2200 and DONE!

I just completed something that one year ago, I would have told you there was no way I could fathom doing. I read a lot on Facebook about our Veterans, the 22 a day who commit suicide, and how we can help those who ask for it. Because of that, I’ve become a volunteer at our VFW Post 2503, @ 90th & Military Ave in Omaha, NE. The Babe is the Quartermaster for the organization, and I belong to the Auxiliary, serving as a Trustee. Check their website, activities, and events for the month of August. Busy place, doing good for the community. We’d love to have you stop by!

So in addition to this, we’ve established relationships with Moving Veterans Forward, Nebraska; Nebraska COPS, and Guitars for Vets. We support all three, and are proud to be a part of it. Great causes, all of them. Personally, I joined a July Challenge on Facebook, to do 2200 Squats during the month of July. That means 71 a day. Unlike the photo in the header, I couldn’t do a push up to save my soul. Some folks prefer 22 push ups a day.

Being in my very late sixties, I can’t do the kind the kids are doing; squatting while hanging upside down like a bat in it’s cave; squatting while holding a 75 lb iron weight; squatting while holding a human sideways. You get what I’m saying.

The kind I can do are holding onto a countertop height sink, and doing them without hurting knees, back, etc. There are YOUTUBE videos on how to do that. It’s amazing! I did 50 a day in June to raise awareness about heart disease (prevelant in our family, thank you Agent Orange!), and 71 a day for 22 Until NONE. I’m going to issue a challenge to everyone to continue with me, for the month of August. All I want you to do is think of the number of very good people, citizens of this great republic, who have suffered such trauma to their minds, bodies, and souls, that they feel their only option is to end their lives.One is too many, much less 22.

Of course, the person has to be accepting of any help. And it’s peer to peer in most cases. Men and women who have been there, and done that. Listening to the Babe tell me of his solo trip home from Vietnam in the late 60s, I marvel at how that must have felt. I believe now groups are sent home at a time, and it’s orchestrated by the military. When the Babe came home, he was dropped at the airport, no money for a plane ticket home or anything. He was 19 or 20. A farm boy from South Dakota who escaped that Jungle Hell with his life. I am sure every military veteran ever in a war had PTSD. Now, it has a name. In the two World Wars, the men (and nurses) were told to “man up” and get back to their lives. Many, many of them were alcoholics until they died. How sad. How tortured they were. The Babe suffered from alcoholism, too. Thank God, he resolved that and his chain-smoking habit before we met. I’m so grateful for that. It’s restored him to the person he was before he took his trip to Southeast Asia.

Personally and publically, I support assistance for veterans, and especially veterans who suffer from PTSD and Chronic Pain. I can relate to the Chronic Pain, and know how hard it is to keep from being deep in a pit of depression. Guitars for Vets would help someone you know who is a veteran diagnosed with PTSD. We’ll have information about them tomorrow at the Car Show. I’m raising funds for them by selling guitar pick earrings for $10 a pair! You need some. Stop by the merch table tomorrow. Omaha, NE. 90th & Military. See you tomorrow! And do your 71 squats; or 22 pushups or squats. Just remember our warriors. We owe it to them.

A Sunday to Celebrate!

I’ve shared with you about the great day I had yesterday. If you didn’t see it, here it is. The day got even better! We got to see these guys with the Omaha Symphony. If you know me at all, you know I love these guys, and the lovely Tara Vaughn. Since it’s been awhile, let me re-introduce you. From the left, Matthew McGuigan, Tara Vaughn, Larell Ware, Ciaran McGuigan, Ryan McGuigan, Darren Pettit, Max Meyer, and Billy McGuigan. A couple guys are new, but they fit with the band like a glove. It’s like they all have McGuigan lessons before they join, yet they all are great on their own. All these musicians are multi-talented. They are all huge personalities. Ciaran is in training, taking guitar lessons from Max at the McGuigan Arts Academy in Omaha. He is indeed learning from the best.

Most of the country is open after COVID-19. Omaha has let it’s Mask Mandate expire. Yes, we’ve heard conflicting information, but the Babe and I had both vaccinations, and consider ourselves safe. I believe all these maskless marauders below had the shots, too. Tara Vaughn hasn’t performed with her boys since pre-pandemic, I believe. It was so good to see her back, and hear her strong, beautiful, resonant voice again. These guys are great alone, but now, the band is indeed back together! It became time to unleash this energy on Omaha again.

