Today’s Blog

Tuesday!

The day got away from me today! It was a day with Mom. She’s 91 and has limited vision and nearly no hearing left. True to a typical Mom, when I sat down across from her, she said, “Do you feel well enough to go today, you look so peaked?” I thought she couldn’t see much. Well, I assured her I was ready to take her to get a haircut, have lunch, and go to Target. I wouldn’t have driven twenty-five miles from Gretna if I didn’t feel like going.

There were two other ladies in our friend’s beauty shop in South Omaha while we were there. I noticed a gigantic Lincoln Continental parked out front and a smaller, older car. The two people there were having a comb out and a specialty color job. The comb out was an elderly lady, the other, a younger woman. After a while, the elderly lady got up to leave. The younger woman asked Mom how old she was. “I’m 91.” You ladies sure show it well, the other lady here was 93. She was the owner and driver of the gigantic Lincoln Continental. How outstanding! I hope she made it home safely.

The younger lady revealed she was “nearly 70” and I thought about how hard it is to tell women’s ages when they color their hair. The neck usually gives it away. I’m glad I quit coloring my hair over ten years ago. It’s just so much more natural at this age. I am very fortunate to still have very thick hair, fairly straight, and it’s nearly all the same length now. The cancer treatment (radiation only) didn’t bother my hair a bit, just all my hormones. That was the worst. You never recover from that. No one tells you about that “side effect.” Even eleven years later.

So, Mom likes Village Inn for lunch no matter what. We had no trouble at all finding a seat, There were only two other tables were occupied. So, it was pretty sparse. Mom loves Rueben Sandwiches and Chicken Noodle Soup. I could order an omelette and fruit, no other carbs. I sent the fruit home with Mom, along with 1/2 of her sandwich. The day wiped her out. I’m afraid that enormous home is too much for her – bathroom upstairs or in the basement and lots of room. She’s lived there since 1949, when she was twenty years old. They married in April 1948. They moved into the house in very early 1949; I believe. She hasn’t budged since. I doubt we’ll be able to pry her out of the house.

Since Shopko has closed, Mom has no place to shop. She doesn’t want to go to Wal-Mart, but I think she’d like it. She asked to go to Target, and I tried to get her to go sit down somewhere, but no, she didn’t want to. She would stay in place and I’d go look for stuff, come back and report to her. She’d determine if I’d go back and get the item or not. Clearly, she is declining faster than she’d like to admit. A slippery slope. A prayer here and there would be nice. Thank you.

The old neighborhood changes a bit from time to time. Last week, when I delivered her Mince Pie for Thanksgiving, I took a photo of the block a couple blocks from home where Grandma and Grandpa Jewell had their drugstore.

The corner building is the old Brown Derby. It was a bar the whole time we grew up. In high school, we would wait inside their building for our bus to high school. The driver knew we were inside, so he’d wait. Today, I think there are still apartments above, but I’m not sure. It has been a clothing store and now maybe a health food something; they advertise smoothies in the window. In the middle is a tire/rim store. It used to be the grocery store, Paskach’s. The orange building was the original brick when Grandpa Jewell owned “Jewell’s Sundries.”

He had a pharmacist, Cliff Chase, who was the father to a lady I met later in life. Dad was a huge fan of hers since she was a DJ on “Cathy Fife, and the Music of Your Life.” She played Big Band Music on the weekends, and Dad loved her. Later in life, I dated her partner on the Radio, and she visited Dad while he was dying of Cancer. He was so happy about that. I’m so glad they met.

My dad passed away December 7, 1988. It was a long time ago, yet it was only yesterday. He missed his grandchildren growing up and graduating from high school; he missed two of his children retiring; he missed growing old with his wife; he was only 64; she was only 59. They got cheated. That has always been the worst part. Cheated of enjoying retirement; and out of his first real vacation. He was to go with his Blackhawks Division, Patton’s Army, reunion trip through Europe, following the route they were on as they liberated Europe; Auschwitz; and other areas under Hitler. If only I could ask him about those things now, when I could write about them. But it was not to be. There are so many stories buried with our fathers. Try to hear them before you cannot anymore.

