Monday, Monday

Wow, I’m having a day, how about you?

In the middle of trying to straighten out a snafu with some other folks, I called my cousin at the VA, and as we chatted, I noticed the coffee pot was overflowing from the grounds basket, not from the pot. All the water, grounds, etc, spread all over the counter top, down into the drawers, and onto the floor. All my good intentions for this morning; learning how to use my sewing machine (never plugged it in), writing my blog (now, nine hours later), and not getting anything done! It lends truth to my Grandma Bobell’s statement: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Amen, Grandma, Amen.

I laughed with my cousin about it being a Monday, and wow, what else could go wrong? I must have tempted fate, because things happened here and there. I’m still smiling, but frustrated. It won’t get me down, but I remember when I’d fuss and fume for days over things like happened this morning. It’s age and learning to practice gratitude. And always remembering it could always be worse (and many times, it has been).

In the grand scheme of things, I suppose everyone has a day every now and then. We all do. And we go on. Some folks are not equipped to deal with everyday difficulties. Maybe they’ve never had to cope. Maybe things always went their way. Maybe they always won a trophy. Or maybe their parents managed their lives so much there was no margin for error. Bless their hearts.

I’m planning on finally getting to put thread in my new sewing machine tomorrow. It was my plan today, but someone else’s mess became my problem, so my day has been spent on damage control. Thank goodness for friends who listen and who know who you are and what you’re about. Those people make up for everything. Thank you, you all know who you are.

I am enjoying the book, “The Gown,” about the making of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown. In those times, embroiders worked on all the royal gowns, dresses, and fine ware the queen, princesses, and children wore. Right now, I’m learning about right after WWII, the major design houses in Europe were re-establishing themselves. (Think Christian Dior). References were given when certain young women looked out for others at the Concentration Camps. Jews had an equal chance to get these sewing and hand work jobs. And they deserved them.

The Babe and I are working on our next volunteer opportunity, one that will help us give back in a huge way. More on that as it becomes available. As for this evening, I’m donning my comfy lounge wear, and diving back into The Gown. Let’s visit some more tomorrow! Thank you.

Humpday!

As the world sings Wednesday’s praises, I am reminded from this photo in Egypt, how I loved Ancient History. As a kid, I wanted to travel there some day. With the unrest in the world right now, I’m staying right here at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. I can watch documentaries and crochet or embroidery right there on the couch. It fits me right now.

Mrs. Schram was my 5th and 6th grade teacher. I think our class of over 40 all were her students in 5th grade. Problem was, she taught us like she thought we were all college students. In 6th grade, we had to write a 4K word term paper, completely typed out, double spaced, with footnotes, a bibliography, and the whole deal. It was hard. Never had to write another one until I was in my Accelerated Bachelor’s Program at Bellevue University, in my 40s!

As kids, not many people had a type writer to use. Luckily, my Aunt Phyllis Jewell was an excellent typist. She typed the whole thing, not an error anywhere. It was a masterpiece! She was always so good to me.

In sixth grade, the powers that be decided to give Mrs. Schram all the girls from 6th grade, and all the boys were in a nun’s class. In 7th grade, we were reunited. The nun was furious with us. We knew history and science, because that was Mrs. Schram’s focus, and we were behind in Math and English. I think we eventually caught up. During those years, there were always split grade rooms, still over 40 kids with one teacher. We learned, regardless.

I did love school. It must have been a hint, as I loved reading and art, too. I always had a good imagination when it came to making projects, too. During one of those years with Mrs. Schram, I was fascinated with Notre Dame Cathederal. It has always intrigued me. What a structure!

So, what do I decide to do for a 3-D project about something we studied in history? I made a 2′ x 3′ model of Notre Dame Cathederal! Mom always was upset when we needed poster board for stuff. Usually she or Dad would pick that up as back then, we didn’t have all those things at the local Hinky Dinky.

Once her grumblings were over, I looked at a picture of that magnificent structure and it took my breath away. It still does. Nothing would stop me! I was so focused, it had to be perfect!

