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.

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!

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.

Puppy Update/Grateful for . . .

We have had new puppy for about ten days. Ten days of jumping out of our chairs when she has sniffed out a spot on the floor, ten days of saying “Good girl” when she whimpers to go outside, and ten days of reassuring Lexie that we love her more.

Gavin is coming to visit Goldie today.

It’s funny how this little creature has brought a lot of work to our home, yet she also has brought a lot of joy, happiness, and something to distract us from Dan’s difficult recovery. I do think it was part of the vast plan to change our lives yet again.

Dan (a/k/a Babe) and I are talking about a lot of things most retired folks discuss. We reminisce about our world’s as kids, we discuss the four most intelligent and beautiful grandchildren to Grace the earth, and we tell each other how much we love each other. We don’t ever want to forget to tell each other we are grateful to have each other.

Yes, we get irritated with each other. We can both be stubborn. We get tired and frustrated. But we each know the other is always in our corner. Devotion trumps irritation.

Just as Goldie trusts us to take care if her, we trust each other to care for the other. Anyone can have trust issues. Puppies, children, teenagers, men and women all can have trust issues. If you are fortunate to love someone you can trust, your life is so much better! You won’t be in danger from them.

Goldie and Gavin can trust us and are learning to trust each other. Lexie is more timid, and we’re not sure why. It could have with her lineage and temperment. Those things fall outside of home and heart. Some things you just can’t train or love out of an animal. She just was never the affectionate pup that Roxie was.

At 9 a.m., I met with a research group about participating in a study to test an RSV vaccination.  I was willing, however, I was eliminated from the study. There are so many criteria to meet, and I didn’t fall on the right side of the investigation. Oh well, I was paid very well for my time. That’s cool. 

Dan’s home health care nurse was pretty late yesterday, 4:30. She is coming at 8 a.m. tomorrow. That will start the day out early. She is amazed at the number of people she has for patients who do not want her to come before 10 a.m. We are the exception, so it will be another early start to the day. We’re both up by 7:00 a.m. anyhow. It’s a blessing these angels travel to your home to save you having to make trips to a clinic three times a week.

After awhile, we will pick up Addison and Gavin, drop off Addison, bring Gavin home with us to play with Roxie, and wait for our son in law to pick up Gavin. Hopefully, by then, the dogs will be tired and sleep on the couch so we can just sit down.

New Years Eve, 2018/2019
I cannot believe Babe stayed up this late!!

I’m grateful today for the love I wake up to every morning. We might have slowed the step but I have never loved more deeply or been sure I was loved this much. It’s the best!

Dan has a way to go with his healing.  Many folks are praying and sending good thoughts.  We thank you all for doing so. Keep them coming!

My writing for today will include creating some character depth. I’m trying to describe in more detail the people in the novel who live in the house that is telling its secrets. They are based on real people, so I’m sure my family will be wondering which character they are. They’re all a bunch of characters, believe me!! It’s a good study in human nature, making sure my characters aren’t flat or predictible. Again, I can assure you my family are neither!!

Thank you for reading, and please leave a comment at the end, and like the post. The contest is stil going on, all you have to do is like the post in WordPress, and/or leave a comment in WordPress. You can have two chances a day to win the drawing on December 1, 2019. This will run through the end of November, so catch up if you’d like. I’d love to have you all have 60 chances each for free!!! The prize is a $50 Visa Gift Card. Hope it’s an offer you can’t refuse, and that you love our journey on the way to finishing this book! 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!