Back to Work

In case you didn’t read the blog yesterday, I’m celebrating! I submitted my first chapter from my book, “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons,” to the Nebraska Writers Guild, and they have judged it suitable for printing. I am over the moon about it, and celebrate over and over in my imagination.

And now, here we are, in the knowledge I’m really going to be a published author, aside from being published on my website. And no, I have no agent, but have a contract with NWG for Chapter One. Baby Steps! To get back in the swing of things, I need to look very carefully at the first six chapters and pick up from there. Glad the NaNoWriMo is coming up, It should be a good catalyst for connecting outline, thoughts, words, and paper. Woo Hoo! Picture me done with it before we know it!

Of course, all things are subject to change. How I know that! Flexibility is important if you want to create, especially during these times. Nothing is normal, you know? It was, then it wasn’t, and now we just aren’t sure. I truly hope our beautiful planet gets another thousand years or so. Maybe a grandchild will get an inspiration to save the planet!

It’s late, and I have no snappy jokes left for the evening. I hope you all are in a good place this evening, and that your tomorrow is wonderful. I’m going to make a priority tomorrow to communicate well. Yes, It’s a long shot, but it needs to be done. It will only do us all good. Ignore the smack about IG and FB behind a bad influence. It’s all crazy! More on that later. Let’s just decide for ourselves, ok? Hoping so, that you’ll think for yourselves. I am all about that. Take care, and know tomorrow is another day. Take care! See you tomorrow!

Sunday Sums It Up

It’s another family visit in the archives of time. Grandson Joell and his parents left for home at noon. Grandpa and Grandma needed a nap, as did the whole Stricklett family. The kids had a blast tailgating at the Nebraska game last night, and Joell has another new experience for his memories. The kids are all seasoned travelers, and continue to experience new things every chance they get.

And tomorrow, it’s back to school for Joell, and some kids are off school for Colombus Day/Indigenous People Day. Yes, although it’s terrible what happened to the Native Americans at the hands of the white man, I think the discovery of America is an important milestone in our culture. Not all of our history is wholesome, moral, or just. Humans make big mistakes. We always have, and will continue to do so.

Next week, I’m working on the VFW Post Veterans Day Remembrance and Resource Center, Getting materials to hand out should someone need them, and firming plans to collect items and disperse them where they will do the most good. It’s important this time of year, as the winters can be very brutal. No one should be homeless, especially not a Veteran.

Tomorrow, I’m making an announcement about my future. It’s pretty cool if I must say so myself. Hopefully, the announcement will be ready by noon, CDT. This is quite brief tonight. I hope if you visited family this weekend that your visit was as nice as ours. As we start a brand new week, with brand new challenges, let’s keep in mind we all need to be thoughtful of each other. We need to be kind, and remember there are a lot of people who are hurting now. Let’s find some way to help them. Make their burden lighter. Reach out. Someone will take your hand. See you tomorrow.

One Sure Thing in Life!

Is anything for certain in this life? Only one thing is. God loves each of us exactly as He created us. I no longer feel certain we all have our entire life mapped out for us; pre-destination and free will has always been something I’ve questioned. Mom used to get mad at me about it. She wasn’t raised “in the faith.” She “Converted” before she and Dad were married.

We need to work for things in life. As kids, we must work for grades, we must work to get and keep friends, we must behave so our parents don’t have issues with our behavior, and so our teachers don’t either. Nothing is automatic. Just God’s love. Even as a kid growing up, I never believed in a fire and brimstone God, although that was the idea in the 50s and 60s. The 60s, with the sexual revolution, free love, hippies, and the 70s, with the anti-everything movements was enough to confuse a lot of people. We wouldn’t all still be here if God was not forgiving.

I’m no longer in love with summer. It has stayed it’s welcome, but fall could last three full months as far as I’m concerned. The Babe and I are both ready for jeans and sweatshirt for sure. It may change later but for now, lets send heat and humidity to the south of us. The flowers and bushes did well this summer, and i’m glad for that. I’m looking forward to cooler air and longer evenings. And I love the fireplace in the evenings. Lots to look forward to.

