Christmas Eve 12/24/2022

Rockefeller Center tree has nothing on ours. The tree, decorated in fine fashion! I actually finished it Friday, in between the Babe running a couple of errands to purchase our missing ingredients for dinner the next couple of days. The tree doesn’t have all our special ornaments.

Last year, I left off the Official White House ornaments. I’ve purchased one every year since 1999, when the Babe’s son Blake started his career in Washington. Someday Joell would appreciate the collection. I reflected on the theme of each ornament, as they have a small pamphlet included about a particular highlight of Christmas during particular Presidential terms. In 1999 the collection starts with Abraham Lincoln. The most recent President is Eisenhower. A popular theme is the Christmas Trees; a most novel one is the first Presidential helicopter. I’ve pictured some below:

A collection we also have is a state ornament of each state we’ve visited while traveling. We have many from travels west, to Colorado, Yellowstone, Montana, Utah, Nevada; south to Kansas, Missouri, Florida, and Georgia; and east to Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New York, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland. At this late date, I’m declaring us ready. Tomorrow will be for prepping Christmas Dinner, and baking a few cookies.

White I decorated today, did I listen to Christmas Music? True to my fabulous, quirky self, I watched a recorded documentary about Bruce Springsteen, followed by a concert by the Eagles (with Glen Frey). It was wonderful. The tree is done. And all is right with the world!

Enjoy your day, and if you gather with family this evening, give them your love. We need to appreciate our people while we can. Remember that. We’ve lost three people this year who really impacted our lives. Our hearts go out to their families for the next couple of weeks. It’s so hard at Christmas whenever you’ve lost a person. It matters not if it’s the prior year or the day of a holiday. A good friend lost her husband on Christmas Day; another good friend and I both lost our grandfather’s to heart attacks at 12 on Christmas Eve. That’s a whole different pain.

Hugs to all of you with loss this Christmas season. Do what you can, and just take care of you. You’ll get through this; I know you will. Know I’m thinking of all of you. We’ll all be OK. See you tomorrow!

Christmas Week, 12/21/2022

I’m sure hoping we don’t get bad weather tonight to cause us to miss our date night tonight, “Yesterday and Today,” with the McGuigan Brothers, Billy, Ryan, and Matthew. They put on a great show of Beatles music. Their love of the Beatles came from their father. They memorialize him every time they take the stage, and I’m sure he smiles down from heaven every time. The band is expanding to include Ciaran McGuigan, Billy’s son, who is a budding Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton, or Wolfie Van Halen. His guitar playing is improving by leaps and bounds, and I’m eager to see what he adds to his playlist for this and their other shows. Cross your fingers we can make it safely there and home. We’ve gone for the last nine years.

We had good news from the repair guy for the ice maker. The guy did the work three years ago. When the error happened, he read the codes on the computer. He is familiar with the parts and expected longevity for them. He gave us a tip about Samsung, as they now replace these parts when they break down. Great to know for future reference. We were grateful to afford the service/repair. We both had times in life where we could not afford what we spent today. Very thankful.

Finishing up the tree will be the order of the day today. And a dentist appointment for me this afternoon, hopefully before the weather sets in. It should just be a simple winter storm, but the cold will be brutal for the weekend. Hope we all keep safe and warm. Get lots finished up for the big day as you may be inside tomorrow. Thank you for reading today. We will see each other tomorrow.

And a Good Time Was Had By All

Our friend Lora had a happy celebration with a goofy bunch of friends, all of us laughing about all sorts of things and having fun. Lora, being the hostess with the mostest, decided we play some trivia games. I do believe it’s more fun when the moderator has had a couple glasses of wine. We teased her about being “judgy” while reading the questions and giving hints for the numeric answers. We were able to win some chocolates, diabetic variety for those who needed to limit their sugar intake. The peanut gallery happened to ask each and every winner it they were diabetic or not before handing the winnings over. What a bunch of goofballs we are. I love when we have fun, nothing somber or serious.

