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!

December 4. My Favorite Day!

Today is my favorite day of the Christmas season. Why? Well, not only are we moving the furniture around to make way for our Christmas tree, it’s also the day of the season we go see Yesterday and Today. The McGuigan Brothers have again added some new twists to the show they have been doing for many years. It’s a new venue, too. They have been talking about the acoustics in their new home, and it sounds extra special. More about that tomorrow.

When approaching the holiday season, some of us ask for the grace of a glad heart. Sometimes, we have to fake it until we make it. In the beginning, we try to fool ourselves. If we’re working to improve our outlook on life, and making gratitude a new way of life, we can get to the point where we’re not faking it anymore. It becomes part of who we are. We come to have a glad heart, and it’s what we need in this world today.

My Zoom call was more like a Doom call. We both had video, and she had sound. I did not. We communicated and decided to talk on the phone on Monday. I will call her at a certain time. That PST vs. CST is weird. I had it backwards, so now, I have it right. Hopefully, Monday will be better. I think it will.

I want to make this holiday season happier for my heart than it has been. Living in the present is what is the best to do. Being happy for the now is what I choose to do. I need to remember the reason for this season, that is my focus. Since we’re doing decorations like I used to, it’ll be a great time to assess what I can donate and what I want to keep. What I really want to keep. No extras.

I have some ideas to make small reading areas around the house. One in our bedroom, one in my office studio, and one in the lower level. Also have places on the deck and the patio. My spots will double as spots to hand quilt; hand sew things; or embroider. All things I love to do, just more organized. I think this will help me get my whole life organized and running smoother. I can always use more organization.

Some of the author groups I’m in talk about how they take books with them wherever they go. I do, and my brothers have similar habits. While our reading material is varied, the end result isn’t. We are entertaining ourselves, we are passing the time in a productive manner, and we are learning something we didn’t know before. Our parents taught us well. Bored? Couldn’t utter the word. If we did, it was, “Go get a book. Pick up the Newspaper. Draw something.”

Dad worked for the newspaper, so it was always in the house. He also loved drawing. He wanted to be a cartoonist. He was quite good. I have his “Learn to Cartoon” books. I think it’s partly why he loved the Charlie Brown cartoons. Especially Snoopy. If Dad laughed, you knew it was funny. Watching the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, he would say, “That damned dog!” while nearly rolling on the floor. It’s a great memory.

It’s time for me to mix up the egg casserole for breakfast tomorrow (back at the Keto), and finish getting ready for the day. I want to locate the boxes of decorations to start with. I’m going to make it a good season. It has to be. I’m accepting no substitutes. More lights! But no ladders for these old folks!

Techie Tuesday

Today will pretty much be computer work nearly all day. I’ll have a break in between, to go pick up Addison from school, after getting my COVID booster. I feel better getting it, especially with the new variant. Enough of this stuff! Let’s get rid of it! It wouldn’t surprise me if we ended up locked down again. The upside to that is I have plenty of writing to do; and I can learn some more quilting techniques. There’s always more to learn, and more to do. I certainly won’t be bored!

Bored is a word we were not allowed to use growing up. I haven’t cared for the grandkids using it. It’s clear this generation has a very different idea of what fun is. Addison was convinced for a long time parks were all decked out with rides, like Disney World. They’ve been there a number of times. She has even danced there. It was a fun trip to see that. Downtown Disney is quite a busy place.

While Disney is touted as the “happiest place on earth,” I watched the crowd a lot and saw lots of kids who cried incessantly. My guess is they were over tired, over stimulated, as were their parents. They’re just not going to eat or sleep when they should. I hope they had fun, though.

To me, parks have always been green spaces. The parks near our home had activities for kids during the summer. We could either walk there or ride our bikes when we were old enough to do so. It was fun to see your school friends there. The days were long, we never vacationed like some people. My best friend Peggy went camping with her folks; I remember her dad built a camper. Seriously, I remember him putting shingles on the sides (our house had a similar outer wall covering it), and they were probably made of asbestos. All the good stuff was back then, you know? Before we knew it was so bad for us.

I had an errand this morning. Afterwards, I stopped at the LQS (Local Quilt Shop) called The Quilted Moose. It has so much beautiful fabric it’s almost overwhelming. All the ladies were talking and it had a nice atmosphere. Talk about doing what they love! They’re looking for help, it would have been a great job when I could still stand up and do stuff all day. My back and lots of other stuff is too damaged to do that now. But it’s a great opportunity for someone.

