Happy Birthday, Nicholas!

Today, Monday, November 7, 2022 is my son Nicholas’ 47th birthday. I hope he has the best day ever. Celebrate the gift of you, my son.

(Written Saturday, November 5, for NaNoWriMo). 

I think communication issues are important to deal with, in everyday life, relationships, and business. We all could do a better job of telling others what we need, what we’re afraid of, what we will do to help someone else out once in a while. 

There is only so much we can do communicating with someone who doesn’t want to. It requires a desire to communicate, a willingness to listen, and to understand. If we do our part, and they don’t do theirs, the fault lies with them, not us. As long as we know we’ve done all we can to communicate, we were as clear as possible; we had a concise message, and were reasonable with our delivery, we cannot be responsible the breakdown. It’s always sad when we’re misunderstood with no hope of resolution. 

At that point in a relationship, where communication is nonexistent, something needs to be done. Staying is a decision, and often not the best one. You may think you’re doing it “for the kids,” but the dysfunction in the family dynamics will affect the children and lead to more dysfunctionality in future generations, if there is one. Many children decide they don’t want families, not realizing the breaking the chains is possible. I know because I’ve done it.

I do not mean this to bash my parents. They provided very well for all of us and did the best they could. People during that era not only worked where their fathers did, but lived their lives as their parents did I’m living proof that doesn’t have to be. 

I’m also living proof that making a break and questioning how it’s always been can be very lonely. When you do things differently, it causes unrest in the status quo. People may ask you why you won’t do things their way. The best answer is, you choose to do things differently. Dysfunctional people will often criticize your choice to not do what worked for them. They may gaslight you. 

A common response is another angry rant. “You think you’re so smart, you think you’re so much better than I am . . .” And so it goes. They don’t realize their absolute control is an illusion. They are used to steering outcomes to where they think there are fewer disturbances made. And here you go, making waves. How dare you?

In my experience, life is quiet. And quiet can be good if you’re used to being told what to do, how to feel, a steady litany of what you do wrong, and that you’ll never amount to anything. Slowly, you can invite people into your inner circle who will communicate with you, who will value you, who will encourage you to be your best, who you are to be. Stop hiding your light under a bushel basket. Share it with those who will appreciate it. Your chosen family can differ from your family of origin. It’s more common than you think. Just remember, you are not alone.

Have a great rest of the day, and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

Sunday, Sunday!

This is a day just for the Babe and me. It’s our 23rd wedding anniversary! He joked for years he should be able to add the years for all his marriages together and have it “count.” I could do that, too, but they were not the happy married years since we were both very young. He had a lot of demons from Vietnam and I didn’t know how to defend myself verbally. I protected my kids, but not myself. I lived on tranquilizers to calm my roiling stomach down. After divorcing, I had no more stomach issues. Or tranquilizers. It was always him, and the uncertainty, coupled with his selfishness.

My first conversation with the Babe was unreal. He admitted his first marriage ended because he drank. His second ended because he quit. She still suffers from addiction problems. I was stunned at the honesty. Just what I was looking for!

It’s been a good mix of love, lessons, compromise, and learning together what’s important in both of our lives; separate identities that meld together nicely. We support each other well. It’s something I needed to become the person I am. He grew into the person he is right along with me. We are separate, yet whole together. I always believed this is how loving another adult person should be. We are lucky to have meshed with each other.

The Bad/Hard things? We are both stubborn. We both want our own way. The good/easier things? We both wonder “Is it really worth arguing over?” We have learned to compromise into a solution that works for us. And we both will yield to each other, despite what the Babe says. He’s a silly man, sometimes. All part of the charm, you know.

Addison had Homecoming over the weekend, and what a smart girl! She wore a dress different than everyone else’s. What class! I think she understands what that is, too. Aunts Sharon and Kathy, along with Grandma Sandy, they all had a lot of class in dressing. All different income levels, and all were classy and appropriate. It means a lot for a young woman to be that way. I’m proud of her.

We are excited we’ll be seeing Grandson Joell over this week. They will be visiting from Wednesday night until Sunday morning, I hear. It’ll be good to see the man he’s grown into. Can’t wait for pictures! Hope it’s a short week.

As we continue to celebrate each other the rest of the day, make sure you enjoy this beautiful day outside, and touch base with someone you enjoy. Celebrate each other, and remember how important they are in your life. I’m making a list of what I need to be thinking about during October. Let’s get busy! Take care, see you tomorrow!

From left, “Where Did The Time Go?”; Kathy & Dan 10-3-1998; “This Day, I Married My Friend”; Grandpa Dan, Addison, Grandma Kathy, last week. What a life we have!

(Mumbling) Monday?

It could have been. It very easily could have been. Instead, I forgave myself for being human. For sometimes forgetting where I’ve put things. It’s happened a couple times. The first time, I found what I was looking for by simply moving something else. Like magic! There it was.