Have a beautiful rest of the evening. It will be a short time until the next post; just know, we have a short day tomorrow, there is so much to talk about! Be safe, Be courteous. Let’s see each other again tomorrow.

What Day Is It Again?

Tell me how these two people in our home can’t remember what day it is. Every day this week, I’ve thought it was a different day. Why is that? It doesn’t even matter to us anymore, since we’re retired. Yesterday, I knew it was Sunday. When I woke this morning, I thought it was Sunday. I heard the weekday newscasters blabbing on and had to ask, “what day is this?” The Babe said, “Monday.” Wow.

The book, “Let Him Go,” is phenomenal. I love the work of Larry Watson, and this is the first book of his I’ve read. It for sure won’t be the last. I should finish it today. I don’t want to see the movie before I’ve finished the book. It’s raw, gritty, and realistic. The year is 1951, and the setting is Montana. We’ve only driven through Montana exiting Yellowstone National Park. I loved it. We learned why it’s called “Big Sky Country.” The air is so fresh. I’d love to go back again. Summer, or just before Memorial Day. The snow can still melt.

I’m thinking in another life, I may have lived during the late 1800s in the west. I’ve always wanted to ride horses, something I’ve only done once. Doesn’t matter, I can’t now because of my spine issues. But the fascination is there. I think horses are regal beings and they have an intelligence man can train and form a bond with. I can see myself riding horses at the turn of the century, wearing pants, which would be frowned upon. Yet, I could also wear beautiful dresses when required to. I would be a complex character. Full throttle, yet reserved. I’d better make some notes about this. It could be fun!

We caught Matthew McConaughey on Rachel Ray this morning, talking about his memoir, “Greenlights.” He blew me away with a story. As a kid a contest deemed him “Little Mr. Texas” with a trophy and cowboy hat. His mom hung the pic in the kitchen and every day, she reminded him he was “Little Mr. Texas.” How cool.

Today’s technology let him zoom in on the trophy. The trophy engraving read, “Little Mr. Texas – Runner Up.” WHAT?? He asked Mom. Why did you do this? Because in her mind, he was. And it encouraged him every day of his life. She believed in him, and he learned to believe in himself. How wonderful. What a kid-friendly environment. Encouragement goes a long way. It should be a good read. I’ll let you know.

My Reading is Picking Up. Writers Need to Read. Who Would Have Thought?

It’s been good to sort through all the papers and information I’ve collected in the past year and a half. A lot is being tossed, and I’m grateful I am learning to be more selective in what I devour. There are many slick presentations out there, and I’m glad to steer clear of most of them. One company does scam people, it charges you for shipping on a “free” item, then charges you a membership on some stuff you’ve never seen before. They were slick about their scam, it would appear the website was having difficulty, and flash through the “I Accept” page, then you are stuck. I got a refund until they provided copies of those “I Accept” pages, which I never saw, and were awarded their $$. I cancelled the credit card. It was “WritersLife.org” and they have had many complaints. There is an association with Platinum Millennium Publishing. and have been a problem for many writers on Facebook.

There is nearly an entire day out there to achieve something wonderful! I will do more getting rid of stuff I don’t need, and some other fun stuff around the house. Like dusting. We lost our cleaning lady in May, because of COVID, and I miss them. The Babe is wonderful about doing things like vacuuming and mopping the floors. I don’t dust as much as he vacuums. I need to get on it. I promise.

I hope you’re off to a new adventure. I will conquer the dust today, the endless papers, and a sewing project. Along with reading more. I will not stress myself with NaNoWriMo this year. I need to spend time elsewhere. Thank you for your time today, and I’ll see you tomorrow! Be Kind, Be Courteous, Be Thankful. Be Safe. Wear that Mask. Wash Those Hands. We’re in this together. #NotAlone

Hillbilly Elegy and Reading

I’m concluding I’m tired with football. It seems endless, and I read a book or anything else to pass the time. Maybe too much being cooped up, not sure. Last night, though, we watched “Hillbilly Elegy.” It takes some understanding before you can see how good it is.

