Retirement, Boring?

Whoever thought retirement is boring, and you watched The Price is Right nonstop, just doesn’t know what ours is like. We love hanging with the grandkids and they aren’t the biggest time we spend in a week anymore. They are busy with friends and school, and we are, too.

I’ve mentioned before the Babe is Quartermaster for the VFW Post 2503 in Omaha. It takes a lot of his time. He is also Honor Guard Captain. He may attend 5 funerals in a week or less. I’m proud he is so involved.

Then, there are the Veterans groups and causes we support. Today, Moving Veterans Forward, had an official ribbon cutting ceremony. Ron Hernandez, an Army Veteran and all around good person, has an organization who supports Veterans as they transition from homelessness to living in an apartment. He has used furniture, household goods, and all the things a person needs to have while establishing their home. Our Post helps collect such items, and we deliver to the warehouse as needed.

The Auxiliary ladies worked the food line and helped people enjoy the afternoon. The Mayor of Papillion was present, congressional representative Don Bacon, and many folks from the Chamber of Commerce to Ron’s volunteers. He is tireless. He is mission driven. His motto is, “I wouldn’t leave you alone on the Battlefield, and I’m sure not leaving you alone at home.” He lives this every day.

I admire the time he makes in his life for his passion. He credits his wife Kim with “letting him do these things.” I’m so honored to know these people. We’ll work more together the rest of the year. We are all better off in a community that cares so much for its veterans. He is always thinking of new ways to help Veterans restore order to their lives. He lives in their reality. No bureaucracy, no red tape, and the encouragement of their peers is the order of the day. Such good things happen.

It’s been a very long day, and tomorrow will be more of the same. Baseball game for Gavin, meeting my cousin’s grandbaby, our new vet’s open house, and the evening with Billy McGuigan. What could be better? Rock of Ages closes tomorrow night. It should be a great night. More on that later.

Have a good evening. Let’s see each other tomorrow! Stay safe out there. And I’m saying an extra prayer tonight for my friend, Ron Hernandez. He does so much good for people. We need more like him. Like Ron, be generous. Be kind. Be driven.

Monday, Monday

There are less than three hours left in this day. It’s late to start a blog, but I can tell you I needed to. This is one happy grandma. Tonight was grandson Gavin’s first baseball game. He did great, and they won! He is on a team named Junior Storm Chasers, named after the Omaha Storm Chasers.

Gavin started wearing glasses this year for his farsightedness. It has made a difference with his practice at bats. He didn’t hit well tonight, and it is just the first game. It will come. He is doing better at practice. And he has the advantage of living with the coach! His dad is the coach this year. TJ was a talented baseball player in high school and college. He is patient with the boys. He encourages them well. And he gets them to shake off bad luck or plays. What a great introduction for them to working for a coach.

While watching and listening to TJ, I couldn’t help but think how proud his dad would be of his son and grandson. Randy passed way too soon, the day before Gavin’s birthday several years ago. This boy’s heart fractured. We feel his absence at every gathering. He has a ring-side seat to watch his son coach and grandson play. He’s proudly telling everyone in heaven, “Those are my boys!”

As I fall asleep tonight, I’m grateful for my grandson, his parents, the Babe, and for the game of baseball. It is still the great American pass time. I’m grateful for the fresh air, the slight breeze that turned chilly later in the game, the little boys learning the game of their heroes. I’m also grateful for the great baseball movies, “The Natural,” “Bull Durham,” (not suitable for kids), and “Field of Dreams.” The stories of Shoeless Joe Jackson, Babe Ruth, and all the rest of the best legends around.

I hope you have pleasant dreams. Tomorrow is tax day. I cannot put it off any longer. See you tomorrow!

Monday Mayhem

So the first day back to normal, whatever that is, and things may go off the rails. The phone calls I intended to make are postponed until tomorrow; I didn’t get the updates done on the website, FB page or elsewhere for the Post. Tomorrow is another day! We will succeed no matter what.

With the start of April this week, Post activities and supporter activities are full speed ahead. All of them. Kind of like herding cats, if you know what I mean. At least all these events are not on the same day, along with the 90th Anniversary of the Post itself. Big party.

