Where Did Fall Go?

Nearly all the leaves are gone from the trees in the wetlands behind our home. It’s just crazy. The weather is very fall-like all week, and would be wonderful to go check out the leaves, but I’m afraid they’d be close to all fallen. Next time. We’re going to finish up the outside yard work this weekend. I still need to re-pot some plants I brought in from outside. Just not enough hours in a day, you know? Someday there will be.

I remember when my Grandma talked about how slowly time passed in her later years. I haven’t reached that yet, and hope to, but not for a long, long time. I think she was in her early 80s then. She had her tv on constantly, every day. She’d watch game shows, CSPAN, movies, old tv shows, soap operas. All while dangling a cigarette from her lips, and letting the ash get at least 1/2 inch long. Sometimes longer. She might be playing her organ, puffing away, and Mom would take an ash tray and hold it under her cigarette until the ash fell. Grandma just kept playing the music. She was quite good at it. Played piano, all the daughters took piano, and so did I. I was the only granddaughter (I think) who learned piano. 

My son Nick learned piano. He loved playing, and was very good at it. I’m sure he could still play now. We’d both need some practice. He wasn’t much for sports, but Frankie was. Becky took ballet for a year, and was pretty good, too. She could have gone to Omaha School of Ballet, but I knew I couldn’t afford the $90 a month it cost in 1984. Who knows what she could have learned? 

Have you taken music lessons? Dance lessons? Played on a sports team? I think all kids should get the chance to play something, participate in classes or lessons to learn teamwork. Do kids still play baseball, football, or basketball at a city park and just have pickup teams? Probably showing age here, they probably don’t. Watch the movie, “The Sandlot.” It will show you kids playing a pickup game of baseball. I love that movie. 

This morning, I have to make a huge dent in the quilt project. This is for Day 3 of NaNoWriMo, and so far, so good. I scheduled Tuesday’s blog on Monday night. That’s so handy, I nearly forgot about it! It should come in handy this month.

The Babe and I had two Green Chef meals yesterday. One was a Chicken Soup, and the other a Ground Turkey/Cauliflower bowl. Lots of veggies, spices, etc. Finally figured out what was rather odifierous in the refrigerator. I had a few things that didn’t smell bad, but looked a little “iffy.” The smell continued. It was the raw cauliflower for today’s meal. It was sealed in plastic. After about 5 days in the refrigerator, the gases started to build up, and you could smell it through the plastic, the brown paper bag, and all over the fridge.

I’m just starting all over tomorrow. First, I’ll clean the refrigerator surface all over. Then put baking soda in an open bowl to freshen it up. Sheesh! Remind me to freeze any and all cauliflower that enters this house in the future. No more stinky fridge! 

I’m really bummed now. Although this is published Thursday, it’s Tuesday night. At the bottom of the sixth inning, Houston is getting skunked so far. 7 – 0, Philly is ahead. It’s still early for baseball. Yes, some folks hate it, say it’s too slow. I still think it’s the great American game. 

I don’t understand Soccer, don’t care for Basketball. Football is ok, I just think the season is soooo loooonnnngggg. August until February is too much. Nascar, I like, I just don’t have a favorite driver anymore since Tony Stewart, Junior, and others have retired. After awhile, the money isn’t worth it if your health and well-being are at stake. 

With concussion protocol the hot topic in NFL, I cannot fathom how boxing and MMA can continue. There have to be many, many concussions in those sports every round. How can they continue? I never thought two men (or women, now) who continued to beat each other about the head and body was not entertaining. I know it’s big money (boxing), but no, I’d rather not witness it. 

As you continue your day, take time to think how you enjoy your people. Friends, family, other loved ones. Be grateful. And we’ll see each other tomorrow.

We Don’t Have Time Not to Have Time.

The older I’m blessed to become, the more this becomes part of my truth.