Why? It’s a very hard subject. While I’m told the book is much better with essential backstory, the story absorbed me. I know families led by adult children of alcoholics/addicts. As the sister says in the movie, “It didn’t start with Mom.” I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject, I have seen the damage and destruction by these inherited traumas/dysfunction. People just don’t know any better. It seems normal to them. They don’t know there is another way.

There can be one person in the lineage who changes those dynamics for their life. This is what the young man did. He had to set boundaries and enforce them. He knew he could not help his mother. He knew he had to make his own way. It is a very lonely path to follow. I’ve been there. I also had an aunt who knew my struggle, and she was good company on that path. None of that means you don’t love the people. You just cannot help them. Do for yourself. It ends enabling, which is what they want from you. It stops here, folks.

I’ve always liked Ron Howard’s directorial work. I hear the book has many more parts of the story about Grandma, played by Glenn Close. She was superb. I think he did a great job with showing how families can pull a person back and forth, defying set boundaries to achieve their own agenda. It happens, people. It’s called life. It could trigger some people, for sure. Those at a certain level of recovery will see it for what it’s worth, a true story of an overcomer. And they leave you with the impression he succeeds. And for that, I was so happy. It can be done, folks.

My Heart Just Melts!

The pic above is of our Roxie (RIP) and Lexie as puppies, probably seven years ago. They were so cute as puppies. Especially sleeping! Just lightening up the mood here a bit. And who doesn’t love puppies?

Won’t be doing any writing today, still working my way through the pile of papers I may want, and need to scan a bunch of papers for the VFW Website. Just stuff like that, takes up an item on the to do list, yet easily accomplished. Helps you feel successful on a freezing but sunny day. The wind is shaking a bunch of stuff outside. I’m glad I have a spot by the fireplace reserved for the afternoon with the Kansas City football game on. I just love Patrick Mahomes, he is an outstanding young man, quarterback, and citizen.

I remember my Grandma referring to people as “young man,” or “young lady,” and it’s funny to hear myself, probably at her same age, referring to people that way, too. Age is a funny, fickle thing. First you don’t feel any differently as you did at age thirty until you move or get up from a chair. When did all that happen? You just can’t place an exact time, you were busy living when it happened, and now, boy, do you notice it.

With that age and creakiness, you earn a different point of view about life. It just goes by so fast. No one has invented something to slow it all down. When you stop, you’re an age you never imagined you could be. I’m older now than Dad was when he died. That’s hard to believe. Yet, time keeps going on, and I’m so grateful for that.

One thing which stays the same is the touch of the person you love. In a lifetime together (or even 22 years), you sometimes don’t hug as much or even hold hands. As things change with age, it’s a beautiful thing to just hold hands. I like to hold the Babe’s hand while I fall asleep. Of course, he’s already asleep, but he still holds on to my hand. It’s nice. A simple yet beautiful thing.

A touch, a glance, our minds can spark a memory that can excite your soul. Sometimes, it catches me by surprise after all these years, but then I remember our first years together. You never forget the love of your life, and the Babe is mine. And now, as he would say, enough mushy stuff.

I had to have this painting. It’s just Goldie.

Let’s all finish out this Sunday with gratitude and humility. God has been so good to all of us, and we are so blessed He loves us all. Even at our worst. Thanks for reading, I’ll see you tomorrow. Be Safe, Be Courteous, Be Kind. Be careful out there and make it a great day!

Summation Saturday

I’m enjoying music by Ray Scott this morning. The Babe and I saw him briefly about a year ago with our friend Jimmy Weber at a local hole in the wall, Buck’s. It was a fun night, but the Babe was dealing with a wound vac and wasn’t feeling well enough to stay for the entire show. What we heard, we liked. We bought up all the CD’s I could find online. He’s very good. The songs are making me think, which helps me create. Thanks, Ray!