I’m still mulling over my dream/idea/plan to create Grandma Kathy videos. It’s worth a try. The worst that could happen? Maybe an author’s lawyer sends me a “cease and desist” order? No, I’d seek permission first. It will be an interesting process. You’ll come along, to learn with me, won’t you? Thanks.

I need to make a smoothie for breakfast/lunch in a minute, KETO approved, I think. A mixed berry Ensure, blended with a handful of frozen berries. It’s good, full of protein, and on the menu for me. There’s more Keto foods in my future again, as I work to keep off the 45 pounds I’ve lost so far. Not sure how much further I should go. I can tell you the best feeling is giving away what used to be snug. And my friend is delighted as she’s lost a bunch of weight and gets some still like-new clothes to take with her to Hawaii tomorrow. Have fun, Lora!

As you move through your day, be mindful of creating your own beautiful world around you. It has nothing to do with your bank account or possessions. It has to do with how you look at your world. Some of the poorest people in the world are happy in their hearts. Find the positive. It’s in there somewhere. You notice the shift when you start to see the good part when bad things happen. Gratitude is essential to a happy life. Enjoy today. 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!

Monday Mayhem

Gratitude journal? I may have skipped over it yesterday, but while I was vacuuming up enough dog hair to make another dog (from the deep recesses of the corners, edges, and under the easy chairs), I had the conscious thought of being grateful to have a house to clean; a dog that sheds as much as she loves us, and a good vacuum to clean the mess.

We’ve had a dog just about the entire time we’ve been married. The companionship they offer is incredible. Some are more independent than others, and some are needy. I think since ours are used to us being home, they really are happier with us being with them. It’s ok with me.

Today, I’m grateful for warm clothes and a warm home. I have things available to make me warmer if the house is cold. I have warm winter coats that helped me through many winters. I am fortunate to have always been able to afford one for myself and each of my kids when times were hard. One of my brothers always gave me a local grocery story gift certificate for Christmas. It was for $100. I was blown away, especially when the store had specials just after New Years Day where you could buy a package of meat, buy one, get one free. What a deal to get to use. I’m grateful for those times, also.

I’m trying a different grocery shopping service to pick up. I’ve used Walmart; I’m not pleased with them. I’ve gotten moldy sliced cheese (in a see through package), moldy turkey sticks, and lettuce with dark brown spots on it. I’ll see if Target is any better. I was pretty spoiled, just picking up groceries during the pandemic. The hard part for me is always carrying them inside and putting them away. My back is always out of commission for a couple hours afterwards. It’s a given anymore, and I’m grateful it’s not out of commission all the time. I can still do some things.

And in the midst of all of this, I’m looking at some of my daily readings for Adult Children of Alcoholics. Reading these help keep me thinking in the right way; working to become a better person. Remember, old, inaccurate, negative opinions need to give way to new, precise, positive realities. We all have enough, are enough, and can learn to give enough. The key to all of it, is to make sure we give to ourselves first. As ACOA and women, we tend to think of self-care as selfishness. Wrong! It took me a very long time to learn if I don’t care for myself, I’m no good to anyone else.

Once we firmly grasp that concept, there is no limit to the good we can do, the positive seeds we can plant, and the good feeling we can have by caring for ourselves and others. We will learn where to spend our time and where not to. This expression of sanity and recovery is shown by creating boundaries, caring for ourselves, caring for others, and ridding ourselves of the negative thinking we were raised with. It’s just not how to live our lives. Take a risk, step out, you’ll find many happy souls cheering you on! It’s a great feeling once you believe you deserve it.

As you go out into this world on a Monday in November, know you’re doing good for others by doing good for yourself. As they say on the airlines, put your oxygen mask on first, then help others. It’s OK. Share what you have. Throw your best fighting weight against the negativity. It has no place in our lives. Acknowledge it and destroy it. We can make a difference in people’s lives. Reflecting positivity back to everyone we meet. It’s a gift that keeps giving. See you again tomorrow! I’ll leave you with the words of Audrey Hepburn.

“Nothing is more important than empathy for another human being for another human being’s suffering. Not a career. Not wealth. Not intelligence. Certainly not status. We have to feel for one another if we are going to survive with dignity.”