Happy Birthday, Gavin!

Our Grandson Gavin turns nine today. We get to watch his last home ballgame this evening and have dinner with the family afterwards. What a great day this was! The family was ready for a happy, happy event after losing two people to cancer. Gavin, you restored our faith in living.

It’s been a ride watching you grow from this little baby, who had tummy troubles constantly, to this big boy who claims to eat anything “but sushi.” You make us laugh and you make our hearts feel warm. I swear, every time we see you this summer, you’re taller. You have a great group of friends in the neighborhood, and you’re responsible enough to ride bikes with your homies. What fun! I cannot wait to see what you do in your life. It’s exciting to be your grandparents! Love you.

Today, the year of 2021 is half over. After the year of 2020 and all the disruptions in life, we have enjoyed freedom this year. The Babe and I are fully vaccinated, and I’m happy about that. Many folks disagree with that, but I believe it was the best action we could take. The quarantine time led us and many folks to have serious discussions about life, living, and what we want after death. Most people never have these hard conversations. I’m glad we can.

What do you want to do with this precious next six months?

I want to help others. Volunteering is very fulfilling.

I want to finish my kidlit book and publish it.

I want to sell some of my kid books.

I would like to finish the other two ideas I have and get them ready to publish early next year.

I want to spend as much time with my family as possible.

I want to become more physically fit.

I want to lose some more extra pounds. I’m straying badly from Keto right now, but not gaining any weight, so that’s good.

In the month of July, I want to commit to doing 71 squats a day, making 2200 during the month. I will also do 22 wall pushups a day. This will help me focus on creating ways for our VFW Post to help Veterans. We cannot have 22 family a day lose their soldier. It’s way too many.

We all have the same 24 hours in each day. What we do with those is important. I always have known that. Now, it means a lot more to me how I spend my time. Small changes daily will help me do that. Do it with me. I want July to be a meaningful month as I make changes to be a better person. Do Good. Perform my Passion. Make the world a better place. I think it’s definitely worth the try. As wise Yoda said: “Do. Or Do Not. There Is No Try.”

Let’s do this, friends! See you tomorrow!

No Place I’d Rather Be

Yesterday was such a great day. I met our daughter Tracy, Gavin, and son-in-law TJ at the ballfield to watch Gavin play. TJ coaches. Despite wearing a hooded sweatshirt, and a down vest under a winter coat, and gloves, we were able to brave the elements and watch his two games. He is a pitcher or shortshop, depending on the rotation. He loves to pitch.

It warmed my heart to see Gavin warming up, and his dad behind home plate, catching. I know Gavin gets his athletic ability from his dad. The first toy he grasped and threw was a ball. It’s in his blood. I thought of his Grandpa Randy watching him, too, from a good seat from heaven. Bittersweet, but reality. He’s watching, Gavin. He’s watching. And proud. So proud.

I’m so fortunate to have the step-kids I have. Tracy’s always thoughtful with me. I use my cane to navigate the field around the ball diamond. She brought an extra chair so I wouldn’t have to carry one across the field, juggling cane, water bottle, and chair. I’m grateful for them and their families. Blake is always at the ready to offer his arm to me if I need it walking, and to open my door getting in and out of the car. They’re sincere and I know they would always be available to us for anything we may need. We are grateful.

From my seat at the sidelines, I could tell how tall Gavin has gotten since the last time we were able to watch him play. Last season, I think it was only once because of COVID. What we’ve all had to miss since last year! I hope we are on our way to fewer restrictions (with caution). I hope we will all remain healthy, too. We appreciate the fact no one in our families has become ill with the virus. It’s still a frightening thing. I think we still need to take precautions until we see how the long term effects of the vaccines is. I’m expecting to have to get a booster shot, and I’ll be there for it! I have a lot of important baseball games in my future to watch. I don’t want to miss any; there is truly no place I’d rather be.

I love his determination, his skill, he’s got an arm on him! And to think, he’s grown into this baseball player from this little guy:

Gavin, about two years old, giving Roxie and Lexie with water from his watering can.

