Happy Tuesday!

Bonus mail call yesterday. March/April 2023 issues of Writer’s Digest and Poets and Writers. I need some time to read, too. Too bad they can’t deliver about four more hours in the day. Never enough time, you know?

I’m spending time two days a week with Mom. Her vision is deteriorating (on a good day) and nearly nil (on a bad day – a/k/a/ a cloudy day). It’s sad to see that happen. We miss going to old people’s day at Shopko. We’d go to the one in Bellevue and eat at her only favorite place, Village Inn. Today, we sorted bills. Not sure what we’ll do on Friday. I’m sure she’ll think of something. Before I left today, despite her receiving Meals on Wheels, she asked me to go to Burger King for her small cheeseburger bacon burger (x 2) and a small fry. She’ll eat one tomorrow, one today. Old people are so sneaky.

Have you ever met someone born on February 29? I know two people. Barb Moffatt, a colleague, and Liz Boutin, a local artist and military wife. Both are very special people, and good friends. Not sure when Barb or Liz will celebrate this year, but hope their birthdays are happy.

More quilting today, and hoping to speed it up, I’m just wanting to be done! It’s true, I’m wanting to get on to other things. Do you ever find you want to move on to another project before you’re totally finished? Yeah, me too.

More springlike weather again today, and we’ll get more rain. It won’t be long now, folks. What we’ve been waiting for. Mom mentioned today it will be so nice to open the door and spend time on her enclosed front porch, or be able to go sit on the patio when she has help to make her way out there. When you’re full of arthritis, am nearly blind, and deaf, it’s hard to get outside and down a few steps to the sidewalk and patio. Everything has to be planned, nothing spontaneous. I feel bad for her. It’s been hard for someone so independent to be dependent now. We keep telling her she’s the only one bothered by it. My brothers and I know we had enough help from her through the years, and it’s good. Hope she believes it sooner than later.

I hope if you have an elder who needs help you make time for them. Turns out they may want to talk more than anything. Gives you a whole new perspective. Have a great day today and we’ll see each other again tomorrow. Stay safe.

Want vs. Willingness.

Aren’t they the same thing?

No, not even close.

You can want to lose 50 pounds and become healthier. Are you willing to do the hard work? Are you willing to deny your want of potato chips, ice cream, and cream cheese?

Want to write a novel that becomes a best seller? Prepare to pay your dues. There is a lot of work to do to scratch your way to the top of the pile. Hey! This is hard!

I’m reading a book about the National Meatpacking industry in Omaha, Nebraska, 1910. The owner named Sheely, and the housing area for the Polish immigrant workers, also bore the named Sheelytown. It was rough. I’ve heard references to the area during my lifetime, but this story is based on true events. It is an excellent book. I highly recommend it. These people had the want of a life better than in their homeland. They will do whatever they had to do to make it happen.

The bill I received from my rheumatologist was strange. I only see him once a year. I used to be billed for a visit. No other charges. Now, they are charging for the visit and the actual room you use. Kind of more like having to pay for the OR for surgery. A visit for less than 15 minutes was $280. Thank goodness I have good insurance. Grateful. Blessed.

Today, I’m taking time to spend with my good friend, Kris. We haven’t talked for a very long time. We are celebrating her last birthday in December, after she had another stroke around Christmas. Kris has recovered nicely and has some PT to complete. I really admire her determination. She lost her husband a couple years ago, and her kids have stepped into caregiving/hanging with Mom so well, I’m glad they’re all good adults. Kris deserves nothing less.

Does your family have a plan in place should your parents need help? We don’t exactly. But we have an idea. We’re concentrating right now on making things easier for whichever of us survives the other. Nothing huge, just easing the loads, and sharing a lot of information with each other. We don’t want to plan for these things, but we have to do so, to make things easier for our families. It’s the right thing to do. Have a wonderful Friday. 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.

Christmas Week, 12/23/2022

On this day, I want to wish my lifelong friend Kris Leavitt, Happy Birthday, as well as FESTIVUS FOR THE REST OF US!

Yesterday was the most frigid day since I can’t remember when. I want to say about 1983, maybe. We stayed in Wednesday night because of the icing that was happening, and were going to stay in yesterday. But we needed to deliver some things to the MVF warehouse. The Babe wanted to have lunch and go to the store. My to do list would have to wait.

I thought the store would be crowded. It wasn’t! A Christmas Miracle! The store staff was all very nice. That would be a tough job, along with anything retail this time of year. Those people all deserve a bonus, you know?

As I’ve said before, it is tough to be on this side of Christmas; a grown family and the littlest grandkids live far away, so it’s tougher to get into the spirit. The header photo is of our two great nieces, children of nephew & niece Alex and Megan. Their little girls, Kenna and Knox, are adorable. The header photo is the family Christmas card this year. While I was out at the dentist a couple days ago, I was remembering having kids that small at Christmas. It occurred to me those are the years Christmas is magical and fun. Having some memories? Me, too.