It’s why I’m writing. I still am shooting for publishing the Children’s Book this year. My duties with Mom are changing, as I’ve handed off the Website & Social Media to a very competent young Veteran, other family duties are ramping up. Mom is one of them. It’s a challenge with her because you never know what you’re going to get; kind of like that proverbial box of chocolates.

In the middle of all of this, the Babe and I keep carving out precious time for us together. Sometimes we sit in silence. It sounds so good. I’ve learned now that silence doesn’t mean anger. Thank goodness for his patience while I’ve asked that question.

I don’t ask his permission for anything; it’s all good with him. It’s amazing to be trusted that I can make my own decisions. Years ago, women would have to “ask” if they could go somewhere. I’ve been in that position as an adult woman. I gave up going anywhere because of the problems it caused with that husband. I have a husband who encourages me to go places. We’re both contented to be home, and we’re most contented at home with each other.

When people reflect on their lives, they invariably check back to where they were to measure how fat they’ve come. I’m no exception. And I’m so fortunate to have grown in this direction. I always thought relationships should have total trust, faith in each other, security that goes with that, and a partner who is your best supporter in whatever you decide you want to do. The Babe has told me many times not to stop writing. He tells me I’ve got too much time invested to quit now. What a gift!

We’ve had quite a day. The 50 Mile March took place starting yesterday at 5 p.m. in Lincoln, Nebraska. It went overnight, and ended this afternoon around 2:30 p.m. when the walked into the parking lot at Nebraska Brewing Company. It was quite an event. The participants had to audition for their participation, they needed to be sure people were trained and at their best. Jay Miralles is a smart organizer, and covered many bases. He will be down for a day, then back at the next task he wants to complete.

We’ve made so many friends working with these people and these groups. Guitars for Vets, Moving Veterans Forward, and 50 Mile March. The people are all so positive, generous, and passionate about their causes. It’s wonderful to experience. I look forward to doing more with them in the future.

It helps us all to be involved in our communities. I love these programs that serve our under served veterans. Find a cause you believe in and roll up your sleeves; there’s work to be done and you can help make the world a better place. What are you waiting for?

Thanks for reading today, and we’ll see each other tomorrow. Be safe out there.

Making Space & Boundaries

That’s what I’m doing. We need to clear out things in our lives that aren’t working anymore. Yes, they were great when we started. When things like volunteering end up being more of a job than contributing to the community. Don’t get me wrong. We took on more things willingly. And now, we need to release some things to come back to the most important relationship we have; the one with each other. In the coming years, we’re aware one of us will leave this world before the other. We want to spend all the time together, just us, just enjoying each other’s company.

So far, one person doesn’t understand we’re doing this to do the things we want/need to do. Reducing our time outside the home to make room for us and the things we have planned doesn’t mean filling up that time to be “on call” for when they decide they want to do something. No, I’m not saying I won’t help this person; I’m saying asking for help would be much better than saying, “Then you can come here and do so and so. . .”

It would have been much better for the person to have asked, “Could you help me out one day a week? Maybe every Wednesdays?” The key here is, their pride keeps them from asking. They are used to giving orders and everyone complies. It leads to all sorts of anger, resentment, and ill-will. Disregarding the fact that others have a busy life is selfish. Someone who will not ask for help cannot ask, in their way of thinking. And, contrary to their saying they’re “Fine, I’m just fine,” they’re not. They’re fearful and upset and angry even though they’ve had a long, productive life.

This is hard for those of us who have disabilities which began in our 40s. We’ve had limitations due to illness and near-death events. We didn’t get to have 85 years before we had limitations of age forced on us. We had limitations of our body failing us and had to put our pride aside at a very young age. Sometimes, it’s hard to have empathy when dealing with someone who thought they had aging beat. It results in ungraceful aging, and negativity.

So if you have this same type of challenging person in your life, know you’re not alone. It’s hard to establish boundaries with them, but we need to. Boundaries keep us all sane and safe. Boundaries keep unwanted things out. Boundaries make our time more accessible for what we want/need to do.