Photo by Adrienn on Pexels.com

I was so sad when it burned down a couple of years ago. It is amazing a wooden structure such as this stood through so many years, two World Wars, and centuries of use. I don’t recall how the fire started, but it was tragic. All this stood for, gone.

My model included the beautiful round window, I probably used a piece of waxed paper for the glass; Mom was stingy with the aluminum foil, etc. The major things I remember about it was measuring, cutting, and attaching those “arms” that extended from the back oblong part of the building. Those were carefully constructed, attached with another piece of cardboard, attached to the back of the building, and to the piece of poster board the whole structure sat on. It was a masterpiece!

In those days, we walked to school every day; we walked home for lunch; and we walked home every day, too. Wind, rain, snow, heat, whatever. Never got a ride to school. It was common. Imagine the sight of a slightly chubby girl in a blue jumper/white blouse school uniform walking four blocks to school, lugging Notre Dame Cathederal AND her books (no backpacks or bookbags then), homework, and various assorted other stuff was quite the sight. Just use your imagination on that one. It had to be quite the sight.

I arrived triumphant at St. Bridget’s School, and proudly placed my model somewhere, don’t remember it exactly. I was proud.

And to think, only five years later, when I wanted to take Mechanical Drawing, the nun denied my request because it was traditionally all boys in the class. Coach Ponseigo was all for me joining the class; my art teacher/advisor was emphatic. “NO!” In a moment of wonder, I think how it could have been different, but the thought doesn’t last long.

But you know what? I love my life, it’s experiences, how we got to this place in life. It wouldn’t have worked at the time. All I want to say to anyone with influence with a child, don’t quash their interests, their imagination, their ideas. Find a healthy outlet for those interests; sports, creative classes, and most of all encouragement. We need the arts, plays, music, all the things that make life bearable. Be open. It’s kind of fun doing things no one has ever done.

Think about how you want to stretch your wings. Do something new today. Something different. Not same old, same old. Help your kids or grand kids stretch and grow. Wonder out loud how something works. Ask them their thoughts on the topic. Then try it out. There are hundreds of crafting things online for kids to do. Try it, you’ll like it!

I love that a picture of the camel took us to my memories of grade school. See how writers do their thing? Some days, it just all works. I’m proud of this one, please share and follow us. We’re hearing #950, let’s get to #1000! I can’t do this without you! See you tomorrow.

August 1, Monday, 2022

Hello from the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. This week, I should get lots of inside with my writing time. The low high temp this week will be upper 90’s, with heat indices over 100 almost every day. Not fit for dogs, writers, or mankind.

Our weekend was delightful. Attending Willy Wonka Saturday night was fun. I can’t wait to see what McGuigan Arts Academy comes up with next. Whatever it is, they will do a fine job and surprise their audiences again.

By the end of the month, we will have a book at the printer. Lotta work until then, but it will be worth it. I need to visit libraries and indie bookstores to see if they would stock some. Until you ask, the answer is no. I will be asking around, believe me.

This is the last month I’m doing any work on the VFW Post 2503’s website, Facebook page, and other social media. I’m ready to have some extra time, believe me. The end of summer is a perfect time to transition, but I’ll still volunteer with some select events. I love our Veterans and feel by volunteering, I’m trying to make their sacrifices worth all they’ve been through. We owe them our freedoms. We need to put them to good use. It will make the world a less harsh place. Do good, it will come back in ways you never dreamed. Start small. Then, Go Big or Go Home!

Need to update all our devices with new virus protection, etc. That will take a bit. Working on more editing, and hoping to finish reading a 400 + page book today which I’ve really enjoyed.

What are you doing today? What are you doing to remain positive? What are you doing to pay it forward? And very important; What are you doing for yourself today? Have a great day, and I’ll see you tomorrow. It always works out the way it’s supposed to. Let’s get out there and make it happen!

Pure Imagination

Last night, we had the experience of a lifetime. We attended Rave On Productions “Willy Wonka.” It was so much fun. All of the children were students at the McGuigan Arts Academy. This is one talented group of kids. Some of the parts were played by children of the McGuigan brothers. How proud their Grandpa Bill would be! Who could have thought all those years ago, when those three boys learned to play instruments, sing along to the great music of the Beatles, and eventually have an internationally traveling group of performers, that so much good would come from all of it?