I love being a Grandma! I love being a Mom, too. And wife. And author. There is so much to learn with all of these things. You never stop learning, even if it’s just to learn little known facts about something obscure. The more I’m hearing about the unheralded contributions to science, the military, engineering, and the space program by women the more I want to find out. I tell Addison not to ever “dumb yourself down” to have friends. It used to be preached to girls to “let him be smarter than you. Don’t embarrass him.” Yes, I read it in a magazine for Catholic girls while I was growing up. Seriously.

I am very happy we no longer encouraged to do that anymore. Girls used to be raised as “less than” boys. Boys were valuable. Girls? Not so much. So happy those days are gone. A brother-in-law of my ex-husband had three girls with his wife. He always commented first on their intelligence, not their looks. I loved that, too. The focus was not on anything superficial like looks. They are all stunning women, as well as intelligent. they have done well, and they have the best dad! He and his wife are one of my favorite couples, and I’m grateful to have them in my life after all these years.

The Babe is home today, and we are just going to spend time on the deck or patio. We seem to rarely have a day home together. I plan to make he most of it, so I’m going to hit “Publish” and do just that. Thank you for reading, and have a beautiful, safe day. Be Kind. We’ll get through this. Be Thoughtful. Wear your mask. See you tomorrow!

Baseball Saturday!

At ten a.m. this morning, I’ll be watching Gavin play ball for the first time this year! I’ve not done it yet, it’s been pretty nippy at the games. But I’m putting on multiple layers, and going out to the ballgames. Until 2 p.m. Looking forward to it!

I finally was able to get access to my Nebraska Writers Guild Spring Conference, 2021. I should be spending the day watching it. Not going to happen yet. There are a bunch of great topics, many about self-publishing. I need to get the Babe to go to the bank with me and open the business account. I want him to be able to pay bills, etc., in case I can’t for some reason. It’s a sensible thing to do, I believe.

For some reason, my brain is thinking about poetry. Is because that’s writing close to music? Sometimes it’s hard to concentrated, and decide how to light up the happy place in the brain. I read once creativity soothes the place of the brain where worry originates. When Mom took up the hobby of adult coloring, she was much calmer than now. Her vision has deteriorated to the point she can no longer decipher the color of the crayons. That’s sad. She can still read a little, with a very bright light. No wonder she’s a lot more worried and stressed.

Maybe I’ll do a blog someday in a poetic fashion. Just for fun. We’ll work on that. The way it works, I’ll be just as surprised as you are! Most of the time, I just write whatever seems to be in my mind at the time. And most of it is ok. But some of it is not very good. I know that. The joy comes from doing something good. Something people comment about. That gives me joy, if someone learned something, got a laugh, or even felt less lonely. Joy happens because of something else. When people can relate to us and what we write/feel/share, it makes us feel good, too. Someone gives, someone receives. Joy happens for both of them. The heavy loads are lighter with many hands to carry. We learn those loads are often not ours to carry. And we’re grateful for the lesson.

Have a beautiful day. Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Thoughtful. Be Courteous. And let go of anything you’re carrying that isn’t yours. It’s such a relief. See you tomorrow!

Fun Friday & #596!

Good Morning, everyone! Hope you’re having a great day. I’m getting started a bit earlier. Son in law is traveling for his job again, and the Babe is taking Addison to school at zero dark thirty since Wednesday. It’s early for retired folk, but a great reminder what we’re retired from – early days.

Don’t get me wrong. We are still up by 7 a.m. Just not ready to go anywhere! I like to apply my Frankie’s attitude towards weekends to our life now. He said he always got up early on weekends to make the day go slower. If you sleep in until noon, you don’t get as much time you don’t have to be at school. Wise words from him.

And just think. However you choose to spend your time, you can do it for many more hours. If I’m tired later in the day, a “recliner nap” is a welcome respite. Today? We have some donations to gather up from the Post and deliver (Monday, I think) to a non-profit we support. We’re loading my car so I can deliver the items. The Babe invited me to have lunch with him after that. After that, I finally got into the information for the Nebraska Writers Guild Spring Conference 2021. I was missing a code. I’m eager to dive in and listen to the presentations. This way, we can see ALL of them, not just the one we select at each time frame.

Since I’m a retired I/T person, it frustrates the heck out of me when I can’t get something to work on a computer. I feel like a failure (for a minute) and want to let the person I’m telling my woes to that I really am not your typical “old person” user. I’ve been in the business. Maybe it’s just an ego thing? Hmm. I need to think on that.

