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!

Humid, Dreary Sunday

We are so proud of our Granddaughter Addison. She went to Nationals for KAR Dance Competition. She represented Accapricio Dance Studio in Papillion. So far, she has earned two first place awards. She is so good. Still limited with the photos I can share between my phone and here (read my lips – NONE) so I’ll share a photo of her later. We are so lucky to have good, healthy, handsome grandkids. They are learning to make good choices for their lives. The best blessing will be they all continue on the paths they are on.

One in a while, the humidity is so high in Nebraska, the outside windows are covered with humidity. They closely resemble the windshield of your car before you turn the wipers on. Why don’t they invent wipers for your home windows? If you live in the South, I bet that may be appreciated. Does this condensation appear frequently on your homes, too? Remember folks, you heard it here first! It’s MY idea, regardless of what anyone says!

A morning like this reminds me of when our family didn’t have air conditioning. It’s rough. On Sunday mornings, we’d walk home from the Children’s Mass at Church, and change into nice play clothes to go visit our Grandma’s. Every Sunday. Grandma and Grandpa Bobell had Central Air, and it was heavenly to be in their house. Grandma Jewell did not, but she had a beautiful huge enclosed porch. She opened all the combination windows, and we’d sit in her wicker furniture and enjoy the breeze that always graced her porch. It was heavenly. She also had a porch swing. Always. It was wonderful, too. Even on days like this, she always baked something for when we would visit on Sunday. I can still smell the baked goods when I drive past her old home.

Yesterday, I thought I’d get a second blog written. No, it just didn’t happen. What I did accomplish was divide up all my papers printed from my online classes, patterns, and writing hints. Our information for the volunteering is included, as is directions on the Painting of the Month Club I joined online. For $10 a month, we get lifetime access to all the POMC Paintings. When I have time, there it will be waiting. After my first book is published, thank you very much.

The mass of papers from my first novel of 80K words is now in a series of folders and tucked away in a drawer. My completed chapters of “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons” is ready to go into a binder. Before I start on it again on August 2, I’ll read each chapter and be able to pick up where I left off. By that time, I hope to create the new habit of writing two or three blogs every other day. Then I could write nothing but the novel on the alternate days. And I still want one day to sew on a quilt. I haven’t touched my sewing machine for a year. Oh my!

Yes, there are 24 hours in my day. With my back issues, I can only sit, stand, walk, type, or sew only so many hours. More that two or three is encroaching on setting off a lot of pain that takes days to recover from. And yet, I find blessings in the fact I can do anything at all. Life teaches us many lessons along the way. I decided to use the time wisely as long as I can. I believe things do fall into place if we listen to the signs along the way. They are present. You must be, too. Not on your phone. Not absorbed in Mindless TV. Awareness is critical. Learning to read the signs is too. The Five Man Electrical Band of the 70s recorded this hippie song. It was huge at the time, and I can tell you, restrictive signs regarding personal appearance still lingers. “No Shirt, No Shoes, NO SERVICE,” is one I agree with. I don’t want to see some man (or woman’s) hairy armpits while I’m eating. Thank you very much.

The best example I can think of in my life was before I filed for divorce. The Catholic Church had a series of lectures on a Friday night titled, “Women in Transition.” I knew I was terribly unhappy and wanted to divorce. I also knew I hadn’t worked outside the home since I was nineteen. I was nearing thirty and wanted to prepare myself. Every Friday night, a friend of mine and I, met and listened to the speaker. In 1981, she said the best field you could enter is Computers. They were the wave of the future.

Within five years, I was offered free classes at a computer school, paid for by our HR Department where I worked. I became a Programmer Trainee in 1987, then spent nearly fifteen years working in Software and System Analysis. I believed God led me to all of it. If I had ignored the lecture announcement, I may have never started this journey.

Think about the signs you may have in your life. Afraid to make a change? Look for support in unusual places. I’ve often thought how ironic it was, since the Catholic Church was so against divorce, that my sign came from a “Catholic Voice,” which is a Catholic Newspaper for the Archdiocese of Omaha. Since 1982, I believe the “You must stay together until you die,” has been relaxed. People make mistakes. Some people are exposed to domestic violence. Kids are not better off if their kids hear nothing but arguing constantly.

