Sunless Weekend/Holiday Season?

Mom has a terrible time on days the sun isn’t out. Maybe it’s a good thing she has a multitude of Christmas trees lit in various rooms of her house. It is difficult if it’s dark and foreboding day after day when you’re nearly blind and housebound. Usually on weekends she has lots of company so those two days go pretty well for her. I have no idea how long I’ll have RSV and be contagious, and I guess I’ll stay away from her for another week to be sure. I have a couple appointments during the week coming up, but I’ll wear a mask.

Yesterday, I stayed in pajamas after showering. What’s the use, you know? I suppose I’m lucky we don’t make a huge deal about Christmas. The Babe doesn’t like it at all. His earliest memories aren’t good ones and they just seemed to get worse through the years. He tells me he was always aware his folks struggled financially (so many did during those years), and he knew they didn’t have the money for extras that Christmas brings.

Later, as a veteran and young father, times were always tough. It didn’t help with his growing need of alcohol to kill the PTSD thoughts and memories. Most young veterans from Vietnam didn’t know what was going on in their heads much less know how to deal with it. The generation before drowned their troubled thoughts. It was the thing that was done.

After divorce, being alone at Christmas was the norm, and he couldn’t wait for it to be over. I felt that way a lot, too. I had the kids, but no one for me in my life. I’m grateful we found each other, because Christmas is more special. It’s still hard, because Dad died before Christmas, Mom’s father died on Christmas Eve, and that’s not a good memory. There are many people who have a different story of how hard the season can be.

Losing a spouse makes a holiday hard, being unable to provide for your family’s basic needs makes a holiday extra hard; and PTSD can make life hard, much less holidays. When you’d rather be left alone, when the memories are too hard and the shadows plague your thoughts, holidays are hard. If you’re having troubles with depression right now, reach out to your local pastor, a trusted friend, or give the folks at the Centering Corporation in Omaha a call. They have a bunch of resources for grief and especially holiday grief. http://www.centering.com. I highly recommend them.

As we enter days of gatherings, parties, celebrations and fun of all kinds, look around the rooms you’re in; notice who keeps to themselves, who seems sad, and especially who isn’t there. Call them. Let them know they’re important. Find out how they’re feeling. Be prepared to listen. They need to tell their story. They need to share their grief. Let them share with you. You’ll feel better by including them, they’ll feel better not only with inclusion, but knowing someone cares. We all need that. It’s a gift that keeps giving.

Look around today. Observe. Include. Have a good weekend and know we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Stats are Fun

WordPress loves to report statistics to us. Here are the stats for today:

Wednesday’s blog was the 142nd day in a row we published a new blog.

To date, we’ve published 1,148 blogs over the past 3 plus years. Not bad!

The blog was sent to #1005followers. The breakdown is as follows:

Email: 17

WordPress.com 506

Social Media: 482

It appears we lost a few on Social Media, but we’ll pick up some more. I’m tickled for each one of them. And each one of you. We’ve had some fun over the past three years. We’ve had some major losses, too. We’ve gone through a pandemic. We’ve gotten vaccines and boosters, flu shots and doctor check-ups. We’ve had love and heartaches. We’ve done some living, haven’t we?

One of the things I’d like to convey to people through my writing is we’re not alone. We might not have the family we would like to have; it’s rare anyone does. We might not have the life we always thought we’d have; few people do.

I assumed I’d have the three kid family, all married, all local, and a ton of grandkids! Their father and I would host Christmas for years, and we’d smile at each other with pride.

Guess what? It never happened. Oh, I got the three kids. I also got divorced, raised the kids alone, worked two jobs, went to college and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Management of Human Resources.

By then, the kids were 2/3 gone, I was 43 years old, still single, and I thought it was my turn. I was making good money, I pictured a great career for the next 20 years, etc. Then I got sick. Very sick. It threatened my mobility, and my life. 27 years later? I met the love of my life, am married 24 years, and I’ve been disabled since the year 2000.

I’m a creative person, always have been. I’ve learned to quilt, write, and speak in public. I have many things I’d love to learn; drawing, painting (acrylic, watercolor, and whatever else strikes my fancy). Life is so full of possibilities, no matter your age, talents, or abilities. Put yourself out there! Life is too short to spend it on the sidelines. I’ve been shy and introverted, too. I came out of my shell at about age 30 and haven’t looked back. (Coincidentally, it was when I got divorced).

