December is Here!

Yesterday, I was amazed during my driving home discussion with Addison. She commented, “Grandma, can you believe the year is almost gone? Where did it go?” Sometimes we think our tots and teens don’t realize what’s going on around them. They pay more attention than we think. Keep teaching the lessons and being the example. Their characters are forming even as we talk. Just remember, we’re supposed to be their guardians and adults. We’re not supposed to be their “friends.”

Today’s point to ponder is this:

“God gave us a memory that we might have roses in December.” – James M. Barrie.

God never ceases to amaze me in His creation. Nature is colorful and melodious, and it follows the seasonal schedule God created for it. It helps us measure time, with changing seasons. Nature is gentle when you see a seed sprout in spring, or a baby bird learn to fly. It is a force to be reckoned with when the tornado, hurricane, flood, or blizzard comes. It reflects God and His power. Yet he still lets us exist. We are blessed.

Feelings have many meanings to us. Good and Bad. Some Positive, some Negative. As humans, we have fears. Probably too many fears at any given time. The feelings associated with certain memories may no longer be true. Memories can serve as reminders of pain. A scar on your hand may be the reminder not to touch a hot stove. Pain serves a purpose in your life. Keeping it in it’s place is the trick in living a grateful, giving life. It cannot be the focus for you to learn gratitude or remain grateful. Sometimes, the pain can be the best lesson.

A story from the past that served as an excellent lesson for me was about a guy we’ll call Carl. He was the first person I dated after getting divorced. We spent time together when the kids were gone. I refer to him as the best thing and the worst thing that ever happened to me. You see, all those years ago, after being a good Christian girl for all 30 years of my life, I needed to break the rules that ruled my life. I hadn’t dated since high school. I had no idea about the ways of the dating world in 1982.

Carl was a master manipulator who I fell madly in love with. I learned a very hard lesson. He was unfaithful, made promises he had no intention of keeping, and was a gas lighter. I didn’t know what that was while it was happening, but I sure do now. I’m glad to have learned what I did, and the scar tissue hurts if I poke at it. So I won’t go poking at it. For many years, I repeated this type of behavior, not knowing any better. Not a good thing. Old love songs sang of unrequited love, love hurting, and even love stinking. I wouldn’t want to still be believing that. That is where the Babe came in and taught me how wrong I was.

Lessons learned are worth their weight in gold. My bad choices ended about 25 years ago. Thank goodness! Not irritating that scar tissue is key for a positive outlook. A positive outlook enables you to have an attitude of gratitude. The more gratitude, the more your life changes for the good. You don’t repeat terrible mistakes that are bad for you. You learn new methods of dealing with everything.

I’m hoping the season approaching reminds us to prepare to be thoughtful and kind to each other. Christmas is the ultimate expression of love. We have an endless amount to do this month. Give up a few of the to do list items. That should free you up for more enjoyment than work. Take care this busy season. Remember to take it easy some time every day. It’s essential. You and your family will thank each other for it. Enjoy, don’t dread! Thank you for reading today. We’ll see each other tomorrow.

As I Recall It

We’ve talked before about losses we’ve all experienced because of COVID; loss of security, loss of food security, loss of jobs, loss of family and friends, and the loss of regular schedules for school. It’s a lot.

Many people have recovered well from COVID, the variant, kids are back at school, many folks are back to work, donations are being secured for those food insecure this holiday. The one loss that cannot be regained is the loss of our family and friends.

The Babe and I lost three men friends this year. One was from COVID. Our table at the VFW has fewer occupied chairs. We have two more widows sitting with us for a total of three. I’m the only married woman left. There were three of us. We deeply miss Nugent and Lenny. They were buddies; when Nugent needed his nails trimmed, Lenny would take him to the Nail Salon, and he said they had “toe-ectomies.” Lenny had a way with stories. They always pointed to him as the hero. They might end with him telling you to go to hell. They might end with him declaring “Fix! Fix!” He usually got the girl in the end, during the summer of love when he was a life guard at Peony Park.

Regardless of who got the girl, Nugent had a good friendship with Lenny. He had one with the Babe, too, but it was a more professional one. Nugent had a fabulous bar in his family room, and it was always perfectly stocked. He had great stories, and they were told masterfully. We miss him. He was quieter than Lenny, but every once in awhile, he’d release a thought and crack us all up. A nice, nice man.

