Dear Old Dad

I have spurred my memory about Dad again. I was relating to a friend how he insisted on reading the first copies of the Omaha World Herald, ensuring everything was correct before releasing it for full production. He was night superintendent in the pressroom. At his funeral in 1988, a young man named Nick Schinker did Dad’s eulogy. He described his knowing my dad, not as we knew him, but as a man who befriended him at work. I still have his typed talk, and I re-read it for years. Thank you again, Nick.

The eulogy affected me and still does to this day. Publishing this blog daily has me proofing over and over, and there still can be mistakes in it. I recall Nick describing Dad, making sure every headline, by-line, and especially people’s names need to be spelled correctly. It would be a shame to have your name misspelled in your obituary, or in a story about your family business. He was right, and still is to this day. Dad would check the paper that rolled off the pressed first, ensuring the first editions, and those that followed were the best to be delivered.

This rang true to me when I heard it at 38. Dad was all about learning and being able to do it yourself. We’d ask how to spell a word and he’d say, “Look it up!” We’d say, “Dad, if we knew how to spell it, we COULD look it up!” He’d laugh and tell us to go where we think it should be in the dictionary and see if we can find it.

One time my older brother was talking about a word, gila monster, we couldn’t figure out how to pronounce. We got the monster part and were clueless about the Gila. Mom volunteered, “Jila.” We have a cousin named Jilla, so of course, we laughed. Jilla is far from a monster. That made it even funnier.

We got the dictionary, and Dad had us sound it out. That was our first lesson in a different language pronunciation. Gila bites are very painful, none have resulted in a human death, according to Wickipedia. I wonder what Dad would think of Wickipedia.

I know he’d never rely on spell check. Spell check never checks grammar. That is where you can make many, many errors. They’re on you if they attach your name to the email, memo, or other writing. I would love to sit with my dad and teach him how to use the Internet on a laptop. It would fascinate him on how it works. That’s a little sad, given there is no opportunity. There is also the positive feeling I get from it. He wouldn’t believe I would know all that. I’d love to amaze him. Maybe that’s what heaven is about.

I’m off with him to buy him a new laptop. Hoping I make the right decision for him. I believe I know what he wants, and we’ll get it. Happy Super Bowl Sunday, I’m disinterested because Kansas City isn’t in it. Good Luck to everyone. Don’t each much today. See you tomorrow!

Happy Birthday, Rebecca!

Today is a happy day. Imagine my surprise after giving birth and hearing the Doctor tell me, “It’s a girl!” I have three brothers. I have two sons. I know how to take care of boys, they were who I babysat the most. And I have a girl? I became thrilled. Pink bows, ruffly dresses, and sunhats.

Have you MET my daughter? Probably not, she did keep up with her brothers, played with Tonka trucks in our backyard, played in the manure I fertilized the tomato plants with, (while wearing a minty green dress), and she took the fish heads her brother cut off to pretend they were running away saying, “Yipe, Yipe, Yipe, Yipe, Yipe!” She has the best sense of humor. She’s lived in Colorado for twenty-one years, is married to Brian, and has a little girl and boy; Kayla and Cody.

In watching my daughter, I learned independence. I marveled at how she was matter of factly ready to press ahead. When she went to school, she was happy and made friends easily. She is a person with a lot of drive; she went to tech school for radiology, and is currently working as a mammogram tech. I’m proud of her, and her family. The little’s are very close together, but she was older when they married. They prefer not to have photos on the Internet, so I honor that request. But they’re all a handsome family. I’m so blessed!

Today, I’m working on finding on photographs to match the pages in my children’s book, “Roxie, WHAT Are You Doing?” We have a cool idea on how to illustrate the story using pictures, I think it’ll be fun. It’s as fun looking through puppy photos as it is looking through baby photos!

I’m off to get at least part of them, and hopefully, there will be more tomorrow. Take care out there, and be safe. The mask ordinance is back in Omaha, a state official tried to get it stopped, but they weren’t successful. Let’s be safe. Do what we need to do. Take care, have a beautiful day, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Officially Fall, At Last!

Who cares what the solstice says, it’s officially fall by the sounds we heard last night as we opened our windows and shut down the A/C. The high school band from Gretna was playing. We didn’t hear them as much during the month of August when they typically practice very early in the mornings. It’s a beautiful sound. It heralds a change; change of schedule, change of colors, change of temperatures, and a change for me.

Fall is not only “my color,” but it’s what rejuvenates my spirits. Maybe it’s because at 69, I’m in the autumn of my life? It is because I like the restful time that comes with fall, the leaves teaching us how to let go, and the colors reminding us what an artist God is. I appreciate all I see and sense. The crunch of a crisp apple, the smell of cinnamon, the taste of pumpkin, and the chili cooking on the stove while the game is on TV.

