Snowy in Nebraska

Today, it looks, feels, smells, and sounds as if it’s winter. The wind is freezing on your cheeks, blowing snow into your face and everywhere. Drivers backed traffic up for who knows what reason. The howling of the wind, the frozen air in your lungs, and frozen hands on your face, are enough to make us wish for Florida or Arizona. This weather can be great once the wind calms and the road crews sand and salt the streets. I love how the bare trees look with snow stuck on them. Days like these a gas fireplace is welcoming. A good book is not far away.

This isn’t even the bad part.

A heart full of gratitude helps a person become more aware of their surroundings, and in tune with the world. Makes sense to me. I have a sign hung at eye level so I can’t help but read it when I leave the bedroom. It reminds me to begin each day with a grateful heart. I smile when I look at it. I make a much longer list of gratitude than I do of complaints. Even on the crummy days. I get grumpy, though. The Babe can confirm.

After coffee and a nice hot shower, the day is a blank page on days I don’t have to take my mom to appointments. Today, I had my eyes examined. I ordered new glasses that will block the blue from computer screens. It is better for your health. The blue enters the retina and reduces melatonin. Melatonin is what you need to get a good night’s sleep. That should help tremendously. I look at screens a lot, but not as much as when I was programmer/systems/analyst.

Tomorrow I think we don’t even need to leave the house. I need to get back to plotting my plan of action for re-writing my book. Life has gotten in the way this week, but I should be ready for a couple good days of work coming up. One thing I know needs to be re-learned, and that is that after a “.” you only leave one space, not two. It is no longer necessary, and it ages the typist/writer. Funny how things change. Did you know when the typewriter was first invented they thought it too complicated for a woman to operate. Men were the typists. Go figure!

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate it very much. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope you will be, too.

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.

 

Love my Veterans

What I remember about Veterans Day as a kid was about the Armistice which ended WWI. From Wikipedia:

The Armistice of 11 November 1918 was the armistice signed at Le Francport near Compiègne that ended fighting on land, sea and air in World War I between the Allies and their opponent, Germany. Previous armistices had been agreed with Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Once I started high school in the fall 1966, Father Vernon announced a moment of silence, at 11:11 am, on 11/11, and every classroom was quiet. We understood what it all meant. And we respected it.

Now, in present times, we have a kid in You Tube saying kids shouldn’t know about WWII. It’s too traumatic. Life is traumatic at times. Everyone needs to learn to deal with it. Period. Yes, even little kids. Life isn’t touchy-feely. It will eat you up and spit you out if you do not know to cope with the harsh parts of it.

As the Vietnam War dragged on, I was appalled at how the veterans were treated. It was very wrong. This era may have been when as a society, we began to consider respect a thing of the past. I believe we quit having respect for those who keep us free, those who serve and protect as first responders, and those who are elected to lead our great nation. Can you disagree?? Yes, and you should do it respectfully.

We have many veterans my extended family. My dad and his three brothers all served. A few years ago, I purchased memorial bricks to be placed around the flagpole at the Benson VFW Post 2503.

From the far right, my Grandfather, Father, and two Uncles. The family served in WWI, WWII, and Korea. Proud of them all.

A few years ago, I petitioned the Army to receive my dad’s medals. Two Bronze Stars. We never knew.

Veterans Day isn’t about free meals, it isn’t about a sale at JC Penney or Nebraska Furniture Mart. It is about those who
who served. Those who came home and those who did not. Those who came home and settled into mundane lives, all the while thanking their God that they returned home. Those who returned home but are still fighting a worse war because it is a war within themselves.

The Band of Brothers and Sisters extends through all branches, none are omitted. The example of their brotherhood is amazing. They are always there for each other. When you have entrusted your life to another soldier, you can say you are comrades, brothers in arms.

God Bless all of you. And may God continue to bless America. What do you think of on Veterans Day? Leave a comment, like the blog post and my site, and you will be entered to win a $50 Visa Gift Card. Drawing on December 1, 2019. Thank you for reading and see you tomorrow!

The Day After

Yesterday, my adrenaline must have been excessively high. Today, I’m wiped out, but very happy inside. The family wedding was beautiful. In the words of my late Aunt Carol, ” It’s just so fun to see a young couple so in love with each other, who have plans for their life together.”