Tomorrow will be a great morning at home. I can run my Chapter 1 through the Pro Writing Aid Software, and ready it for submission! I’m excited about it. More exciting things to come. It was a short night for sure, and I hope to make up for it tonight. Hope you have a good evening and a good, long night’s sleep. See you tomorrow!

We Are What We Think

Dad had a post card sized saying credited to Henry Ford. It hung in the “butlers’ pantry” in our house. I don’t think it’s still there, but I’ll look next time. It said,

If You Think You Can Do A Thing Or Think You Can’t Do A Thing, You’re Right.”

I find it interesting how that saying, read and re-read thousands of times in my life, is much of what I firmly believe, especially at this part of my life. The butlers’ pantry had upper cabinets where our dishes were stored. Since I usually had the job of drying dishes, it was in my sight, mind, and psyche much of the first eighteen years of my life.

And today, there is so much information written, podcast, blogged, and discussed about people over the age of 60. Just yesterday, I saw starting a business is much more likely to succeed if you’re over the age of 55, even 60. Wow. I’ve got that beat!

I do believe I will publish a children’s book and a novel. They are two entirely different genre’s. I do not want to be pigeon-holed into one or the other. I want to do both. I also want to write a book about my personal health struggle, one that nearly left me paralyzed. Twenty-six years later, I am still a changed woman, forever grateful for the miracle of two excellent doctors, and the eagle eye of the older of the two. God was very, very good to me. I continue to thank Him daily.

Although it’s been said you must have a different website, etc. for each pen name you use, I’m not doing that. I’m doing Kathy Raabe, Author for my novels/fiction/life struggles. I’m doing “Grandma Kathy” as a page of Kathy Raabe, Author, and both personas are the property of Jewell Publishing Company. It’s not traditional, but then, neither am I! Why can’t it work?

At this age, it’s much easier to adjust to what’s going on around us. It’s crucial to be able to do this. Acceptance, grasshopper. No lives are usually lost over waiting, and when it’s not time yet, it’s just not time. We were raised to be old souls, those of us born in the 1950s and early 1960s. If any of wanted to be artists or writers, we were usually told those jobs wouldn’t pay the bills. The phrase “starving artist” was used frequently and it seemed to be the truth.

The boys often had blue collar jobs, and rarely did they have a college education. Firefighters and Police officers frequently attended college after 1970 to supplement their OJT. Street smarts coupled with book smarts on Law Enforcement and the science of fires made for better officers and firefighters.

Blue collar jobs, so lucrative for our fathers and uncles, became a thing of the past. The Babe was in the manufacturing business – making brick and concrete block. He started as a diesel engine mechanic and retired as the Facilities Manager and Labor Foreman. He had training in those fields, most of it OJT, but no college. Just after we married in 1998, block basements became a thing of the past; pouring concrete into forms to create foundations was the way to go. We believe they probably aren’t as good as block walls, but no one wants to work that hard anymore. In our era, you could make great money as a builder, carpenter, mechanic, plumber, electrician, or someone who poured concrete. Not anymore. In the 80s, the mantra was,

“You can make more money sitting down than standing up.”

And now, forty years later, it appears young people should go into technical jobs, like plumbing, building, masonry, drywalling, all those things formerly looked down upon. Someone I used to work with in the 90s asked me when my son would get a real job and quit cooking. I asked him, “Do you like to take your wife out to eat?”

“Sure.”

“Well, someone has to cook it. Do you want a rookie doing that or someone with experience?”

“Someone who knows what they’re doing.”

“I rest my case.”

My path appeared to be getting married and having a family. It turned out I chose the wrong partner. After three beautiful kids, we divorced at my request. That was the first most scary thing I ever did. No job, attending Community College classes for Medical Secretary field, I was offered an interview at a large company, and I went. I was hired. Nothing will ever be that scary again. Not even breast cancer was.

“Don’t Find Fault; Find a Remedy.”

This one about finding a remedy instead of fault is a favorite. I couldn’t pick just one. Kind of like having a favorite child. They’re all my favorites! As we celebrate LABOR in America today, be grateful for the likes of Henry Ford. He did what no one else had ever done before. He failed, then did it again, ony better. We can do that too. Whatever you want to create, do it! Calculate the risks, expect the unexpected, but do it. You will never regret the attempt. You’ll regret not making it. See you tomorrow!

