Thursday, Thanks!

It was a day spent trimming tiny threads from Kayla’s quilt, before I sandwich it with batting and backing for quilting. It took most of the day, turning it over and over. You trim the right side, the wrong side, and all the seams to make sure nothing is hanging or dangling, or even frayed all over the place on a seam. It’s trimmed now, and ready for tomorrow’s work of pinning it all over for quilting.

I feel as if I don’t have both oars in the water, things feel “off”. I don’t know how else to describe it. Most of the time, I’m all about the business of what we’re doing, but today, not so much. I hope tomorrow is better.

One of Those Days

Those days you feel out of it

Are just an off day or two

No need to try and analyze it to death

Or over-think it

You’re just not up to snuff

It’s not a major catastrophe.

Soon, you’ll be yourself again

You’ll be on top of your game

And surprised at all you accomplish

And you’ll be grateful for the focus

For the productivity

And for the check marks on your lists.

Is that what it’s all about?

Or is it about enjoying, observing, learning

And experiencing God’s creation, in all it’s glory.

Thanks for Noticing!

Agreements and Baseball.

No, I’m not talking about those highly inflated contracts in MLB. I’m talking about applying Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements to the game of baseball, down to the lowest level of T-Ball. It’s tournament time in our select baseball world and the team had a pulverizing loss yesterday. Three innings. The opposing team was exceptionally good for being in the 9U (Nine & up) category. Many were star players on their own. They stole every base they could, running up the score. Nothing makes a first year playing together team lose their will to live than running up the score on them when they’re struggling.

The only talk there was among them was how good the other team was. They were good, and mentally, our boys were defeated before the first pitch went out. I just want to share this as the coaches do every game, but with different words.

Tell yourself the truth about you. You are a good player and not doing anything wrong. Sometimes, others teams will beat us. You are not at fault. They’re just better. Let’s work harder so we’re better.

Don’t Take Anything Personally. It’s not your fault. All of us make mistakes. That’s how we learn. Let’s work to learn more.

Don’t Make Assumptions. Just because they’re a top ranked team doesn’t mean we’re going to lose. We need to work together and be our best today.

Always Do Your Best. Put your game face on every game. Keep your heads up. Be confident. Don’t give up until the game’s over. There’s always a chance if you all do your best. Keep your heads and shoulder up. That’s a winner’s posture.

Play Ball!

All of this takes practice, both for body and mind. It’s nothing that happens overnight. And it’s not for just 9U Select Baseball teams. It’s for all of us. For life. Share as you see fit.

How I wish I could have been stronger willed as a kid. The bullies would not have stood a chance. During my entire 7th grade, no one would speak to me. A nun confronted me about the older girls in choir. She wasn’t there one day and the 8th graders (I was in 6th) were talking. Monsignor Aughney told her about it, she picked me to ask if they were talking.

At that time in my life, I would have confessed to kidnapping the Lindbergh baby when confronted by an adult in power. I wasn’t going to lie to a nun, not with the threat of sin held over my head. I violated the kid code, I ratted them out. When we returned to school, there was a lot of giggling at me, making fun of me. One day, I remember specifically, a boy who later became friends with me in high school, walked after me while barking like a dog. Let’s just say, it was not a compliment.

My face burned. The tears blurred my eyes. I kept walking. He finally quit. I kept walking, all the way home. No wonder I used to stop at the cookie jar upon arriving at home. Sugar was the thing that made me feel better. Well, sugar and listening to music. I’d hide in my room, playing music, (not while doing homework), eat Mom’s Toll House Cookies like my life depended on it, and feel better. 7th grade was pure torture. But I lived. Deeply wounded, but I lived.

Magically, I kept being myself. When 8th grade came around, the classmates all forgot about the narc among them. They all told me, “You’ve changed.” No, I hadn’t. They had. My self talk wasn’t good back then. Fat, ugly, dumb, can’t draw, you name it, I hated it about myself. Teach your kids to be kind and gentle to themselves.

This doesn’t mean sinful pride and boasting. Be yourself. Keep it in you. It works better. You get it. We’ve a few things to do before the noon and the 2 p.m. game. Hydrating is one of them! You do the same if you’re in Nebraska, it’s sweltering already. But there’s nowhere I’d rather be than watching kids play baseball. I love them all! Have a great day, and see you tomorrow! GO STORM CHASERS!

