Christmas Spirit

Today, I finally feel like Christmas. We’re going to hold onto this change of spirit. And it has nothing to do with gifts, cookies, food, decorations, etc. It has to do with how we feel inside. Duh!

Once we learn to accept our lives exactly as they are at each moment, we can be truly happy. Gone is the self-judgment, the feelings you’re not quite enough, the feelings that you should do more. If we’re not able to do more, we need to stop judging ourselves. I’ll admit it, being disabled for the past 22 years can have a negative effect even on me all these years later. Yes, as positive as I try to e, some days, it gets me. Often, while adjusting to colder weather, new things hurt that didn’t a year ago. It’s how chronic pain works.

As your condition gets worse, you beat yourself up, you feel worthless, you can be angry for not being able to do what you could not so long ago. For instance, even when there were only two of us on Thanksgiving, I learned the hard way, I need much more help cooking a big meal than I think I do.

The Babe is great; he has always been willing and able to jump in and do what needs to be done. My ego still denies I need help. No more. I’ve reached an age and degree of wisdom (?) where I have to accept the reality of my life. Since I’ve been independent (sometimes too much for my own good), I have to learn to back off, for my own good. Humans just don’t want to give up. Some of us are tougher students than others.

No matter how much we want things (and our bodies, health, and spirits) to be as they always, sometimes, that is not possible. How can I not know that and integrate it into my life? Logically, I know. It makes sense. But when those emotions get involved, logic can go out the window. I can do logic, emotions are another issue. No matter how smart we are, no matter how smart we think we are, we all have more to learn. Me included.

I have felt a dramatic shift in how I feel about all aspects of our life. The weekend we just had was one of the best in memory. It had to do with good friends, good family, good new opportunities, and releasing the bonds of the past. When we need to step back from situations, people, and things which no longer serve our lives, there is definitely a loss. There is grieving involved. There are feelings that need to be dealt with, like it or not.

Wow. I had a great finish to this, but due to the fact technology isn’t infallible, WordPress didn’t save the big finish. Oh boy. Nothing for the last one and a half hours. Another lesson in humility. Anyhow, we will persist thinking in a positive, grateful matter. Christmas will be good. Stay focused in being present for Christmas, not focused on presents.

The Babe had a head start volunteering this morning, delivering and picking up to help other’s Christmas merry. It’s good for the soul. I’m decorating the tree, finishing laundry for the week, and making merry where I can. Have a wonderful day, and learn to be grateful, accepting, and kind. ‘Tis the season. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday. What a Treat!

When we were kids, Mom would say we could have a treat if we were good. It usually meant a special snack, or if it was horribly hot, a tall glass of iced tea (in a real glass), with a long iced tea spoon to mix in the sugar. It’s the only time we didn’t have milk with a meal. Special!

My friend Lora and I went to the Van Gogh exhibit that is traveling the country. It is magnificent!

Your ticket is for entry during a certain hour of the day. Ours was first, and it was perfect. Informational panels were posted to give a background of Vincent Van Gogh and his life. I got a lot of inspiration from the quotes posted. Now, I want to go to the library to check out books about Van Gogh’s life. It’s something incredible in the world to learn.

The 37 minute visual show was worth the price of admission. What a genius with technology put all of this together! And paired with the music, it was even better. All kinds of music, including the Beatles “Here Comes the Sun,” made the images dance about the room. It was such a great experience.

My day started with more pain than I’ve had in awhile. The first thing I see on my phone was an article about the world ending. The clues, the author says, are in the hot temps throughout the world, especially in England right now. They claim France won’t have any mustard because of a shortage of mustard seeds. And this is how they know the world is ending.

In other news, mass shootings, this time at a mall happened; and of course, COVID is making a comeback. Hospitals are filling up, so be aware.

Bad news, doom and gloom, and a lot of pain made me want to go back to bed and stay there. It could have easily been that kind of day. The tickets to Van Gogh were expensive, and I didn’t want to waste my money, so I continued getting ready. A hot shower always does wonders. My spirits were good, despite things that bombarded me within the first 30 minutes of waking.

