Happy 15th Birthday, Joell!

A very happy birthday to our grandson Joell. The Babe, (a/k/a Grandpa) is in Maryland celebrating with part of the family this Thanksgiving. Because he’s been filing live reports since he arrived Wednesday, we have up to the minute photos and feedback. It does everyone good to remind ourselves how important we all are to each other. I stayed home with the dogs and the two quilts I need to finish for Christmas and mail off to Colorado. Busy time for sure.

We haven’t seen Joell for a year, and at that time were sure shocked to see the result of his growth spurt. His voice emits from his feet, I swear. I imagine it’s deeper now. He is a competition swimmer, so he has a swimmer’s body, lean but muscular, and so strong! His passion for swimming was nothing compared to his passion for mountain biking. He is in races every weekend, holiday, and special occasion. His dad describes him as a beast. I do believe that’s a great word.

Beast aside, Joell has always had such a kind heart. Since he was a little boy, he’s helped the underdog feel superior, the left out feel part of the family, and everyone feels his love. I cannot wait to see how far he goes, armed with life experiences that no one his age has. He’s been to Hawaii for Christmas several times, has seen the Pope’s motorcade, and has visited the White House on numerous occasions. The list is much longer and even more distinguished. You could probably make a movie about it and keep the interest of a varied audience.

Joell, we are so proud of you. The man you are becoming is just around the corner. You will continue to shine as a good human, son, grandson, cousin, nephew, student, and especially friend. The picture below shows his workbench in the family garage. He has become pretty proficient at servicing his mountain bike. The neighborhood kids have an additional bonus to his friendship; he can fix their bikes with some expertise many of their dad’s don’t have. Way to go, kiddo! It’s been a joy being with you for all the birthdays we’ve been able to travel to your home to celebrate you! You know how Miss Kathy loves birthdays. And yours holds many, many special memories for us all. I’ve loved watching your parents decorate the dining room for your parties over the years. They have just as much fun and excitement as you have!

Enjoy the photo collage below. It’s been a hard couple years for the Babe and me, losing all the people we have following the pandemic, and now with the life change of the Babe’s second retirement from the VFW. He needed this reminder that all that is worth it in life is in the members of our blended family. Our five adult children and our five grandchildren are reminding us what a wonderful place this world is during these times. And that is all that matters. Happy Birthday, Joell. And have some cake for me!

To everyone reading, I thank you for indulging me today. Celebrating birthdays is important to me, celebrating each and every person helps them become themselves, whomever they are meant to be. As you have your deserts today, send a good birthday wish to this extraordinary young man. The world is watching him. He’s a good one. Let’s see each other again tomorrow. Quilting and Yellowstone are ahead of me for the rest of the time until the Babe comes home. How about you?

Happy Thanksgiving, 2022 #1141posts, #1000followers

May you all have blessings to count, people to love, and folks to celebrate with. This year is a little different for us, the Babe is in Maryland with Grandson Joell, for the holiday and Joell’s birthday Saturday. I have a quilt to finish and another one to make, so I stayed here. I’m cooking, and my oldest son Frankie is coming over for dinner and visiting. It’ll be nice.

I’m grateful for all of you 1000 followers, after #1141 posts, and we are growing every day. That makes the writing every day worth it. Building that habit has helped get my writing out there, and we’ll keep adding more followers and get those books published. The goal for this next several months of work will be not only to publish the children’s book, but to have a book launch, complete with autographing them to some of my favorite children. What fun!

After dropping the Babe off at the airport, I stopped to see Mom for awhile. She had such a lot of stories to tell; my younger brothers are such good men. They’re helping her get her Christmas trees lit, decorated, and she’s in heaven. She shared last time I was there, it could be her last Christmas, we never know. She is certainly feeling festive. Glad she loves the season so much. She, her mother, and sisters, all loved Christmas and all that goes with it. Decorating being high on the list.

As I listened to her tales of the last couple weeks, I couldn’t help but smile. Memories of previous holidays when my brothers and I all lived at home ran through my mind. I thought of the year she sewed all the Barbie wardrobe for me; the year brother Tom and I received ice skates, and all the years in between. She always put love into the holidays. The stuff that didn’t go well wasn’t in her control. We all do the best we can do with what we know at the time.

Therein lies the rub; if we don’t know any better, we can’t be held to a better outcome. When we know better, however, we must improve the outcome. We must improve the situation, and break the ties that have bound us to the status quo. Time for a new way of doing things.

