Long Day, Long Week

It’s Saturday. Glad for the weekend.

I haven’t seen one ball game of Gavin’s for a very long time. Today , I get to see two. 9 and 11. I look forward to it, far more than you can probably believe.

My brothers will look after Mom over the weekend. It works well. They are so easy to work with. The three of us are a good care team.

Last weekend, Memorial Day weekend, was the unofficial summer start. We have had a couple of days hot and humid so far, and we will have many more ahead. It’s time. And I have some baseball to catch up on.

It’s so hard to believe Gavin will be 11 this year. He loves baseball, and I love to watch him play. It’s great. Best fun I’ve had in years.

My oldest played Little League ball. He was a skilful player at 10, just like Gavin. His dad coached, but that was when we separated, and his dad refused to pick him up for practice and games. I had to work until 5 every day, and did not get home in time to take him to practice or play games. His dad wouldn’t since it I filed for divorce. His dad was the coach. My son told me he could forgive his dad for everything else but baseball. I’m so happy my grandson doesn’t have that situation.

The rest of the weekend? I will spend time with the Babe. We haven’t seen each other much this week. We have a lot to catch up on. I feel so lucky to do that. There are a lot of husbands who wouldn’t have it if their wife needed to tend to her mom. Mine knows family is everything and knows we all have only one Mom. I’m a lucky woman.

You know, we have a lot of things to do to finish preparing for summer. I’m so sad there will no longer be a specialty nursery in Gretna who raises seed planted Geraniums for summer and poinsettias for Christmas. I should be able to re-start the geraniums every spring, for as long as I want. It will be wonderful to have those same plants, year after year. Such a keepsake.

We have some things to take care of this weekend; hope you get to enjoy yours. Have a great Saturday! See you tomorrow.

Built in 1952, Still Going in 2023!

Some days, it’s going strong, some days it’s a stroll. And that is more than ok.

Spending my birthday today, the way I want. On the patio and on the deck, depending on the sun/heat. Going to find a cake with delicious buttercream frosting. Going to eat all four corners of it. It’s my favorite piece. And of course, ice cream! Thinking about what kind I would like. The possibilities are limitless.

It will be a surprise until I find the perfect thing. An adventure in shopping. Yep. We’re worth it. I’ll stop by and see how Mom is doing; she’s wanting to stay home, only, and not go for a haircut or anything. Mental note to call the beautician. OK, will do. The Babe is cooking steaks on the grill, and that’s just fine by me. It’s all about the cake on your birthday, anyway. I love birthdays, a day to celebrate you. Not like Christmas or Thanksgiving, it’s a day about who entered the world that day.

While your person is recovering after the cancer treatment, and from the cancer treatment, we need to be open for what they feel up to and don’t. It can change from minute to minute. It’s hard when they can’t decide, then they decide isn’t what they really wanted. Their minds are all over the place, and if they’re elderly, they’re worrying they won’t be able to stay in their homes. Yes, it’s an adventure. It gets better, though.

We’ve been so busy with Mom, I have had little chance to think about the significance of turning 71 this year. Life is becoming even more important to me than it was before. It is fragile, yet reinforced. It is long, yet too short. And it goes by too quickly. Ask anyone at any stage of life. We all have stories.

Sharing our stories helps other become informed of what could be ahead of them. No, no two cases are the same, no two patients are the same. Yet, some tips from everyone may be helpful to those who feel adrift at sea. You’re not alone, we’re all ready to listen and offer you and your friend or loved one what we learned and what helped us. We’re stronger together, all playing a part in this journey.

Have a beautiful day today. Help me celebrate today, have an ice cream cone or a cupcake. I appreciate it! And just have fun. See you tomorrow!

Mother’s Day Thoughts – 2023

A brief break today on cancer, but I’m still writing 30 minutes a day for the American Cancer Society Challenge to write 30 minutes a day for the 31 days of May. I’m raising funds for Cancer Research to honor mom and all the other friends and family who have endured treatment and this terrible disease.

Mother’s Day, like Christmas, is a holiday that can really stir a lot of memories – both good and bad.

It reminded me of that fact when I got up today. The Babe let me sleep until I woke up, which was about 8:45. I haven’t slept that long in forever. I got a cup of coffee and saw a stain on the carpet. One dog was sick. Oh boy. At least I got extra sleep!

The contrast of that start to my day reminded me of the contrasts mothers have with this holiday. It’s a hot button.

