Feelings-Sudden and Manageable.

Whether we want to admit it, we all have feelings. It’s just that they exist. Present in our makeup, triggered with a sight, a sound, or a smell, they can take over. We are not responsible for our feelings or how we feel when they overtake us. We are, however, responsible for our response to them. What?

You heard me. If your response is to yell at whoever is near, belittle them, and humiliate them so you feel better, that’s wrong and you’re responsible for the fallout from that. That’s extremely dysfunctional behavior and you own that. You owe apologies to everyone you hurt. They did nothing to you. You responding to those pesky feelings, and here we are.

Learning how to handle those feelings will make you a better person, more settled, and your growth will be great. Feelings management has to be learned. It’s not inborn. We cannot manage triggers. We can only manage what we do with our feelings. Lashing out at people only serves to isolate you when you need support. Alienate enough people and you’ll end up very alone and lonely. Be conscious of this; it’s sometimes impossible for us to undo the damage we’ve done.

I’ve tried very hard to be conscious of this out-of-control behavior. I’ve witnessed this much in my life, and I still hate when I see it unfold before me. It’s so damaging if it’s directed at you. Please, learn to control your emotions, and don’t hurt others because of them. Learning to be honest with yourself. Admitting you’re afraid or feeling threatened is hard work. And the angry outbursts are much better silenced than heard by the entire neighborhood.

Every family has it’s challenges. We all keep our secrets. The fewer the secrets, the more ready you are for challenges. Honesty is the best way to talk about this stuff. Try it. You may like it. Let’s see each other tomorrow, ok?

What’s My Favorite Thing to Cook?

This prompt is courtesy of my friends at WordPress. When I can’t decide on a topic, we’re just going to take their prompt and run with it.

My favorite has changed over the years. When I was a young Mom, I loved having a peanut butter sandwich and apple slices with my littles. We’d picnic in the backyard, or even go with other neighborhood friends to the Zoo. We’d both load up the wagons and food and Kool Aid, and go to walk the Zoo. It was easier back in the 70s and 80s; it was much smaller.

As time went on and I was alone with my kids, I loved cooking Sunday dinner. Roast, whatever we could afford. My kids were all home and Frankie, the elder of the tribe, made it a point to tell the littles (Nick and Becky) it was important to have dinner as a family. He loved those dinners, and so did I. The kids all did. Before my sons worked, we’d start the day on Sunday with Jazz on the local radio station, and a big breakfast. All four of us sat around and read the newspaper afterwards, too. I miss those days. What I don’t miss is the robbing Peter to pay Paul, the nearly overdrawn checking account every day, and the running out of cash and milk on Tuesday when I didn’t get paid until Friday. That was horribly stressful. And the stress of raising kids, praying you get it right. They were good; they made good choices. I was lucky.

I’ve always loved cooking meals for company, holiday meals for our family, and I believe I’m probably just about done cooking solo for holidays. My back just can’t handle all the standing, etc. I will make sure I have a helper from now on. That’s how things get handed down.

My favorite thing to make is dessert. Cake, pie, bites of candies, brownies, etc. It’s no wonder; I’m a person probably addicted to sugar, so of course I’m great at building desserts. I have a few Keto recipes to reduce the bad stuff. Might get some in before Valentine’s Day for the Babe and me. We don’t normally make a big deal out of it; we know we love each other. Some folks live and die by it. Hallmark wins, and Russell Stover, every time.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another 40 + degree day. We actually sat outside for awhile today. The air was fresh, but a little cool with the bit of wind. Each day gets us closer to spring. Cabin fever has driven the Babe a little stir crazy. He just wants out. Out to enjoy and do something. Soon, my dear. Soon.

My study of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is going well. It’s picked up in the last couple weeks, when I realized I have learned some variation of some concepts before, and that I’ve been on the Artist’s Way for a few years now. I’m looking to broaden the stroke of the brush, though. I’m thinking of adding narratives of my quilt making and of my learning to draw and paint. Why does it have to be only writing? Why can’t I showcase all my creative endeavors? Anything can happen, right? What do you think, would you be interested in seeing all or just the writing? Let me know.

We’re watching Omaha’s Creighton Bluejays v Villanova Basketball game right now. We’ll see each other again tomorrow, ok? Have a great Sunday.

