Reminiscing. Class of 1970.

For the first time today, I went to the First Friday of the Month Luncheon for my graduating class. There were enough to fill one long table @ Sortino’s Pizzaria. Pizza pleases everyone, so why not? It was great fun to sit and listen to people I knew from school all those years ago.

And, since I was introverted, I felt some of that today. It’s hard for me to talk about what I’ve done with my life. Thanks to be homie Gwen for mentioning I’m a writer. The thing of it is, though, I want to continue getting to know these people, who all took time out of their lives to gather and remember. The end of the month, we have a guided tour of the new public school built on the property our school occupied. It should be a good time, then food and beverages later, with everyone who wants to attend. I do want to see the school, it’s an opportunity to see what goes on now in a school. Looking forward to it.

Relationship building is important to me. It’s even more important at this part of life; our seventh decade on this planet, still learning how to maneuver through this crazy thing called life. Whatever you choose to put in front of you as the driving force for your existence, select and do it. Volunteering for a reputable organization is important to the Babe and me. The VFW Post 2503, one who has survived the closures so far, is the main one. Through work there, we met the folks at Guitars for Vets, Moving Veterans Forward, and 50 Mile March. A group of top notch people, who are committed to bettering the lives of our brave veterans who are suffering from homelessness and/or PTSD. Help is there, and we feel committed to promote it.

I’ve resumed Hello Fresh meals this week. We took a little time off from their delivery to use up the Omaha Steaks package of meat we won at a raffle. It was a little weird to cook with our own ingredients again, but I could get used to it. There is something about not having to walk the aisles in the store that I’m happy to give up, the loading the car, unloading the car, putting everything way. I’d be exhausted after each trip to the store. I can use the extra couple hours a week to write, or read about writing. It’s turned into my “life.”

So the kid’s book is out for review by a couple people, and I’ve gotten some pretty good feedback so far. It’s coming along. This weekend will be for working on my crochet project for me (part 2 arrived this week, so I need to get moving); normal blogging and stuff; and putting more things from my old sewing machine cabinet away in their new places. More nostalgia to come.

Visit with old friends and make new ones. Whatever separated us in high school is over long ago. We forge ahead in this life, learning, improving, and loving more as we go along. Remember that as you go about your weekend. Take care of you, too. And we’ll see each other tomorrow.

First Step: Resist Temptation

We’ve talked many times about breaking bad, unproductive habits.

I’m reigning my life in again, lots to create, only so many hours in the day to do things. Yesterday, we spent a couple hours with Gavin and his family at the ballpark again. It was hot, but not bad. There was a slight breeze, we drank a lot of water, and it was good. We stopped and had pizza on the way home. The header photo is our view from the deck yesterday morning, during coffee. I love it!

I’m tickled with my promise to me and you to start on my grandkids’ quilts for Christmas gifts. Yes, it’s early, but they take a lot of time. And it’s a perfect way to get used to my new Brother sewing machine. So last night, I took the envelopes with the first two sets of blocks. They’re from JoAnn’s Fabric Store. I decided to hand applique, so took the steps necessary to cut out the pieces with freezer paper adhered. Maybe I’ll take pictures later so non-quilters can see what I mean. It’s a start, and I’m happy about that.

This morning was the true test. The Babe left just after zero dark thirty to get to the Post and load the blank ammo into the rifles for the Honor Guard this morning, then load the rifles in the car for transport with some of the guys to Omaha National Cemetery.

It’s already hot and humid, but cooler and less humid than where we’re headed today. Took the watering can and dogs out, watered the flowers on the patio, played with the dogs a bit. When I came back inside, the national news was on. I just can’t tolerate hearing any more speculation about shootings, riots, and all the other stuff. I think we’re in a pretty frightening era. I flipped to the guide on the remote. Ahhhh. Chicago PD. All day long.

Without the promise I just made to the world, I would have plopped down and vegged out for awhile. But I resisted. Sounds silly, but I’m so proud! I’m really doing this! It takes baby steps to get started, and I’m there. It’s only Monday, but here we are. It is progress. And that’s a lot in breaking bad habits that waste time.

Coincidentally, a Facebook Virtual Quilting Group I’ve been part of for years, has dwindled down, not meeting every Wednesday as we used to. To honor a beautiful soul, Vickie W Calkins, we have decided to start meeting again. Vickie passed away unexpectedly last week. She had such a big heart, both for people and our pets. When we lost both of our dogs (we had them cross the Rainbow Bridge together; they had always been together and they were both ill), she sent me a couple of beautiful keepsakes; coffee mug and a necklace with paws on it. She was that kind of person. We will miss her.

