Happy Birthday, Frankie!

Today is a double celebration for me. My son Frankie was born this day in 1971. The day I became a mother is one of the best of my life. And, also on this day, in 2009, I had a lumpectomy, and became cancer free. This is another best day/event of my life. And on the same day! I’m a lucky woman, God has been good to me, and for that I am so grateful!

We had another great class tonight. We are learning so much about talking with people and establishing relationships in which they feel comfortable to share. Lots of reading to complete before tomorrow.

We have another weekend on the horizon. It should be one of temps in the 80s, and I’m hoping we finish some outdoor tasks. And sitting out with a good book would be good.

What’s up with the stinkbugs again? I had over 20 of them in the kitchen the other day. They are not harmful, they’re just nuisances. But what good do they do? I’m hard pressed to find out what use they are. It appears they also came from Asia, a few years ago. Anyone know anything else about them? I wish they’d go away, is what I’m wishing.

It’s been a long day, and I’m ready to call it over. We’ll do the same thing over tomorrow, and hope to see you then. Take care until then.

I Could Accept Everybody Else’s

Vulnerability — But Not My Own. (Mae L.)

This was me. I was first in line to offer an ear, a hug, a meal, whatever someone needed, I was there to share what little I had. I was a fixer. Especially for people who might have addictions or excesses. It was part of codependency. Not a good trait when looking for a companion to share your life with.

Once I learned that and consciously decided to stop, I met the Babe. I knew he was a good guy, and I trusted my friend Carla with her description of him. And he didn’t drink. Very funny. Nice guy. And he saw through my walls. (Brick by brick, he removed them. Quite the analogy when you consider he was in the concrete block and brick industry. That year, their marketing department had t-shirts that read, “Building Our Future Together.” How applicable. And ironic! I still have the t-shirt.)

The walls I built to keep me safe. Isolated. I thought, “No one will hurt me from here!” The Babe is the last person those walls needed to be standing up for. He told me, “I just think you’ve been hurt so much you don’t know what to do when someone has no intention of hurting you.”

What? My brilliant disguise is transparent? Slowly and surely, he just kept showing up and doing what he did to earn my trust. Never did I have to wonder what was meant by “I’ll call you.” I never had to wait and wonder when. He’s the first man who called often. To tease me, talk to me, ask how I was. We became friends first. It was wonderful.

The first time he told me he loved me, I said, “Oh, no, you can’t. You don’t really know me yet.” His response? “Yes, I do.” I never expected to be loved. What a vulnerability. No more. I’m so grateful. Honesty, nothing to hide, and a man of his word. Is this heaven? Why, yes it is. My battered heart healed and is beating strong. Our relationship is so very good, there will never be another one like it. There is only one Babe for me.

Today, I met my son Frankie for an early birthday breakfast. We tried to go to one restaurant, but they were jam packed and had a long wait. We went back to a place we’d been before, and I ordered something I’d never had before – a breakfast burrito. It was gargantuan! Half of it is in the refrigerator for tomorrow’s breakfast. I will order this again, it’s that good. Shirley’s Diner never disappoints.

We had such a nice visit. Laughed about a lot of things when our little family was broke but happy, just the four of us; me, Frank, Nick, and Becky. I miss the good times but not the bad ones. And now, they’re all out contributing to the world around them. Frank lives in Omaha, Becky in Ft. Collins, CO, and Nick in Kansas City, MO. So lucky to have the Babe at this stage of my life.

It’s been a long but good day today. I hope to blog earlier tomorrow, and grow that habit. Maybe until NaNoWriMo is over the end of November I should keep blogging in the afternoon/evening. It all counts towards my daily word counts. Decisions will be made when they need to be. Not tonight. Have a great evening, and we’ll see each other tomorrow. Thanks for reading. Let’s try and get to #1000followers!

Monday, Monday

What a day? I met my son, Frankie for breakfast today. It’s always fun to visit with him. We have always been able to talk about anything and we do. I’m so grateful he hangs out with me for a bite now and then. He mentioned today he’s been a cook for 35 years. What? Oh my gosh, he has! He is looking at turning 51 this year. Wow!