Some moms make their children’s lives miserable if we do not honor them to the hilt on this day. Flowers, dinner out, expensive greeting cards. Our mom wasn’t like this. After we were on our own (at least I was) she said it was her day, so she bowled in the state bowling tournament. Many women had family plans. She said she wanted to spend the day her way. And that was ok. It’s what she wanted.

Ok, in one way she was right. We’d always go to Grandma T’s for breakfast/brunch after church, then home for the kids to nap. I remember one year, my first husband was playing basketball with the neighbor’s grown kid, sprained his ankle, and I had to take care of him instead of enjoying a day off from the cooking. Fat chance! Oh well.

I also have a memory that is sweet. One year, the father of my kids scrambled eggs for breakfast in bed. The kids carried my plate upstairs and dropped them off on the carpet. They picked the eggs up and didn’t tell me until after I ate them, they fell on the floor. All I could do was laugh.

Every family has that one kid who will rat everyone out. Mine was middle child, Nick the narc. He had glasses and huge brown eyes. Looked like a little bug. Sweet child, but a rat. As a mom, you love them all. Frankie, Nick, and Becky, you were my life for so long. It was lonely when you went off and found your own place in life. Proud of all of you.

A chef, a truck driver, and a radiology tech/assistant turned mom. They are all good people and have very different personalities. It’s been a ride. Being a Mom is all I ever wanted to do. Being a Grandma is a bonus, especially being a bonus grandma! To Addison, Joell, Gavin, and especially Kayla and Cody: love all of you, and it’s wonderful seeing you all grow up.

My step-kids are the best, and I love them as I love my own. We all met as adults, and they’ve been very gracious to me and took time to know me, and I know they love me.

This is a big day today, Mom’s last radiation and oral cancer treatment! And now, we wait. One of the hardest things to do. We will make a new schedule now and decide how Mom wants to spend her time. Hopefully, she’ll be able to sit out and look at the flowers our youngest brother planted in her flower pots. It’s a tradition they have, and it’s nice. She appreciates it a lot. Hope your Monday is great, and you have something to celebrate. We do. See you tomorrow!

The Worst Year of My Life – Part 2

1988, as we’ve been talking about yesterday and today was the worst year on record for me. So far. You never know. If you didn’t get to read Part 1, click above, and take a minute to read. I’ll wait.

So that brings us up to September, 1988. Several cancer-related deaths of friends, family, and others make for a hard year. And it wasn’t over yet.

Dad retired in July 1988, and was enjoying not going to work, especially on Saturday nights during football season. Before e-mail for photos, etc., if there was a Saturday night game in Lincoln, Nebraska, the film had to be driven up from Lincoln, processed, then printed for the paper on Sunday. They were proud of their color photos of the Huskers.

The delay meant an extra long night for the pressroom. Dad told us about that at a late celebration for Mom’s birthday, at my home with the kids. It was a Saturday night, and the first football game of the season. I’ll never forget hearing him tell us how glad he was to not be working that night.

Dad didn’t feel well for the rest of September. He had an ache in his side. He thought it was a pulled muscle. It seemed to get worse. He found out he had lung cancer on October 20, my oldest son’s birthday. We felt crushed. My kids weren’t seeing their dad much, and Dad was a great male role model to them.

I remember again what Dad said. Let’s wait to worry until we find out what we’re dealing with. Expert advice, but so very hard to do. It’s something we try to do when we learn of another diagnosis, friend, family, or neighbor. Don’t desert your people. Yes, it’s hard, but being isolated because your friends are uncomfortable is not good. They need you, and especially now.

Of all days Dad could of died, it was December 7, 1988. A day of infamy. Absolutely.

There are constant reminders of Dad everywhere that first year. In less than a month, we had the first Christmas and his first birthday (January 1) without him. It was all uphill from there. We were all so sad; this great man who never had a vacation missed his trip of a lifetime. His Blackhawk Division was due to go on a tour of Europe that spring. Seeing the sights they saw as young men in combat.

He’s missed graduations, weddings, births, and other deaths. He was only 64 when he died. So unnecessary. Like most men his age, he was a lifelong smoker. That, and the work environment at a newspaper, probably left lots of stuff in his lungs that were constant irritants. Many of his fellow pressmen also died of lung cancer in the years that followed.

I don’t know if any of you survived years longer than your parent(s) did, but it is a strange feeling. I’m 71 this month; when I was 65, I spent a lot of time thinking about how short Dad’s life was. It seriously robbed him. I know we won’t all live forever, and some folks live longer than others. It’s frightening. It left me with all kinds of unresolved feelings. I think what made it worse since I had kids to comfort, and had no one to comfort me. Loss is so hard when you’re alone.

