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 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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Have you had your fill of dinner yet? We are still waiting for the turkey to finish up. The Babe didn’t want to eat too early. No leftover turkey sandwiches in our future this evening. I even made some Keto bread in anticipation of having them. Tomorrow will come soon enough, and they will taste just as good. It appears I forgot to grind up the frozen cranberries. I can do that tomorrow. No big deal.

It’s been a quiet day for us, and that’s ok. I took a brief nap; it felt great. I wasn’t the least bit tired when I sat down, but then it happened. I sunk into the recliner, and it was over. I heard from my kids, and they’re also having nice days. No one has to work for a change. How nice for them. We are well aware of people who work on holidays; First Responders, Nurses, ER personnel, Police Officers, and all the people deployed or on duty today. Thank you all.

While I was making the real whipping cream for our Keto Pumpkin Bars, I had a weird flashback. When I was a kid, Mom let me make the Whipping Cream. We chilled the bowl. We didn’t use the electric mixer when I first started, and I don’t recall her having a whisk. Whatever she had is what I used. She rarely used her hand-held mixer or the stand mixer. She philosophised we needed to save it for special occasions. I’m not sure why Thanksgiving wasn’t special enough, but those were her rules.

Today, when I took the empty bowl and beaters from the refrigerator, I recalled opening the container of whipping cream and adding vanilla and sugar to the cream. I even remembered which bowl I used. No one came to dinner at our house, except for a grandmother once in a while. Mom cooked the whole thing, and I always had to dry dishes, mostly because I was a girl. No sisters. Three brothers. No matter how many people come to eat, you still have the same number of pots and pans.

I loved cooking with my kids while they were still home. We didn’t go to my mom’s any more after my dad died. It just wasn’t the same, and we really enjoyed our own celebration. The boys would put lights in the yard and on the house when they were older teenagers. We would eat dinner, then go outside at 6 p.m. for our own lighting ceremony. I miss those days so much. Enjoy your kids while they’re home. And be happy for them when it’s their time to celebrate with their own families. People can’t always gather.

It’s time to prepare the Loaded Cauliflower and Green Beans for our sides. We’re just having a bit of food, the important ones. I’m looking forward to the Pumpkin Bars and real whipping cream. Thank you for reading tonight, have a beautiful evening. See you tomorrow.

Focused Friday

Today’s theme in my daily meditations book is about more gratitude, less coveting. Yes, I said coveting. If that doesn’t highlight my twelve years of Catholic education, nothing does. The word means wanting something belonging to someone else. The nuns would really delve into this sin with detailed explanations. Envy is the cause of coveting. Coveting is wanting what your neighbor has. Not something like it, what he has. It could be material things, a job that seems perfect, or even a wife that you think should be yours. It always got tricky for the good sisters to try and explain adultery, we just weren’t supposed to do it, whatever it was. (The other thing they never explained was the meaning of virgin, but I digress).

At any rate, here we are, trying not to covet a neighbor kid’s bike, dolls, hula hoop, parents, or anything about his or her life. I’m unsure if it was envy that struck me while I was a single mom, and I saw how some women I worked with treated their husbands. Not so much Envy as empathy for the husband, being talked about behind his back, being damned for not putting lettuce on the sandwich he made her for lunch, and all the while demeaning him. I often said, “Gee, I’d be glad if someone would make a sandwich for me.” I didn’t understand why some really nice guys could be treated so badly. Of course, there may have been a perfectly good reason for the wife to be as she was. But maybe there wasn’t. I suppose it’s the same reason some really nice women are mistreated by their husbands. They don’t know they deserve better. And that’s a topic for another day.

Photo by Vera Arsic on Pexels.com

After years of going to the office Christmas Party alone, I learned you could tell the couples who were arguing in the car on the way to the Party. It was a formal affair, I loved wearing a gown I created with my trusty sewing machine. Everyone was dressed beautifully. And there were so many who didn’t have a good time. I was grateful to be alone when witnessing that. It can always be worse, and I already left the worse. I would never settle again. Not permanently. Many times, my choices weren’t ever after, and it was ended before it went further. My theory is it takes three years to see exactly how someone is before you can begin to think about if they could be someone you could spend your life with them. I’d never live together before knowing someone three years.

