Saturday Shenanigans?

Still overcast at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Maybe that, not procrastination, is the reason I’ve left our Christmas tree up. The header photo is from this morning; I told the Babe I just love how it looks by the fire, with the dogs all napping and us just chilling’. It’s a part of life you cannot buy. You create that space with your family/friends/significant other, and it just feels so good, so right, so untouchable. It takes practice and trust to relax, let your hair down, relax your shoulders, and just be in the moments you are sharing. So grateful for our life.

I also have a planning meeting with the other officers of the Auxiliary at 1 p.m. The Babe is off doing bookwork and another Honor Guard Funeral this morning. I am so proud of The Babe, he is working a lot, but he’s a person who can’t retire and relax. He is using his need to be productive in a positive way. Yes, sometimes it can be frustrating, but it’s very rewarding for both of us. As long as we’re able, we will volunteer as we are.

The agenda for today? The dogs were naughty, tearing open a trash bag full of some decorations. Floral picks I used on a tree, red plastic grapes, giant pinecones, all scattered through the family room. It’s a mess. Girls! I need to clean that up later. I also have some boxes to sort through so all of like items are together and labelled before they go on the shelves. It’s coming along nicely.

I need to return my Jury Panel Questionnaire. On one hand, I hope to be chosen. It’s fascinatinig to be on a jury. It changed my life in 1981. That story will be in my book, The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons, which is my WIP (work in progress). There are so many heartbreaking, wild, difficult, mind-numbing events over my own life, some of them are the basis for what Katie experiences and grows from. Each event she experiences is from life – not necessarily mine – and have happened to real people. Some of the people she learned the hardest life lessons from are a patchwork for some of the characters. Despite everything, she remains a loving person, a believer in God, and a person of strong faith. She always knew God was leading her the way she went.

Fun Top for January. Snowy, not Christmas-y!

I love this new shirt. It has a plethora of snowflakes on it, at the boarders of the sleeves and bottom. It’s part of my smaller sized collection I’ve bought since losing 40 pounds on KETO. Time to get back in the saddle, boys and girls. I’m going to be doing raw veggies, protein, salads, and the one Halo Top Sea Salt Caramel Keto Pop. They’re heavenly! They’re expensive, but worth it, I believe. If you know me at all, you know I have a love of all things ice cream. Since I was a kid, it always represented fun, delicious times. That is a story for another day.

As we both make progress with our day and intentions, let’s be safe out there. Let’s be careful out there. See you tomorrow.

Judge Not,That You Not Be Judged

I committed a colossal boo-boo yesterday. I wrote the blog, but didn’t publish it last night. How silly of me? I saw my stats were high today, thinking, “What’s going on?” I knew as soon as I saw there were 4 draft articles. Two are real drafts, one was started today, one was from yesterday. At least I have a good answer for the high traffic. Sorry, folks.

What might we leave behind this year that will lighten our load into next year? Blame would be one for me. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand why some things have happened in my life, even why I have thought the way I do. Blame sounds so negative, and we are free to place blame somewhere else – but only once. Once allows you to learn why and how certain behaviors were done done to you, around you, and why they hurt you. Blame is finding the source and giving it credit for negative example, outcomes, etc. Blame is assigned, and you have to let it go. Blame is different than credit, although credit is positive and therefore light. It’s not the burden blame is. Blame is excess baggage that holds you back. Credit propels you forward.

So after admitting out loud and to myself about blame I’m assigning, how & why it happened, I’m putting it away. In it’s bag. Where it needs to stay. I’ve packed my generational part of the trauma and don’t need to know any more about it. Today and tomorrow is what’s on my mind now. Today more than tomorrow. We have five grandchildren in three states, and pray they carry only positive things with them. They hopefully will face their ghosts head on and won’t need to ponder them for so long. I did for a very long time, and finally can put them to rest. I feel lighter, almost like losing the 45 pounds on Keto in the last year. Yes, it’s symbolic, isn’t it?

