Sanguine Saturday

Good day, folks! I hope you’re having a decent day. If it isn’t yet, try and make it one. Remember last week when I posted the blinking overhead lights in my studio? We replaced one bulb that was definitely burned out, all three worked, and now, one is blinking again. I suppose once Congress entered into our light bulb stash, it was all over. I’ve had more allegedly “longer life” bulbs die than the old ones. What’s up with that?

Kind of like about twenty years ago when they decided toilets had to conserve water. Good Lord, they legislated the power out for the people to flush their toilets with enough water power to get the sewage out to the curb. Now, in the words of a plumber who once did service for a family member, “There isn’t enough force behind these new ones to get rid of an adult bowel movement. So flush it twice. It’s the only way around it.” Although this may be controversial and uses the same amount of water as the old tanks, it is the only solution to the problem. Perhaps those we elect do not have the right amount of “street smarts” or ability to relate to the common person.

Just try me!

I just love this t-shirt that arrived yesterday. A girl needs some good writing fashion, doesn’t she? Do you want to be a good guy or a bad guy? Or girl?? We can make that happen. Remember, that’s where we get ideas to build character. I’d hate to inflict my imaginary friends on all of my unsuspecting readers. Or should I?

The father of an old friend passed away yesterday. My best friend from elementary school, Peggy, lost her dad. He was into his 90’s. I believe. He was a nice man, loved his family, and his wife. They have each had health issues for the past ten years or so. I’m glad she had her dad this long, and I pray her mom is OK at this awful time. It will be hard on her mom for sure. All of their six kids will have a different kind of grief to deal with, no two people ever grieve the same. I hope God is good to the family.

Yesterday on Facebook, I reposted something my nephew posted about PTSD, depression, etc. It said I’ll know who I can talk to. Today, a dear lady sent me info on a mental health conference in town that she attended. Wasn’t that thoughtful? Someday it could be me, and it’s nice to know there are people who will reach out. You know who you are, and I thank you!

“The truth shall set you free but first it will make you miserable.” (Garfield)

Truth is wonderful. Sometimes though, knowing the truth and what you should do to change a bad habit, for instance, are at opposite ends of the spectrum. You know you need to lose forth pounds but consume all sorts of junk food when you are nervous. You know you drink too much, but after the first beer, it’s all downhill from there. You claim, “I can quit anytime I want.” Sure you can. But do you want to?? Most likely not. And you know your seventh grader is addicted to games. He misbehaves so badly when he can’t have them, it’s just too hard for you to enforce the rules. He knows it, honey, he knows it. You need to be the strong parent.

No change is easy at all. Learning new behavior even when you know it’s for the best is not easy. It’s so easy to let it go on and on and on. Until you can’t. Then the road back could be a transcontinental plane ride instead of a walk down the road to recovery. Think about a habit you’d be better off without. It could be picking up after yourself. Don’t make someone else do it. It could be walk everyday. Don’t sit on the couch and veg out. It could be write your novel, draw your art, sew your quilts. Don’t wish your time away, wishing you had more of it. Lose one bad habit that keeps you from doing something you need to do. Like riding an exercise bike. I’m getting mine out of the storage room this weekend. More on that later.

Thank you again for reading. I’m off to write some more, then go get my sinus infection Rx. Might as well go have lunch in the meantime. Union Pizza, here we come! Have a beautiful day and I’ll be here tomorrow. Hope to see you again then.

Forever Friday!

A beautiful sunny afternoon is upon us here in Gretna, Nebraska. I took Mom to a balance session today. They had her work on a couple of weight machines today. She feels like the muscles from Brussels right now. Tomorrow, another feeling. She wasn’t intimidated, and I’m proud of her for trying. She has one session left, then in March starts individual therapy sessions for her back, twice a week. Not sure how my involvement shakes loose in that, we’ll see.

I started to read my friend, Shannon Schofield’s book, Perfectly Imperfect, today. Wow. She has it categorized as fiction, although it is her story, her life, and her traumas revealed. I’ve always wondered about families where the parents smoke weed, party hardy, and with other drugs, and have no limits. Sure, their kids can play outside for awhile, eventually the kids are wise to what the grown ups are doing, and it affects them. It has to. When my kids were little, I never even drank. I knew I was the one who had to get up with them the next day and never wanted to be hungover while doing it. I started to drink after my early thirties, and never had a problem with it. Some folks aren’t so lucky.

