Long Day, Long Week

It’s Saturday. Glad for the weekend.

I haven’t seen one ball game of Gavin’s for a very long time. Today , I get to see two. 9 and 11. I look forward to it, far more than you can probably believe.

My brothers will look after Mom over the weekend. It works well. They are so easy to work with. The three of us are a good care team.

Last weekend, Memorial Day weekend, was the unofficial summer start. We have had a couple of days hot and humid so far, and we will have many more ahead. It’s time. And I have some baseball to catch up on.

It’s so hard to believe Gavin will be 11 this year. He loves baseball, and I love to watch him play. It’s great. Best fun I’ve had in years.

My oldest played Little League ball. He was a skilful player at 10, just like Gavin. His dad coached, but that was when we separated, and his dad refused to pick him up for practice and games. I had to work until 5 every day, and did not get home in time to take him to practice or play games. His dad wouldn’t since it I filed for divorce. His dad was the coach. My son told me he could forgive his dad for everything else but baseball. I’m so happy my grandson doesn’t have that situation.

The rest of the weekend? I will spend time with the Babe. We haven’t seen each other much this week. We have a lot to catch up on. I feel so lucky to do that. There are a lot of husbands who wouldn’t have it if their wife needed to tend to her mom. Mine knows family is everything and knows we all have only one Mom. I’m a lucky woman.

You know, we have a lot of things to do to finish preparing for summer. I’m so sad there will no longer be a specialty nursery in Gretna who raises seed planted Geraniums for summer and poinsettias for Christmas. I should be able to re-start the geraniums every spring, for as long as I want. It will be wonderful to have those same plants, year after year. Such a keepsake.

We have some things to take care of this weekend; hope you get to enjoy yours. Have a great Saturday! See you tomorrow.

Three Day Holiday?

This is a weekend people often mistake for a day to thank Veterans for their service, wish folks “Happy Veterans Day,” and go all out for the first barbeque of the summer. What? A gigantic Toyota Sale? A New Mattress? Furniture Blow Out?

Not even close.

This holiday used to be a set date of May 30, called Memorial Day. It was a day of honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Whether it be on foreign soil, our own land, as in the Civil War, our flag stands for freedom; we will fight to protect ours, and help protect other lands as well. You don’t tell people to have a happy day of remembering the dead.

Look it up, Google it, learn about it. It is relevant. It is the reason we should be grateful on this day. Some families have remembrances today. Gold Star Families; Mothers and Fathers, Wives and Children Remember on this day. We remember, although it is for friends lost in Vietnam, comrades of friends, and now the Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Our younger Veterans need someone to remember with them, as much as our old-timers from WWII and Korea who are still with us. Please, teach your children and grandchildren. We need them to know whom and why we honor the dead this day, and never forget.

The best way I know of doing this? Sure, watch the PBS presentations from Washington DC. Gary Sinise is the best promoter of these important events. Locally, attend the Parade in downtown Omaha. More info is available on it at Patriotic Productions.Org Parade, events, etc.

And get your hearts ready. The best way is to listen to this beautiful original rendition of “Taps,” by my friend Jimmy Weber. Jimmy retired from the Air Force. He has extensive musical background both in the Air Force and the musical career he’s building for himself. Real, heartfelt, and honest. He is an honorable man and a patriot in his heart. Listen. Remember. And Honor.

Brother Steve Had a Birthday

on May 16. #65, how can that be?

Happy Birthday, little brother, Steve. You came into my life as I was finishing kindergarten; in 1958. I don’t remember what it was like when Mom was pregnant with you. Those sorts of things were magical. We didn’t know the details. All I knew was at Dad’s announcement, we had a little brother. I didn’t know we could pick which gender we wanted. I learned three years later I couldn’t pick. They made nothing but boys. At least in our family, that was true.

Yesterday, I felt like a stranger in a strange land. Like the new kid in town. Like I was in a vacation town, just off the interstate.

I had some errands to do. The Babe wanted to do the yard, so I set out on my own. I haven’t been by myself in over six weeks. I’d drive to Mom’s, but she’d be with me for the rest of the day. Yesterday, I wasn’t picking up any passengers. I went to the bank in Gretna. The nursery in town, introduced to us by the Leavitt’s seven summers ago, is closing at the end of the summer. The owner is retiring.