It’s been quite a week. I’ve experienced some weird memories and dreams, when I figure out what they meant, I’ll let you know. Messages come in your dreams, and if you keep your eyes open, you can see them all around you. Mentally, I’m getting more in the Christmas spirit than before. Not sure why, but these holidays can be very tough for some of us. I’ll leave it at that for now. Remember that with your friends and family. Help them get through these days. It’s not all silver bells and tinsel. And now, we get to add in the Covid-19 which just adds to funk and fog. Be gentle with yourself and others.

My Writing Space. I love the laptop stand.

Yesterday, I mentioned this stand I purchased from a small company through Amazon. It’s the best investment I’ve ever made. With the stand all the way down, it raises the Chromebook up about three inches. I am not putting stress on my neck by looking down while writing. I can write longer! It’s a Christmas miracle! Get one for anyone in your life who needs some ergonomics in their life. The company is Lifelong.

Today, I’m going to sift through all the papers and printed things I’ve accumulated during this writing journey we’re on. It’s a good time to keep what I have found useful and toss everything that isn’t helpful. Later, I’m going to mark a quilt for quilting and tomorrow, going to hem a dress for a beautiful young lady. Time will fly by, as always.

Go for a walk today, or just get a little fresh air. From my studio window, I can see a couple houses putting up Christmas lights on their homes. It’s always fun to see them lit at night. If there are sound effects with them the dogs get a little nervous. They’re such cowards when it really gets down to it. They make me laugh out loud!

The last but best happening this week; When I talked about what I learned about writing from Carol Gino, Mario Puzo’s twenty-year companion and fellow writer, she took the time and e-mailed me. I am over the moon! We’ll talk more about that all later. I’m just going to enjoy the orbit I’m in. Thanks for reading, I’m headed out to the deck for a little fresh air. Be Kind. Be Careful. Be Courteous. Be Thoughtful. Slow down. You’ll get there. Just get there. See you tomorrow!

Black Friday-Time to Unclutter!

Did you all survive the day of giving thanks and cooking all day? We did, too. Quiet, reflective days are good. It seems I did something weird to my upper back in the shoulder blade area. I can hardly move it without severe pain. It happens now and then. I’ll probably get the TENS unit on it with the heating pad during the football segment of the day. I’ll use that time to sort through this:

This Chair is full of the printed matter I’ve accumulated while writing and doing research. I enjoy having printed copies, but if I sort through and find any of this unnecessary, it’s going!

I want to get a few things cleaned well before I do the Christmas tree. One was cleaning up my writing area. The sewing area in my little studio needs it too. But with my strange flare up, I’m limited. We’ll make do. Anyone who has chronic pain gets it. When you least have time to deal with it is when it rears up.

I did this thing and bought a laptop stand to use while I write. The Chromebook fits perfectly and even raising it off my lap three inches while typing in the recliner makes less stress on the old body. The pain in subsiding in my neck, thank goodness. I need to do a great rating on Amazon for this product. It was from Lifelong, a family business. They may have saved my writing career!

Before left, and after, right. I can see the glass-top desk and organization. Much easier. I just procrastinate on spaces like this. I’m busy working on things and think, “I’ll do it when I come back in,” and then I don’t. I can create in chaos, which isn’t a good thing, really. We all do better with order. I want to organize all the projects and stories, and tutorials and rough drafts. A small, simple milk carton storage cube will hold enough hanging file folders to keep what I need. I love my space!

It’s amazing what you find when you tidy up. A thermometer as a token of 2020, a book by someone whose work you admire, and letters you need to scan and add to a website for the VFW Post 2503. Never a dull moment.

Sometimes authors report going through spells of “writer’s block.” What is it? I’m not sure if it really exists or if it’s procrastination, self-sabotage, or a cluttered brain. One reason I straightened up is I was getting too distracted. Since I’m not working with my book coach anymore, maybe I feel like “School’s Out for the Summer.” Could be. I believe I’ll get back to business after I tidy several areas that require my attention right now.