The last couple years have seen too much loss and sadness. This morning, Rachael Ray was in the Ukraine, bringing aid to the people. She taught cooking classes to a Catholic school class, complete with dessert. She demonstrated cooking from prepping still through dessert and packing medic kits for the thousands of troops who will receive them. Essentials like tourniquets, bandages, and surgical tape. Ray has delivered several thousand kits in previous visits and plans to bring more.

I was given some hope by watching Rachael Ray today; the Ukranian people have hope and light in their eyes that can only come from knowing they are free. Yes, the surroundings look like old photos from WWII, but they are, indeed, current photos of the landscape in the war zone. To be reminded about the importance of something we take for granted gives me a feeling tinged with guilt. We need to remember this, and express gratitude to God for as long as we still have the freedoms we do. Let’s make a conscious effort to be more mindful of life; blessings and hardships, excesses and shortfalls, and freedoms and dictatorships.

I’ve had quite a bit of seasonal sadness again this year; my life is very blessed, yet this holiday is hard. It started when I was 12, and our grandpa died on Christmas of a massive heart attack. Christmas was always hard, and has been exceptionally hard some years.

When Grandpa died, it was so hard to know how to act. Our other grandpa died of a heart attack the year before. We didn’t have a grandpa after that, and that was sad. Life changed for Grandma, she learned to drive, got a job, sold her house, moved to another one, and we didn’t get to have fun excursions with her any more. She was always sad. We didn’t know what to do.

Years passed and our extended family gathered again but on Christmas Day, not Christmas Eve. After I married and had young kids, Christmas was a lot of fun and very meaningful. My in-laws gathered on Christmas Eve, and my family on Christmas Day. After all, Dad worked nights, and sometimes had to go to work from the Christmas dinner table for the next shift. Work always came first in our home. Mom always made a big to do for Christmas, given the limited budget there was. Mom would make a lot of clothes for me, and that helped.

After my divorce, Christmas eve was always hard; the kids went with their dad for his family gathering, and I was alone. If was ok, I don’t remember how I spent the time until the kids returned home. I was always glad when they came home. One of the best Christmas eve’s I’ve ever had was spent with my son Frankie. He didn’t want to go with his dad, and while the younger kids were gone, we ate at McDonalds and talked about life, the situation with his dad, and a lot of things. I’ll never forget that Christmas eve. After all the sorrow experienced when I was 12, there wasn’t any that particular Christmas eve. Miles apart in emotion. Amazing how life does that.

All those years later, in 1997, the Babe asked me to marry him on – you guessed it – Christmas Eve. What a surprise! So many emotions over the same day, different years.

So yes, I have emotions all over the place during these holidays. The year dad died, Christmas was terrible. So was New Year’s (his 65th birthday). Thoughts of people experiencing major life changes after deaths, births, accidents, health changes, all makes my heart hurt. Life can be very hard. It can also be very confusing, uplifting, lonely, crowded, noisy and deafening quiet, all at the same time. Sometimes, it’s hard to sort out.

Enjoy your last full weekend of shopping and preparing for Christmas. We’re going to a play at McGuigan Arts Academy Friday night. It’s “Ugly Seasonal Sweater Soiree.” It will be just the mood brightener I need. These kids are so talented, I love to see it coaxed out of them. Their confidence grows, and before you know it, it’s a big hit! More about this tomorrow. Have a beautiful day, and we’ll see you tomorrow.

Sunless Weekend/Holiday Season?

Mom has a terrible time on days the sun isn’t out. Maybe it’s a good thing she has a multitude of Christmas trees lit in various rooms of her house. It is difficult if it’s dark and foreboding day after day when you’re nearly blind and housebound. Usually on weekends she has lots of company so those two days go pretty well for her. I have no idea how long I’ll have RSV and be contagious, and I guess I’ll stay away from her for another week to be sure. I have a couple appointments during the week coming up, but I’ll wear a mask.