The Babe sold his house after we were engaged, and he moved in about four months before we got married. That worked well. I did think long and hard if I was ready to “give up” some aspects of life alone. Yes, I was. What I’ve gained in the past 22 years is immeasurable. It’s what I was waiting for, warts and all. They happen. He still says he would never think of standing in the way of what I wanted to do, especially with my writing. He says it’s important to him because it’s important to me. He may not understand it, but he supports it. That’s what love looks like, folks. That’s what unconditional love looks like. I’m lucky, so is he. For all this, I’m grateful.

Sounds Easier Than It Is.

The more I write, the more I think about all of the things I’ve had to reject to find the me that was buried for a long time. Some people never get there, some may not want to, some don’t know they need to. I started noticing little things in the 1970s to question. Not big things, just things that were always done a certain way, and nothing changed it all. Something as simple as household products. At that time, my mom always used Tide. She still uses Tide to this day. She has never wavered from Crest toothpaste, either. She was never tempted by a new and improved product. Ever that I remember.

By comparison, my ex-mother-in-law was always trying new products. Shampoo, detergent, soap, you name it, she tried it. I always considered that adventuresome. You never know when you might find something worthwhile. It can be different and still be fine.

The same goes with people. I did not have to be a copy or a clone of my mother. Neither did my daughter need to be me. We each need to find our own person inside, whoever they are. Growing up, the more I questioned, the more resistance I met. When a person becomes who they need to be, it’s met with resistance from those surrounding them. It’s only natural. Besides, if they happen to look at themselves, they may see they’re unhappy in who they are, too.

As I straighten my notes and prepare to write more of my book, which describes the stages a young woman struggles through to become herself, I need to remind myself how fortunate I was to be able to figure out the same things for myself as my character Katie does. The rest of the day will be work, cooking something for a change, and relaxing with the Babe and dogs by the fireplace. I covet nothing. I covet no one. It’s a great place to be.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back tomorrow. I appreciate your time and hope something wonderful happens for you today. Make it your choice to get the most our of your day, week, and life. It truly is up to you. Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Courteous.

Gratitude

I had a great opportunity yesterday. The VFW Post 2503 had a donation of items for use at the Victory Apartments. They are newly refurbished empty spaces from the former Grace University Bible College campus. Victory Apartments house formerly homeless veterans in our area. It is a beautiful use of old buildings and houses a beautiful start currently for fifteen veterans. Some are moving in next week, so we furnished four kitchens with some necessary items which included: 4 piece place settings silverware, four plates, cups, small plates, glasses, general use knives, 4 dishcloths, and 4 dish towels. It’s enough for a start. Many, many items are needed to complete the furnishing of the fifteen places open, and the addition of at least fifteen more later.

A high school friend, Margie Smith, and I reconnected through the wonders of Facebook. Also through the wonders of Facebook, I discovered her assistance with the Victory Apartments, and was eager to help out. Margie’s a great gal, and she has a lot of love to share about in the community with projects like this. It’s awesome we have people like her, making a difference, and leaving an impression. It’s great to reconnect with friends. We talked about more need for other items, and I do see the Post collecting them in the future.

The photos tell the story:

The apartments have nice kitchens, a sitting room of sorts, a bedroom, and full bath. I was touched beyond words after seeing the generosity of people giving our veterans assistance, which they work to deserve and to keep. There is a VA office right next door, mental health counseling in the same space, and resources of all types are available to the veterans. It is not only Vietnam Veterans served, there are several Desert Storm and Desert Shield vets, and others from Afghanistan, etc. Regardless of the era, they need our help and are very appreciative of it.

Certain criteria must be met to qualify, and continue a residency here. Their website is here. I am enthused about offering assistance right here, in my hometown, not half a nation away. We can see the help, it’s concrete, not abstract. I can see our Post offering more goods to furnish these homes for their brothers and sisters. More on all of that later.

