Air Quality in NYC Worst in World

Can we believe this? From the photos on the news this evening, I’m glad we’re in the Midwest. The thing about it is, wildfires in Kansas often affect our air, as do wildfires in the middle of Canada. With my asthma considered well controlled, I notice a big difference in the quality of my breathing.

I cannot imagine what things are like for the folks in NYC who have worse asthma, COPD, or other lung diseases. The very young and very old people often have the worst time. One of my little brothers had croup pretty bad as a young toddler. Allergies always made him sound like he had a stuffy nose. He didn’t outgrow it for many years.

On a day like today, I thought it’d be very productive. It wasn’t, except for the nap I had. Seems I can’t shake the upper respiratory infection I’ve had for several weeks now. It’s always there. OTC stuff is supposed to take care of it, but so far, no good. Summer allergies just are no fun. Sorry to all of you who have them.

It was so humid today, and the air was heavy, I stayed inside all day. Grateful for air conditioning. The weather is just great for reading. I’ve read about 334 pages and have about 90 left. My friend Tammy Marshall really wrote a good one here: “Twinges.” Check it out. It’s got more twists and turns than a road race track. I hope to finish it by tomorrow evening.

Whatever you’re doing on this fine Thursday, enjoy it and we’ll see each other tomorrow. Stay safe out there.

June 6, 2023 – D-Day

In 1944, the United States led the Allies and assaulted the Axis troops as they stormed the northern beaches of France. It was a surprise attack, but hard to make the impact Japan did at Pearl Harbor four years three years earlier. Eisenhower led the troops, and they had heavy losses. Many troops lost their lives. At the American cemeteries, there are some 9,386 US troops buried there. There is also a wall of the missing, containing 1,557 names. Most were killed during the landing and ensuing battles at the entry point to the country. 

It’s been 79 years since this event. I remember learning about it in school, our US History class. Are kids taught those things anymore? What a different world we would live in if the Japanese and Germans would have defeated us. I cannot comprehend the vast differences, aside from a total lack of freedom. 

Of course, growing up Catholic, the freedom we were most taught about was the freedom of religion. Our training back then focused on defending your faith to the bitter end, and dying for it if necessary. That is quite a lesson for little kids, beginning at 7 or 8. 

Our Monsignor taught each class once a week. Looking back, he would concentrate on the torture of the martyrs. It was horribly embarrassing when he would talk about the females having their breasts cut off. Why in the world would he need to focus on that part? Never mentioned about what horrors the males could suffer. It was so uncomfortable!

Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” is a very accurate depiction of what the nuns taught us in the 60’s. The torture, the scourging, the actual crucifiction itself, were all emblazoned in each of our young minds. Yes, Christ died for our sins. We weren’t taught about all the horrific sins grown ups committed, aside from murder, stealing. Rape, incest, and any other atrocity one human commits against another weren’t mentioned. I never could figure out how my lie to my mother could cause Jesus to die like that. 

The movie didn’t upset me with it’s violence. It is what we were taught. Did that make us numb to the atrocity? I don’t think so, and many would disagree with me. Some Protestant women I knew at the time the movie was released said they wouldn’t see it, as it was an assault on their senses. 

We’re not worthy. But He died for us anyway. And He loves us far more than He judges us. 

I certainly am not the one to decide who goes to heaven. As a kid, yes, we were taught you had to be Catholic. We lived in a neighborhood where the little old people were Lutheran, or Presbyterian, or even twice-a-year Catholics. They were all nice people. No one can tell me Mrs. Owens or Mrs. Prochaska who were bonus grandmas for us would not go to heaven. They were wonderful ladies. 

It’s amazing what we learn as we grow up and are exposed to bigger worlds than in the shelter of childhood. 

Growing up, we were fairly sequestered in our local neighborhood, not going past about five miles from our home. After I got married young, the trying new things was intoxicating. Until it wasn’t. I needed more security in my life. I needed more say-so in helping to plot my life, not have the husband do it for me as I was led to believe was the thing to do. 

If your world doesn’t expand in your late teens and twenties, it can’t be lived to it’s fullest! Of course, you need to be cautious, but my gosh, make and take opportunities! It’s a great thing to learn. Try it. You’ll like it. And do it now. You have time, regardless of your age. It’s never too late. Get started!

Have a beautiful Wednesday, and see you tomorrow!