Whatever else you do today, make some “YOU” time. It’s a perfect day to read. After that second blog, I’m headed to do just that. It will be a hectic week next week, getting everything finished for the Fundraiser at the Post next weekend. It will be worth it. Two Veterans groups, Moving Veterans Forward, and Guitars for Vets, will receive the proceeds. Do something nice for someone today, too. The world will be a better place for it. See you tomorrow!

“Saturday, In the Park”

For some reason, this old Chicago song popped into my head this morning. Do people go to parks much anymore? When I was a kid, there were several parks we could walk to, and the city had kid-sponsored activities every afternoon. The little green shack opened just after lunchtime, I believe, and stayed open until probably 4 or 5 p.m. For a nickel or dime, we could do a little craft thing, or they had tether ball, box hockey, and maybe horseshoes. Teenagers worked the shack daily and our harried mothers got a little bit of a break from us during those hot, summer days.

When I had kids, the green shacks disappeared from the city parks, you were basically on your own. We just walked across a very busy street, and we had access to basketball, tennis courts, and of course, swing sets and adventures on some low to the ground climbing devices. It was the old days, and the devices were made of wood, which didn’t wear well in the extreme weather we have; blistering heat or frigid cold. They developed splinters, and were deemed unsafe. We’d take lunch over to the park and have a picnic sometimes. Sometimes we had a picnic in our own yard. Do people still do that? Aside from fire pits and barbeques? I loved being home with the kids.

Once we finally had grandkids, we would babysit for Addison quite a bit. Her Grandma Sandy was alive then, and we’d share babysitting when the kids went out of town, etc. Sandy worked close to our home, and she’d drop Addison off in the morning, and pick her up after work. We worked well together. Usually ex-wives and current-wives don’t get along. Sandy and I had more in common than the Babe. Oh, and having one wife in between Sandy and me probably made a lot of difference. I never met that wife, although I bowled with her mother forty years ago. Small world.

At any rate, we’d take Addison to the park a lot. It really was fun taking her. There was a small park two blocks from our house, and we’d take her there nearly every time we had her over. As she got older and didn’t like the park as well, we’d go to a soft serve ice cream place nearby and get ice cream. She remembers that a lot. Even now, at the age of 14, if we mention “Ice Cream” she smiles and says, “Let’s GO!” I’m glad she has those memories. Now, our park experiences are going to ball fields and watching Gavin play baseball. I love that, expecially at this age.

My daughter Becky sends pics of Kayla and Cody playing in the park. She puts cute little hats and sunscreen on them. Adorable. I hope we get to see them later this summer. She and Brian have very busy work schedules, and with COVID variants occurring, we can only pray we aren’t locked down again. Get your shots! I have, the Babe did, and we’re fine. Just please don’t be the part of the population causing the problem. Sometimes we have to think of the “greater good” before our personal beliefs. Period.

Mom put me in Junior Bowling in seventh or eighth grade. Our neighbor coached it, and we were close enough to walk. Jan Matya, my friend and I stuck with it until we were seniors in High School. The reason? It was fun, and we were the only two girls in the league. All boys. The odds were in our favor. She dated a guy for awhile, I had one ask me to the Military Ball for his ROTC. I didn’t like him, I was 15 and used the excuse my folks wouldn’t let me date until I was 16. Mom told me, “No one turns down a date to the Military Ball.” In retrospect, it probably would have been a good idea. I only went to one prom and no homecomings at my school. None to other schools. I felt so crummy no one did.

So glad times have changed where kids actually go solo, and hang out with their friends. How nice. No one would feel less than enough. I really feel for kids who feel that way. There is so much buried in them that makes them good, talented people. It’s so bad when you lack confidence in yourself and your abilities. Remember; You ROCK!

I think families with kids have their time occupied by organized events. Sports, Dance, and a whole host of other things. That’s great, I hope they enjoy their experiences as neighborhood kids used to when they’d do a pick-up game of baseball, kickball, and even dodge ball. My brothers didn’t participate, and there were no girls sports. I did play volleyball, but Sister Mary What’s Her Name? didn’t put me in, she said I was too nervous, I needed to relax.