The only failure is if you don’t try.

Preach it, Sistah! (Or Don’t!)

I remember growing up, Mom would often go on tirades about different things. She still does. By now, we all know she hates the telephone. She hates interruptions. She hates Telemarketers. She hates anyone interrupting her day. She hates the answering machine. She hates the “money mongers” on PBS. She hates reruns of Julia Child. She hates old people. She hates old men. She hates asking for help. She hates not having help. She believes in her heart it’s venting. Oh Mom. No. It’s bitching. What’s happening that’s good?

God, please help me to not do that. It’s such a blessing when you visit with another human who can tell you what they love. Especially when you repeat it multiple times a year. No, she won’t change. My brothers and I have to cope with the negativity. Now, if something is truly wrong, we respond quickly. It’s hard to decipher actual issues from complaining. We all know plenty of people who are negative. Usually negativity comes from fear. Fear of what could happen. But it hasn’t yet. Too much time in your own head can make a lot of fear and negativity surface. Old habits die hard. Fear makes us hold on to them. Just because we’ve always done it “this way.”

How is that? Like our elders? All politicians are crooks. Insurance companies are all scammers. No one can touch my remote control. I don’t even use it. You’ll mess up the tv. Leave it alone. I’ll wait until someone comes over to ask about the dripping faucet. “You never would let me hold you when you were a baby.” Sorry, Mom. I have no explanation for you about that. I was a baby!

All I can say is this. Rather than complaining about everything under the sun that’s ever happened, try kindness, instead. We all respond more to kindness than we do to barrages of constant complaints, warranted or not. We can direct the conversation in a more positive direction. We can all try that. If I ask you how you are, it sets a better mood to say, “I’m grateful to have woke up today,” rather than, “Well, I’m still here.” We could preach to the other person. Or we could respond with our own positivity instead. If they insist on doom and gloom, we have to let them be. When it affects us, we can withdraw from the conversation. Steer it elsewhere. For your sake. If they persist, cut your visit short. Don’t carry their gloom with you. Pray for them. It’s the gracious thing to do.

As a kid, I thought I was responsible for cheering Mom up. It did no good. I didn’t realize I thought this way until I felt so sorry for her when no one but me and my family were present for holiday dinners. She’d always dreamed we’d all have spouses and tons of kids. She had the perfect dining room, table, and chairs for it. It never happened. My presence didn’t matter. It was her ideal to handle, not mine.

During the “lean years” I was a single mom, I started consciously finding something to be glad about, especially if the car broke down, the water main broke in the dead of winter, the dryer stopped working, you know what I mean. You live through those things. It’s not convenient, but you make it through somehow. Every unfamiliar noise in an old car, you can bet will turn into something. Luckily, Dad taught me to listen to the noises, try to figure out where they came from, and to describe them to the mechanic. In later years, I had a great garage to go to. West Center Automotive, on 90 & Center, before HyVee built there. Jim was his name. The kids had older cars, too. Sometimes, it’d be an expensive repair. I’d call to see if the car was ready.

Jim would ask, “Are you sitting down?”

I’d say, “Is there a comma in the amount?”

He’d laugh and tell me the amount.

I’d always say, “That’s not as bad as it could be.”

He knew my situation, and I had a lot of trust in him and his sons, who worked for him. A pleasant exchange with another person lightened my load. Had it been otherwise, I would have feared everything that “might” happen. I just don’t want to live that way. It’s not to say I don’t expect some things. I do. I just don’t let it ruin my day. Things happen. To everyone. Not just us.

If, through all the negativity we hear all day, you have had enough, it’s time to do the one thing we all can do. That’s to display a live-and-let-live attitude. You’ll feel calmer, centered, more positive, and people will enjoy your company. Most things are none of our business. I want the loudest sermons to be how we live our lives at the Home Office, here in Gretna, Nebraska. I’ll pray we all get there. Join me.

