The Gown by Jennifer Robson

This book, this work of historical fiction, was the best gift during the sad time of the Queen dying and the country mourning their longest reigning monarch. Prince William may have a shot at reigning longer, but who knows.

Much speculation has been written about the royals, the way life is for them, and other such stories. I love how this story, the real-life marriage of Princess Elizabeth and her Prince Phillip, was such a boost to the moral of Britain after WWII and it’s aftermath, is told. I can certainly understand the plight of the subjects, the ruin the country was in, and the lack of comfort that ruled the land. I can see why many folks would emigrate to Canada, which is under British Rule.

It makes me wonder how many young women, pregnant out of wedlock, relocated and acted as widows, which was respectable over unmarried and pregnant. How good that times have changed, and changed for the better.

The story of the ladies who used their talents for the intricate designs of embroidery on the princesses’ gown is deep with characters, skill of the ladies after years of practice, and the camaraderie of the women who did this work. I envy their skill, and I admire the art they created. I love to embroidery, but I only do stamped cross stitch/other stitches. Even people who do counted cross stitch amaze me. So many works of art, and not many younger women taking up these hobbies. It’s a shame.

This book is for anyone who loves the Royals, fine stitchery, and beautiful gowns. I hope you read it and enjoy it as much as I did. How the world has changed, and how much we needed the changes!

Hope you have a wonderful evening, and see you tomorrow.

BROTHER SE1900

I cannot describe how exciting it is to have a new sewing machine. I’m going pretty slowly learning basic functions, nothing is the same as it was. I’m also wanting to joke with my younger brothers that, “Dangit! I have another BROTHER! Not AGAIN!” I’m an only girl. I’m glad, I always had my own room. Until I met the Babe, I had my own room for an additional 14 years. So, here I am with the Babe and four brothers. One of them a machine.

This baby tells you when you’re just about of bobbin thread. What a welcome feature! No more playing beat the bobbin, to find out you ran out five minutes ago.

It’s been a little challenge, since I bought it in late May and just now am trying to use it. Of course, I forgot all the instruction for my couple hours with Jenny, the owner of MJ Supply. They were the only listed Brother dealer in the Omaha area. The price is what made me buy the machine. I had never considered an embroidery machine. It came with the package, so who am I to turn down an upgrade? I see some fun projects in my future.

Thought I’d get to write about Homecoming, but that won’t be until tomorrow. The photos don’t sync as quickly as I’d like from photos to Google Photos/Wordpress. It’ll still be a good story. Memories and all.

Have a beautiful rest of the evening. I guess we’ve gone from Football to NASCAR now. I looked up from reading, and there were race cars on the screen. I wondered what happened. The Babe just works the remote way too fast for me to keep up. See you tomorrow!

Playing Catch-Up.

With three appointments for Mom this week, a visitation and then funeral for our friend. Everything is behind; the laundry, the Hello Fresh meals from last week need cooked before they spoil, my kid book and other projects are on hold momentarily, and my mind and heart are else-where. This happens to me after losses.

I’ve mentioned before how the Babe and I have lost many people in the last two years. With Janet, now the count is eight in 20 months. They were all ages and walks of life; they were ALS, COVID, Congestive Heart Failure, COPD/Congestive Heart Failure, Kidney Cancer & old age, Sepsis/Lung Infection, Lymphoma, and Cancer/Strokes/Dementia. What a list.

In my grief, I’m thinking and remembering how it was to get through every day after Dad died. It was hard, with him dying December 7th, Christmas on the horizon, and his birthday on January 1. All those events within 30 days of his death really left us scrambling to figure out how to cope.

I’m enjoying seeing all the FB photos posted of Janet with family, friends, and acquaintances. It made realize we didn’t have any photos of us together; all our pictures were of the kids. That’s how things were back in the 80s. No selfies or group selfies. But I have wonderful memories and many reasons to smile.

Today was a late day appointment with Mom, and she’s pretty frustrated. It took such a long time to get there, then to find out, we made a useless trip. Things happen, and she gets really upset. We are indeed the sandwich generation: elderly parents and grandkids. My in-laws are deceased, and Mom is the only one left. She is requiring more care and time the older she becomes. The grand kids are spreading their wings and Mom’s needing hers clipped. How about that?

It’s time to relax and try to get some sleep. I’m so glad I do not have to leave the house tomorrow. Meals are prepared and only need nuking, and I plan to visit my children’s book again. My friend’s grandson Donnie IV may like my book about Roxie and Gavin. He saw his grandpa very sad yesterday. He is too, and will remember yesterday for a long time. He stepped in front of us and called out to Grandpa, giving him hugs and kisses. It was so sweet. This is what makes life worth living, and it’s what keeps us going on.