What’s That Thing In The Sky?

I may be a little sensitive to balloons flying above the earth, the kind that is flying right now, suspected from China, with technology attached to be taking photos and gathering other intelligence over Montana, the Midwest. Call me crazy, but I just don’t trust them. I don’t trust Russia either. They’re up to no good, believe me.

As a kid, the nuns reminded us we lived within 12 miles of Offutt Air Base, home of the Strategic Air Command. They constantly reminded us we would disintegrate in seconds if the Russians/Cubans/whomever has the bomb. It isn’t any wonder some of us grew up with those reminders haunting us. We assimilated the information and grew up despite the constant sense of doom we lived with.

When I went to the surgeon’s office to plot the surgery for my lumpectomy, we checked in and the TV in the waiting had on the escapades of Balloon Boy. Ridiculous. I was angry I could be one of the unlucky ones who could die from their cancer, and this family was goofing around with a balloon, their kid, and the US government and resources, which could be used in a much more beneficial manner.

It was another bitter day in Nebraska. We have a friend and family on different trips to Florida this week. It sounds heavenly, with temps in the 80s. I think my arthritis would be happy there. Is it frigid where you are? Traditionally, February and March can be terrible in the Heartland. These months are hard, it’s too cold to be outside much, and many people end up depressed. Depression is tricky. It can move in and make itself comfortable before you may realize what’s going on.

I believe mental health is one of the most important elements of keeping ourselves and our communities healthy and safe. We all deserve to be healthy and safe. If things are off, we need to find help. The sooner the better. And help isn’t a good word sometimes. It may feel condescending to accept “help.” A better thought is to say the person is a buddy, a comrade, a peer support specialist, which is what I became in December. We are ready to support our peers when and where it’s needed.

The Babe informs me he just saw there is another balloon flying over us. It makes me pretty uncomfortable. I believe our military is at the ready, and will protect us. Faith over fear, every time. Have a beautiful Saturday. Hoping to squeeze in the taxes sometime today. What are you looking at tying up this weekend? Making new progress on our quilt for Cody. Photos by Monday, hopefully. Have a great weekend. See you tomorrow.

2-3-2023. Friday’s Things.

Yesterday was Ground Hogs day. Phil saw his shadow. Six more weeks of winter. But six weeks is around the Spring Solstice anyway, so what difference does it make? I don’t know how or why this spectacle began, but I suppose it’s fun. I didn’t question as a kids, the nuns taught us about it, and I’m surprised they did. There is no religious significance to the day, at least I don’t recall learning that. What do you know about it?

Yesterday was also the birthday of a very special Veteran I know. Marion Logermen turned 99 years old. He is a WWII Veteran. He was stationed in Italy, and earned a Purple Heart. The Battle of Anzio is one part of the war he witnessed. He is a very kind man, and someone I’ve been lucky to get to know and talk with. It’s folks like him who make it hard to not be as active at the VFW. At this point of winter, and due to his age, we most likely wouldn’t be seeing him anyway. I’ll have to call him and let him know we were thinking of him today.

I worked on the borders of Cody’s quilt today. Didn’t get them all finished, but they should be tomorrow. Hoping to wrap that project up next week. Next week will also include filing taxes, finishing the quilt, and looking at the kid book with fresh eyes after too long. February is turning into such a productive month. Let’s check back again in about 25 days.

Finished my third book for the 2023 Reading Challenge. So far, on track! Still coaxing the creative spirit out from the storage shed. I’m really tempted to sign up again for monthly art (painting) projects, but since I didn’t do any of the others I signed up for last year, I just can’t right now. I need something to get me going on it. It will happen.

Once we start committing to our creative journey, it is not selfish to want our own, private time. If we don’t carve that out of our day, we may become resentful. And that’s not healthy at all; not for our spirit, soul, or creativity. Let’s remember that.

If you’ve ever had a martyr in your life, you know how guilt-producing they can be. And you’re not even guilty. That’s how they work. They make everything your fault. You’re always the one who is wrong, at fault, doesn’t know what you’re talking about. They use words like always and never. If you are programmed with that message, it takes a long time to find out it’s not true. And, it’s not only false, it’s abusive. Don’t let them get to you. Don’t let them steal your joy. Create. And make the world a much better place. See you tomorrow.