Twinges is a book written by my friend, Tammy Marshall, who is also a Nebraska author. It is a story about an elementary school teacher who has sensations she calls twinges. They predict a student’s future. After a frightening prediction, she becomes deeply concerned if she can somehow change the prediction and head off a tragedy.

What amazes me is the depth of horror there is in this prediction. If it comes true, it will be disastrous. Would you chance it? Would you try to avert it? Could you?

Tammy is a really great friend and a good person. Her writing is very good, and I can’t wait to read some more of the book. It amazes me how these amiable people can write stories full of horror. Where does their inspiration come from? It’s not as if Tammy has a group of witches she hangs out with regularly. Or does she? Just joking.

Of course, there are plots which are very dark, and people create them who are completely normal with good imaginations. They need to dive deep in researching crimes, the minds of criminals, how they arrive at their decisions, and what they do and expect to get away with.

I’m a big fan of mysteries and whodunits. I can’t wait to figure out the rest of the story as Tammy reveals it. It’s my first read for June, and won’t be my last. So far, I’m on track, having read 15 books so far in 2023, 3 each month. What are you reading? Share it here, please.

I love to read, especially in the summer. It reminds me of going to the library in South Omaha and joining the Summer Reading Club, reading 10 books each summer. Thanks to our mom, for getting us started. Speaking of libraries, your local one will have all five of Tammy’s books. Pick one up today. You’ll be glad you did. Take care, see you tomorrow.

Another Day of Rest.

It was too hot again for me to go with the Babe to watch Gavin play ball today. They won a game he pitched and had eight strike-outs and only 2 hits; final score was 2 – 1. Love that he did that. I hated not seeing it, but once again, the Babe was right. I needed the break. The rest. The refueling.

Most women are not good at doing that. I’m not. And that is why it is important to have a partner who is observant that way. It’s not that I need someone to take care of me; I need a reminder sometimes that I need to rest. It may be because of the codependency I’ve inherited. I am never sure how much help I should offer to Mom. She’s quite independent. Yes, that’s where I get the good parts of my personality. And some of the bad parts.

I am a work in progress, as we all are. I’m not as I used to be; I’m just not yet to where I’ll end up. God loves us all, even when we forget and don’t keep our resolutions to become better people. We have ourselves to thank for that; and ourselves to blame when it doesn’t go well.

I’ve enjoyed not feeling rushed; not feeling hassled; feeling the pressure off; and not having to be somewhere at a certain time. Next week, I’ll see Mom probably daily again, and see how her PT is going. I hope she stays a few weeks. She needs the rest and strength building. And we need a break. I feel bad for old people who have no one. How sad.

The blessings I’ve experienced in my life so far have been greater than anything I could have ever hoped and prayed for. There is something when people like me don’t feel as if they “fit in,” it puts us on a quest to learn. Learn how people live and cope and interact with each other; how they communicate. And when you need to communicate with your partner, it is the utmost rejection when they clearly don’t listen or worse; don’t care to listen. If they discount you and your feelings, you need to know you are not the one who is wrong. It takes a lot of work, a lot of learning and communication to get to where you feel heard and valued as you should be. I’ve had a deaf ear turned to me and had ridicule when I expressed what I needed. And I learned to walk away. No more. It works.

Have a great Monday, and we’ll see each other tomorrow. Stay safe out there.

June 2, 2023

My challenge is over. I wrote 30 minutes a day every day during May. I chose different topics based on situations the Babe and I have encountered with the many friends and family members diagnosed with cancer. It gave you an overview of situations, feelings, and processing all of it.

It turns out we’ve finished the challenge, raised $345 for the American Cancer Society, and raised awareness of some situations and feelings. This month, I want to finally finish editing my narrative for my children’s book. I’ve had it on a shelf, because life got in the way.

My book, about grief and loss, is for children. It is about the hard lessons our grandson Gavin learned about losing his Grandpa Randy and our dog, Roxie. I wanted it to be finished for his birthday last year. That didn’t happen, but I hope this year, I can at least present a draft copy to him on his birthday.

One thing I’m experiencing now since Mom’s treatment is over is I feel like I need to see her every day. Five weeks of being with her five days a week built a habit or expectation I didn’t have before. It takes up about four to six hours a day. When I return home, I’m tired and don’t feel like doing much. This is sabotaging my creativity and the things I do for myself. I believe those feelings are normal, and I need to integrate my creativity back into my daily routine.

