Throrough Thursday

Thorough is such a weird word. It means complete with regard for every detail. Paying attention to details and accuracy. My old career of a Computer Systems Analyst required being thorough. The details were where you would find success or failure. You had to do a lot of analysis before digging in to a project.

Our 50th Class Reunion should have been last year. We are celebrating this year as 50 + 1. Isn’t that great? It’s in August, we need to pay soon and reserve our spots. This morning, as I waited outside of Papillion LaVista South High School, I watched the kids and parents coming and going. It was fun to imagine all sorts of stories for the people before me. Some were learning to drive, and Mom or Dad would get out of the car from the passenger seat, and drive away after sitting in the drivers seat.

It took me back to my kids learning to drive. Those were the days! My rule had to be, they can drive when they can get a car, put gas in it, and pay their own insurance. Sometimes we would barter work for the insurance premium, but they had to understand how it worked. I absolutely could not afford to have car payments more than my own.

As I looked up at the entrance below the name of this school Addison will attend next year, I thought back to my first days in high school. I was a mess. I was a very shy kid, and nervous. I wanted so much to be accepted. I hoped the bullying would stop. I hoped and prayed (what’s a Catholic kid to do?) no one would pick on me. Boys did not seem to find me attractive, and I was always drawn to kids who I thought were “above” me. Out of my league. Often a “bad boy.” The ones that did what they wanted, not what they should do. I was a rule follower. It’s engrained in you if you’re a kid born in the 50s, raised in the 60s, and graduated in 1970.

I was nervous as a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs. I didn’t like loud noises, loud voices, and calling attention to myself. I used to joke I wasn’t a wallflower, I was the wall. Sad, looking back. Because of a poor body image, I thought I was morbidly obese. Although I don’t think that term existed back then. Trouble was, women were depicted as thin, Twiggy was the “it” girl, and blondes had more fun. Madison Avenue did a number on all of us.

Of course, I never heard anyone talk about feeling inadequate. Did we do that back then? In my experience, the less someone else knew about my feelings, the less ammunition they had to use against me later on. Lack of trust hurt everyone. It hurt me the most. I believe many other kids, especially girls, felt as I did. We weren’t raised by parents who told us, “Good job!” It was expected. You’d hear if you failed to do a good job, but compliments weren’t given freely. I married right out of high school. It appeared as my only option at the time. I made a bad decision there, but I wouldn’t have my kids without having made it. The marriage didn’t last, but that’s ok.

The question is often posed, if you could go through it again would you? If I could keep the confidence in myself that’s been fought very hard to achieve, yes. It’s been a 50 + 1 year journey to get here. Ups, downs, pitfalls, successes and failures. I am not a quitter. Sometimes I think that comes from having to struggle in life. I never felt smart enough. I never made the Honor Roll. But when I finished college in 1995, I had a perfect 4.0 average at Bellevue University. I did not graduate with honors because my previous hours were not from that institution. I think that kind of stinks, I had a 4.0 average there, too. It doesn’t matter. I know what my average was.

All in all, as I looked at my intelligent, kind, beautiful, talented granddaughter Addison walk away from the car this morning, I felt happy. I’m happy for her, she has confidence. Her parents have instilled good in her heart, love in her soul, and confidence to try everything to see what she likes. And it shows. She made the school dance team as an incoming Freshman. She is that good. Today was an optional weight training class that will strengthen not only her body, but her mind. Good stuff. I cannot wait to see what she does these next four years.

As I’m off to plant more flowers in a couple hanging baskets, know I wish you a beautiful day. I am so grateful for the life I’ve had, even the bumpy roads. Cancer, Divorce, disappointment, bad decisions, fear, and loneliness aside, they all helped chisel the woman I am today. I claim victory, and I’m proud. Of me. And grateful. God has been so good to me. I pray for many more years, doing some good in this world.

Join me! Be kind. I’ll see you tomorrow!

Thursday Thoughts

One of the most impactful things Dad ever taught me is to look at things from every different angle you can before deciding on something. In most things, it is prudent to do so. I like that he would tell me to think of where the other person may come from. It has always served me well. As young kids, they expected us to think things through. They, meaning the parents, teachers, coaches, etc. Maybe we didn’t have a stress-free life as kids, but I think we all can operate as reasonably intelligent adults.

Sometimes, someone may remark, “Gee, I didn’t think of it that way.” That’s a clue you may have opened their eyes to a fresh way of thinking. It’s easier if they’re open to changing their way of doing things. If they’re not, it’s much harder. Consensus is easier to achieve with more open-minded people. Face it. Change is hard. People resist as long as they can.