Thanks for reading today. We’ll see you again tomorrow, and we’ll be grateful to God for waking us up again. Life is so full of wonderful things! Let’s focus on what goes on around us. Approach life with gratitude, kindness, humility, and calmness. You’ll see a tremendous change in everything. Be Safe out there!

Acceptance

As people living on this earth, we’re never done growing and improving. It doesn’t matter if you’re an addict in recovery or a person simply trying to be a better person. We will never be finished! That is the blessing and the curse of being a person in this imperfect world.

It’s difficult to admit we’re not perfect. But you know what? After you are honest with yourself, it’s quite a load off your mind and soul. Accepting you’re not perfect helps a lot. And God loves us just as we are. He’ll give us every last chance there is, that’s how much he loves us. If nothing gives you goosebumps, that should. We get a lifetime of do-overs. What luck!

As we grow and change, we may or not want what we wanted ten or twenty years ago. That is especially true of things that keep us from achieving what we need to achieve in our lives. I have learned that despite the fact I only ever wanted to be a Mom, there are many, many years beyond being a Grandmother that can yield some awesome things; creations you’ve always dreamed of, getting to do more than you ever thought possible, and learning more than you could imagine.

There is a vitality in learning. In taking risks to do something you’ve never done before. In putting yourself out there for the world to see. Some will love what you do. Some will not. Will that stop you? I think not. As you go along, you have a new community you enter. Other people who love what you do. Others who understand your new found passion. Others who encourage you. It’s grand. Some will not be happy for you. Some will not understand why you want to work so hard when you’re retired. And that’s fine. You remember where you came from. You still love your people. You are not willing to accept the status quo. You want to push your limits, within reason. “Go for it,” I say! Why not?

We’re all born to reach towards love. We all reach towards our needs, in love and in life. Some lessons we learned weren’t universal. We are lovable. We can love. Our ideas aren’t wrong or crazy. Just because you’re different doesn’t mean you’re wrong or crazy. Since I almost always had my own room, I practically lived there while I was growing up. The old Beach Boys song, “In My Room” was one I related to on every level. I drew, designed fashion, wrote plays, and tried to draw. Mom always said, “You should quit trying to draw people. They’re terrible!” Thanks, Mom. I’d like to learn how to someday. My bucket list is long, and has numerous items like learning to paint. Learning to draw. Finish every quilt I’ve ever loved. All creative endeavors. My soul feels so good while I’m writing, learning, sewing, quilting, all the stuff I love to do.

I’m gradually carving more time out for all of this by correcting my bad habits that sabotage me. I’m not scolding myself when I fail. Some days I do. It’s ok. Tomorrow I won’t. Baby steps towards more life in my hours. And being positive. I would have never made it this far if I hadn’t always tried to be positive. So far, it’s worked for me.

On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, author, nurse, and companion to Mario Puzo, Carol Gino is holding a three day Facebook Challenge about discovering the rest of your soul – and adding a new level of consciousness to your life. I am very interested in this. I believe it will be an asset to me to learn what she has to teach me. Because of certain close calls in life (my son’s drowning, my other son’s ruptured appendix, and things surrounding my dad’s death), I think there is something there, inside of me, that I need to find and release. I believe it should be enlightening. Join us if you’d like. 2 p.m. CDT. Soul Star Academy on FB.

Thanks for reading today. We’ve had three weather changes already today, and it’s only 12:11 p.m. Rain, Sun, Rain while Sunny, and now more sun. Crazy. There’s a closet calling to me. It’s my spot to de-clutter today. Onwards, to better habits, folks! Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be back tomorrow. I know I will. See you then!

Good Friday

In the Christian world, this is a day like no other. It commemorates the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross. The belief is Jesus died for our sins so we could enter the Kingdom of heaven. I’m blown away even all these years later. Whatever beliefs you have, it’s hard not to believe there is something greater than this earth. Heaven, in my opinion, is a place where we’ll all be restored to health physically and spiritually, and we’ll have an even better existence for eternity. We may disagree about a lot of things. And that’s ok.