I was thinking of him as a little boy today; he had platinum blonde hair, big blue eyes, and has always been a cheerful guy. As a baby, he was never in a bad mood. The worst time he had teething was with his eye teeth, at about a year. He listened to me as I taught him how to do some things, like driving and checking his oil. Luckily, I watched Dad and passed that along to my kids. And having a beer with him when he turned 21 was special. He’s a good man.

I need to call some veterans tomorrow and line them up to be interviewed in a podcast about their military experiences. It’s an honor to be a part of this project. It will be submitted to the Library of Congress, and be part of our nation’s history. What an honor!

As we continue on this week, I’m still working on my to-do list. Finally finished the forms for the Nebraska Department of Revenue. It seems I sort of blew off filing the forms when they were due. Wow. Now, I’m on their radar. Oh dear!

I hope you have a relaxed rest of the evening. We will get back at this tomorrow. The dentist’s office wanted to glue the temporary crown back in this morning; it’s drilled down to the dentin as part of the prep, and the crown will not be here until March 7. He doesn’t want it just stuck on with toothpaste like is recommended. I hope the shift I felt in it earlier doesn’t mean it’s going to fall out again. See you tomorrow!

Super Sunday, 2022

I spent a good deal of the afternoon updating the website for the VFW Post 2503 the Babe is Quartermaster and Honor Guard Captain for. I hadn’t done any maintenance lately, so it was definitely time. Volunteer hours, spent at home on the couch, watching the Kansas City Chiefs game tend to fly by. And now, it’s nearly 6 p.m.

So, when do you take your Christmas tree down? Assuming it’s an artificial one? Mine is still up, but I expect it will be down by Saturday. My son Frankie is coming over for a late Christmas dinner tomorrow. He was working, and we went to our brother in law’s home, so it works out well. It’ll be good to spend some time just with him and see what’s going on in his life. He’s a blessing in my life. Always is happy. Always makes the best of whatever situation is going on. I hope to spend more time talking with him in 2022.

I’m pleased we might have found a new church. We’ll know after a few more visits, and we’ll visit a few more places, too. That’s something I’ve missed greatly, so now, that’s one big question answered. Of course, with my son sharing dinner with us tomorrow, I’ll be picking up the house (and dog sparkles), so I won’t do more than plan our calendar for the week, most likely. There is so much a creative person wants to do and it’s so hard to select exactly which few of a hundred projects can actually be completed.

When I became disabled with my back/spine issues in 2000, I purchased things to do (craft projects) that I know I’d like to do when I’m older. I’m just about to the 70s for the second time in my life, and I’m not old enough yet to do those things. I’m looking forward to unboxing all my collection of books after I deep clean our family room area downstairs, where it leads to the patio, and I want to find a good place to donate the ones I don’t want/can’t keep. I need to find out if the library of quilting books I have can be donated to the local high school or public library for kids to learn these skills that may soon be obsolete.

I have a quilt my grandma hand pieced in the 1920’s, before Mom was born in 1929. I think this quilt needs to be hand quilted, and I’m going to do it. If it takes 100 years to make a quilt, why not? I hope to leave it to our granddaughter in Colorado. I hope it has some meaning to her. I have two other quilts I want to make for this year; one is a snowflake quilt for our king-sized bed; the other is a pieced elephant quilt for our kind-sized bed. I also have a surprise for a friend of mine, and want to look for fun fabrics I may not have in my stash downstairs. If you quilt, it’s all about the fabric search!

My master plan will include time in January to prep for Income Tax Preparation. Although I do ours, this year, I may have business forms to file, too. It’s another thing to learn as we go along. If not, I know a couple of great CPA’s. Networking is everything.

So many people are complaining how bad 2021 was. With the strides we’ve made blogging, writing the novel, getting my Chapter 1 published in the Nebraska Writer’s Guild Anthology 2021, forming my LLC, I’m delighted with my part of 2021. Yes, there were some very bad things. We lost four friends last year; two to COVID, two to service-related illnesses during Vietnam. It really stunk. It would be easy to sink into the mindset of “life sucks.” Guess what?

We cannot let it win. We cannot let negativity reign over hope, trust, belief, and goodness How do you keep that in the forefront?

