Good Girls Rarely Make History.

This phrase just jumped out at me while listening to Jennifer Nettles album/CD “Playing With Fire.” I love her voice. I’ve read before she has a voice “to make a man leave his happy home and follow her anywhere.”

The one thing I’m curious about is writing lyrics. It appears to be like poetry, but adding the words to music adds another dimension that words on a page just can’t compete with. Nettles’ song, “Hey Heartbreak” is an anthem telling Heartbreak to leave her door, she’s taking her life back. Powerful words, and great music. Nothing better.

I believe some day I will write words for a song. I have experienced a lot of themes. Bone crushing lonely Saturday nights, before I met the Babe. I think when you’ve lived through those, you can pretty much get through anything. Loss of good health is another thing that tests your mettle. Not having an adult in your home to help you is another kind of lonely and hopelessness. If I hadn’t had my kids, I may not have made it through. But we did. All those experiences are back in the vault of my memories. I will do something with them in the future. You cannot make up the things every day people make it through. No one could believe it all happened. But it did. And I’m still here!

This is where my overwhelming sense of gratitude grows from. I could not have lived through these things without hope, faith, and especially love. God is in charge. I no longer try to affect outcomes; I pray, “However you decide, God. I’m along for the ride. Tell me what you’re teaching me now.” Many years ago, I prayed, “Please make my husband be kinder to the kids,” and learned it doesn’t work that way. The prayer became, “Show me what you want me to do to improve this situation.” Boy, did He!

I was the quintessential “good girl.” I was obedient, always followed the rules, never expressed my opinion, deferred always to my first husband, and didn’t rock the boat. Never again! The book I will finish reading today has stirred many memories of how women’s role in society has changed. In the Victorian era, women were not allowed to study things like math or science. It was believed their delicate makeup would be upset if they used their minds too much. Hogwash!

When I was a Programmer Trainee in 1987, I asked a question that was quite technical in nature. The boss that was training me said, “That’s too technical for you.” I asked someone else later who said, “He probably didn’t know the answer.” I finally got the explanation but not from who should have answered me. My first review after transferring to another department of I/T included, “You are way more skilled than he would give you credit for. He kept you down.” How about that?

Truth of the matter is, there were not very many women in the field in the late 80s. Most were men, and I had to learn to go to lunch with them, hang out with them, and not be relegated to the “secretarial staff.” It’s a hard stop to be in, but you have to make the best of it. Thank God it has changed! We need to remain equal. We were made to be equal. I never broke out in hysterics from debugging an old COBOL program. Nonsense!

And while I may not go down in history as a “bad girl” I know that would have been one who talked back, (I was just asking questions no one liked), wanted to take a class only boys took (I wanted to take Mechanical Drawing. The nun who enrolled me that year said “absolutely NOT! You’re too shy!”), and “You’ll probably never finish college, even if you attend. Go to beauty school or nursing school or become a teacher.” No offers of financial help were ever discussed. How was that supposed to happen?

In the 1950s, the thing that made a girl “bad” was being one who smoked, hung out with the boys, one who stole boyfriends, and had sex before marriage. The worse thing was if your daughter “had to get married.” The scorn! In the late 60s and 70s, it mattered no more. Now, often people live together for years, have multiple children, then get married if they even do. I’m glad young teens are no longer forced into marriage. It used to be the air was clean and sex was dirty. Now, the air is dirty and sex is clean. In my opinion, God made male and female to enjoy each other in every way possible. There is nothing better than a caring lover. That, along with commitment, love, faith, and trust in each other transcends to a beautiful life together. I have that with the Babe. I wish it on my friends to know what that is.

Does that make me a bad girl? Oh well! I’ve been called worse! When I was single for so long, I used to say, “If I could be guilty of half of what people have thought I’ve done, I’d be having a great time!”

Have a great time today! Be good to yourself and to each other. Show respect and kindness everywhere you go. You’ll receive it back tenfold. Do it out of goodness, not out of what you may get from it. Let’s see each other again tomorrow!

Help a girl out, we’re around #946 followers. Help me get to #1000! It’ll be fun! Thank you!

August 1, Monday, 2022

Hello from the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. This week, I should get lots of inside with my writing time. The low high temp this week will be upper 90’s, with heat indices over 100 almost every day. Not fit for dogs, writers, or mankind.

Our weekend was delightful. Attending Willy Wonka Saturday night was fun. I can’t wait to see what McGuigan Arts Academy comes up with next. Whatever it is, they will do a fine job and surprise their audiences again.