It gets frustrating when someone digs in and belittles your decision or choice and later claims they supported you all the way. The excuse is “Well, things were different.” With some people, it’s just not worth being right. It’s best to know you are and move on. I’ve had to do that a lot about a lot of things in my life. Moving away to a different neighborhood is a big deal in my family. No more, because I’ve done it. Three times. Mom still lives in the same house she and Dad purchased in 1949. That’s seventy-two years in the same house. It has to be some kind of record.

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

We have to learn to be comfortable with our decisions. We need to accept full responsibility for the consequences of our actions. All of them. We have a responsibility to admit if we do something bad. Or good. We sometimes learn more from the poor decisions than the good ones. It’s possible. A balanced person never forgets the lessons they learn from the poor ones. And they know not to beat themselves up over them.

I had another Zoom call with Sam, my book coach today. I’m eager to add more description to my second chapter and flesh out the first scene of the third chapter. Slow and steady wins the race. I read something a couple days ago stating it takes three years to write a book. At first I scoffed at that. *Word of the Day – Scoffed! When I think of starting a year ago, January 2019, it’s not so off the mark. That’s about what I’m looking at now, at the current rate. I do like having smaller sections to rewrite.

I have about 40K written in my first book, These Walls Do Talk. I want to finish it someday I see it as a part of a trilogy. It’s not lost work it was good practice. I think back to a conversation Sam and I had once that touched on having manuscripts that will not be the ones to publish. It’s a very common occurrence among writers. That does not surprise me. Among quilters, there are many projects that never see the quilting and binding added. I have a beautiful example of one. I did not finish the first quilt ever made. I kept it as a reminder of how it was to just start learning the craft. The most important thing I learned was the famous quarter inch seams are to be critical. Otherwise, nothing will align properly. I have some rows that look terrible. You can fudge on a seam while dressmaking (I have frequently), but in quilting its unforgiving. Come to think of it, I should put a binding on it and drape it on my studio chair right here. It will remind me there is a learning curve with everything creative. And to be humble.

Goldie Could Enjoy My “Humility” Quilt.

I think I should dig that quilt out and finish it. Just because. I can look at as a failure. I don’t like the colors. It was a practice piece. I can also use it to help me see how much I’ve learned. All the quilting skills I have are self-taught. There were a few classes I took, but most of it is self-taught. With lots of books and magazines.

I’m glad to know how to look at things differently. It’s helped me be grateful, despite having a body ravaged by some weird ailments. I could have become bitter about what I lost at age 44, but I am grateful for what I can still do independently. I am grateful to have a husband who tells me, “whatever you want to do, honey,” when I have an idea for another quilt, blog, or project. We work well together, he encourages me. It stifles a lot of women to have little support for their creativity. My only problem is finding the time to do all the things I’d like to do!

Have a beautiful day. Enjoy the precipitation we’re having in Gretna, NE. I wish those fires in Colorado would have a gully washer fall on them. The destruction is terrible. Be Open. Think Differently. Love Without Restriction. Be Safe. Be Kind. Be Careful.

Where Do All the People

hang out who left all this dirty laundry in the laundry room? It’s exploded again. Wow. It doesn’t take long to overwhelm itself. So, after all the sorting and wrestling Goldie for the socks she steals from the baskets/piles as I’m sorting, it doesn’t seem so bad. It seems to go from a couple items to six loads in the blink of an eye. Any other retired folks have that same problem? There are two of us, and we haven’t adopted the “wear everything two or three days” like some older folks do.

My mom wears one outfit “out” when she leaves the house, then rushes home to change clothes. That’s a throwback to the days with “school clothes” and “play clothes” and “good clothes.” Of course, my “school clothes” consisted of a uniform, all twelve years. I suppose we saved a lot of laundry that way. I haven’t counted her outfits she can wear again before washing, she’s still in charge of her closet. She does ok.

Isn’t this a beautiful photo? I’m in awe of it, I don’t want to know how to do it, I just want to enjoy it. You know that feeling? It’s from another free site, used by my friends at I Create Daily. And that’s just it. This group on Facebook has given me courage, strength, ideas, and momentum towards creating the goals I now have which I didn’t have three or four years ago. Writing was a “someday” thing.

I know why I waited so long. It was because I wasn’t ready yet. I wasn’t strong enough. It has nothing to do with confidence, I don’t think. I learned after the age of 30 I finally had some confidence. It grew, wavered, and grew some more. It was nice to reach the age where I could believe in myself. Some folks never get there. We all have hidden potential. Find out what yours is.