Yesterday, I stayed in pajamas after showering. What’s the use, you know? I suppose I’m lucky we don’t make a huge deal about Christmas. The Babe doesn’t like it at all. His earliest memories aren’t good ones and they just seemed to get worse through the years. He tells me he was always aware his folks struggled financially (so many did during those years), and he knew they didn’t have the money for extras that Christmas brings.

Later, as a veteran and young father, times were always tough. It didn’t help with his growing need of alcohol to kill the PTSD thoughts and memories. Most young veterans from Vietnam didn’t know what was going on in their heads much less know how to deal with it. The generation before drowned their troubled thoughts. It was the thing that was done.

After divorce, being alone at Christmas was the norm, and he couldn’t wait for it to be over. I felt that way a lot, too. I had the kids, but no one for me in my life. I’m grateful we found each other, because Christmas is more special. It’s still hard, because Dad died before Christmas, Mom’s father died on Christmas Eve, and that’s not a good memory. There are many people who have a different story of how hard the season can be.

Losing a spouse makes a holiday hard, being unable to provide for your family’s basic needs makes a holiday extra hard; and PTSD can make life hard, much less holidays. When you’d rather be left alone, when the memories are too hard and the shadows plague your thoughts, holidays are hard. If you’re having troubles with depression right now, reach out to your local pastor, a trusted friend, or give the folks at the Centering Corporation in Omaha a call. They have a bunch of resources for grief and especially holiday grief. I highly recommend them.

As we enter days of gatherings, parties, celebrations and fun of all kinds, look around the rooms you’re in; notice who keeps to themselves, who seems sad, and especially who isn’t there. Call them. Let them know they’re important. Find out how they’re feeling. Be prepared to listen. They need to tell their story. They need to share their grief. Let them share with you. You’ll feel better by including them, they’ll feel better not only with inclusion, but knowing someone cares. We all need that. It’s a gift that keeps giving.

Look around today. Observe. Include. Have a good weekend and know we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Tuesday, The 14th

What a day! It’s been a little crazy. Lots going on. Meeting at the Post this morning, stopped at the printer’s (not for me, for the Post), stopped at the Humane Society for verification of Lexie’s Rabies Shots for her new license. Then, a stop at JoAnn’s Craft and Fabric store. It’s been forever since I’ve been there. Totally remodeled, I felt like a fish out of water. The Humane Society was all remodeled, too.

I felt like I was a visitor from a strange land. I’ve come to realize in the last few days I might need to get out more. Seriously. I need to leave the house more and mix with people. Have I become an introvert? I’m not sure about that. I’m just so contented at home. Are you? Or would you rather be out and about?

Another weird thing that happened twice today. Since before Christmas, the Babe and I switched vehicles. I previously drove the Passport, he drove the Ridgeline Truck. He has too many miles on the Ridgeline, so he’s driving my car, since it has low miles on it, and 5K more allowed per year. Turning in the truck could be very costly when the lease ends. I don’t like some of the things about the truck, it’s harder for me to get the depth perception straight, but it takes practice.

As I went into the fabric store, a man standing outside asked me how I liked the Ridgeline. What?? That’s a new on. What’s the opposite of a chick magnet? Maybe it’s the new way to meet people. Huh. But wait, there’s more! I went to top off the gas before it gets colder again, and a man came up to me, asking me if I was an Army Veteran? The Babe has Veterans license Plates, so it was a valid question. He was a Marine for 12 years, and a nice man. People really are basically good, and they are neighborly. I need to get out more.

The Christmas tree is officially down, tomorrow I will finish putting things in their proper places and be finished for last year. More necessary papers for filing Income Tax, that will be the next big thing for our household.

I have a new illustrator who I’m sure will do just fine. She’s a busy young woman, and I can’t wait to see what she can do. A soft target date to publish my first kid book is May 22. I’ll explain more as we go along. In the next few weeks, I’ll unveil new business cards, an additional page on my website, and maybe an additional FB page for kid books. Stay tuned! Progress!

Thanks for checking in today, we’ll see you tomorrow!

Just a Few More Wake Ups!

