Retirement, Boring?

Whoever thought retirement is boring, and you watched The Price is Right nonstop, just doesn’t know what ours is like. We love hanging with the grandkids and they aren’t the biggest time we spend in a week anymore. They are busy with friends and school, and we are, too.

I’ve mentioned before the Babe is Quartermaster for the VFW Post 2503 in Omaha. It takes a lot of his time. He is also Honor Guard Captain. He may attend 5 funerals in a week or less. I’m proud he is so involved.

Then, there are the Veterans groups and causes we support. Today, Moving Veterans Forward, had an official ribbon cutting ceremony. Ron Hernandez, an Army Veteran and all around good person, has an organization who supports Veterans as they transition from homelessness to living in an apartment. He has used furniture, household goods, and all the things a person needs to have while establishing their home. Our Post helps collect such items, and we deliver to the warehouse as needed.

The Auxiliary ladies worked the food line and helped people enjoy the afternoon. The Mayor of Papillion was present, congressional representative Don Bacon, and many folks from the Chamber of Commerce to Ron’s volunteers. He is tireless. He is mission driven. His motto is, “I wouldn’t leave you alone on the Battlefield, and I’m sure not leaving you alone at home.” He lives this every day.

I admire the time he makes in his life for his passion. He credits his wife Kim with “letting him do these things.” I’m so honored to know these people. We’ll work more together the rest of the year. We are all better off in a community that cares so much for its veterans. He is always thinking of new ways to help Veterans restore order to their lives. He lives in their reality. No bureaucracy, no red tape, and the encouragement of their peers is the order of the day. Such good things happen.

It’s been a very long day, and tomorrow will be more of the same. Baseball game for Gavin, meeting my cousin’s grandbaby, our new vet’s open house, and the evening with Billy McGuigan. What could be better? Rock of Ages closes tomorrow night. It should be a great night. More on that later.

Have a good evening. Let’s see each other tomorrow! Stay safe out there. And I’m saying an extra prayer tonight for my friend, Ron Hernandez. He does so much good for people. We need more like him. Like Ron, be generous. Be kind. Be driven.

Monday, Monday

There are less than three hours left in this day. It’s late to start a blog, but I can tell you I needed to. This is one happy grandma. Tonight was grandson Gavin’s first baseball game. He did great, and they won! He is on a team named Junior Storm Chasers, named after the Omaha Storm Chasers.

Gavin started wearing glasses this year for his farsightedness. It has made a difference with his practice at bats. He didn’t hit well tonight, and it is just the first game. It will come. He is doing better at practice. And he has the advantage of living with the coach! His dad is the coach this year. TJ was a talented baseball player in high school and college. He is patient with the boys. He encourages them well. And he gets them to shake off bad luck or plays. What a great introduction for them to working for a coach.

While watching and listening to TJ, I couldn’t help but think how proud his dad would be of his son and grandson. Randy passed way too soon, the day before Gavin’s birthday several years ago. This boy’s heart fractured. We feel his absence at every gathering. He has a ring-side seat to watch his son coach and grandson play. He’s proudly telling everyone in heaven, “Those are my boys!”

As I fall asleep tonight, I’m grateful for my grandson, his parents, the Babe, and for the game of baseball. It is still the great American pass time. I’m grateful for the fresh air, the slight breeze that turned chilly later in the game, the little boys learning the game of their heroes. I’m also grateful for the great baseball movies, “The Natural,” “Bull Durham,” (not suitable for kids), and “Field of Dreams.” The stories of Shoeless Joe Jackson, Babe Ruth, and all the rest of the best legends around.

I hope you have pleasant dreams. Tomorrow is tax day. I cannot put it off any longer. See you tomorrow!

Opening Day, 2022!

Note: Today is opening day for the Chicago Cubs. This morning, I saw on GMA they have posted a form letter with fill-in-the-blank reasons for absence from work. How fun! Back even before my time, games were all played during the day. They would fill the stands with men in suits and hats, and ladies in their finery. They did not install lights at Wrigley until 1988. It was a big deal when they did. Hope they have a great season. Go Cubs Go!

Yesterday was another crazy, busy day. The wind, strong from every direction, blew everything back and forth. Garbage cans littered the landscape. For interstate driving, difficulty steering, and extreme caution were the rule of the day. When will spring finally arrive?