The really wonderful thing about being retired is you can fill your time however you wish. It’s really up to you. You can read, write, draw, create, sew, or quilt. I love these things, and just don’t have enough time. I located my list of goals for this year. I thought my book, “These Walls DO Talk” release date would now be past, as would the children’s books, “Bonus Grandma’s,” and “Roxie, WHAT Are You Doing?” And another project, “Grandpa’s Gone,” would be near publication. Other things happened instead. I’m a little sad to say nothing went to press, but that’s a good thing. I’ve learned so much more about my craft, and I know the writing is much better than it was a year ago.

The craft improved with study, a great coach, and my confidence is higher. I know my creations will be better than a year ago. The practice here every day is necessary, yet it’s a different writing. It’s been a splendid start on this journey we’re on. Who knew we’d take the side trips we have? It’s all been unexpected blessings. And I’m all for that. How fortunate I’ve been! Can’t wait to see what comes next.

Please be safe if you’re out shopping today. Distance. Masks. Kindness. Thoughtfulness. Patience. We need all that more than ever. Thank you so much for reading today, and we’ll meet again tomorrow. Enjoy today and all that comes with it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Have you had your fill of dinner yet? We are still waiting for the turkey to finish up. The Babe didn’t want to eat too early. No leftover turkey sandwiches in our future this evening. I even made some Keto bread in anticipation of having them. Tomorrow will come soon enough, and they will taste just as good. It appears I forgot to grind up the frozen cranberries. I can do that tomorrow. No big deal.

It’s been a quiet day for us, and that’s ok. I took a brief nap; it felt great. I wasn’t the least bit tired when I sat down, but then it happened. I sunk into the recliner, and it was over. I heard from my kids, and they’re also having nice days. No one has to work for a change. How nice for them. We are well aware of people who work on holidays; First Responders, Nurses, ER personnel, Police Officers, and all the people deployed or on duty today. Thank you all.

While I was making the real whipping cream for our Keto Pumpkin Bars, I had a weird flashback. When I was a kid, Mom let me make the Whipping Cream. We chilled the bowl. We didn’t use the electric mixer when I first started, and I don’t recall her having a whisk. Whatever she had is what I used. She rarely used her hand-held mixer or the stand mixer. She philosophised we needed to save it for special occasions. I’m not sure why Thanksgiving wasn’t special enough, but those were her rules.

Today, when I took the empty bowl and beaters from the refrigerator, I recalled opening the container of whipping cream and adding vanilla and sugar to the cream. I even remembered which bowl I used. No one came to dinner at our house, except for a grandmother once in a while. Mom cooked the whole thing, and I always had to dry dishes, mostly because I was a girl. No sisters. Three brothers. No matter how many people come to eat, you still have the same number of pots and pans.

I loved cooking with my kids while they were still home. We didn’t go to my mom’s any more after my dad died. It just wasn’t the same, and we really enjoyed our own celebration. The boys would put lights in the yard and on the house when they were older teenagers. We would eat dinner, then go outside at 6 p.m. for our own lighting ceremony. I miss those days so much. Enjoy your kids while they’re home. And be happy for them when it’s their time to celebrate with their own families. People can’t always gather.

It’s time to prepare the Loaded Cauliflower and Green Beans for our sides. We’re just having a bit of food, the important ones. I’m looking forward to the Pumpkin Bars and real whipping cream. Thank you for reading tonight, have a beautiful evening. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, Joell’s Birthday!

How is everyone out there doing tonight? All across America, people are picking up ingredients themselves, ordering online for pickup or delivery, and changing menus accordingly. We’re having our first Thanksgiving in quite a while without family. We usually travel for Thanksgiving/Joell’s Birthday, but this year we’re all being safe. I feel for the young man, we all have so much fun with family and friends together. It just isn’t safe right now. Even when you’re the ripe old age of thirteen, you still look forward to your birthday. I’m a lot older than he is, and I love my birthday. Only one day of 365 is yours. Unless you’re a twin or other multiple; or unless you’re born on the same date, another family member celebrates their birthday. Joell, sorry we have to miss this one, and I hope you’re finding something fun to do today.

