Divesting

There are a few different meanings for divesting. Today’a meaning is simply ridding oneself of something they no longer want/need, etc. Today, I am meeting with my replacement for the Website and social media for the VFW Post 2503. My friend, William Hackenberg has I/T talents and skills that blow me out of the water. It’s time to have a younger, more up to date skilled person. And, I need the time to go back to my interests, my quilting, and especially, my writing. It’s time. And we’re darned lucky to have him to take over.

The past eight years have been a roller coaster and real learning experience, but we hung in there. I’ve enjoyed interacting with all the members, friends, and visitors to the Post. I don’t plan to go anywhere, I’ll still do community outreach with the groups we’ve established relationships with, and will be visible. The big difference will be having more time to spend the way I want to, and having no guilt about being behind in postings, calendar updates, etc. It’ll take a few weeks to be fully divested, but I can feel the relief already.

With the eight losses of close friends in the past two years, I am looking very closely at how I spend my time, and what the results are. We should all do that every once in awhile. Taking stock and deciding how to spend your time is part of de-cluttering for sure. Our schedules need that just as much as our closets.

I am happiest creating things, and sometimes those things are with fabric, sometimes with words. I hope to add drawing to the mix, and painting. It never ends, I have a curiosity about many things, and hope to investigate all of them. So far, so good!

The whole point of spending your life wisely is to leave the world a little better for you being here. Leave every person you meet and love better off than when you met them. We all try to do that. I feel if we all concentrate on that very hard, we’ll be able to achieve some level of those goals. Let’s all try it in our circles of friendship, business, and partnerships. It certainly cannot hurt.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m pretty sad making this move. I liked knowing a little more about what was going on and helping communicate those things to the public, the members, and guests. My dad always said what’s in this header today. I’m giving something up that has taken eight years to build. Some of it feels like “my baby.” And at the same time, with a new, young, more talented I/T guy coming along, it’s time to step aside. It’s what we older folks are supposed to do. Many don’t. So, that’s what I’m doing later today.

What can you divest of that will give you more time to spend how you wish? Sometimes we don’t realize how much time we waste, until we don’t have a chance to change. Don’t let that happen. No one is on their deathbed and states, “I wish I would have spent more time working.” Don’t be that guy or gal. Free yourself up to enjoy something else. It’ll make a difference in your life!

Thank you for reading today. We’re still looking for about 50 more subscribers, to reach 1,000. We have about 956. There is room for everyone! Have a beautiful afternoon and evening. See you tomorrow!

An Editing Tuesday

I’m digging in today, editing did not make it on the agenda yesterday. We have family in town for their work, and they are at a motel near the Corporate Headquarters. Evenings are for family!

I have a new FB friend, an author of one novel and several children’s book. Sounds like my brother from another mother! Jordan J Scavone, Author posted something yesterday that stole my attention and made me feel so good and get over the apprehension of editing. Just because I’ve never done this before doesn’t mean I can’t. (Thank you, Billy McGuigan, the absolute KING of doing things he’s never done before)! (P.S. If you’re in Omaha, go see his production of Willy Wonka this weekend at the Scottish Rite Theater downtown. It’s going to be a blast! Get tickets at Rave On Productions. You’ll be glad you did)!

I’m in!

I printed this out and have it on my desk to look at when I get frustrated or confused. I have some great feedback and suggestions from my illustrator and a friend who publishes books about grief. Couldn’t have asked two better ladies for feedback about my book.

After publishing the blog today, I’m staying right in my seat, and starting with a fresh copy of “Roxie,” and begin on the cover (or the first page of the story). Have you ever wondered about all those pages, the cover, the obligatory blank pages, the legalese page, the dedication page, other blank pages before you reach page one? Someone had to put those together! They’re vital to someone, somewhere on this earth. We all flip past them, unless we’re looking for a date published. I used to do that with books for school. Bellevue University had HR books from the 80s when I enrolled in an accelerated degree program in 1994. $500 for a box of books that were pretty old. Sheesh!