After the funeral and sadness last week, there was a spark of regular life, back to the regular pace of life. Our Gavin, a talented baseball player, had a poor year last year. His hitting was not what it had been the previous year. He was quite upset. The header photo is of Gavin, clutching a baseball, while Grandpa Dan gives him a bottle as a baby. I love those little hands clutching the ball.

It turns out the school eye test revealed he needed a professional evaluation. The Doctor determined he is farsighted. What a shock. What a surprise. We did not know. With glasses?

Holy smokes, boys and girls, he is doing well.

Sunday, he had a scrimmage game. Reports are:

First scrimmage was great. His team is 9U. (He will be 10 in June.)

Starting pitcher faced 6 batters, recorded 6 strike-outs.

In his second at bat, he hit one deep into the outfield.

He then played catcher, and he threw out a kid attempting to steal 3rd base.

This player was our grandson, Gavin. He is 9 years old. His dad was an All State Baseball Team Player. I did not know him then. I can tell he was a skilled player. His son carries that athletic talent. It is fantastic to watch it blossom. This Grandma cannot wait to see it all play out. So proud.

I’m proud not only of our grandson, but of our son-in-law, TJ. He is a great Dad. We are so blessed. We plan on having a fantastic summer, attending games. Who cares how hot it is? I surely don’t. Just give me water, and I’ll be fine. So grateful for this opportunity, to see a kid who loves baseball. And has a dad who loves it too. We are so blessed.

My summer is booked. How about yours?

Thank you for reading today. We’ll see each other tomorrow, hopefully, earlier than tonight was. Be safe out there.

No Place I’d Rather Be

Yesterday was such a great day. I met our daughter Tracy, Gavin, and son-in-law TJ at the ballfield to watch Gavin play. TJ coaches. Despite wearing a hooded sweatshirt, and a down vest under a winter coat, and gloves, we were able to brave the elements and watch his two games. He is a pitcher or shortshop, depending on the rotation. He loves to pitch.

It warmed my heart to see Gavin warming up, and his dad behind home plate, catching. I know Gavin gets his athletic ability from his dad. The first toy he grasped and threw was a ball. It’s in his blood. I thought of his Grandpa Randy watching him, too, from a good seat from heaven. Bittersweet, but reality. He’s watching, Gavin. He’s watching. And proud. So proud.

I’m so fortunate to have the step-kids I have. Tracy’s always thoughtful with me. I use my cane to navigate the field around the ball diamond. She brought an extra chair so I wouldn’t have to carry one across the field, juggling cane, water bottle, and chair. I’m grateful for them and their families. Blake is always at the ready to offer his arm to me if I need it walking, and to open my door getting in and out of the car. They’re sincere and I know they would always be available to us for anything we may need. We are grateful.

From my seat at the sidelines, I could tell how tall Gavin has gotten since the last time we were able to watch him play. Last season, I think it was only once because of COVID. What we’ve all had to miss since last year! I hope we are on our way to fewer restrictions (with caution). I hope we will all remain healthy, too. We appreciate the fact no one in our families has become ill with the virus. It’s still a frightening thing. I think we still need to take precautions until we see how the long term effects of the vaccines is. I’m expecting to have to get a booster shot, and I’ll be there for it! I have a lot of important baseball games in my future to watch. I don’t want to miss any; there is truly no place I’d rather be.

I love his determination, his skill, he’s got an arm on him! And to think, he’s grown into this baseball player from this little guy:

Gavin, about two years old, giving Roxie and Lexie with water from his watering can.

I love being a Grandma! I love being a Mom, too. And wife. And author. There is so much to learn with all of these things. You never stop learning, even if it’s just to learn little known facts about something obscure. The more I’m hearing about the unheralded contributions to science, the military, engineering, and the space program by women the more I want to find out. I tell Addison not to ever “dumb yourself down” to have friends. It used to be preached to girls to “let him be smarter than you. Don’t embarrass him.” Yes, I read it in a magazine for Catholic girls while I was growing up. Seriously.

