When Spring Comes . . .

. . . the grass grows by itself.

Right along with the seasons coming in their time and on time every single time since God created all of this. Eager as we are for spring to begin, it will in its own good time. What we need to do in the meantime, is relax. That is a tall order with all the anxiety flying about in the world.

I’ve found the older I become, the less I need to work at relaxing. For that, I’m grateful. I’ve learned we can’t force an outcome simply because we think it is in our best interest. We only know the small part that affects our world. God knows what the big picture is. When I was still married to my first husband, I was a bundle of nerves. It was awful. I had muscle spasms in my stomach, and I was a mess. Didn’t really drink coffee, just tea, and wanted the pain to just stop. It did. After counseling, filing for divorce, and him moving out, the pain stopped. I’ve never had it again.

That was the last bit of information I needed to change my life. My short-sighted plan didn’t seem to be such a sure plan. I didn’t belong in a happily ever after life with that man. But I do with the Babe. We met 27 years ago, and in October, will be married 25 years. So happy. So calm. And this time, I’m sure.

I’ve noticed a great change in the Babe, too. He used to have a hard time just staying at home. We did vacations and then eased off the traveling; so we had about ten years of kids getting married and having babies, and now, just enjoy being home. We’re good to watch the seasons surround our home with lush foliage, flowers, crisp leaves, bare branches, and snow. All in its own good time. Every year, new birds make themselves known. Waiting their visitation and hatching eggs on the patio, above the rafters.

The less rigid we are results in an opening of our hearts, minds, and souls. We can settle in, watch nature unfold in its own time. We slowly learn our perfectionism and rigid rules are not conducive to enjoying successful execution of what we do well. Being perfect doesn’t register anywhere with being satisfied in what we do. Learn to relax. Foremost. And forever.

Have a great Wednesday. See you tomorrow.

“Unforgettable Friends”

A friend and I talked today for the first time in quite a while. As we caught up, we laughed. I felt so much stress dissipate throughout my whole body. Thank you, my friend!

We talked about friends who are unforgettable. She asked me, “What makes a friend unforgettable? You should blog about that!”

What a great idea! Two great ideas!

First great idea? Ask for people to comment on things they’d like to read about. They can be story prompts, they can be questions about things like Unforgettable Friends, or they can even be general things about me – only politically correct questions, nothing creepy or inappropriate.

Second great idea? “Unforgettable Friends.”

The song, “Unforgettable,” came to fame by the most wonderful Nat “King” Cole singing it with his velvety voice. I remember hearing it as a child. Even though I was very young, I knew it was good. I just didn’t know why.

I remember being at our Uncle Joe Jewell’s home once. It must have been my cousin Jilla’s First Communion Party. Uncle Joe was playing some music on the hi-fi. He put on Nat “King” Cole, and told my dad, “This is the best singer that has ever lived.” I don’t remember what Dad said, but I know he was a huge Sinatra fan, as well as Big Band. He liked Elvis as well. I love the exposure we had to varied music while growing up.

As time went on, they encouraged Cole to move from the keyboard to standing while singing. He was expert at the lyrics of whatever he sang. He is one person with perfect pitch. Unbelievable and rare, but you know it when you hear it.

Unfortunately, race played a big part in his life: he couldn’t live in certain neighborhoods, stay at certain hotels, etc. What a black eye for America. We did that a lot, didn’t we?

Back to my friend and what makes you unforgetable?

The dictionary (remember that?) defines it as “not to be forgotten,” or “lasting in memory.” But what makes a person, a soul, a being, an entity UNFORGETTABLE?”

To me, an unforgettable person can be an excellent memory or a bad one. The first person I dated at 30 after being married for 12 years was the best and worst thing that ever happened to me. I learned I was desirable as a woman, but that most of the guys I would meet, being who I was, wouldn’t be more than temporary for me. I had low self-esteem and was naïve. A terrible combination. But I learned quickly. Mark was certainly unforgettable, for the good and bad.

An unforgettable friend is one who you may grow up with. It could be someone who shares the angst of the teenage years. My friend Karen was the first person I wrote with. We would act out plays and talk about boys. We were early teens and searching for answers in life. When you find answers with a special friend, you find they are unforgettable.