Who among us doesn’t remember the excitement we would have before Christmas? Those last few nights of knowing it was only so many more days until we could wake up and see what Santa left for us? We didn’t get a ton of things, but it was thrilling to wait at the top of the stairs, waiting for everyone to go to the bathroom and wash their hands. It was unnerving! Hurry up! Let’s go! We’d run downstairs, and all sit in a spot.

Dad always had on a nice pair of dress pants, and a white shirt and tie. He worked all night the evening before; he went to Mass on the way home. He helped Mom finish up the display Santa left, and he’d sit patiently while we were opening gifts, one at a time, in order of the circle. The littlest kid went first, then the oldest, then Mom and Dad. Then youngest kid again. Once that was all finished, Dad would go upstairs to go to sleep for a few hours. Mom would be cooking, we’d play, walk to Mass at St. Bridget’s, and be quiet so Dad could sleep. Dad would get up by about 2 or 3, we’d eat dinner (always another turkey), have dessert, and Dad got his thermos of coffee ready for work again that night. Then he’d leave for work again.

Although our Christmas didn’t resemble anyone’s we knew, it was normal to us. We’re all very different today, Mom still decorates like crazy, I do a little more sanely, and cookies for neighbors and friends are always in order. This year, I’m baking tomorrow and the next day, I believe. It doesn’t have to rival Mom’s record of 165 dozen (Yes, I said DOZEN!) cookies, because it means love, no matter the quantity. Our nice neighbors will get some delivered by the Babe!


My conundrum of the last couple days is solved. I told you about receiving an envelope in the mail Friday. Well, read the backstory here and here, too. (Three days blogs here; Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). Now you’re up to date. Until later last evening.

Enter my only girl cousin on the Jewell side of the family: Jilla Jewell Arthur. Jilla and her husband David retired to Minnesota to be nearer their kids and grandkids. These two were teachers in the Omaha Public School System, and are encouraging my writing. Thanks, guys! Anyway, Jilla sent a note telling me it was her who sent the calendar. She recalled a blog where I talked about Dad’s business, and I was so tickled! I knew it had to be from a family member; she was one of the remaining suspects, and bless her heart. She fessed up, and here we are! I knew my most excellent investigative questions and observations would force a confession from someone. HA!

It was such a sweet thing to do during this season of love. My adult cousins on both sides of the family are such good people. I’m so lucky to have them all, they’re all different and all talented, loving people. My brothers and I come from good stock! Thanks, Jilla!

What did I do today? Decorated some more. It takes me a lot longer, but here we are. A bunch of shots to give you a feel for Raabe Ranch, decking the halls, 2021.

I’ve shared this Christmas struggle I’ve dealt with this year to heal myself. I know I’m not the only person who has them. But I also have remembered the joys I’ve had on Christmases past, and shared with you many of those memories by picturing the ornaments and my feelings as I’ve decorated the tree this year. It’s helped me heal. Maybe it’s helped you or at least encouraged you to enjoy your decorations this year; or baking a certain cookie. It can even be purchased baked goods. It doesn’t matter, home made or not. It’s still a Christmas memory. Please, salvage your good memories this year. They help you get through the special days. You may feel better after you remember the memories and vow to make new ones this year. And next year.

The new door wreath is from the Pioneer Woman Collection at Walmart. This is a perfect wreath for us; I have a collection of her dishes, glassware, and I’ve named our large lot “Raabe Ranch.” It speaks loudly of my present life; the life with the Babe; our wonderful present and future. That’s where we all need to look. Our present. Our future. It will be as good as we make it. Have a sparkly evening. And I’ll see you tomorrow. Be careful out there!

Thankful Thursday

This is a joyful season, it celebrates the birth of Jesus, we have celebrations with family and friends. We have two family friends who won’t be joining in the celebrations this year; tonight we attended visitations for a young man whom the Babe has known since he was a little boy, a man with a little boy who passed away last week. The other visitation was the wife of a man who worked for the Babe; they have a large family, she had cancer, was given six months, and lasted only six days. Oh dear. Both terribly sad.