And we can offer assistance to others when needed. It just needs boundaries around it. Then we don’t start something we need to do and have the interruption at 10:30 a.m. of the person who wants (non-emergency) help (different than needing (emergency!) and ruining our day because we haven’t established a boundary.

The meme in the header today first caught my eye because of the beautiful color. Then the words hit me. Yes, the Babe and I are going to intentionally decide how to spend the space we’re creating in our lives. You should too. Continue helping other humans, but do it with intention. And boundaries. You’ll all be happier.

Hydrate in this awful heat! Stay inside with your pets, and fill your day with what you love. I’m doing that very thing! Please, help me get to 1,000 followers who will be notified when a new blog is posted! We’re above 1,000 blog posts published now, I’d love to see our followers get over 1,000 too! We’re hovering around #929. Help a girl out, please! I appreciate it. See you tomorrow. Take care.

Finally Friday!

In the Midwest, whenever bad weather could develop, the trusty weather guys/gals clog the airways of local channels with many worst-case scenarios. Severe T-Storm warnings beep in every 2 minutes. It’s annoying. The frequency is unnecessary and most of us know to stay inside during a hailstorm, thunderstorm, tornado. We know better than to drive into a blizzard with 75 mph winds. If you just moved here, someone will clue you in.

I’m feeling stuck. Stuck in decluttering. Stuck in writing and life. Why? I’m finding a little tug when the thought of my birthday coming up. I’m feeling a little ancient, and a little not so much. It’s silly, really. All people go through it. I’m grateful to be reaching the age of 70 on the 22nd, and hope for a great birthday cake. I’m here for the cake!

I took Mom to the eye doctor for a six-month check again and she’s stable. I’m glad that’s the report for now. We need no more to deal with. She has PT coming in again and has a new lady coming in for help once a week. Hopefully, this will let her get Mom’s house clean and help her feel satisfied. After three years, the other lady didn’t work out. Those things happen sometimes.

I hope you have a great weekend, now that it’s here. The weather should be perfect and we’ll make the most of it for sure. Have a beautiful evening, and see you tomorrow!

Magical Monday Morning

Here we are, in the sunny brightness at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. I woke this morning to several beautiful sounds. One was the Babe talking to one of the dogs. It’s always sweet and he is so kind to them. I sort of dozed, and then heard a woodpecker. He was all about the business of pecking some tree. It’s an interesting way to start the day.

Then, sweetly, Roxie jumped up on the bed and licked my face and neck. She loves the smell (and taste; I suppose) of my makeup remover sheets. I ran out of lavender scented ones, but these are a close second. She licked and then laid her head on me as I pet her. It is very comforting when either dog does that. I don’t want those moments to end, and just let them hug on me, if that’s what they’re doing. When she’s afraid of thunder and lightning, she comes to me. She’s not upset; she just wants to be by me. And that’s ok. Who of us doesn’t want to just be by each other sometimes?

When Goldie left my side to lie on the empty side of the bed and look out of the window, I rose and started the day. I felt so loved. God let me wake; he had Goldie show her Labrador love; and He serenaded me with a Woodpecker’s concerto. If you would be grumpy and negative after all that, we cannot be friends. There is always something to be positive about; to be grateful for; and to have hope for the future. Which will be a thing to work on. For starters, see you tomorrow!

Beauty/Loveableness/Teens

It’s said beauty is in the beholder’s eye. I suppose that is true. As I’ve grown older, my definition of beauty changed dramatically. I suppose as a teenager I found my idea of beauty in fashion magazines, teen magazines, and had a skewed idea of beauty. It was anything but me. I think most girls my age felt this way, although I did not know that. We just didn’t have those kinds of discussions.