As kids, we were taught by the nuns pre-Vatican II that we are not worthy of what Jesus has done for mankind. Many, many prayers began, “Lord, I am not worthy.” And we’re not. By enduring a death by Crucifixion, Jesus wiped away a centuries old curse put on our souls when Adam and Eve sinned against God. The pageantry accompanying the services of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday really drove the point home. The dark church building, the dimming of the lights, the music, the litany spoken, the fire and brimstone voice of Monsignor Aughney, all made for a memorable experience.

I can’t imagine they still use that approach now. I haven’t attended those services in years. In the Methodist Church, I see a focus on how much God loves us. How special we are. They focus on after Christ’s death, not the crucifixion. The cross in the Protestant churches I’ve been in focus on the empty cross. What Jesus did for us after that horrible act. It’s a much more positive message. My God has never been an authoritarian God. He is not a punishing God. He guides me towards right over wrong. He gives us so much beauty in the world, in nature, and in our humanness. It’s our choice to use it for good or not.

Through my life, when I’ve forgotten God and strayed off my path, I’m reaping what I’m sowing. And I’m sorry when that happens. I know better. But I’m human. We all are. Let’s just stay the course, and do what we’re supposed to do. It really isn’t all that hard. We make it a lot harder than it is. Humans want what they want. They want it NOW.

Let’s just think about that aspect of our very human nature as we go from today towards Easter. You don’t have to be a religious person to be thoughtful and spiritual about being a better person. I try every day, and boy, can I fail quickly! We all do. Let’s collectively be better. How? Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Courteous. Hold a door open. Pick up your litter if you drop something. Donate anything you don’t love or need. Reduce our excess.

Thank you for reading today. I will be here again tomorrow, and hope to see you, too. Have a beautiful weekend. Be Safe.

Monday Morning

What a beautiful sight outside! I still love fluffy snow. It looks wonderful, magical, and almost romantic. The wonders of nature amaze me every day. Every day I live, I try to find something that is wondrous, beautiful, and majestic. My God is that way.

Later today, we’re going to our daughter’s home for dinner with family. Our son from DC will be in town, it’ll be nice to see him. It’s been over a year since we saw him and his family. They will remain home, quarantining and distance learning. President Trump will do a stopover at the airport tomorrow, so they must prepare things for him. He won’t stay long, just speak and leave. That’s fine. Unsure if Blake will leave tomorrow or Wednesday. Family is everything, and we make the most of the times like these. Sending hugs to those who couldn’t be here.

I’m really dug into reading Kaye Gibbons’ book, Emma Foster. It’s a sad but very good story. A young girl overcomes terrible circumstances to rise above her plight in life. Her father, a terrible alcoholic, her mother dies, the estranged grandmother interferes every way she can, and the little girl, Emma, matter-of-factly handles everything. She is brutally honest. It is amazing how mature she is. She has to be. It speaks to how people can rise above their circumstances. Something told this little girl how to stay safe from her father. He was a beast. She often wished him dead. She thought of killing him, as if that were her only way out of this terrible situation. It resolved itself, thanks to her teachers noticing how Emma came to school after her mother’s death. She had bruises on her, and she told exactly how they happened. She hid from her father often and had little to eat.

The story takes place in the South, and the usual white attitudes exist in her mind about “colored” people. She questions the segregation, as her best friend is a black girl. The girls’ family is kind to her. She wonders why she shouldn’t “mix” with them. They are good people. I hope to finish it this afternoon and start its sequel, “All the Life Around Me, by Ellen Foster.” The writing takes you away. I want to learn how to do that. Excellent advice from Sam, my writing coach.

Only one of my to be read piles

Over the winter, I hope to find some bookcases I like for our family room. I have not unpacked my books from the move four years ago. I will donate many, such as quilt books I’ll never use, novels I doubt I’d read again. Even donating things like these will free up space and make me more settled. We rarely use the boxes of toys for the grandkids. They’re all outgrown.

I have a mat for the floor, which looks like a little town. Kayla will receive that, and I’ll probably send her a few little cars for it. Gavin used to set it on our coffee table, and pay with it. Roxie used to steal a car from it and run. Gavin called her SWIPER. He laughed once he decided he couldn’t get her to stop. She let him have the car. She just wanted a little adventure, I guess.