The second time wasn’t as magical. I emptied the middle desk drawer in the Babe’s office, and for the life of me, I couldn’t find our Safe Deposit Keys. Oh boy, this will be expensive. Not good. I proceeded to beat myself up, which was old behavior. I could feel my normal good mood start to ebb. It’s going to be rain all day, don’t need it to be in a bad mood! NO! I called the Babe.

He immediately encouraged me. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s ok. Really? Well, yes. Yes it is. Not a big deal. I came in off the ledge. As we were talking, I mentioned some things we had at home that I would place back in the Safe Deposit Box. Passports. Other important papers. I went to the jewelry armoire and opened the bottom drawer. I removed the travel belt I received from a friend’s belongings after she died. It has two pockets. One pocket had the Passports. The other? It had the Bank Envelope with the Safe Deposit Box Keys in it. I thanked our friend Sharon Reidmann over and over for helping St. Anthony find my “lost” items. Whew! I can almost hear Sharon tell me, “You need to be neater.” True. I do. Working on it.

Note to self: Start writing down where we hide stuff. We’re getting to that age where we honestly may not remember everything as we used to. Better safe than sorry! My Catholic upbringing yielded a quick prayer to the Saint in charge of lost items. We Catholics have a Saint for everything. Thank goodness. Not sure who the Saint is for memory. Anyone?

Easter will be upon us in another couple weeks. Growing up Catholic, we learned about all the days surrounding Easter. Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and how we remembered each of them on their own special days. There was a lot of ritual connected with them, and somehow, I miss all that. My older brother was an altar boy, I was a choir girl, and our presence was expected at all these ceremonies. We were there, front and center.

Two years in a row, my mother became deathly ill, and we went to stay at our Grandma Jewell’s, while Mom was in the hospital. First time, on Palm Sunday, she had a bad gall bladder attack. She had surgery the next day, and was hospitalized for over a week. The Second time, she was hospitalized and put in traction for her back. Bed rest and traction, along with muscle relaxers ruled her life for another week. She repeatedly counted the tiles in the ceiling. She truly thought she’d go insane.

We attended Grandma’s Church for all the services on those special days. We must have been out of school, but I truly don’t recall getting the whole week off, usually we had school Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and were out Thursday and Friday. Grandpa had already passed away, so I know he wasn’t available to take us to school. I’ll have to check on those details.

When the third year rolled around, we were wondering what would cause Mom to be hospitalized that year? It became sort of a joke, wondering what would happen next. Nothing ever did. Good thing, Dad was lost without her to keep the house running smoothly. She did a good job.

As I remain grateful for finding my lost item, thank you for reading today. Take it easy on yourself first. Then a deep breath and calm down. You will find what is lost, even if it’s yourself! Thank you for reading. I appreciate it more than you know. Find some brightness in this gloomy day. The grass will need mowing if the rain keeps up! Take care of each other out there. Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Courteous. See you tomorrow!

#365! And Dog Ears

Despite cloudy skies on this beautiful Tuesday, I’m celebrating! Today, you are reading my 365th blog post. Enough to make a year! In the beginning, I was very sporadic, but then when our Roxie died last summer, I sat down and wrote about losing her. I’ve not missed a whole lot of days since probably Thanksgiving, and today is #365. I’m proud to have developed the habit of at least writing this every day. Writing needs to be a habit. This is. Even if I post very late in the day and it’s very brief, I haven’t missed the day.

I am grateful for all of you who read my posts, whether casually or with your morning coffee every day like my cousin Paula. It makes an author feel good when people look forward to reading. I’ll keep it up if you all do! Thank you so much!

By the title, you may think I’m writing about dog ears in the sense of turning pages down to find your place. Since I just addressed the other meaning for dog ears, I will. I grew up in a family of readers. We always used a book marker. Either a shard of paper, a real book mark, or something. Never turn down the page of a book, whether you own it or borrow it from the library. And never a textbook. Other people had to use those things. I still don’t to this day. If I highlight, underline, write notes in the margins, it took forever to do that, too. Studying became easier in college while working full time and going to school full time at night, with three kids.

The real point about dog ears, is Lexie’s been acting a little weird the last few days. About a week ago, I noticed her ears may need cleaning out. It’s a rare event. Of course, I forgot about it. Now, it appears she’s hurting. That explains her odd behavior. I feel so bad! All of you, right now, if you have pets that can get ear problems, check them out. Better be safe than sorry. I have some handy dandy ear cleaner for her, and cotton balls to wipe out the mess, so if I can get her to hold still, we’ll be good to go. Poor Lexie.

Our best friends have many types of ears, and the ones labs have, unfortunately, are the kind infections can breed in. They’re often warm inside, both from body temp and the folded over ear, and sometimes dirt lodges in there. Goldie stays away from Lexie, but Roxie used to lick her ears like crazy – never an infection. I guess it’s partly luck with them, too. Good luck or bad luck, I don’t want it to get too far away from us. If it’s not better in a day or two, I’ll call the vet.