Tuesday Rolls Around Again

After a bunch of celebrating over the weekend took its toll on me, it was time to get back to business. And writing just did not happen yet. It’s 6:30 p.m. and here we are, just beginning the blog for today. Allergy doctor visit was early, and the header photo was the collection of those funny little plastic toys on the windowsill. Aren’t they cute, all lined up? As they sit in the sunlight, they bobble and make me smile. Hope you enjoy them, too.

Tomorrow is a day for taking Mom to appointments and hopefully getting the laundry folding caught up. Have you ever noticed sometimes it takes forever to get back on track as you’ve wanted to for awhile? Why is that? Are the forces in the universe plotting against us?

While it may seem that way, it probably isn’t true. When former good habits, gone by the wayside over Christmas (!), and your attempts are not strong enough to overcome the new bad habits, stuff gets in the way. Repeatedly. It never seems to get back on track until you go the 21 days to make the new habit again of writing every morning, before leaving the house, before getting sidetracked. Thursday should yield itself to getting back in business again. Whew! It’s hard.

I visited my good friend today. She is determined to recover from the stroke of a couple weeks ago. Her body is improving, and I asked how her spirit was. Her response? “My spirit knows it has to get better.” I applaud her spunk. We pray for a good recovery for her. I have another friend who has ALS. I need to visit her next. She will not recover health, no matter how hard she wants to. My prayers for her family.

Life is too short to waste. In a couple weeks, I’ll be 70 years old. If I have the longevity my mom has, I will have another twenty good years. I can live with that! In the meantime, I need to work on getting organized for tomorrow. I hope you have a peaceful evening. We have a book to write! See you tomorrow.

One More Day . . .

In waiting for the Holiday Season to begin, don’t lose sight of today and all it has to offer. My grandma used to say, “Don’t wish your life away.” Once again, she is right. What good can possible come on the day before the big day? A lot.

You could be emotionally shut off from society and use today to finally get the nerve to venture out like Scrooge did after his night of three nightmares. Every bit of courage you gather up prior to finally opening the door to the world, you can feel inside of you. And, gosh, this isn’t so bad. Don’t admonish yourself for not doing it sooner; it just wasn’t time. It’s a great time to get the cobwebs out. If I have been a recluse for two years, I doubt it would be a great idea to venture out on Black Friday to view the world anew. Common sense should rule.

We had some really nice Thanksgiving Day’s when the kids and I were home alone in the late 1980s. The boys would put up the Christmas decorations on the house, complete with lights, and after we ate dinner, we would gather in front of the house at 6 p.m. for the annual lighting ceremony. They admired their handiwork as their sister and I marveled at the sight.

I’m not a bargain shopper; I was one who made gifts for my family and friends. A crocheted afghan, a fleece pullover, or a hat/scarf combo. I’ve never gathered in a Black Friday crowd, nor do I have any desire to do that. Nope, not my deal. As a single mom, I used layaway, and paid weekly all fall until December. It was great for me. I always wanted to have the same number of packages for the kids to open. We’d make the gift opening last all morning. We’d have orange juice and glazed donuts for breakfast, and savor the smells of the turkey baking while we opened gifts.

I’m starting the day by cleaning up the house a little, and practicing an attitude of gratitude while doing this chore. I keep resolving to get decluttered, and I keep doing it. I’m getting closer than I was. That’s progress, and I’m going to be grateful. The thing is, I want the house picked up for us, not for the kids. They know we have dogs, and are retired. It’s tough to get some places to dust. It doesn’t matter! They are who matters. And for that, I’m grateful.

After the upstairs is done, if the Babe is home by then, I’ll do a bit of prepping for the sides tomorrow. Since our turkey needs to be in about 6 a.m., I may get it ready in the pan, and wrap well with foil so we just need to put it in the oven in the morning. That will make it easier! Then the Babe can cook the icky stuff for him to eat. The icky stuff is the giblets and neck, yuck! Did I say that out loud? Wow. Mom would eat it, but none of us kids did. Dad wouldn’t either.