Today, I read the small book our friend Rick Tiger wrote, “As I Recall It.” It’s a little book that recalls some pretty significant events in his life. He is modest about his success. He is modest about his talent. He is humble about his beginnings. He makes it clear he and his siblings had deep love from their mother and didn’t want for much of things of the heart. They knew they were loved, they knew they all had to help, they knew they had to behave. And they did that most of the time.

I love the segment where he admitted he and one sister fought over most everything. He, however, knew she was being bullied. And he took care of it. His taking care of it landed him in the principal’s office often. He told his truth and being called to the office was the extent of the punishment. I love that he told about that. It explains his deep love for his family; his wife Joyce, their daughters, and their Grandbabies. What a rich life he describes!

Many things make Rick’s family and friends miss his spirit, smile, and simplicity. He was an honest lover of his wife, Jesus, and Louisiana. Just listen to the words, the piano, the voice. The fog keeping you from leaving, having a cup of coffee while you wait it out, the bourbon sunsets, lose a friend; the saints come marching in. It’s a love song to his state, and it makes me want to travel there to see what he describes. It’s beautiful, to put it mildly. Someday, I hope to have the skill putting words together he had.

I miss Rick for the instant friendship we had. He wrote songs that described times in everyone’s life. Falling down and out of love. Whiskey and Holy Water. The Good Side of the Bar. He was as down to earth as your best friend. He valued everyone. He was a person you weren’t embarassed to ask to pray for you or yours. Every time the Babe had a procedure the last five years, I’d ask Rick to pray for him. He did, without reservation. And he’d text me and ask for updates afterwards. A humble, honest man. What a treasure to have had a friend like this.

I’m grateful for all three of these fine friends of ours. Without knowing them, our lives would have been quieter, smaller, and we would have had fewer laughs. We wouldn’t have had beautiful music to tell our stories, and listen to the wisdom Rick had. I’m grateful to still have the gift of all his CD’s, autographed, and his short book. All autographed.

Thanks for the memories, Rick!

The folks at the VFW Post 2503 are disappointed we won’t be able to have Rick back again next year. Word spread quickly about how much fun it was that night. He sat at a table with all of us and talked for about a half an hour before he started singing. Hugs were exchanged, and we all made new friends. Thanks, Rick and Joyce. Joyce, know there are lots of others thinking of you and your family during this holiday week. May the angels surround you with comfort and love. Take care of yourself, and kiss those grandbabies! They cure everything. Folks, Rick’s music is available for gift giving this season. And so is his book. I can hear his voice in the words. What a great storyteller. I do wish we could have had a song-writing session next summer. It was something we talked about, and I could have learned so much from him. Songs are stories set to music. You know how I love great stories.

Thanks for reading today. Keep your loved ones close; we just never know. Make memories this week. Remember good ones, too. See you tomorrow!

p.s. I made a major boo-boo yesterday. Misspelled a word in my title. Oh well. Sorry! Being human, I think it will happen from time to time. Take care, be safe out there!

“Twas a Dark and Stormy . . . ” Day!

We are in the middle of a storm front for the whole day. Don’t get me wrong, I love sunshine the best. But why be a Miss Grumpy Pants if it’s overcast? I’m glad for the lower water bills during this time of year, and God’s doing his best to water the grass and gardens that are drying and dying back for the fall season. With the thunder and lightening, Lexie has taken up residency in our oversized master bedroom closet, and Goldie? She’s between my feet and the base of my office chair. As long as Mom’s around, that noise doesn’t bother her. I woke to find her next to me during the night. Lexie was there when I fell asleep, and when Lexie retreated to the closet, Goldie plopped and cuddled.

Goldie, resting on my foot while I work. She doesn’t like thunder.

The Babe trekked up to the Post for some bookwork. I’m listening to Dayna Jones, a country singer/kindergarten teacher from Emery, South Dakota. I learned about her from our mutual friend, Jimmy Weber. I hope to meet her one day Both Dayna and Jimmy have performed with Martina McBride, whom I love! I heard her before she became a star; she toured with pianist Jim Brickmann in the 90s. She sang the song “Valentine.” Isn’t it beautiful? I love music even more on dark, dreary days. Dayna Jones has a couple CD’s out, which I really enjoy, also. This is a favorite. Gosh, Dayna, hope to meet you someday! You need to come to Omaha!