I love how Eric Carle says those who write picture books begin with 200,000 words. An exaggeration but the point is valid. Before we meet our illustrator, we have many, many words. I used them to describe many, many, many things I wanted illustrated. Two creative people, one with words, one with illustrations talk. The illustrator nods, she goes to her creative corner to draw. Jordan Ullom did a fantastic job. Just wait until you see the illustrations. I found it magical when I saw my characters come to life! Oh my gosh, it was fantastic! It’s a rush. My heart rate is up just writing about it! Or it’s the coffee. Never mind. It’s a rush.

I absolutely adore kid books. When my kids were little, we read constantly. I loved doing all the voices, and often did. When I first did that for Addison, she leaned back on my lap and looked at me as I talked in a different voice. She laughed. So did Joell and Gavin. That’s the reaction you go for, and they were always eager to have a story. She and she are now 15 and in high school. The kids who have sat on my lap as I read to them are many. I hope to influence other kids to love to read and their parents to instill it by reading to them from birth. It’s a great bonding experience.

My dad always said, “If you can read, you can do anything!” He was so right. I think of those words often. More so, I recall the example he set for us. He consumed printed material as he consumed coffee. He always had a book, magazine, or newspaper nearby. A childhood friend told me one time, “Your dad must be so smart.”

I asked her, “Why?”

“Whenever I see him, he’s always reading something!”

That scenario stuck with me forever, too. Our mom also read, but during the day we only saw her doing chores and taking care of us. She had women’s magazines from the grocery store, and we had bookcases full of books in several places in our home. The example was always right in front of us. I cannot thank our parents enough for their example of reading. Mom has macular degeneration now and has very limited vision. She hopes to at least read one page a day, on bright days when she can see better. It’s a cruel twist of fate for someone who loves to read.

Here we go, boys and girls! I’m on the high dive at the Olympics and don’t know how to swim! I’ll learn on the way down from the diving board, just before I hit the water. Here’s hoping the Eric Carle phrase gets me through my first session of editing. You all have a great day. I’m going in! See you tomorrow!

Terrific Tuesday!

It’s another beautiful morning out there at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. When mornings start like this, it just sets you up for blessings all day. Sure, some days we have to work at it. Some days you have to really look for things that are good, that are going well. For many years, things weren’t that great finacially, and being a single parent is hard. You have to keep going, though. We all do now, too. Whether we’re a grandma, a 50 year old single guy, a 44 year old Veteran, or a 75 year old widow. We have to work at it. Only then does it become a habit.

The month of July, I’m challenging myself, and you, if you’d like to join me, to do 71 squats a day. With my knees and other orthopedic issues, I’m doing “sink squats.” They’re modified and work perfectly well. I will amass 2201 squats by the end of the month. I’m only reporting here, and keeping track in my mind. The 2200 is a challenge for the 22 Veterans a day who are committing suicide. We need to help them, if they will allow it. We can do a lot if we can get through to them.

PTSD is nothing new. I’m sure my father had it. He worked patching folks up after gathering them up from the battlefields of WWII and Korea. I remember him having a faraway look at times. I can only guess where he was. But he wasn’t present, that’s for sure. He was meticulous about fixing up cuts, scrapes, bruises, and recording temps if we were sick. He did the same for me when my kids were sick. Since he worked nights, he took care of them for me. He was the best! Gosh, I miss him.

I finally have time today to listen to/view my $97 bargain Master Class on Journey to Kidlit. I’m going to use the day for it, and learn all the things I’ve missed or not known about my kid book. Should be a great day! Feel free to learn something new today. I love when that happens! We’re never too old and it’s never too late. See you tomorrow! We should have lots of fun stuff to talk about. BTW. Only 22 days until my Apple ID gets unlocked. OH! And we’re getting back on the KETO way of life. I’ve not gained any weight, still at 30 pounds lost. I’m going for more. I feel so much better. More tomorrow!

Tuesday!