You see, if you continue to place blame, you must be prepared to accept your share of it. Yes. That’s it. Things you did wrong to others. Things you’re being blamed for. Sure, you didn’t know better when you were doing them, but . . . you didn’t know better. You do now. Accept your shortcomings. They came from lack of information. Just like the generation before. Don’t you feel lighter? I do already.

I food cheated more than one day during the holiday, now it’s time to get serious again. Keto, here we come again. Well, at least me. January 1, 2022 will begin a new regimen for sure. New schedule, new habits, new goals. Still planning. Sweets are fabulous and luscious and easy to get hooked on. Over and over. We all do it. And now, it’s time to get over them. It’ll feel good to eat good things again. Lighter. No Baggage. Healthy Food. Healthier Body. More writing. Great things are ahead, aren’t there?

Are your bags packed up with most of the resentment from long ago? Are they ready to go . . . away? They cannot be carried into 2022 if you want to live up to your potential. We can remind each other not to dwell on past hurts or future worries. Today and our goals are all that matter. All else will fall into order. Thank you for reading. See you tomorrow!

Black Friday

Black Friday seems to have been around since the 1980s, but I’ve never participated in it. Maybe at the most some online purchasing, but I won’t fight a crowd. Not to buy stuff. I’m just not into shopping that much. I’m more apt to go to Menard’s or Lowe’s, and buy plants for the yard, or some cute birdhouses and such. Pretty simplistic.

After the dinner yesterday, it was nicely quiet in the house. We just enjoyed each other’s company. Grateful for being so blessed. And enjoying the day while the Babe does some office work at the Post, and does a funeral for the Honor Guard. That family thought their Thanksgiving would probably be different than it was. The year my Grandfather died on Christmas Eve, we sure didn’t plan on his death and funeral three days later. This New Yorker cartoon sums up the yesterday pretty well. It just tickled me a lot. Humor is always in style, you know?

Be Careful What You Wish For

As I’m all cozy and warm in the house, I hope everyone is warm and safe our on their shopping sprees. It’s time for a plate of leftovers, then a nap. Crazy as it was yesterday, I’m so glad for the quiet today.

Tomorrow, I hope to get a new normal going. I need to get back to the book, then make space to quilt. Hope you had a great day, either crazy and busy or quiet and serene. See what tomorrow brings, and make sure to hug your loved ones. See you tomorrow!

Thanksgiving Day 2021

Wherever you are in the world today, I wish you a beautiful day of giving thanks for where we are, who is with us, and what we’re able to do today. The Babe and I have been up since 5:15 a.m., getting the turkey in the oven and taming the eight pound bag of potatoes. I’m trying crock pot mashed potatoes this year, it sounds like they’ll be yummy. And it might make less dishes. I don’t care about the dishes, as the Babe is a wonderful partner in the kitchen. He always has been. Thanks to his Mama for raising him up as she did. The duties are light when there are two of us to cleanup. The kids would help if we wanted them to. When you have multiple stops to make on a holiday, it helps to know you can leave when you need to.

Today, I’m grateful and appreciate being able to buy what we need for a special meal with family. When I was a single Mom, it was hard to buy special things. No, we had enough to eat, but it was very close many times. I don’t know if my kids ever knew about things like that, I really wanted them to just be concerned about being kids. My wish for all of you is you have enough, and know you are enough. Be proud where you are on your journey. You’ll get there.

I’m trading the Chromebook for a cookbook today, and going to enjoy our daughter Tracy, TJ, Addison, and Gavin, and son Frankie at dinner today. It’ll be nice to be able to gather again. Hope your day is full of love and friendship. Thanks for stopping by today, we’ll see each other again tomorrow.

November 8-Grateful

Another day to have something declared as what I’m grateful for. So many things to count! The encouragement from my friends to continue writing has been very nice. Your friends who support you are good ones to have as you get your sea legs about you. I’m grateful for all of you!