My handy, dandy Daily Meditation Book for ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) has another perfect meditation for today, for the work I’m about to do during November. (NaNoWriMo – a National Novel Writing Month). It’s actually taken from the Bible, Ecclasiates to be exact.

“The race is not to the swift, not the battle to the strong.

Most battles are not won by overwhelming firepower. Any battle with addictions, weight control, low self esteem, self-loathing, take constant work. By working steadily, you will win the race. It’s why the turtle beat the rabbit, remember? Flash-bangs are dramatic, but just leave a smoldering hole in the ground. Some damage, but in the one spot. Battles of the mind are no different. Another phrase that applies here?

“Talk Doesn’t Cook Rice.” Chinese Proverb

As I look back on my life, I put my stock in too many people who talked without cooking anything! Except for the Babe. He is a totally honest man. He knows my insecurities, and where they come from, and he loves me anyhow. He never uses my weaknesses against me. That is love. He not only cooks rice, but he cleans the kitchen up afterwards. Thanks to his mama Liz for raising men who pitch in and do the work around the house. They cared for their younger sisters while she worked. I miss her a lot. She always made you feel welcome, and that you are important. She did that with kids, adults, everyone. I’m lucky to have had two great women for Mothers-in-Law. Josephine, my first MIL, kept in touch with me after the divorce. Bless her. When I met the Babe and later told her I was getting re-married, she was happy. “Is he your soul-mate?” How cool of her. She kept up to date on things happening in the world. A sweet woman who had a hard life.

The thing about these two very strong women is they worked very hard – one as a waitress, one as a food prepper. Both hard work, and standing on their feet all day, Josephine had to work on Christmas Eve back in the day, and often until the stores closed at 5 p.m. She was quite the bargain shopper, often finding a great buy for one of her numerous grandchildren, rushing home and wrapping it before everyone arrived. She loved seeing the kids on Christmas. It’s because of this mother of 7 that I started loving Christmas Eve again.

You see, in 1964, my grandfather died of a massive heart attack on Christmas Eve. We weren’t there, Mom claimed one of my brothers was sick. It took years and years to deal with that. It still is on my mind on that day. Yes, there will be a children’s book/book for families on that difficult topic. Learning how to handle such deep grief is important; it’s a story I need to share. Look for it next calendar year. My friend Jimmy Weber is collaborating with me, he wrote a song about losing his grandpa the same way, on Christmas Eve. Did I mention we were both 12 years old? I healed a lot when I heard his song/story. It was my story. That’s how our friendship started. What a treasure!

All these stories are connected, though distinctly different. The theme is the same, and so many different characters in each scene of my life provides the background for a blessed life. My thanks to you all for being here. The work is a little easier with support and friendship.

For today? More plotting the writing of 50K words during those 30 days of November. The Babe is happy I won’t be bugging him as much. He can watch all the football his mind can handle, flipping channels randomly as he snacks intermittently. Heaven! And I get to write. Gearing it up, and grateful for the opportunity. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

P.S. Also going back to Keto, maybe a relaxed version. Now that I’ve lost 45 pounds, I’m encouraged to keep going. After all, there are book signings in my future! Gotta be healthy and fit to do that. And looking forward to it. Visions of the Future, very motivating. Have a beautiful day, even if it’s rainy!

Indy 500 Day in America

This weekend is one full of memories. Not just of the American Soldiers, who died for our freedoms, but for traditions in families to celebrate the holiday. No, it has nothing to do with the grilling, the parades, the department store sales, but how families remember on this day.

I fondly remember visiting the cemetary with Grandma Bobell. They would leave flowers for Grandpa. Grandma would say, “Just add this year on my side of the headstone. I can’t believe I’ll live much longer.” Kind of a drama queen, but that’s what she did. Mom told me it was because of the guilt she felt for arguing with Grandpa before he died. He had a heart attack and died on Christmas Eve. It was awful.

We didn’t go visit anyone else’s grave. We would go home, and Dad would be in the basement, in his workshop, with the AM Radio tuned in. Back in those days, the Indy 500 was broadcast on radio. This was before the wonders of Closed Circut Television.