In two weeks, we visit the oncologist again, and probably have scans to check how Mom’s treatment did its job. And that’s a lot to have on my mind as well as hers.

It’s hard to keep doing the things to get through the day, while life is changing so drastically around me. I care little about cooking, eating, and most other things. The best thing I can do is read a book, if I can concentrate on the story. Another best thing is to do my embroidery stitching or work on a small quilt. The act of working with floss, thread, a needle, and a pattern for color and stitch placement occupies the part of your mind where worry originates. It nips the problem at the bud. Try it.

Hope you have a beautiful Friday. We get to go to a ballgame tonight and see Gavin play. It will be a wonderful way to spend the time while we’re waiting to see what comes next. See you tomorrow.

A Summery Day in June

Saw a fun thing today. Although I thought the kids were a little young to be out alone, minibikes in tow, complete with racing helmets, it evoked thoughts of summer as a child.

We saw two minibikes parked in the same parking place in a lot, and two little boys, at a high tabletop and bar stools on the patio at the restaurant. Their racing helmets, perched on the table next to each of them as they drank large sodas and ate their burgers and fries. Yes, life was large for these two lads.

We thought there were maybe about ten or eleven. Too young to take out the minibikes and have lunch at the local sports bar. As a mom and grandma, I’m hoping they made it home safely. And I hope they never lose their sense of adventure. While following the rules. Be safe, guys. Be safe.

This was the quintessential view of summer and reminded me of going on our bicycles down to any soda fountain in South Omaha, and having a cherry coke. It was the sense of freedom for us. It was great. Our initial debut in the world.

Young men, be careful out there. I hope you are safe this summer, and I hope you have a blast at the same time. You will always remember these days. See you tomorrow.

And Just Like That . . .

The weekend is over.

The flags, folded and stored. The bugles back in their holders. Uniforms hung to use at the next funeral. The veterans and Honor Guard of the towns and cities are alone with their thoughts of comrades lost. Gold Star Families have empty seats at their tables. Precious, yet painful memories.

The beach goers are shaking sand off everything and drying towels and swimsuits. Little kids are getting their nightly baths to remove the grit of the day and cool the sun from their skin.

Do you feel you had enough relaxation? Me neither.

While memorials and gatherings were going on the last three days, doctors and nurses were still tending our sick in the hospitals. Our military was still standing guard. Priests still visited the sick. Families still visited their elders.

Life, strangely, still goes on while many are doing other things. Celebrating holidays, swimming, picnicking, boating, and enjoying the first event of summer. Where ever we are in the moments of our lives, others are experiencing their worst events ever. It is strange to notice those things, coexisting.

We had mixtures of those kinds of things. Visiting with Mom, going to a graduation party, and snacking on summer foods. Life takes you from one side of it to another. And tomorrow, it’s back to business as usual. Mowing the lawn, walking the dogs, and living your best life.

As you enter regular life again today, wear the nice outfit, put on the special earrings, save nothing for special occasions. Every day we live is a special day, a good day, a day to consider special. Remember that as you move through your day. Make special moments and memories. You will have them forever. See you tomorrow.

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

One of my heroes died this week. Tina Turner was an extremely talented woman who taught many of my generation of women they could make their own way in life. Without being subject to treatment by a man that is abusive, verbally and physically.

Someone did not physically abuse me. I used to think it would have been easier if others could see what was happening. I married someone who treated me just like I mistakenly thought I deserved, which was verbally abusive. My kids suffered it too. Married at 18, I thought love was supposed to hurt, that you fight and makeup, he buys you flowers and Wally and the Beaver sit down with you both at dinner. Didn’t happen that way.

I was extremely unhappy. Isolated; no transportation, etc. I wanted to go to college and finally went to Metro Community College. Some days, I took the bus. But things fell into place, and after about 18 months of studying, still doing all the work at home, and unheard, I filed for divorce and never looked back.

That was near the time Tina Turner was making it big. Her story gave me hope. I wanted to be as strong as Tina Turner was. She honed her craft and strutted on that stage with fire and fervor I couldn’t believe existed. She fascinated me. I read her bio. It was quite sad and violent, but she rose above all the hate, pain, and hurt and became a force to be reckoned with. And she exuded happiness.