After growing up, I wondered if it occurred to her to let me play and I’d be less nervous? That would make sense to me. I also learned as an adult I probably suffered from anxiety. Our mom had a temper and as a kid, I thought she was always mad (at me). It seemed her moods swung from nice to degrading whoever was around. I think this was inherited from her mother. Zero to Sixty in 30 seconds. She scared me. I spent a lot of time in my room. My sanctuary.

I have forgiven her. She didn’t know any better. Many of us followed suit until we learned how damaging that was. Sometimes I think to myself, “If I was Mom, I’d probably say, “Don’t you know blah, blah, blah.” For someone who lost her cool a lot, it’s funny we were forbidden to say words like, “Hate, Shut Up, he’s stupid, you’re a dummy, I could kill you! (believe it or not, people used to say stuff like that).” So glad that type of speech is not acceptable anymore.

For today; Speak Kindly, Sit in Nature, Relax, Remember You’re Enough. Pet a Dog. Go for a walk. Attend a benefit. Always be kind. See you tomorrow!

Scorching Saturday

I almost wonder if it’s hot enough right now to vaporize the Coronavirus and all of it’s cousins. What do you think? In Gretna, NE right now, it’s 94 degrees. Muggy all day. Fries your brain almost. I don’t know how the kids are doing who suddenly, after being quarantined and are not acclimated to the heat yet, are doing with practices and games going on right now.

That said, I’ve completed almost nothing today. I did a lot of reassessing my novel for a session with my book coach on Monday. It’s an amazing process, having never written a book before. It sounds so simple, so easy. It’s not. There is so much more than just regurgitating words onto paper. What sounds so awesome in your head doesn’t sound that way when you look at it. Things need to be rephrased, moved, cut out, re-stated. It’s a lot!

Between the Pro Writing Aid software and the guidance of Sam, my book coach, I feel so much better about what the results are shaping into. A better telling of the story. And I’m actually showing how my main character built her strengths of character while she is doing it. It makes a huge difference. There is a lot of timing issues now, and decisions that need to be made regarding where and how things happen. This is the tricky part. And I have to keep working, keep the discouragement away, and remember still I’ve not done this before.

The Perfect Time

Stress is all around, and we think certain things should happen because of it, NOW, just to beat the stress. Not so. Some days, I’m finding it less than delightful that a sixty pound Golden Lab thinks my function in life is to play fetch with her when the Babe is gone.

Most days, it’s a good break from writing or reading. Not today, the assignment I was doing for Sam was flowing nicely and I wanted to finish it. Did not happen. I can’t neglect my beautiful blondie simply because it’s not convenient to play with her. The difference is it’s a little hot for their usual walks, so they have a little too much energy. She hasn’t quite gotten the “drop it” command yet, so it turns into a tug of war, which is no good for my arthritic hands. We’ll learn, we need to be patient with each other.

After losing our cleaning lady, we did one big cleaning of our upstairs. And now we need to get after that again, too. I miss her but the Babe is convinced we can do it all. Hope so! Have lots of laundry to finish right now, and folding may happen four to six working days after things leave the dryer. I’m awful with that. Trust me, after doing mountains of laundry over the past 50 years, you get a little over it. But, I’m grateful to have the clothes to clean, and machines that do it. Change you mind when you need a boost. I’m grateful, not hassled. Makes the tasks easier.

Speaking of which, a bed with a clean mattress cover needs clean sheets put on it before we decide to call it a night. Doing it now is much easier than three hours from now. So for now, I need to stop the authoring. Thanks for reading today. I appreciate it. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope you come back.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but I’m seeing so many differing reports about all the events of the past week. George Floyd from Texas, not Minneapolis. Irrelevant in itself, but sounds as if he wasn’t such a saint. That doesn’t mean he deserved to die as he did. It seems like so many, many things that have happened are one or two bad decisions away from blowing up in our faces. The man in Omaha is on video vandalizing another store before he and the bar owner were caught up in bad decisions of their own. Where in the world will it end? Please, stop and evaluate your decisions. Make sure they are good ones. At home, on the job, and away. Maybe we can stop this nonsense once and for all.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay on your guard. Check your decisions before you implement them. Please.