Dad hoovered near his radio all day, until the race was over. He enjoyed having his time alone, listening to racing. He and his friend, Tom Sloboth, had their own little racing team back in the 1940s. Maybe even into the 50s, I’m not sure. Dad was the mechanic and body man, his brother Bob helped out, and Tom was the driver. I would guess they had a heckuva time. In the 1960s, Dad built a go-kart and we’d take it out on on Sunday afternoon to large, deserted parking lots. We never got to drive it alone, but it was fun to watch. Mom usually seemed bored or mad we’d have to do that. With two younger kids (baby and toddler) it was hard to contain them. Sometime his friend Tom and family would come, too.

Once Closed Circut TV was created, tickets were sold to the Omaha Civic Auditorium, where you could watch the live race via CCTV. Dad and Tom were in heaven! It was a miracle! Finally, in 1965, ABC started a 52 year long tradition of televising the race on National TV. A race fan’s idea of heaven! We knew all the names from listening over the years. AJ Foyt reminded me of Dad’s friend Tom. He seems like a mountain of a man, deep voice, and I wouldn’t want AJ mad at me. Right?

Dad held extreme dislike for Jackie Stewart. I’m guessing it was his long hair and hat. Dad was pretty conservative as far as haircuts went. Long hair wasn’t acceptable. America was changing, and I don’t think Dad liked it. When Cable TV came along in the 1980s, Dad loved watching NASCAR races. He saw so many changes to something he loved during the last twenty years of his life. He’d be amazed at the Internet, the vast amount of information we can access, and the ease of doing it all. I think he would have enjoyed this part of life.

We never were a family to have picnics or go to any body of water. Since Memorial Day was assigned to the last Monday of May, it was his normal day off. We just stayed home. I missed hearing that radio from the basement once the 500 was available on television. Some of the tradition changed. It was cool Dad could sit in his recliner and watch something he loved. But not Jackie Stewart. Ever.

What are your traditions for this weekend? Do you still honor them? Would you want to? Leave some comments so we can see what the majority of folks do. Thank you for reading, I appreciate it. Be Kind. Be Polite, we’re not used to being in crowds anymore. We need to get used to each other again. Be Patient! I will see you tomorrow. It will be Memorial Day at the Post. Beautiful tradition for the Babe and me.

We read a lot of books every holiday.

How Cold Is It?

Mention was made a few days ago it has not been this cold since 1983. Oh, wow. One of the years that was so hard! I remember it well. It tried to break me.

I usually became very ill in January, every year. Sinus Infection, and it not only knocked me down, it started to bury me. It was so cold, I brought my car battery in the house every night. It was a few years old, the car was out all night in sub zero temps, and I could not afford a new battery. Don’t laugh. My friends who lived in Minnesota told me they did that very thing. It worked until my Income Tax refund came later in Spring.

I invited my husband to leave a year earlier. The kids and I were doing well. All things considered. I was doing well with my job, but not dating. I didn’t think it would be hard, but there were times I really needed someone for me.

Many guys I met immediately thought I was looking for a Dad for the kids. I told them, “No, they have a Dad.” Those guys were not the caliber I would have chosen. And so I kept on, raising kids, working, and going to school. Burning the candle at both ends, for sure. No wonder I got sick!

The world premiere of the movie, “On Golden Pond,” was held in January, 1983, in Omaha, at the Orpheum Theater. The Orpheum began as a Vaudeville Theater, and was one of many grand movie theaters in Downtown Omaha. Henry Fonda, who was from Omaha, was ill and could not attend.

I saw Jane Fonda on the news at the premier. She wore a pants suit. An elaborate one, but pants. Protocol at that time would have been an evening gown. It was just too cold.

The next day, I came home from work and saw a note on my door from Uncle Bob. Bob was Dad’s brother, and he worked for MUD, our local gas, water & sewer utility. The note said to call him. I did.

It seems they found a water main break in front of my house. Unfortunately, it was on my side of the pipes. I had to pay for it. I had no money. NONE. My uncle knew someone who could do the job. He waived the extra $300 fee for digging up frozen ground. Boy, was the ground frozen!

My parents loaned me the money, and the plumber started work two days later. They were finished as we had a huge snowstorm. My instructions were to turn the water back on when I got home from work. The commute was terrible, lots of accidents. I picked the kids up, came home, and went downstairs to turn the water on.