Having friends from high school who you have first jobs with are unforgettable. You bond with in Spanish lecture, alphabetized by last name, can become unforgettable. And friends you still talk with after 50 years are the best. All unforgettable.

In my opinion, these things make my people unforgettable:

Sense of humor, loyalty, friendship, understanding, empathy, listeners, huggers, people who back you up no matter what, generosity, and those with similar values. Yes, they may have different political views than you, but you value their presence in your life. You both allow for off limits topics: politics, religion, etc. Both sides respect this. They value their bond too valuable to argue about something with no right side or wrong side. They agree to always be civil, respectful, and each place the same value on their friendship.

Don’t forget! Comment on a topic or question you’d like to see me blog about. We’ll pick some and go with it. It could be fun!

If you are lucky enough to have unforgettable people in your lives, you have a gift. They don’t have to be family. Treasure them. Consider yourself blessed. And let them know they’re important. Just as you must be to them. Have a beautiful Saturday. See you tomorrow!

Friday, What a Week!

Yes, it’s been quite a week. Two major things going on at once is rough. The Babe had his second followup yesterday, and today, the whole day is ours. I don’t want to leave home. I made Mom six grilled cheese sandwiches and she said to stay home. I need it. I’m staying home Monday, too. Then two days of stuff again. We’ll get through. Mom dubbed the Babe the “Fourth Man” of her four “man” team, of the Babe, Steve, Tim and me. We’ll get her through the changing times ahead.

All the learning in the world is no good if you cannot apply it. I’m amazed at how much writing has changed since the time I began my blog. If you are telling a story about something in your childhood, you are telling your recollection of how an event was explained to you or your recollection thereof. It may not be historically correct, it’s the story we are writing about. A lot of what we write is exactly that. It’s not meant to be a thesis, news story, or other report of fact. Recollections are different.

I started reading an old book today. It wasn’t required in high school, but I read it anyway, or so I thought. Let me tell you, I’m only twenty-one pages into the book, and it’s not anything I recall reading at all. Lots of life has been lived since then, and it’s no wonder the story didn’t remain familiary. It’s frightening, though. The thought-police are kind of all over the place now, and the world way different than when it was penned in 1945. Very thought-provoking. More on it later.

Due to the craziness in our life I’m calling it quits for today. Have a great rest of the day, and know we’ll see each other tomorrow. Take care, be safe out there.

Weekend, here we come!

Thursday, Post-Opt Visit

Busy day today. The Babe has a post-op followup to his second cataract surgery. All I can say is, it’s getting busy. We won’t have time to drop the Babe back at home before picking Mom up for a doctor’s appointment. Maybe we can do lunch if we don’t get a snowstorm. We’ve heard varying degrees of bad weather for tomorrow. Nothing sounds too bad, but we need to be prepared.

Scenes from an elders life:

It seems Mom let us know how she likes Fish Sandwiches from Burger King. Monday this week, she told me she doesn’t want them this week. It seems she had five brought to her last Friday. She’s kind of over them! I’m taking her some grilled cheese sandwiches this week. Hope she doesn’t get a dozen of those!

After finishing the book, “Broken Angels,” I’m a little puzzled about the critical reviews I’ve seen. I can only speculate the reviewers are young and don’t understand the scope and ramifications of the Holocaust, and the horrors of the death camps. My father was with Patton’s troops as they freed Auschwitz. He never told us about it, but an aunt said she asked him once. He went up to his library to get a book, which he loaned her to read. The book would tell her more than she wanted to know. I did not get the name of the book, and my aunt is no longer with us, either.

What evil my father saw, along with many, many young men. Throughout the wars of history, and “conflicts.” Anywhere men or women died, it is a war in my estimation.

I find it a little funny to see the commercial for the vision center who did the Babe’s cataract surgery. We’ve probably spent 5 or 6 hours there over the past two days. One of the frequent running commercials during the news hours is for the vision center. Perfect photos of the chair I sat in by the windows, but none of the Otis Spunkmeyer freshly baked cookies, baked fresh daily. Those are the cure for everything. Smells so good.