Birthdays have always been my favorite. Sure, Christmas is great, but it’s not yours only. And I hear the poor kids unlucky to be born near Christmas get cheated. My dad was born on January 1, 1924. I don’t think Grandma and Grandpa could get many gifts during those years, pre and post depression-era. Granddaughter Addison shared birthday’s with her Grandma Sandy. Our family lost her several years ago to lung cancer, but we still remember her in heaven. It was nice to celebrate with both of them.

Joell amazes me every time we are with him. He has a very kind heart, one you do not see often in some kids now. He is polite, walking in crowds, waiting to speak when it’s appropriate, it’s all what kids learn from their parents. The other grandkids are, too, but this is his birthday, and I hope he knows how very special he is. As we looked back on my Facebook photos over the past years, we’ve seen him grow up again, right before our eyes, all in one day. Happy Birthday, Joell! We love you!

So as we go back to figuring out how to make some Keto substitutes for the traditional meal, we’re aware these changes and sacrifices our family is making to keep Covid away will be worth it. We look forward to spending time together again. It may not be as soon as we like, but we will be able to, whenever we all feel safe.

I spent the morning with my Mom, delivering her Mince Pie. To tell the truth, I tried to taste the mince filling. From the smell, I had to pass. Something sweet with apples and raisins should not have beef in it. She was quite excited. The epitome of the times happened between us today. She asked if she could hug me; I said ok. Over and over she told me how much she missed me. Wow. She’s never said that before. The Babe and I quarantined after our friends became ill from Covid. We remained well, but we try not to be around her after being elsewhere. She’s ok with that. It was a pleasant visit, and I was at home in time to bake some Keto Pumpkin Bars, and a loaf of Keto Bread.

We’re not getting too crazy tomorrow, it will be so nice to just sit and drink coffee until we feel like stopping. We rarely have that pleasure anymore. Life goes too quickly and we need these odd days to spend together. I hope you enjoy however you spend your day. I will think about the fun we can have in 2021, at Joell’s fourteenth birthday!

Be Kind, Be Thoughtful, Be Courteous, Be Patient. These times are trying, and I’ve learned myself anyone can snap. Learn to forgive yourself if you do. Apologize and move on. Don’t beat yourself up. Focus more on continuing on your journey to finish this life in the best way you can. Be positive. Be Careful. Be Safe.

Tuesday’s Toils

Tuesday is a busy day. The Babe is at the Post, even though it’s his day off. Doing some interviews for some help up there. He’s so good at assessing people. He had a lot of experience. People said he was tough but fair. They miss him where he worked.

My Colorado grandbabies are hard to buy for. We’ve quarantined most of the year and still haven’t met Cody. He’s already walking with a walker toy, and chases his sister. Go get ’em, Cody! His parents do not want photos of either child posted, so I must follow their wishes.

I went to a local Learning Express Toy Shop in Omaha this morning. I had specific toys in mind for each of the kids, one who is almost a year old (January) and one who will be three (March). After browsing online, I found every single item I wanted. The prices were more than reasonable. I’ve purchased items for our other three grandkids there many times. I just like gifts they can learn from. The creativity of children is so vast. Their imaginations expand and have so many ideas and dreams. How exceptional their minds are! I want to encourage it, not numb it with electronics.

We already know three don’t care for reading. I am sad about that. I can’t imagine not liking to read. My family all loves to read. Sons don’t really anymore, but daughter with the kids is teaching hers to love books. Their daddy is a very smart man, too, and reads. Not sure if they have time to read anymore, with two babies in the house! So if you want a cool and unique gift, go to Learning Express. I believe they are a national chain. Good prices and don’t have to worry about their construction. I’m excited to see photos of them with their fun, new stuff.