This really speaks to the good of social media. A group of 91 women from many different places, forming in 2012 (I think) and forming friendships, exchanging quilting knowledge, and even recipes. I’ve made some good friends. We’ve shared victories, losses, ill health, and lots of life’s gifts. Another very sweet woman, Jan Kutschinski, suggested we make it a point to become active again, to honor Vicki. I think it’s a great idea.

One of the things I’ve discovered in life is God sends me messages about what I should be doing. I believe Jan’s idea for THE Virtual Quilting Bee to become active again is one of those messages. I’ve been wanting to dedicate a day to quilting for a long time. Now I’ll actually do it. Thanks, Jan. And Vicki. Motivation comes from many places. Check your life! You’ll see some, too. Sandy Long, founder of our group, thanks to you, too. Because of all of this, I’ll get more of my creativity back.

And now, I have to get going on other household stuff before it’s too hot to water the flowers outside, straighten out a few things, and get started on that quilt. It will be a very productive Monday. Stay hydrated today, folks. It’s beastly outside, and should be over 100 degrees with high humidity several times the next week or two. Welcome to summer in Nebraska. Check on your elderly, young kids, and yourselves. Heat Stroke is no joke. Be safe. See you tomorrow!

December 26. Is It Over?

If you view it as only pertaining to gifts, what you got, and what you didn’t get, it’s over. And that’s sad. If you view it as the joy of sharing meals and time with your people, be it bio family, friend family, or a mix of both, it is just beginning. And that’s wonderful.

Why? Because you get it. You understand the importance of building bonds, friendships, and what it takes to maintain them. You get a bigger kick out of giving rather than receiving. You understand sometimes the gift of time is the most important and appreciated in the life of many. You stay later than you plan because you know telling stories is important to some folks who have had drastic changes in life and health in the past year. Ah, the stories. Great from an expert storyteller. I love to listen, because some of them, no matter how many times you hear them, a new twist or turn can be added and there you go; it’s even funnier than before.

The Babe and I, along with our daughter Tracy, TJ, Addison, Gavin, and cousin Beth, spent another beautiful Christmas afternoon at the lake home of Tracy’s Uncle Lou. Lou is the person who brought the Babe to Omaha to work at his company. He’s known him for over 40 years. Through good times and bad. Through their mutual sicknesses and health. And now, as they’re both retired guys who manufactured a *(^$-load of block, brick during those years, and had tons of adventures together. There are stories to be told and lies to be made up. A bromance before anyone was concerned about such things. Two good men who are best of friends and brothers. It’s a joy to share. One time, I talked to Lou regarding a hospitalization and procedure the Babe was having. He said, “I’ll just stay home and pray. Remember, I’ve loved him longer than you have.” Truer words were never spoken.

My header photo today is of our friend, our Christmas Day host with the most, if you leave his home hungry or thirsty it’s your own doggoned fault, Louie! We love you and are grateful to share another Christmas together. Thank you, Lou, for your generosity, your stories, and most of all, your friendship. Let’s have a great 2022, with more visits and more stories. Let’s enjoy! And I believe we probably all need a power nap before the KC Chiefs play football today.

Folks, if you have a Louie in your life, make sure you make time for them soon and often. We all need to make priorities for what is important, and what is more a priority than lifelong friendship? Be safe out there today if you’re traveling or out exchanging gifts. This is a look at mine, I opened those Amazon boxes on Christmas Day and gosh, I’m glad I bought them. More reading and learning for 2022! But I won the book in the middle, “Venus the Monk,” by Cory Swanson. Thanks, Cory! I appreciate winning!

I appreciate you reading today, we are pre-planning our projects for next year, and it’s going to be awesome. Thank you for sticking with me. We’re so close to having some finished books to read. See you tomorrow!

House of Gucci

There is nothing like taking the afternoon off to spend at the movies with a girlfriend, a bit tub of popcorn, and Lady Gaga, Al Pacino, and Jared Leto. Wow. Great acting, great story, great everything. If Gaga isn’t best actress, and Leto isn’t best actor for the upcoming academy awards, I’ll be greatly surprised.