Have a beautiful evening, and we’ll see each other tomorrow. Be safe out there.

Saturday 7/23/2022

No matter our vision, being in the mood, sometimes things just don’t go as you want.

This extreme heat, humidity, and general funk has settled in my ankle hardware, so it’s been a pretty miserable day walking around the house. And breathing. Asthma flares in humid weather, and in cold weather. I have never smoked, and I can’t imagine what that must feel like if you have asthma, COPD, or any other lung issues. I feel badly for the elders at the VFW who are on oxygen. Must be awful!

The dogs don’t want outside, but they went to the doggie spa today for baths. They really love their new groomer, and always come home with cute scarves. We went out to lunch and came home, waiting for the dogs to be finished. Other than that, it’s not much of a day, really. I’m reading a whole bunch of “Enchantress of Numbers.” If we don’t watch a movie, I may read the rest of the evening.

I hope you’re having a good Saturday. Ours is quiet and that’s fine. It may be another resting day tomorrow. Stay in from the heat, stay hydrated, and don’t be in the sun long! We all have more books to read. See you tomorrow.

Another New Start Today!

Nothing revs me up more than considering that each and every month begins with a brand new, shiny group of days that we get a do-over. Today is no exception. What will we do this month? We hope a lot. Both personally and as volunteers. Of course, the first thing will be with getting back to my novel. That should begin this week, with just reading what I’ve written so far. It will require reading all my notes, especially the ones from my sessions with Book Coach, Sam Tyler. I’m hearing her voice when I’m working now, little reminders of memory to remind me of what I should remember while writing.

Next, we’ll get better organized with blogging, publishing by taking advantage of pre-scheduling the publishing. It’s worked well as a trial, and some days are more conducive to writing blogs, others lead me to wanting to quilt. I’ve had a project sitting on the sewing machine for nearly a year now. It’s time to put the blocks together by rows and sashings, followed by adding boarders. It’s a beautiful quilt, all with batik fabrics. They have fascinated me since I learned in high school art class how the combination of dye and wax create the beautiful fabric.

I felt all smart when I was re-introduced to the word batik, and how the fabrics were so unique. They’re also expensive. I’ve been a miser with the few batik fabrics I’ve purchased, and whenever I use them, I know the resulting project has more love in it. Creating anything is very fulfilling, and calming. There are certainly a lot of ways to do it. Find one you may like. If you don’t, try something else. Small risks and changes to find something you may love to do.

It’s with gratitude we look at doing more outreach for the VFW Post we belong to. There are always countless opportunities to offer help for groups in the area. Right now, we want to concentrate on NE COPS, Moving Veterans Forward, and Guitars for Vets. We may add another one or two, but want to do each one well, not spreading ourselves too thin. Common sense should always prevail.

Friday of this week is my 50 + 1 High School Reunion. I expect it will be a time for renewing old friendships. The people who remain in your lives for that long are indeed special. I expect there will be touching base with people we knew, but didn’t hang out together. Maybe new friends will be cultivated from former acquaintences. I am looking forward to it. It’s another “New Beginning.”

It’s early Sunday morning, it’s going to be a perfect day for our Car Show, benefitting Guitars for Vets and Moving Veterans Forward’s scheduled 50 Mile March later this month. It is a march from Lincoln to Omaha, highlighting Veterans homelessness and those who suffer from PTSD. Very worthy organizations. Praying for a great outcome today. Time to get ready, and get out there! Be a blessing today. Let’s plan on seeing each other tomorrow, ok?

Monday; Just the Start!

It’s a bright, shiny new week, and we’re going to have fun. Cartney is working on her drawings in between the life of a very busy high school graduate, who is a very involved person. She’s involved with all aspects of life. Shouldn’t we all be that engaged? I think so.

At my age I don’t have the energy I used to. At the same time, the ideas are flowing faster and fuller than ever before in life. I suppose that’s how it is being a creative sort of person. My problem at the moment isn’t ideas, it’s time and energy. Once you get the mind straight, it’s hard to get everything else in line. Some days.

Meetings today about our fundraiser for NE Cops (Concerns of Police Survivors). The Babe and I attended a concert a month ago and learned about the cause. It’s phenomenal what they are doing. This event will help raise funds to send three Nebraska families to Washington, DC for the Police Memorial Week in October. It’s a good and right thing to do for the community around us. And my heart goes out to the families.