I look at my friends and family. With all the weddings during and after COVID, my cousin’s daughter and husband are expecting a little girl in February. And some special friends announced their engagement this weekend. Those are events that restore your faith, your hope, and your love. Those are events that remind you there is more positive in life than negative. There is always hope in a baby’s eyes; and a gleam in a couple’s eyes who view their Ever After in each other. I see it in the Babe. I hope he sees it in me. There is no other beyond him. We both wandered about, living our lives and making mistakes, before we met each other. God sure knows what He’s doing, right? Somehow, we find each other. Always.

May all of us have our Ever After. Barbara and Jimmy, a heartfelt congratulations to you both. Life is too short to wait too long. And too fragile to question too much. I nearly talked myself out of the Babe, first real nice guy I’d ever met; he had ischemic heart disease. I was certain he’d die on me. Not yet! No heart attack yet after 25 years! Fear can’t rule these times. Put your trust in each other, and you will not believe the places you will go – together. God Bless You!

Spring-y Saturday

Today is the first day of Spring. Ah, yes, I believe we will make it now. Grandson Gavin is attending his first outdoor baseball practice today. I hope and pray we are able to attend his games this year. COVID has taken a lot from us. But, grass is greening up, allergies beginning, we know it’s Spring in Nebraska. During those spring days we can experience lots of weather changes. You can go from 60 degrees and calm to a real snow-dumping blizzard in 24 hours. Some of the bigger ones happen in April, and even in May. It never lasts very long, though. You won’t hear me complain, though. It’ll pass.

Gavin and his Dad, TJ. Two of my favorite guys! Outdoor Baseball Practice Begins TODAY!

One thing I’ve learned in my years on the planet, is things will always get better; and things could always be worse. Is it a glass half empty philosophy? No, I prefer to think it’s realistic. Just as spring always follows winter in nature, in our human lives take us from bad situations, to healing, even to gaining precious insights of all we’ve endured. New life replaces death. Growth expands a life, a soul, a mind. Gratitude and Attitude are everything.

My header photo today is a quilt I made, and the beautiful flower statue was a gift from my kids, Frankie, Nick, and Becky. It was from the times they were all still at home, the boys were working after school, and they pooled their resources and bought a series of these sculptures for me. I will treasure them forever. They pointed out to me they had human fingerprints on the petals; the Italian artist who created these was very precise. He made molds to hold the porcelain, and they bear his fingerprints. What a neat thing!

The Carpodimonte method goes back to the 1700 in Naples, Italy. They’re beautiful. I smile when I think of those kids spending their hard-earned money on me like that. They bought them from QVC, and were so proud. Good Times!

Life has so many passages for us to navigate. We are not meant to stay in one spot. Early death happens when people are too afraid to embrace the next stage of life. You cannot remain rooted in your past, it’s not a place to remain living. Memories are great, but your spirit is a living organism, it introduces every new spring to your soul. Your soul is where you discover new things and grow! Choose Springtime. Choose Creativity. Choose Life!

I love reading to little kids. I get all into the character’s voices, and sometimes the Grandkid’s look at me while I do the voices. They love it! I do too! I dream of having a book launch and be able to read to children. I’ll have get some people with toddlers and little ones. It would be so fun for me! And for them! I am thinking of having a pen name for my Kid-Lit, “Grandma Kathy.” What do you all think? I can add a page to the website for her, and one for “Jewell Publishing LLC.” Comments, please!

Many thanks to my friend, Billy McGuigan, the King of “Stuff We’ve Never Done Before.” I’m going to build my brand(s) all on one website. Just because no one’s ever done it, doesn’t mean it won’t work! Right, Billy? Your encouragement and Kate Whitecotton’s is so encouraging. I appreciate it so much! Folks, don’t forget about Billy’s new solo album, “Together.” The stories are rich. They’re real. They’re about love, moving on, uniting as a family in tough times, and all the stuff dreams are made of. They’re about living in a pandemic. The creativity soars. It’s a cure for COVID blues. Also, check out McGuigan Arts Academy. There are opportunities galore for your kids during school breaks and vacations. All COVID-safe, Socially Distanced.

Thanks for reading today. Get outside. Get some fresh air. Get moving. Shake up your routine today. Do something new. Listen to some good music along the way. Call an old friend. Call an elder in your family. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Thoughtful. The world will smile back at you. See you tomorrow, my friends.