Back to quilting today. And I’ll do some reading of “As Waters Gone By.” Sam, my book coach, tells me it is a great example of backstory being woven into the fabric of a story – you don’t notice it, but it’s out there when it’s important to see/know it. I need to learn that. You can add it through dialogue, which probably is the easiest way. Conversation is a lot easier to read than a 90 page information dump. We writers sometimes take a long, long way around things to say something simple. And we don’t need to. In fact, we shouldn’t. Thanks, Sam. See? You’re in my head and on my mind. I’m learning and I’m excited about that!

It’s kind of funny, the free photo library that comes with WordPress doesn’t have one photograph of a dog eared book. Not a one. Dog ears come up just as I’ve shown above. Worthy dog ears, but not exactly the kind they should be. Just so glad you stopped by today. I’m cutting it short today again, to get to the quilt. It’ll get done this month or bust! I want to post photos of how beautiful the colors look against a grey wall. The background makes a lot of difference. Just wait until you see what I’m quilting next – it will go above our bed. I’ve shown it briefly before.

This one will be spectacular. Can’t wait!

So, I couldn’t wait to show you. I have never done a feather stitch, think I’ll try it out. I have a pattern for the feather stitch and can pounce it on. An eraser-like item is filled with chalk dust (they actually sell it at quilt stores), and you “pounce” it over the surface of a stencil. It should be a good way to try it. We’ll see how it goes. Another COVID project. Wash up. Wear a mask. Be kind, thoughtful, courteous, and let’s all stay healthy. See you tomorrow!

#Three Hundred Fifty!!!!

I am so proud to share with you, this is #350 of the posted blog pages. It is an accomplishment, a routine to establish, a goal met. I write every day, and I have proof. I know some days have been better than others, and that is normal. The days I have a block, I concentrate on beauty around me. The Babe, Our dogs, nature, my flowers, whatever sticks in my mind. For instance, yesterday I did not set out to talk about my history of Presidential Voting. It just flowed there. It seemed to come from the place of my heart that knows arguing will not solve this issue with people. I wasn’t looking to lose readers, friends, or anything. I don’t think that happened. Thank you.

THIS is what yesterday’s post was.

The flooring guys finished up yesterday, and had to come back today for 1/2 hour to finish up setting the toilet in the guest bath upstairs. No big deal. The dogs, bless them, are so worn out from not being able to nap on their respective couch spots, that they will probably sleep until it’s time for us to go to the Post later for Hamburger Night.

We’ve been helping Tracy get Addison to and from school this week since Dad’s out of town for work. Grandpa takes the responsibility seriously. He missed out on school stuff with his kids, so this is an eye opener. Granted, it’s totally different than back in our day, but it’s even so different than when my kids were in school. Addison and Gavin are happy to be back at the school. It’s built just outside their fence. What a great thing! The lot was empty when they moved in, and suddenly, there was a school.

I received my first two chapters of “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons” back from my writing coach, Sam Tyler, and they’re coming along nicely. I have some homework for today, and we’ll have a conference tomorrow. I am so excited about this whole process. I’m learning, my brain is engaging, and I’m telling a story that’s been on my heart for a lot of years. Yes, it takes a long time, but nothing good is easy. Hard work yields great things. Sam is teaching me how to pull good stuff from myself. It’s amazing.

Yes, It Is!

So my workshop class yesterday was pretty flat. She had us read the first thirty pages of three different “Literary Fiction” novels. One was a Pulitzer Prize Winner. I’m quite open minded. One was total garbage. Almost pornographic. It should have had a warning. Anyone who knows me knows I am pretty accepting of most things. This book was not steamy in a good way, it was full of shock value, nothing of substance. And a third one, I couldn’t take seriously because a gay writer was the narrator about his life and loves, and I pictured this guy talking through the story.

Remember that voice? It’s all I could hear reading the first 30 pages of “Less.”

Ever since I was a kid, I have always pictured the characters in books as a tv or movie star. Or a real person, if I know one who fits the description. The voice always mimics a character I have heard. It’s imagination, at work. And I’ve always had an active one.

As my work on storytelling continues, it is exciting and a little intimidating at the same time. It definitely stretches you as a human, so you notice more things, wonder how to describe situations and people, and search for words you may not have used in an eternity. Sometimes, when writing about an era 50 years ago (after my high school graduation in 1970, for example), it’s a challenge to remember clothing styles, manners of speech, and even what the laws were back then. Some things we take for granted now were not possible in the 1960s and early 1970. Equality for women. Establishing credit in a woman’s own name. Having a bank account if you’re a female. Seriously, it was that bad. This is what feminists really did for us as women. Basic rights, equality in the eyes of the law.

As you ponder that fact, just remember how fortunate we are, as women and men, to be free to live as we do. It is a precious commodity. Let’s protect it. Let’s revere it. Let’s remember how it came to be. Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it a lot. Be safe out there. Be cautious, courteous, and caring. Wash Up, Mask Up, Let’s get rid of the COVID-19 Blues. See you again tomorrow.