Unfortunately, holiday season or not, life continues being played out every day of each year. People are born and people will die. Calendar be damned. The year my father died of cancer, it was so hard to be checked out at the grocery store; checkers don’t know what your family may be going through. They would ask about Thanksgiving, I’d make something up. Of course, Dad was in the hospital, and Mom came over to eat with the kids and me. Then she went back to the hospital. Dad died shortly after that, on December 7. Day of Infamy.

My heart hurts for people who have loss of life from disease, pandemic, cancer, or heart attack during these holidays. It’s hard. It’s hard to continue shopping and wrapping and decorating and baking and having joy in our hearts. My family lost our Grandpa on Christmas Eve, 1964, when I was twelve years old. What a shock. I remember hearing Mom cry late at night several days later. She never showed emotion or talked about it. But I heard her sobbing and couldn’t do anything about it. She’s never been one to want you to hug her to comfort her. She pushes you away and insists “I’m fine! ” And even though you’re only twelve, you know she isn’t.

I remember after that, sometimes we’d take Grandma to Sunday Mass since she didn’t drive. I also remember her at Grandpa’s grave at the cemetery, commenting while looking at her name on their joint headstone, “Just put this year on it. I know I won’t live beyond this year.” No one talked about it, as kids we weren’t to comment on adult matters, but it affected us. Grandma got a driver’s license, car, job, and a new life. She worked at the Admissions Office of a Hospital, and as a Housekeeper for several priests. She loved cooking for them. They loved her.

She would have never traveled to Italy with one of her daughters if Grandpa hadn’t died. She went to Vegas with another daughter. She loved becoming a great grandma, and loved on those babies. Part of her grief moved her forward to a different life than the one she had with Grandpa. Mom became a Docent at our Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo for 30 years after Dad died. She hand fed elephants, rocked a baby gorilla and orangutan, and eventually had a Snow Leopard named after her: When you see Rosie at the Zoo, know she’s named after my mom. What an honor!

Despite these sad losses at this time of year, I hope the survivors of those lost know there is still a lot of life to live. There is an entirely different life ahead of them, one they may have not experienced if not for what they’re experiencing right now. It isn’t meant to sound harsh or uncaring. It’s meant to offer a shred of hope and light at this difficult time. It’s so hard. And life has to go on.

My prayer for all of you is you don’t experience this loss at this time of year. If you do, it takes a long time to heal. That said, it does heal. Life can be happy again. Tomorrow, we have a funeral to attend. And offer our love to our friends. Stay safe, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Saturday and Sunday! WOW!

What a great day Saturday! I shared a table at the Holiday Market at the VFW Post 2503 with info for Guitars for Vets. I purchased a supply of Nebraska Writers Guilds 5th Anthologies to sell. I made just a couple dollars on each sale, but I got a real kick out of doing it. We were warned the price would increase by December 11. When I purchased my 24 books, they were $12.99 each. I just checked Amazon, and the price increased to $18.99. I’ve sold eleven books already, and am so excited. Here’s a link to Amazon, in case you’d like to order directly from them.

Sunday, I had another occasion to spend with some cousins and their families at a baby shower. My cousins are expecting their first grandchild in February, 2022. What a happy, happy event in their near future. The whole family is Gaga over the little miss already. As it should be. I cannot wait to see photos and to hold her. Until then, what a fun time. And the cookies here reflect the baby woodland nursery theme. Simply adorable!

Cuteness Overload!

As I’m writing this early Monday morning, I’m saddened by the devastation in Illinois, Kentucky, and other places with the deadly tornadoes. Those poor people. Events like this show the absolute power nature has to turn our lives upside down while others are unaffected during the same moments. When we live our lives unscathed, we know there, but by the grace of God, go I. It could be any of us, it could happen at any time.