We’ll do a pic tomorrow, but yesterday I actually completed my poppy quilt quilting. Today, I need to square it up, and add binding. I machine sew it on, then hand sew the backing. This one will need a hanging sleeve, since it’ll go right up on the wall. I’m happy to finally finish. My brain still thinks I can do what I used to be able to do at 40 and 50, not taking into account I’m a hair past those decades. Ssshhh! Let me live in denial a bit longer.

See the hanger, up near the top, in the middle, just waiting for the quilt.

Also going to put away all the summery stuff around the house. Tulips, spring towels, etc., will all make way for the vast collection of fall stuff. It’s my favorite time to decorate, until Christmas comes along. And, yes, I will cull the herd of stuff, so that’s a win for the storage room. Great job for today.

So I’m going to be working in and out today, it’s in the upper sixties here (like me!), and very windy, so sitting outside won’t be a calm experience. The skies are dusty not blue, so it might not be a good asthma day. Lots of stuff to do, though.

Thank you for reading today. It’s a little short, but some days are really like that. Tomorrow, I dive headfirst back into my writing. There’ll be more to write about then. Have a beautiful day today. Here’s something good to think on today while you’re enjoying the outside. Or the inside. Keep it inside of you.

Be glad the car started, the water heater worked, the bed was warm.

See you tomorrow, and we’ll make it another good day! Be safe. Be courteous, Be kind. Be you!

Mindful Monday

This day has been all over the place! It took such a long time to get to 3:45 p.m. today! We have visited a pain management doctor for the Babe today. He is scheduled for an injection on Friday. I’m praying this will be his answer to this terrible rib pain that has been almost constant since he fell a couple weeks ago. We’re glad nothing is broken and hope like heck he will get some relief.

I’m a crazy woman, I decided to clean more than usual. I did swiffer duster, swiffer wet jet, and ran the vacuum cleaner. Way too much for this old lady’s spine to handle. A day of rest it hasn’t been. Doctor, Post (the Babe had some money to count), lunch, then home for blogging and reading. The dogs were happy to be inside all day and now they are trying to decide what to do with the rest of their day. The hours and days go so quickly!

All so complicated, isn’t it?

It’s all complicated with writing, doesn’t this flow chart make it appear that way? I did not have to draw flowcharts during my programming years. They were past that part of the process in the 1980s, at least where I worked. Somewhere I do have the ruler the school gave all of us to draw the different components. I also have a ruler a boss gave me that had tick marks on it for 132 characters, which was how wide reports on green bar paper were. Those were the days. They were fun to do, actually. Make reports for the higher ups to use to make business decisions. Important stuff, requiring tedious plotting and planning.

Yes, that’s me!

I’m reading a lovely book to see how an author fills in backstory without calling attention to it. As Waters Gone By is the book, and I’m enjoying it a lot. Introduction of characters is charming, the way she crafts the scene. I hope to be doing some writing tomorrow.

The first order of business tomorrow, though, is go see Mom. It’s her 91st birthday. Wow! It seems as if we just had her 90th party! A whole year. Wow. There will be cake all day! I hope she enjoys her day. Longevity is high with the women in my family. Mom and her mom lived long. My dad’s mother was 97 when she passed, and his sister is in her early 90’s. I hope I’ll be able to live as long as I know what’s going on and can get around.

We also stopped at Menards today after lunch. The Babe is building a barn door to cover the place above the fireplace where the TV would have gone. The house is about 11 years old, and I think that was the rage back then. No more. It looks rather weird, so this will hide the space, and give the mantle a nice accent.

Photo by Thomas Vitali on Pexels.com

Besides, I can store off season decorative items in the cubbyhole. Perfect! It will make the season change easier for me. I’m all about easier. I have some data updates to do tonight for the Post Website, the developer needs this info before he can complete his part of creating the new website.

Thank you for reading today. I hope you all had a good day and have a good evening. Stay safe out there, wash up, mask up, and we’ll all get through this inconvenience. Be positive and things will start to go better for you. Seriously. Positive attitude is everything. Get’cha some!

Masterful Monday

Can that be right? Masterful is defined as imposing one’s will on others. It’s being domineering, imperious, imperative, and peremptory. Huh? It does sound pretty unflattering, even to call Monday. But I don’t mean it in a bad way. My intent is all that matters here, and my intent is good. It’s a good thing. How so?