Jay Hanson was perfect as Willie Wonka. He has such a mischevious look in his eye. It was displayed often and well during the performance. There were adults in the ensemble, but most of it was on the kids. And the five gold ticket winners were played so well. Lessons abound in the play.

My apologies for not knowing the names of all the kids. What I learned about each of them while watching the performance is they are learning not just how to sing, act, dance, play with each other. They are learning teamwork, cooperation, respect of their fellow performers, and that everyone does something well. And it’s not just the kids; the adults respect each other, too.

We like to sit close, and from the second row, we could tell how the encouragement they offered each other shows in their eyes. All of the actors showed absolute respect for each other and their personal space. This is key in today’s world. On the way home, I told the Babe how nice it was to see dancers (Oompa Loompas) have actual clothes on. Being Dance Grandparents, we’ve seen the skimpy costumes and over sexualization of little girls for years. This does not happen at the Arts Academy, and I applaud that. Pure respect for everyone. Something you don’t see a lot anymore. Kudos to the culture, leadership, and people of McGuigan Arts Academy.

I borrowed a Facebook photo posted by Kate Whitecotton earlier today of the cast on closing afternoon. Speaking of Kate, I have to say, you don’t often see a CEO who works as hard as she does. Kate helps set the stages, tune guitars, place water for hydration near all the musicians, takes photos, herds the cast and musicians around so everyone is where they need to be, and is shoulder to shoulder with the newest on the crew. No job is below her. Kate, you are such an asset to Rave On Productions. Omaha is lucky to have you here. Thank you!

The whole premise of Willy Wonka’s story is using your imagination and actually seeing what exists around you. Learning lessons, telling the truth, apologizing when you’re wrong, it’s all part of becoming a good citizen. I believe these things are taught at McGuigan Arts Academy. If we had grandchildren those ages, I’d love to have them involved. Ours are into competition dance, school dance team, and elite sports. We’ll always be in the Academy’s audiences, though, cheering for other people’s grandkids. It’s just so much fun.

Keep your eyes out for the next endeavor of the Rave On/McGuigan Arts groups. August 11, 12, and 13, Billy and his band play at Sumter Ampitheater. Get your tickets now for a great night of entertainment. You’ll be glad you did.

The theater is beautiful, as were the 50s era backdrops. They were a perfect mix. We all need more imagination and creativity in our lives. Let’s practice that this week. And making the best of things. Being positive. Have a beautiful week. See you tomorrow.

Making Space & Boundaries

That’s what I’m doing. We need to clear out things in our lives that aren’t working anymore. Yes, they were great when we started. When things like volunteering end up being more of a job than contributing to the community. Don’t get me wrong. We took on more things willingly. And now, we need to release some things to come back to the most important relationship we have; the one with each other. In the coming years, we’re aware one of us will leave this world before the other. We want to spend all the time together, just us, just enjoying each other’s company.

So far, one person doesn’t understand we’re doing this to do the things we want/need to do. Reducing our time outside the home to make room for us and the things we have planned doesn’t mean filling up that time to be “on call” for when they decide they want to do something. No, I’m not saying I won’t help this person; I’m saying asking for help would be much better than saying, “Then you can come here and do so and so. . .”

It would have been much better for the person to have asked, “Could you help me out one day a week? Maybe every Wednesdays?” The key here is, their pride keeps them from asking. They are used to giving orders and everyone complies. It leads to all sorts of anger, resentment, and ill-will. Disregarding the fact that others have a busy life is selfish. Someone who will not ask for help cannot ask, in their way of thinking. And, contrary to their saying they’re “Fine, I’m just fine,” they’re not. They’re fearful and upset and angry even though they’ve had a long, productive life.

This is hard for those of us who have disabilities which began in our 40s. We’ve had limitations due to illness and near-death events. We didn’t get to have 85 years before we had limitations of age forced on us. We had limitations of our body failing us and had to put our pride aside at a very young age. Sometimes, it’s hard to have empathy when dealing with someone who thought they had aging beat. It results in ungraceful aging, and negativity.