By the end of the month, we will have a book at the printer. Lotta work until then, but it will be worth it. I need to visit libraries and indie bookstores to see if they would stock some. Until you ask, the answer is no. I will be asking around, believe me.

This is the last month I’m doing any work on the VFW Post 2503’s website, Facebook page, and other social media. I’m ready to have some extra time, believe me. The end of summer is a perfect time to transition, but I’ll still volunteer with some select events. I love our Veterans and feel by volunteering, I’m trying to make their sacrifices worth all they’ve been through. We owe them our freedoms. We need to put them to good use. It will make the world a less harsh place. Do good, it will come back in ways you never dreamed. Start small. Then, Go Big or Go Home!

Need to update all our devices with new virus protection, etc. That will take a bit. Working on more editing, and hoping to finish reading a 400 + page book today which I’ve really enjoyed.

What are you doing today? What are you doing to remain positive? What are you doing to pay it forward? And very important; What are you doing for yourself today? Have a great day, and I’ll see you tomorrow. It always works out the way it’s supposed to. Let’s get out there and make it happen!

Thursday’s Thinking.

Do you have a place of comfort in your home? Not necessarily your bed (mine is great – firm mattress, I can let my spine decompress like nobody’s business), but somewhere you can sit and reflect. Maybe you have a spot where you can just consider your day, your life, your direction. Even for a retired person, this is necessary to keep living life, not just existing.

My thoughts go back to our grandparents. German on one side, Irish on the other. All very hard workers. Our dad’s parents had their own business, a drug and sundries store. Something for everyone. Dad told me a story once when I was telling him how hard it was with my oldest, who wanted to be our playing past dark, when it was time for bed. He could see the other kids outside, no supervision, riding their big wheels on the sidewalk of our busy street. Luckily, he obeyed me, didn’t try to go outside, he was a good kid.

Dad told me it wasn’t anything new. When he was a kid, he and his siblings were babysat by Great Grandma Hurley while his mother worked evenings at the drugstore. Never met the woman, but she ruled with an iron fist. She had to. She was widowed and didn’t have much. Her family lived with her, which was common in those days. Dad said he also wanted to be out with the kids. He didn’t dare cross his Grandma. She had a shillelagh, which she would use to bop them on the head when they were in need of an attitude adjustment. It got their attention. She died while my dad and his brothers were all away at the war. They were not allowed to come home for her funeral.

The more we think no one has done what we’re doing in these times, the more the similarities leap out at me. What has changed? Well, Grandma Hurley would not be bopping a kid on the head with her shillelagh. And our mom’s Great Uncle Roy walked with a regular cane. When he wanted the nieces to come talk with him, he would use the curved handle of his cane to hook them by the arm or leg. They laughed. Mom and her sisters always fell for it. What’s changed? Well, now everyone is on red alert about children being molested, accosted by pedophiles right in their own homes. It needs to come out of the dark.

That has gone on forever, it’s just now we talk about it. We need to. We need to help children through these terrible events and keep them safe. I believe we are teaching children to be aware, stand up for themselves, and tell a safe adult when things are not right.

I feel so lucky that as kids, we didn’t have to worry about anyone hurting us. We rode our bikes around, roller skated, walked to the library, and other stuff kids do. We loved going to the air-conditioned library when it was blistering hot outside. It was an oasis from the oppressive heat. And of course, there were wonderful books there. Great time, well spent. Thanks Mom!

Author Jennifer Chaverini is someone I’ve followed because of the theme of her books, The Elm Creek Quilters. Alex Anderson had a quilting show I started to watch when I started on my LTD. I was depressed, and I really was inspired by watching her create quilts. I made many purchases of thread, fabric, patterns, lots of stuff. I now have a full room of stuff for making quilts. There are other hobbies covered there, too.

Ms. Chaverini now writes historical fiction. She’s covered Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, and other women’s story throughout history. I just started “Enchantress of Numbers,” about the famous poet Lord Byron’s daughter, who was highly educated in math and science. That never happened in the 1800s. I’m only in the prologue.

Funny, authors debate the use of prologues to set the backstory. Most say not to use it. Could this very long prologue serve as the first chapter? I’ll have to let you know. Not having knowledge about that era and how social mores were so strict, I think it’s necessary to set the tone. More on that later.