Living in Nebraska nearly my whole life, talk starts of how early it may snow, hunkering down with fleece blankets by the fire, and how early it gets dark. Once daylight savings time ends, it will get dark before 5 p.m. between November and the late December days. I don’t like the early darkness, but I’d sure like it if the government would stop daylight savings time. It’s kind of dumb, really. It puts people through a lot of hassle, especially Arizona, part of Illinois (or is it Ohio?), and whoever does not participate.

I will soon be time to trim down the dead flowers, plant some, and put the garden tools away. I was looking through some old paperwork and found a small journal I purchased a few years ago. My first entry was about my garden. I like what I wrote, and will share it here:

The Garden – my favorite place – proof of my labors of love, where I dig the earth, plant, and relieve frustrations and stress.

The Garden – full of singing birds, thanking me for the seed; the scented flowers colorful and brilliant, or green and muted while growing.

The Garden – where butterflies refresh and activity is frenzied – if I sit quietly to listen and observe, not just work and tend.

The journal is for working through your grief after the loss of a loved one. If truth be told, I’m still grieving after losing my dad. He was 64 and I was 37. I looked to him for advice on my business career, raising my kids, and life in general. My kids were devastated. I’m well past his age. All the joy I have now was never enjoyed by him. That’s sad. But then, he sees our lives, and I believe has a hand in things going well for us. His mother lived two years longer than he did, passing at 97. Once, she told me she believes things go well because he has a hand in them. Isn’t that a cool thought? I believe she’s rooting for us, too. Thanks, Gram!

Our group of friends has lost two husbands this year, and that’s so hard to see your friends hurting. And the empty seats at the table are constant reminders. We’ve also lost a friend to COVID this year. It’s a lot to process at times, isn’t it? I know resources are available for me when I need it. It’s also available to others, and I’d highly recommend “The Centering Corporation,” in Omaha, Nebraska. They are the best at what they do. Check their website, www.centering.org.

Have a beautiful rest of the day. I have some fresh air to go breathe. Wish you all could join me! See you tomorrow!

Sultry Saturday

Today was filled with meetings at our Post to talk about how we can help our Afghanistan Veterans. They are really hurting right now. And some Vietnam and Gulf War Vets are in the same condition. We are putting our heads together, trying to figure out what we can offer, how we can make connections, and help those connections to make a difference. It is quite a position to find ourselves in. I’m glad we’ve gone from figuring out how to keep the doors open to asking ourselves how we can help those in need. It makes a vast difference in how we approach things.

Tomorrow, we are presenting several groups with the funds raised throughout the summer through our Honor Guard Car Shows and Silent Auctions. It has been a learning experience, one we have benefitted from. We are eager to keep doing more of the same for those we can help. It’s what the VFW does; no one does more for Veterans than your local VFW’s.

It weighs heavy on the mind of many, with the tragedy in Afghanistan this week. Politics aside, how terrible to have the soldier you sent overseas to not return home. I don’t know how one recovers from that; although many, many have over all the years of all the wars the United States has been a part of. We have to be there, to protect liberty. I pray we can continue to help the returning soldiers feel their sacrifice is worth the America we give them.

I am retyping part of my remarks for our ceremony tomorrow, then reading. Just quietly reading. It’s been a long couple of weeks, and my heart is kind of beat up and tired. A night’s sleep is just about enough, but not quite. I’ll practice my remarks one more time tomorrow, before anyone else arrives. It should be ok. I suppose I’d better learn how to speak to a group, especially if I publish books and do author signings. Need some practice, so it’ll be fine.

I hope you all have a beautiful evening, and we will have more time together tomorrow. Once this event is over tomorrow, we’re digging down to get back to the novel. Yes! See you tomorrow. Be Safe!

The Day After

Yesterday, my adrenaline must have been excessively high. Today, I’m wiped out, but very happy inside. The family wedding was beautiful. In the words of my late Aunt Carol, ” It’s just so fun to see a young couple so in love with each other, who have plans for their life together.”

Yes, it is. I had a blast sitting with my brother, eating cake and drinking ice water, watching the crowd of friends and relatives. Dan wasn’t feeling up to attending, so he stayed home.

The girls and young women who appeared single were belting out magical, love charged songs. You could tell they were wanting what they were singing about.

There were very few young men actively dancing. One young black fellow could really move with the groove of the music. The others were standing about talking, some were in line at the bar. My brother is going to take dancing lessons when he feels ready to meet some ladies again.

I have to say, he is a catch. Good job, devoted, reliable, gentleman (like our dad), and an all around good man. He lost his wife to oral cancer. We could feel her presence last night. He misses her terribly, and I do too. He finished raising her youngest two sons after her death, and had always been so good with all four of them.