Yesterday was my son Nick’s birthday. Forty six years old, I can’t believe how the time has gone by. Nick was a smaller baby than Frankie was, but he got much taller and filled out in high school. The fact he has a 5 o’clock shadow at 5 a.m. after shaving is probably enough to say he looked much older than he is. Probably never got carded like his brother did. It’s over, and I’m glad to not have to deal with those days again. Nothing ages a single Mom more than having a child who looks much older than he is. I’m grateful those single Mom days are over. It was hard, but I’d still make the same decisions I did.

So many people we know have had some bad health issues; strokes, heart attacks, cancer, are all hard to recover from. We’ve seen cancer, broken bones, heart disease, a stroke, and a host of other issues. We are so fortunate we are still mobile, living independently, and having a great future ahead of us. The Babe is 71 and I’m 69. I told him the other morning, I hope we get another 20 years together. You never know; with God all things are possible!

I’m behind on NaNoWriMo. I loitered today instead of getting caught up. The Babe put it well. “Don’t make it a job.” Well, it doesn’t hurt to do it every day, to spread it out, but it felt good to sort of play hooky. I caught up on Yellowstone, (until the Babe got home and caught the end of the NASCAR Race), wrote some scenes out, and recharged. It was necessary.

Today, I need to catch up with posting all the info about Veterans Day at the VFW Post 2503. Resource lists must be compiled, then printed and copies made. Any posting about the events should be available for those who check the Events on Facebook to plan their week. Today will be busier than the usual Monday for sure.

Not sure what we’ll be doing Thanksgiving, but I think we’ll cook. Not sure if we’ll get a turkey, but I think it’s worth getting one, I’d even make it later if necessary. The traditional food is so full of carbs, what I may do is only make a very small dish of dressing, sweet potatoes, and veggies. I will make the normal amount of mashed potatoes, gravy, and dinner rolls. That should balance out all good, shouldn’t it?

Keto is hard during the holidays, but we started it last November, and lost a lot of weight before New Years. I will not gain it back this year. And I won’t next year. At this stage in life it is too hard to lose 45 pounds and I don’t want to have to do it again. I need to stay on top of it. Last year, we skipped all the goodies for the most part, and I have three pumpkin smoothies in the freezer. Will it be as good as pumpkin pie? Give me enough whipped cream and it will. Heavy Cream, Whipped, is allowed on KETO. They knew what they were doing with that one!

Hope your Monday is a good one. Take care, and let’s see each other again tomorrow.

November 5, 2021-Grateful!

It’s been a long week. I was revved up and happy to be home today to get an early start on NaNoWriMo. And I did 1353 words on my difficult passages. It’s exhausting but a very important part of the story. I’ll be fine, but wow. Sometimes it’s hard to look back at what we’ve survived throughout our lives. Looking back from this point in life, at this age, I’ve got gratitude to God for His Mercy. I am sharing some of the very hard times, as a contrast to very good things that can and have happened. As my niece told me, “You’ve lived many lifetimes in your years.” She’s right.

The writing itself is going well. I do find I switch between first person and third person. I need to read up on that, if I need to do only one POV through the whole novel, it’ll be first person, I believe. It’s hard to stay put. My mind has been sort of boggled the past few days. First person is usually past events, third person can be the present, as it happens. I can switch between POV’s depending on what is being told.

When I’ve finished writing for the day I really am grateful for where life has taken me, through all the good and all the bad, it’s all part of who I am and why I’m the way I am. Walking through personal growth for parts of characters is a good thing to do. The whole point is to create a story that draws your reader in and makes them want to find out what happens.

We’ve got a fundraiser tomorrow night and I need to get a couple more items for the raffles. There are some good things out there, and I need to finish up our part of the evening. It will be a night of great music and seeing new friends and a couple older ones.