We have to work hard, in this day and age, to keep our attitudes positive. It can be hard. It seems sometimes the world, the media, many things around of us are trying to bring us down. I’m a realist. I don’t believe the world is ending. I think there are far too many good people on earth and beautiful things in nature that God wants us to continue to enjoy. I cannot believe this could be the end.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue on with my work, plans, and dreams. It won’t be happening this evening, I can guarantee you. I’m still very sore, just plain tired, and happy. Happy to be able to attend events like I saw this morning. What beauty. We’ll see each other again tomorrow. Be safe, and have a beautiful evening. Now I REALLY want to learn how to draw and paint! If my spirits are lagging, I’ll review the photos of the beauty I experienced today.

Making Space & Boundaries

That’s what I’m doing. We need to clear out things in our lives that aren’t working anymore. Yes, they were great when we started. When things like volunteering end up being more of a job than contributing to the community. Don’t get me wrong. We took on more things willingly. And now, we need to release some things to come back to the most important relationship we have; the one with each other. In the coming years, we’re aware one of us will leave this world before the other. We want to spend all the time together, just us, just enjoying each other’s company.

So far, one person doesn’t understand we’re doing this to do the things we want/need to do. Reducing our time outside the home to make room for us and the things we have planned doesn’t mean filling up that time to be “on call” for when they decide they want to do something. No, I’m not saying I won’t help this person; I’m saying asking for help would be much better than saying, “Then you can come here and do so and so. . .”

It would have been much better for the person to have asked, “Could you help me out one day a week? Maybe every Wednesdays?” The key here is, their pride keeps them from asking. They are used to giving orders and everyone complies. It leads to all sorts of anger, resentment, and ill-will. Disregarding the fact that others have a busy life is selfish. Someone who will not ask for help cannot ask, in their way of thinking. And, contrary to their saying they’re “Fine, I’m just fine,” they’re not. They’re fearful and upset and angry even though they’ve had a long, productive life.

This is hard for those of us who have disabilities which began in our 40s. We’ve had limitations due to illness and near-death events. We didn’t get to have 85 years before we had limitations of age forced on us. We had limitations of our body failing us and had to put our pride aside at a very young age. Sometimes, it’s hard to have empathy when dealing with someone who thought they had aging beat. It results in ungraceful aging, and negativity.

So if you have this same type of challenging person in your life, know you’re not alone. It’s hard to establish boundaries with them, but we need to. Boundaries keep us all sane and safe. Boundaries keep unwanted things out. Boundaries make our time more accessible for what we want/need to do.

And we can offer assistance to others when needed. It just needs boundaries around it. Then we don’t start something we need to do and have the interruption at 10:30 a.m. of the person who wants (non-emergency) help (different than needing (emergency!) and ruining our day because we haven’t established a boundary.

The meme in the header today first caught my eye because of the beautiful color. Then the words hit me. Yes, the Babe and I are going to intentionally decide how to spend the space we’re creating in our lives. You should too. Continue helping other humans, but do it with intention. And boundaries. You’ll all be happier.

Hydrate in this awful heat! Stay inside with your pets, and fill your day with what you love. I’m doing that very thing! Please, help me get to 1,000 followers who will be notified when a new blog is posted! We’re above 1,000 blog posts published now, I’d love to see our followers get over 1,000 too! We’re hovering around #929. Help a girl out, please! I appreciate it. See you tomorrow. Take care.

Thursday Morning

Wow, another hot and humid day at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Grateful for air conditioning. All our modern conveniences make life so much more comfortable. I will make time this morning to get back to the planting I started yesterday. Once they’re finished, I’ll share photos and updates.

I’m working to become more purposeful and consistent in the ways I spend my time. I will accomplish more if I go back to consistency. Even ten minutes of an activity I need to work on is a success. Rarely will you stop once you’re ten minutes in on a project, activity, or event. Human nature is such that we’re all business when we begin something new. When we’re excited about something, we are gung-ho, there is no stopping us. It’s great. For a while. We find excuses, play on our phones, Google obscure topics, and anything else we can think of to avoid our commitment to the new thing.

So far, so good. Figuring it would be cooler this morning, I was just outside for about an hour repotting some succulents from the last couple of years. They are looking fabulous! I’ve heard it said succulents thrive on neglect. The ones that didn’t make it probably needed a little more attention than their heartier sisters. New little ones are taking their places. I’ll run out of potting soil before I finish.