Not kidding. I’ve done zero quilting the past two days. It will be done when I can. Things are a little crazy at the moment. But I finished an enormous book. That counts. How about you? What will this fine Thursday find you doing? Tell me in the comments. Have a great day, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Another Weekend

It was another pretty day in the Heartland today. Tomorrow will be great as well.

No matter where we are in life, I think living takes a lot of faith in what’s beyond all of this. Faith in a future, an eternity, and faith in God. God will always take care of us as long as we believe in Him and His goodness. We all have His mercy and we need to believe in His timing. His timing is not our timing. He does all things in His good time. When He feels we are ready.

We are not smart enough or in tune enough to know what His way is. He shares His way when He feels we should know about it and what it is. It may never make sense to us. But it is the final say, and He always has it. We are along for the ride.

I had some stuff to do for Mom yesterday, and on Friday, she always wants fish, no meat. Way back in the day, the Catholics ate only fish on Fridays. Every Friday. Now, it’s only During Lent (and Friday?)? I picked up a couple fish sandwiches from a local fast food place. She was happy.

We have talked a lot about how life is funny, disappointing, and surprising. She was a volunteer for 30 years at the Omaha Zoo. During that time, she had a wildly good time. And a lot of hard work.

Before computers, the Docents (means teacher) were older people who studied like crazy about every animal, their habitat, their reproduction, and their habitat. She could quote line and verse. She loved her role and what she was doing. Mom’s been away from the volunteering world since she quit driving. She misses it. She loves the news about the newest baby elephant, and all the new babies of other species.

I remember one time, she called me to tell me if I needed to reach her and she didn’t answer, not to worry. She was spending the night at the nursery at the Zoo. She would babysit the Baby Gorilla or the Baby Orangutan overnight. We weren’t to worry. She was fine. I’d tease and ask her was she sure she wouldn’t be out at the local pool hall? She took it well.

I’ve reminded her of some funny things over the past few days. Usually it was something I did that was a little crazy. Like being mad at her both babies she had after me were silly boys! I wanted a sister so badly. Everyone I knew had a sister. Why couldn’t I? I guess the answer was no.

More quilting over the weekend. I hope yours is a good one, as I plan on mine being good. Take care, we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Bright, Sunny Day

Saturday flew by. Feeling better when I woke, I was ready to set the world on fire. Until after taking a shower and getting dressed. Then common sense took me captive, and I decided to set the world on fire another day. Not well enough yet. We didn’t stray too far off the couch, believe me. The Babe has excellent advice: “You’re not well yet. Take another day.” Don’t have to tell this girl twice.

I’ve spent quite a number of hours trimming threads from the back of Cody’s quilt. And I’m still not finished trimming them. The weather was bright and sunny. I love those days. If a person were to keep track, I wonder how many days would be all sun, no clouds, and others all clouds, no sun. Anyone have an idea? Just curious.

It’s a good idea to keep people around you who are on your side. Those who see the best in you. Those who remind you you it’s there, deep inside of you when you forget. Since I’ve started writing, the more people I’ve shared about it, the more who have said, “Keep writing. You have something to say.” Do you know how far that goes in keeping me grounded and moving forward? I think if we all share that kind of encouragement with each other, we’d all keep going towards our creative goals.

We all know people who could use some encouragement just to get through the day. Cancer patients. people coping with loss. People with earth shaking decisions to make. Those who are estranged from their families through no fault of their own. And we sometimes need to stop, evaluate, and be deeply grateful for what goes well in our lives. Doing that has a way of giving us strength to go the extra mile. Gratitude does that for a person. A soul. A being.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately back in the years when we were all kids living at home. Still in school. And the excursions we would go on to visit our aunts’ and uncles’ homes. Dad didn’t accompany us often to see Mom’s family; he was usually just off a long Saturday night, printing the Sunday paper, and settling down for some sleep. One of my little cousins asked one time, “Who is that man who lives with Aunt Rosie?” They didn’t come to our house hardly ever, and Mom would take us around to visit on Sundays. It was funny, what my cousin said. I wondered how many other people wondered if we had a dad or not?