It’ll get here when it gets here. Period.

In the meantime, yesterday also was a day with Mom. Before COVID, we attended the retiree group of the Omaha World Herald, the B62’s. Mom didn’t work there, but Dad did for my whole life, 37 years (in 1988, he retired, diagnosed with lung cancer, and died). Through the years, she attended alone. After she gave up driving, I became her chauffer to the event. The group now meets at a different restaurant than the original location; the prior meeting place has closed after over 50 years in business.

We had a pleasant discussion with a man who graduated from my high school in 1968, two years before me. Ryan High School closed in the 80s and they razed the building last year.

Steve Paschang is a skilled conversationalist. We know many of the same people; he currently works with advertising focusing on social media. What a great person to know right now! Thanks, Steve, for sitting with Mom and me.

Since my hawk encounter (read about it here), I have had some revelations. I seriously need to get back to creating things. Quilts. Books. Writing. Things I am passionate about. I’m sliding headfirst into tallying seventy years on this earth. The sands of time are running out in my hourglass of a life. I need to get my butt in gear if I’m ever going to accomplish what I want to. I want to keep creating beautiful things. I want to learn to draw and paint. I have all the supplies, just need to make the time. My home and schedule are being rearranged. Stay tuned!

Looking forward to doing things I absolutely love. What a wonderful life! #gratefulgrandma. See you tomorrow!

Monday Mayhem

So the first day back to normal, whatever that is, and things may go off the rails. The phone calls I intended to make are postponed until tomorrow; I didn’t get the updates done on the website, FB page or elsewhere for the Post. Tomorrow is another day! We will succeed no matter what.

With the start of April this week, Post activities and supporter activities are full speed ahead. All of them. Kind of like herding cats, if you know what I mean. At least all these events are not on the same day, along with the 90th Anniversary of the Post itself. Big party.

After the funeral and sadness last week, there was a spark of regular life, back to the regular pace of life. Our Gavin, a talented baseball player, had a poor year last year. His hitting was not what it had been the previous year. He was quite upset. The header photo is of Gavin, clutching a baseball, while Grandpa Dan gives him a bottle as a baby. I love those little hands clutching the ball.

It turns out the school eye test revealed he needed a professional evaluation. The Doctor determined he is farsighted. What a shock. What a surprise. We did not know. With glasses?

Holy smokes, boys and girls, he is doing well.

Sunday, he had a scrimmage game. Reports are:

First scrimmage was great. His team is 9U. (He will be 10 in June.)

Starting pitcher faced 6 batters, recorded 6 strike-outs.

In his second at bat, he hit one deep into the outfield.

He then played catcher, and he threw out a kid attempting to steal 3rd base.

This player was our grandson, Gavin. He is 9 years old. His dad was an All State Baseball Team Player. I did not know him then. I can tell he was a skilled player. His son carries that athletic talent. It is fantastic to watch it blossom. This Grandma cannot wait to see it all play out. So proud.

I’m proud not only of our grandson, but of our son-in-law, TJ. He is a great Dad. We are so blessed. We plan on having a fantastic summer, attending games. Who cares how hot it is? I surely don’t. Just give me water, and I’ll be fine. So grateful for this opportunity, to see a kid who loves baseball. And has a dad who loves it too. We are so blessed.

My summer is booked. How about yours?

Thank you for reading today. We’ll see each other tomorrow, hopefully, earlier than tonight was. Be safe out there.

“Saturday, In the Park”

For some reason, this old Chicago song popped into my head this morning. Do people go to parks much anymore? When I was a kid, there were several parks we could walk to, and the city had kid-sponsored activities every afternoon. The little green shack opened just after lunchtime, I believe, and stayed open until probably 4 or 5 p.m. For a nickel or dime, we could do a little craft thing, or they had tether ball, box hockey, and maybe horseshoes. Teenagers worked the shack daily and our harried mothers got a little bit of a break from us during those hot, summer days.

When I had kids, the green shacks disappeared from the city parks, you were basically on your own. We just walked across a very busy street, and we had access to basketball, tennis courts, and of course, swing sets and adventures on some low to the ground climbing devices. It was the old days, and the devices were made of wood, which didn’t wear well in the extreme weather we have; blistering heat or frigid cold. They developed splinters, and were deemed unsafe. We’d take lunch over to the park and have a picnic sometimes. Sometimes we had a picnic in our own yard. Do people still do that? Aside from fire pits and barbeques? I loved being home with the kids.