I’m shooting for a productive day today. How about you? I like this new way of looking at my to-do list. Of course, there is a huge list of stuff that comes to mind that I want to do. I can cross it off when I write down what we’ve accomplished. I like seeing the done list grow and the to-do list shrink. It’s motivating.

Have a beautiful day, folks. Let’s keep going for more followers! We have jumped up to 938 readers as of publishing time yesterday. Let’s keep going! Love it! Thanks for going on this journey with me. I appreciate the company. Take care, see you tomorrow.

Serenity

Worry robs you of today. Worry makes you dream up every horrible scenario and think it may happen. Usually it doesn’t. Most of the time, moms are classic over-worriers. “Dead in a ditch somewhere” usually comes to mind. Ever hear that from your mom? Yes, I think we all have.

If you’re an adult child of an alcoholic, you may be an expert worrier. I used to be. No more. I’ve not lost sleep over my problems, kids, their problems, my imagined problems, my kids’ imagined problems or any of the above. I can leave it to rest. Hope my kids are ok. Sure. I might pray about them, but I don’t worry. God will take us where we need to be. And He’ll provide me with whatever I need should the worst ever happen. Until then, praying trumps worry.

Mom has habitually worried about everything, real and imagined. She isn’t shy about telling everyone, even now, about worry and lack of sleep. It’s a strong habit for her. At 92, she wouldn’t have to worry about us all. I suspect she may nap a bit more during the day than she admits to, maybe she isn’t sleeping well because of napping. I’m not sure. She tires easily. Heck, at my age, I enjoy a nap, and would think she will. But I won’t worry.

They activate the automatic worry when an ill wind is blowing. Anything that may pose a threat causes you to circle the wagons and hide. And worry non-stop. It’s automatic. There is a lot of hard work to reverse that pattern. But it is possible.

It takes a lot to help people understand they have more power than they believe they do. They have to believe they have the power to re-gain control over yourself and your thoughts. You will no longer react automatically. A new action will become easier to take, and you will take back your power.

“Opportunity does not knock – it presents itself when you beat down the door.” They credit this phrase to a person named Kyle Chandler. Not sure who that is, but it is true. A mentor of mine told me long ago, if you don’t find your opportunities, you need to create them. Figuratively, you could beat the door down, but I would hope it wouldn’t take that much.

Carefully looking for opportunities becomes easier the more practice we have. Then it becomes second nature. Not worrying. Chasing your goals helps us experience many opportunities we wouldn’t have if we sat on the couch at home. Each opportunity helps us become better along the way to our dreams.

Not letting others control what we do is a key to having power. That said, we need to work for others during our lives. And we need to do that, gaining experience as we learn. We may not always be able to work for ourselves. Sometimes we need those experiences to help us grow before we can manage ourselves. One step at a time.

Cautiously realistic is how I like to approach unknown situations. Disasters are so unlikely to happen; I prefer not to worry. Those who borrow trouble from tomorrow cannot help but worry about everything and court disaster because it’s all they know how to do.

As I end this day and look forward to tomorrow, know I understand why you worry. I know because I used to do the same thing. And I also know I had to stop. It drove me crazy and most of all, it wasn’t good for me. It robbed me of joy. I took my control back; I took my joy back. I took my life back. You can too.

It’s been another long day; I hope it’s a great rest of the evening and a good day tomorrow. Let’s see each other tomorrow. Take care out there.

Junk Drawer, Junk Thoughts

Saturday, as I rummaged through the out-of-control junk drawer in our kitchen, it occurred to me how easy it is to junk up our thinking. It’s easier than we think; we need to stay one step ahead of ourselves.

When we think ill of ourselves or our ability, we are accumulating junk thoughts. When we let those self-defeating thoughts in, we’re in danger. The danger exists in those little lies we allow ourselves to hear; “You can’t do this! You’re a girl! Girls don’t run businesses!” “You can’t do this! You only went to community college. Everyone knows your degree isn’t as good as a four-year one!” “You think you’re so smart! You really don’t know what’s right for you!” “Who do you think you are?”

While I don’t consciously entertain those thoughts, I can self-sabotage with the rest of them. I didn’t hear how I did a good job every time I performed something minor in everyday living. If I got a B on my report card, I should have received an A. I’d be close, and if I worked harder, I’d be able to have an A. I’d be able to have a perfect score. Gosh. Was that possible? Not really. I’d have to work impossibly hard. No, I was a girl. I’d probably not be able to.