Yes, time is fleeing too quickly. One personal mission is for me to make more time in the day. I need to find time to get more things accomplished. Most people waste some time. The mindset is, “I can do whatever I want, I’m retired.” True, but will you finish things you want to? Will you explore all the nooks and crannies of the earth you want to see? If not, better get started. I’d hate to have you miss it, too. Let’s move forward, even if we are retired!

Thank you for reading today. There will be more tales tomorrow, and I hope to see you here then. Don’t eat any yellow snow! Just be careful out there. Don’t break anything. Please. Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Thoughtful.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


Tactical Tuesday

Good Morning to you from the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Tuesday’s are the rare day the Babe is home and not working at the Post. So, of course, we need to do errands today, like most folks do on Saturday. The trick is, it’s not crowded. And we get done in record time, and still get to have lunch before picking up Addison from school. Yes, her Cross Country season is over. She did well for a first timer. Now it’s back to whatever normal used to be for us, before school was called.

My Yesterday and Today “Ugly Christmas Sweater” Merch.

I had to show you the whole photo of the entire piece of art hanging in my studio/office entrance. I had to buy this when I saw it, and every time I enter the room, I can hear my dad tell me, “Just keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll get there.” He told me that when he was dying of cancer. I had just told him the only regret I had was I hadn’t graduated from college. At that time, I had a couple associate degrees and certificates.

He died in 1988, and in Summer, 1995, I finished my Bachelor’s Degree, Management of Human Resources. We graduated from Bellevue University in January of 1996. It was bittersweet, I had just survived a December 1995 ten hour spine surgery to perforate a cyst on my spinal cord. I was still having home IV treatment for disk infection and nearly full bed rest. The Doc told me I needed to go to the graduation. I could rest before and after. It was great for my mental well being. And God really knows what He’s doing – I met the Babe in March, 1996. Right after I shed my “turtle shell” I had to wear constantly.

Anyway, if you want a cute, fun, sweatshirt for the colder weather, these are only $15. Check them out. I wear an XL. It’s just fun. We all need some fun at this point in time.

This morning is Day 2 of the Confirmation Hearings. I was aghast at some of the questions Diane Feinstein asked. “How do you do it, with your large family and work.” Excusssssssseeeee me? That question is illegal in an everyday job interview. It’s a Federal Law, Diane! How dare you!! Would you have asked a man the same question? If not, you need to issue an apology. Stat.

While I am working on my daily writing, the Babe is working to finish the bench he’s building for the patio next spring. It will be fun to have something new to display and use. I need to get the rest of the plants inside in the next couple days before the cold nights zap them. They did well as long as Goldie couldn’t touch them. She uprooted my Hibiscus plant from it’s pot and played with it before I saw her. The wind knocked the pot off the table, and she figured whatever was on the ground was hers. Silly puppy. Note to self: When it’s windy, check to see if anything fell into dog territory.

How do you like this meme?


Truth!

There are many people who comment to me about my blog. Yet, they don’t put a “like” on it. And that’s ok. I know they read. And they may even mention one to a friend. And the friend reads it. That’s cool, too. I love it, and I would guess that happens, too. I do this because I love doing it. I’ve always wanted to write. And, a blog counts as being “published,” just as a physical book does. I have to accept more people will probably read my book as an e-book or Kindle edition than who will buy and read a physical copy. That’s ok, too.

When I think how I think it will feel to hold a book that I wrote in my hand, and to read my name as the author, it makes my eyes teary. And as long as I keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll get there. And I’ll see my dad, off in the background, smiling at me, whether it be at a book signing, a craft fair, or a writers guild conference. We’re getting closer, boys and girls! Let’s keep each other going. Slow gets there, don’t lose hope. You can do it. Just keep doing what you’re doing, too. Thanks. See you tomorrow!

It’s Saturday!

My friend, Gabbie Wieck, published her new children’s book. Available on Amazon. It’s a delightful story.

I enjoyed Gabbie Wieck’s latest book, a children’s book. One came to my house for Gavin and Addison to read to their puppy, and one went to Colorado to Kayla and Cody. They’ll all enjoy the cute story. Thanks again, Gabbie!