This is the true test of a positive person. First, it’s important to be grateful for our daily good fortune. Some may question, “How can God allow things like this to happen?” I have no answer for that. I am a mere mortal, and have no right to question God, nor try to understand His way. Perhaps it’s a test for the rest of us, to see how generous we can be in helping rebuild these communities, to see how much we can pray, see how we react and treat each other. This season of love, we need to be more and do more in the true spirit of giving, presence, and attitude.

A meme I saw the other day was perfect: “The First Christmas wasn’t perfect; what makes us think ours should be.” Don’t let Pinterest make you feel less; don’t let Social Media make you feel as if you should do more tablescapes and backyard harvest creations. No, your toddlers don’t care. Your teenagers don’t care. Don’t be pressured into thinking there is success in these excesses. Your spouses would rather have you feeling calm and collected than decorated to the hilt. Makes you reevaluate, doesn’t it?

Blood donations, searching and rescuing for family pets, feeding people where they shelter in place, it all matters. It all helps. I know as we speak, there are Church Quilt groups who are cutting, layering, and sewing or tying quilts to give to people who have lost everything. There are Red Cross groups all over the nation, collecting blood, blankets, money, clothing, and water.

Maybe acquire a few less things for storage through the years and use annually. Do we need all that? Probably not. Sometimes we need to struggle with the sentiment and see if these things make sense anymore. Many of my decorations were acquired over the years. Some make me happy with the memories. I’ll keep them for a bit. Not forever. The Babe is all for getting rid of everything. He’s not a fan of Christmas. I am, but have struggled over the past few years.

For all this man has done for me and taught me about love, he made me understand I overdid with gifts and my kids. And him. Now, we only do gifts for the grandkids. We truly can buy anything we want during the year. It would be nice to have a gift to open, but it’s really about what’s in your heart. It’s about the love of the Christ child and God’s love for us. Don’t lose that focus. It’s easy to, but He’s always there. If it’s hard to find Him in our lives, it’s because we’re not focused on Him.

As you work through the days we have left before Christmas, keep in mind what we are here for. Don’t let the News cycles concentrating on disasters and negativity keep you down and make you stay there. Do something positive to help the folks who are less fortunate and have come upon hard times. It happens for all of us at some times. We need to remain positive. It’s the only way to keep sane.

It’s true people never speak from their deathbeds they wish they could have worked more. A friend of ours is in town to help bury his son, who passed this week, possibly from COVID. So very sad. Young and healthy, life on track, and just had a baby and plans for marriage. Our heart goes out to them all. Life is way too short. See you tomorrow.

Yesterday . . . and Today

It was a good day yesterday. And it was a fantastic night at Yesterday and Today. The Babe and I have seen this interactive Beatles experience every year since I think 2014. No two shows have ever been the same, since the requests submitted by the audience drive the set list. What a very creative and clever idea. And every year, it seems as if the McGuigan brothers cannot top what they’ve just done. You even get a lovely parting gift with this show.

That challenge is always accepted by Billy, Ryan, and Matthew. Their talent and performance pays tribute to their departed Dad, who died when they were pretty young. In fact, he was pretty young; 42. They learned Beatles songs as toddlers and now make a living performing those songs. Not impersonation, but real guys singing music their Dad loved. It’s a tender tribute that now follows into the next generation. Billy’s son Ciaran is an already accomplished guitarist while not even in high school yet. Watch out, Omaha! There’s some upcoming talent here. Think Clapton. Seriously.

Other band changes include adding horns and strings; most recordings from that fantastic era included these instruments. Why not on stage with the guys who do the Beatles justice, each and every time they pick up their instruments and sing? These guys are the Kings of “Why Not?”

Last year, Ryan made quite the theatrical entrance while performing, “I Am the Walrus,” complete with a gas mask. This year, he has a cool hooded crocheted sweater he wore over his John Lennon style “New York City” t-shirt. Ryan, did someone make it for you? It was pretty cool. Only you could carry it off, too. You can tell he’s an actor at heart. He’s a blast to watch and wonder what he’ll do next. It’s a gift.