Growing up, I only knew two kids whose parents were divorced. And I didn’t meet them until high school. Now, it’s hard to find people who are married to their child’s other parent. I do not believe people should ever stay together for the sake of the kids. The kids are worse off if you are always arguing with their Dad or Mom. And a hostile home environment is where lots of bad things breed. And bad family traditions are passed down to yet another generation. Think about being the one who breaks tradition. It’s so well worth it.

Start small. Gain confidence. Before you know it, you’ll be going big or going home. You can do it. Again, have a few good people who support your dreams and goals. You’re worth it. Have a beautiful Sunday, and think about who your people are to support you when you decide you need to change something in life; your living situation, your family, your career. They’re all big things; chosen wisely, you can make your whole life better than you’ve ever imagined. Take care. See you tomorrow.

2-3-2023. Friday’s Things.

Yesterday was Ground Hogs day. Phil saw his shadow. Six more weeks of winter. But six weeks is around the Spring Solstice anyway, so what difference does it make? I don’t know how or why this spectacle began, but I suppose it’s fun. I didn’t question as a kids, the nuns taught us about it, and I’m surprised they did. There is no religious significance to the day, at least I don’t recall learning that. What do you know about it?

Yesterday was also the birthday of a very special Veteran I know. Marion Logermen turned 99 years old. He is a WWII Veteran. He was stationed in Italy, and earned a Purple Heart. The Battle of Anzio is one part of the war he witnessed. He is a very kind man, and someone I’ve been lucky to get to know and talk with. It’s folks like him who make it hard to not be as active at the VFW. At this point of winter, and due to his age, we most likely wouldn’t be seeing him anyway. I’ll have to call him and let him know we were thinking of him today.

I worked on the borders of Cody’s quilt today. Didn’t get them all finished, but they should be tomorrow. Hoping to wrap that project up next week. Next week will also include filing taxes, finishing the quilt, and looking at the kid book with fresh eyes after too long. February is turning into such a productive month. Let’s check back again in about 25 days.

Finished my third book for the 2023 Reading Challenge. So far, on track! Still coaxing the creative spirit out from the storage shed. I’m really tempted to sign up again for monthly art (painting) projects, but since I didn’t do any of the others I signed up for last year, I just can’t right now. I need something to get me going on it. It will happen.

Once we start committing to our creative journey, it is not selfish to want our own, private time. If we don’t carve that out of our day, we may become resentful. And that’s not healthy at all; not for our spirit, soul, or creativity. Let’s remember that.

If you’ve ever had a martyr in your life, you know how guilt-producing they can be. And you’re not even guilty. That’s how they work. They make everything your fault. You’re always the one who is wrong, at fault, doesn’t know what you’re talking about. They use words like always and never. If you are programmed with that message, it takes a long time to find out it’s not true. And, it’s not only false, it’s abusive. Don’t let them get to you. Don’t let them steal your joy. Create. And make the world a much better place. See you tomorrow.

Shame on ???

When a creative person produces a sculpture, a painting, or writes a novel, their family expresses horror. They try to shame the relative into not creating anymore. The family is often afraid a family secret is let out of the bag.

That is the reason many of us are reluctant to let our family read our book, view our painting, or know what we are creating. It’s just easier, you know? Dysfunctional families really know how to take the wind our sails. We become ashamed of what we were previously proud. Everyone but your own family cheers for you and recognizes your gift.

For some of us, that is how it goes. Fear drives those families and their reactions. Pride and humiliation are a breath apart. They don’t want anyone to know what life is like inside that home that they believe looks so perfect. There is no risk of blowing their cover. There is no risk of anyone asking questions. No risk of anyone finding out. The family is less uncomfortable. But not comfortable enough to be honest with themselves or the world.

When I was in high school, and for years before me, it seems the very worst thing in the world for a family was to have their daughter become pregnant “out of wedlock.” Mind you, no one ever questioned the boy or his family. Only the girl. I even remember being told the girls were the ones who had to keep control of the situation when dating. The myth was boys couldn’t control themselves. And the girls aroused slower, and could stop at any point. Boys, no they couldn’t control themselves. Who thought all that up? Wow!

They decimated those myths. Now no one wants their family secrets revealed. Especially not by some crazy artist-type. A hippie artist, or a beatnik poet, or a revolutionary writer. Keep those family skeletons where they belong; in the closet. But not the closet like the sexuality one. The light is being shone on this remarkable art, and those who do not want to see scold us. “How dare you!”