I am very happy we no longer encouraged to do that anymore. Girls used to be raised as “less than” boys. Boys were valuable. Girls? Not so much. So happy those days are gone. A brother-in-law of my ex-husband had three girls with his wife. He always commented first on their intelligence, not their looks. I loved that, too. The focus was not on anything superficial like looks. They are all stunning women, as well as intelligent. they have done well, and they have the best dad! He and his wife are one of my favorite couples, and I’m grateful to have them in my life after all these years.

The Babe is home today, and we are just going to spend time on the deck or patio. We seem to rarely have a day home together. I plan to make he most of it, so I’m going to hit “Publish” and do just that. Thank you for reading, and have a beautiful, safe day. Be Kind. We’ll get through this. Be Thoughtful. Wear your mask. See you tomorrow!

Monday, Monday

When I was in the eighth grade, the Mamas and Papas came out with the song “Monday, Monday.” And “California Dreamin.” They had some good ones back in the day. That time seems much closer than it was, over fifty years ago! That’s forever!

Before graduation, we thought we were the best. We were King of the hill, Queen of the mountain, and the oldest in the elementary school called St. Bridget’s. We were soon to receive our comeuppance when we went to our different High Schools for the first time as Freshman. No longer King or Queen of anything and longed for those glory days. Before we knew it, the upper classmen of Ryan High School were readying to graduate too, some in three years, and some in the traditional four. We had no identifiers such as Seniors, Juniors, and such. It seemed like we were cheated out of our legacy, but we lived.

Looking for a new profile photo for FB. Which do you like?

It is funny how things mean so much to us as we are looking forward to those life events that are significant. If they don’t happen for whatever reason, we live. We may not want to, but we do. And hindsight is always 20/20, you know? Wouldn’t it be great if foresight was a little more predictable? We might have it made if we had half an idea of the outcome. It might help us make better decisions. We need information upon which to base our decisions. It helps us decide one way or another. The more information, the better decision. Unless you are paralyzed by fear.

Fear stops us from doing things. From taking a job. From moving to the mountains. From marrying someone. From divorcing someone. From taking any risk. Freedom is the right to choose. The right to choose from your alternatives. If you have no choice, you are not a man or woman, you are more of a nameless, faceless member, an instrument, a way of getting something done. And dispensable. Learn to face your fears by understanding them. Where did they come from?

I have a terrible fear of water. I cannot swim. At this point in life, I can paddle with a noodle, that’s enough for me. And I want a warm water pool for my joints. Soothing. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense for me to take up scuba diving. If I learned to swim, and loved it, and was comfortable with the water, I could take up diving. But not until.

What about this writing I’m doing? I started blogging a year ago to get into the habit. The more you write, the better you become. Makes sense. Blogging gets your name “out there.” I’m nearing a year’s worth (in about 50 days or so) of posts, and I’m proud I stuck with it. I have about 100 followers. Not bad! I’m grateful for each of you. I only have about 1/3 of those followers engaging in some way. Sharing, commenting, or just hitting “like.” That’s ok. It’s a start. That’s what I was looking for.

As I’m working with a book coach now, I’ll (hopefully) be ready to publish later this year. And next year, publish more. I’m sure to be working just as hard next year, and there should be more interest in what I have to say. If I decide to quit, it’s all on me. It’s because I decided not to pursue. I haven’t thought about becoming a best selling list author (it’d be nice), what I want now is to be a published author. I’m hoping people will want to buy the books. That’s not first and foremost right now. I’ll dig into marketing when the time comes. Putting my blog out there is a step of marketing. Hopefully, it will attract people who would like to read what I write.

I have a huge interest in publishing children’s books as well. I have the story ideas for two – one, about our Roxie and our grandson Gavin. The other story is about a big loss on Christmas. I’m hoping I’ll have a co-author with that, more later on those projects.

The ideas are rapidly forming. I have no idea if they can all be executed or not, but for now, they’ll be kept for future writing sessions, be it a blog post, a kids book, a family book, or a creative non-fiction. Gee, I’m so glad I learned how to type back in high school. It’s made life so much easier. And coding is easier when you know typing. Anymore, I don’t think people care about accuracy or speed with typing. Another lost art!