All I can say, is hold onto your hats, when you read Shannon’s book. I’m surprised she survived at all. God bless her. I hope she finds an audience and is successful with it. It’s a story that needs to be told. And it is a real eye opener. Get it from Amazon today!

Why not?

This Peanuts is so apt for where I am headed now. The publishers of the world will beat a path to my door as soon as I decide where the end is on my novel re-write. (HAH!) I’m maybe five or six chapters in, and it’s a job, keeping all the brothers straight. Katie is my main character, and she has seven brothers. Three older and three younger, she is the middle child. In most ways she is the oldest, seeing as her older brothers are all alcoholics who are not dependable when their Mom needs help. Only Katie and the three younger brothers are reliable. There is animosity among her older brothers for her, and they exhibit characteristics of the biggest chauvinistic pig you may know. Katie shares family stories with the them all, the older brothers argue with her over facts, and the younger brothers love to hear stories of their early lives and their grandparents. And how their Mom was before her alcoholism made her depressed, cynical, rude, and unhappy. The gist of the story is family curses can be broken. Cycles can be broken open and freedom exists on the other side. Katie has done it, and is helping others find the way out. It is a story of survival, seeking, strength, and stamina. Katie does all that and more.

Tomorrow and Sunday will be great days for writing. No real plans, and nothing pressing to do. I hope to catch up a couple more chapters and add depth to these crazy brothers my character Katie has. What a group! I have know people with some of these characteristics. I’m taking all the worst ones and making separate people of them. It will make sense later, when you read the book, it will all ebb and flow. Life is full of lessons, my friends. Katie has learned many of them.

Have a fun Friday night, thanks for reading today. I’ll be here tomorrow, see you then!

Wow! It’s Wednesday!

Good morning, everyone! It’s a cold, cloudy Wednesday at my Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Winter just doesn’t want to let loose of her grip on us. That’s ok. Before you gather outside my window to let me know how you feel about that, consider this: When I was in high school, the Prom was held on the first Wednesday of May. Always. The weather should have been beautiful. It wasn’t. We had a late spring snowstorm every time. Enough to mess up the hair, dress hems, and cast a pall over the folks who were able to go. You had to be a Junior/Senior, and someone had to invite you. A boy, to be exact. No group dates, no groups of boys or girls like they do now. No one invited me when I was old enough to go. My senior year, it did not snow. And I went with my then boyfriend, Frank. Never went to Homecoming, but did Prom. It wasn’t that huge of a deal after all. Oh well.

Have you ever waited and waited for something your whole life and then been disappointed? We all have. When I drive past the Gretna High School, I think back on how the athletes and cheerleaders seemed like their lives were perfect. They weren’t, but we didn’t know that. It was the height of wishing your life was different than whatever it was for you. Sad. I’ve not experienced that disappointment after my first marriage ended in divorce after twelve years. I wanted it to end, and I filed. I don’t think he ever really got it. The only part of the marriage was happy was about my kids. I loved being pregnant and wondering if it was a boy or girl. They were such a gift from God. No ultrasounds were done back then unless your doctor might be concerned about something, and even then, I think it was rare to see the sex of the baby. The happiness continued until the baby was about two years old. Something told me I had to let them learn their independence even at that age. I didn’t want to be a Mom who managed everything or hovered. My mom was like that, and I didn’t want to be. My three were responsible for their own stuff. After the divorce, they learned they had to help with chores or we’d never get to go to Blockbuster, get carry out, or have a fun night. I miss those days, but not the poverty. We were broke-ass-poor. That bad. Yes.

Ours was more frequent

Speaking of Beanie Weenies! This was the only dish my dad made. My kids laughed because Grandpa would take a kitchen towel and tuck it inside his belt, and use it for an apron. They giggled when he cut up the hot dogs and opened the Van Camp Pork & Beans. What a gourmet cook he was. They loved his concoction. It was the best. My little brothers had this often after I left home and Mom was gone in the evenings. Yep, Dad was great for making the best of a bad situation.