In the world around us, last week a fine young man and the love of his life were married. What a happy thing to see on Facebook! And the more we are positive, reading affirmations, living them, and defeating fear and negativity, the better the world becomes. This doesn’t mean we’re living perfect lives. Quite to the contrary. Things are not perfect. Those are not what we concentrate on. We have to let things build us up, not tear us down. I know it’s hard. There are two major things in my life that are very far from perfect; they cause me great sadness. I have decided either I accept them or I let them ruin my whole life. Yes, it creeps in at times. I allow myself to feel sad about it. And then I move on. I have to. Or life and I would be miserable. The Devil cannot win.

I use the energy to do good for other people. It feels good. Organizations are grateful. I don’t do it for me; I do it because it’s good for other people, I’m occupied with something positive, and good happens because of it. I am so tempted to buy the shirt that reads:

Underestimate Me

That Will Be Fun

It doesn’t necessarily mean something negative. It’s just when it gets down to the wire, I’ve pulled myself out of some incredible situations. All with God’s help. It’s not that the ego is leading, it’s simply I know I can go up against obstacles. And come out well. I don’t look at it as winning or losing. I see it as achieving vs. fearing. I know things become clearer the further I go into the unknown. It took a lifetime to learn that. It has taken the last twenty years to say it out loud and realize it’s how God has worked in me for me. And I’m grateful. I need to use it for good. I try to.

Good things continue when you get into the habit of looking for them. Make it a daily habit and you’ll be surprised at how well your days are. A baby in the store, a puppy on a leash, nature, the neighbor kid, they can all be a source of joy. Let’s keep looking at the good. See you again tomorrow. Be Safe out there, and hold the door open for someone. It’ll be a nice thing.

(Mumbling) Monday?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Today

Sometimes, I take on more than I can do. None of you ever do that, do you? I didn’t think so. How do you fit it all in, since it’s all a top ten priority? Beats me. All I know is for today, I have to select THE most urgent things I can do today. And listen to some wonderful music while I do.

First order: The Music. Glen Campbell, “I’ll Be Me” soundtrack. It some really beautiful music, and I think it reflects not only his long career and his musical abilities but also his deepest gratitude for the beautiful life he lived. Yes, his addictions required he deal with them. He resolved them one day at a time, like any other addicted person does.

The music helps me think, eases my mind, and helps me make sound (haha) decisions. There’s no other way to state it. My Second order: Make the list and prioritize.

I’m behind on NaNoWriMo (about 5,250 words behind). If I keep this pace, it’ll take me until January 2, 2021 to finish (2)

Consider if blogging five to seven days’ worth of blogs at once (4); (Have them readied to publish. If a topic becomes more timely than one “in the can,” definitely write the new one, but keep the others ready. Perhaps in entire hours available per day would allow more words written in the novel for NaNoWriMo. Many people do that very thing. It is definitely an option, and it could allow me to return to my beloved hobby of quilting. I haven’t touched hands to fabric in what feels like forever).

I need to publish a blog every day (3);

I need to prep and bake some items for our meals next week (4);

Load the car with the contributions we have for Moving Veterans Forward; (5)

Cleaning up the house (vacuuming, dusting, mopping floors); (6)

Reading a memoir while writing Katie’s story; (7).

The memoir I selected was of Carol Gino, a nurse, author, and twenty-year friend of Mario Puzo. He taught her much about writing. I love reading his advice to her while she was beginning her writing career. He considered his book, “The Godfather” to be a commercial sellout. He hated his writing in it; yet he desperately needed the income for his wife and five children. This was a book I purchased because of Carol Gino’s name. I’ve been Facebook friends with her in a group for years. Never met her, never knew she knew “The Godfather’s” creator. What a cool thing to learn about! Unexpected surprises every day help make life an adventure, no matter how many decades you live.

No, these things don’t sound like very much, but they are time-consuming. And great to accomplish during regular times, much less during busy days. Oh, I’m not finished with the jotted list yet.

Get groceries from Walmart; (2A) This has a timeframe of Noon to 1p.m. I chose that time, so I need to comply. A break in the action always disrupts my progress. Note to self: learn to dig in after interruptions. I had that ability as a Mom, I’m a little rusty now.

Post on Instagram, (Twitter, Facebook (3A): This is not only for my author pages but also for the VFW Post FB, Twitter, Instagram accounts. This is time consuming, since I’m creating content for both entities. I love doing it, be aware, however, it’s a time-warp if you are not careful. It’s quite easy to wander around in those apps and not accomplish what you set out to do.

The Babe is right with me. He needs to complete some work outside before these gale-force winds make it impossible to use the hose attachment of soap to wash the windows. After today, it will be too cold to do that. But Goldie needed some attention and play time. She wins! Kind of like Walmart for me – I’m heading there in a few minutes.

For today, don’t stress over everything. Yes, the list is long. Time is short. You can only do so much. Do What You Can. See you tomorrow!