Once we finally had grandkids, we would babysit for Addison quite a bit. Her Grandma Sandy was alive then, and we’d share babysitting when the kids went out of town, etc. Sandy worked close to our home, and she’d drop Addison off in the morning, and pick her up after work. We worked well together. Usually ex-wives and current-wives don’t get along. Sandy and I had more in common than the Babe. Oh, and having one wife in between Sandy and me probably made a lot of difference. I never met that wife, although I bowled with her mother forty years ago. Small world.

At any rate, we’d take Addison to the park a lot. It really was fun taking her. There was a small park two blocks from our house, and we’d take her there nearly every time we had her over. As she got older and didn’t like the park as well, we’d go to a soft serve ice cream place nearby and get ice cream. She remembers that a lot. Even now, at the age of 14, if we mention “Ice Cream” she smiles and says, “Let’s GO!” I’m glad she has those memories. Now, our park experiences are going to ball fields and watching Gavin play baseball. I love that, expecially at this age.

My daughter Becky sends pics of Kayla and Cody playing in the park. She puts cute little hats and sunscreen on them. Adorable. I hope we get to see them later this summer. She and Brian have very busy work schedules, and with COVID variants occurring, we can only pray we aren’t locked down again. Get your shots! I have, the Babe did, and we’re fine. Just please don’t be the part of the population causing the problem. Sometimes we have to think of the “greater good” before our personal beliefs. Period.

Mom put me in Junior Bowling in seventh or eighth grade. Our neighbor coached it, and we were close enough to walk. Jan Matya, my friend and I stuck with it until we were seniors in High School. The reason? It was fun, and we were the only two girls in the league. All boys. The odds were in our favor. She dated a guy for awhile, I had one ask me to the Military Ball for his ROTC. I didn’t like him, I was 15 and used the excuse my folks wouldn’t let me date until I was 16. Mom told me, “No one turns down a date to the Military Ball.” In retrospect, it probably would have been a good idea. I only went to one prom and no homecomings at my school. None to other schools. I felt so crummy no one did.

So glad times have changed where kids actually go solo, and hang out with their friends. How nice. No one would feel less than enough. I really feel for kids who feel that way. There is so much buried in them that makes them good, talented people. It’s so bad when you lack confidence in yourself and your abilities. Remember; You ROCK!

I think families with kids have their time occupied by organized events. Sports, Dance, and a whole host of other things. That’s great, I hope they enjoy their experiences as neighborhood kids used to when they’d do a pick-up game of baseball, kickball, and even dodge ball. My brothers didn’t participate, and there were no girls sports. I did play volleyball, but Sister Mary What’s Her Name? didn’t put me in, she said I was too nervous, I needed to relax.

After growing up, I wondered if it occurred to her to let me play and I’d be less nervous? That would make sense to me. I also learned as an adult I probably suffered from anxiety. Our mom had a temper and as a kid, I thought she was always mad (at me). It seemed her moods swung from nice to degrading whoever was around. I think this was inherited from her mother. Zero to Sixty in 30 seconds. She scared me. I spent a lot of time in my room. My sanctuary.

I have forgiven her. She didn’t know any better. Many of us followed suit until we learned how damaging that was. Sometimes I think to myself, “If I was Mom, I’d probably say, “Don’t you know blah, blah, blah.” For someone who lost her cool a lot, it’s funny we were forbidden to say words like, “Hate, Shut Up, he’s stupid, you’re a dummy, I could kill you! (believe it or not, people used to say stuff like that).” So glad that type of speech is not acceptable anymore.

For today; Speak Kindly, Sit in Nature, Relax, Remember You’re Enough. Pet a Dog. Go for a walk. Attend a benefit. Always be kind. See you tomorrow!

No Place I’d Rather Be

Yesterday was such a great day. I met our daughter Tracy, Gavin, and son-in-law TJ at the ballfield to watch Gavin play. TJ coaches. Despite wearing a hooded sweatshirt, and a down vest under a winter coat, and gloves, we were able to brave the elements and watch his two games. He is a pitcher or shortshop, depending on the rotation. He loves to pitch.