I am really going to miss them. They have so many beautiful varieties of geraniums. Ivy geraniums, in hanging baskets, are outstanding. Photos later, after planting. I hoped to go to them for as long as I can plant. I’ll just have to over-winter them from now on. The Babe’s aunt taught me how to do that. I’d never heard of it before. Yet, here we are, doing it year after year. Thanks, Aunt Jo.

As I went from one place to another, two in Gretna, two in West Omaha, I could not believe the amount of building done during the past six weeks. Several homes built, streets poured and set up, many more being prepped. How much things have changed in such a short time!

It goes to show,how much life keeps going on, no matter if we’re paying attention or not. I felt much the same whenever I’ve had major surgery and spent six weeks or longer recuperating. This made me realize for the umteenth time in my life, time really travels at the speed of sound. I still marvel at the growth happening in our small town. Good and bad. A wonderful park/water park/baseball fields/and dam-site is going in close to where we live. Should help with our resale value. The Babe said he’ll be dead before they get the dam filled up with water, so he’s not worried about noise, traffic, and the negative part. I should be gone by then, too.

Have a beautiful Wednesday, friends. We’ll see each other tomorrow.

The Day After the Last Treatment

Mom’s treatment ended yesterday. It is a strange feeling already. No cancer doctor appointment until later in the summer. No further testing until labs and scans completed next month. Wow! Now what do we do?

You get so wrapped up in the daily treatments, planning your life around them, and you can’t think further ahead. What will fill your time now?

The Babe and I are lucky. We have plenty to do at home. Yes. Despite living there for 8 years, we never got settled in. Now we have book cases to fill in the lower level, and finding new homes for all the ones I no longer want to keep. I’m going to find the library in Gretna and see if they’re open to donations. And the high school may or may not want books on quilting and sewing. Who knows? The kids may want to learn something old but new to them.

The stats are looking good this month for the blog. We have published nearly 1,314 blogs daily since we started, and we notify 1,097 people each time a new one goes live. Thanks, friends! Let’s keep growing, ok? Help a girl out. Thank you! Share with your friends, your mom, aunt, even your tech savvy grandma. There’s room for men, too. Your secret is safe with me!

As we dive further into the week, take a little time to reconnect with your friends. Just a text, email, or phone call. They’ll love hearing from you. We’re planning on doing the same thing. Get out there, and Live a Great Story!

ACS Challenge-31daysx30 minutes

Over the years, one thing standing out among all the achievements in cancer treatment is fewer people are dying from it. Treatment helps you not only kick cancer, but is also helps you have more birthdays. Some of us might not, I understand that, too.

One thing some people do is procrastinate getting the diagnosis. They don’t want to ruin Christmas, or your birthday, or anniversary, so they put off the visit to the doctor. They delay the scans. Work is always a great excuse. Trust me, if you work for a company with health insurance and/or PTO, you can certainly miss an hour to have this important test. Your life may depend on it. Too blunt?

Sorry, not sorry if it is. The whole point I’ve learned over the years is something ACS hammers home every chance it gets: Early Detection Saves Lives.

Please, get those diagnostic tests.

Some people with cancer the Babe and I know diagnosed early had much better chances of survival after treatments. Some cancers, hard to detect, are advanced staged at diagnosis. The Babe’s ex-wife Sandy was one of these people. We were all friends, and Sandy and I became good friends during her illness. I was home during the day, and when she felt up to it, we’d go to a movie or have lunch during a weekday. I treasure that friendship. She, given 6 months to live, lived a life full of love from her kids and grandkids. And she lived two years longer than expected. She enriched all of our lives. Miss you, my friend.

Sandy’s sister Sharon, diagnosed with the same cancer as Sandy, died the next spring. Their mother died in 1988 from the same cancer. Sad situation all the way around. Sharon’s husband, Lou, began inviting us to have Christmas dinner with him, with the Babe’s daughter Tracy, TJ, Addison and Gavin. It’s become an annual blessing. The Babe worked for Lou at Watkins Concrete Block Co, Inc. until they both retired. A very kind man, with a big heart. Miss them both now.

We’ve known two people diagnosed with kidney cancer. They both underwent kidney removal surgery. Later on, cancer appeared in a nearby location, and the fight was on. The cancer, and other factors, resulted in the loss of another friend. The other person, the Babe’s Mom Liz, had the kidney removed and not more cancer. She passed from complications from MS. Bless her, too. Miss her every day.