As I turned the valve, water sprayed all over me, my suit, blouse, hair, and I was in shock. I called the plumber, who worked in the cold all day, and told him he needed to come fix the leak. I had three kids, we couldn’t be without water in a blizzard. He wasn’t happy, but he did come fix it. We had water. Thank God!

I was sick from work for several days. It was awful. I was glad it had been over a year since the divorce. Being at the lowest low I’d ever seen, I was glad I didn’t consider getting back “together” with the ex. No, I can handle it. I had grown to believe it.

For all of these reasons, I won’t forget the last time it was this cold. It was a lifetime ago. I was 31. I’m looking down the barrel of 69 this year, 70 will soon follow on its heels. I’m so grateful for all the lessons learned. Yes, all of them. They helped make me strong enough to endure what lie ahead. It was one of those valleys you pass through on the way up the next mountain.

Thank you for reading – please, stay warm today. Help someone else stay warm. Yes, do what you have to do. Be Kind. Be Grateful. Be Courteous. We’ll see each other tomorrow.

Memories

Younger siblings are always a pain in the derriere. No, let me correct that. Younger brothers are. I have no sisters at all. I only have younger brothers (2), and one older brother. I can only speak from that experience. I’m guessing sisters could be a pain too.

It’s funny where your mind takes you. The words I type every day spark a memory nearly daily; “See you tomorrow.” A phrase my little brothers called out to Mom after wrestling them into bed each night was, “Good night, pleasant dreams, see you in the morning!” Mom would repeat it back to her. It was a thing every night. I did it with my kids when they were little. I enjoyed ending the day on a positive note. It was good.

Those two little monsters would then talk, laugh, do somersaults in bed, yell, giggle. The grand finale saw them jump up and down on the beds. Mom (or Dad) would utter the popular, “If I have to come up there!” about ten times. Sometimes they earned a spanking, grounding until they were thirty, threats of all sorts. Mom threatened a lot, but never once did she commit the felonies she threatened; but spewed threats of being sent to Boys Town. Or Omaha Home for Boys. Every night the floor was lava. The throw rugs were quicksand; and Mom or Dad had to holler. 

My brothers had vivid imaginations. Perhaps this was their terrain, littered with Lava, Quicksand, and the monster chasing them. Photo by Isaac Weatherly on Pexels.com.

Anyone else have younger siblings like that? I know about everyone did, and the craziness happened at night when they should be quiet. My sons did the same thing. My daughter, like her Mama, always had her own room. The one advantage to having all brothers.

Mom threatened me with being sent to Uta Hallee Home for Girls. Back then, Boys Town was only for boys. They went co-ed maybe twenty years ago. I was afraid of the consequences if I did anything Mom considered “wrong.” She ran a tight ship; but then, she had to with Dad working nights. It worked for them.

Friday, Cartney and I will meet for a couple hours and work on ideas for illustrations for our children’s book. She’s a busy high school senior, and I’m glad she’s making time for a meeting with me. I look forward to Friday. Make time for someone today. A quick call can mean so much.

I’m going to work a little more on my novel this afternoon, followed by reviewing the layout of our children’s book. It will be a good preparation for a meeting with Cartney. Life is so good, the horizon has a lot of fresh adventures ahead. I’m so glad you’re along for this ride!

Tomorrow morning, Mom has a doctor’s appointment, so I might not get to post in the morning. I hope she feels well enough to go to lunch. She seldom gets out since it’s so cold. Check on your elders, neighbors, whoever you haven’s seen moving about lately. In another state, there was a “wellness check” called into 911; the officers discovered an elderly lady couldn’t get out of her house because she had no one to shovel her sidewalks. They shoveled her out. How beautiful! She was so grateful to them.

I hope you all have a beautiful, creative day. I’m off to write now! Stay safe. Be careful out there. We’ll see each other again tomorrow. Be kind, be thoughtful, be courteous.

Memories – 2002

In going through some old writing I had from grief seminars with the Centering Corporation in Omaha, Nebraska, I found a couple things I’ve held onto. It would have been in about 2002, when I turned 50 years old. A huge mark in a person’s life, but for me it was the dawning of some premature events.

I went on disability at 48, I was unable to continue working due to the condition of my spine. I continued working for five years, and just couldn’t physically handle sitting all day anymore. My work place was more than accommodating. The Babe and I were married about four years. He told me I didn’t have to work. It never dawned on me to quit.