February 2, 2023

Just a little more to read and I’ll finish “All the Perfects” by Colleen Hoover. It’s a little confusing, each chapter is either “Then” or “Now.” We are winding up to a big finish, and I hope it’s a good ending. We’ll see.

It’s kind of interesting. Some of the last few books I’ve read have different timelines. They sometimes meander all over the place. At other times, they are linear, in correct sequence. This one relies strictly “Then,” and “Now.” I may have become lost a couple times. Hope I get back on track very soon; like in the next two pages.

Today, there was more info on the possible shooter at our local Target store. He was schizophrenic. How very sad. There is no good reason this all happened. There is no excuse for it. The mental health field should be more able to get patients to comply with protocol that will keep them functioning in society and living a life that is safe for them and society.

It is not one element of the storm, it is all of them; untreated mental illness, instability, and many, many other unseen issues even before you add in the weapon element. We cannot blame only one. The problem will not be solved by banning one element. The entire problem needs addressing all at once. Equal blame can be assigned to all.

We saw the Metro in the DC area had yet another shooter loose today. Hearing it was the Metro caused us concern. Our grandson rides with some of his homies to school. Further reports clarified it was nowhere near our grandson’s area. Another thank God. The heightened sensitivity towards the news cycles is not unusual, it happens all the time. We’re honed in on it, then life goes back to normal.

My heart broke yesterday for one of the young Target workers. She was being interviewed about her experience and mentioned it was ingrained into them after having their entire school career filled with active school shooter training. What a shame, having that be a part of a young person’s life. My generation didn’t have that to worry about. Our kids and grandkids do. What kind of world do we have?

It’s exactly at this point, we need to stop and be positive. There are far more people who are good, kind people. Bad things happening is the exception, not the norm. Many more of our days go by uneventful than deadly and frightening. Yes, give me a boring day any day of the week. Here’s to a boring next couple days. Stay safe out there, and see you tomorrow.

February 1, 2023

Today is the beginning of the shortest month of the year. A Dad joke exists, that February isn’t the shortest month of the year – they ALL have 28 days. Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk. Yep, my dad had a million of them. How about yours?

Yesterday was a blessed day in the grand scheme of things. It was quite nerve-wracking, though. We awoke to news of two Omaha police officers being shot by a burglar at a storage facility; the unit, known to have guns and ammo, was a mark for burglary. Our concern was for the safety of the officers. They are both doing ok, one released, one requiring surgery.

Our concern was our neighbor Rosa. Rosa is an Omaha OPD officer. She is a such a wonderful human and often works the area the crime happened. Thankfully, it wasn’t her, and she is safe. She and her husband are both in law enforcement, and they introduced their children into participating in politics, particularly the last presidential election, and congressional race. I am amazed at this family. We are so lucky to have them for neighbors.

As if all that wasn’t enough, while we were feasting on Nachos for lunch, I saw our Target, which is where we shop a lot, frequently picking up grocery orders or in-store shopping, had an active shooter situation. Oh my gosh. It is too close to home. Too close to home everywhere it happens.

Within six minutes, all law enforcement from the city of Omaha, and nearby towns and counties responded, and the suspect was dead. No one else is injured. I am grateful I was not inside the store, witnessing anything, and especially not being injured or killed. It’s a hard word to say, much less have to think. Killed. Thank God for the response. I am grateful we live in a part of the state where there is a lot of law enforcement, ready to act and keep us safe.

I know there are many corrupt police officers in the country now committing horrible crimes against people. Excessive force is often deadly and not warranted. This is not the case today, in Omaha, Nebraska. And for that, I am grateful. I hope you are all safe in your home, school, and shopping areas. Take care and we’ll see you tomorrow!

The Last Day of January, 2023

If you live in Nebraska or any state north of there, you know what I’m talking about.

This morning, when I opened the inside door to let the dogs out, the combination door to the outside was frosted over. Not just on the glass, but on all the metal, too. It was about zero degrees out. And don’t touch it with wet fingers – or your tongue.