So if you have this same type of challenging person in your life, know you’re not alone. It’s hard to establish boundaries with them, but we need to. Boundaries keep us all sane and safe. Boundaries keep unwanted things out. Boundaries make our time more accessible for what we want/need to do.

And we can offer assistance to others when needed. It just needs boundaries around it. Then we don’t start something we need to do and have the interruption at 10:30 a.m. of the person who wants (non-emergency) help (different than needing (emergency!) and ruining our day because we haven’t established a boundary.

The meme in the header today first caught my eye because of the beautiful color. Then the words hit me. Yes, the Babe and I are going to intentionally decide how to spend the space we’re creating in our lives. You should too. Continue helping other humans, but do it with intention. And boundaries. You’ll all be happier.

Hydrate in this awful heat! Stay inside with your pets, and fill your day with what you love. I’m doing that very thing! Please, help me get to 1,000 followers who will be notified when a new blog is posted! We’re above 1,000 blog posts published now, I’d love to see our followers get over 1,000 too! We’re hovering around #929. Help a girl out, please! I appreciate it. See you tomorrow. Take care.

July 3, 2022. Sunday.

Last night was pretty loud with fireworks. I imagine they will get worse before they get better. Please, consider your neighbors who may be Veterans with PTSD. The memories they have can be triggered by loud noises. Artillery shells are loud, sudden noises. Pets also have a terrible time, so be considerate of both.

We are nearing 1,000 blogs published; help a girl out by following my blog. It can be on WordPress or through Twitter, or Instagram posts of the blog. I’d love to make 1,000 followers! We have lots of excitement happening in July, and none of it includes loud noises! It will more likely include a celebratory cupcake or two and ice cream. Everyone loves ice cream.

I’m getting some Post things taken care of this morning, later today will be the monthly task of updating all the social media, website, calendars, events, etc. It’s a task I’m turning over sometime in the near future, I hope. I’m managing too many things, I have to let go of several to make room for my stuff; books, etc.

I’m getting pretty good at doing some reading every day. I’m nearly finished with half of Where the Crawdads Sing. It gets better the more I read. I recommend it. And I’m doing this, too:

Today’s task: Get the blue v’s in there. Wish me luck!

This center medallion with end up being an afghan for myself. I’ve made probably 50 over my lifetime, but never one for me or my home. Kids, nieces & nephews, and brothers, but never for me. It’s symbolic in a way. As I need to free my time from other responsibilities, and stop checking that darned phone. Crocheting helps me stop doing the phone check. Sometimes, I try to check the spelling of a word while writing, then I fall down the rabbit hole of FB, etc. We all do it. Now to unlearn it!

As I think of years’ past of the Fourth of July holidays, some were spent with relatives, some not. As a younger kids, if Dad had the day off, I think we were at his brother’s home for a picnic. I remember the watermelon, and one aunt ate the white part of the rind. Anyone else do that? I never heard of it before. And when in high school, we would go to Mom’s sister’s home for a picnic and the first time I ever experienced people doing their own “big” fireworks. It was fun.

After I was married and had kids, we’d go to the local AAA ball team’s 4th of July celebration and fireworks display. I always held the baby, Becky, because she didn’t like the noise, and was sleepy. She’d cry, poor thing! We sat so close, the ashes rained down on us when they fell from the sky. They probably don’t allow that anymore.

And now, I just like for the dogs to be ok. The Babe and I have steak to grill today, and hunker in for another evening of noise. Glad it’ll be over soon. I’m going now to sit and read while the Babe watches this week’s NASCAR race. We’re good just sitting in the same room quietly. Enjoy whatever you do, noisy or quiet, with your relatives or at home, and remember how lucky we are to live here, in the land of the free, because of the brave. See you tomorrow, thanks for reading!

#991 and Counting!

Today, June 26, 2022, is such a beautiful day outside. We had a fundraiser for Guitars for Vets at Nebraska Brewing Company, in the Omaha area, and at 2 p.m. had a baseball game for Gavin in Papillion. It was busy, but a fun day. Something for everyone for sure.

