishing the tree today and hope to have photos tomorrow. Have a beautiful day today. Forgive someone, you’ll feel better. I’m working on that one, too. Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Thoughtful. Spread love, not the pandemic. Take care. I’ll see you again tomorrow.

Friday on My Plate

It’s midafternoon on Friday, October 23. My oldest’s birthday was Tuesday, and we met for breakfast at Village Inn. I couldn’t tell you the last time we saw each other. He has crazy work days and since he’s in the restaurant business; he likes to relax when there is a rare day off. He works a second job cleaning the restaurant daily, so whether he cooks a shift or two, he is still up super early to clean. He has no responsibility other than himself, and he is a very hard worker. Always has been.

It became a standing joke between us what kind of card I bought him year after year. One year, I really goofed! I bought the same wordy, mushy card I bought the year before. Color me embarrassed! Plus, the mushy ones are long and – well, mushy. So this time I bought a funny one. It was a hit. He’s a good man, and I’m always happy when I’ve been around him. He just gets life. He is always happy, and contented, and doesn’t bother anyone. We reminisced about some stuff and laughed about many things. It was good. I walk away feeling like I did something right. What a great feeling for a parent.

It is a cold, windy day here at the home office in Gretna, Nebraska. Supposed to snow Sunday. I hope it does, Colorado desperately needs moisture. They predict a moderate snowfall to fall over the weekend. The edge of a fire is five and a half miles from my daughter’s house in Fort Collins. She sent the photo of their street yesterday afternoon. It was just like you see on the news. Orange, smoky sky. I pray she, her husband, and their babies and dog are alright. We appreciate prayers.

Rocky Mountain National Park is being pummelled by fire. A friend who lives in Scottsbluff posted on Facebook yesterday a call went out to anyone owning a horse trailer and truck, requesting they come immediately to help move some horses. The poor creatures! I also see photos of Elk herds, all gathering close to lakes in Estes. My heart hurts knowing this. It’s our favorite place to vacation and explore.

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The Babe removed all outdoor furniture from the deck and patio this morning. Our empty turquoise planters are on either side of the garage door now, waiting for me to create some Christmas decoration to put in them. I need some zip ties and wire, probably, to hold them together and sink the wire deep into the flowerpots, so nothing blows away. First time they do, we’re done with decorating.

The kids and I used to have a lovely tradition of lighting the house up through the Christmas season. They would put up everything during the day on Thanksgiving while I prepared our feast. It was a great deal of fun. We would have dinner between four and five, then gather outside in the street (we lived on a dead end so no, we weren’t in traffic!), and Frankie would throw the switch and Voila! It was magnificent, each year better than the last. They could go on the roof, play with electricity, and have fun being the men of the household, planning the display and working together to accomplish something good. I miss those times, too.

I am going to do a lot of computer work this weekend. I need to upload some things for the VFW Post website and get more active for both Instagram and TWITTER accounts, both for the Post and my personal author one. I also need to reorganize my workspace. I spent the whole Zoom session with Sam without my printed copies of what we were talking about. Right after our conversation, I looked down and saw my open leather satchel, unzipped, with papers and yellow legal tablets sticking out of the top. My papers! I forgot to take them out after my writing session at Panera’s Tuesday, while waiting for Mom to get finished with her perm. It seems like it’s been a very long time since Tuesday. I need to just sit and read a book or two. It’ll happen again, this weekend.

Stay Safe, friends. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Careful out there. Hoping to see you again tomorrow. Thanks for reading today.

Friday Finale

This is how my day started. Bon Jovi was on GMA this morning. I’m quite a fan of his, even since the 80s during the hair band era. He is an extremely handsome man, even in his 50s. I admire two things about him, aside from his musical talent. He operates a restaurant in his hometown, and the meals are free. It is quite an operation, and he continues to work there many days. The other thing, he is still married to his high school sweetheart, marking 40 years this year. How unusual. I can’t imagine the early days were easy for her. But, nonetheless, they’re still a couple who love each other and their family very much.

This song came from a photograph his wife took of him washing dishes in the kitchen of the restaurant. She asked him to come up with a caption for it. He said, “When you can’t do what you do, you do what you can.” And that, boys and girls, is how this song, “Do What You Can,” was born. Some people can just take ordinary words and make them magical. I hope to be able to do that, for you and for myself.

Do What You Can – And Do It Today!

How inspiring. And there are lessons in the lyrics. We need to be loving each other much more than we are. We need to be kind, we need to do what we can especially now, to make the world a better place during this crazy time we’ve all bought into. No, I’m not talking about wearing masks, I do believe there is a virus out there that can kill us. We lost two gentlemen from the VFW Post, both in their 90s last week who died of COVID. One just wanted to go fishing, and he became ill. I’m glad the poor guy was able to go fishing. But who’d thought he would become ill then. Seems unfair to them.

