Sunday Blessings-ACS 31x 30

For those who have missed what I’m writing about during the Month of May, I’m taking part in the American Cancer Society Fundraiser. It’s not one of a 5k Walk or Ironman Event. This nearly 71-year-old grandma doesn’t run anywhere. I stroll. 5k would have to be a multi-day event. You get it. Considering my lack of ability (medically backed) I can do what I can do. Bon Jovi recorded a pandemic song, this version with Jennifer Nettles.

This song boosted America’s spirit as we were closed down. Regardless of your opinion on the entire event, this is about what we humans do in a crisis. You can almost compare a cancer patient to a person during the pandemic. We could infect someone with this terrible illness. No, we can’t catch cancer from someone. What I’m saying is with reduced to no immunity, the cancer patient can catch a simple cold and die from the complications. They compromise everything in their system. Wash your hands. Frequently. Wear a mask if you have sniffles, a cold, whatever. You could save their life.

Although it’s a day off, this topic is on my mind. Of course it is.

I woke this morning hearing the songs of birds in the wetlands behind our house. It was wonderful. It calmed me. I felt rested. I remembered how creative hobbies such as adult coloring, crocheting, sewing, quilting, and even writing can put you in a nearly Zen state. The same part of the brain you used to worry, is the same part of the brain that calms you as you create. Mom and I used to have a once a week adult coloring date. It was fun to sit and relax, remembering all the days we colored when I was about 4 years old. Older brother Tom was in kindergarten. I missed him terribly while he was at school. We walked every day, morning and noon, with Mrs. Bauer, to walk the boys, our Tom and her Johnny, home for the rest of the day. I loved it. My best friend at home with me for the afternoon.

I’m choosing a creative project to work on all afternoon, and continue reading my friend, fellow Nebraska Author Tammy Marshall’s book “State of Georgia and Other Writings. Tammy, I love the story of Georgia and can relate. More on this later. Thanks for your example of great writing and your friendship. You are a person to follow for writers like me can learn a lot from.

If you don’t have a creative hobby like one of mine, it’s ok. Get some coloring books, markers, gel pens, and color away. Taking a break from constant worry will surprise you. Or do Crosswords, Word Puzzles, Sudoku, or several others. You deserve a break. Make it a priority.

I’m fortunate to have the Babe, who took over all the things I used to do, except for laundry. His philosophy is two loads; dark and white. No further sorting for lingerie (mine) or boxers (his). Thanks, Babe, you are a Godsend during this time. It is a gift. Get some time for you, and take it soon. See you tomorrow.

A Delightful Sunday

Sometimes you hear from people who you knew or knew of in a previous part of your life. The youngest son of a family from our neighborhood is on Facebook, and he friended me, after getting reconnected with my brother Tim. Long story, short story, I totally did not remember them having a younger son named Tom. I knew they had two older sisters, a brother John, who was a year older than me, and now I learn more and more about the family than I knew before.

Tom is a teacher and enthusiastic about it. He posts quite a bit about his students, the athletics, and positive thoughts. I feel blessed to have him as a friend. He’s offered quite a few words of wisdom when I’ve written about Mom and the challenges of elderly parents. What a nice man.

I planned to include the photo he sent me, a picture of the girls wrestling team members, who are beginning their season. Tom describes them as pioneers, and once he told their story, I have to agree with him. Unfortunately, I cannot copy or save the photo. And it’s just as well. I’d hate to share a photo their parents wouldn’t care to have me share.

We all know wrestling has been a sport for males. As Tom explains, the Olympics were at times a fight to the death. Not a sport for women, Tom says. He’s speaking from the point of view of being a gentleman, and I know his parents raised him to be respectful of women, protective of children, and to have his brother’s back. Right John? I thought so!

I’m glad to see these young ladies putting in the work and dedication to participate in a sport as females. It has become sanctioned by the Nebraska Schools Athletic Association. Bravo! I’d rather see girls wrestling each other than see a random girl wrestling on a boys team, against boys. Maybe that point of view is old fashioned, but it’s mine, and I will keep it until I’m convinced otherwise. And yes, I can change my mind, with new information.

It’s nothing new for women to have to fight for equality. There are still wages differences that are appalling. I was so fortunate, I worked in a technical industry, I/T, and you were judged at paid equal to your technical abilities, and performance of them. It was the most equitable system I’ve seen. The pay was not equal at ConAgra for I/T. I went from a clerical position to I/T, and wasn’t paid what men were. It was more than a clerical position, but not equal to the men I worked with. As I gained knowledge and skills, there was still a gap. When I changed to Mutual of Omaha, I received a 7K pay increase immediately, and was promoted to the next position up the ladder within six months.