I do not want to be a person who regrets not doing things they always wanted to do. I will publish a novel and some children’s books. Before I don’t have the opportunity any more. In order to do that, I need to have my ambitions and my skills and my purpose defined, mapped out, and get with the work. In a way, I’m imposing my will to do this on my ability to procrastinate. I’m making it the most important thing to accomplish in the next couple of years. Seriously. It’s got to be first. The hitch is here: it can’t be more important than spending time with the Babe, our families, our grandkids. Moderation is the key. And work like hell in the block of time I can spend on it every day.

Some Days!

Song of the Day: “I’m Going to Love You Through It,” by Martina McBride. I’ve been the woman waiting for that phone call. I’ve been the woman who hung up and thought, “Shit, now what?” It was terrible calling the Babe at work and telling him. He cried out, “No!” And he said, “I’m on the way home.” I felt terrible telling him on the phone. We always know when each other is upset, by the tone of voice. I couldn’t hide it at all. No, I’ll never play poker.

The month was October. Boy, was I aware of Breast Cancer by the end of the month! My mammogram came back needing an ultrasound. I went to have that done. The radiologist and nurse told me, yes, it’s a definite lump, and I’d need a needle biopsy. All through this, I was thinking about Dan’s ex-wife, Sandy. She was just diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. She had immediate chemo and radiation. We were establishing a friendship, as she was no longer working. I wasn’t either. It was wonderful talking with her about her kids with Dan. We were blessed to be able to be friends.

The Babe went with me to the biopsy. He told them he was going to be in the room with me while they did it. They tried telling him, “You might want to wait outside.” He wouldn’t hear of it. ‘I was in Vietnam, so nothing bothers me.” They talked throughout the whole procedure, and as I placed my right arm above my hand, the Babe took hold of it. He didn’t let go until the doc and nurse left the room. I knew he’d love me through it. There was never any doubt about that.

The doc seemed almost cocky, though. She said the three samples didn’t look like cancer at all. I chose not to believe her. The Babe, however, believed her. So much that he was dumbstruck when the news came. I wanted to scream at her. How could she give us false hope like that? Wow. I hope she never did that again to another woman and her family. I was angry for how hurt the Babe was.

Next step was surgeon, he was quite thorough. The lump(s) were too small to be felt, trust me, everyone tried. To get clean margins, he removed enough tissue that was baseball sized. Ponder that. I’m pretty lopsided, but not bad, didn’t have reconstruction. I was in my late 50s, and I’m so fortunate to be an eleven year survivor. I don’t like the fact the medication added 30 pounds to me while removing all the estrogen from me. I’d had a hysterectomy at 39, so I was already a “quart low.” Or more. I don’t know. It’s not ever been the same, but I’m so grateful to God. Screw the 30 pounds.

Tell Your Much Needed Story

My friend Sandy, mother of the Babe’s children, lost her battle. Her sister also had the same cancer, she is gone now, too. Oral cancer claimed my sister in law, Laura. All around us, it’s been a battlefield. How it picks and chooses is a mystery. Sounds strange, though, I have always felt I would have breast cancer. I don’t know if you’d call it a premonition or not, but I was not surprised at all when I got the call. Hard as it was to tell the Babe, it was the worst to tell my baby brother, Tim, all 6+ feet of him, lean and lanky, tattooed man. He is the kindest person I’ve known. I’m lucky he’s my best friend after the Babe. He was still reeling from his loss.

Somehow, we all made it this far. And we’ll keep going. It’s what’s in the plan for our lives, I believe. Without being cocky myself, I do find it easier to see the signs God gives me. They are everywhere. See if you can tell where your signs are. They are things you would never have considered, they must be acted upon with logical thoughts and plans, not reckless abandon. While it might be God’s plan for us, we have to do our part. Just practice, it will come to you.

Thank you for all your support and reading. You’re giving me a boost that is important. We’re getting closer and closer to that year mark for blogging. It’s kind of fun to look back, and see how the writing has changed, and how many things I discover about WordPress. I’m a work in progress, and it feels so good! Wash up, Mask up, Be Kind, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

“It’s Not Too Late and I’m Not Too Old!

A Milestone #300 Monday!

Today marks the three hundredth blog I’ve written. I’m so thankful for all of you, reading about the adventures of two retired folks and their dogs. And their family. And their ideas. And their joys. And my writing adventure. And their hard times. You are a part of all of this, some support when I need it, and a cheer when I need that, too. It all helps. Thanks again!