Think about what you’d like to do. Remember, anything is possible. I’m living proof of it. If I can, you can, too. Learning to take calculated risks is the best thing I ever did. It’s never too late, friends. Life is out there, waiting to be lived to it’s fullest. You can do it. Let’s do it together. Thanks for being here. We’ll see each other again tomorrow. Stay safe.

And In The End

You will never forget

The real, true friends

The ones you prayed with

The ones you toasted with

And the ones whose funerals you attended.

Real life events

Shared with real friends

Their stories of war

And of loves and losses

And of gratitude and blessings

And of all being well

When it ends well

And oh, how well we ended. 

Some Days

Are just harder than others. It’s nothing in particular, things just don’t flow like they should. And every little thing bothers you. You know what I mean. And some days everything goes perfectly well. I like those days better.

For most of the summer, we’ve not watched the news. Of course, it’s reporting about the Delta Variant of Covid-19. 62,000 new cases are reported daily. Haven’t we been here before? This sounds too familiar. And the government has gone from “Go ahead and get out of the house!” to “Get your shots, get back into masks.” Yes, a messaging problem. And where is the truth? We’ll find it eventually. I think it’s time to click off the power button on the news.

At times, some days it’s hard to write. For the first time in nearly a week, I’m sitting down in the morning to write a blog. All week, it came easy to just write and pre-schedule the posting at 4 a.m. whatever day I want. It’s awesome! In August, I’m going back to writing my novel. I want to just concentrate during the writing time. I’m going over my notes from my work with Sam Tyler, Writing Coach. The mountain of “how to” books is now neatly organized within reach. The space is uncluttered, and I have handy the first chapters for a re-read before I dig in. It will be hard to get back to it, but by blogging ahead and scheduling them, it should work.

One way to keep focused on something is to make sure I eat right. Yes, it’s back to Keto for me. The Babe is intermittent with staying on it, it’s just him. I can’t be mean about it, or nag. That will only make ME frustrated. He has the right to stick with it or not. I’m cooking the way I need to, he’ll join in at home, and do his own thing if he wants.

It was as good as it looks! Keto bread with real butter, two eggs and a handful of cherries.

Probably a salad for lunch, and Meatballs and sauce for dinner, served with Heart of Palm Pasta substitute. We’ve had the fake pasta before, and it’s not bad at all. Takes three hours, slow cooker for sauce to start. Fourth hour, add the meatballs (they’re real!) and cook at least 60-90 minutes more. Done and done. Will post pics tomorrow.

Our butterfly bush is beautiful! The butterflies are just starting to swarm on it. All colors, all sizes. It’s cool to see them while writing. These old eyes sure need a break from the constant screen-images. It’s odd, without the iPhone, I’m relying again on Chromebook and laptop. My big fear 3 weeks ago was I’d lose all the contacts for the events I’m planning for the VFW Post, and all would be lost. Not so!

While it hasn’t been without flaws, the Sunday Car Show will is a go on August 1st, and all I have left to do it set up the Silent Auction items and create/print the bid sheets. That should be a little later and into the day tomorrow. And it’d be great to sneak in some more ideas to blog about/with next week. We’ll get there, baby steps.

Those Canadian wild fires are sending smoke our way again. This morning, it was very hazy it’s now cleared quite a bit, but I’m sure the smoke will be back. My brother in law in South Dakota said they left windows open yesterday while at work, and their interior smelled just like smoke. Hate when that happens! I remembered my inhaler today. Love when that happens!

However you spend the rest of the day, make it a good one. Make it a positive one. Hold the door for someone. Smile at them. Take the time to say, “Good Morning,” or “Good Afternoon.” It will give you a pause from your thoughts for a moment. You’ll like it. One person at a time, we can make the day better for all of us. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday Testify

Today has been a good day. I never know what to expect when taking Mom out – she had a haircut, we did her errands and had lunch. Good day all around. I saw a man a couple blocks from her home, and I wondered what his story was. It was very moving for me to witness.

At the traffic light on 24th and F Streets, the block where our Grandfather’s drug store was, I stopped at the red light. I saw a man with a shovel and a very small rake bending over the curb where the storm sewer was. He was cleaning it out. I got Mom in the car, and when we stopped again at the intersection to turn and go South, I saw the man in full view .

He was working on a packed, clogged up storm sewer. Digging out as much dirt, debris, and leaves as he could. He had a prosthetic leg from the knee down on one leg. Wow. Right away, I imagined he was a Veteran, maybe injured by an IED. What a noble thing to do, trying to dig out the storm sewer. I would imagine further the businesses on that part of the block may have sewers backing up into their basements. The clogged storm sewer could be contributing to the problem.