These ladies at Skutt High school are being trained for adversity in their lives. It isn’t all just about sports now. They are learning some valuable skills for later in life. I hope they don’t have to fight their way through life, but they will most likely have a skirmish of two along the way. I’ve learned to fight, to skirmish, and to do what you need to. Most important, I feel if we want equality, we must do our part to be equal. We must work hard, we must be in the best shape, and we have to be able to carry our own load. No one but us should have to carry it when we expect to be equal. If we can’t, we don’t belong with the big boys. Equal means equal. It doesn’t mean a sub-standard candidate for law enforcement, the fire department, or military, where all need to give 100%. Someone ends up hurt or dead if they don’t give 100%.

No one ends up deceased in wrestling anymore, thank goodness. I told Tom when I was in high school, the only girl’s sport was tennis. I really thought tennis was for rich people. As Tom says, “There were no tennis courts where I went to play.” Nebraska did not participate in girls’ basketball back then, but Iowa did. I guess the boys played football and the girls were cheerleaders. Not like now for sure.

Tom talked a little about the neighborhood sledding down the alley my house was on. It emptied rather abruptly into F street, which was very busy. He mentioned my dad putting sand down at the bottom of the alley, in the snow, to make the sleds stop before reaching the street. My dad. What a smart man. Safety first! Bless his heart.

My day started today with a smile in my heart, thanks to Mr. Tom Bauer. Thanks, friend! It’d be fun to get the kids together from the ‘hood, and see how everyone is. There were a bunch of kids, it might be fun. I hope you had a great start to your Sunday. We’ll see each other again tomorrow, so enjoy today!

Memories and Fears

Memories are our friends or foes. They’re our friends when we can remember the smell of a freshly bathed baby asleep on our shoulder. They’re our foe when trauma is so vivid it feels as if we’re still in the midst of the battle, or assault from someone who shouldn’t be hurting us.

Fear sets in when these memories cause feelings we’re uncomfortable with, and we often fear those feelings. We don’t like to be uncomfortable, and we’d rather not remember things that make us feel that way. What can we do?

We can learn to work through those feelings, and learn we’ll be ok. The memories cannot hurt us. Yes, they can make us feel uncomfortable, but we will not be hurt in the same way. We need to work through uncomfortable feelings, positive or negative. It is very possible to learn feelings can help us as well as hurt us.

If we recall being burned by fire, we are reminded of the event as painful, panic, and fearful. If we recall play, celebration, joy, and happiness, we come to learn we deserve those feelings, and work to enjoy them as often as possible. We can work our way towards putting memories in their proper places, between trauma and happiness. Eventually, we gain control over where our mind goes.

I remember very specifically when my son Frankie drowned. It was in 1978, when I was 26, pregnant with Becky, and taking Nick to the bathroom. My worst fear came true, my son drowned and would have died, but for the two people who knew CPR were at their going away party with us. One week later, no one would have known how to save his life.

My whole life, I was fearful of water, fearful of drowning. I remember the feeling, the fear, and the shaking I’d go through when I’d smell wet sand, wet clothes, suntan lotion, anything you’d experience at the lake. It took years for me to stop shaking, sobbing, and not hover over my five year old. There was no help back then for PTSD. They didn’t even acknowledge it’s existence. And no, I was told, “just don’t think of it,” by my doctor. I’m so glad things have changed drastically.

Know of someone who needs to talk with someone about trauma? There is help. Tonight, I took my last Peer Support class. Tomorrow is graduation. The time has gone quickly, we’ll meet one last time, and become ready to listen where needed. It’s a good feeling, and I expect it will be rewarding to listen and offer ideas when needed. Mostly, it will be supporting the efforts of people, to live their lives. And that’s always a good thing.

Thank you for reading, we’ll visit again tomorrow.

Terrific Tuesday

There is something wonderful about being retired, and you’re both home at the same time, and you have no specific plans for the day and somehow, you’re busier than all get out, and you get a lot done, and one of you doesn’t even need to leave the house. I hope you all get to experience it someday!

The Babe had a rare day at home, so he did the yard, I worked on learning how to applique on my new sewing machine. Yesterday was the day to do a bunch of the squares, but things fell apart. It was mesmerizing to listen to a new machine, humming away, doing it’s thing, and putting you into a reverie. I learned it gives you a warning when the bobbin is close to running out. No more paying “Chicken” as you sew through a seam. I cannot wait to learn how to use the embroidery machine. I have a pinkish stretchy jean fabric to make a pair of pants and a jean jacket. I want some machine embroidery on it. I look forward to doing it.