What I’m talking about is the ugliness I read every day on Facebook. I swear George Stephanopoulos had a gleam in his eye as he talked about “order of succession” should Trump, in his advancing age, die, and Mike Pence die, and then Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker of the House, would be President. Wow. Have we really come to that? I’m just so tired of it all.

Sure, I could shut it down, stay away. I don’t want to. I’ve made some wonderful acquaintences from groups I belong to, such as Quilting and Writing. I won’t give those up. So I scroll further and further between posts these days. Let’s. Just. Stop.

From the clinic visit yesterday, I’m experiencing much more swelling just below the ear, into the jaw. I have no toothache, but man, it’s hurting. The doc said do what you can do for the discomfort until you either start to run a fever or something else comes up. OK, I’m hoping it’s not a toothache, abscess or something ugly like that. It about had me declaring a day to live in PJ’s and lounge. But, once I heard that great new song by Bon Jovi and the incredible Jennifer Nettles, I couldn’t let a day slip away. Music motivates me. Helps me look on the bright side.

I was smart, finishing all the laundry yesterday, and I’d like to finish my scenes/outlines today. That may free up part of the weekend for me. And that would be a good thing. Sunday, there is a Show & Shine Car Show at the Post, we look forward to going up for that. It’ll be fun.

And then, this will propel me into the rest of my day. This rendition of the old “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” by Bon Jovi saw performance at a Superbowl Half Time Show. It was the first time I heard Jennifer Nettles. I love her voice. She has such a strong, great voice. It’s quite a collaboration. If I could sing, I’d want a voice like that.

As I make way to writing some more scenes, I’d like to challenge you to think of how you could make a positive impact in the world. Learn how to do it in a small way. We don’t need to open free restaurants for the homeless or very low income folks, we can make a small donation to a food bank. We could collect things for charity. Pick out a charity like Moving Veterans Forward who gives everything to the Veterans they’re helping. And the recipients of the help have to work for it, too. It’s not a free ride.

A long time ago, a very smart person told me there’s nothing better for a teenage boy like being able to earn a few bucks and have his own money on his person as he walks down the street. Now, same would be true for females, too. And I saw that. If you’re financially stable, even if it’s just a first paycheck, you walk differently. You talk differently. You have some confidence in yourself. That’s what MVF helps these people achieve. And that’s definitely worth our time.

Comment below and let me know what you’re doing. Help each other. Call an elderly neighbor. Say hi to people you encounter. Let’s all start making this a more positive world. We need it. Thanks for reading, I hope to see you again tomorrow. Let’s do this!

Mindful Monday

This day has been all over the place! It took such a long time to get to 3:45 p.m. today! We have visited a pain management doctor for the Babe today. He is scheduled for an injection on Friday. I’m praying this will be his answer to this terrible rib pain that has been almost constant since he fell a couple weeks ago. We’re glad nothing is broken and hope like heck he will get some relief.

I’m a crazy woman, I decided to clean more than usual. I did swiffer duster, swiffer wet jet, and ran the vacuum cleaner. Way too much for this old lady’s spine to handle. A day of rest it hasn’t been. Doctor, Post (the Babe had some money to count), lunch, then home for blogging and reading. The dogs were happy to be inside all day and now they are trying to decide what to do with the rest of their day. The hours and days go so quickly!

All so complicated, isn’t it?

It’s all complicated with writing, doesn’t this flow chart make it appear that way? I did not have to draw flowcharts during my programming years. They were past that part of the process in the 1980s, at least where I worked. Somewhere I do have the ruler the school gave all of us to draw the different components. I also have a ruler a boss gave me that had tick marks on it for 132 characters, which was how wide reports on green bar paper were. Those were the days. They were fun to do, actually. Make reports for the higher ups to use to make business decisions. Important stuff, requiring tedious plotting and planning.

Yes, that’s me!

I’m reading a lovely book to see how an author fills in backstory without calling attention to it. As Waters Gone By is the book, and I’m enjoying it a lot. Introduction of characters is charming, the way she crafts the scene. I hope to be doing some writing tomorrow.

The first order of business tomorrow, though, is go see Mom. It’s her 91st birthday. Wow! It seems as if we just had her 90th party! A whole year. Wow. There will be cake all day! I hope she enjoys her day. Longevity is high with the women in my family. Mom and her mom lived long. My dad’s mother was 97 when she passed, and his sister is in her early 90’s. I hope I’ll be able to live as long as I know what’s going on and can get around.