With a couple of days until Thanksgiving, I’m going to bake my mom a Mince Pie. Have you ever heard of that or eaten one? They originated in the UK. During the Century people ate them, yes, they were “Mincemeat” Pies. They had scraps of meat (beef or lamb), suet, fruit, and other ingredients. A Christmas tradition, the ingredients have transformed over the years. Today, the ingredients are a mixture of apple, raisins, molasses, molasses. You can either make it at home or buy a glass jar of the filling.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Mom expresses every Thanksgiving and Christmas she used to take a Mince Pie and go visit our Aunt Phyllis Jewell. They were the only two on both sides of the family who liked it. Aunt Phyllis left this earth a long time ago. I wish I could bring her over to Mom’s tomorrow with the pie. At any rate, I’m off to bake a pie the easy way; pre-made crusts. Then more Keto bagels. A good thing to do on such a rainy and cold day.

Thank you for reading today. Whatever you do in the next few days, remember the older people in your life. Phone them since few of us can gather with them. They will be happy for days. Seriously. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Patient. Be Courteous. We all need to be, all the time. Me. You. Uncle Eddie. Everyone. We are all quite raw right now. Let’s be forgiving, too. We’ve all done things less than great in our lives. It’s part of being human, growing up, and dealing with temptation. Let’s give the gift of love and acceptance to each other. The world will be better for it. See you tomorrow!

Monday Happiness

No, it didn’t even snow this much, but I thought the photo was pretty. While I was writing an article for our VFW Post 2503 Website, it fell gently at first, then the flakes fell faster. The article described our experience helping collect winter clothing for homeless Vets. With the snow today, I felt so happy for about thirty people who would have a nice, warm coat, several pairs of new socks, and water resistant boots.

I spent time today picking up a dress to alter for a girl my son works with. I haven’t done that for a while, but it’ll be a fun thing. It usually is. The weather was just wet and cold by then, snow melted. The pretty scenes are gone. It will snow more this year, I’m sure.

This Keto eating is going well, we both have more energy. However, it’s a lot of work! When you cook your own meals, there is planning, shopping, following recipes, searching for ingredients. We’ve tried to find smoked paprika for a few weeks. Finally, at the little Mom and Pop store in town. They usually come through. Thanks, Babe!

After I got home, I prepped tomorrow’s breakfast and baked it. Then it’s make something for dinner. Nothing much is quick any more, unless you have a salad with hard-boiled eggs, sliced ham, turkey, and veggies in it. That may be dinner tomorrow. Yep, we’ll make HB eggs tomorrow, and some more bagels. Those are weird. Melting Mozzarella cheese until liquid, you mix in some new “flour”, and mix up the stuff. I couldn’t get it to roll out very well last time. It was more like string cheese instead of a “rope” to create a bagel from. Practice will help, I’m sure. We can both tell our bodies are changing. The weight loss isn’t huge, we’re both about 10 – 15 pounds. But we’re not hungry, and are going to eat Keto for Thanksgiving, too. I’ll make sugar free cranberry sauce, loaded baked “cauliflower” potatoes, and loads of raw veggies. We’ll have Keto Pumpkin bars with real whipped cream. It should be a splendid feast.

Tomorrow, we’ll have more to visit about, it’s just a little before bedtime now and should have info on a mask mandate in our little town. We have a high rate of folks at our local church, causing everything to be cancelled in person. So sad. Take care, be safe out there.

Summary Sunday

Hi, friends. Another Sunday on the docket, and here we are. Today is the time for making lists of stuff to do, catch up on, and start. That’s a lot! I skipped a couple things I usually do to give me a more positive take on the day (every day), and I’ve learned I shouldn’t skip those routines. Note to self made. To keep me sane, I need those rituals.

I may have shared here I had a free online presentation by Carol Gino. She is a writer, a nurse who has written many books on how nursing needed changing during the last probably twenty or more years. She was a companion of Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather. He also wrote the screenplays for all three movies, although it seemed he was reluctant to do so. The talk was wonderful! Carol spoke with the East Coast-Italian-New York-Jersey accent we’ve all heard. She was very good.