The kids won their game, which made for a bunch of happy boys. They were really into it. It’s been awhile since they won, and it was deserved. We won’t be to any games this week, so hope they do well in Springfield, Nebraska tomorrow. We have an appointment with a new vet for the girls. She’s our friend, Katie Lackovic. It’ll be fun to see how they do with her.

Each and every day, we need to value. Value the gift of the day. You may be overworked and underpaid, but you’ve received a gift by waking up.

So as I wrote blog #991, I thought how cool it’d be to reach 1000 subscribers every time I publish a blog. That’d be cool! I believe it includes people who actually subscribe by receiving an email when published, and people who follow on other social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’m pretty excited about the prospect, even if they don’t happen at the same time. I never thought that would happen, but with steady work comes steady progress. I’m grateful for all the followers, regardless of where they come from.

This, of course, does not include the weird “Please send me a friend request, blah, blah, blah. Those are a special kind of pesky. Blocking them does no good. They persist. Ugh! The downside of social media.

I have some plans this week, regarding my children’s book. I want to get feedback from several people. I know a couple kindergarten teachers; a grief resource person; my artist; and a couple of other people who have kids and love to read to them. I want some honest feedback to edit it down. It should be fun.

And I have a quilt to continue getting applique pieces copied and cut out. It’s coming along. Christmas should be fun!

I felt like sort of a bum for relaxing and reading yesterday, but I was having some bad rib pain from the scoliosis I have. It did a lot of good. I finished “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.” It was fun to read. I loved the character development the author did. I admire how the author developed the individuals and how they all fit together at the ending. Great story, great problems, great solutions. No wonder it’s sold over a million copies.

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the evening. We will. Relaxing after a busy day is the best. See you tomorrow!

Faults v. Virtues

When you think of yourself, what comes to mind first?

“I could lose 30 pounds.”

“I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.”

“I’m a terrible Mom.”

As a child, we’re often taught not to talk about our abilities. “Don’t be conceited,” they tell us. “It’s not polite.” Especially for a girl. I remember reading in a Catholic Girl (was that the title? don’t remember for sure) Magazine, it was stressing the duty of the girl to remain “pure” in mind, body, and heart. Part of the duty was to praise the boyfriend, and be his lovely assistant in everything, to know their place. We didn’t hear “Good Job!” every time we did something. Some of us were told a “B” wasn’t good enough, it should have been an “A”.

Wow, that was the late 50s and early 60s for you. No more. We weren’t supposed to be smarter than the boys, or stronger, or better at doing anything. Wow. There are many very intelligent women, strong women, who are the best at what they do. How sad we were instructed to dumb ourselves down. How can we live fully is we pretend to be less than what we actually are?

I, for one, hadn’t a clue what I was going to do with the rest of my life after the kids grew up. I didn’t want to hover over them, after all, you have them to send them out into the world. I loved my kids to pieces, and knew I was happiest with them. I couldn’t keep having kids because I didn’t have a life plan.

Making the decision to go to community college was the best thing I ever did. Having a lot of interests made it a little harder to decide what to do. I decided on Medical Secretary. I earned a certificate, but found a job at ConAgra. Lots of on the job training by observing a huge business working. It was amazing.

I took many business classes and was finally offered a programmer trainee position if I completed a certification program for a year. I would have been crazy not to do it. It launched me way further than I could have imagined.

By learning I had value, talents, abilities, I experienced a lot of growth as a person and in my career. I finally knew I did a good job. While I think kids may not need constant praise, I believe some is needed. Too many wounded adults are walking the earth. Many others don’t realize they are. We need to learn to accept our virtues and talents. Otherwise we can be overwhelmed by our faults. Those two sentences from Robert G. Coleman leapt of the page at me this morning. So many of us spend time tabulating our faults. We need to tally our virtues. Take some time doing that today. Do it every day. Be fair. You will discover your worth.

Self deprecation can be funny, we need to laugh at ourselves. Taken too far, it’s not good. It’s only recognizing part of ourselves. We need to recognize all that we are in order to become all we can. Don’t let your faults define you and your legacy. Start today. Appreciate yourself. And make it a habit.

Have a beautiful day. It’s lovely outside in the shade. Going to check the plants now. Be safe. See you tomorrow.