Grandson Gavin will join us again. The Babe went to pick him up then swing by the VFW to count the drawers from yesterday. We will be so glad when they find a new bar manager. It really puts a lot of extra work on the Babe he doesn’t need to be concerned about. I imagine there will be the usual coloring session, coupled with Gavin’s talking a mile a minute. I love it though. The house is too quiet sometimes. God gave us grandkids to solve that issue. We are so blessed!

Today is like a blank canvas, spread before us all. It looks the same, stark white, blank, and full of promise. If you’re like me, you always plan to accomplish so much more than you actually can complete in a day. That’s both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because you are interested in a lot of things and want to dabble in all of them. Bad because you may take a lot longer to actually finish things.

Well. What if?

For today, I’m concentrating on what Sam, my book coach, calls “Inside Outline.” Noting major plot points in your story is a good way to start putting pen to paper. An event or scene, has a point. Simple, eh? The point is my characters emotional reaction to the event. That will take some thinking, and I hope to not be interrupted. Since I began this post, Goldie has interrupted me twice and Lexie once. They want in. Or out. Or to play. Or to drink. Or to . . . Well, you get the idea. When the Babe leaves, he says, “They’re tired and should sleep now.” Oh honey, if that were only true. Still, I can’t imagine life without any of them – the Babe included.

I’m concentrating on being positive about the interruptions. It’s been nearly a year since we lost our Roxie on July 5, and, just like people, as annoying as they can be, you’d still rather have them with you. After that loss, that is the first time I really posted something. That loss got me started. Until then, blogging was just an idea. I’m glad we’ve stuck with it for nearly a year.

An embroidered hibiscus block, with Swarovski crystals.

This is one of twelve blocks I made with hibiscus on them. The crystals were hand sewn on. All I need to do is quilt it. I think that should be some winter day or a cold fall day, in anticipation of the next growing season. I think it’s quite pretty, and I have some new machine quilting tricks to try on it. When the time comes along. And it will tell me when it’s here.

It’s always on my “in between” to do list to work on the website. I’m getting ready to add some more pages as my writing projects gain more form and get closer to becoming “live.” Exciting times ahead. Each day is another baby step towards them. I’m so grateful! I’m also grateful to all of you for reading today. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope to see you all then! Invite a friend! Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Safe. Hug your family while you can, and keep distances when you need to. We need each other a lot more than you think. Family is everything!

Wed – nes – day.

It was a little cool (57 degrees!) while the Babe and I had coffee on the deck early this morning. Just enough chill until the sun rose above the treeline. It felt as if it will be a glorious day. And it is. Give this a listen. I’ve heard it twice in the past week, and I believe it bears discussion here.

Treat the Janitor with as much respect as you do the CEO. He (or she) may have a much better idea of what really goes on.

This man is so wise. And wise to know where he learned the most important things in life – from a third grade dropout. So glad to know he and his brothers had enough respect and honor for his father to know the man was far more intelligent than his schooling indicated. I’ve always felt this way about people I know and love.

My husband is a high school graduate, and didn’t like school. He learned by OJT through his career at Watkins Concrete Block, Inc., in Omaha. He was a diesel mechanic for many years. When I met him, he was starting up his ladder, and we both rose, step by step, cheering each other on. He retired as Labor Foreman and Facilities Manager. He has extensive accounting experience and it shows in his work as Quartermaster at VFW Post 2503. He learned by doing.

He always was a boss who considered the tribulations of his workers in his advice to the higher ups. Things that don’t matter in the eyes of management like they do in the eyes of the worker bees. Don’t increase Health Insurance premiums the first of the month. Most guys had to pay their rent or house payments. It makes sense, and his guys never learned all of the ways he looked out for them. He was a combination boss and older brother or Dad to them. Part of why I love him is the way he treats everyone. He’s no pushover, however. Do your job, don’t cut corners, earn your pay. Not that hard. But necessary. Even more so in today’s world.

I’ve seen some impactful videos of folks like Condoleezza Rice discussing the status of America today. She has some great advice for all of us. And a young black fellow, who happens to be a conservative , discussing BLM, voting, and racism with a group of his peers. It was quite enlightening. They learned from him, about how to look at issues instead of only skin color when voting. It was one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time. I like the civil discussion. This is what we need. Find Your Broom, folks.

And this example. It was a commencement speaker who talked about the smartest man in the world, his father. The man had a third grade education, but he was more intelligent than anyone about living. It lifted my spirits. I hope it does yours, too.