As I remained dateless after the age of 16, I thought no one would love me. Images of Twiggy and Goldie Hawn as the “Sock it to Me” girl made me believe I would never be thin enough for someone to love. It reinforced the message from Madison Avenue, my mom, and what I saw around me. Everyone but me was beautiful and loveable. I felt fat and ugly. And not very smart. Little did I know I actually had a pretty face, beautiful eyes (hidden by pop bottle lenses of the 60s) and was the right size of a normal human teenage girl. (The other day, a friend commented, “I wish I was the weight I was when I first thought I was fat.” Amen, sister!)

I lost all that. While my first husband was gone in the Army (Europe in an office, not in Vietnam), I crash dieted my way to less than 130 pounds. Starved myself, lost 50 pounds, and wore hot pants and shorts for the only time in my life. It was hard to maintain. I went back to a normal weight again, and felt fat. I wasted how sad so much of my life on feeling like that. Who the heck cares? I did, way too much.

I’d gain 35-40 pounds during each pregnancy when some doctors only wanted a 20 pound weight gain. I suspect many babies did not have the great start they deserved during this era. Mine were all healthy from the get go, thankfully. I’ve yo-yo’d my way during the rest of life. I was at an unhealthy plateau for a long time, until COVID let me to realize I wasn’t comfortable. I lost about 40 – 45 pounds, feel great, and haven’t KETO’d since.

By charts, etc., I should weigh less. I’m not sure that’s going to happen. For my health, it would be a little better, but the rest of my health numbers, etc are great. No high cholesterol, blood pressure under control, and I have various specialty docs I see for chronic pain. My knees don’t require injections every 90 days any more. I’m good, by most standards.

My idea of beauty now? It’s never found in a celebrity or the pages of a magazine. It’s found in the smiling, wrinkled face of a grandmother; the wisdom of a toddler who talks constantly; the excitement of a person discovering their talents after a lifetime of doing for others. It’s in nature; it is in wildlife; and it is in the every day, commonplace things. It is in the beholder’s eye. The heart of the beholder. The mind of the beholder. It’s a tween telling you they like spending time with you. When you tease your grand kid about silly things they did when they were young, they smile. It’s there! It’s everywhere.

As I finish up the cleaning from yesterday, I’ll see the beauty and show gratitude for taking care of our home. I’ll see it in our dogs. I’ll see it in the book I’m reading. It is everywhere. I’m going to soak it all in, and be grateful for learning what is truly beautiful. Check it out for yourself. Let’s see each other tomorrow. Be safe out there!

Progress

I have named my word for the year as Progress. I thought it would make a good foundation for planning the year. And since it’s only the third day of the New Year, we have been mindful of progress. I want to feel like there is progress each and every day.

There is a Chinese saying:

Talk doesn’t cook rice.

Progress is indeed something measurable. Some things, like reducing clutter, are easy to measure. Finishing the laundry (folding and putting it away counts for as progress). Planning without action is not progress. It doesn’t cook rice, either. If I vacuum every couple of days, I’ll have proof of my progress. If I look at the lower wood part of our coffee table and it’s shiny and free of dog hair, I’m making progress. When I look at our kitchen counter that seems to attract stray papers from the mail, and it’s clean, I’ll have made progress. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will.

Little bits at a time. I have to stay positive about it. Some days will work, some days will not, depending on interruptions, the Babe’s schedule, helping Mom. I may have to reschedule tasks; but I will get things done. I also need to go easy on myself. I have to remember habits take at least 21 days to make. I need to celebrate small steps and achievements. We all do.

Relief doesn’t happen immediately. Change doesn’t either. You have to be steadfast and unrelenting. How badly do you want it? How much to you want to finish your novel, your children’s books, your lyrics to a friend’s song, your remodeling projects, your refreshing your decor, your . . . (fill in the blank). How badly?

Stopping OD’ing on sugar is hard. I splurged a bit too much over the holidays. I freely admit it. Now I have to renew the hard work to eat properly. No big deal. Not blaming anyone. I can fix it. Progress can be mine in this area. It can be mine in writing, blogging, and making progress. Yes. It all depends on how much hard work you put in.