Cancer played a huge part in the worst year of my life. Big losses in a short time. After Dad died, I had one thing to be grateful for. I didn’t have a self-centered boyfriend to contend with. That was a great blessing. And now, I can look back and see how God makes some changes in your life to help with what is coming. We might not understand it, but He does. And I’m glad.

That year taught me a lot about myself. And about life. I’d never want to re-live it.

May 5, 2023 – ACS 31 x 30

Good morning, friends! We are on day 5 of writing 30 minutes a day for the 31 days of May. How’s your world this morning? 

Mom’s not doing too well this morning, so I went over early, and she’s napping. It’s interesting, she didn’t want a recliner/chair to help her stand up. Boy, she’s just loving it now. 

That’s another thing you learn while helping someone who is aging and ill. Change is so difficult. They just want to have some control over something. It’s not unusual for any of us. They’re vulnerable, afraid, and just want something to be the same for them. Don’t we all? 

Those of us who are open to change and consider it necessary may have a hard time dealing with that attitude. From our point of view, sure, it seems to make sense, you’re over 90 years old, you can’t do most things as you used to, limitations are making your world so much smaller. No one likes that. And it happens so quickly.

It’s hard to watch them struggle, and hard to know if they want help with simple things or if they want to do it themselves. A few days ago, Mom told me she was going to do a couple of odd minor tasks. She said, “If I need you, I’ll let you know.” I try to keep it at that level. 

And here’s another it’s hard to believe we saw this moment:

After parking the car at the pickup circle, I brought Mom out in the wheelchair to get her loaded in the car. I parked behind an original 1976 Firebird Trans Am, complete with t-tops, which were off for the beautiful day.

“Does she have hearing aids?” 

“Yes.” We didn’t know what to expect then.

“I’ll wait until you get her in the car to start my car. It’s very loud, and I don’t want to hurt her ears.”

How nice of them! Can you believe it? You can find people blessing one another in unusual ways. Humans are pretty good, after all.

After parking the wheelchair back inside, another elderly person walked out with his family. It was obvious he had hearing aids, too. I smiled to myself. I leaned close to the ladies in the Trans Am and said, “Girls, you could be here for a while.” 

They laughed and told me, “We just said the same thing. I’m going to put it in neutral and roll down to the thru lanes to exit and then fire it up.” She sure knew how to start that baby. It’s rare you find anyone, much less a lady, who knows how to do that. It did my heart proud of all the girls out there. Smooth as silk!

In your journey through life, and not just cancer, things appear each day that are unexpected. We should pay attention if we’re able, and be grateful for the respites, especially during a hard day, or morning, afternoon, or hour. 

And her passenger was picked up in style from her cancer treatment. What a treat, for all of us.

Cancer and My Family, Friends

May 2, 2023


I want to thank my cousin Bob A., my friend Kathy K., and my lifelong friend Jan W. for their generous donations to the ACS during my 30-Minute-Daily Writing Challenge. Today, we continue telling the stories of cancer touching lives in our immediate and extended families. Jan’s family has a member just diagnosed. You’re in my prayers. God can work miracles.

Years ago, there was a movie called, “Medicine Man,” which starred Sean Connery, and Lorraine Bracco. We all know of Mr. Connery, and Ms. Bracco was a relative newcomer. She played Karen, Ray Liotta’s wife, in Goodfellas. She did well in this movie, made in 1992. 

The gist of the story was at a remote village in the Amazon, was a tribe who were never around outsiders, only their own people. No plagues, illnesses, or other malaise troubled these fortunate people. 

The catch is there is a plant growing here which will cure cancer. Amazing. The moral dilemma, explains Connery, is whether it is worth introducing this area of the world to mankind with all its disease, troubles, and assorted bad things, to get a supply of a naturally growing plant which will cure cancer. The story is a typical back-and-forth to expose the information to the rest of the world, inviting the press, swindlers, and thoughtless chaps to descend on this pure and peaceful world to what we live with every day in “civilization.” It’s an interesting problem.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were such a thing available somewhere? The American Cancer Society is trying to find a cure without disrupting the peace of the world, society, and the environment. 

They used many improvements in treatment today to help people with the side effects of the treatments, and that is significant progress. I recall my dad asking, “If I could only see what is causing the pain; There’s nothing visible.” That has stuck with me for many years. 

