Friday Finales

It’s the middle of September, with some cooler mornings signaling the fact we’ll soon have crisp mornings, and perfect days for jeans and sweaters or sweatshirts. My favorite.

Today was an early start, with a serviceman coming from our furnace/AC company. With a fairly new system, we had the AC and furnace check/maintenance at the same time. We felt so sorry for the serviceman. He’s only in his early 40s and needing double knee replacement His biggest concern? He has no relatives in America (he’s from India), and therefore, no one to care for his dog while he is laid up. What a kind man! I’m thinking of checking with a person we know to see if she knows of any rescue that could help. More later!

I’m still working with my new sewing machine. It’s wonderful, and I’m very glad I bought it. It has a wider “throat” area, between the needle and the far right of the machine than any one I’ve had before. It will be much easier than trying to cram all that fabric through that small area. There are always new things to make life easier. Isn’t that the nice thing about life?

Earlier this week, Nebraska found out they no longer had a head coach in Scott Frost. I feel for the guy, I really do. But the numbers tell another story, and the powers that be decided he needed to leave. Coach Joseph will be taking over in the interim. Such is the life of college football, especially in Nebraska.

In the midst of all of this, kids are used to school now, high school football is again on the nightly news, and cross town rivalries are renewed for another season. I remember it as great fun. My kids didn’t participate when they were in high school, never went to games, etc. Not interested, and eventually they worked all weekend nights. Such a long time ago, but it also feels like yesterday. This amusement park ride called life has many twists and turns, jolts and spins, and fools us all as the years add up. Then we’re a bit achy and stiff in the mornings, and we realize what ages we’ve become, and isn’t is wonderful we still get to live our lives! God’s been good to us.

The quilt blocks are coming along nicely. I cannot wait to hear what Granddaughter Kayla has to say about it. Pictures to follow, when the blocks are all assembled and quilted. I’ve missed this hobby so much!

As the evening winds down with some reruns of Chicago PD, I’m trimming excess fabric from those beautiful quilt blocks, thinking about how awesome my parents have two great grandchildren to carry our family on. I’ll accept every child who calls me Grandma or Miss Kathy. I answer to anything, really. Kids deserve love from everyone.

Enjoy your evening, I hope you get to relax and enjoy this weekend. It’s bound to be beautiful. See you tomorrow!

Thursday Things

When my first husband left in 1982 (at my invitation), my kids and I adopted a dog. The neighborhood dog had pups. She was a Spaniel of some kind. All her pups were black or yellow lab mixes. Ours was smaller than the rest and looked more like a black golden retriever. She had a sad look in her brown eyes. The kids named her “Shadow.” We had her for 16 1/2 years. The Babe and I took her for her final vet visit a couple months after we got married. He cried just as hard as I did. The kids, all adults, opted out.

After that, the Babe decided daughter Becky and I needed a puppy; We got a brownish black mutt and named her “Mocho.” She looked mocha colored, but the Babe called her mocho instead. The name stuck. She was a good girl. Becky took her out of her kennel and let her sleep in her bed to keep her from whining.

When I went on LTD, the Babe knew I suffered from depression and felt worthless because I was only 48. He told me to go look at the Humane Society to see if they had any puppies. I found a lab/shepherd mix, tricolor coloring, and the sweetest disposition. She was the runt of that litter. We went back and adopted her the next day. Mocho acted as her Mama and Mollie was such a sweet girl. Mocho became the alpha dog and Mollie the quiet one.

We got to have them in our lives for 12 1/2 (Mollie) and 14 1/2 (Mocho) years. We let them cross the Rainbow Bridge together. Hardest thing we’ve ever done. Mollie was lost without Mocho. They were ready. We thought we were. People never are. Even when you know you’re doing the right things for your loved fur babies.

We went nearly two years with no dogs. The Babe retired, we traveled some. When we returned from Puerto Rico in June, 2014, we visited a vet who had some pups only 4 weeks old. Their mom was sick; weaned the day before. They had a bug of some type. The vet compounded a concoction that killed the bug. Good companions. Cannot recommend adopting sisters. Two females, even spayed, were never friends. They battled each other. Yet, when Roxie died (by car) two years ago, Lexie mourned so hard. She exhibited signs of depression, slept a lot, and never left our sides. She wailed at the door to the garage. Broke my heart.

In October that year, the Babe had a heart cath and the wound didn’t heal. The skin was paper thin, and he had a wound vac for a month to get the incision to heal. What a mess for him. Amid this challenge, we adopted Goldie. The Babe needed her and her sweet way with him. Best buds. After two years, Lexie is no longer jealous of her. They have accepted each other now and peacefully coexist. Time heals a lot.