My mission for these last ten or so days has been to get some origin on paper of what Katie’s flaw is, the thing she needs to change, and conquers by the end of the story. All else comes from this story of origin.

Now, if you think it’s creepy when you think of something, then your Facebook ads reflect that, I have to say it’s creepier when you’re looking at books that are in the same genre yours are, you find them AND all I want to know about stories of origin. Right in front of my face! But why did they not even jump out at me before? I believe it’s a God thing, but also, it wouldn’t have made an impact on me if I hadn’t been searching for it. Weird.

You know, I never really got into building puzzles, as some folks call them. My first husband would seal one piece and hide it so he could put the last piece in place. He’d make fun of me because I didn’t have a “sharp eye,” to find things. He’d had a lifetime of that sort of competition with his six siblings, and his mom, so he had more practice! I tried a puzzle in 2000, I think, after I was no longer able to work. Didn’t grab me.

But you know what, I work puzzles all the time. When cutting many pieces out of one piece of perfectly good fabric, then follow a pattern to reunite them all in a beautiful design. All the clothing I’ve sewn over the years is just a puzzle, too. So I might buy one this winter. I suppose the Babe will not like it on the table, but maybe I’ll put it down in the family room. Who knows. Remind me not to buy a hard one! Some are ridiculously hard. My hat is off to anyone who can conquer those beasts.

If Albert Einstein really did say this, “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” It sounds like something my dad would say. He often quoted Henry Ford’s “Whether you think you can or think you can’t: you are right.” Very true stuff. We admired Henry Ford right along with Dad. He was mostly a Ford man his entire life. He had a stint as a service station owner, and was very good with cars. Once they progressed to having computers, he gave repair work up. The Jewell’s Standard Station ceased operation when Dad went to Korea. He worked at a Testing Station when I was born in 1952, at least, that’s what’s on my birth certificate. I do remember seeing him there when a was quite young, someone drove us there, maybe so Mom could get his paycheck and deposit it in the bank.

We used to have to have our automobiles “tested”, or checked on so we had safe cars on the streets. They stopped that maybe when I was in my teens. It was a source of taxation for the city and state, and the testers became scarce in the 1970s, I think. If I’m mistaken, please feel free to comment.

I read this morning most authors only sell one hundred copies of their books. And then quit. It could be worse. Always. I think we have enough relatives we can break a hundred. I know a few who may buy one copy and share. The idea is they read it, so that’s ok where you can’t afford it. I don’t expect to be a bestseller right away. That takes time. I do think I’ve kind of narrowed my fiction down to stories of families. Stuff people don’t openly discuss. Nothing illegal or immoral. Codependency, when things are hidden away from people. Lies are told to save face. Excuses made for a loved one. It affects everyone in the family, and not in a good way. What I’m writing are experiences gathered from many households with friends, relatives, and others. The family I tell about is a conglomeration of all of them. No one person or entity is talked about. All put together, they are a fictitious family.

I’m going to curl up with this today.

I have a lot of reading and writing to finish before my self-imposed deadline of 6 p.m. tomorrow evening. I will send Sam all my work and wait to hear from her. One other item on my to do list is to scour Goodreads to find similar genres. It turns out, there are many books about families, their secrets and lies, and the outcomes of each.

I believe as more people are interested in genealogy, more will find disturbing behaviors within their family bloodlines. Many, many men fled other countries and once in the United States, they may have fled another state, leaving whole other families behind. It was also common during the Great Depression. Many children were in orphanages because their dear Mothers could not afford to feed them. Some were placed because the Father’s had no idea how to cope with a houseful of kids if their mother died in childbirth or of smallpox, diphtheria, or some other dreaded disease of the early 1900s. My former father-in-law spent time in an orphanage, as did my Grandfather; the first when his mother died, the second when his father died.

All of these things help make for interesting stories for how and why people become who they are. What they believe about themselves that is categorically wrong. A lot of families just don’t talk about those kinds of experiences. They happened, though. To good people. Good people who deserved better. Life, indeed, is not fair.

I hope you had a good day today. The Babe is putting up a light fixture in the entry. It’s pretty. Film at 11? Thank you for reading. It’s a pleasure to write for you. See you again tomorrow. Be Safe.