Black Friday-Time to Unclutter!

Did you all survive the day of giving thanks and cooking all day? We did, too. Quiet, reflective days are good. It seems I did something weird to my upper back in the shoulder blade area. I can hardly move it without severe pain. It happens now and then. I’ll probably get the TENS unit on it with the heating pad during the football segment of the day. I’ll use that time to sort through this:

This Chair is full of the printed matter I’ve accumulated while writing and doing research. I enjoy having printed copies, but if I sort through and find any of this unnecessary, it’s going!

I want to get a few things cleaned well before I do the Christmas tree. One was cleaning up my writing area. The sewing area in my little studio needs it too. But with my strange flare up, I’m limited. We’ll make do. Anyone who has chronic pain gets it. When you least have time to deal with it is when it rears up.

I did this thing and bought a laptop stand to use while I write. The Chromebook fits perfectly and even raising it off my lap three inches while typing in the recliner makes less stress on the old body. The pain in subsiding in my neck, thank goodness. I need to do a great rating on Amazon for this product. It was from Lifelong, a family business. They may have saved my writing career!

Before left, and after, right. I can see the glass-top desk and organization. Much easier. I just procrastinate on spaces like this. I’m busy working on things and think, “I’ll do it when I come back in,” and then I don’t. I can create in chaos, which isn’t a good thing, really. We all do better with order. I want to organize all the projects and stories, and tutorials and rough drafts. A small, simple milk carton storage cube will hold enough hanging file folders to keep what I need. I love my space!

It’s amazing what you find when you tidy up. A thermometer as a token of 2020, a book by someone whose work you admire, and letters you need to scan and add to a website for the VFW Post 2503. Never a dull moment.

Sometimes authors report going through spells of “writer’s block.” What is it? I’m not sure if it really exists or if it’s procrastination, self-sabotage, or a cluttered brain. One reason I straightened up is I was getting too distracted. Since I’m not working with my book coach anymore, maybe I feel like “School’s Out for the Summer.” Could be. I believe I’ll get back to business after I tidy several areas that require my attention right now.

The really wonderful thing about being retired is you can fill your time however you wish. It’s really up to you. You can read, write, draw, create, sew, or quilt. I love these things, and just don’t have enough time. I located my list of goals for this year. I thought my book, “These Walls DO Talk” release date would now be past, as would the children’s books, “Bonus Grandma’s,” and “Roxie, WHAT Are You Doing?” And another project, “Grandpa’s Gone,” would be near publication. Other things happened instead. I’m a little sad to say nothing went to press, but that’s a good thing. I’ve learned so much more about my craft, and I know the writing is much better than it was a year ago.

The craft improved with study, a great coach, and my confidence is higher. I know my creations will be better than a year ago. The practice here every day is necessary, yet it’s a different writing. It’s been a splendid start on this journey we’re on. Who knew we’d take the side trips we have? It’s all been unexpected blessings. And I’m all for that. How fortunate I’ve been! Can’t wait to see what comes next.

Please be safe if you’re out shopping today. Distance. Masks. Kindness. Thoughtfulness. Patience. We need all that more than ever. Thank you so much for reading today, and we’ll meet again tomorrow. Enjoy today and all that comes with it.

Wonderful Wednesday

When my kids were younger, we had one bathroom for the four of us. That meant I got up at 5:30 a.m., and everyone else got up and we left the house by 7 a.m. All had breakfast, too. It helped to be young, and the goal of getting to work on time. For a couple of those years, I dropped kids off at three different places. That was a little complicated! So glad we lived through those stressful days and years.

Now, it’s been awhile. Last night, Gavin didn’t want to go to the rally for President Trump in Omaha. He came to stay with us, and the Babe (a/k/a Grandpa) took him to school earlier. Like most eight-year-olds, he is a wealth of information. We don’t know the characters in Minecraft, but we heard all about them. Like his sister, Gavin is a wealth of information. Never stops talking. That’s ok. I love some topics we cover. It is pretty informative on some levels, and on others, we laugh to ourselves at some conclusions Gavin arrives at. Those are the stories we love to tell our friends, and they share their stories along the same lines.

When the Babe came over to me to kiss me goodbye and take Gavin to school, I asked him, “Do you feel as if you’re herding cats this morning?” He smiled that dimpled smile and said, “Yes, I do.” We had a pleasant laugh, and off the boys went. What a great way to start the day. Once in a while.