For about seven or eight years, it seemed that’s all we knew, one friend after another; lost to cancer.

The loss to our family of my sister-in-law Laura was equally as devastating as the loss of our dad.

Married to my brother Tim, Laura was a sweetheart since kindergarten. Yes, kindergarten. Their lives went different ways, but they remained in touch. Laura married after high school, divorced with one child. She remarried, was pregnant, and her husband died of cancer. Two little children, a girl and a boy.

She wed again, had two more boys, and this husband committed suicide. Dear God, this could be a movie plot. And it’s absolutely true. Alone with four children. My brother re-entered her life.

It was a roller coaster much of the time. They were intent on changing each of their lives, and learning a better way to live and raise the children. After several years of marriage, they diagnosed Laura with oral cancer. Her brother passed from it as well. Now, Laura suffered the same fate.

To help my brother, I spent a lot of time with her. He was trying to work his job, save his time off for when he absolutely needed it, and run the house, keeping track of the kids. Hard enough for two people, much less for one with a day job. She was in and out of the hospital, feeding tube, massive weight loss, chemo and radiation, and she stayed positive. We talked a lot about heaven, God, and forgiveness. She and I were distant over a misunderstanding for a long time. Her illness and my love for my brother helped heal that issue, and I’m grateful for what I learned from her.

Mend your fences, folks. Take it from one who knows. You don’t want to run out of time. Love you, sister! See you in heaven, someday.

Both women added to my life and my understanding of others. So grateful for their friendships and the memories I have with them. Make some memories today. See you tomorrow.

May 5, 2023 – ACS 31 x 30

Good morning, friends! We are on day 5 of writing 30 minutes a day for the 31 days of May. How’s your world this morning? 

Mom’s not doing too well this morning, so I went over early, and she’s napping. It’s interesting, she didn’t want a recliner/chair to help her stand up. Boy, she’s just loving it now. 

That’s another thing you learn while helping someone who is aging and ill. Change is so difficult. They just want to have some control over something. It’s not unusual for any of us. They’re vulnerable, afraid, and just want something to be the same for them. Don’t we all? 

Those of us who are open to change and consider it necessary may have a hard time dealing with that attitude. From our point of view, sure, it seems to make sense, you’re over 90 years old, you can’t do most things as you used to, limitations are making your world so much smaller. No one likes that. And it happens so quickly.

It’s hard to watch them struggle, and hard to know if they want help with simple things or if they want to do it themselves. A few days ago, Mom told me she was going to do a couple of odd minor tasks. She said, “If I need you, I’ll let you know.” I try to keep it at that level. 

And here’s another it’s hard to believe we saw this moment:

After parking the car at the pickup circle, I brought Mom out in the wheelchair to get her loaded in the car. I parked behind an original 1976 Firebird Trans Am, complete with t-tops, which were off for the beautiful day.

“Does she have hearing aids?” 

“Yes.” We didn’t know what to expect then.

“I’ll wait until you get her in the car to start my car. It’s very loud, and I don’t want to hurt her ears.”

How nice of them! Can you believe it? You can find people blessing one another in unusual ways. Humans are pretty good, after all.

After parking the wheelchair back inside, another elderly person walked out with his family. It was obvious he had hearing aids, too. I smiled to myself. I leaned close to the ladies in the Trans Am and said, “Girls, you could be here for a while.” 

They laughed and told me, “We just said the same thing. I’m going to put it in neutral and roll down to the thru lanes to exit and then fire it up.” She sure knew how to start that baby. It’s rare you find anyone, much less a lady, who knows how to do that. It did my heart proud of all the girls out there. Smooth as silk!

In your journey through life, and not just cancer, things appear each day that are unexpected. We should pay attention if we’re able, and be grateful for the respites, especially during a hard day, or morning, afternoon, or hour. 

And her passenger was picked up in style from her cancer treatment. What a treat, for all of us.

Cancer and My Family, Friends

May 2, 2023


I want to thank my cousin Bob A., my friend Kathy K., and my lifelong friend Jan W. for their generous donations to the ACS during my 30-Minute-Daily Writing Challenge. Today, we continue telling the stories of cancer touching lives in our immediate and extended families. Jan’s family has a member just diagnosed. You’re in my prayers. God can work miracles.