Monday Morn

Have you ever had a consumer complaint against a company regarding payment that lingered on for nearly a year? Hope that never happens to any of you. I just finally got it resolved this morning.

I was a customer of Phillips 66 Gasoline company since 1988. Some of you weren’t even born yet! But yes, never an issue. In the last year with gas prices escalating, I paid special attention to our monthly bills. The Babe and I used the same account, and I paid the balance off every month. Last year, July of 2021, the bills went up over $100 a month. Now, they’re even higher, although we now each pay at the pump as we individually fill up whichever vehicle we’re driving.

In July, I paid the bill through First National Bank’s Bill Pay feature. Always reliable. Late last summer, the oil company switched from in-house credit to Synchrony Credit. Not good. Not good at all.

At first, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. The only way to resolve anything was phone only. And hold on forever until you’re sure you’re on IGNORE, not HOLD. That puts you in an immediate bad mood, holding on for 20 minutes. I secured what was needed from my bank – numerous times. I got the credit, then a month or two later, bam. They added the amount of $214 + change back on to my account, saying I didn’t provide them with what was needed. Wow.

I can tell you, they no longer care how long you’ve been a customer. They no longer care you cut up your credit card. They often cut your call off in the middle of talking. You have to start over with the hold/ignore cycle. Aggravating as heck.

I received a message from Synchrony again I needed to provide more information. I called the number, finally with an extension number, and talked to a lady I could understand. Bonus! She actually investigated my account and told me they applied it to my BP VISA card. Which I’ve never had. At last! They made a boo-boo! Vindicated, after all this time! I was about ready to celebrate a one year anniversary with that $214.++ balance. (Sarcasm font used).

Cue Etta James’ At Last. Finally! I found a decent customer service rep.

As we go throughout the rest of the day, let’s be pleasant with customer service reps. While searching for “service” stock photos, mostly baristas appear. Isn’t that crazy, what we’ve become? You won’t see a clerk at a department store as an example, either. My, how things have changed. A lot of years have passed between seeing Grandma Jewell standing behind the glass candy display counter at the family drug and sundries store, and Mr. Chase working in the pharmacy, compounding drugs. Grandma knew every kid in South Omaha. And they respected her, too. She was just that way. What fond memories I have of her!

I’m off to a meeting now, hope you all have a wonderful Monday. I’m having one, it will just get better. Make it a sunny day where you are. See you tomorrow!

Sometimes . . .

I couldn’t tell you what I love more; watching Gavin play baseball, or watching his dad, TJ coach his team. It would be like trying to choose my favorite child. The team played very well last night; their first game of a tournament weekend. TJ was not only coach, but head cheerleader, encouraging each kid and their unique talents; Chief Medic, tending to head bumps, re-injuring an elbow; and helping a little guy stop his nose bleed so he could continue pitching; and equipment manager, gathering it all up after the game so he’s ready for the 10 a.m. game today. That man can do it all!

You can tell the boys look up to their coach. They are learning not only how to pitch, field, bat, and the rules of the game, they are learning how to be young men. They are learning to concentrate on this game, the one right now, not dwelling on yesterday’s mistakes. Their coach has a different approach, he appears firm but fair, plays everyone, and corrects their form as needed. Before the game last night, he told them, “Just play better than you did Tuesday.” Tuesday night was a terribly off night for everyone, all at once. They did! Crossing my fingers on today.

I’m excited to go this afternoon to my class about using my new sewing machine. I’m not only learning about something new, I’m opening another door towards creativity. Hoping to get back to making things to wear (in my spare time.)

I look forward to this day, and learning. The Babe just texted. Gavin’s game is on, with a 15 minute rain delay. I hope he has a great game. He’s learning about the strategy of resting his arm when he’s the pitcher. Dad calculates carefully how much Gavin can pitch, and he plays other positions in between. He’s great at first base, catcher, but seems a little bored at second, the outfield, and third. You can just see the improvement since the first game, and that is because the boys are learning, and growing as players, under the guidance of their coach. So proud of him. Our family is so blessed.

Time to get in front of the new sewing machine. May you all have a wonderful Saturday. We’re planning to. See you tomorrow!