I was fortunate to have a janitor for a very good friend in the late 1980s. I worked for one of ConAgra’s “Independent Operating Companies”, ConAgra Pet Products, in Omaha, Ne. They occupied a long-since torn down building at 39th and Leavenworth. It was a Manufacturing and Distribution Company, and I started my I/T career there.

The janitor was named Henry. He was a rather famous person. If you look back on old Stevie Wonder Albums, (Songs in the Key of Life), you’ll see in the album notes the alto sax on songs # 5,6,10,13,and 17 was played by a cat named Hank Redd. Hank Redd, of Stevie Wonder band fame, is my friend, Henry. I haven’t seen him in probably 30 years. The year he played for our company Christmas party was the night I was at my father’s wake and rosary. I hated missing his performance, but he did let me borrow a tape. It was great.

He left the music world because of the craziness going on in the early 80s with drugs, etc. He said Stevie Wonder was a great human being, and he hated to leave him. But he had to. He came home to Omaha to take care of his mom and aunt. And he worked as a janitor. He would see me leave every day at lunchtime to go to the hospital and visit Dad. He’d tell me, “Be Strong.” And I could be. When I’d come back, he would be where I had to walk through the warehouse, sweeping his floor. He’d stop me and tell me I could get through this. I doubted him at the time, but he was right.

I’m forever grateful to Hank Redd, for his friendship, love and support during the worst time of my life. One night, I caught an old video about the making of “Songs in the Key of Life,” and I saw Henry playing. It was wonderful. How lucky I was to have that kind of friend at that moment in my life. Henry, if you’re still with us, maybe we’ll meet again some day. And if you’re already gone, I will meet you then. I’ll bring my broom.

Spectacular Saturday

Hi, friends. It’s starting to get back to humid summer weather in Gretna, Nebraska, at the home office and studio. We sat on our deck before the sun rose above the tall trees in the Wetlands behind us. It was beautiful. It’s amazing how busy the birds at that hour. I couldn’t help but wonder about the flight paths of the little creatures. Do they need any air traffic control? Look at how many run into your picture window and bounce off in a season. Do any ever collide in mid-air? Wow. After one week with our grandson, this sounds like a Gavin question. Hopefully I’ll be able to give him an answer should he ever ask me about it.

One morning last week, there was a brilliant red cardinal chirping his head off, and he was sitting right on top of the flagpole. It was such a cool scene. And neither of us had our phones to snap a picture. It brought back the memories of the good old days, when we took in these things rather than only saw them through the site of the camera. We probably do miss a lot around us because of that. But that cardinal was spectacular. Glad we both saw it at the same time.

I’ve mentioned before I start the day with a daily reading from a book of Daily Meditations of Adult Children (of Alcoholics). Today’s is good. An American proverb:

“There is always free cheese in a mousetrap.”

The reading talks about feeding a weakness. The more you feed a weakness, the hungrier it becomes. If it’s food, you can become a boarder- line diabetic before you realize it. If it’s fancy cars, clothes, travel to exotic places, or any of many other things, you’ll be so far in debt you’ll never find your way out. And you’ll be just as hungry for whatever is missing in your life. I’m not an alcoholic or drug addict. The places I’ve tried to back fill my life were with clothes, things for my kids and grandkids, and a few more material things. I created debt for myself that was ridiculous. I did what all the experts tell you, and pait off the highest interest, blah, blah, blah. The Babe and I have always kept our money separate as we both had lots of bills from life before we got married. We are co-owners of accounts, etc., and manage our own stuff. It works for us, I don’t know if it would for others or not.

So often, we feed our weaknesses and hide behind them, never satisfied. We’ve all done it at some time in our life. It’s human nature, and doggone it, we’re so human. We might be slow learners that the problems aren’t “out there” but “within us.” What?? In us? It’s so easy to try and point fingers and place blame elsewhere. Anywhere but where it belongs. With us. In us. It is’t you, it’s me. Really.

You Will Get Better

You can survive many things throughout a lifetime. Some people seem to be able to survive one disaster after another. There is no other choice, is there? If you don’t survive, you perish. You may not want to go on, but you do. God gets you through things you cannot believe. I’m glad there is help for me, and love for me, when I need it. Friends help, families help, but God gets us through.

First Hibiscus Bloom of 2020.

Yesterday, the Hibiscus on the deck was about to pop open. I wanted to get a photo of it beginning the process. I got dressed and everything, went back outside, and the bud popped open! It must have opened when the sun hit it 20 minutes earlier. Dang! Missed it. But isn’t it beautiful? I hope I can keep this living over the winter in the house. The blooms only live for 24 hours. That’s it. Such anticipation, and then they die. Nature is so grand!