The day got away from me today! It was a day with Mom. She’s 91 and has limited vision and nearly no hearing left. True to a typical Mom, when I sat down across from her, she said, “Do you feel well enough to go today, you look so peaked?” I thought she couldn’t see much. Well, I assured her I was ready to take her to get a haircut, have lunch, and go to Target. I wouldn’t have driven twenty-five miles from Gretna if I didn’t feel like going.

There were two other ladies in our friend’s beauty shop in South Omaha while we were there. I noticed a gigantic Lincoln Continental parked out front and a smaller, older car. The two people there were having a comb out and a specialty color job. The comb out was an elderly lady, the other, a younger woman. After a while, the elderly lady got up to leave. The younger woman asked Mom how old she was. “I’m 91.” You ladies sure show it well, the other lady here was 93. She was the owner and driver of the gigantic Lincoln Continental. How outstanding! I hope she made it home safely.

The younger lady revealed she was “nearly 70” and I thought about how hard it is to tell women’s ages when they color their hair. The neck usually gives it away. I’m glad I quit coloring my hair over ten years ago. It’s just so much more natural at this age. I am very fortunate to still have very thick hair, fairly straight, and it’s nearly all the same length now. The cancer treatment (radiation only) didn’t bother my hair a bit, just all my hormones. That was the worst. You never recover from that. No one tells you about that “side effect.” Even eleven years later.

So, Mom likes Village Inn for lunch no matter what. We had no trouble at all finding a seat, There were only two other tables were occupied. So, it was pretty sparse. Mom loves Rueben Sandwiches and Chicken Noodle Soup. I could order an omelette and fruit, no other carbs. I sent the fruit home with Mom, along with 1/2 of her sandwich. The day wiped her out. I’m afraid that enormous home is too much for her – bathroom upstairs or in the basement and lots of room. She’s lived there since 1949, when she was twenty years old. They married in April 1948. They moved into the house in very early 1949; I believe. She hasn’t budged since. I doubt we’ll be able to pry her out of the house.

Since Shopko has closed, Mom has no place to shop. She doesn’t want to go to Wal-Mart, but I think she’d like it. She asked to go to Target, and I tried to get her to go sit down somewhere, but no, she didn’t want to. She would stay in place and I’d go look for stuff, come back and report to her. She’d determine if I’d go back and get the item or not. Clearly, she is declining faster than she’d like to admit. A slippery slope. A prayer here and there would be nice. Thank you.

The old neighborhood changes a bit from time to time. Last week, when I delivered her Mince Pie for Thanksgiving, I took a photo of the block a couple blocks from home where Grandma and Grandpa Jewell had their drugstore.

The corner building is the old Brown Derby. It was a bar the whole time we grew up. In high school, we would wait inside their building for our bus to high school. The driver knew we were inside, so he’d wait. Today, I think there are still apartments above, but I’m not sure. It has been a clothing store and now maybe a health food something; they advertise smoothies in the window. In the middle is a tire/rim store. It used to be the grocery store, Paskach’s. The orange building was the original brick when Grandpa Jewell owned “Jewell’s Sundries.”

He had a pharmacist, Cliff Chase, who was the father to a lady I met later in life. Dad was a huge fan of hers since she was a DJ on “Cathy Fife, and the Music of Your Life.” She played Big Band Music on the weekends, and Dad loved her. Later in life, I dated her partner on the Radio, and she visited Dad while he was dying of Cancer. He was so happy about that. I’m so glad they met.

My dad passed away December 7, 1988. It was a long time ago, yet it was only yesterday. He missed his grandchildren growing up and graduating from high school; he missed two of his children retiring; he missed growing old with his wife; he was only 64; she was only 59. They got cheated. That has always been the worst part. Cheated of enjoying retirement; and out of his first real vacation. He was to go with his Blackhawks Division, Patton’s Army, reunion trip through Europe, following the route they were on as they liberated Europe; Auschwitz; and other areas under Hitler. If only I could ask him about those things now, when I could write about them. But it was not to be. There are so many stories buried with our fathers. Try to hear them before you cannot anymore.

Have a beautiful rest of the evening. It will be a short time until the next post; just know, we have a short day tomorrow, there is so much to talk about! Be safe, Be courteous. Let’s see each other again tomorrow.