The grandkids don’t want gifts for Christmas, but giftcards. Then they may have what they really want. It makes it easier, for sure. Still, I miss when they were littler and you could buy a fun toy or cute dress. Yes, those days are gone for the three older kids. The littles in Colorado are getting real boxes to open, so we’re lucky that way. Hope we get to see them soon.

Have a beautiful day. Be grateful for good memories. Keep them in their place, the past. Make more new ones the rest of the weekend. Stay in the present, not too far in the future, which isn’t happening yet. Today is the gift we have right now. Enjoy! See you tomorrow!

Back to Work

In case you didn’t read the blog yesterday, I’m celebrating! I submitted my first chapter from my book, “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons,” to the Nebraska Writers Guild, and they have judged it suitable for printing. I am over the moon about it, and celebrate over and over in my imagination.

And now, here we are, in the knowledge I’m really going to be a published author, aside from being published on my website. And no, I have no agent, but have a contract with NWG for Chapter One. Baby Steps! To get back in the swing of things, I need to look very carefully at the first six chapters and pick up from there. Glad the NaNoWriMo is coming up, It should be a good catalyst for connecting outline, thoughts, words, and paper. Woo Hoo! Picture me done with it before we know it!

Of course, all things are subject to change. How I know that! Flexibility is important if you want to create, especially during these times. Nothing is normal, you know? It was, then it wasn’t, and now we just aren’t sure. I truly hope our beautiful planet gets another thousand years or so. Maybe a grandchild will get an inspiration to save the planet!

It’s late, and I have no snappy jokes left for the evening. I hope you all are in a good place this evening, and that your tomorrow is wonderful. I’m going to make a priority tomorrow to communicate well. Yes, It’s a long shot, but it needs to be done. It will only do us all good. Ignore the smack about IG and FB behind a bad influence. It’s all crazy! More on that later. Let’s just decide for ourselves, ok? Hoping so, that you’ll think for yourselves. I am all about that. Take care, and know tomorrow is another day. Take care! See you tomorrow!

Good Monday Morning!

Here we are, holding our clean calendars for the month of October. Have you ever considered what possibilities lie in a nearly blank slate? Well, in theory, that is. None of us has a blank, virgin-like month ahead with no mental notes as to what we need to do, do we? Mine isn’t like September was, but it was a good month.

This month, I have a bunch of de-cluttering tasks I’d like to do in the next two days. My mental checklist has now become real. I wrote it down on a note-pad I have notes in for a lot of projects; Moving Veterans Forward Nebraska, Passwords Notes, TO DO Lists, and reviews of albums I’ve written. This one, however, will make the month go much easier. Clutter will be busted (burst?) and I won’t get distracted by my messiness.

I’m proud of the fact I’ve lost 5 more pounds on KETO (actually Dirty, Messy Keto); I now have a large wardrobe of jeans that fit again, and many that are too big. I love that best. I’ve had a battle with myself for my whole life. Now, ego has nothing to do with trying to lose. It has to do with what’s good for my body and (dis)abilities. Fibromyalgia, scoliosis, severe arthritis, severe chronic pain, and asthma are no fun. All that with 35 more pounds is miserable. The cooler air kicked up the asthma and arthritis. I need to dig into my passions (writing, quilting, sewing, learning to paint) to take my mind off all that. At this point, whatever else I can lose will be a bonus. Maybe 25 is a good number.

If you are just starting, don’t give yourself 60 pounds to lose all at once. You’ll get too discouraged and probably quit. It’s all human nature. If we were to give a child 18 years of learning all at once, they would not succeed; it is too much to wrap your head around, no matter how bright they are. If we gave a new music student a classical pianist’s hardest music, they would lose interest, get discouraged, and not want to go on. Set a lower goal – 5 or 10 pounds – and give yourself a lot of wiggle room, say a month. If you lose 15, you’ll be enthused and want to do more. The new tasks you have incorporated into your day will become habits you are dedicated to completing for your day to go well.

Baby steps. You eat an elephant one bite at a time. It’s all about perspective. Looking back, some of the jeans I can wear again were purchased the last time I lost a chunk of weight. It was the early 2000s. Are boot cut jeans back in style yet? Skinny Jeans are still ok, right? I’ll wear whatever I want. As long as they fit, they’re fine in my book. I’ve really come to love leggings and have many pairs. They fit like they should now, and are still serviceable. We’ll visit that again after the next 25 pounds are gone. And since I can sew, I have the fabric already for newer clothes. It’ll work out! If I could use all the fabric I’ve gathered over the years, the Babe would have a heart attack! It still could happen. If you’ve ever known a quilter or seamstress, you’d understand.