This will be a weekend we can actually sit outside, I believe. At long last! The Babe and crew will be replacing ceiling tile at the Post again. They have moved to the second room from the banquet room. It has a dance floor in the middle, and a small stage with all the VFW banners, flags, and other memorabilia. I will go watch Gavin’s ball games since the Babe can’t. I’m eager to see him play. It will be fun.

Today, I’m listening to “A Letter to You,” by Bruce Springsteen. No, I don’t care for his politics. I do appreciate his music, though. He is America’s Poet, in a way. When the economy was so bad in the late 70s, when the Vietnam Veterans were suffering unmercifully, he was there to tell the story. Like Pete Seeger in the 60s, he told us all what we needed to know. Telling the story is important. Telling us how to feel and react to the story politically is wrong.

Bruce has told us the story of wanting to leave your dying small town; falling in love over and over; avoiding being drafted for Vietnam, and dealing with the mental illness of his Dad. That story is deeply personal and explains why Bruce never tried drugs. He was afraid of what it would do to him. And now, he tells us different stories. The aging rocker and the Babe are the same age. I’m really glad we saw him in concert prior to the Babe retiring. (It was the first concert he ever attended. That’s setting the bar pretty high!). This music talks of long love, telling your loved one all the things that are your truths, and love everlasting. I’m there. It’s great.

I find songwriting fascinating. I am amazed at how carefully the words need to be chosen. The music perfectly complements the lyrics. Calling the words lyrics make them sound, well, musical. The giant story you can tell with few words has to be a challenge, yet people do it all the time. Think of all the music generated by the Covid Quarantine. Vast numbers of songs exist now that didn’t before. Lucky us!

As I’m ready to close Blogpost #596, I want to thank each and every 300+ followers I have. Feel free to share. I am grateful for all of you. Please, feel free to comment and it’d be great if you’d leave your email address for my mailing list. I won’t bore you with multiple emails, just news about the books. You are helping my dreams happen. How exciting! I’m putting together some merch ideas, and some give away once my books are published. I’d love to share the wealth with you. I will never share your information, either. That’s just wrong!

See you tomorrow! Enjoy your day. Your nap. Reading. Listening to the NWG Conference. Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Courteous. Be Thoughtful. You’ll feel wonderful!

Discovery Wednesday

It’s a cloudy, humid day at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. It’s supposed to rain later today, right at the time Gavin has his first ball game! Oh wow. I hope we get to attend. I missed baseball the most last summer! I’m sure the game will be made up if its a rain-out.

More straightening up will be in order after we visit a bit. I haven’t accomplished as much as I’d like to, I found some baby pictures of our three year old granddaughter Kayla Jolee. She is such a cutie. I’m not allowed to share photos of those grandkids, and I will respect the parents’ wishes.

Today, I’m embarking on a Soul Discovering voyage. I think it will be interesting. I want to live a fuller life, and be more aware of life around me. I look forward to it at 2 p.m. today. Carol Gino, an author, nurse, and companion to Mario Puzo (who wrote the Godfather), it leading the soul searching endeavor, to find out what our souls are looking for. More tomorrow on that.

The rain has started and it’s too cold for us to be sitting in the rain. I truly believe the game will be postponed to another date. Darn! But we’ll meet our friends for dinner later. So, we’ll have a nice evening after all.

Today I received my first official piece of junk mail for Jewell Publishing, LLC. It was addressed to my attorney, at this address. How funny. The Babe handed it to me since it was the attorney’s name, OR Payroll Manager. Haha! I need a bank account first! Haha!

One area of human behavior I’ve never understood is wishing or delighting in someone’s misfortune or harm. The book I read that in further explained how a crowd gathers at accidents, fire scenes, and seem to be more excited than empathetic. I don’t believe that is what’s in every onlookers heart. It’s not in mine. Rendering aid is my first thought. Helping. Some of us are more geared towards that.

Whenever we delight in the misfortune of others, we demonstrate two things for sure: We don’t know all the facts, nor do we know what anyone deserves. God’s the only one with knowledge of those two things. So we can reap what we sow, let’s wish others good things, so we may reap what we sow. Let’s work on that today. Root out Schadenfreude. That is a German word for “Delighting in the Troubles of Others.” Let’s get rid of that. It’s destructive. Be Kind. Be Empathetic. Thanks for reading, we’ll see each other tomorrow! Blessings!