Nature is amazing. We have robins who have nested above our patio, on the underside of the deck. There are three nests. Word must have spread we don’t bother them. Once in a while, Lexie or Goldie will be on the deck, and start sniffing frantically. They are above the nests and know something is going on. Mama Bird is never far away, and it’s just fun all the way around. We see them get their flying lessons from nest to our Linden tree, about 12 feet away. Then suddenly, they’re gone. Empty nests. Until the next time.

I am committed to getting those plants in their proper places. Today, I will run out of potting soil and I cannot carry a big bag alone. The Babe will, he’s nice like that. I love the dirt on my hands and under the nails. It finally feels like spring/summer is beginning. New life and ideas. New projects and arrangements. I look forward to welcoming the 70s again. I cannot wait to see what they have in store. We’ll get through it, whatever it is.

It’s time to finish using up the potting soil. I’m finally learning to pace myself instead of working to exhaustion. For today, at least. The sun is beautiful, hot, and will help my flowers grow. My ideas are growing, too. Oh, it’s going to be a creative summer. Have a great day. See you tomorrow!

May 5, 2022

Happy Birthday to my friends and relatives. There are several of you who celebrate today, and I’m wishing you all a beautiful day of YOU! Hope you enjoy the rest of the evening.

Speaking of birthdays, I have a special one coming up in a couple of weeks. The big # 70! I have no plans yet and hope the Babe and I come up with something fun. Maybe I’ll sit on the deck and read all weekend. That sounds perfect to me. And the Babe’s birthday is two days later. Maybe we’ll cook steaks on his big day. It’ll be #72 for him.

I’m so tired of the political ads for governor. Whoever wins the primary will harp another six months until we actually vote for governor. Too much stuff clogging the airways, giving me a headache. Accusations and mud slinging do little to help us figure out who’s telling the truth and who would be a good choice. It cannot be over soon enough.

I really made a dent in my major cleanup/decluttering project in my office. It’s a big undertaking, but I have it almost half done. There was also the laundry issue to take care of. That’s finished and we are in good shape on that front. I was still behind after the Writers Conference and the Anniversary events of the past two weeks. I’ve finished some carpet cleaning, clearing a small corner book shelf, moving my cd player, and tomorrow will move our old printer to my office/studio. The Babe purchased a new one to put in his office, since the old one is making a weird noise like the roller is wearing out. I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of it. We purchased it in 2005. What a bargain!

Tomorrow, I’ll also sort out the books about writing and place them on their new shelf in the corner. More organization and tidiness will produce more writing. I cannot wait! I’m removing all my distractions. It has to be done. In the meantime, have a beautiful evening and we’ll see each other tomorrow. I’m hanging out with my heating pad right now. Until later, take care.

Which Would You Want?

We’ve had such a nice day with Gavin. We had lunch with him, he came home with us and played with the dogs until it was time to go to his basketball game at 4 p.m. Gavin asks a million “would you rather” questions. Choices between a million dollars and your family, between immortality and love of your family, between being famous and having your puppy. Things relating to family, love, and kindness are important to Gavin.

He is a little too polite on the basketball court and is gaining confidence in his abilities at the sport. I believe his true love is still baseball. Preliminary practice for spring ball reveals Gavin is hitting the ball much better than last year; the glasses must have done the trick. Getting his confidence back is huge.

It was fun seeing these young fourth graders play basketball. There were some really scrappy boys who weren’t afraid to elbow their way to the ball, even falling to the floor while holding on. It was interesting watching the boys react to directions from their dads on the sidelines. Sometimes the Dad sounded upset, sometimes the boy seemed embarrassed. It was a time for families today, and we certainly enjoyed the time. People should have a nearly ten-year-old with them to help them remember what’s important in life.

Almost time for Gavin to be picked up, it’s time to make sure he has all his things collected. Tomorrow will be another sunny day, another day for working on getting more organized. Let’s plan to see each other tomorrow. Be safe out there.

Nice Guys Finish Last

Leo Durocher is credited with saying this. He is a famous American baseball player, manager, coach, and fiesty human being. He was not afraid to voice his opinion, causing him to be ejected from many games during his long career. I was unable to find the circumstances surrounding the quote he’s famous for saying. I did read he had a habit of writing bad checks to cover his lavish lifestyle. He wrote a book with this title, “Nice Guys Finish Last.”