And it was epic! The sign on the door of the beautiful Holland Center said masks were suggested. We took note of that, and once inside, saw the majority of folks maskless. I’ve never been in jail to be let out of it (except in Monopoly), but it felt like getting out of jail. We were free for the first time in a very long, time.

The conductor for the Symphony had a spring in his step all evening, too. To hear the hits of the era we grew up in was so cool. They sounded so good with a live symphony to back them. One violin player had a constant smile on her face. She enjoyed it, too! The other members kept their stoic faces. Lots of toe-tapping going on, just not smiling. The music filled the heavens of downtown Omaha. I’m sure their Dad Bill McGuigan, had a front row seat from heaven. I wonder what that is like? If I get there someday, I’ll have to ask him. Remind me of that, ok?

I think I’m speaking the God’s honest truth when I tell you it was so apparant these musicians all enoyed performing with each other for the first time in a long time. Their faces were extra-jubiliant. Their execution was right on! Their knowing looks cast at each other and smiles told you you were seeing them at their best. And with these people, you can be sure of that.

We plan on seeing every show they have planned, whether in Omaha, Glenwood, or Papillion. Go to their website and get tickets for the summer series. You will never go away disappointed. If you disagree, we cannot be friends. Go see them. The sooner the better. You’ll be set free, too.

Thanks for reading. Take care out there. Enjoy the fresh air. See you tomorrow!

Sunday and Monday, Whew!

Yesterday was such a busy day, filled with fun, I remarked to the Babe after we went to bed, “I didn’t blog yet today. I have to.” He said, “You hardly ever miss, wait until tomorrow.” We were both pretty tired after a great day, I decided it was ok. So, today will be full of what you missed.

Our VFW Post 2503 hosted a Car Show with Omaha Street Rods Association yesterday. It was so much fun. When we arrived before registration time at 9:30, there were already cars parked and registered. there was a line of sweet cars to register and park. There were rows and rows of cars, motorcycles, one monster truck, and a happy crowd accompanying it all. The day was perfect, and the weather was absolutely perfect. It has been a very long time since we were able to enjoy a day like this.

Having grown up in the family I did, I was interested in the cars. My dad was a mechanic back in his day, and he enjoyed racing a lot. He had a Go-Kart we’d race around with his friends, Tom and Ruth. It was more us watching our dads, really. Dad could fix anything up until they put computers in cars. Then he wouldn’t touch them. I still like cars and appreciate the old ones. The ones that were Muscle cars from the 1960s and 1970s were extra cool to see. I tried to remember who at school may have owned one. It was fun to reminisce.

We hung out almost all day there, and talked with people who came and went. It was a great day. And by the time we arrived home, it was almost time for bed. The fresh air did me in, and the Babe, too.

The last photo of the lovely lady with the green mustang is our friend Jackie. Jackie is a retired schoolteacher and this was her husband’s car. It’s all original, and she really takes good care of it. She asked if she could bring it up, and why not? This is how fun she is. For a lady in her 80s, she amazes me. What a cool time she had. I love to see people having fun doing something normal, don’t you? I’m still smiling. It was a very successful fundraiser. We were blessed.

See all the tabs open? I have a lot of stuff to read and learn this week. Some free, some not.

There is an ongoing amount of stuff to learn, as it pertains to marketing yourself as well as writing well. Hopefully, I am learning to write well enough to market myself successfully, while mastering hashtags, social media, and Facebook ads/boosting. Time will tell.

I usually send my homework to Sam Tyler, Writing Coach, on Sunday evening, it’s due at 8 a.m. on Monday the week we have a Zoom call scheduled. I didn’t even send that yesterday! Today was the first time I sent it on Monday morning. It felt as weird as not blogging yesterday. I think that means I’ve built that blogging habit by doing it for some 395 posts now. You miss it when you don’t do it.

My homework was to write scenes, including six important elements that make a scene worthy of being in a story. A GOAL, a CONFLICT, a DISASTER, an EMOTION, a THOUGHT, a DECISION. I used this list through about seventeen chapters! It’s coming along nicely.

Going to spend the rest of my day watching training videos. No writing today other than this. I thank you for spending time with me today, and look forward to seeing you tomorrow, too. Be Kind, Socially Distance, and Wear Your Mask when appropriate.

p.s., the header photo is a stock photo, it is not Goldie. It just struck my fancy as an adorable puppy. I’m a sucker for them, you know.