I’ve heard cancer doesn’t cause any pain. It is when the tumors grow large enough to impinge on other organs, bones, tendons, and tissue is when the pain begins. Many times, the cancer has spread by the time they diagnosed it. Other times, as with my breast cancer, there is no pain; I didn’t even have a lump. Believe me, everyone attempted to palpate it. 

My cancer didn’t hurt either. What hurt was the lumpectomy. The tumors were small, and in situ. That means in the milk ducts. It had not spread. What a blessing. To make sure there were good margins, or areas free of the cells that would develop into cancer in a near future, they took a baseball size equivalent of tissue. Locate a baseball and hold it in your hand. It is huge when thought of in this way. 

The wound healed with nary a scar. It’s a beautiful job. Many of the doctors looked and said, “That’s beautiful; er, I mean, it’s a beautiful surgical job.” I had to laugh, and I knew what they meant. I could have opted for reconstruction, but I didn’t care then. At 57 years old, and I didn’t think it was necessary for me. Now, however, fourteen years later, I wonder if I should have had something done. Things oddly shift around after 60. I find the size difference much more noticeable. At my age now, 70, it’s off the table from my perspective. 

9 treatments to go. God, help us get there. See you all tomorrow and thank you for the support and prayers. I appreciate you.

Happy Saturday!

Here we are, at the last Saturday in April, 2023.

The past four months have passed in a quick blink of an eye. How does this happen?

We passed Mom’s 17th treatment of 28 today. That has sped by, too. Some days, she’s so tired of the hustle (she is 93, after all), but she doesn’t get too grumpy. I try to make her laugh about something from we were all at home. Usually she does. It’s good she isn’t all doom and gloom. Whatever she thinks while she’s alone, I have no idea. I’ve told her she doesn’t have to hide it, she needs to talk. Oddly enough, she does. It’s taken a bit, and she volunteers things, which is new for her. I’m grateful for that. She’s finally let me in a little. It’s finally happened. God is, indeed, good.

Do you ever watch Dateline on Friday nights? Aren’t there just a lot of people to be afraid of? That’s one way to think. And yes, there are people whom we should approach with caution. I don’t believe most folks are like that, though. I have to keep the positive thought the world is more good than bad.

I’m planning today and tomorrow what I’m using for my project to write 30 minutes a day to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. They issued a challenge for the Month of May, and I thought it was perfect. I want to concentrate on my children’s book during the next month. The second item of importance is my novel, I stopped working on at a certain part of the story which is close to something in my life. It’s hard, but ends happily, just like it did in real life.

The trouble sometimes with writing is we have ideas for so many stories, it’s hard to settle on one to work on. I have an idea for a book about the friends we knew at the VFW; I also have many ideas for a story about families dealing with cancer.

At times, I think there is a common theme with ideas I have for stories; and they all include a big element of sadness in them. Does that mean I’m a downer? Are my ideas only sad? Or are they good resources for teaching others how to deal with real-life situations? I hope they become resources for helping families in time of trouble.

Many of the people I’ve talked to about my kids book have told me they could have used something like it for them, their kids, and everyone involved when they’ve had a loss. This is encouraging. My primary goal is to not only to write well; I want to write well in a way that helps people. Help can be help with a real-life problem or enjoyment or escape in good fiction.

I think there was nothing about grief when my dad died in 1988. I know my family didn’t grieve in a healthy way. None of us did. After the Babe and I married in 1998, we were lucky to be involved in Stephens Ministry. We were introduced to healthy ways to grieve, to walk with someone through their life changes, grief, and the like. It changed our lives and our outlook. All those contacts are treasured friends today. And we’re grateful for all of it.

Here’s hoping we all have a great Saturday. And we’ll see each other tomorrow, too. Be safe out there.

Another Tuesday in April

Today is the last Tuesday in April, 2023. Where has 1/3 of the year gone? My gosh, we have been through a lot so far. The blog is going great. Over 1085 followers, and it’s still early in the year.

The biggest thing is Mom is dealing with cancer. She had her 13th radiation/chemo treatment yesterday. This is where it becomes more painful; the tissue breaks down and is sore. It’s not the greatest thing, being blind and unable to do any self-checks of skin or the area. She is relying solely on the radiation team to help her. Her choice, and that’s ok.