The two books I’m reading right now, Personality Isn’t Permanent and You Can’t Make This Stuff Up are so interesting. The personality book is helping me learn so much about changes in life and making changes in life. It will be helpful in writing about characters. The other one, I just started on and I’m wanting to learn more about the genre of Creative Nonfiction. It is revealing and informative.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. I look forward to telling you more about “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” tomorrow. It’s got lots of info that is just plain interesting. Take Care. Wash your hands. Wear your Mask. Let’s help each other through the rest of this, whatever it is. We need each other! Thanks.

Happy Birthday, G-man!

Every family needs a Gavin. Or or r has one. He’s the boy who lives out loud, rides his new birthday bike, calculates how much three digit number are added together (since he was about four), reads new books easily, and plays age-appropriate video games with passion. Yes, he’s an All American Boy from the first breath he took. And we love him to pieces!

We are picking him up later to take him to lunch, then spend time with his puppies at our house. He has been a dog lover forever. I think he may love dogs more than baseball, if that is possible. Our dog Roxie was a stinker, and sometimes I think she knew he was, too, at the time. They “got” each other. Looking back at photos of the two of them, I now see how she’d look at him. It’s sweet. Lexie is protective of him, but Roxie loved him to bits. The day will be capped off with a ball game. Gavin’s team plays in Gretna tonight, so it’ll be close to home. We love watching him. And watching Dad with him, too.

The photo above is one of my favorite totally candid shots of all time. This was not posed at all, folks. It just worked out this way.

The day Gavin was born, Tracy’s brother Blake and family arrived in town the night before. Tracy was in labor at home off and on all night. They went to the hospital in the morning, then we all met up in the waiting area. After Gavin was born, we were able to meet him after big sister Addison saw him first. It was beautiful. This pic started out to be just the two Grandpas, but ended up with all these terrific role models in it. Front, from left; Gavin, Grandpa Randy, Grandpa Dan. Back, from left; Dad TJ, and Uncle Blake.

Sadly, we lost Grandpa Randy a few years ago. We miss him at every gathering, and know when funny things happen he is chuckling along with us. He could be ornery (that’s where G-man gets it!), but also had a heart full of love. I’ll probably never meet another person who wants the song, Time of My Life, played at their funeral and can really mean it. He did, and that’s what he had. It was perfect.

Gavin has taught us many things. And we have taught him many things as well. We love to color and converse. Grandpa and him go to guys lunch once in awhile. Grandpa and him walk Lexie and Goldie. The dogs that pull when I try and walk them don’t pull at all when Gavin has the leash. I’m amazed by that. They must know he’s at the other end.

Gavin tells me all the time, “All dogs deserve to be loved.” And he’s right. He hates to hear of dogs being mistreated. He will tell kids “I can’t be friends with you if you do that.” Seriously, he does. He knows what’s right and what’s not right. The content of his character is developing every day, and I can see he will be a good man when he grows up. He’s a good youngster now. All little boys are silly, inappropriate about body functions, and just plain goofy sometimes. He’s all that and more.

This is the photo I love, and where I learned Roxie “got” Gavin. What a look of love!

Roxie always loved her boy!

Sadly, Gavin’s Dad had to give him bad news after the 4th of July, when Roxie was killed by a car. Someone left our gate open and our dogs ran out. Fireworks went off, scaring Roxie. She ran into traffic on Highway 6/31 by our house and she was hit. She died quickly, thank goodness. It still hurts.

Gavin talks about her. He talks a lot about Grandpa Randy, too. He passed away before a day or two before Gavin’s birthday a couple years ago. Gavin took it hard. He is learning about loss at a very early age. While none of us gets used to it or likes it, we have to handle it. This is what life gives us.

And every once in awhile, we hit the jackpot. We get a Gavin to watch grow up. We get a sweaty, smelly boy who knows Grandma loves his sweaty, smelly hugs. I want everyone he has to offer. He says he will pick me up when I get too old to drive to his house for his birthday. Nothing like planning ahead! I love this boy, his sister and his parents. I hope they all have a wonderful day today. Happy Birthday, Gavin! And many, many more!