Some tips I loved were these, between both the book and video: Write to your strength. What does that mean? When Mario told Carol theirs was “A love story.” She was a companion to him, and the nurse in her tended to his needs later in his life. He told her he couldn’t portray her in a book. He couldn’t write from a female point of view. He could only write from a male point of view and speak to the characters he does. He writes to the dark side of human nature. (He said their story was was a Neil Simon comedy, not a Romeo and Juliet tragedy.)

This got me to thinking. Maybe my strength is not what I think it is. In a discussion with my book coach, we discussed if I was most interested in writing a fiction story for pleasure, or do I want to write a story to offer hope to people who need to make dramatic, drastic changes in their lives. I’m pondering that greatly this weekend. If I write stories based on anyone’s overcoming a harsh life, meant to be inspiring, will I be pigeon hole myself as a “self-help writer,” “a writer with a depressing view of the world?” My other projects are:

Grandpa’s Gone,” A true story the loss of a grandparent on Christmas Eve;

Bonus Grandma’s,” A story about a little boy with six grandmas, because of blended families;

What Are You Doing Now, Roxie?” A true story about a little boy and his grandparents’ dog, run over by a car after a stranger left their gate open. It deals with loss, and reminds kids to close gates and doors, not leave them open. I present it with kindness and focuses on love. It explains feelings of grief and why we have them.

Please chime in with your opinion. I need to figure this out. I just don’t want to be an author with a dark cloud over my head all the time.

So back to Mario and Carol. This is my absolute FAVORITE. Too bad you never had a quilting class. Writing is just like quilting. You start with one little patch. You add as many details as you can. Patients, miracles, heroes are where you start. Then you keep rewriting it. Writing is simple, and not easy, which is quite different. Being a quilter, this hits home for me in many, many ways.

Autumn Quilt. A favorite of mine.

As with my autumn quilt, I have selected many, many fabrics for many, many quilts. It is fun to think of each of those as a book, with characters and faults, with well structured writing to hold it all together. This quilt does the same. The characters and their faults are all the beautiful fabrics, each selected for this quilt. The construction is a solid structure that holds it all together. The re-writing is like spending time with a seam ripper. Quilters have to adjust their sewing often for precision. The quilting is the finishing touch, which is like an appropriate title and cover. It the project so much better.

This is where I am right now. The person I’m writing about goes through hell until she learns she has some self worth. Her journey towards that understanding is hard. She makes it. This will have a happy ending, folks. Eventually. You only learn to write by writing and rewriting. Use your own voice. A very timid little girl grows up to have a grownup woman’s voice who learns to value herself. Is that it? Opinions? Feedback? She is not playing a victim here. She is speaking her truth.

Other sage advice from the master? Names are important. Not only how they sound, but how they look on the page. They need to be pretty simple, easy to remember. Expert advice, Mario! You need to have some sympathy even for your worst characters. That could be very hard for the bad guy in the story. Every story has a bad guy or antagonist. Understanding helps immensely there.

I was writing another project, “These Walls DO Talk,” and one character is specifically not a good guy in his life at the point we meet him, in his 60s, a scoundrel and a womanizer. When I began the part about these characters at home, as children, I liked this guy, much to my chagrin. Puzo’s statement about having some sympathy for even your worst characters rang so true. It was a gift to hear that, Carol Gino!

The tension between the moral characters and the amoral ones is fascinating. There you may plant “hooks” to keep your reader reading. Most readers who love reading don’t want to read something boring. There are not enough hours in the day.

Thank you for reading today. If Carol Gino reads this, I’m honored you took the time. I plan to finish reading your book later this afternoon. For the others, I appreciate you going on this journey of writing with me. I will be back tomorrow. See you then! Be Kind, Be Courteous, Be Patient, Be Thoughtful. Be Positive. And don’t forget to get your turkey thawing! Ours is. Have a beautiful afternoon.