The reading for yesterday was certainly timely as today’s was. It was:

I have to remember this: People at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”

I think this is so timely with all the talk about socio-economic differences in our country, and issues with it. The people I know who have had good lives, regardless of color, have stayed in school at least through age 18, then gone to college, the military, or trade school. Their parents didn’t pay for them to become educated. They learned how to get loans or grants for students.

They have been dedicated to their mission of a degree, a life of service, or a life as a tradesperson. They have all earned good livings, learned to handle their finances and business, been morally uncorrupted, and do what good people do. I do believe if we all lived this way, there would be more people at the tops of the mountains. I think it is a tried and true method to get there. No excuses. No blame placing. Good mentoring helps. If your parents aren’t able to do that, ask someone who can.

I do plan to write some more today. I am writing more of significant events in my character Katie’s life, and will reassess how that will go with what I already have. I believe there is a way, I’m just not sure of the how yet. Great things to ponder on another beautiful, sunny, hot Nebraska day. Thank you for reading, I appreciate it so much! See you again tomorrow. I can’t wait!

Wednesday’s Words

How do we use ordinary words to explain to our kids and grandkids what is going on in the world right now. Give me the pandemic back, please! They understand they don’t want Grandma and Grandpa to get sick, really sick. This unrest? They don’t, because it can come into their neighborhood, to their school, to their grocery store, or to the place Daddy or Mommy go to work every day. When it turns violent, everyone is at risk.

Having grown up in the 1960s, I remember all too well hearing stories about segregation. EXTREME segregation. Read anything about Josephine Baker (from the 1920s), Lena Horne (1940s), Sammy Davis Jr. (1950s-1960s and beyond), George Wallace and his hatefulness, the Tuskegee Airmen, and you will learn how one world was ok for us, and another was ok for them. Read “The Help” or watch the movie. It was true. All true. So much misinformation about how people of color functioned as humans. They can run faster. They cannot learn as well. They will pass diseases if they are allowed to use white only facilities. Really?? How sad. It makes me ashamed to be remember hearing these things. Not from my parents, but from “others.”

Henrietta Lacks was a black woman who had cervical cancer. Her journey to immortality took place at Johns Hopkins University where she was treated for her cancer. She was also experimented upon and used as a guinea pig by researchers. How they used her is sinful. It is criminal. And they just thought because she was black she couldn’t understand and didn’t bother treating her as one of God’s children, and experimented on the poor woman. After she passed, her family discovered all the ugliness that happened, and finally, her story was told. Shame on Johns Hopkins. Shame on everyone involved. The book about her life is called, “The Immortality of Henrietta Lacks.” It’s very educational.

Right in the middle of the 1960s, the unthinkable happened to my white, Irish (Polish, German, Dutch, Catholic School in South Omaha. My dad and all his brothers and sister attended there as young kids, too. We were getting a new gym teacher. We heard he was black. What? Tongues were wagging. How can that be? It was, and that was the way it was going to be. My folks didn’t say much, except to say he was attending Omaha University (now UNO), and he was a black man. We didn’t know what that would mean to us.

I’ll never forget the apprehension on his face as our class entered the gym. He introduced himself. He was a large man, very athletic. Muscular. He had a soft, gentle voice. Over the months that ensued, he gained our trust and love. Even through dodge ball. He was kind to us all. We learned he was married, with a little girl, and a wife who attended college also. Sometimes they were without child care and he would bring his little girl to class. The girls took turns playing with her. It was fun.

At Christmas time, my mom always went overboard doing what she loved. Baking Christmas cookies. She baked over 167 dozen cookies one year. This particular year, when giving my brother and me boxes to deliver to the teachers, she gave me one and told me, “This is for Mr. Hepburn.” I was happy and nervous to deliver it to him.

I approached him before class and handed him the package. “This is for you, Mr. Hepburn.” I was too shy to tell him it was from my brother and me. He thanked the whole class and they looked at me funny. I felt the flush in my face. After class I went to him and told him, “Mr. Hepburn, I forgot to say this was from my brother and me.” His eyes lit up. He was so grateful. I’ll never forget that look in his eyes.

A week later, he gave me a beautifully handwritten thank you note. My mom was tickled pink. He was always so nice to me as an individual person after that. In high school I learned he was on the semi pro football team the Omaha Mustangs. I was so proud to have known him, his name was often in the Sports section of the Omaha World Herald.