Yes, I’m a bragging big sister. More than that though, he is a very good friend. I used to help our mom with him when he was a toddler. Yes, he was the pesty brother I wanted to make vanish when I was in high school, but no matter what, we would always be friends. And it’s such a gift.

Sitting with him at midnight at his wife’s bedside, we had some very deep discussions. I was honored he shared his thoughts with me. As I reached for his hand, I remember thinking, “when did he get into our dad’s hands??”.

The shoe is on the other foot, so to speak. Since that night, I’ve many times felt him reaching out to care for me. Life has taken us both to the place where I may need his help some day. We share a strange sense of humor, and many folks may not understand, but we are family. I tease him and tell him, “You’re the sister I never had!” Well, at least I had my own room!

Tim, left, Don, right.
My brother and nephew.

As unhappy as I was when he was born, I’m so very happy to have this great guy for my baby brother.

Hope you all had a good Saturday! Leave a comment, like my post and follow my page. I’ll enter you in my giveaway. $50 Visa Card Giveaway. Drawing held Dec 1, 2019.

Wacky Wednesday

Have you ever been friends with someone from over the pond who pronounced all the syllables in Wednesday?? When I worked at ConAgra, a lovely lady named Janet Richardson interviewed me for the job I started in April of 1982, my first job in twelve years. I was newly divorced, had three kids, the house payment, and for the first time in my life, confidence.

Janet became a good friend and ally, I learned a lot from her and enjoyed working for her. In the 1980’s, ConAgra had their fabulous Christmas Parties first at the Red Lion, then at Peony Park in the Royal Grove Ballroom. I could not believe the first one I attended. It was a very dressed up affair, and was a lot of fun. Subsequent parties were also a lot of fun, and arranged by Janet.

She was from England, met her husband Rich while he was in the Air Force. He was from Milwaukee, and they were stationed at Offutt Air Force Base. Nice couple. If I ever hear someone say, “Wed-Nes-Day,” I think of Janet. There were a couple of other words she pronounced differently, but they fail to come to mind right now. She was a great lady. I believe she works at Blue Cross Blue Shield by now, if she isn’t retired.

Working on Today’s Word Count. Hope to reach 1,677.

What ELSE Can Happen Category??

Dan’s nearly new dentures broke late last weekend. I dropped them off at our dental office, they cannot be repaired, they need to do impressions for a new lower plate. Today, he has an appointment at 2 p.m., I’ll grab the granddaughter in Papillion, drop her at home, get his cargo pants order from Kohl’s, get him and we’ll go to the Post for dinner. Unless I get too forgetful. That’s happening a lot these days. P.S. I NEVER say, “What ELSE Can Happen,” out loud. Because then it usually does. Don’t jinx yourself!!

Talked with my cousin Joey on the phone this morning. He’s about 6 or 7 years younger than I am. He lives in western Nebraska with his husband and they are such good friends as well as relatives. We were talking about his parents and I told him how I remember his dad and mom from before they were married. He told me I needed to write those things down. What a great idea!! That will be my project after “These Walls DO Talk.” Our extended family was pretty fascinating and pretty funny, all things considered, and boy, could they put away the beer. We pretty much only gather for funerals and weddings now. Stay tuned next year for thoughts on that.

I find it really fun to talk with my adult cousins on both sides of the family. Usually, news was passes along through the grapevine of their parents to my parents, and now just my mom is living on her side of the family, and my dad’s sister Mary Ann is the only one of my dad’s siblings left. Both sides turned out a good representation at Mom’s 90th Birthday Party in August. Right now, that seems like such a long time ago. We all have settled back into our own lives again, waiting for some new special events. A wedding and a baby shower (two different families) are coming up in the next two weeks, two very happy occasions to gather for.

Gavin and Goldie really know how to pose!

Family history – do you find it fun to hear old stories about your parents and aunts and uncles?? It can be a blast to hear about their antics. It can also be surprising. Whem Mom and Dad were young, Mom helped a teenager across the street sneak back into her house after curfew and the door was locked. They laughed pretty hard about it. Wow, our mom. Queen of the Curfew, thought it was OK to help Sharon sneak into the house. Wow. What a surprise!

This day has lots of miles left in it. I need to get back to the book. I’m describing characters again today. Or I’m describing the basement most old houses have. Wherever it takes me, that’s where I’m going.

Remember! In honor of NaNoWriMo, I’m counting each daily like and/or comment you leave so you will be entered in a drawing on December 1, 2019 for a $50 Visa Gift Card. You can have two entries a day for 30 days!!! I’m keeping track by hand, as I’ve not joined MailChimp for that yet. I’ll get there. One baby step at a time Share with your friends! Let’s have lots of entries!! Thank you for reading, sharing, liking, and commenting. I appreciate it all! See you tomorrow.