During that era, there was an unspoken rule; a girl never allows herself to be smarter than a boy. I’m serious. I remember reading in a Catholic girl’s magazine if you know the answer in class and a boy you like gets it wrong, you shouldn’t raise your hand and give the correct answer.

Imagine my delight while during a spelldown in fourth grade, I out-spelled the smartest boy in the class. Louie Safranek. He and a brother are state epidemiologists. Bug doctors. They are scary-smart. But he misspelled the word satellite. Yep. And I beat him. I never won. But I did that day. I won the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was a proud moment. That feeling made me feel i could do anything. I’ve remembered that.

That feeling of achievement is something I’ve repeated throughout life. Raising my kids alone, while going to college and working full time. I was proud of my work and accomplishment. More women need to feel that way about themselves. I look forward to feeling that way again with the publication of my children’s books and novel.

Seeing my name in print is something I’ve always wanted to do. I feel it looking at my chapter in the Nebraska Writers Guild Anthology that was published in 2021. I look forward to seeing the entire book in print. With my name on it. How many of us get to do these things? It’s easy and hard at the same time. How can that be?

Believe in your dream. Do the work to achieve it. Keep at it. Don’t give up. Practice discipline. Take a break if you need. Yes. After having these a break since December, I’m feeling called to write again on my novel. I’m happy about the spark I’m feeling. It will be a fun spring and summer.

Another busy day, and tomorrow will be a repeat of today. Have a nice rest of the evening and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

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.

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!

And Now, It’s All on Sale

I believe it’s safe to say Christmas was a success. We all got through it, didn’t we? For those who don’t have a glorious time, you got through. And from the other side of the holiday, you can be grateful. Our dinner group yesterday was grateful for each other. Family and friends are so important.

We are a group of friends and family who have known each other for a long time. The Babe met his brother-in-law Lou a very long time ago, Lou’s wife was the Babe’s sister-in-law. Lou’s wife and the Babe’s ex-wife both lost to lung cancer, within a year of each other. It’s been a long time. When the Babe’s kids were growing up, they spent a lot of time with Lou and his wife. They all celebrated Christmas together.

Since Lou lost his wife, niece Tracy (the Babe’s daughter) & TJ & kids are present for Christmas; Lou invited the Babe and me, since my siblings don’t gather, and my kids all stay home. So for several years, it was the seven of us. Lou is an incredible host. We enjoy his company a lot. His eldest daughter, retired from the Kennedy Center a couple years ago, is now part of our group, which now totals eight.

Lou does most of the work, the beef loin he presents every year is top shelf restaurant grade. He prides himself in his cooking, wine cellar, and the family he raised. As I looked around the table yesterday, I was so grateful for those people. We’ve kind of formed our own Christmas family, from all of us being parts of something that we may not have anymore, for whatever reason. It’s definitely by invitation, which is an honor to receive.

We all bring a dish or two, our beverage of choice, and the thoughts of gratitude to the table. Lou asked us to share those things as we went around the table. It feels so wonderful to be part of something that exists out of the kindness of someone’s heart. It allows us to be with the grandkids and Tracy & TJ separate from everyone else. And it’s good. TJ lost both of his parents in the last couple years, so our circle is closing in a way. We give freely of hugs and love and encouragement. We listen to each other’s stories. We laugh with and at them. Kidding is good-natured. The Babe and I are grateful to Lou for his kindness.

The Babe and Lou have known each other for over 40 years. Lou owned the company the Babe came to Omaha to work for. He has learned a lot from Lou and with him. They are closer than some brothers I know. It is a respect and love that is thicker than blood. It’s beautiful to be a part of that. If not for the Babe coming to Omaha, we likely would not have ever met. See how things work out like that? God sees the big picture. We are just parts of it.

After taking December off from writing my novel, I feel refreshed and eager to get back to writing. I’ve missed it, but needed a break. This morning, I donned my new sweatshirt to mark the occasion. It’s official now.

“I Make Stuff UP!”

So here we go again, boys and girls! We’re going to do some planning today and tomorrow, and Monday we will begin our writing journey again, to the end of the novel, “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons.” It’s a story about overcoming. We have all done it, if we realize it or not. It’s about being braver than you ever thought possible; it’s about learning to be open; it’s about learning to be smart; it’s about learning to survive in life; and it’s also about learning to love.

Thanks for reading today. Let’s begin now to make 2021 the best year ever. We’re appreciative, resolute, and energized to get out and become. Become whatever you would like. It’s up to you. Be Kind. Be Enthused. You will love your life! See you tomorrow.