Billy’s gift, in my opinion, is the adaptability to get through anything that challenges him, and I believe that true onstage and off. His humor is off the wall and off the cuff. Or is it? It sure appears that way. I think he’s a pretty funny guy. Speaking of funny guys, Max Meyer plays a mean cowbell. He get the crowd revved for sure. I do believe he’s pretty proud of that. You’ll find out why. Go see the show. He has another surprise for you, too. Go see the show. Dying to tell you what it is, but won’t join this special surprise.

Matthew is such a professional, always steady and just enjoying the musical moments. I believe he is a very talented arranger, and can arrange things in such a manner you wonder why the original song didn’t go that way in the first place. The knowledge he has must be unparalleled. It’s his gift. There is always a seemingly “quiet one” of the groups. The Beatles had George, and The McGuigan’s have Matthew. And that’s a very good thing.

Your Christmas gift to any music lover should be going to this show. Even if you’re not a Beatles fan, you will be a McGuigan Brothers fan. Go see the show. You’ll love it. The first Christmas, the Baby Jesus had three wise men, bearing gifts. This Christmas, Omaha has three wise men named McGuigan, bearing their gifts. The Celestial Star they follow is their Dad, who shines upon them. Go see the show. The Slowdown is an awesome venue for them to call home.

Three Days Before!

This day marks three days out from Christmas. As happens frequently in the Midwest, the State of Nebraska is smack dab in the middle of a Winter Storm Warning. We don’t have an enormous amount of snow coming, but the winds are producing blizzard conditions. A small amount of snow can move into deep drifts because of the winds. What a treat!

I’m not caring too much about all of this – we don’t need to go anywhere later. We were gathering for a friend’s birthday later, but I’m thinking they will cancel it. We live twenty-five miles from the Post, which is where the gathering will be. It may be much worse here than there, too.

The song I’ve chosen for today is a favorite. “Silent Night,” by Jackie Evancho. This little girl has grown up and is still singing; she is amazing. This recording is from when she was younger. Silent Night is another song that takes me back to Midnight Mass. I think especially of our dad when I hear it. For over thirty years now, he’s gone, and while I don’t dwell, I miss him at Christmas and on the New Year, his birthday. Enjoy this angelic voice and remember good things. We may not gather this year, but we can call, Zoom, Skype, and many other wonders of technology. It won’t be that hard. It’s a sacrifice, but it will be worth it a year from now.

Carol Gino’s Book, The Nurse’s Story and My Notes for the Next Two Blogs!

The book “The Nurse’s Story,” by my friend Carol Gino is the most fascinating account of nursing I’ve read. She tells her own story with experiences with patients she cared for – and lost – over the years. Many girls I went to high school with became nurses; I wish I could have become one, too. Money was a big issue back then, and my timid personality didn’t help. I didn’t want to ask my folks to pay for it, and I didn’t know how I could get the money. Heck, I didn’t drive or anything.

Nursing has changed in the last forty years, and I would bet this lady lobbied for a lot of the changes. A nurse is the true caregiver in a hospital setting, they observe the patients during their best and worst times, and she ought to have some input into their care, and ought to have respect for what they do. My dad always said, “Nurses never get enough respect.” He worked closely with nurses in the MASH unit in Korea and in Europe, boots on the ground.

Doctors (now, a hospitalist, who doesn’t know you) plot your care out and visit. It’s rare for your regular doctor to care for you in a hospital. Yes, surgeons, cardiologists and oncologists are more hands-on doctors, but those are the exceptions.

This book is amazing, and I want to finish it over the next few days. I highly suggest it if you enjoy reading medical-based stories. And it’s real. Those are the best stories. Thank you, Carol Gino, for a beautiful book!

The wind is so harsh today, I can’t help but think of the homeless population who endure this weather. It is such a sad thought, especially at Christmas. I’m glad the VFW Post became a supporter of Moving Veterans Forward this year. We actually can see the difference we can make in the lives of these men and women. There, but by the grace of God, go I. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be the Change. Be a Difference. Be Safe! Thank you for reading. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.