This blog # is in the mid 700s. I’m so proud of that, too. You know, for a woman who grew up in the 60s, that’s kind of hard to say out loud. It goes against all we learned as kids; women were supposed to be “meek,” submitting to men in every way, and never calling attention to themselves. Knowing your place was important during that era. But, late bloomer that I am, here we are. It feels good to finally admit you own yourself.

There are many areas I joke and say I lived my life backwards. Graduated, had kids young, went to college, graduated at 44, raised 3 kids alone, bought a house (a house of my own!), and proceeded to get married at 46 (I told the Babe to tell his friends his fiance just graduated from college. Lots of laughs!), and we’ve had a beautiful life together. I’m grateful down to my bones. We’ve survived so much, including each other (some days); Breast Cancer, Ischemic Heart Disease (thank you, Agent Orange), moving, ex’s, loss, gains, and life in general. Nothing’s been better than all of it. It’s called real life. No dysfunction left, it’s the real deal. And I’ll say until my dying day, it’s all been worth it. Every tear, every disagreement, every disclosure to my best friend, every fear shared and conquered.

Folks, have a beautiful day. It’s going to be in the 70s all week, and we’re going to enjoy every moment we can outside. It’s time for those nasty little black bugs you can barely see, but they bite hard. (No-See-Ums, biting midges, their bites are worse than mosquito bites and can last up to two weeks). They drive us inside. Maybe I need to got the deck and patio with something. Google, here I come! Thanks for sharing time today, see you tomorrow!

Sunday, Sunday!

This is a day just for the Babe and me. It’s our 23rd wedding anniversary! He joked for years he should be able to add the years for all his marriages together and have it “count.” I could do that, too, but they were not the happy married years since we were both very young. He had a lot of demons from Vietnam and I didn’t know how to defend myself verbally. I protected my kids, but not myself. I lived on tranquilizers to calm my roiling stomach down. After divorcing, I had no more stomach issues. Or tranquilizers. It was always him, and the uncertainty, coupled with his selfishness.

My first conversation with the Babe was unreal. He admitted his first marriage ended because he drank. His second ended because he quit. She still suffers from addiction problems. I was stunned at the honesty. Just what I was looking for!

It’s been a good mix of love, lessons, compromise, and learning together what’s important in both of our lives; separate identities that meld together nicely. We support each other well. It’s something I needed to become the person I am. He grew into the person he is right along with me. We are separate, yet whole together. I always believed this is how loving another adult person should be. We are lucky to have meshed with each other.

The Bad/Hard things? We are both stubborn. We both want our own way. The good/easier things? We both wonder “Is it really worth arguing over?” We have learned to compromise into a solution that works for us. And we both will yield to each other, despite what the Babe says. He’s a silly man, sometimes. All part of the charm, you know.

Addison had Homecoming over the weekend, and what a smart girl! She wore a dress different than everyone else’s. What class! I think she understands what that is, too. Aunts Sharon and Kathy, along with Grandma Sandy, they all had a lot of class in dressing. All different income levels, and all were classy and appropriate. It means a lot for a young woman to be that way. I’m proud of her.

We are excited we’ll be seeing Grandson Joell over this week. They will be visiting from Wednesday night until Sunday morning, I hear. It’ll be good to see the man he’s grown into. Can’t wait for pictures! Hope it’s a short week.

As we continue to celebrate each other the rest of the day, make sure you enjoy this beautiful day outside, and touch base with someone you enjoy. Celebrate each other, and remember how important they are in your life. I’m making a list of what I need to be thinking about during October. Let’s get busy! Take care, see you tomorrow!

From left, “Where Did The Time Go?”; Kathy & Dan 10-3-1998; “This Day, I Married My Friend”; Grandpa Dan, Addison, Grandma Kathy, last week. What a life we have!