Aside from a nap later, I’m also going to accomplish some more writing today, and reading the book about Ellen Foster. I’m also intrigued about a new Facebook Group called “The Creatives.” Our local cartoonist, Jeffrey Koterba, and his son, Joshua Koterba, started it. I see it as a great resource for everyone involved. It tickled me when I received an invitation to join. Many, many people are members so far. I know I’ll learn much about being creative and living a creative life.

What have you accomplished this year, that you thought you would? I truly pictured myself at a book launch or two by this time of the year. I probably am closer to finishing than giving up, and it’s sad knowing the Pandemic hasn’t been friendly to some authors’ release parties. Maybe it’s a blessing for me, otherwise I might have published something that wasn’t ready yet.

I’d better get to working on another chapter plan now. It’ll make tomorrow go better when I have more time to write. Hope to see you tomorrow. I think we can have another pleasant morning together. Thanks for reading. Be Kind. Be Safe out there. Be Happy. It’s a state of mind everyone should adopt. Thanks for reading.


Today, September 18, is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. It is most associated with the Vietnam War. There are many missing POW’s, evidence exists of torturing our men who were prisoners as far away as Russia. This is very upsetting. There is a Forensic ID Lab at our nearby Offutt Air Base in Bellevue, NE where remains have been identified. One ID was of Hadley Heavin, lost for many years. Our old neighbor was named after him. Our Hadley Heavin was named for his uncle. The remains were recovered and identified, and finally laid to rest a few weeks ago in his hometown in Kansas.

Even though a family probably has a conclusion, it helps to finally be able to put an end to the waiting, the unknown. You know where to go from the cemetery. You don’t know where to go from being suspended in time with no answer. God bless them and all their families. We will never forget.

We Will Never Forget

I’m a bit beside myself today. Our local newspaper, the Omaha World Herald, has fired our hometown Editorial Cartoonist, as a cost-cutting measure. Jeff grew up not far from our neighborhood. In his book, Inklings, he described areas of his neighborhood, and I knew exactly where he was talking about. I am a fan of his from way back, and have followed his career. He is a multi-talented man who will land on his feet, I’m sure, once he recovers from the shock. Jeff, I’m so sorry.

As I’ve mentioned before, my dad worked there 37 years, retired and passing away in 1988. Jeff began his career one year later, and he may have known Dad from the Pressroom. For 50 years, I’ve been a subscriber, and had a fondness for the paper just since Dad worked there. It fed and clothed us as kids. It was my older brother’s long term career, too. I never thought I’d do this, but I’m going to cancel my subscription totally. I cut back to online only, but in protest, it’s all gone from my life.

I understand corporate takeovers and politics. I worked for ConAgra during their largest growth period, the 1980’s. You eliminate duplicity. You can’t tell me there wasn’t a middle manager somewhere who could have been let go. You can’t exactly find award winning cartoonists on every corner. I know, it’s silly, he doesn’t need me to be indignant for him. But I am. I’m tired of so many things. Instead, I’ll do my little bit, then go on and make the day better.

We need Jeff to tell the stories in his drawings during this crazy time. Just like a Springsteen fans needed to have him tell the story musically of 9/11 in his album, “The Rising.” We feel better when our feelings are depicted in their craft. We feel belonging and relief all at once. We won’t have that anymore. Thank you, Jeff. Omaha loves you.

The Babe and I are going to the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of Victory Veterans Apartments. Here’s a link to their website. It’s a beautiful program that helps a formerly homeless veteran have their own apartment, belongings, and learn to live a better way. Our Post has recently partnered with them to help provide items such as dishes, silverware, bedding, coffee, and many other things. We are honored to be involved, they do such great work.

Lastly, I did have a pleasant musical surprise today. I received Kevin Costner and Modern West’s CD, “From Where I Stand.” It’s phenomenal. I’d place it beside of Bruce Springsteen’s Western Stars for good songs. Not bad for an old guy, you know?

How did I not know he sings, too?

Not sure what else I’ll work on today, might just sit on the deck with a glass of wine later on today. There is a lot going on and sometimes you just have to take a timeout and be with your people. “Babe!! What are your plans for later?” He always helps. I’m so lucky.

I’m grateful for you reading today. The days are cooler, and the nights are much cooler. Tuesday is the first day of fall. I hope it’s all you would like it to be. Be kind, be courteous, be safe out there. The world can be harsh. I hope it’s gentle with all of you. See you tomorrow! I have a phone call to make.