Yes, it is. I had a blast sitting with my brother, eating cake and drinking ice water, watching the crowd of friends and relatives. Dan wasn’t feeling up to attending, so he stayed home.

The girls and young women who appeared single were belting out magical, love charged songs. You could tell they were wanting what they were singing about.

There were very few young men actively dancing. One young black fellow could really move with the groove of the music. The others were standing about talking, some were in line at the bar. My brother is going to take dancing lessons when he feels ready to meet some ladies again.

I have to say, he is a catch. Good job, devoted, reliable, gentleman (like our dad), and an all around good man. He lost his wife to oral cancer. We could feel her presence last night. He misses her terribly, and I do too. He finished raising her youngest two sons after her death, and had always been so good with all four of them.

Yes, I’m a bragging big sister. More than that though, he is a very good friend. I used to help our mom with him when he was a toddler. Yes, he was the pesty brother I wanted to make vanish when I was in high school, but no matter what, we would always be friends. And it’s such a gift.

Sitting with him at midnight at his wife’s bedside, we had some very deep discussions. I was honored he shared his thoughts with me. As I reached for his hand, I remember thinking, “when did he get into our dad’s hands??”.

The shoe is on the other foot, so to speak. Since that night, I’ve many times felt him reaching out to care for me. Life has taken us both to the place where I may need his help some day. We share a strange sense of humor, and many folks may not understand, but we are family. I tease him and tell him, “You’re the sister I never had!” Well, at least I had my own room!

Tim, left, Don, right.
My brother and nephew.

As unhappy as I was when he was born, I’m so very happy to have this great guy for my baby brother.

Hope you all had a good Saturday! Leave a comment, like my post and follow my page. I’ll enter you in my giveaway. $50 Visa Card Giveaway. Drawing held Dec 1, 2019.

Happy Birthday, Nicholas!

Nick on his Kindergarten Graduation Day.

Nick is my second son, born this day in 1975. Wow. That seems like such a long time ago. I was twenty-three years old. There was the blizzard on January 10 1975, the tornado May 6, and then along came Nick in November. Here I go with a story he has heard probably too many times.

Since their father couldn’t miss bowling night, I took Frankie, his older brother, Trick or Treating that night. In an old neighborhood like ours, many houses on a street may have one side of the street up on high banks, with two sets of stairs going up to the houses. It was crazy. There were fences in between the yards, so there was no cutting through the yards. Up the hundred stairs, trick or treat, then down the hundred stairs. Up the hundred stairs, trick or treat, then down the hundred stairs. And so on, over and over again.

With all this activity, I prayed God would not make this baby come tonight on Halloween. I’m glad he wasn’t, it really didn’t matter. I would have loved him the same. He was one of three babies in the hospital nursery who had black hair at birth. He always looked older, I thought. One baby was black, and the other dark haired baby was our neighbor’s grandson. Nick was easy to pick out in the nursery. As time went on, he did bear a resemblence to my father, who had black hair and big brown eyes. So did Nick.

Nick has a big heart, loves to help people, is a talented handy man, has learned a lot of things from taking stuff apart and puttinig it back together. He was always tearing apart his wagon, bike, and toys. He didn’t try with my car, however.

He amazed me as a toddler, he loved being read to. I was shocked because he could read at the age of four. I thought he should go to kindergarten early so he wouldn’t be bored when he got older. He wasn’t, and he loved numbers. When he was three, he spread the financial page of our newspaper out on the floor, and moved his index finger along the lines of numbers and said, “I just love the little tiny numbers.”

Today he lives with his husband in Gladstone, Missouri. I don’t get to see him as much as I’d like, he has an odd work schedule. I do miss him, it’s always fun to get together. Hope we can soon, Nick.

Lve me some Snoopy!

As far as writing goes, it’s 4 p.m. and my blog isn’t finished yet. Had to get Dan out to do his duties at the VFW Post he Quartermaster’s at, I got to see our dentist, we did some errands, had lunch, and poof, it was 3:30 p.m. I swear, the days go far too fast.

Still adding flesh to my characters, it takes a bit more than I thought. Describing everything about these characters may be overload, but I most likely will edit out anything that is a back story to the story at hand.