Acceptance

As people living on this earth, we’re never done growing and improving. It doesn’t matter if you’re an addict in recovery or a person simply trying to be a better person. We will never be finished! That is the blessing and the curse of being a person in this imperfect world.

It’s difficult to admit we’re not perfect. But you know what? After you are honest with yourself, it’s quite a load off your mind and soul. Accepting you’re not perfect helps a lot. And God loves us just as we are. He’ll give us every last chance there is, that’s how much he loves us. If nothing gives you goosebumps, that should. We get a lifetime of do-overs. What luck!

As we grow and change, we may or not want what we wanted ten or twenty years ago. That is especially true of things that keep us from achieving what we need to achieve in our lives. I have learned that despite the fact I only ever wanted to be a Mom, there are many, many years beyond being a Grandmother that can yield some awesome things; creations you’ve always dreamed of, getting to do more than you ever thought possible, and learning more than you could imagine.

There is a vitality in learning. In taking risks to do something you’ve never done before. In putting yourself out there for the world to see. Some will love what you do. Some will not. Will that stop you? I think not. As you go along, you have a new community you enter. Other people who love what you do. Others who understand your new found passion. Others who encourage you. It’s grand. Some will not be happy for you. Some will not understand why you want to work so hard when you’re retired. And that’s fine. You remember where you came from. You still love your people. You are not willing to accept the status quo. You want to push your limits, within reason. “Go for it,” I say! Why not?

We’re all born to reach towards love. We all reach towards our needs, in love and in life. Some lessons we learned weren’t universal. We are lovable. We can love. Our ideas aren’t wrong or crazy. Just because you’re different doesn’t mean you’re wrong or crazy. Since I almost always had my own room, I practically lived there while I was growing up. The old Beach Boys song, “In My Room” was one I related to on every level. I drew, designed fashion, wrote plays, and tried to draw. Mom always said, “You should quit trying to draw people. They’re terrible!” Thanks, Mom. I’d like to learn how to someday. My bucket list is long, and has numerous items like learning to paint. Learning to draw. Finish every quilt I’ve ever loved. All creative endeavors. My soul feels so good while I’m writing, learning, sewing, quilting, all the stuff I love to do.

I’m gradually carving more time out for all of this by correcting my bad habits that sabotage me. I’m not scolding myself when I fail. Some days I do. It’s ok. Tomorrow I won’t. Baby steps towards more life in my hours. And being positive. I would have never made it this far if I hadn’t always tried to be positive. So far, it’s worked for me.

On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, author, nurse, and companion to Mario Puzo, Carol Gino is holding a three day Facebook Challenge about discovering the rest of your soul – and adding a new level of consciousness to your life. I am very interested in this. I believe it will be an asset to me to learn what she has to teach me. Because of certain close calls in life (my son’s drowning, my other son’s ruptured appendix, and things surrounding my dad’s death), I think there is something there, inside of me, that I need to find and release. I believe it should be enlightening. Join us if you’d like. 2 p.m. CDT. Soul Star Academy on FB.

Thanks for reading today. We’ve had three weather changes already today, and it’s only 12:11 p.m. Rain, Sun, Rain while Sunny, and now more sun. Crazy. There’s a closet calling to me. It’s my spot to de-clutter today. Onwards, to better habits, folks! Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be back tomorrow. I know I will. See you then!

Opening Day!

It’s opening day for baseball in our country. How exciting! All those teams with a bright, shiny, new season to play the best game ever invented. From what I understand, there will be limits to the sizes of the crowds, but at least some lucky people will be able to watch this All-American game. Finally! It’s a good sign, and I hope we’re deemed safe to play an entire season and are allowed to gather at stadiums across the country. Good luck, boys!

The weekend will be suitable for outside Easter Egg Hunt. Lucky kids! When my kids were little, we all still dressed up for Easter. The new outfit, shoes, socks, everything was a look ahead to the growth of spring and summer. In religious sects, it’s a look at Christ, dying for our sins, and His Resurrection from the dead. A lot of Churches will reopen for this huge religious feast. I remember thinking the nuns were crazy for telling us Easter is a bigger deal than Christmas. As we grew older, I understand that.