Yes, it’s that cold out. The possibility for frigid temps, snow, and bad weather exists for another couple of months. We have lots of things to take care of inside until springtime comes along. There are lots of books, projects, and writing to do.

For the first month of 2023, I made a decision for my future. The art/drawing/painting bug has been biting me since I went with my friend Lora last summer to see Van Gogh. I have not started yet, but hope to by March 1. February 1, I’m taking out my kid book again and begin to edit the long passages.

The hardest part of me with a kid book is to learn most parents don’t want a book to last more than about five minutes. They’re too busy to read. That makes me sad, but I can’t change that.

The quilts are coming along nicely. I am learning to accept the fact I only think I can finish things quicker than I do. It’s hard, but it’s better than driving myself crazy. It’s part of learning to accept ourselves. I have to accept every part of myself to let the creative vibes do their thing. The clearer my strong points become, the better to capitalize on them.

I am very much almost right on with my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2023. I started Colleen Hoover’s, “All Your Perfects.” I’m about 1/3 way in so far, and I’m thinking it may only take a day or two to finish it. Some of her books are a little hard to follow; I think that was maybe because I was probably much older than her fans who read the books/trilogy. I’m guessing she also wrote these books earlier in her life. The combination could be why I had some difficulty being interested in the story about very young love, first apartments, first breakups.

I’ve repeatedly read about the more you read, the better you will write. I’m all for that. I do love to read. And learning all throughout life helps us create keys to different parts of ourselves. Some keys open doors we’d rather not open. They can stay closed. The keys that open doors to new adventures, new people, new discoveries. Those are the doors we want to open. They exist to enhance our lives. I think we all want to do this.

We need to stop talking ourselves out of living our dreams. Trying things we’ve always wondered if we could do or not. We are not too old. It is never too late. Start putting our dreams into action. It feels so good! Begin today! See you tomorrow.

“The Enlightenment of Iris”

I just finished a long, relaxing weekend with Joshua Berkov’s latest book, “The Enlightenment of Iris.” It was great! Talk about surprises and plot twists. It had it all. Laughing, crying, and lots of actual characters. I imagine these characters as having some root in life, maybe a family member or two. Joshua, could this be a little true? I imagine a family reunion of yours. If Iris, Angeline, and Esther were sisters, I bet they’d be a hoot on Thanksgiving or Passover. Angeline and Esther had an Enlightenment book of their own, too. They were what got me hooked. I’m still reeling from your plot twist, Joshua. You are a master!

And don’t get me started on “Adulting at the Moto Lodge.” If you all want some fun stuff to read, and good writing, get some of Joshua Berkov’s books. You won’t be sorry. There are a couple other books by Joshua, I’ll probably order those too, next Amazon order.

It was a relaxing, wonderful weekend for the Babe, me, and the dogs. Colder than heck outside, but we had lots of comfort food the past two days, and enough down time to have a nap each day. And now, it’s Monday again. Another week to have a great start and finish. Let’s do this!

Want to hear the funniest thing I can think of right now?

The Babe always teases me about all the fabrics, quilt kits, notions, patterns, etc. I have. And yes, I have a wonderful collection. I bought ahead for when I’d be retired. And so here we are.

The irony in this situation is this:

For all the kidding I’ve endured, today, I was working on Cody’s quilt, and stitching the eyes on for the dogs. They’re simple white outer circles, and black inner circles. Huh. For all the boxes of threads I have; sewing, embroidery, quilting, and serger, guess what? I have not one spool of white sewing thread. To make matters worse, the local quilt shop in Gretna, The Quilted Moose, is closed on Sunday and Monday. Wow. I think I’ll have to make a trip into Omaha or just wait until Tuesday. That might be what I do. I have other parts of the appliqued dogs I can work on. Just thought it was quite ironic.

Have you ever had something like that happen to you? Share it. Life is just this ironic, isn’t it?

Maybe this will be a week of irony. Irony can be good, too, can’t it? I’d settle for funny. Even if I’m the butt of the joke, it’s ok. We can’t take ourselves too seriously. It’ll be a busy week, so let’s get started. The new month will be here in a couple days, so let’s get it started off on a positive note. See you tomorrow.

Saturday & Sunday Fun.