These stories bring me to this morning. We didn’t get smacked with the snow predicted. It’s overcast, cold, and bleak looking outside. The Babe left early for the Post and funeral detail. The dogs were antsy. I played with Goldie, and we had a great time. Then she laid down, happy. What does this have to do with life today?

Maybe we need to take a lesson from our fur babies. It takes very little to thrill a dog. Everything makes them happy. Play is everything to them. They adore you and let you know it. They waggle their butts and squeal with delight. Yes, squeal sometimes. It’s hilarious. Live with the joy a dog shows. Every day is the best day ever. Let’s all mimic that! Have a beautiful evening. We’ll see each other tomorrow.

Independence Day, 2021

Freedom is the right to choose; the right to create for yourself the alternatives of choice. Without the exercise of choice, a man is not a man, but a member, an instrument, a thing. Archibald MacLeish

Archibald MacLeish was an American Poet and Writer. I believe he held many positions in his life, from WWI soldier to Secretary of State for Public Affairs under FDR. During WWII he assisted with development of the Office of Strategic Services, a precursor to the CIA. He was a very intelligent man, and worked to promote the arts, culture, and libraries. I love this quote; it’s not only true, but necessary for us to understand the meaning.

As a kid, Mom made all of our decisions. That is perfect when you’re under a certain age. When you get to be a teenager and Mom decides on your clothes with no input, how are you supposed to learn? Gosh, I didn’t get to pick out anything until I bought my own things. Once I learned to sew, I was on my own. No more old lady stuff – at least that’s how it was set in my mind. No freedom, no rights. Once I attained the freedom, the responsibility became mine also. I enjoyed that very much.

I was raised under the idea the man is the head of the house, the woman was the heart. Mom disciplined us, and did pretty much everything a “housewife” did. Dad was the provider and the handyman. I carried that idea with me, along with some kind of antiquated ideas and silly fantasies perpetrated by movies, songs, and television shows, that didn’t serve my first marriage any good. We both thought little of me. By the time I wanted to get life insurance on myself and he said, “No, it’s my money. I don’t need it on you. Your mom will watch the kids.” I knew things would never be the way they should be. No freedom there. Lots of responsibilities, but no gratitude shown by the other grown up in the relationship. I invited him to leave, and the kids stayed with me. Free at last, thank God Almighty! Free at last. And more responsibility. But I craved the freedom.

It was frightening yet exhilirating. I named my slavery and accepted the only way it could change. It took fourteen years for me to meet the Babe; God wasn’t ready for us to be mates yet. Once we were, I looked long and hard at the questions; Would I lose my freedom? Would I become dependent again, and lose my say in decisions? Would this man be offended if I made more money than he?

I gathered the courage to ask the Babe those things out loud. He may have thought I was nuts. But I needed answers. We talked and he was very kind to me when he said, “Why would I do that to you? We are a couple, and I want you for my wife, and I would not take away any freedom from you!” As for being offended if you made more money, he said (in his best Sam Elliott voice), “Have at it, Sweetheart.” I’ve enjoyed my freedoms, hard fought and earned.

Name your slavery. It could be a bad marriage, alcohol, drugs, being a control freak, whatever. Whatever causes you lack of freedom, let it go. Divorce it, go to rehab, go to therapy, set yourself free! Life is meant for us to live freely. We are lucky to live in a nation where we can practice all the inalienable rights set forth in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

Your naming your slavery is your truth that will set you free! I shudder to think where I’d be if I hadn’t named mine. Life is so amazing, I’m so grateful. We have blessings to many to count. Life as a free woman is beautiful and fulfilling.

As you ponder your own personal freedom today, be grateful for the American Soldier, who have fought for centuries to keep us free from aggression from other countries. Our civil liberties are ours just by being American citizens. Let’s give thanks for what we have; thank a soldier. Be kind today. Remember many soldiers with PTSD are dealing with problems from the noise. Be aware many pets are dealing with trauma from the noise also. Two years ago tomorrow, we lost one of our beloved pets from a fireworks related response. Someone left out gate open, Roxie and Lexie ran out, and only Lexie came back. Roxie was killed in traffic two blocks from home.

The grief was crippling. I started blogging regularly to deal with it. I told her story. You listened. And now, we are close to 700 blog posts later. Thank you for reading. We lost Roxie, but we gained all of you. See you tomorrow!