What’s the biggest waste of time? Probably video games/apps, etc. followed by Facebook. It’s a deep, complex route of deep, dark caves you can fall into. Often. I do it all the time. That time, spent writing, could be critical to achieving my goals in 2022. I have to be very aware of how I spend time. We all do. Let’s do it together.

Wow! I’m amazed. Mail call today was interesting. I received the natural gas bill, it wasn’t too bad, and I was amazed. Then, the good old State of Nebraska sent an income tax form to fill out; nothing in, most of it goes out, so we’re good. (Cue dun-dun-dun music!)

And here it is! Sarpy County Jury Commission. What? Well, that will certainly put a crimp in my timeline and planning! But maybe I can get some ideas for a book! Wouldn’t that be fun! January 31 – February 25. 8:30 – 4:30 I think. Wow. Four months away from the age you can be to take an age exemption. We’ll make the best of it, boys & girls.

See what we mean by the best laid plans of mice and men? Have a beautiful rest of the day, folks. We’ll see each other tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Now Where Did I Put That?

I am at the point in life I can forget a lot of things. Where did I put so-and-so? I just had such-and-such. Where’d it go in five minutes? This no longer bothers me. When it did bother me was right after I was forced into early retirement, when I went on LTD, and was only 48 years old. I couldn’t remember the day, the week, the month sometimes. The Babe told me “You’re fine!” I did not believe him. Finally, I bought a planner. Never needed one when I was employed, but I sure did when I wasn’t.

Fast forward a few years to when the Babe retired. I had long since grown accustomed to being forgetful and made allowances for it. My motto was, “I’m not getting paid to think.” I sure felt better and everyone laughed. Including me. The Babe mentioned one day, “Gosh, I don’t remember what day it is.”

I was able to console him. “It doesn’t matter anymore; when you’re retired, there are six Saturdays and a Sunday.” Truer words never spoken. Now, we both have calendars (paper, thank you very much) with our collective events AND Mom’s appointments. Then, for emergencies, we can get ahold of each other. After the phone debacle (with my old phone dying, and my Google ID being locked for 28 days) I can’t rely on a device. I’m not trusting enought to do that yet.

Growing up Catholic, the first thing we did when looking for something we misplaced was pray to St. Anthony. Patron of Lost Items. (He is also credited with finding lost souls, but that’s another day.) The nuns would invoke him in the classroom daily. If Johnny lost his mittens, the good Sister would pray. If Susie lost her chapel veil, Sister would pray. We were ready to call the Pope about all the miracles. Except Anthony was already a saint. Still, it was amazing.

This week, I’ve misplaced a few things. First, the lid to my thermal Pioneer Woman glass; it’s so great for tea or coffee to go, then a book I ordered called, “Just One Look,” about a woman engaged to be married who loses her fiancee in the Vietnam War. I especially wanted to start it, but couldn’t locate it. Then, this morning, I walked downstairs, looked at a small stack of books destined for the new book cases, and there it was. Smack dab in the middle of the ones ready to be put away. That was easy. I’ve given up on the lid to the thermal glass. It may have been thrown out accidentally.

When I misplace things, I think back to St. Anthony, then sort of mention, “Hey, if you can give a hand, please do!” Then I start to think to the last time I saw something. Where was I, what was I doing, did I go in another room, was I in a hurry, and all that. Usually, I come up with some of those answers, and, just like this morning, I get a glimmer of where it may be. Maybe it was St. Anthony. Or maybe it wasn’t. But it’s not lost anymore.

Whatever you do, don’t take yourself too seriously. Learn to accept how things change as you age. Sure, you forget stuff. Who doesn’t? And if someone has more than normal difficulty with memory, of course, get professional assessments and help. Otherwise, remember, you’re not getting paid to think! Have a great afternoon, and I’ll see you tomorrow. Thanks for reading. Tomorrow, it’s “Mom’s New Wheels.”