It warmed my heart to see Gavin warming up, and his dad behind home plate, catching. I know Gavin gets his athletic ability from his dad. The first toy he grasped and threw was a ball. It’s in his blood. I thought of his Grandpa Randy watching him, too, from a good seat from heaven. Bittersweet, but reality. He’s watching, Gavin. He’s watching. And proud. So proud.

I’m so fortunate to have the step-kids I have. Tracy’s always thoughtful with me. I use my cane to navigate the field around the ball diamond. She brought an extra chair so I wouldn’t have to carry one across the field, juggling cane, water bottle, and chair. I’m grateful for them and their families. Blake is always at the ready to offer his arm to me if I need it walking, and to open my door getting in and out of the car. They’re sincere and I know they would always be available to us for anything we may need. We are grateful.

From my seat at the sidelines, I could tell how tall Gavin has gotten since the last time we were able to watch him play. Last season, I think it was only once because of COVID. What we’ve all had to miss since last year! I hope we are on our way to fewer restrictions (with caution). I hope we will all remain healthy, too. We appreciate the fact no one in our families has become ill with the virus. It’s still a frightening thing. I think we still need to take precautions until we see how the long term effects of the vaccines is. I’m expecting to have to get a booster shot, and I’ll be there for it! I have a lot of important baseball games in my future to watch. I don’t want to miss any; there is truly no place I’d rather be.

I love his determination, his skill, he’s got an arm on him! And to think, he’s grown into this baseball player from this little guy:

Gavin, about two years old, giving Roxie and Lexie with water from his watering can.

I love being a Grandma! I love being a Mom, too. And wife. And author. There is so much to learn with all of these things. You never stop learning, even if it’s just to learn little known facts about something obscure. The more I’m hearing about the unheralded contributions to science, the military, engineering, and the space program by women the more I want to find out. I tell Addison not to ever “dumb yourself down” to have friends. It used to be preached to girls to “let him be smarter than you. Don’t embarrass him.” Yes, I read it in a magazine for Catholic girls while I was growing up. Seriously.

I am very happy we no longer encouraged to do that anymore. Girls used to be raised as “less than” boys. Boys were valuable. Girls? Not so much. So happy those days are gone. A brother-in-law of my ex-husband had three girls with his wife. He always commented first on their intelligence, not their looks. I loved that, too. The focus was not on anything superficial like looks. They are all stunning women, as well as intelligent. they have done well, and they have the best dad! He and his wife are one of my favorite couples, and I’m grateful to have them in my life after all these years.

The Babe is home today, and we are just going to spend time on the deck or patio. We seem to rarely have a day home together. I plan to make he most of it, so I’m going to hit “Publish” and do just that. Thank you for reading, and have a beautiful, safe day. Be Kind. We’ll get through this. Be Thoughtful. Wear your mask. See you tomorrow!

Opening Day!

It’s opening day for baseball in our country. How exciting! All those teams with a bright, shiny, new season to play the best game ever invented. From what I understand, there will be limits to the sizes of the crowds, but at least some lucky people will be able to watch this All-American game. Finally! It’s a good sign, and I hope we’re deemed safe to play an entire season and are allowed to gather at stadiums across the country. Good luck, boys!

The weekend will be suitable for outside Easter Egg Hunt. Lucky kids! When my kids were little, we all still dressed up for Easter. The new outfit, shoes, socks, everything was a look ahead to the growth of spring and summer. In religious sects, it’s a look at Christ, dying for our sins, and His Resurrection from the dead. A lot of Churches will reopen for this huge religious feast. I remember thinking the nuns were crazy for telling us Easter is a bigger deal than Christmas. As we grew older, I understand that.

Spirituality plays a part in my life that extends way beyond a church building. The two people I admire the most were living examples to me of good Christians. They were my Grandma Jewell, and my dad, her oldest son. Dad had a lot of faith, and so did Grandma. She prayed for all of us, for the world, for the little children who don’t get enough to eat, and for anyone with problems. She was very humble. Once we were talking about my dad and his brothers, all who did well at their jobs. I asked Grandma, “You raised three accomplished men.” She said, “I cannot take credit for that, they did the hard work.” Very modest. And correct.

Our families will not be gathering this Easter. It’s hard to get everyone together, and sometimes someone has to work on the weekends or holidays. We’ll all text greetings and enjoy the time however we spend it.

I need to end this now, and wish you a Happy Holy Thursday. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Safe out there!