And then, in the fall of my sophomore year of high school, the worst happened. We heard Glen Hepburn sustained a serious head injury in a game played that Saturday night. He died two days later. I was stunned. He was such a nice man. And he had two little girls and his wife to take care of. How can this be happening? I never could understand that. But at least it was an accident. No malice or prejudice took his life. He was a good man, and I’ve remembered him often as one through the last fifty some years. A good man, gone far too soon. I wonder if his wife remarried, and I wonder about his children. I hope they had good lives, too. I just know their Dad is proud of them from heaven.

Kindness is a great teacher. I saw my mother’s kindness taught to me, her daughter, and reflected in the face of a kind black man. I’m grateful for that memory that is so fresh in my mind today. Care for each other. Share a cookie or two.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. Have a good day today, be kind to someone new, and I’ll see you tomorrow. You know I’ll be here.

Saturday Fun Times!

So yesterday we went to the garden center and purchased some beauties. I planted a few things in pots earlier, and one in the ground in the front yard. A smaller hydrangea bush. It should look pretty good next to the butterfly bush that grew so huge last year. We’re planning to keep it trimmed up a bit as it grows, so it doesn’t encroach on the sidewalk to enter the house. Last year it needed to be trimmed a lot.

My back does cause considerable problems when I do work like this, so I sat down on the little front porch steps to rest it a minute. I untangled the wind chimes I purchased a few years ago at Shopko, when they were still open. It was tangled to badly, I was tempted to cut it apart and restring it. But then I started thinking about my dad. He could untangle necklaces that were twisted and tangled so bad you were tempted to throw them out. He was a man of incredible patience when it came to things like that.

I started thinking about him as I sat, trying to untangle the knots of all elements of this wind chime. The more I thought about him, the easier the tangle became. I was truly amazed at how the time passed, the tangles fell away, I thought of how my dad would work on things while working them out, I could smell the freshness in the air, I was aware of the coolness of the concrete, it was such a relaxing, enjoyable experience. And this was the result:

Late getting started, but the front is looking better.

I’m sure now I’ll have those heartwarming thoughts of my dad when I glance out the window while writing or sewing. I’m such a “just look out the window at this or that” kind of person. I hope to experience many more things like this when I’m looking away to let my eyes wander.

The Babe is mowing the yard in between working more on the birdhouse bench he’s building. It’s amazing how thick the grass in the back yard has become, despite the dogs being out and using it as dogs do. I used to think only retired people had nice lawns. I remember mowing our lawn on a big banked hill when my kids and I lived on Nicholas Street. My son Nicholas sure thought it was great to live on a street named after him. I do believe it was named long before he was thought of, but I didn’t want to burst his bubble. I have a bunch of plants to keep planting this afternoon, and I’d better get back to it.

There are a couple plants I need to plant in nicer containers, like the Hibiscus tree, and hope I can keep it alive this winter. Maybe remembering to water it will help, too. Since we have lost our great cleaning lady, we’ll be cleaning now and should be in a better position to be watering plants that need it. Yes, I’m sad to lose Lori, but she needs some benefits and to be more secure for her future. I wish her well, and am glad to have had her since we moved into this home. Good Luck!

Below is an overview of the flower garden the Babe fenced in for me. There are Columbine, a small Hydrangea, and a couple Asiatic Lilies down there. We’re going to lay down Landscaping Cloth and decide where the annuals go. I hope to get everything in and thriving by tomorrow afternoon.

Lots of Potential

There is something about this meme that I love. I do believe many of us have been doing this since social distancing and stay at home were introduced. I know it’s hard for the Babe to put into words how he feels, he just knows things are “off”. I feel the same way. It’s kind of like listening to someone talk, but you feel and hear like you’re underwater. Or you go somewhere and don’t think about driving there, but realize you are there. That’s the time to do like these two little guys do above. If you can’t or don’t want to talk about it, maybe you just need someone to sit with you. Quietly. Just feel the being together. It helps. Try it with someone you trust, love, and respect. It is the best medicine.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. Sit by someone you trust and love. Enjoy their quiet company. Or untangle your windchime from last summer. It will take your mind away from your troubles. So relaxing. I will be here again tomorrow, hope to see you then. It’s the Babe’s birthday. I’m off to bake a Red Velvet Cake. The store was out of German Chocolate. So the Babe bought our granddaughter’s favorite. Hope the others like it! Take Care. Drive Safely. Wash Your Hands!