LOL! I’ll bet he is

I love cartoons like this. It takes a place like heaven, which I would think was quiet as a Church except for the choir singing, and does this. Until Michael Jordan arrives, Kobe will be bugging the angels for quite a long time. Then Jordan will show him!

Some of you have asked how my son has recovered from the apartment fire last October that left him and his roommate homeless and with only the clothes on their backs. They are doing ok. They were able to get the “stuff” for daily living and although devastated, Frankie is grateful he wasn’t home. If he hadn’t been at work, that was the time he took a nap everyday. He may not have made it out alive. He is the best at rolling with life’s punches. As his mom, I marvel at how he adjusts and looks forward. Never looks back. His employer, Union Pizza and Sports Bar, on 156 & Maple in Omaha, Nebraska has been incredible. They have offered every kind of help there is, and are sincere in the offers. They are a small business, but are a great place to work. And great food. Stop on out, you won’t be disappointed. They also run Two Fine Irishmen, and Voodoo Lounge, both in West Omaha.

Shoopy has it right.

I finished the book I was reading, The River People by Margaret Lukas, fellow Nebraska Writers Guild Member. It is the first in a series about the women who lived on the river long before this Nebraska Territory was settled and populated, and before women were treated as more than property. It is excellent. Thank you, Margaret, for this tale of fighting dying. It is very inspiring.

I’m looking forward to the Nebraska Writers Guild Spring Conference in April, 2020. It will be the third conference I have attended, and I intend to learn even more from this one than the last two. I look back to one year ago, when I started my novel, and how much I’ve learned. Holy Moly! It is unreal first how much there is to learn, then which things are the most important in the beginning, the middle, and the end of the journey to getting published. Glad I learned about vanity publishing, so I still have a nest egg to spend on publishing my book. The NWG is so great in teaching members how to use Social Media as a place to promote yourself.

Self promotion is hard to me to even fathom. As a good Catholic girl, calling attention to myself was never something that was acceptable. I am still kind of shy talking about myself, but I’ve learned if I don’t tell you about me, you won’t care what I do, it’ll be self-defeating. Can’t have that happen. Can I take rejection? Sure, in fact, I think I’m pretty good at accepting when things don’t work out. My ego isn’t fragile. Do I want you being rude about it? No, I don’t think that’s necessary for either of us. Just say, “Sorry, no,” and walk away. No need for anything else.

I can see by my Cubs clock on the studio wall it’s noon. Time to spend time with the Babe before we pick up Addison from school and go to the VFW for our weekly dinner night. More time with good friends. I love Wednesdays! Thank you for reading. I hope you come back again tomorrow. I’ll be here. I appreciate your support!

Sunny Saturday

When you live in the midwest, anytime the temperature is above twenty, it’s not windy, and the sun is out, it’s like a fine summer day upon us. People are nice to each other, the stores are a little less crowded, the grocery stores are pretty much sold down in inventory. Maybe they are planning cook outs? I’m not sure, but the shelves were oddly vacant today.

We just don’t eat at home a lot, so our “grocery list” is probably like a snack supply trip. Bagels and peanut butter for breakfast, with a yogurt, coffee, and we usually eat a late lunch/dinner out. The rest is lettuce for salad, cottage cheese for me, apples, carrots, and crackers and cheese for a snack. I used to fully stock the refrigerator for dinner every night, but we just ended up throwing so much away, it was not good. I think if you eat a balanced diet, the rest will take care of itself. We both could lose several pounds, so I don’t think we’re in danger of malnutrition. I’m just not that hungry anymore. For anything. It might be an aging thing??

I’d rather have lighter fare than restaurant luncheon items. Burger and fries? Maybe once a week, no more often. Tacos? Maybe once a week. I would eat a small steak and salad, or pork chops and a potato. Baked potatoes are great, especially loaded. I like sweet potatoes baked with a dash of sugar and cinnanom. delicious. I’ve never seen the thing about smoothies. To me, it’s just mushing everything up, and sometimes there is so much sugar added. I like the purity of raw fruits and like to eat them as such. Veggies the same way. The closest to natural the better.