I wonder if the City of Omaha knew of the problem? Were they slow to respond if a call was made? I have no way of knowing, so I cannot say, only speculate. What I saw was a determined man, with a strong, admiriable character, who tried to resolve a problem. Most people would just complain, scroll on their phones, and make angry phone calls. I saw someone who had a handicap that didn’t stop him from digging his heels in and try to make a bad situation better. It made me admire his spirit, and know he’s going to make the most of his life.By watching him for less than five minutes, I made what could have been wrong judgement about a man and his life. I think it’s a good story.

It could have gone like this;

What if he lost his leg in a motorcycle accident? It could have happened like this. It still spoke of someone with tenacity, who set out to solve a problem with a jam packed storm sewer that is causing a problem. I cannot think of any negative take on this wonderful sight I saw today.

Humans never cease to amaze me. I choose to think the best of them, not the worst. As I end tonight, I hope you also find good in our fellow humans. There is always more good than bad. It’s why we get to continue on living for the generations we do. Thank you for reading. I appreciate it, and hope you have a lovely evening. We’ll have an earlier blog tomorrow, so stay tuned! Be Safe, Be Kind, Be a Good Human See you tomorrow!

Imagination Monday

Look again at today’s header photo. It’s the pepper shaker from one of Pioneer Woman’s collections. I love her dishes, they’re so pretty. For the first time in a long time, I looked closer at it. Check out the look on the bigger yellow dog. What would you call it? Use your imagination!

I’m going to pretend it’s a male. Oh, I know! He’s the Dad, the smaller one is the Mom. They may have just had “words,” (or woofs) over one of the adolescent pups. Or maybe Dad let the pup go out howling all night. Mom doesn’t approve. Or maybe Dad knows Mom’s right, but he hates to admit it. Kind of like human parents.

OR

Maybe they just had a hard day on the Drummond Ranch, helping with the Cattle in the pasture. They’re tired, but boy did they eat good. They earn their keep as working animals. They get to sleep in the house if they want, and they get along with the other family dogs who do their share as well. They’re discussing the giant dogs (horses) and how they get special treatment. And they’re glad THEY don’t have to wear saddles and bridles. Where do those ranchers get their ideas?

Maybe he’s listening patiently while the Mrs. goes on and on about everything and anything. She listens for him as well. That’s what excellent partners and friends do for each other. Venting is normal for everyone!

As the other photos show, there are quite a few details on this set of salt and pepper shakers. There is Charlie the Ranch Dog, (a Basset Hound who has his own series of books. The obligatory rain barrel on one side and the hay on another. These are adorable books if you have little children to read to.

The quilt I displayed them on is a small wall quilt I made when I was just beginning my quest to learn to quilt. I learned an important lesson about color value. I should have remembered about that from high school art class, that you need light, medium, and dark together to make things pop. This one did not have a pop to it, but I love the sunflower boarder and the hand quilting I did. Even though the criteria for value failed, there are still parts about this quilt that are right and rest well with me. And it’s an important lesson in how much I’ve learned since then. The star in the middle needs variations in the colors, not all of them to be the same. I won’t do this mistake again. Value matters a lot.

One reason I started blogging was how much I enjoyed three other blogs; Pioneer Woman’s, Quilt Along With Pat Sloan, and Quiltville by Bonnie Hunter. I’m a self-taught quilter. I started watching an old Alex Anderson quilting show on HGTV over twenty years ago. I bought books (too many), patterns, joined two guilds, and practiced. It’s like writing. It takes years to be experienced at it, and you still can improve. I subscribed to magazines and learned from all the greats. There were always new things to learn. It does wonders for my creative mind. I love to conquer the hard things.

And now, I’m a blogger and author. I had this crazy idea this morning about the story behind these two dogs. And we had fun with it, I believe. I’m always looking at things or people of animals and wondering about their stories. We all have them. What’s yours? Mine is developing. Yes. So is yours. If you’re not happy with your own, you have permission to change it. You need to put in the work; you need to be responsible for yourself, and fulfill any obligations you have raising children, preparing them for the world, then handing the baton over to them. It’s not yours to hold forever. Let them fly. Encourage them to. And encourage yourself as well.

Thanks for going on a creative journey with me today. Do you have any photo, your own or a stock photo you’d like me to write a brief story about? Or a topic you’d like to read? Let me know in the comments below. I look forward to your ideas. We can have some fun with that. Let’s enjoy this beautiful day and get outside! See you tomorrow.