Thoughtful Thursday

I noticed a mistake or two in last night’s late blog. I corrected and re-published. Having the newspaper blood in our veins, my brothers and I don’t like to see typos or obvious errors identifying people in photos. I am not perfect. And I’ll always try to correct my mistakes. We should give ourselves do-overs.

I read another thoughtful meditation this morning. “Would you rather be right or be happy?”

WOAH! What was that again? That could stop any argument in its tracks, wouldn’t it?? The article, written by Michael Easter, and is featured in Medium today. I found it fascinating. Most of the time we’re not right, we just want to “win.” What drives the human mind is odd. He points out time changes our position on ideas and things we “would die to keep.” The next day we could gladly give up what we didn’t die for the day before. It is definitely food for thought.

The Babe and I have a few disagreements now and then, we’re human. We’ve also reached a point in life where we know there are not a lot of things to argue about. We’d rather be happy. It’s something I’d suggest to everyone. You don’t always have to win or lose.

Interestingly enough, the meditation in my book was a quote from Voltaire. “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” Instead of praying to God to spare you from pain, ask Him for strength to get through the pain, whatever it is, and to gain a better understanding of our lives.

The sun is finally shining today. It’s chillier than it’s been, but the blue sky is so welcome. I believe it brightens everyone’s mood and helps restore our collective sanity. Doom and gloom hammers away at a person’s mood.  I have to check myself. A little self-care to maintain an even keel is worth it. Awareness is crucial in our world. We don’t live in a vacuum. Our interactions with others, however small they are, affect other people. An unexpected smile is worth a lot. Share one of yours!

Time to work on our VFW Post 2503 website. We had a terrific St. Patrick’s Day Dinner yesterday and a good time was had by all. People enjoy seeing events posted. I’d better get busy so the news is current! Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. I’ll see you tomorrow! Be Safe out there. Be Kind. We all need it. And Be Courteous. The world needs it.

But WAIT! There’s MORE . . .

Snow in the forecast today, Thursday, and Sunday. That’s as of this minute. It’ll do what it does. No need to fret about it. Isn’t fret a fabulous word? (My guitar playing friends won’t like this definition of the word.) To fret is to worry.

In contrast, Wikipedia defines it as a guitarist would. Fretting is wear and sometimes corrosion damage at the asperities of contact surfaces. (Yes, that’s what HE said). But to use the old definition of it, worry (fretting) erodes at your happiness and mental health if it goes long enough. I get it. People don’t like the snow, and I’m getting a little tired of it myself. It is a part of our lives in Nebraska. I prefer to concentrate on the beauty rather than the bother involved with it.

Yes, I have shoveled mountains of snow when I was a single mom. We lived on a busy corner, with a bus stop at our front sidewalk. It required extra care. The City trucks always buried us when they went by. I have done my fair share of removal. When my back went bad, the kids were great at helping. Of course we lived at the top of a hill with little snow removal. It made for all kinds of fun. At least my kids all learned a vital skill – driving in snowy Nebraska winters.

I didn’t even notice until this morning yesterday’s blog didn’t publish. I forgot I had to change my Facebook password yesterday. I share the blog to Facebook upon publishing. It didn’t work and held the whole deal up. Sorry about my inattention.

Yesterday about noon my good day derailed, and the result was a poor attitude. I try extra hard when that happens to not be b*% ^. I think I succeeded. And then the e-mail I’ve been waiting for arrived. It’s all good now. I need to remember sooner when I get overwhelmed (and I do it to myself!) with too much to do, too little time, too much to learn, I get stressed. The best cure it to stop working and do something you need. I took a nap. Then I read.

Later in the day, I looked at the reading material I keep next to my recliner. It was all books for learning – there was not one there to read for “fun.” I gathered them all up and put them on my desk extension for later. My brain is tired. It wants to have some fun. So it will have some fun. Timing was right for my latest Amazon order – in the blizzard like conditions of yesterday, they delivered three separate packages!

What a Haul from Amazon Yesterday!

Besides another copy of Corgi’s in the Wild, a children’s book by my friend author Gabbie Weick; Rachael Ray’s small grater; a cheat sheet for using Publisher with a small book of “How to Learn Microsoft Publisher QUICKLY!” (I’ve used Publisher before, but need a refresher and reference); I received new author Joshua Berkov’s two books; The Enlightenment of Angeline, and The Enlightenment of Esther.