No quilting took place yesterday, I spent the day in the kitchen. The meals from Green Chef Keto Dinners piled up, and I had three meals to cook off before the produce went bad. Another Green Chef delivery came yesterday, so I had to use up the older stuff first. Today will be devoted to turkey and all the trimmings. Leftovers for Friday, and then, back to the Green Chef. Yes, it should work.

Hopefully, you’ll share some time with family and/or friends today, and experience gratitude. The pause during this fall season is good for reflection and defining how to proceed into the next season of our lives. New adventures or hobbies could await you; reading some books or introspection may offer you some guidance to better spend your time. It’s the time to look ahead, making you the best you can be. Let’s proceed together, keeping each other company all the way. Works for me! See you tomorrow.

Tuesday’s Toils

Tuesday is a busy day. The Babe is at the Post, even though it’s his day off. Doing some interviews for some help up there. He’s so good at assessing people. He had a lot of experience. People said he was tough but fair. They miss him where he worked.

My Colorado grandbabies are hard to buy for. We’ve quarantined most of the year and still haven’t met Cody. He’s already walking with a walker toy, and chases his sister. Go get ’em, Cody! His parents do not want photos of either child posted, so I must follow their wishes.

I went to a local Learning Express Toy Shop in Omaha this morning. I had specific toys in mind for each of the kids, one who is almost a year old (January) and one who will be three (March). After browsing online, I found every single item I wanted. The prices were more than reasonable. I’ve purchased items for our other three grandkids there many times. I just like gifts they can learn from. The creativity of children is so vast. Their imaginations expand and have so many ideas and dreams. How exceptional their minds are! I want to encourage it, not numb it with electronics.

We already know three don’t care for reading. I am sad about that. I can’t imagine not liking to read. My family all loves to read. Sons don’t really anymore, but daughter with the kids is teaching hers to love books. Their daddy is a very smart man, too, and reads. Not sure if they have time to read anymore, with two babies in the house! So if you want a cool and unique gift, go to Learning Express. I believe they are a national chain. Good prices and don’t have to worry about their construction. I’m excited to see photos of them with their fun, new stuff.

With a couple of days until Thanksgiving, I’m going to bake my mom a Mince Pie. Have you ever heard of that or eaten one? They originated in the UK. During the Century people ate them, yes, they were “Mincemeat” Pies. They had scraps of meat (beef or lamb), suet, fruit, and other ingredients. A Christmas tradition, the ingredients have transformed over the years. Today, the ingredients are a mixture of apple, raisins, molasses, molasses. You can either make it at home or buy a glass jar of the filling.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Mom expresses every Thanksgiving and Christmas she used to take a Mince Pie and go visit our Aunt Phyllis Jewell. They were the only two on both sides of the family who liked it. Aunt Phyllis left this earth a long time ago. I wish I could bring her over to Mom’s tomorrow with the pie. At any rate, I’m off to bake a pie the easy way; pre-made crusts. Then more Keto bagels. A good thing to do on such a rainy and cold day.

Thank you for reading today. Whatever you do in the next few days, remember the older people in your life. Phone them since few of us can gather with them. They will be happy for days. Seriously. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Patient. Be Courteous. We all need to be, all the time. Me. You. Uncle Eddie. Everyone. We are all quite raw right now. Let’s be forgiving, too. We’ve all done things less than great in our lives. It’s part of being human, growing up, and dealing with temptation. Let’s give the gift of love and acceptance to each other. The world will be better for it. See you tomorrow!

Happy Thanksgiving, 2019!

One of the things people do on this day is share memories. The present day is indeed worth celebrating, but there is something wonderful about sharing memories that reinforces the bond among family members. I realize some families have bad memories, and I have some myself. Today, we’re talking about the good memories.

After I was divorced in 1982, I started cooking Thanksgiving for my family. My brothers and parents were invited. I believe I usually had my kids for that holiday, I don’t remember being without them on Thanksgiving. It was a nice dinner, and we had fun. The fun really began when my kids were older (Frankie was 16, Nick was 12, Becky was 9), and we moved to our own house from the family home we had.

In 1987, I was able to purchase my own home, a nearly fifty year old raised ranch in an established neighborhood in Omaha. It was so exciting. With help from my youngest brother, Tim, and my son’s friend, Chuck, my kids and I moved. I even drove the U-Haul.