Keeping in the gratitude theme, I received these photos last night as the grandkids and their parents were on the way home from picking up Josie.

Tracy, Gavin, Addison, and TJ. No one looks too happy about this little Josie girl, do they?

I had three little voice messages from Gavin on his GIZMO watch. He is about jumping out of his skin, and I know he’ll retain this excitement. It might be sketchy when he’s pooh farming in the backyard, but the responsibility is good for kids. It was for mine, too. As soon as their dad left, we adopted a puppy within six months. It was a great tool to teach responsibility.

As for me, I’m going to quilt a little bit until we go meet Josie. I hope you all have a beautiful weekend. It may be spent inside, it’s pretty toasty outdoors. Just be grateful for where you are now. But by the grace of God, we could all be in different situations. Be Safe. Be Courteous. Be thankful. I will see you all again tomorrow. Thank you for reading today. Try and think of a way to reach out and help. Donate items to the Open Door Mission, the Sienna Francis House, the Victory Apartments. Get involved while socially distancing. It can and it must be done. Wear your mask. Wash up.

Gratitude

I had a great opportunity yesterday. The VFW Post 2503 had a donation of items for use at the Victory Apartments. They are newly refurbished empty spaces from the former Grace University Bible College campus. Victory Apartments house formerly homeless veterans in our area. It is a beautiful use of old buildings and houses a beautiful start currently for fifteen veterans. Some are moving in next week, so we furnished four kitchens with some necessary items which included: 4 piece place settings silverware, four plates, cups, small plates, glasses, general use knives, 4 dishcloths, and 4 dish towels. It’s enough for a start. Many, many items are needed to complete the furnishing of the fifteen places open, and the addition of at least fifteen more later.

A high school friend, Margie Smith, and I reconnected through the wonders of Facebook. Also through the wonders of Facebook, I discovered her assistance with the Victory Apartments, and was eager to help out. Margie’s a great gal, and she has a lot of love to share about in the community with projects like this. It’s awesome we have people like her, making a difference, and leaving an impression. It’s great to reconnect with friends. We talked about more need for other items, and I do see the Post collecting them in the future.

The photos tell the story:

The apartments have nice kitchens, a sitting room of sorts, a bedroom, and full bath. I was touched beyond words after seeing the generosity of people giving our veterans assistance, which they work to deserve and to keep. There is a VA office right next door, mental health counseling in the same space, and resources of all types are available to the veterans. It is not only Vietnam Veterans served, there are several Desert Storm and Desert Shield vets, and others from Afghanistan, etc. Regardless of the era, they need our help and are very appreciative of it.

Certain criteria must be met to qualify, and continue a residency here. Their website is here. I am enthused about offering assistance right here, in my hometown, not half a nation away. We can see the help, it’s concrete, not abstract. I can see our Post offering more goods to furnish these homes for their brothers and sisters. More on all of that later.

Keeping in the gratitude theme, I received these photos last night as the grandkids and their parents were on the way home from picking up Josie.

Tracy, Gavin, Addison, and TJ. No one looks too happy about this little Josie girl, do they?

I had three little voice messages from Gavin on his GIZMO watch. He is about jumping out of his skin, and I know he’ll retain this excitement. It might be sketchy when he’s pooh farming in the backyard, but the responsibility is good for kids. It was for mine, too. As soon as their dad left, we adopted a puppy within six months. It was a great tool to teach responsibility.

As for me, I’m going to quilt a little bit until we go meet Josie. I hope you all have a beautiful weekend. It may be spent inside, it’s pretty toasty outdoors. Just be grateful for where you are now. But by the grace of God, we could all be in different situations. Be Safe. Be Courteous. Be thankful. I will see you all again tomorrow. Thank you for reading today. Try and think of a way to reach out and help. Donate items to the Open Door Mission, the Sienna Francis House, the Victory Apartments. Get involved while socially distancing. It can and it must be done. Wear your mask. Wash up.