Easter Sunday

So some folks are saying this is an Easter like no other. Easter comes and goes just as Christmas does. Whatever is in your heart at the time is what the holiday is for you. Since our family is scattered all over the place and five family schedules are about impossible to sync up, we don’t gather as a family. Our kids all know each other but aren’t close. They were all gone from home when the Babe and I met. It’s different, I suppose, if you get together while the kids are younger. They will have grown up somewhat together. We are kind of glad ours did not. The three oldest, the boys, were all good. The two youngest, the girls, were the type that if they had met when they were in middle school, what one didn’t think of, the other one would have. Yes, I’m sure of it. The girls were the subject of more conferences than you can imagine. They have all grown into good, responsible people, and you know sometimes getting to this point in life requires a few detours. Love them all!

So our celebration of Easter will be with food. For just the two of us. And we’ll just hang out and be together. I hope the Babe is weathering it well. I think we’re doing ok with each other, but then it’s not all that different than any other day in retirement. Except that only one of us goes to the store now. Except that I should make a face mask before a routine doctor visit tomorrow. Except that we stand at least six feet apart from the neighbors when we chat now. Our neighbors are on kid enforced lock downs. Ours didn’t do that for us. If we need something, Tracy and TJ will pick it up and drop it off for us.

Other than that, I’m just dying missing Gavin start a new level of baseball this year. I think he’s been ready to play in an advanced league, not only because of his awesome skills, but because I think he needs to be at a more competitive level player wise. I hope it brings him past some of the issues there were apparent with younger kids. Younger kids tend to play in the dirt. Yes, play in the dirt when they’re bored, tired, don’t care, or whatever makes them do this. If he is around boys who are in position, watching the pitcher and batter, ready for the ball he won’t have time to play with the dirt. His potential is there, I’ve seen it. Ever since he could hold a toy it’s been a ball. I want to watch his Dad coach him as Grandpa Randy coached his Dad.

We’ve lost Grandpa Randy, but gosh, he’s still here making us laugh at his antics. The Babe and Grandpa Randy would look at each other and say, “That’s the Raabe in him.” “No, that’s the Stricklett in him.” Now Grandpa Randy has front row, third base, front row seats to watch his grandson play ball. Once this virus hits the bricks. And it will. If it’s later than sooner, I just want us all well. Whatever it takes.

I started to re-read some of my printed out novel yesterday. It’s kinda cool, you can turn on an add-on before opening the document in Chromebook, and Pro Writing Aid will flag whatever they think were my goofs in each paragraph. Some aren’t goofs, sometimes they suggest a different word or phrase, some I just ignore. I like it a lot. It’d be great to be through it by the end of the week, then tidy other things up on it for the rest of the month.

I’m not sure if I need to have a whole group of people read, re-read, critique, edit, and pulverize what I wrote. Feedback is great. What do you do if you’re a writer? I have moved a bit off the center of what I was telling my original story about. It was “flat” I suppose, a person simply remembering different rooms in her house, after it’s empty. All that is left are the memories. Past that, it was her recollections. Now, I’m telling the story but have added a cast of characters who are her brothers, who help tell the story. I think it is told better, and I’m finding I took parts of real people and combined them to land on these brothers. Some are good people, some are not. They all have a different bad habit or addiction to deal with. Several individuals do not have the family “illness” of dependency, co-dependency, or addiction. They may have a different form of the same sickness, but they are quite aware of it and all it entails. It’s a story about saying, “I am not inheriting this part of my family.” Some do, and some don’t.

My hope for all of you who are stressed out is that you all learn this about life.
It will make your living so much better!

I thank you for stopping by today and reading. I’m off to enjoy this person, the Babe, who is my best friend. We will have a nice, quiet day. No Easter egg hunts, but just a few thoughts about the gift all Christians received today. Whether you asked for it or not. We are all blessed. Thankful. Grateful. I will see you here again tomorrow. Blessings!

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 Compi├Ęgne that ended fighting on land, sea and air in World War I between the Allies and their opponent, Germany. Previous armistices had been agreed with Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude Journal – November 4, 2019

It’s a chilly morning in Nebraska. The temperatures fall around freezing every night, and the warmth of the day depends on:

If the Sun is out.

Our Roxie (RIP, dear) loved to lay under her tree in the shade on a hot day. Looks like her sister Lexie (brown dog) joined her that day.

If it’s windy or not.

Weather must be perfect for hot air balloons. A gentle hint at a breeze is perfect for these balloons to gracefully lilt along.

The high temperature is during the sunny part of the day.

Roxie and Lexie were inseparable.

Any precipitation falls. Any. A 50 degree day with rain can feel like icicles piercing your face if it’s windy. It feels icy all day.

This was an early spring hail storm. Not fun!!
A snowstorm from late last winter. I’d rather have snow than wet, icy preccipitation. Yes, I would

I’m grateful to have all these seasons. It seems there are many more than four at a time now. I don’t think it would be the same to only have the warmth of California or Florida all year around. It just wouldn’t be the same. What would I do without the arthritis rearing it’s ugly head every cold, wet, snowy day. Or every horrific humid day that makes you have a headache all day long.

The four seasons are kind of strange to be grateful for, but I am happy to know all of them. The warmth or lack of it just goes along with the brand of Christmas, New Years, Easter, 4th of July, etc. You’ve got to have the weather.

Saturday, the home health care nursing started their regimin with Dan. They will come three times a week to change the charcoal sponge in the wound and each time attach a new container and tubing to the wound vac. He’s fortunate so little infection is left, so not much drains, but it’s still the procedure.