The header photo is a collage I made of my feelings in 2002, depicting how I felt about being placed on LTD. It was very hard to adjust to. I’d been working for twenty years, got an education while raising my kids, bought my own home, and climbed the corporate ladder. I was approaching where I would get to have the time of my life. And my career ended. All the words dealt with my medical issue, which you “couldn’t see.” “Doing What I Love?” I hadn’t thought of anything. ” I am data,” spoke to there being no data on someone recovering from what I had. I was written up in medical journals, complete with a digital photo of my arachnoid cyst squeezing my spinal cord. The pain was unbelievable. And for the big 5-0? I went on MEDICARE, for crying out loud. Fifteen years early. I was embarrassed. I certainly did not look 65. I felt I had no control over anything. I finally learned to grieve properly about that loss, and adjust to my new life. Thank you, Joy Johnson Brown and Dr. Mary Hansen! You ladies have taught me so much about living.

There was a session about expressing grief. It was through poetry. As nearly as I can remember, I must have written a poem about My Dad’s Hands. I’ll leave you with these thoughts.

MY DAD’s HANDS

Big, Outstretched, and Warm

I always felt safe

When Dad reached down

and took my small hand in his.

Crossing the street

Into the Doctor’s Office

Upstairs a million steps to the dentist’s smelly office

I knew he would protect me.

As I grew, I noticed

the nicotine stained fingers,

the Pressman’s ink,

the Mechanic’s grease,

and I saw some of his many talents.

His beautiful signature

The thousands of books he’d read

The golf clubs he treasured

The grandchildren he’d held after

He was sure they wouldn’t break.

How cold and small they seemed

With the IV’s inserted

As that modern plague Cancer

Sucked the breath from his lungs,

But not the love for him from my heart.

Thankful Tuesday

Sometimes, when you least expect it, you see something, remember something, or have a dear cousin contact you. That’s what happened Saturday. It’s taken me a few days to compose myself enough to tell you about it. I’m still blown away.

I’ve told you about our Grandma Jewell before. Dad’s Mother, she had three ornery boys and one daughter. She was the quintessential Irish woman; unwavering in her Catholic faith, sincere in prayer, and love for me and all my cousins that was deep, encouraging, and lasting. She treated us all as equals. My cousin Jilla and I were the only girls with all of those nine boys. So glad we had each other. I’m sure we were “Dad just came home from Korea” babies. The two of us, my brother Tom, and cousin Michael, were four babies at the beginning of the boom, 1951 – 1953.

I remember Gram mentioning to my dad, “You know, Tommy, the boys are wearing their hair longer nowadays. It wouldn’t hurt if they skipped a week or two at the barbershop.” My dad didn’t answer and didn’t disagree with her. A more informed person didn’t exist. She and her sister Anna lived together after Grandpa died, as they had their entire lives. A single woman rarely lived alone in those days. We thought nothing of it.

One thing a well refined young lady did when Grandma and Aunt Anna were young was needlework. Embroidery, specifically. They always had a work in progress. They learned from their Mother, and I learned from mine, how to do various stitches: cross stitch, straight stitches, backstitching, and the French knot. I still cannot do a French knot I like. But Gram could. Her stitches were perfect every time. Even as her vision was poor in her later years, she did embroidery.

Saturday, I received a small package in the mail. These were inside:

The note inside was so beautiful. Cousins Terri and Jeff were going through some things and found these. Their folks supplied Gram with her projects until late in her life. I had tears that they thought of me to keep them. Gram lived two years longer than Dad did; when we saw her the day after his death, she cried and said, “This is the worst shock of her life.” She was 95 and heartbroken. Each time after that we visited, she asked, “Do you think my Tommy’s in heaven?” Absolutely, Gram. How she loved her children all of her life.

Cousin Terri wrote these were Gram’s last masterpieces. And they are works of art. Up close, you can see the pink, circular, puffy stitches, a/k/a French knots. My nemesis! I run my fingers over her flossed stitches and know how she must have labored over those perfect stitches. I feel the puffy knots that elude me, and I can hear her modestly proclaim, “Now, Kathy, I’ve just had more practice than you.” Her humility was one of her best qualities. I want to be like her. I need to remember that when I’m less than loveable. Be like Gram. A worthy heroine. I really think if God is female, He is just like her. Just saying. Thank you, Terri and Jeff. You have given me a gift I really needed right now. It’s magic for my soul. Bless you both.