Come to think of it, I’m also remembering some other memories.

The year everyone had terrible colds, were cranky, had red faces and raw lips from being chapped in the cold temps; 1978; I was 8 months pregnant and miserable; the years we couldn’t afford anything, so I made a lot of gifts; the year we hosted dinner for 28 people. I made Swiss Steak and Baked Potatoes and it was perfect. I also cleaned up, did Santa, and all the Christmas Eve duties, while the kids’ dad went to bed. He was too tired to help. He was angry when the kids woke up at 6 a.m. the next morning. That’s what Christmas Day is about! No, I don’t miss the collateral memories that go with the little kids and an uncooperative husband.

Knowing Alex and Megan as I do, they will do things together, and be more excited than their little ones to wake up early. They will be patient and loving all day, too. The girls’ Aunt Ona will certainly do what an aunt does on Christmas, birthdays, Easter, and whenever the opportunity presents itself. Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Brad will enjoy every minute. Enjoy, Shuck Family! Merry Christmas. We love you all, and hope your memories are wonderful.

Of course, since we did the store and lunch yesterday, it was too late to start the tree. So, today is the tree. Photos tomorrow. Nothing like the last minute. When my kids were little, they always knew we had to wait until Grandma Tomasek’s birthday to put the tree up. December 7. It got a little earlier, December 1. Finally, when I divorced, and we had my house, we’d do it the day after Thanksgiving, when the boys would decorate the outside of the house. I miss those Christmases, too.

Take each of these moments during the Christmas present, and enjoy it as much as possible. The good and the bad. I look forward to the meal we’re hosting, and to seeing the family who are available. We are blessed, and grateful.

Have a great day today, stay warm, finish your shopping, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Back to Monday, Again

Monday of a short week was always fun while I was still working. Most of the bosses took off all week, only using three days of vacation. They had more vacation than they could use, yet they were stingier with them than Mr. Burns on The Simpsons. Isn’t it true, the world is full of them, right?

It wasn’t that we goofed around, we were still the consummate professionals; there was just no pressure. It was relaxed, and you did work, getting things done, and enjoying it at the same time. I loved working during those weeks. Christmas week and New Years week were the best. Hardly ever took off during those three weeks of the year.

Is it the same here at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska? Well, not really. The Boss Lady is kind and generous. Never had a boss like her (me)! Does she ever take time off? Does she ever say “no?” I’m so lucky to work here. No harassment. No negativity. Just Good Vibes!

Oh, excuse my fantasy. Well, no, it’s not. Isn’t it great working for yourself? While I’m still on this learning curve, it’s fun. Every day is different.

We are all our own bosses, whether we work for ourselves or a big corporation. We call the shots, we decide on our moods, our outlook, our message. Our mess becomes our message.

As soon as I ready to this Monday, I’m hitting the studio for quilting. I hope to get over my case of nerves and anxiety and get that quilt finished. I have to. No more feelings of inadequacy. Just calm, confidence, and collected thoughts. I’m intimidated, I want them to be perfect, and I want to go on to something else. No more talk. No trying. Just do.

Wow. I feel a little silly, but at least I figured out what the problem was. The thread. I was using a 100% Polyester thread to quilt with. I picked it by color, not by fiber. Turns out, the extra motion of the free motion quilting was too much for the thread. It shredded and broke. Over and over again. I switched needles, twice, and figured out while I was driving to lunch with old schoolmates it had to be the thread. I almost loaded up the machine to take back to where I purchased it to ask for help. Didn’t have to. Came home, switched thread, and quilted. Perfect stitches. I hadn’t lost it after all! Yay! Now, I get to rip out the stitches from the first part that I didn’t like. It’s ok. I no longer feel defeated, silly, and not very smart.

After my lesson in humility, I can say nothing is so bad you can’t figure out. Yes, it took a bit, but as soon as I regained faith in myself, the problem was solved. We need to have more confidence when things aren’t going well. Thanks for being patient while I talked myself in off the ledge. It’s getting easier as I get older, but thought if you wondered how to do it, might like a little demo. We are all capable of calming ourselves down, but sometimes we have to really figure things out.

Had lunch with some girlfriends from high school today; what fun! Two live out of state, and it just happened to work out. All these women who are now 70, and graduated in 70. It doesn’t get better than that! We laughed and talked and had a fun visit. Hope we do it again soon! Life is good with old friends. Thanks, ladies! Two Kathy’s, Two Mary’s, and one Gwen. Can we find another one somewhere? I think not.

Have a wonderful evening, and see you tomorrow! And let’s go ahead of #1000followers! Let’s shoot for #1500followers! Hoping we can get there next year. Take care, be safe if you’re traveling.