Spirituality plays a part in my life that extends way beyond a church building. The two people I admire the most were living examples to me of good Christians. They were my Grandma Jewell, and my dad, her oldest son. Dad had a lot of faith, and so did Grandma. She prayed for all of us, for the world, for the little children who don’t get enough to eat, and for anyone with problems. She was very humble. Once we were talking about my dad and his brothers, all who did well at their jobs. I asked Grandma, “You raised three accomplished men.” She said, “I cannot take credit for that, they did the hard work.” Very modest. And correct.

Our families will not be gathering this Easter. It’s hard to get everyone together, and sometimes someone has to work on the weekends or holidays. We’ll all text greetings and enjoy the time however we spend it.

I need to end this now, and wish you a Happy Holy Thursday. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Safe out there!

Wild Wednesday

Hello, friends. I hope you are all having a great Wednesday. Gavin is hanging out with us today. He told me he is sure Goldie was upset he wasn’t with her yesterday, that’s why she dug out my flowers from the pots sitting on the patio. Grrrrr! Naughty puppy! I love how Gavin explains things. We should all think like an 8 year old. The world would be a better place.

After enjoying milk and doughnuts, we talked awhile, and I started to look at another homework assignment for my novel. I’m not quite finished, but decided I also needed to blog, too. What a busy day to have a huge headache! I’m sure it’s allergies and from the constant wind this week.

There is more and more on the news that I’m beginning to not listen to for the negativity. I know there is a problem for some police and some black men. I believe in those cases they both could have an attitude, then it becomes a contest between egos. Things escalate and someone dies. No one wins this, friends. No one at all. I believe there needs to be retraining on the part of the police. I believe a lot can be done on the part of citizens. Be respectful. Both of you. Don’t do things that are illegal (shouldn’t even have to mention this, really). There was a young person with over 100 arrests who purposely shoved a 92 year old woman down. She had a head injury, as her head bounced off the fire hydrant near her when she fell. Totally wrong. Uncalled for. I hate people on the attack for no reason whatsoever.

Systemic racism has been mentioned a lot in the past week. What is it? I had no idea. I had to look it up. I read it is how racism permeates the fabric of American life. Statistics are given on post WWII housing purchases by white veterans. Many, many purchased homes. Black veterans were denied access to the neighborhoods that were white, and many never applied for loans for that reason. There was no data mentioned about from 1965 until 2015. I would think in that 50 year span of time there would be many, many more black veterans who were able to purchase in “white neighborhoods” because it is now illegal to discriminate in housing. I’d like to see those statistics now and see how they have changed. I can only guess there has been strides made in that aspect.

Education? From where I sit, I see public education as a resource that all races need to take advantage of. School is generally free, and perhaps we live where the quality of “black” schools is not less than the quality of “white” schools. We have had busing since the 1970s, shouldn’t that have made some progress? It’s been a long time since I had a child in school, but I believe there were more programs available in the public school system than in private schools. How about the exclusively black colleges? Don’t they help even the odds? Those are some prestigious institutions.

Discrimination in hiring is also against the law. I think there have been many, many changes brought about over the past 50 years. Don’t those count at all? I know, there should be more. I pray there will be. Better homes, food sources, schooling, work that we will all work hard to attain. We must work hard to get there on an individual basis. A kid with 100 arrests is seriously off the tracks. Where did that happen? Why is it allowed to continue?

I have no cures for social ills. They were here long before my time. They will be here long after I’m gone. What I’d like people on all sides have is hope. Hope backed up with hard work. Reliability. Being on time. The good feeling of earning a day’s honest pay for a day’s honest work. Not the quick buck earned on the street hustling or selling drugs or shoplifting. Don’t be a stereotype. Be the exception. Be what people don’t expect.

And to the police: don’t you be a stereotype either. Listen to people in your precinct. Build a relationship with them. Be the exception. Get the kid on the corner information about joining a technical education program at the community college in their neighborhood. Be an example. Be a Kerry Orosco. Care about the kids. You will make an impact in their lives. Let’s all start today.

Thank you for reading today. Let’s all do what we can to be an example. Not only to our kids, but to the community. It’s going to help us save America. Do it for your kids. And the community. I’ll see you all tomorrow. Be an example.