Folks, this is the season for expressing love. You can give it away, and you also have to receive love, too. Accept it, it’s a beautiful feeling. Regardless of our Covid-Blues, it’s no excuse to be mean to people. Unacceptable behavior does not get a pass because we’re all stressed. Rudeness and temper do not get a pass. Tantrums lead to more of the same. Whatever we give is what we’ll receive more of. Wouldn’t you rather have it be love than hatred and ugliness? I would.

Thank you for reading today. I’ll be back tomorrow. Hope you are, too. Join me. Be Kind. Be Patient. Be Courteous. Be Grateful. Be like my Gram. And maybe I’ll finally learn to make beautiful French knots.

Memories

As I opened the blinds in the main bathroom this morning, the sun glared at the mirror above the sink. Splatter marks all over the place. I smiled. Yes, it was a splattered mirror, clearly dirty, and I smiled. Why? The sweet memory accompanying it. Our grandson Gavin, lover of dogs and common sense, the very smart boy, Grandpa’s best buddy, was over in the last couple of weeks. He spent the night, then Grandpa took him to school the next morning. With the whirlwind only an eight-year-old can create in his path, he dressed in our bathroom and brushed his teeth in the other one. No problem. The sink is lower, so it was easier for him.

Oh, I’ve seen the splatter marks before this. And I’ve smiled every time I’ve seen them. The memory is more important to me than a spotless mirror. One time, we left a little one-year-old handprint on the patio door, where the sun highlighted it all afternoon. It made me smile, too. Too fast our babies grow up, and even faster do our grandchildren grow up. Cherish them. Especially with their mess. A spotless home is often empty.

The Times of Your Life is a beautiful song written by Canadian Paul Anka. It came out in about 1975, and used by the Kodak Corporation in a commercial about capturing your memories on their fabulous film. If you’re young enough to not know what film is, we can’t be friends! It went in a camera and captured images. You had to take it to a place that would develop film. It took quite a while to get it back. At least for several days. You also had negatives available for reprints, if you wanted to order them.

So, of course, this beautiful song will evoke tears about the memories you have. Keep the good ones and don’t dwell on the bad ones. You’ll lose yourself in them. Baby handprints on windows. A little stool you sat on at Grandma’s house. A teapot you drank tea from when you were sick. Memories help us convey so much love. When I mix bread dough, I think of my Grandma Jewell. She baked unbelievable stuff for us. With so much love.

I’m selecting these beautiful memories to keep calm about the world right now. I would die laughing if, by some strange quirk of fate, Trump won. The folks at ABC, headed by George Stephanopoulos, are like the cackling women robbing Scrooges body after he dies. There is another glorious memory, going to the Omaha Community Playhouse’s production of “A Christmas Carol.” I’m wanting people to become civil again. I’m wanting people to calm down. Please. We need to. All of us.

Elvis sings the other song I am recalling about. Mac Davis (who passed recently), and Billy Strange co-wrote this beautiful song. Wow, listening to it now, I remember it so well. My kids were all little and playing in the leaf piles their dad and I raked up. We buried them up to the neck, then Frankie, the oldest put his hands up and threw leaves all over his brother and sister. Wonderful memories of the kids. I had photos of both scenes, but gave them to Frankie a few years ago. We lost them in his apartment fire, but I remember the vision. How terrible it must be to lose your memory, all catalogued in the corners of your mind. The song, “Memories,” is a classic.

Yesterday’s Breakfast was Delicious!

We’re doing pretty well eating differently. Yes, we’re doing Keto, mostly. I think it’s important to get everything we older folks need, so we’re adding a Protein drink every day. To find one with low carbs is a challenge, but we found Ensure in a very low carb version, with 30g of protein. Great discovery and doesn’t taste bad at all. We use it as a snack around noon – 2 p.m. Then cook dinner to eat anytime between 4pm and 6 pm, depending on what’s going on. So far, so good.

Keep your spirits up. Read positive things. Entertain your heart-warming memories. Do it while you still can. Thank you so much for reading today. I appreciate your time and hope you come back tomorrow for some more positive thoughts and words. It’s so much better when you keep a good thought. See you tomorrow! Be Safe!