It’s a beautiful sunny afternoon, only 34 degrees, though. The early darkness is helping make it cozy by the fireplace in the evening. I’m wishing you a cozy evening, too.

What do you like to know about characters in stories before you begin to read?? Or do you just like to discover quirks and faults as they become evident?? Or should they be spelled out in a prologue?? Let me know what you think. I’m interested in your thoughts. Leave a comment, give a like and you will have two entries in my NaNoWriMo giveaway, one $50 Visa Gift Card. Drawing will be December 1, 2019. It could be you with a little extra Christmas cash!

Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.

My Inspirations to Create

If you were to look just above the top of your phone, notebook, laptop, desktop, what can you see, right in front of you, at this very moment?? This is what I see:

My view at this very minute. Inspiring me.

If you have a human sitting across from you, please, you can read my blog later. Interact with your friend/spouse/lover/child/sibling/parent. If it’s a stranger, smile. Be kind. If you have no one close by, observe.

Listen to the sounds you hear. I’m not going to video, but I swear I have music on right now by Rick Tiger. Learn about Rick at

http://www.ricktiger.net.

Rick has written and recorded many, many thoughtful, storytelling songs. I am inspired by that. It’s creating at it’s best. Rick and his wife Joyce are such nice people.

Dan and I met him a few years ago, and we’ve become fans. We met Rick through Jimmy Weber, who is also in my creative soundtrack arsenal. Jimmy has an extensive musical background that you can check out for yourself at

http://www.JimmyWebercountry.com.

Jimmy is a remarkable human being I’m proud to call a friend. He’s deeply involved in his community and with fellow veterans.

We met Jimmy through Billy McGuigan and his vast assortment of very talented friends. Billy, Ryan, and Matthew McGuigan have our attention whatever and wherever they are performing. Songbird Tara Vaughn has taken major part in the productions and my, she has grown as a performer. She can still belt out a song, but she has been creative herself by starring her own show, “She Rocks.” And I can assure you, she does. New guy Max Meyer can do things with a guitar I can only watch in awe. My hubby Dan gets a kick out of how Max has blossomed, become more comfortable on the stage with Billy and the others. It’s such a neat thing to watch. Visit their schedules and story at:

http://www.billymcguigan.com

Yesterday and Today, Rock On, Legends of Rock, British Invasion (with the Omaha Symphony), Billy and the Downliners, Rock Twist, and everything they do is superb. It inspires me to try and do something superb.

About a year ago, I sat down to start jotting ideas, lists, books to consult, etc. So much to learn!

All these folks have closed shows with words like, “Follow your dreams!” “Dream On” “Do what you love.” It really set me to thinking. I could do what I want right now.”

About a year ago, I purchased this book from Amazon. I started reading and thinking about how I’ve always wanted to write books for children. My daughter, Rebecca, has always encouraged me to do that. I miss her, she’s lived in Colorado for the past 18 years, has a great guy for a husband, and a beautiful baby girl named Kayla. They prefer I not post photos of them and especially not Kayla, and I respect that wish. So, with Rebecca leading the charge, and those generic encouragements from the stage, I’m following my dream.

For me, this is the perfect time of life to create, write, and publish my stories. I’ve always wanted to, I like to create, and my living doesn’t depend on it. I wouldn’t have taken the risk of quitting my job in the IT world for something I thought I could do. After all, I had three very hungry kids to feed. This is now my turn!

The person who inspires me daily is my husband, Dan. (I called him “Babe” in public with our VFW friends one night, and that is now his name, “Babe,” or “The Babe.” He is all for it if I want to do it. Something I’ve never had in a partner before. Babe, thanks for always being in my corner.

Dan’s support rivals what my dad gave me throughout life. He wouldn’t want me to quit a good job and roam around trying new stuff, but he would have encouraged me to try it out in spare time, once I was done raising kids. A man of few words, he would tell me, “Just keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll get there.” Thanks, Dad!

Right now, I’m writing a realistic fiction. No escaping reality there!

Thank you, Billy, Ryan, Matthew, Tara, Kate, Kathy, Jimmy, Rick and Joyce, Dan, Dad, and especially, my daughter, Rebecca.