One thing I learned was she studied Buddhism. It helped her center, focus, learn to be one with the universe. Believing in any higher power is critical. We need to realize something bigger than us. I believe God showed me the way over the past 41 years. It’s guided me to where I am right now.

Tina Turner led the way for many women like me. Listen to her music. It still blows me away.

Around that same time, Cher also became a force on her own. She did the same. Walked away, knowing she deserved better.

During the rest of 1982, when my ex tried to get back together, I finally told him:

“Tina did great without Ike. Cher did great without Sonny. And Kathy will do fine without Frank.”

Have a great day, see you tomorrow. Oh, and BTW. The Babe? Simply the Best!”

Another Birthday This Week!

My author friend James R. Lawrence informed me I share my birthday with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on May 22. How cool is that! Of course, I suppose that means I was born on Doyle’s birthday. He died in 1930, long before I was a twinkle in Dad’s eye. In fact, Dad would have been six years old in 1930.

It tickled me to death about sharing a birthday with someone who was such a genius writer. It’s nearly as good as my daughter sharing her birthday with Paul Newman. If they only knew what wonderful, strong women shared their days of birth.

So, the Babe is celebrating his 73rd birthday this day, May 24. We’re just puttering around at home. I finally feel calm after two days of craziness. Yes, any elderly person is a handful as they are closer to the end of their lives than the beginning. I suppose we could say the same for any of us. If you throw cancer in on top of the normal issues, you’ve got a situation needing a lot of management and intervention, while helping them keep their dignity. A tall order for four healthy people in their 60s and 70s.

Sometimes, you just need to melt down. Even those of us who are the strong ones in the family. It comes with good mental health. If we don’t/can’t keep it together and relieve the stress productively. I’ve learned healthy ways of doing that, from people respected experts in their field.

Centering Corporation in Omaha, NE, is the first place I look for; printed information and handouts for any stage of grief and mental health. Personal guidance to select those resources for civilians and veterans alike is available. I’ve learned so much from them. Just give Janet a call.

I’ve never been one who says, “I need a drink,” while getting through strife. If anything, I feel it is the worst thing you could do. I still feel that way. Yes, I drink. Yes, I have, at times had one too many. Not so much lately. It’s there, but not a primary focus in my life. I’ve escaped the family curse from generations ago. It is truly not going to solve anything. Please remember that.

When you think about all a human needs to do while navigating through this thing called life, it can be overwhelming. We all need to remember it does not mean for us to go through things alone. If they blessed us enough to have a partner through all of this, it’s great. If you don’t have one, you can select someone to be that go to for you. Yes, it takes getting outside of ourselves. It takes risking rejection. Just do it. After practice, it becomes second nature. Your perspective changes with your attitude does. You can do it.

Hope you get to enjoy this day and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Today’s About Me.

Whether we get to spend our birthday, how we wish they leave to the gods. Or THE God. It’s said trials come along to see how you react to them. Such went my birthday. And it wasn’t the worst thing, just disappointing. So we’ll do what actual adults do, and we’ll go to Plan B. We spent the whole day with Mom in the ER. She had symptoms showing they may need to have emergency equipment since the situation could escalate. It didn’t but I’m glad for the precautions. Just another pesky UTI. You cannot be too careful. Birthday cocktail of an Old Fashioned and dinner of pizza. Check.

Plan B? Do it the next day. It was to just be a quick conference with a banker, and on my way to write the blog I missed from my birthday. Guess again. I’d planned to spend three hours catching up on writing while waiting for my appointment to get a haircut.

The conference appointment didn’t register; they had no record of it. I had already spent two fruitless hours at another branch with the same issue. They told me I needed the permission from another person. They took off work to get this process completed. After begging, they saw us, and in an hour, got the job done. OK, now the blogging. Just now got started at 5:30 p.m.

I’m super late for the recap of my birthday. This is at least recognition of yet another timely example of how taking care of our family and friends with cancer can disrupt plans for daily living. There are no holidays, birthdays, and celebrations sometimes. Duty calls.

In a nutshell, tomorrow we’ll share the ideas I had for writing about the trials of the birthday day. And how the whole essay disappeared, despite frequent saving and backups. Hope your Tuesday was good. I’m very overtired from my aggravated asthma. Resting is tops on my to-do list this evening. See you tomorrow.