Things are quiet this weekend so far. We had a little extra sleep last night, and that is a glorious way to start the day. Things just sort of went along today, morphing from cleaning to working on taxes, to cutting some quilt applique pieces. The eyes are ready to be sewn on some dogs, and I set more pieces for bigger dog blocks are on tomorrow’s list of to-do’s. Looking forward to another day of relaxing and enjoying the day.

I finally caught up a bit with “The Artist’s Way,” by Julia Cameron. Truthfully, I read a rather sarcastic review of the book. I thought some had merit; and I found it may make more sense or seem more meaningful, fresher, whatever you want to call it, if the audience was younger. Much of what I read now seems I’ve heard before, or read, or even lived it.

The recovery for this week is a sense of possibility. I don’t feel the need to make lists of 5 things I want to do, things I haven’t done yet because of fear, and so on. I’ve really identified things I want to learn, and know I will do them, as soon as I can.

Toni Morrison says she thinks we make too big a deal of doing all our domestic duties and raising our families and maybe squeezing in a creative work or two and giving our highest praise for what might be the genuine talent a person has. The talent they should perform full time. Enough of waiting until the kids, raised and gone, have left the nest. Why make yourself wait a lifetime?

Good question. Don’t fret over the answer, though. It will waste more valuable time. Just do it. I believe I need to try drawing and painting. If I’m terrible, so be it. Then I’ll know. I can create more hours in a day by doing what we’re doing, downsizing stuff we don’t have use for anymore, and making sure we always pick the house up, and the laundry caught up. It is happening as we speak.

I’m glad to be at this point. My deadline for getting back to my kid book is February 1. I will finish the quilts after the first of the month. Taxes, rearranging the quilt studio, finish the office. It’ll all be good. New habits to achieve more.

How about you? Do you have anything you are working to achieve in your retirement, your weekends, before your next birthday? There is something freeing and frightening by putting it out here for everyone to see. I did it, now it’s your turn. Let’s get started! Still time to get the mystery solved on Dateline tonight. Stay warm, it’s frigid out there! Be safe. See you tomorrow!

Fun Friday Night

We had a low-key day at home, then met a couple of our lady friends for dinner at the American Legion. Broasted Chicken. Excellent stuff!

It’s always nice to reconnect with old friends, and see some newer places. We caught up to date with our friends, and look forward to meeting up again. We don’t want to lose contact with the friends we have. It’s important to keep the friends we have through the years. The demographics of those friendships have transformed in the past three years. We’ve lost male friends, spouses of our lady friends, and individuals from out of town, many people. It’s expected at this point in life, but a surprise. You are never ready for when it happens.

The Legion hall we attended had a one-man band, didn’t catch his name, but he claimed to hail from Nashville. Played a lot of old country stuff. (Said his dad was friends with Willie Nelson, etc.) I had to google when he referred to this song, recorded by several folks, written by Danny Flowers. The artist was Eric Clapton, the song was Tulsa Time. Here it is: Living on Tulsa Time. A great song, and new to me tonight. I love these discoveries. They are always a surprise; often a gift. This is one of them.

There are many things that go through my mind. These things are from the heart, mind, memory. We love our friends, all of them, living and gone. The ones who are gone have left for reasons that were not of natural loss. Losses because of illness, organ dysfunction, COVID, etc., are different. Yes, they are still losses. Their impact is far-reaching and long lasting.

Any of us could fill in for anyone who is suddenly gone. We could be the one with the organ failure, the fluke slip in the bathtub and fall, the just not waking up in the morning. Yes. I may sound as if I’m borrowing trouble from tomorrow. But it’s the reality of life right now. It’s what is happening. Too many folks don’t take things seriously enough to care for mental health during the process of death, loss, and recovery afterwards.

We are so ill-equipped to deal with grief, loss, dramatic changes in our lives that we can’t fathom what has happened, much less helping someone else navigate this hidden area of life. This part of life no one ever wants to admit exists. And life needs to acknowledge it exists, learn to deal with it, and help others learn to deal with it.

We complicate life and the world is hard while learning to cope; our success is contingent on dealing with our reality. How do we do it? We do it the best we can. And hope to God it all turns out well. Take care today, and have a beautiful Saturday. Football playoffs later, and results tomorrow. See you then!