Acting is something not everyone is cut out for. Seriously. Especially for a movie, there needs to be a great story first. Those based on real life are favorites of mine. You can’t make that stuff up. But relatives of people told about could sue you. “Based on real events” gets you off the hook, I think.

But having people who can act the parts is important. Adam Driver, IMHO, was a milquetoast kind of character. I didn’t see him as a powerful force at all. Maybe he’s that good an actor, you know? I can’t say because I’ve not seen him in anything else. His wife pushed him to get involved, advised him on business decisions, and insisted on running the show. The driving force behind her ambition was greed. It’s the oldest story in the book, right?

You just can’t beat Al Pacino as family patriarch. He was in his element, as the aging, Italian businessman. He’s had a storied career as a method actor and is always good. His performance is great, as always, and I just wasn’t surprised by anything. He was typical Al Pacino. Always awesome.

Jared Leto? You just won’t believe him. He’s so unrecognizable. And the acting. Go enjoy the movie in a theater while you can. The pandemic may change the availability of theater viewing in the near future, so go while you can. It was perfectly safe. Go. You’ll come back refreshed for the experience. It’s great story telling.

The best part of the whole day? Spending time with my longtime friend Kris. She has been in my life since our junior year in high school. We have been friends for over 50 years, and kept in touch over the years. She and her husband Lenny invited us to the VFW in the first place, and the rest is history.

She lost Lenny in August. She is doing well, and I want to spend time with her much more than we have been. She doesn’t drive anymore, but that doesn’t matter since I do. I’m very aware we need to spend all the time in the world with each other because some day, we won’t be able to.

I’ve been so focused on writing I haven’t spent time with friends as I should. A NYT best seller wouldn’t be worth losing precious time with them while we still can. Sometimes we don’t get a choice in when those friendships end. A stroke or serious illness can happen at any age. We’re boomers, and you never know if you may have cognitive issues with age. This is not a doom and gloom attitude; it’s the reality of life in our late 60s and early 70s.

Think about who you can spend more time with during this season. It doesn’t have to be a family member. Friends need our presence this time of year, too. Don’t overlook people right in front of you! It will do you a lot of good, too. You can never regret presence instead of presents. It’s what the season of love is all about. It helps our worlds all become a better place.

Yes, some people with greed in their hearts and hate in their souls behave like the real-life characters in the House of Gucci. Some people live to bulldoze people out of their way, on the way to power and wealth. You can have it. Not my style at all. Remember who is with you during the tough times, the hard times, the times you want to give up. Those are your real friends.

This Christmas season, be a good friend. Start now. By 12/31/2021, it will be a habit, a big part of your life and character. See you tomorrow!

Simply Saturday

Today started pretty early, since the Babe had to go to the Post before the Craft Show started, then go to a funeral with the Honor Guard. It’s end of the month, too, with the books needing balancing for the Post, so he’ll be busy the next few days. Always is. I need to get some plants taken care of this weekend, because before I know it, the frost will take care of what I haven’t. It always happens before I am ready.

It’s not like it’s a surprise or anything. Once the days shorten, football starts, the chill is in the air, and Chili tastes so good. It always happens, so why does it still surprise me? I could not tell you. I always think I have more time. I have a couple mum plants to plant in the ground. Hopefully, they’ll put enough roots forth to live through the winter. Then I can add a couple more next year. And I have succulents to transplant from an outdoor container into separate pots. They’ve done really well this year. And I’m ready for winter to come. Well, let’s start first with fall. OK?

I’m having champagne with breakfast tomorrow – it’s our 23rd Anniversary! It’s such a wonderful reminder of the day that united us. I love them as much as birthdays. We weren’t sure how many anniversaries we’d have due to the Babe’s ischemic heart disease. It’s almost silly how worried/scared I was of losing him early in our marriage. I was so used to finding an excuse why relationships wouldn’t last, I had an idea picked out already; he had bad luck with arterial blockage. How self-defeating that was. I didn’t think I deserved a relationship, much less could keep one together. But this one was special. It has lasted. It’s lasted through illness, retirement, disability, cancer, and heart disease. I’m so proud to be this man’s wife. It’s perfect for me, and for him.

And it’s not just this man; it’s also his family. My bestest geek friend is the Babe’s brother-in-law. We just “get” each other. I/T people have weird senses of humor. No one else in the family “gets” it, but we do. And the babies in the family! They’re beautiful. God is good. I am one lucky woman. Have a beautiful evening, (GO HUSKERS!), and see you tomorrow!