We also stopped at Menards today after lunch. The Babe is building a barn door to cover the place above the fireplace where the TV would have gone. The house is about 11 years old, and I think that was the rage back then. No more. It looks rather weird, so this will hide the space, and give the mantle a nice accent.

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Besides, I can store off season decorative items in the cubbyhole. Perfect! It will make the season change easier for me. I’m all about easier. I have some data updates to do tonight for the Post Website, the developer needs this info before he can complete his part of creating the new website.

Thank you for reading today. I hope you all had a good day and have a good evening. Stay safe out there, wash up, mask up, and we’ll all get through this inconvenience. Be positive and things will start to go better for you. Seriously. Positive attitude is everything. Get’cha some!

Bicycles and Books

Yesterday, I had a great session with Sam Tyler, my Book Coach. The hardest thing about writing is it’s been so long since I had formal training about writing, much less about writing fiction. And then, deciding what kind of fiction. I’m trying to learn how to dig deep, deep into feeling to write about a young woman and her changes in life. The changes were choices to get her to a place she’d never been before: acceptance, self-love, confidence, and peace. She knew it existed, and it was a struggle to break through and arrive there. My coach is teaching/reminding me of the formal aspects of writing, and overseeing my demonstration of what I’ve learned.

The kind of books I like to read? Cop stories, mysteries, long forgotten stories about little children during the depression, stories so far away from feelings and healings it’s not funny. Well, I never did want to do things the easy way, according to my mom. Yes, I prefered to find my own way, not the easy way. My job for the next couple weeks is to keep writing new stuff and dig deep. Harder than it sounds.

The Babe and I are getting things cleaned up and placed back in our living area after the new flooring and fireplace facing. It looks so nice, we’re planning on enjoying it a lot this winter. We love the gas fireplace and spend a lot of time there. The dogs love to lay facing away from it, with their butts right near the glass and sleep the day away. They know how to enjoy life, you know?

Yep, I’m learning to make this a fine art.

Thanks to my fellow author Rhonda M. Hall for the meme above. This woman bikes all over the place, all over trails over hills and flats, every day. Bikers are devoted people. No, not the Harley riding, leather wearing, tattooed, club members. The bicycle crowd. They are an industrious lot. A few years ago, when I lived at the top of a hill, I bought a bike and cycled the Keystone Trail just after it opened. I could do the trail to and from, but to get up that hill at the end never was even a remote possibility. Ever. Couldn’t ride anymore after my giant back surgery in 1995, so gave it up. Great exercise, though. I have a stationary recumbent bike I need to do every day. Always new goals to add, aren’t there? I will if you will. You go today, and I’ll go tomorrow.

Part of writing includes reading. You’d think not. One thing I’ve learned, is the more you read in your genre, the better you are able to write in your genre. I didn’t know that before. I figured, reading was reading, writing was writing. Nope, not at all. I have a book Sam suggested I briefly review on Amazon (the first 10 pages are free, often). I liked what I was reading an ordered the book. It’s called, “As Waters Gone By,” by Cynthia Ruchti. It’s a beautifully written book, full of great examples. I’ll be trying to read during quiet moments this weekend.

Bicycles and books, reminds me of the Summer Reading Club at the Omaha Public Library. When we were old enough, we would ride our bikes to the South Branch and go inside to check out books. We would take a long time to peruse the shelves for what was available. Every summer we raced to finish the ten books first. We never did. A girl from my class had rheumatic fever, and couldn’t run and play outside. She always first or in the top ten. We were forced outside every day, every morning. Dad was a night worker, so we had to be quiet, inside and outside. No a/c. I always felt bad for him.

So many books, so little time! Addison commented to me on the way home from school yesterday, “Grandma, I don’t know how you can read so much.” I told her it was my way to have fun. I do believe if you don’t instill reading in kids when they’re young, they will find some other way to entertain themselves. My folks both read a lot. Magazines, books, everything. Not the Enquirer, though. That doesn’t qualify, in my opinion.

Right now, just outside my window, there are probably ten Painted Lady Butterflies on my Butterfly Bush. It’s so pretty. I tend to gaze at them a lot. I’m glad to have not only a window in my studio/office, but a beautiful view, too. I chose this bush and wanted it outside my window. Good choice, it’s lovely.

Hope you find a good book to curl up with and just relax this weekend. I’m on a mission to get out house back in order, then the book is getting my attention. Oh, and I have a new grandpup to meet sometime, too. Can’t wait to see how excited the kids are with Josie. Hope to introduce Lexie and Roxie to her later on, too. Stay safe out there, distance, do the mask, wash the hands, be kind, thoughtful, courteous, and patient. We all need people to do the same for us. Thanks for reading. And I’ll see you tomorrow, right here.