The nurse trained me on how to take care of Dan’s packing, etc., in case of an ice or snow storm and no one can get to our home to take care of the wound vac, etc. I am capable of doing it and am not queasy about it at all. They are part of the deal, and I’m grateful for the help, truthfully.

Goldie is doing great. Doing well with potty training, sleeps almost all night in her kennel, tolerates her collar and leash when necessary. I think Lexie is warming up to her, as long as Goldie doesn’t get in her face.

Back to working on the book and word count for today. It’s been four days, haven’t missed one day yet. I’m just writing freestyle, I guess I’d call it Going to write paragraphs and fit them in where they will read the best.

The Business of My Day

Thanks for reading today. I appreciate your company on my journey. Invite your friends along, please. And please like the blog, the individual post, and comment. You may earn two chances a day at a giveaway I’m having at the end of NaNoWriMo, a $50 Visa Gift Card. Two entries a day, for liking and commenting on each post. It’ll be fun! 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!

Let the Fun Begin

Here we are, a brand new month beginning, a very important month to a group of writers from all over the world. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The goal is to actually write 50,000 words in one month, thirty days. Can I do it? I plan to. We will need to see how far I actually get, knowing full well that life very often gets in the way of a lot of things. Dan and I have learned that in spades the past year. But we must keep going.

I love all the quotes and memes about perseverance and tenacity. An old friend I used to work for used the word tenacious describing me. I had to look it up. I was flattered, and he certainly meant it as a compliment, describing my working full time, being a single mom with three kids, and wanting to get a college degree. I finally made it.

It’s been started for awhile.

So, in the spirit of keeping on, I won’t bore you with the list of projects and details that I admitted out loud to you. On the internet. Preserved forever. No pressure, right?? My novel and a few other projects are listed on the blog post yesterday, if you’d like to scroll down and refresh your memory. Right now, I’m eager to dig in and write. I had little time to finish an outline of where I’d like my thoughts to take me while yielding actual countable words. I do have this vision in my mind of the outline, and I think once my fingers hit the keys, I will have enough ideas and words to keep up with the 1,677 words a day that will count towards the 50K goal. (Please feel free to quote me on this later should I whine I’ve run out of words).

If you think about it, that is a lot of words. My novel, as it sits now, is 38,388 words. I felt is was complete and wonderful and captivating at 33,507. My dear friend Kris read it, gave me some honest feedback, and I started to embellish the stark prose that was waiting to be adorned.

It will be challenging to add more details and description to what I’ve written, but I need to learn to add this in the first place. I think this executive summary style comes from being in the business world for twenty some years. Just the facts, Ma ‘am, Just the facts. It’s hard to deviate from that norm and create a new one. That is why choosing those words is so very important.

My first participation, hopefully not my last.

At the Nebraska Writers Guild Fall Conference 2019, #NWGFALL2019 I sat in on a session about using poetry as a way to improve your writing. By using fewer words, you will improve your writing. It was amazing. Poetry says so much more without a high word count. I would think writing songs/lyrics would follow closely behind poetry. Think of the poems and song lyrics you have heard and still have in your mind over a lifetime.

“I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.” Joyce Kilmer, 1913

“and I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time.” Jimmy Webb, 1968

Suffice it to say, I was alive and heard Glen Campbell sing Jimmy Webb’s incredible song “Wichita Lineman” on the radio, I was not alive when Joyce Kilmer wrote her lovely poem about trees.

Those two passages just popped into my mind while writing this. A third one also did:

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, words will never hurt me”

and I think this is totally wrong. Words have the ability to devastate a person, destroy a child, or start a war. Or all three at once. Anyone who has ever had someone gaslight them knows this firsthand. It’s terrible and hard to recover from.

Strong words? A story was told in that session about a group of famous writers talking about how many words you needed to tell a story. Ernest Hemingway is credited with this quote, and wrote a series of six word stories that followed this one:

“For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn.”

I am moved to tears by these six words. I want to hug and kiss my grown children over these six words. How about you?? Please leave a comment below, like my blog, and pack your bags to come along on this journey towards finishing my novel. I will share parts of it from time to time, ask you opinions, have you select one passage over another, and other things similar.

I’m going to keep track of all the comments, likes, new follows, etc., and there will be a prize at the end of the month, based on your contributions towards helping me finish this novel. I think it will be fun, hope you’ll join me. Participating will not hurt a bit. I promise. Thank you so much for reading today.

It may come to this once in awhile. Just dig deeper!

What Will November Bring?

Aside from Thanksgiving, retailer invented Black Friday, the end to the Nebraska Cornhuskers football season, and possibly snow, what will it being for you,?

I will be participating in National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. I will be finishing up several projects.

I will finish my novel, These Walls DO Talk.

I will finish my book for grieving families called Grandpa’s Gone.

I will finish another book, Roxie, What Are You Doing??

I will finish a children’s book called Bonus Grandma’s.

Challenge Accepted?
No idea what to expect.

It will be a month of learning and I am eager to see how the tally will end. Something new and different.

Dan now has a gaping hole where his incision was. A wound vac will be applied/installed/mounted which will remove dead skin, infection, debris, and will help shrink and seal the wound from the inside out. Medical miracles always are amazing. For right now, he could qualify as scary for Halloween! He is exhausted, in pain, and spirits kind of low. Prayers are graciously accepted.

He perks up caring for his new little blonde. I’m trying to spend time with Lexie. She is fine in the yard with Goldie but pretty territorial in the house. Any suggestions??

Have a safe Halloween evening. Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing. I appreciate it and all of you.