We have a birthday in the family on Monday. Addison will be thirteen. She was born on her Grandma Sandy’s birthday, which was really cool when it happened. Sandy lost a hard battle to lung cancer ten years ago. It was such a sad thing and we all think of her often. Sometimes I wonder what she would think of these wonderful grandkids of hers. I know she would love them to pieces. All three of them. All we can do is love the kids and tell them about their other Grandma. As long as we keep her alive in our conversations, she will live on.

It hasn’t been a good day for writing. When I start out late, it seems I cannot get things on paper. Tomorrow will be another day. I’m just going to review my printed pages and figure out where to tell stories about my additional characters. It should work. Instead of my main character just thinking the story, I’m going to have the characters talk the story. Descriptions, narrative, and lots of colorful characters should do it.

I thank you for reading today. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope to see you, too.

Finitely Friday

There are only twenty-four hours in this highly touted day of the week. When you are working for a living, you cannot wait for it to arrive. What do you do once it’s there? Maybe we put too much into this one day a week, why should all it’s siblings have a lesser fan club? Especially Monday. What happens when you are retired? You have six Saturdays and a Sunday. Those days are not that different, one from another, and it is difficult for new retirees to keep track of what day it is.

When I was moved into early “retirement” in 2000 due to my health, I was kind of a mess. I was only forty-eight years old and was a newleywed. It just didn’t seem like something I should be doing. It was hard. My body let me down and I was a bit angry about that fact. As one of my brothers’ said, “That’s what you get for taking care of yourself.” Well, maybe.

I have since recovered from the overwhelming feeling to explain my early departure from the working world. When I told my doctor I couldn’t do it anymore, he said, “I’m surprised you made it this long.” What? And the rub is it’s one of those things a person cannot identify on sight. That may be what made it so hard. That and my age. And the fact after keeping it together through being a single mom, college student, friend, sister, you name it, that it finally was my turn. Bitterness could have easily taken over.

I met the Babe right after that horrible illness, and he was more than ok with me having a hidden illness. His mother battled MS for most of her adult life and he was well aware of people who lost their health. From watching his interactions with her over the years, I came to know what type of compassionate caregiver he is. And he is. Like most men, he’s a better caregiver than patient, but that’s another story. Initially I felt I kept him from doing things, but he said no, he’d rather be hanging out with me. And it turns out we’re perfect for each other. Sure, we get frustrated. We’re human. But in the long run, neither of us will give up or quit on the other. And that’s a quality I”m glad we both have.

Each day we have is the same twenty-four hour period on the clock, calendar, and moment in time. I had a boss who would take Monday off instead of Friday for a long weekend. His thinking was everyone takes Friday, Monday can be less crowded and just as special. Just a little change in thought, and powerful things can happen. Try it. You might like it. It could change the way you view your world, life, and creativity.

In the creative realm, for those who create things from other materials, you need to strike while the iron is hot. While the ideas are flowing, get them down, cut the fabrics, paint the pictures, write the words. And then coax them to become their best. I cannot say, “Friday is not a good day for creating, come back Monday,” because the idea most likely will be lost forever. Write down a note to spark the memory when you are able to capture the idea more fully. After a while, it won’t matter where or when you get those ideas. You will be able to make a note then coax it back into a more full statement. Practice. We all have enough time for that.

Don’t wish your life away. Make the most of each twenty-four hour trip around the sun. Give thanks for each day no matter how bad it can be. Tomorrow could be worse, but chances are, it won’t be. Some days the best thing you can say about it is, “It’s over now.” Do-overs. How lucky we are to have one every day. We may look back and decide these days weren’t so bad after all. All the Thursdays, Tuesdays, and Sunday nights have the capacity to be awesome. Just like we do. Every day people. Doing extraordinary things. Every day of the week.

Thank you for reading today. I’m grateful you did. I’ll be back tomorrow, and hope you will be, too. See you then. I’m off to work on my second chapter in the novel re-write. Go figure!

Funky Friday

It’s about 6:30 p.m. on Friday, and we’re home by the fire. The dogs are gnawing on their bones and periodically barking at each other. Like children, they want what the other one has, so this dance goes on until they decide the couch looks comfy enough give up gnawing. Wow. Life doesn’t get better than this.