Terrific Tuesday

The Babe is the best! He has the day off from the Post today, and first thing, he said, “Let’s hang up your kimonos.” I was gifted the red one from an old neighbor of ours. They were from China, and owned a shop at Westroads in Omaha. He went on buying trips twice a year. One year, we helped her parents care for the kids since the Mom was also in China, working for Paypal on an installation in Shanghai. Being bilingual made her the perfect candidate for the job.

After the husband returned, he gave me a beautiful red kimono and a Jade looking vase, along with some bookmarks. It was really sweet of them. Isn’t it pretty?

Red Kimono from China. Applique wall hanging, left, I made about ten years ago.
Jade vase from China. Today BEING plaque from my niece, Wendy.
This just takes my breath away, it’s so beautiful.

The black kimono was something Dad gave Mom when he returned from Korea. I think he went through Japan, but I’m not sure. Back then, the boys came home by boat. I’ll bet that trip was the slowest in the history of boat trips. My grandma told the story of the taxi pulling up in front of the house, Dad threw his duffel bag out onto the grass, paid the cabbie, and jumped out, running up to the house. Grandma said Mom was inside, picked up my brother, who Dad hadn’t met yet, and Grandma told her, “You give that baby to ME! HE (pointing to Dad) wants to see YOU!” Grandma, bless her heart. Brother Tom was the first child they had that lived. The lost two baby boys before that. I”ll bet the whole thing was quite a scene.

The other part of Dad’s coming home story was all three of Mom’s sisters were still home with Grandpa and Grandma in 1951. My Aunt Carol, the youngest, was trying to learn how to play Jacks. Dad, in his uniform, sat down on the floor with her and taught her how to play. The sisters were so happy to have an adopted brother in Dad. He was good to all of them.

I admire this embroidery work. Considering the age of the garment, I’m sure it’s hand embroidered. Upon closer inspection, I can see the smaller gold threads tacking the larger threads in place. I wonder how long this took to create. I would guess they probably were good at the work and could work quickly on their stitches.

Thanks for listening me tell this story. All stories are important. I had some wonderful feedback from my cousin Paula. Paula told me she is learning a lot about my dad she never knew. Since we had a family with a night worker, the cousins didn’t know dad very well. One little one called him, “That man who lives with Aunt Rosie.” She didn’t realize he was her husband. Yes, we had an unusual lifestyle. Paula, Dad was a great man, as was your dad. I think they were cut from the same cloth. We were ten lucky kids to have the four parents we did, your family of six kids, ours of four kids. They were good old days.

With the accomplishments already today, I’m going to try and go full steam ahead. We have deliveries to make on behalf of the VFW, Auxiliary, American Legion, etc. for the Victory Apartments. We will go to Moving Veterans Forward, since it’s much closer to our home. Whichever place, we’re proud to represent the good people who were generous with fifteen sets of sheets, and coffee for their food pantry. The Babe will want to have Tacos at a place today, since it’s Taco Tuesday. You can always count on him for that.

When we get home later, there’s more website stuff to do for the VFW. And more scenes to write for the book. I’m making great headway, and am glad to be putting an order to my thoughts. It’s good to be disciplined, and I’m glad I’m learning so much from Sam, I can’t imagine having the book done and having to edit it down to bare bones. It’s saving a lot of time this way. You can stall out reading everyone’s opinions on how to do things, but at some point you need to just do the work. That’s where I am now. It’s a good place, and I have more confidence to go ahead.

My Tuffet Needs 4 Wooden Feet. I know just the guy to help me!

The Babe will attach hardware to the wood bottom of this oriental fabric covered tuffet, and attach the feet after they are painted shiny black. This will then reside in our entryway, and it’ll be the final finishing touch.

Thanks for reading, I hope you’re able to hang out again tomorrow. Wednesday already, time goes too quickly, doesn’t it? I’m going to get out into some nice weather, it’s only 61 degrees out, so it’s another cool fall day. My favorite.