Snowy Saturday!

Snowy again as I sit in the Home Office at Gretna, Nebraska. I’m glad for the snow falling. That’s an unpopular position here in Nebraska during February. My attitude is the lawn and flowers need it a lot, and it’ll be fine. If it were October and snowing like this, it would be a different story. Just roll with it!

It’s been an interesting morning so far. The Babe is working with a group of people on a remodel project at the VFW Post. The building is old, and it’s been about ten years since they have done any painting inside. It’s time. They are going to replace all the ceiling tile first. I think they had quite a crew assembled as volunteers. It’s so nice we have some younger folks getting involved in a big way. That is so encouraging. Many Veteran organizations are hurting. Many have sold their buildings. Ours is doing well. The Babe is doing a stellar job at keeping track of the money that comes in and goes out. People trust him, and that’s huge.

The pups are both with me and are funny. How can someone not love this?

I’m still mulling over how to establish a powerful brand for each of my book genres. For today, I’d rather just write and read. Oh, and someone left an immense pile of laundry. Why don’t the dogs bark at them when that happens? No, the only interaction is when Goldie steals socks from the dirty laundry or even the clean laundry. It’s not a dryer that makes our socks mateless. It’s Goldie! I can’t speak to your house, but that’s what happens with ours.

I still haven’t heard from my attorney yet regarding the Nebraska Secretary of State approval or rejection of the name for my publishing company. It’s frustrating, I can’t introduce it or get business cards, or establish a bank account without the name and paperwork for the tax id #. Is all of government that slow?

All I can do is to be patient and work on some hanging-on projects from my list. There are many! I should skip any that have to do with cleaning, don’t you think? LOL. There will be plenty of opportunity for tax prep, cleaning out one troublesome kitchen cabinet, and maybe even working on a quilt. If I’m lucky. Yes, there is always something to do.

I signed up for a video class on Tuesday called, “How to Sell Your Book Without Feeling Icky.” Boy, could I use that! It should also help with branding, I think. More on that later! It appears there are more followers on this blog every day. I’m trying to appeal to a wide range and adding the Keto lifestyle helps a lot.

Speaking of Keto, I just about have a new wardrobe! My old jeans fit me again. With room to spare. That hasn’t happened in about nine years. Before Gavin was born, I slipped on the ice (President’s Day) and fell, breaking my ankle in three places. A year earlier, I had two surgeries on the same foot and didn’t gain a pound. It was different this third time, with the break. I got pretty depressed sitting around again. I gained about ten or fifteen pounds. Then more. I stopped caring.

I am definitely avoiding ice and black ice, and do not want to Yo-Yo again. I’d rather stay south of where I am now than deal with losing again. Keto has helped tremendously. The Babe is even glad we are doing it. We both feel better, too. Let’s hear it for regular sized clothes! YAY!

Snowy Sunday

We’ve been out for a little today. The Babe has me copy spreadsheets over to use for subsequent months. I know Excel better than he does, so it’s maybe 1/2 hour at the most. I like to help him out so he doesn’t have to be away from home long. It may be a selfish motive, but I hate to see him struggle with something that wouldn’t take me too long. We’ve done a lot of those days together. One of our old friends from the VFW Post mentioned one time the Quartermaster job “takes a lot of time, and it helps that your wife is helping with other things, instead of complaining you’re gone all the time.” Bless your heart, Bob Fenton, you were a man among men, and I miss you terribly.

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com

The Kansas City – Denver football game today is sort of fun to watch. It’s snowing in Denver. They allowed seven and a half percent of capacity for a crowd today. Will the cold kill the virus? Not sure, but it looks cold. Hoping they enjoy themselves. And drinking beer in a snowstorm? Never tried it, but at least there shouldn’t be a terribly long line for the ladies’ room. What a plus!

Our deck is looking shiny, and the wrought-iron fence has ice on it. I don’t think it will be too long before it is snowing flakes. We are snuggly with the fireplace ablaze. How I love a gas fireplace! Whatever the weather does, it’ll get warm again anyhow. Not too big of a deal. Complaining won’t change it. This (below) is nice for a stock photo.

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Tomorrow, it’s back to working in the mornings, and reading/relaxing in the afternoon. I don’t care for working so late in my day. I have another deadline one week from today. I’m rapidly approaching the end of my time with Sam, my book coach, for this year. Only two or three more sessions, then we take December off. It’s been money well spent. I need to branch out and see how I can do fewer sessions and hope to remember what I’ve learned.