No, how dare you! The world needs to see this, and know it happens, and it’s ok, and not to feel afraid or singled out or feel you’re the only one. Because you’re not. And we’re not. And people understand.

How much the world has changed! And how much the world accepts now it didn’t before. How good for the world. And it’s people. The artists and authors and photographers and creatives have shown the world as they have not seen it before. How wonderful!

Yes, the bigger our world becomes by expanding our thinking, the better it is for us. Growth is going where we’ve not been before. As we continue this week and concentrate on our personal development, let’s keep our eyes on the future. Let’s not concentrate so much on the future that we miss the present every day. And let’s not keep our eyes on the past. We’re not living there anymore. Make the most of these days, the ones right now.

Enjoy this Tuesday; we’re expecting snow Wednesday. Stay safe out there. See you tomorrow, from the snowy tundra.

Weekend, Day 2, Sunday

The prompt for a blog today is, “What snack would you like to eat right now?

Wow, not a brilliant question to ask a starving woman. Nachos would be good, but no jalapeno peppers. Some nice warm Italian Bread with real butter melted on it would be good. The bread with a grilled steak like only the Babe can make. With a nice salad. That would do it.

More squares sewn together for Cody’s quilt. I’d like to finish the quilt top by mid-week. Photos soon! It will be so cute. It’s tough to sit more than a couple hours to sew or do anything. Baby steps.

I’m having a bit of a hard time finishing a book that I want to finish. It’s the third of a series of three written by Colleen Hoover, her “Maybe Someday” series. The first book held my interest in plot turns and twists. In the second book, minor characters from the first book developed, and it explained their relationship. The third book I’m struggling with. I believe it is because I’m much older than the characters and probably the audience. It’s a romance story (which I’m not sure how I feel about the genre). The characters are in their 20s, living on their own, going to school, and learning about life. In my 20’s I was married and having kids.

Is it hard to relate to a story when you are much older or younger than the characters? Is it just a matter of age? What are your thoughts? I am hooked on crime stories but never committed a crime. I’ve never had a ticket or stopped by the police.

What do you think keeps a reader in a story and coming back for more? Please don’t misunderstand; I am not trashing Colleen Hoover’s writing. I’ve read a couple of her books and really liked them. “November 9th,” “It Starts With Us,” and “It Ends With Us.” I know Colleen Hoover has a huge following, and I applaud her. She wrote other novels that I bought. I want to sample a full range of her work. I’d like to read about her career, too.

This will be a full day of more football playoffs and random busy stuff around the house. And when we’re finished? And what snack would we like most? Ice cream. Who doesn’t love that? Have a beautiful Sunday, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Creativity Contract With Myself

To continue with The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I’m finished with the first 25 pages, describing what to do and the key concepts; The Artist’s Date, and The Morning Pages. I think the Artist’s Date will be easier for me to do. I know many people who will let me view their work and talk with them, and receive great inspiration.

I need to review about the morning pages. It really sounds like something I don’t want to do. I need a nice journal to capture those thoughts, whatever they are. Cameron has included a contract in her introduction. She requests people to make a commitment to themselves to complete the course in 12 weeks. Gosh, this will take me into late March! WOW! A lot can happen in 12 weeks.

Tomorrow, I will start. I’d like to see how it goes, getting going on the first week of reading. I think I can catch up on the reading and exercises in time to start the second week. It’s exciting to begin. Speaking of the beginning, I signed up for a series of painting sessions online. It was on a big sale, and I need to find which day of the week will be best for this extra activity. Gosh, that could even be my Art Date once a week.

The Babe is putting together three large book cases so we can finish unpacking after 8 years. More de-cluttering ahead! We can finally donate books we no longer use and have some extra room. No one wants great aunt Martha’s candy dish. You know? No, kids, we won’t make you take it. Not to worry.

It’s only 4 days into the New Year and things are going great! How about for you? We’ll get there, together. Invite your friends along on our journey. We’ll all work on regaining our creativity. Stay safe out there. And we’ll see each other tomorrow.