Is that really true? Sometimes we give empathy and care for people we shouldn’t. We may actually say, “Nice guys finish last,” and making it our mantra. “Poor Nancy. Everyone takes advantage of her.” No. Nancy probably needs to set boundaries and not enable people, family, children, cousins, boyfriends, or her husband. If we don’t say, “No,” we are fair game and should not feel sorry for ourselves.

It took me a long time to learn I had to stop being a doormat. Stop trying to make it up to my mom when my brothers didn’t do what they were supposed to. Stop giving my empathy away to those who were not worthy. My family has a lot of “all or nothing” circumstances. Us giving more of a damn to help a loved one recover from a bad break, alcoholism or drug abuse, or whatever lies they tell themselves to justify your taking care of them. You’re hurting much more than helping. I’ve been there.

To my horror, I discovered the people I loved a lot were doing nothing to help themselves during their own recovery. I’ve helped them avoid hefty fines, jail time, bill collectors, and old girlfriends. I did not realize they were not the people I thought they were. Especially the relatives. I had to say goodbye to the people I thought they were. Then I had to accept the fact I believed the lies, the manipulation, and the grooming. I felt so foolish. It was devastating.

I’ve learned all of that showed me what they were. It showed me the fault was with them. And I bought into it. Hook, line, and sinker. I know better now. I have learned so much; about the pent up anger I’ve had for a long time, about I cannot make up for other’s hurts, and that I come from a family who has addictive personalities. Many of us do.

There are so many things we can be addicted to. Online shopping. Collecting things. Food. Sugar. Alcohol and Drugs. Prescription drugs. The list is long. If one is good, three are fabulous. It’s easy to get caught up in the feeling. Until the regret sets in. I remember making large unnecessary purchases and on the way to the car, I knew I shouldn’t have spent all the money I did. I paid all the credit cards off, and the only thing I overdo spending with is Amazon.

To counteract that, yesterday, I applied for a library card with our town library. I’m hoping to make friends with the staff and donate many of the books I have but no longer use. If they have room! Progress. Yes, I will have an organized library. Progress is my word of the year, and I will work on Progress with all the things I want. Keep moving, it helps! It will be nice to go inside a library again.

Take a chance by establishing some new habits that will set you up to succeed, not fail or remain stagnant. It’s how we grow as individuals and simplify our lives. Off to do some more of that very thing. And read a book later. Or sooner. Stay warm, be safe, and we’ll see each other again tomorrow.

“It Ends With Us” – Colleen Hoover

While I had planned to talk today about the possible shift in my workload to the kid books instead of the novel at this point, I feel it’s important to talk about this 2017 novel by Colleen Hoover. I have just finished reading it, and it impacted me, big time. I love how the ending came about, no spoilers here, just read the book. It ended one of two ways it could, and I’m glad for the ending. I will say it’s a story about a woman who finds out a man is abusive. It starts innocently enough, but it escalates.

We always hear stories about women who won’t leave. We scoff at her saying, “But I love him.” I’m sure she does. Loves him for his goodness, when it surfaces. He is so deeply hurt himself after he lets his temper and fists fly. I’m not defending these men; far from it. They employ whatever tactics they find effective to keep their woman or child in line. They know what they’re doing, and most times, he is acting out behavior he learned at home. Maybe he really doesn’t like women. At first, I thought he was a pretty selfish kind of guy who prided himself in one-night stands. Never a relationship. Maybe he know the demons inside him could erupt. Was he afraid of that? Maybe.

This is a horrific way to live. Let me raise this issue, though. If a man is “only” verbally abusive, should she stay? If he’s detached from family life, while professing to love his wife and kids, is it worth staying? I was finally freed from that kind of life. I finally realized we were far too different. I didn’t care what he said to me, but I hated seeing the tears well up in my children’s eyes. I needed to end it. Many years later, one of my sons told me he probably would have been on drugs if his dad was still in the home. I was so sad at first, but reminded myself he did it to himself. Again, I wish him well. My kids had a stable family life. We ate dinner together nearly every day, but especially on Sunday. It was our tradition. We all loved it.