It was that year that we started the Thanksgiving tradition of putting up Christmas lights on the house. The boys were old enough to do it, and they took quite a bit of the day creating their version of Christmas lighting beauty. Some years, their fingers froze from the weather. Many more breaks were taken, inhaling the turkey smell and drinking hot chocolate. They strung lights, unrolled extension cords, and weighted down figures like they had done it all their lives. It was so fun to watch them see their vision come to life! Becky kept checking their progress, playing with our dog Shadow, and telling me Thanksgiving was her favorite holiday EVER! She was so funny. Not a month before, she told me Halloween was her favorite holiday ever. I love that girl. Always is happy with what is in front of her.

Once they were finished, we would continue in the house, watching football, cooking, laughing, and having fun. When we were finished with dinner, we would eagerly wait until darkness came and we would have a grand lighting ceremony. We lived on a dead end street, so we’d stand in the middle of the street, and cheer when Frankie plugged in the lights. We whooped and hollered, clapped, and congratulated the boys on a job well done. This is one of my favorite memories of all time. We really were a good, strong, single parent family. It was a lot of hard work, and I know I made a lot of mistakes, but I also did some things right. I do miss them a lot. They are all off on their own adventures, and I love that they are.

And you know what?? This was in the early to mid 1990’s, before cell phones. I do not have one photo of that whole event, or the others that followed in subsequent years. We repeated what worked. I hope my kids think of it as well, with a smile. So please, put your phones down. Your family is much more important than the football scores, the Kardashians, or your friend and you texting. Do that stuff tomorrow. Soak in your families today. We’re cooking, only one of our five is coming for dinner with her husband and two kids, and we’re going to have fun. You have a fun day, too.

Thank you for reading, and please come back tomorrow. I’m going to tell you about all the money we save on Black Friday. You’ll love it. Like and comment, you get two chances to win the $50 Visa Gift Card I’m giving away to one lucky winner. Honoring the end of NaNoWriMo. And we’re going to celebrate me making it to 50,000 words. There’s no looking back now! See you then.

Thanksgiving Eve

Are you starting to prep any dishes for Thanksgiving dinner yet? I’m trying a new sweet potato dish. I’m prepping the dish today, and baking it tomorrow. There are all sorts of dishes you can do ahead of time. I’m going to google and find any others I can do ahead.

The dish I’m making will use sliced sweet potatoes (Slice width-wise after boiling and cooling), lay in greased pan, mix cranberries, orange juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, and some other spices, pour over potatoes and bake. Sounds easy. Baked sweet potatoes are great at a steakhouse in place of a regular baked potato. And no one else likes them, so I’m going to save portions of it for later. Yum!!

I’m also making the dressing ahead, and whatever else works out ok. No big deal. Last year, we purchased a new gas range, with five top burners (I love it!) and sure enough, it cooked so much faster than our old electric stoves did. I kid you not. We had to call our daughter and her family to come early. I’m hoping that does not happen again.

NaNoWriMo successful conclusion is still in sight. I believe 2,971 words per day for the next four days will put me in the “winner’s ” circle. It will be great to be finished. Don’t forget to enter my drawing for the Completion of NaNoWriMo. Just like the posts and comment on each day for the month of November, and you could have sixty chances to win. Use tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday to catch up!! You can read them while you’re in line waiting for Target to open! Be safe out there.

If you are a Black Friday shopper, do you know when it started?? The first recorded use of the term was in 1969, and had nothing to do with shopping. It signified the crash of the gold market on September 24, 1869.

History.com reports the city of Philadelphia coined the phrase to describe the crush of traffic and pedestrians from the suburbs out shopping the day after Thanksgiving. The cops worked twelve hour shifts in an attempt to control the chaos. Poor guys! Shoplifting was rampant. In 1961, the city fathers tried to rebrand the day to be called “Big Friday” since it had a better connotation. Didn’t work. Additionally, some businesses were also open on Friday after Thanksgiving, and many, many people called in sick, thus creating a worker shortage.

So, whatever you do, if you are out and about on Black Friday, take precautions. Hydrate, eat well, and be careful to stay out of the way of anyone who thinks a cheap TV is worth trampling people for. Keep an eye on your belongings, as thieves will mix among the shoppers like always. Be aware of your surrounding. And keep up being grateful for everything you thought of on Thanksgiving.

If you are traveling over the next few days, I hope the bad weather misses you. We got some slushy stuff and a bit of snow last night, so nothing bad. The sidewalks are tricky, but watch where you’re going, you should be fine. Walk carefully. Enter to win. Thank you for taking time to read today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.