Years ago, there was a movie called, “Medicine Man,” which starred Sean Connery, and Lorraine Bracco. We all know of Mr. Connery, and Ms. Bracco was a relative newcomer. She played Karen, Ray Liotta’s wife, in Goodfellas. She did well in this movie, made in 1992. 

The gist of the story was at a remote village in the Amazon, was a tribe who were never around outsiders, only their own people. No plagues, illnesses, or other malaise troubled these fortunate people. 

The catch is there is a plant growing here which will cure cancer. Amazing. The moral dilemma, explains Connery, is whether it is worth introducing this area of the world to mankind with all its disease, troubles, and assorted bad things, to get a supply of a naturally growing plant which will cure cancer. The story is a typical back-and-forth to expose the information to the rest of the world, inviting the press, swindlers, and thoughtless chaps to descend on this pure and peaceful world to what we live with every day in “civilization.” It’s an interesting problem.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were such a thing available somewhere? The American Cancer Society is trying to find a cure without disrupting the peace of the world, society, and the environment. 

They used many improvements in treatment today to help people with the side effects of the treatments, and that is significant progress. I recall my dad asking, “If I could only see what is causing the pain; There’s nothing visible.” That has stuck with me for many years. 

I’ve heard cancer doesn’t cause any pain. It is when the tumors grow large enough to impinge on other organs, bones, tendons, and tissue is when the pain begins. Many times, the cancer has spread by the time they diagnosed it. Other times, as with my breast cancer, there is no pain; I didn’t even have a lump. Believe me, everyone attempted to palpate it. 

My cancer didn’t hurt either. What hurt was the lumpectomy. The tumors were small, and in situ. That means in the milk ducts. It had not spread. What a blessing. To make sure there were good margins, or areas free of the cells that would develop into cancer in a near future, they took a baseball size equivalent of tissue. Locate a baseball and hold it in your hand. It is huge when thought of in this way. 

The wound healed with nary a scar. It’s a beautiful job. Many of the doctors looked and said, “That’s beautiful; er, I mean, it’s a beautiful surgical job.” I had to laugh, and I knew what they meant. I could have opted for reconstruction, but I didn’t care then. At 57 years old, and I didn’t think it was necessary for me. Now, however, fourteen years later, I wonder if I should have had something done. Things oddly shift around after 60. I find the size difference much more noticeable. At my age now, 70, it’s off the table from my perspective. 

9 treatments to go. God, help us get there. See you all tomorrow and thank you for the support and prayers. I appreciate you.

May Day, 2023

Do they still call May 1 May Day? I wasn’t sure. I never heard of leaving May Baskets for people until I got older.

The focus at my Catholic school/church was Mary, the Virgin Mother of Jesus. They devoted the entire month to her in prayer, acts of kindness, and event, May Crowning. They placed a flower crown on the statue of Mary on the left altar of the Church. Mr. Severin installed a removable set of stairs with handrailing for a chosen 8th grade girl chosen to do the honors. All the girls wanted to be chosen. Mary Jane Trummer was the one for our class. I was extremely disappointed. Oh well, win some, lose some.

Also at the Catholic school, we learned in Russia; they had a large military parade, flexing their muscles and strength for all the world to see and take note. As a counter, the United States celebrated Law Day. It is a day for celebrating the rule of law in the United States, land of the free, and the home of the brave. We hold many mock trials in courtrooms throughout the country to teach young people how important real justice is.

I’ve mentioned before, I’m taking part in a challenge for the American Cancer Society. I’m writing for 30 minutes a day as part of the challenge. I’m looking forward to doing it as a re-start for me to pick up with my children’s book. It’s been too long!

While announcing the fundraising part of the challenge, one is supposed to invite friends to join or share your info and donate. I went down the list of 259 friends and reflected on how many of them were no longer living. Cancer took many. Too many friends, too many relatives, too many deaths.

I did not invite everyone. I don’t like to bug people; you know? The best thing you could do? Be aware. Get all of your exams as soon as you’re old enough. Colonoscopies are necessary, folks. They’re not as involved as they used to be. All things considered, if you’d like to donate, please do. Invited or not.

I think I might do my30 minutes and the blog in the morning, before the day gets away from me. Subject to change, of course. It’s time to shake off the cobwebs and get some things done. Amen!

This is a great month! The Babe and I have birthdays two days apart, and we celebrate Mother’s Day. We also observe the national holiday of Memorial Day. It will be a busy month as well.

Have a great May Day today and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Happy Saturday!