I have a bunch of stickers that read, “Live a Great Story.” I’ve come to love that phrase. I find myself talking more and more about good stories, and how things turn out. Everything is a story. Sometimes there are lots of good parts or bad parts, but there is always a beginning, a middle, and an end. You can change them up and change them down, and change the ending, making it more intriguing. It’s your story. Tell it how you like!

Part of what I’ve discovered this year is our deep friendship with our group of friends from the VFW Post. We have lost two men this year. One had cancer for years, and many health issues the past couple years. It was sad to see him deteriorate week after week. And how hard it was for his wife. But we all stuck with each other. I love that no one backed off or stayed away. Good friends don’t desert you in your time of need. It was very sad when Nugent passed away. He was such a nice, kind man. We miss his presence.

And later this summer, when Lenny died, well wow. For all the years I’ve known his wife, I didn’t really know him. He was always a crazy man, which was good, he was always out there, living life to the fullest. He really didn’t give a darned what anyone thought. I marveled at his ability to do that. What he didn’t want anyone to know was how generous he was. He retired from a very good job and so did his wife. He never forgot to be kind to Veterans, kids, little old ladies, or his grandkids. He had funny stories. Lenny lived a great story. Be like Lenny! Before he died, he made the Babe promise to sign up his grandson as a lifetime member of the VFW. Lenny is smiling down at Connor and his new membership card.

Thanks for the memories, guys. And your ladies, too. Our other friend is a widow, and she is fun and helpful to the two new widows. They tell me they don’t want me to join the club (NO! Me neither!). But one day, I probably will. They will be there to be a friend when I need it. Grief is messy, all over the place. I have an idea of the devastation, and know it’ll be much worse than I can ever imagine.

I have a lot of faith, God has taken me through so many things. He will continue to do so, and I can trust that won’t change. God doesn’t change, through all eternity, He remains true. We are the ones who change, who doubt, who stray, who get lost, who take the wrong roads, and forget what their goals should be. A whole lot of being human gets in the way.

Take care out there today. Make a great story in your day as you live your life. Be like Lenny. Keep your goodness to yourselves, it speaks volumes to be understated. You’ll do the same amount of good and more by being modest. Be kind. Spread that around because we need it. See you tomorrow!

November 2 – Grateful & NaNoWriMo

What a great day it was yesterday! Sunday, the Trick o Treater’s honored the lights off indication as we were not participating, and only one rang out bell. Worked out great. Our Doc suggested we not hand out candy after having COVID a few weeks ago. There could already be yet another variant not yet identified. His prediction is we’ll have COVID for a long, long time.

I had such a great visit with my Frankie, and we had a great breakfast. We were finally celebrating his birthday, and it was the best. I always feel I go back to my roots when I’m around one of my kids. Nothing helps you remember living your young life like your kids do. And I’m grateful to have three of my own and two of the best step kids ever created. All five of them are individuals, team players, and hard workers. Their spouses are the same. Frankie is the only single person of the five. That’s ok. He’s very happy. He does what he wants. Only has himself to answer to. Nothing he does hurts anyone else. That’s what it’s like to be single.

Then, home to write my first 1,667 words for NaNoWriMo. I found it took me quite awhile to get settled, figure out where I left off (even though I researched it Sunday), and figure out where I left off. I had a few minutes of doubt, but started writing and it was like I hadn’t quit. A year is a long time to leave a manuscript untouched. Or maybe it isn’t. Any authors out there, how long have you left a manuscript alone? Do they change? Do you change? Of course you do. And they do because your ideas change. It’s inevitable, isn’t it? I would think so.

It’s a little hard at first to wrap my brain around the fact I’m writing into the future; i.e., what I write about will be published at 4 a.m. or so tomorrow morning. It’s the best I can come out with during the month of NaNoWriMo. The shift is from the blog being the most important to the NaNoWriMo taking precedence. It’ll be fine. Just takes a few days (or 21) to form a new habit. Maybe we’ll be going gangbusters by December 1!