Joshua Berkov is a Librarian by day. The rest of his author blurb from the back cover tells of his education, his life with his partner and two cats, and how he loves to make people laugh. Because of the making people laugh, I ordered both books. It’s the balance I need right now. I’ll let you know how they were. I love the description of the principal character; “Angeline Sims is no shrinking violet. She’s tough, opinionated, and bossy, and she’s got a bone to pick with nearly everyone in her life.” She sounds like my mom! And HER Mom! Uh-oh. Don’t let me use that phrase, ever. OK? If you don’t, we can’t be friends.

I Think We’ve All Known Ladies Like These!

With a renewed confidence and a surprise announcement to make soon, I’m going to write in my novel right now. Katie Fitzgibbons has been busy; therefore, I have been, too! I’ll get a good writing session in today. Then, time to watch Patrick Mahomes and his KC Chiefs annihilate Tom Brady and crew. In between, I’ll read about Angeline’s enlightenment. It’s going to be a wonderful Sunday with the Babe and our pups.

Hope your day is fabulous, too. Cozy up with a beverage and snack, it’s that kind of day. Thank you for reading. I welcome you back tomorrow, too. Be Safe. Take Care.

Wednesday, Joell’s Birthday!

How is everyone out there doing tonight? All across America, people are picking up ingredients themselves, ordering online for pickup or delivery, and changing menus accordingly. We’re having our first Thanksgiving in quite a while without family. We usually travel for Thanksgiving/Joell’s Birthday, but this year we’re all being safe. I feel for the young man, we all have so much fun with family and friends together. It just isn’t safe right now. Even when you’re the ripe old age of thirteen, you still look forward to your birthday. I’m a lot older than he is, and I love my birthday. Only one day of 365 is yours. Unless you’re a twin or other multiple; or unless you’re born on the same date, another family member celebrates their birthday. Joell, sorry we have to miss this one, and I hope you’re finding something fun to do today.

Birthdays have always been my favorite. Sure, Christmas is great, but it’s not yours only. And I hear the poor kids unlucky to be born near Christmas get cheated. My dad was born on January 1, 1924. I don’t think Grandma and Grandpa could get many gifts during those years, pre and post depression-era. Granddaughter Addison shared birthday’s with her Grandma Sandy. Our family lost her several years ago to lung cancer, but we still remember her in heaven. It was nice to celebrate with both of them.

Joell amazes me every time we are with him. He has a very kind heart, one you do not see often in some kids now. He is polite, walking in crowds, waiting to speak when it’s appropriate, it’s all what kids learn from their parents. The other grandkids are, too, but this is his birthday, and I hope he knows how very special he is. As we looked back on my Facebook photos over the past years, we’ve seen him grow up again, right before our eyes, all in one day. Happy Birthday, Joell! We love you!

So as we go back to figuring out how to make some Keto substitutes for the traditional meal, we’re aware these changes and sacrifices our family is making to keep Covid away will be worth it. We look forward to spending time together again. It may not be as soon as we like, but we will be able to, whenever we all feel safe.

I spent the morning with my Mom, delivering her Mince Pie. To tell the truth, I tried to taste the mince filling. From the smell, I had to pass. Something sweet with apples and raisins should not have beef in it. She was quite excited. The epitome of the times happened between us today. She asked if she could hug me; I said ok. Over and over she told me how much she missed me. Wow. She’s never said that before. The Babe and I quarantined after our friends became ill from Covid. We remained well, but we try not to be around her after being elsewhere. She’s ok with that. It was a pleasant visit, and I was at home in time to bake some Keto Pumpkin Bars, and a loaf of Keto Bread.

We’re not getting too crazy tomorrow, it will be so nice to just sit and drink coffee until we feel like stopping. We rarely have that pleasure anymore. Life goes too quickly and we need these odd days to spend together. I hope you enjoy however you spend your day. I will think about the fun we can have in 2021, at Joell’s fourteenth birthday!

Be Kind, Be Thoughtful, Be Courteous, Be Patient. These times are trying, and I’ve learned myself anyone can snap. Learn to forgive yourself if you do. Apologize and move on. Don’t beat yourself up. Focus more on continuing on your journey to finish this life in the best way you can. Be positive. Be Careful. Be Safe.