Having your hopes and dreams ridiculed is also not the way to live. It used to be, “At least he doesn’t hit you.” I retorted, “But he won’t talk to me. He makes fun of me (I’m only joking), and I’m isolated. Therapy helped me see why I married the wrong person. The pride of youth is a big part; the adults in my life couldn’t tell me the details of why I shouldn’t marry him, and not at the age I was. I get it. “Because I said so,” was not enough of a reason to a headstrong young woman. It never does. If you are in a situation where you are dealing with abuse, be it verbal or physical, get to safety. Find someone who can help by listening to you first. They will help you make a plan and implement it. It is never easy. Staying is harder. Logic has to make these hard decisions, not emotion. Emotions can get your hurt or worse, killed. You can do this. You can be strong enough. It took me 18 months of therapy to be able to end it. I was fortunate there was no physical abuse. It can escalate to that; be mindful of that.

Every family has some dysfunction. Every family. If you have behaviors in your home that are not rooted in love, take a step back. Think of outcomes. Think of living differently. Make it stop with you. Be brave but careful.

**If you are of a victim of domestic violence or know someone who could use assistance in leaving a dangerous , please visit this website. See you 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.

House of Gucci

There is nothing like taking the afternoon off to spend at the movies with a girlfriend, a bit tub of popcorn, and Lady Gaga, Al Pacino, and Jared Leto. Wow. Great acting, great story, great everything. If Gaga isn’t best actress, and Leto isn’t best actor for the upcoming academy awards, I’ll be greatly surprised.

Acting is something not everyone is cut out for. Seriously. Especially for a movie, there needs to be a great story first. Those based on real life are favorites of mine. You can’t make that stuff up. But relatives of people told about could sue you. “Based on real events” gets you off the hook, I think.

But having people who can act the parts is important. Adam Driver, IMHO, was a milquetoast kind of character. I didn’t see him as a powerful force at all. Maybe he’s that good an actor, you know? I can’t say because I’ve not seen him in anything else. His wife pushed him to get involved, advised him on business decisions, and insisted on running the show. The driving force behind her ambition was greed. It’s the oldest story in the book, right?

You just can’t beat Al Pacino as family patriarch. He was in his element, as the aging, Italian businessman. He’s had a storied career as a method actor and is always good. His performance is great, as always, and I just wasn’t surprised by anything. He was typical Al Pacino. Always awesome.

Jared Leto? You just won’t believe him. He’s so unrecognizable. And the acting. Go enjoy the movie in a theater while you can. The pandemic may change the availability of theater viewing in the near future, so go while you can. It was perfectly safe. Go. You’ll come back refreshed for the experience. It’s great story telling.

The best part of the whole day? Spending time with my longtime friend Kris. She has been in my life since our junior year in high school. We have been friends for over 50 years, and kept in touch over the years. She and her husband Lenny invited us to the VFW in the first place, and the rest is history.

She lost Lenny in August. She is doing well, and I want to spend time with her much more than we have been. She doesn’t drive anymore, but that doesn’t matter since I do. I’m very aware we need to spend all the time in the world with each other because some day, we won’t be able to.

I’ve been so focused on writing I haven’t spent time with friends as I should. A NYT best seller wouldn’t be worth losing precious time with them while we still can. Sometimes we don’t get a choice in when those friendships end. A stroke or serious illness can happen at any age. We’re boomers, and you never know if you may have cognitive issues with age. This is not a doom and gloom attitude; it’s the reality of life in our late 60s and early 70s.

Think about who you can spend more time with during this season. It doesn’t have to be a family member. Friends need our presence this time of year, too. Don’t overlook people right in front of you! It will do you a lot of good, too. You can never regret presence instead of presents. It’s what the season of love is all about. It helps our worlds all become a better place.

Yes, some people with greed in their hearts and hate in their souls behave like the real-life characters in the House of Gucci. Some people live to bulldoze people out of their way, on the way to power and wealth. You can have it. Not my style at all. Remember who is with you during the tough times, the hard times, the times you want to give up. Those are your real friends.

This Christmas season, be a good friend. Start now. By 12/31/2021, it will be a habit, a big part of your life and character. See you tomorrow!