Mom is nearly half finished with her treatments. She is looking forward to being finished, and is on track to do that on time. The Radiology Oncologist has said if she’s too tired, she can take a day off, but to keep going as much as she can. She is very tired, and has accepted she will be tired and must rest during the day. She is building rest into her schedule.

Matthew McConaughey advertised a live training session on his new venture, “The Art of Livin’.” I watched the first hour of it today, and McConuaghey shares ten points to work on, ten comments that make us think. It was good, so good, I’d recomment everyone watch it. Especially if you want to make changes and improvements in your life. It is worth a listen. And a making a list.

Starting May 1, I’m beginning a challenge from the American Cancer Society. The challenge is to write for 30 minutes a day, each day during May. Pledges are made to the American Cancer Society in your name. I decided to join the challenge because of six of us in our household, my father died of cancer, Mom had cancer once and now has it again, and I’ve been diagnosed and treated successfully. I’m proud and blessed to be a breast cancer survivor. God’s been good to me. I can certainly give back so others can be saved. I’ll activate the fundraising page on Facebook in the next couple days. Anything will be deeply appreciated. Thank you in advance, for your support.

Have a great day, this last Tuesday in April. Be safe out there, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Nebraska Writers Guild 2023

I’m happy to know yesterday began the Nebraska Writer’s Guild Conference for 2023. It’s held in Omaha, Nebraska for three full days. Although registered, I did not attend today.

It seems my memory plays tricks on me. The Babe reminds me it’s common during times of stress. Having a 93-year-old Mom with cancer is stressful. So, I thought I mis-read the dates. I thought it was next week. I was wrong again. Last night, I discovered I was wrong again. It IS this weekend. I missed today, but there wasn’t anything I was that interested in participating in. My first day is today, Friday. It will be great to have a break from waiting rooms, doctors, and treatment centers. Sometimes it seems as if it never ends.

No, I’m not complaining. I will not leave Mom alone during this time. I’ve been through cancer treatment, and I’m good for taking her. Besides, my brothers and I promised Dad we would watch over Mom. We will not go back on our word.

Mom told me to go to the conference, have fun, and be with my people. Doesn’t that just sound like a Mom? She told me not to think about her or what’s going on. She told me to concentrate on NWG. And isn’t that just like a Mom? Yes, yes, it is.

I know first hand when things sound just like a Mom. I AM one and I HAVE one!

That is why, at this moment, I’m all for enjoying today and being open to whatever presents itself Today and Saturday, as far as the Nebraska Writer’s Guild and all that goes with it includes. More on this later, it will be fun. Hope you have a fun day today, and this evening. It’s the start in a weekend in Nebraska. Hope yours is good. See you tomorrow!

AI and Creativity

I have to admit, I don’t know that much about AI. In fact, I don’t know much at all.

I’m thinking of all the creative people I know; musicians, entertainers, artists, songwriters, writers, authors, and decorators, home stagers, and many others. When they create new music, produce a play, draw, write music, poetry, or a book, or decorate a home for sale, decorate cookies for an event, create new recipes for their restaurant, some of their heart and soul go into everything they create.

They have an idea, a question, or some other yearning of their soul they want to investigate further and see what they can create from their idea and the supplies they have. The supplies can be ingredients, art experience, knowledge of music, the perfect voice, the ability to use words to tell stories, the paint to splash on the canvas, the fabric and thread to tell a story.

I cannot picture making some choices from a keyboard, processing the request, and producing a story, song, rock show, book, painting, play, poem, or frosted cookies, while you’re dressed in an outfit you constructed on a 3-D printer. It blows my mind.

Yes, I’ll be 71 years old in another month. But I’m not an average 71-year-old. I know, we all think that, but I’m really not. I was a “coder” before it was cool for a girl to do that. It was my entrance into an equal-pay career that relied solely on technical skills, nothing else. I’ve created instructions for mainframe computers, and small computer systems, and saw results from those instructions. I have first-hand knowledge of what they can do for humanity.

Where my concern lies, is will AI make us less creative and able to create if we don’t experience the highs and lows of creativity, the absolute pleasure in getting a song just right, a painting so realistic, a quilt just right, an outfit perfectly fit, a book as close to perfect as it can be. I can’t imagine we will feel the satisfaction of the good job, of struggling and finally realizing it works, the roar of the crowd when the performance is over the top and better than even you expected.

Anyone care to leave brief comments? We all might learn something.

It’s another Monday, back to work, or however we may spend our time. Hopefully, the wind is calm today. It’s much easier to get around, you know? Have a beautiful Monday, see you tomorrow.