Yes, that’s a plan for 2021. If we plan for it, it means we still have spirit and determination to face whatever happens next in this soap opera of a life we’ve had this year. As I review what I believed what I would do with my writing career this year, I see by now I thought I’d have a novel published and two or three children’s books printed. Lots of things occurred this year that were unforeseen. I like my novel more, since it’s a distinct part of the story of Katie Fitzgibbons. It’s backstory to what comes in “These Walls Do Talk.” Backstory can be too heavy to share while a different story is going on. Yes, it’s nice to know the who, what, when, where, and why characters are as they are while a plot thickens. Sometimes, it has nothing at all to do with the story being told. That’s when it needs to go. And mine needed to go. I’m glad it did, I’m doing much better work than before.

I hope you have a nice evening, at least what we have left of it. It’s been very restful. How nice! Hope yours was, too. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again tomorrow. Be Safe out there. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Understanding of others. We’re all living a very different life than we thought would be a year ago. Wear your mask, stay well.

Dogs Don’t Care!

If you have a four legged best friend, you most likely have a lot of dog stories. They can be happy, sad, uplifting, and bring back great memories. Losing this friend who loves unconditionally can be devastating. We’ve had a series of best friends, each different from one another, yet still, they have some similar habits and personality traits.

The Babe left early this morning to take Addison to school. Our son in law returns home today from working out of town. It’s been such a blessing to be around our smart, beautiful granddaughter on her way to or from school. She’s quite talkative, and we get the low down on all things important in an eighth grade girls life. The kids are getting a dog over the weekend. Puppy love will be all over their Instagram accounts, their every waking moment will be spent in adoration of a mixed lab/shepherd female pup they have already named Josie.

Pets are important to the lives of people, and I think especially for kids. When my children’s father left, three months later we adopted from neighbor’s litter of pups. She was a black lab/mix too. (Aren’t they all?) Shadow was with us for 16 1/2 years. One time, she broke her collar connector and ran away. We hadn’t installed our fence yet. We all sat on the patio after combing the neighborhood looking for her. My son Nick said, “Shadow has been with us longer than Dad was!” It was indeed a sad day.

Shadow was found and held at the Nebraska Humane Society. My son Frankie called me at work, and told me he had $28 to bail her out of jail. He was taking his brother and sister to get their pet and bring her home. I hesitated, if she was hurt or anything, it might be too hard for them. “Nope,” Frankie said, “you won’t get home until after they close, we should have her home with us” You can’t argue with an 18 year old with a good heart and a mission. He loaded his brother and sister into his 1975 Olds Cutlass and they rescued Shadow.

I loved that the kids learned to care for another living being. I love that grandson Gavin has such a love of dogs. He tells me, “Grandma, all dogs deserve love.” He is right. Dogs don’t care if you’ve had a shower, got a promotion, aced a test, had a date to homecoming, got your driver’s license, your makeup is perfect, they just love YOU. They just want to be with you. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, they just want to be with you. It’s good for them, and probably better for you.

Dogs love unconditionally. After playing catch a little earlier, Lexie wanted in the house. She went directly back to bed. Goldie just followed me into my studio/office, and laid on the chair mat, right next to my foot. She just wants to be with her people. Lexie comes in to check on the risk of burglars, random kids walking to school, or the Amazon prime guy delivering things. She looks at me, then goes back to her place on our bed, and resumes her nap. The Silent Sentinel. Until she barks at perceived danger. And barks. And barks. And barks.

Sometimes I wonder if people could be more like dogs, would the world be a better place? I think so. Unconditional love is the most wonderful thing in the world. It’s even greater than a mother’s love for her children. And dogs love unconditionally. All the time. When they’re tired. When they’re hungry. When they’re out of sorts. That door opens, and the run to greet you. Happy. Always happy.

Let’s take a page from the dog book of unconditional love today. Let’s overlook each other’s shortcomings. Let’s stop judging. Let’s stop arguing about masks and candidates and who killed Jimmy Hoffa. Let’s learn to be more accepting. Let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt. Let’s give ourselves and each other a chance. A chance to show we can get along. We’re happy to see each other. We put aside pettiness and just show appreciation. We can change our little part of this big world. We can make a difference. And we will. One friend, one dog, one soul at a time. Be safe out there today. Make it a great day. Thank you, we’ll see you again tomorrow. Be someone’s unconditional bestie. It’ll change the world.

My Lexie at 4 weeks. 4 pounds, and big blue eyes. She was beautiful.