The last few weeks have been pretty busy, with my volunteering nearing an end at the VFW Post 2503. We are hosting an event with a PTSD Speaker, followed by training on Talk Saves Lives. It is September 25, 2022, from Noon until 4 p.m. at the Post, and it is free. If you have an interest, message me for more info. I hope this takes off locally. While it’s not a great topic, it’s a necessary topic. Too many people (soldiers, police officers, first responders, retired police officers and soldiers, children, and kids) find this the way to deal with terrible problems in their lives. It is a tragedy all the way around. PTSD is nothing you overcome, it’s something you learn to live with. You learn the triggers. You learn ways to cope. It’s big. And you must become bigger.

I have a good friend who struggles with complex PTSD. I don’t know how to help her. I can only reach out and hope it’s the right thing to do. My heart hurts for her. And it must hurt like hell to be her, and to experience all that she does. I pray, and want to learn to be a friend she needs. I want to learn. I want to be effective, as a sounding board when she needs one. And anyone else.

I felt so joyous working on a quilt again; and it is a special quilt. It is for my darling granddaughter Kayla, who lives with her parents and brother in Colorado. I told my daughter Rebecca I envision Kayla all bundled up in it and sleeping like an angel. Rebecca burst my bubble and told me, “No, Mom. She usually throws everything on the floor, and sleeps sideways.”

Oh, my! She sounds just like her mama! Rebecca really was a free spirit as a child, and I let her be whoever she needed to be. She decided her “look” in middle school and high school. With all my kids, our agreement was do your own thing at school and with your friends. Just understand, there are times when you need to dress appropriately for an event. A funeral, a wedding, a party for Grandma, Christmas. You understand. I employed that attitude with all my kids, and I believe it let them express whoever they were at the time.

Today, I was enjoying our unstructured day so much, I forgot a doctor’s appointment this morning. It was for a followup ultrasound on my legs, specifically, the venous systems. I decided to have some intervention with insufficient valves in both of the lower legs. One leg had bad veins closed off. The other leg, had the veins closed off and many of the veins just below the surface excised. Plebectomy is the term. Veins removed surgically.

I’m amazed by the whole process. It used to be, you were hospitalized for stripping your veins.I remember I was hospitalized for my thyroid in 8th grade, before high school. Tests, etc. I was in with a woman who had the veins stripped in her legs. They were blood red from the methyolate or merchochrome. What an experience for a 14 year old girl.

My mom, however, was disgusted because this lady wore sexy negligee’s every day. One day it was black lace, one day it was red lace, and one day white lace. Mom was disgusted and thought I’d be damaged from such an exhibition. I don’t recall much else, but thought her legs must be painful. How odd now I would be experiencing a similar procedure only as an outpatient procedure. You could even drive home afterwards. I opted to have the Babe drive me home. Someday I might not have that option. Use it while you can.

I hope your day was pleasant as ours was. It’s late, and we need to get ready for sleep. Take care, and we’ll see you tomorrow!

Another (Manic) Monday?

Manic, defined as: showing wild, apparently deranged, excitement and energy. Let’s not get carried away here, boys and girls. I don’t feel that kind of excitement in my body, but do in my mind. I have a couple things with Mom this week, but other than that, plan to enjoy the deck, patio, and the Babe. Anything else is bonus!

Today is my younger brother Steve’s birthday. He was born when I was in kindergarten. Six days before my sixth birthday. Because of him, my dad’s cousin Joann gave me a beautiful store-bought cake. It was the one with the doll in the center, and she had a beautiful dress. Years later, I made one when I took a cake decorating class. Wonderful memory.

Of course, having an older brother (Tom) in the house meant he giggled when Mom cut our pieces from the back of the cake, exposing the naked doll’s butt. It incensed me. Mom was not happy with him and neither was I.

That is life with brothers. Steve, however, is a very kind man. He was always earnest in school, explaining things in depth. I remember him explaining the castration process on calves at the dinner table when he was in FFA. My dad turned white and scolded him for talking about such things at the dinner table, in front of his sister and mother. I had to laugh, I was married and had a baby. Oh, Dad. In some ways, he was like Archie Bunker, all proper and such. Seriously, he was old school, and the consummate gentleman. I think Steve is, too.

Steve lives near Mom and is a godsend to my brother Tim, and me. The three of us handle her yard care, her appointments, and whatever else she needs done. It’s a team effort, but Steve does the most. Every day, he checks in on her. Thanks, man. Happy Birthday. You’re the best!

I have the resolve this manic Monday morning to separate my categories of file folders, printed writing class information, and the most recent copies of my writing into their own groups. Tomorrow, I’ll go through each pile and decide what is to keep and what is to toss. It’s easier to eat an elephant one bite at a time, you know? Join me, if you’d like. We’ll dine on that elephant this week.

Now that we planned the menu for the week, it’s time to go to another task, and get to the flowers who need tending before the day gets away from me. Let’s get it done on Monday. Maybe it will be manic after all. Take care of yourselves, and we’ll see you tomorrow!

I assembled it myself! I think I need a second one.

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.