Thanks to all of you for reading, encouraging, and giving me ideas. Please leave comments, like and follow, and don’t forget about the $50 giveaway for November. Once per day, for your comments or likes, you’ll be entered in a giveaway for a $50 VISA giftcard. Share with your friends, please. Let’s have a fun November!

Headed off to write the 1,677 words for today. 50,000 will be here before I know it!

Super Saturday

It was a day of hilarity yesterday. In counting the words written, the words in my blog qualify since they are being published. Being a novice with WordPress, I thought I’d just go ahead and get a word count by typing the blogs into Google docs and copy to the WordPress daily blog spot.

Guess again!!! I have to release the doc to the Internet, copy the link, insert in in WordPress, kill a thousand year old chicken, turn to the left four times, following by hopping on my right foot to the count of 90. Sheesh!!

So upon discovering this, setting appointments for Dan and his wound vac nurses, I simply printed out the Google doc and proceeded to type it in again. It worked. Then at about 5 p.m. discovered there were conflicting versions. I deleted one, but it turned out to be the wrong one. I deleted yesterday’s blog.

Enter Dan, sweet husband of mine, who came up from the man cave to tell me he liked what I wrote, and I tackled him for his cell phone, so I could re-type for the third time the 740 words I had deleted. NEVER AGAIN will I delete any version when trying to view on my Google Pixel 3 phone. Gosh, so instead of doing 740 words, I typed it three times. Shall I report 2200 words instead of 740? It’s not cheating, is it?? What do you think??

Today, I’m working on the actual book. I am adding the Table of Contents. From that, I can create another outline and commit to paper or computer my thoughts and ideas for expansion. The meat and potatoes of the story. What I have already is just the appetizer.

Day 2 on the road to 55K words!

Some folks are again noting daily what they are grateful for during the month of November. It is very fitting to do that.

GRATITUDE NOTE: November 1, Grateful to be relatively healthy. My issues are mostly orthopedic in nature, not life threatening. For that I’m grateful.

November 2, Grateful to have relatively whatever I could want. I don’t want a million bucks or bigger houses and cars. I have a great blended family for which I am very grateful. We hope to spend more time with all of them next year.

One short week ago, Gavin, Goldie, and Grandma. Time flies when you’re having the time of your life!

I create the best when I’m listening to music. I often listen to the same musicians for a long period of time. Then the mood strikes for something different, and I swap CD’s out from the basement collection. Getting out the Christmas music is always fun. I can tell you with certainty this will not happen until December 1. I don’t rush it.

My mother and her three sisters were really nutty about Christmas decorating for their homes. My mom had the biggest house, so she really decorated a lot. She still has an overabundance of theme trees in every room, except for the bathroom and basement. I sort of did the same sort of decorating thinking it was normal but since my kids all left home and the grandkids in town visit less than they used to, it sort of seems to be a lot of work for just us to see. Dan (a/k/a “Babe”), thinks the decorations are pretty, but too much work.

Last year, I was down in the dumps and did not decorate at all. This year, I hope to. I can’t be down in the dumps, it’s not how to get things done. Chronic, intense, debilitating pain causes depression. This year, things are better, so it’ll be ok.

When do you start your decorating? Do you go crazy or do you do a small tree, stockings, etc.?? I love how things are so sparkling and beautiful. It’s very hard to let go of the glow of Christmas for the dark gloom of January. With that in mind, I decided not to display my snowmen with the Christmas decorations. I put them out in January, and it makes things brighter and more fun. Why not celebrate winter??? Winter has a bad rap, in my opinion. I think it’ll be a crazy winter again, and all we can do is buckle up for the ride. Complaining won’t make it better or make it go away. Have a good attitude whatever the weather.

Tell me about what you will do this month to prepare for the upcoming holiday season. Will you travel? Will you go to a warmer climate? Comment below, and like my blog. You’ll be entered in a November giveaway I am announcing today.

For every time you comment or like a post, you will be entered in a contest to win a $50 Visa Gift Card to use for your Christmas shopping for 2019. Yes, every like, every comment, will get you an entry. This is for the entire month of November, 2019. Enter today, maybe you’ll be lucky!! I’d love to send you a gift card in the mail. Tell your friends!!

p.s. Babe, you’re not eligible. You have my heart and soul, but I’m not giving you $50 for reading my blog. Thanks for entering!!