Friday Facts, Just for Fun

The week is nearly over. It’s been a strange one. I’ve had a second COVID test, it’s negative. I’ve had swollen glands in my neck that turned into nothing, just a weird viral infection. Glad for that. We’ve had a couple of socially distanced dates this week, and they were nice. Tonight, we’re meeting up with the kids and grandkids for dinner to reconnect. Since Gavin got his own puppy, he’s been pretty busy caring for Josie instead of coming to visit Goldie and Lexie. We miss him, too! And Addison.

Cross Country is now over, so it’s back to picking our girl up from school to help out Mom and Dad. We love it. She’s full of stories to tell. I should think back to those ancient times and remember what it’s like. Your priorities are certainly different, that’s for sure.

This is 10,000 % TRUE!

There have been massive attempts this week to hack my FB page, my Twitter Account, my Instagram Account, and my email. I think it’s a coincidence. In the process of changing passwords 8,392 times, I got a little jammed up and the blog didn’t post Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week. I believe it’s been fixed now, and I re-posted to keep up. I couldn’t believe my stats went from 60 readers on Monday to 0 on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Technology can be a real bugger when it’s misbehaving. In case you missed them, here they are again: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

I am reading “Charms for the Easy Life,” by Kaye Gibbons. I picked it up at the used book store last time I took Mom. It’s a beautiful story, about three Southern women, who have their own family, with no men. The men folk left their women behind. Took off and never showed back up again. The Grandmother reacted very differently to the situation. She is a homeopathic healer, herbalist, and the like. She is very clear, however, she does not practice voodoo. And she will not use the power to maim anyone. She is a rock, the whole area in walking distance depends on her. It’s a fascinating story.

I’ve read 122 pages of the 254 in the book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And I sort of forgot to see how the scenes took place in only one place at a time, the characters were solidified through dialogue for backstory (boy, were they!), and I can’t wait to see how the second and third generations handle being left by the men in their lives who are supposed to be reliable, steadfast, and kind. The grandfather and father of the girl telling the story were totally opposite of those characteristics.

The author uses a phrase to define the matriarch, “who is a self taught healer, treating everything from broken bones to broken hearts. They are protected by the eccentric wisdom and muscular love of the remarkable matriarch Charlie Kate, a solid, uncompromising,” I love the phrase muscular love. It sounds unbreakable, solid, and something you can count on always. We all need that kind of love in our lives. Unconditional love is like this.

It makes me appreciate my dad so much. He never wavered in working and taking care of his family. He loosened up and enjoyed his oldest grandson Frankie a lot. He took him on excursions to Hobby Town, to shop for used cars, and Frankie adored him. I think it was hardest on my 17 year old son when Dad died. I didn’t think anyone could hurt any more than I did, but I was probably wrong.

This morning, I’m feeling nostalgic. I’m listening to Glen Campbell’s last album, “Adios.” I knew it was a Jimmy Webb song, and previously heard Linda Ronstadt sing it. Linda makes every song lovely. When Glen Campbell sang it, knowing he had Alzheimer’s, it took on a new meaning. He really was telling his fans goodbye. It was beautiful. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if anyone with the disease could say goodbye? Usually it’s too late for that by the time a diagnosis takes place. We don’t get to choose how we go or when. It’s the biggest risk there is in life, is to live every day. Don’t count on doing it tomorrow. You never know what will happen. You need to lead your life as each day is the last. Always let your words with someone be positive. Regrets do no one any good.

The rest of the day? One thing I’m adding to the TO DO list is rewrite my “about” paragraphs. The one I wrote first is ok, but it needs some telling about me. That’s hard for me to do. Really. I don’t talk a lot about myself, believe it or not, because I had never thought I was that noteworthy. That’s not a lack of confidence, at least I don’t think it is. What do you say? What would you say about me, if you’ve been following me very long. Seriously, add it in the comments below. Maybe you can help me with ideas I need that are better than the ones I have. Thanks, it’ll be fun reading them.

If you don’t wish to add it in the comments below, add it in the FB comments under the blog when it’s posted. I’d love some ideas. Thanks. And thanks for reading today. Hope you get caught up with the other blogs through the links above. So writing the bio, doing a little writing, and finishing reading my book today are going to happen around Raabe Ranch this afternoon. I appreciate you reading, and will see you again tomorrow!