And that reminds me: I’m wanting to get back to doing squats every day. It helped me keep focus on my Veterans projects during the summer, and I’ve sort of lost that a little. This month is Veterans Day, and we have a lot planned for the entire week. I’ll devote a full blog to that later in the week. I’m proud to be a volunteer for Veterans. They deserve our support.

Since it’s a lot later in the day than I’d like it to be, I’d like to stop for now and start a lot earlier tomorrow with our visit. It will happen. Just grateful for the flexibility retirement allows us and so very grateful that, despite being “disabled,” I’m still able to get out and about on my own. Many are not as fortunate. This is my gratitude for the day. From deep withing my heart.

Thanks for reading today, Happy Tuesday! See you again tomorrow.

Serene Saturday

Like any work, change of habit, or recovery from addictions, getting ready to do the work isn’t actually doing the work. Authors joke when they talk (or write!) about writing, they need to know that doesn’t get words on the page. It doesn’t get the right words down on the page. Or words that make sense in the story or scene. NaNoWriMo talks about that all the time. I suppose I should have started prepping earlier. Having COVID the last couple weeks didn’t allow that to happen.

Now that I feel human again, I will start reading some things other writers have shared and review my outline/guide/notes from last year when I was working with Sam Tyler, Book Coach. Plotting tasks to calendar follows next week, and the story should rise from all the notes, intentions, bright ideas, and otherwise faulty thinking. Getting words on the page is the goal. No editing. That will be hard! I constantly edit while writing. Always. The biggest mistake I make typing is the dyslexic twist on things – my brain and fingers are out of sync, and words get the letters mixed up. Or the whole sentence is out of sync. That will be a true test.

I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think the words are always there. I think they are hijacked sometimes because we procrastinate, we make excuses, we place blame on others. I know I do those things. Reasons are legitimate. Excuses are not. Illness is legitimate. Surfing Facebook is not. And we all do it. Just call it by it’s name. You’ll be more responsible to yourself.

For instance, I can clean the bathroom til the cows come home. Dusting? Not so much. I put the furniture polish spray can and dust rag on the TV stand and tell myself, “I’ll do it after I sit down a little while.” I believe my own lies, and procrastinate. In November, I vow to check myself on that bad habit. The house can be cleaner if I do my job. Period. Ouch. Truth hurts sometimes.

Doing this and reporting on it every day makes me accountable not only to myself, but to all of you. So what, you may wonder. No one will follow me if I don’t do as I say, if I am not true to my word. End of writing career. Or at least it will stall getting out of the gate. Not good. I’ve got three years invested already; and as the Babe says, “It’s too much to just quit.” Yes it is. I’m so glad my energy returned, it’s easier to think of writing when energy is available. I’m getting excited about it all.

Did you weigh in on my question yesterday? Doing another NaNoWriMo Drawing this year? Two years ago, you could comment on my daily blog and have one entry per day in my drawing for $50. Would you like to participate this year should I have another one? Let me know what you think. There may be a limit as to how many times during the month you can enter. I’ll have to think about that next week, too. In 2019, my friend Pat Riedmann was the winner.

I saw something this morning referring to the longer you live, the more friends you lose to death. True, and it’s just how life works. The past five years, we have had many, many friends, FB Friends, lifelong friends, and family pass away. All I can do it remember them with love. I wore a pair of earrings today which were a gift from a best friend in 1988, the year she died. She was in her early 40s and died from lung cancer. Five months later, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and died, too. It was a terrible year for sure. I smiled at the memory of my friend, and thanked her again for such a beautiful pair of earrings. They are lovely!

Pay no attention to the grimace on my face! It was supposed to be a smile. Sort of.

I hope you have a wonderful afternoon today. I hope you have time with a loved one, if you’d like. Enjoy the sun or the rain, whichever is happening. I’m going to have a session reading here in a minute. Hope to see you tomorrow, and it means a lot to me that you stopped by today.

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.