Here we are, at the last Saturday in April, 2023.

The past four months have passed in a quick blink of an eye. How does this happen?

We passed Mom’s 17th treatment of 28 today. That has sped by, too. Some days, she’s so tired of the hustle (she is 93, after all), but she doesn’t get too grumpy. I try to make her laugh about something from we were all at home. Usually she does. It’s good she isn’t all doom and gloom. Whatever she thinks while she’s alone, I have no idea. I’ve told her she doesn’t have to hide it, she needs to talk. Oddly enough, she does. It’s taken a bit, and she volunteers things, which is new for her. I’m grateful for that. She’s finally let me in a little. It’s finally happened. God is, indeed, good.

Do you ever watch Dateline on Friday nights? Aren’t there just a lot of people to be afraid of? That’s one way to think. And yes, there are people whom we should approach with caution. I don’t believe most folks are like that, though. I have to keep the positive thought the world is more good than bad.

I’m planning today and tomorrow what I’m using for my project to write 30 minutes a day to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. They issued a challenge for the Month of May, and I thought it was perfect. I want to concentrate on my children’s book during the next month. The second item of importance is my novel, I stopped working on at a certain part of the story which is close to something in my life. It’s hard, but ends happily, just like it did in real life.

The trouble sometimes with writing is we have ideas for so many stories, it’s hard to settle on one to work on. I have an idea for a book about the friends we knew at the VFW; I also have many ideas for a story about families dealing with cancer.

At times, I think there is a common theme with ideas I have for stories; and they all include a big element of sadness in them. Does that mean I’m a downer? Are my ideas only sad? Or are they good resources for teaching others how to deal with real-life situations? I hope they become resources for helping families in time of trouble.

Many of the people I’ve talked to about my kids book have told me they could have used something like it for them, their kids, and everyone involved when they’ve had a loss. This is encouraging. My primary goal is to not only to write well; I want to write well in a way that helps people. Help can be help with a real-life problem or enjoyment or escape in good fiction.

I think there was nothing about grief when my dad died in 1988. I know my family didn’t grieve in a healthy way. None of us did. After the Babe and I married in 1998, we were lucky to be involved in Stephens Ministry. We were introduced to healthy ways to grieve, to walk with someone through their life changes, grief, and the like. It changed our lives and our outlook. All those contacts are treasured friends today. And we’re grateful for all of it.

Here’s hoping we all have a great Saturday. And we’ll see each other tomorrow, too. Be safe out there.



We’re Half Way There!


Livin’ On A Prayer!

Thanks to Bon Jovi, these lyrics pretty much surmise Mom’s week of treatment. It’s amazing how she’s gone from being exhausted and down to feeling great. I know during cancer treatment, things go from great to awful, from hour to hour, from day to day. Emotions are all over the board. The past couple of days have been great. Part of me wants to accept this will be the way it is from now until the middle of May; the realist in me knows it is probably not going to be like that. And it’s ok. Only God knows how this will all turn out.

So, what do we do? We learn to accept the fact we’re not all-knowing enough to predict the future of all of this. We’re also aware of the fact miracles happen every day. God can grant miracles whenever and wherever He wishes. It is not up to us, it’s at His will this will happen. I’m amazed and not surprised at the same time. She’s a tough woman, and delicate at the same time. Because of age and infirmary, along with near-blindness and near-deafness, she has a lot of handicaps. And she doesn’t let them slow her down. And yet, sometimes, it happens.

I’m glad she has re-instituted her sense of humor. We laugh about a lot of daily frustrations, going on this treatment train every day. One thing we’ve noticed is the wheelchairs at the hospital are in very poor condition. Either you need to weigh 95 pounds, or you need to weigh 400 pounds. Nothing in between. The foot rests either screech upon moving or they don’t move at all. They are double-wide or single. None of the brakes work on any of them. Someone needs to call the technician for a weekly visit. The devices definitely need attention. Why, oh why, is this not an issue someone considers important enough to care about? It is for the comfort and safety of the patients. What’s not to consider here?

In the meantime, let’s consider getting some attention to these issues. Let’s get the patients to their appointments in the most comfortable way possible. If you were in their places, I’m sure you would agree. Creature comforts should not be last on the list of important issues for these patients. Thank you for listening to my rant.

Let’s get together and lobby for important issues that seem incidental. They’re important to many. Thank you. See you tomorrow!