Fall Festiveness and Memories

Fall is a favorite time to decorate in the house. I suppose it comes from my knowing the snow will fly in a few months (or should fly) and once the leaves are down, the outside turns dusky, dark, and dank by five p.m. once CDT is over. And I do just love the way it all looks. Yes, even pumpkin flavored tea is on the shelf in the pantry. Sipping hot tea makes me feel all wise and librarianish. Lol.

I am ready for jeans and sweatshirts, leather boots, (gosh, I miss wearing high heels!) and a warm scarf. It seems as if we get to that point each year like we’ve never been there before. Each year, the seasons bring something new. This year, some say, it will be a super-flu bug, a Flu-Corona-20, if you will. Whatever it is, I’m getting a shot for it. I always get a flu shot, and so does the babe. It’s kind of careless to not. I know, some folks claim they become ill from it – often, it doesn’t take effect until two weeks later. In those two weeks, if you get the flu, it’s because of that lag in between the time of exposure and the time the shot kicks in.

This was Tyler Perry‘s acceptance speech for the Governor’s award at the Emmy’s last night. I did not watch the program, but was glad to hear something about my hobby. I saw this earlier today on the Facebook page of Pat Sloan. Pat is a well known quilter, designer, teacher, and such a fun quilter to follow. I selected WordPress because of her; I’ve spent a number of years learning from her through her blog, and I liked what I saw. Of course, hers is full of great stuff, and she has wonderful free patterns all the time. If you want to learn, check Pat out.

Yes, we all have quilts that are our lives. Some are torn and tattered, indicating they either weren’t cared for well or they have been used beyond their time. Some are pristine and beautiful, not allowed to be touched. They live in a temperature controlled atmosphere, and rarely see the light of day, for fear they will fade in the sun. I have made quilts for people and tell them I want them to use them. The quilts I made for Mom’s three sisters were each made for them, their personality, their beliefs, or something beautiful that made me think of them or some experience I had with them in their lives.

Now, Mom doesn’t want a quilt. She says she’s not “a quilt person.” I have to remember, the first afghan I ever made was for her. After all, she watched Frankie while I went to class. It has never been used. It used to sit on her antique rocking chair. She has given that to my baby brother, and I don’t know where the afghan is. I imagine it will find its way back to my house someday. All the afghans I’ve made (well over 50, I think), I’ve never made one for me. Strange, isn’t it? I’ll have to remedy that someday.

So after all is said and done, I will probably make her a quilted jacket from a sweatshirt and fabric. I have wild animal fabrics to use on it. I’d probably better get started with that. At 91, she won’t be here forever. So she’ll have a different kind of a quilt. But she’ll get one. Haha!

You know, I know some folks are anti-RGB strictly because of her stance on abortion. I have to look at the whole career of such a woman, though. I shudder to think what my life would have been like if she had not championed the causes of women. I was not on the “women’s lib” bandwagon early on, I quickly got on board, though for equality. I had credit although I hadn’t worked in over twelve years, I could open a bank account in my name, I was able to earn a very good living in the IT World, because it was one arena your technical knowledge determined what you were paid. I was equal to a man who did the same work. My life has been very blessed because of the good this tiny, mighty woman did. Thank you, RBG, for standing for me before I realized I needed your help. I am forever grateful.

For too long, decisions were made about my life that didn’t include my opinion. Thank God those days ended.

Maya Angelou has been credited with saying something like “Don’t be hard on yourself what you accepted before you knew better. Once you know better, though, you need to make changes.” I did. Boy, it was not a popular decision. And oh, how family can judge. It was lonely to become divorced in 1982. I lost so many of my favorite people, the ex’s siblings. All these 38 years later though, we have a good relationship, for which I’m grateful. The nieces and nephews have all become adults, parents, and some are grandparents. So very grateful to still have them all in my life.

What will you do with the rest of the day? I’m finishing a project I’ll reveal tomorrow. I hope you all have a beautiful Monday, it’s half over already! Make it count, make yourself shine, and I hope you are blessed today. Find the goodness. Listen to the music of life. Ponder what your life quilt looks like. Be kind, be thoughtful, be aware of others, be courteous. Your quilt will be much more beautiful.

Thank you for reading, see you tomorrow!