Mom had therapy again today. She’s getting her money’s worth and is actually enjoying the workout. Old people are so good at fibbing about how much activity they get at home. They get defensive, almost. I understand that, however. They don’t want anything to make it necessary for them to be moved from their home to where help is available. And at times, it’s just not safe anymore. That will be a hard day if it comes. Not going to worry about the future. We will deal with it when it comes, if it does.

When we live too far in the future or past we miss the present. The day to day hum of everyday living. Not all of it is happy, rewarding, interesting, or fun. Most of our every day lives is pretty mundane. But if we don’t do those things, life becomes disorganized, out of rhythm, and can teeter in the wrong direction. In learning how we stay in the present, we appreciate small things even more than we may if we’re fixated on the past or the future. Too many people worry so much about what could go wrong they miss opportunities for happiness on a daily basisiness. I believe it was Mark Twain who once said: “I have lived through many terrible events. Most of them, in my own mind.” Relax. Most of what we worry about never happens. And you may ruin today in the process. You cannot get this time back, folks. Just learn from it and move on.

Tomorrow is the first of February. I am particiating in a 30 Day Art Challenge with my friends at I Create Daily. They offer prompts each day and participants are supposed to create something from the prompt. If you come up blank, there are suggestions given. It should be a fun 29 days. Leap year! I did purchase a book about fun lettering and will try my hand at that next month as well as writing.

We should have a weekend at home, so I hope to get a little more writing done. At this point I’ll take what I can get, and just go one chapter at a time, one character at a time. We’ll get there, I know we will.

With being diagnosed with an acute sinus infection, being on steroids and antibiotics, I’m not going to be out running any races. I finished the book I was reading, “Sold on a Monday.” It was a beautiful but sad story. There are many stories about the 1920s and 1930s that people do not have a clue about. Sometimes people had to do drastic things to give their kids a chance at a life at all. Including the unthinkable, selling them. It doesn’t mean they were not loved. It meant the times were desperate.

I’m starting another book called, “Before We Were Yours.” I expect it will be equally as good. Just the thing between naps and meds and writing and laundry and watching the Super Bowl on Sunday. Take care of yourself, do the wise thing and rest when you need to. It goes a long way. Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. I’ll see you tomorrow!

Finally Friday

I am so blessed. Dan and I have been married for twenty-one years. Prior to that, I was divorced for sixteen years. My ex husband had a huge family, since he was the middle of seven children. We actually babysat some of the older nieces and nephews in our early dating and marriage. Some were in high school when we divorced.

Some of the nieces send us Christmas cards. I feel so lucky to receive this mail from them! I can hardly believe their children are so grown and handsome, and the girls themselves are women of strength and spirit. I thank God for those continued relationships even after all these years. Christmas bears gifts of the type you least expect. And those are the best surprises!

Today was another day working on the quilting project I’m finishing for a friend. The deadline is whenever it’s finished, and that will be before January 1, 2020, so I’m not concerned about anything. It’s good not to be stressed during this busy week.

I’m hoping all of you stay well during the next week, too. I hear the flu is at high in Nebraska, based on the number of prescriptions for flu filled at Walgreens. Isn’t it interesting how data is collected sometimes? I wonder how their figures are broken out by age and sex? Have these people had flu shots?? I hope they all recover with no further complications. Flu can be such a wretched disease. The Babe and I are no longer in the “under 65” age category, so we are in more danger of being very ill. Yes, give us the big flu shot, and the jumbo shingles shot, too. Anything else you have for people of a certain age? Sign us up.

Yes, the time is getting shorter before Christmas. I only have two gifts to wrap, for Gavin, and I hope we have enough wrapping left to do those two gifts. I do wish we had more to wrap, it wasn’t a bad task overall. It used to take me a couple of nights (very late at night) to wrap gifts when the kids were still at home.

If you are driving to where you will be celebrating Christmas, please be careful. In the Omaha, Nebraska area alone, there have been several fatal accidents. Many were folks not wearing seat belts, some were speeding and using alcohol, some were due to weather. Please be careful as you travel, we want you back home safe and sound.

Once again, thank you so much for reading today. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. And I’ll see you back here tomorrow. One day closer! Have a good evening.