Gratitude Journal – November 4, 2019

It’s a chilly morning in Nebraska. The temperatures fall around freezing every night, and the warmth of the day depends on:

If the Sun is out.

Our Roxie (RIP, dear) loved to lay under her tree in the shade on a hot day. Looks like her sister Lexie (brown dog) joined her that day.

If it’s windy or not.

Weather must be perfect for hot air balloons. A gentle hint at a breeze is perfect for these balloons to gracefully lilt along.

The high temperature is during the sunny part of the day.

Roxie and Lexie were inseparable.

Any precipitation falls. Any. A 50 degree day with rain can feel like icicles piercing your face if it’s windy. It feels icy all day.

This was an early spring hail storm. Not fun!!
A snowstorm from late last winter. I’d rather have snow than wet, icy preccipitation. Yes, I would

I’m grateful to have all these seasons. It seems there are many more than four at a time now. I don’t think it would be the same to only have the warmth of California or Florida all year around. It just wouldn’t be the same. What would I do without the arthritis rearing it’s ugly head every cold, wet, snowy day. Or every horrific humid day that makes you have a headache all day long.

The four seasons are kind of strange to be grateful for, but I am happy to know all of them. The warmth or lack of it just goes along with the brand of Christmas, New Years, Easter, 4th of July, etc. You’ve got to have the weather.

Saturday, the home health care nursing started their regimin with Dan. They will come three times a week to change the charcoal sponge in the wound and each time attach a new container and tubing to the wound vac. He’s fortunate so little infection is left, so not much drains, but it’s still the procedure.

The nurse trained me on how to take care of Dan’s packing, etc., in case of an ice or snow storm and no one can get to our home to take care of the wound vac, etc. I am capable of doing it and am not queasy about it at all. They are part of the deal, and I’m grateful for the help, truthfully.

Goldie is doing great. Doing well with potty training, sleeps almost all night in her kennel, tolerates her collar and leash when necessary. I think Lexie is warming up to her, as long as Goldie doesn’t get in her face.

Back to working on the book and word count for today. It’s been four days, haven’t missed one day yet. I’m just writing freestyle, I guess I’d call it Going to write paragraphs and fit them in where they will read the best.

The Business of My Day

Thanks for reading today. I appreciate your company on my journey. Invite your friends along, please. And please like the blog, the individual post, and comment. You may earn two chances a day at a giveaway I’m having at the end of NaNoWriMo, a $50 Visa Gift Card. Two entries a day, for liking and commenting on each post. It’ll be fun! See you tomorrow!

Let the Fun Begin

Here we are, a brand new month beginning, a very important month to a group of writers from all over the world. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The goal is to actually write 50,000 words in one month, thirty days. Can I do it? I plan to. We will need to see how far I actually get, knowing full well that life very often gets in the way of a lot of things. Dan and I have learned that in spades the past year. But we must keep going.

I love all the quotes and memes about perseverance and tenacity. An old friend I used to work for used the word tenacious describing me. I had to look it up. I was flattered, and he certainly meant it as a compliment, describing my working full time, being a single mom with three kids, and wanting to get a college degree. I finally made it.

It’s been started for awhile.

So, in the spirit of keeping on, I won’t bore you with the list of projects and details that I admitted out loud to you. On the internet. Preserved forever. No pressure, right?? My novel and a few other projects are listed on the blog post yesterday, if you’d like to scroll down and refresh your memory. Right now, I’m eager to dig in and write. I had little time to finish an outline of where I’d like my thoughts to take me while yielding actual countable words. I do have this vision in my mind of the outline, and I think once my fingers hit the keys, I will have enough ideas and words to keep up with the 1,677 words a day that will count towards the 50K goal. (Please feel free to quote me on this later should I whine I’ve run out of words).

If you think about it, that is a lot of words. My novel, as it sits now, is 38,388 words. I felt is was complete and wonderful and captivating at 33,507. My dear friend Kris read it, gave me some honest feedback, and I started to embellish the stark prose that was waiting to be adorned.

It will be challenging to add more details and description to what I’ve written, but I need to learn to add this in the first place. I think this executive summary style comes from being in the business world for twenty some years. Just the facts, Ma ‘am, Just the facts. It’s hard to deviate from that norm and create a new one. That is why choosing those words is so very important.

My first participation, hopefully not my last.

At the Nebraska Writers Guild Fall Conference 2019, #NWGFALL2019 I sat in on a session about using poetry as a way to improve your writing. By using fewer words, you will improve your writing. It was amazing. Poetry says so much more without a high word count. I would think writing songs/lyrics would follow closely behind poetry. Think of the poems and song lyrics you have heard and still have in your mind over a lifetime.

“I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.” Joyce Kilmer, 1913

“and I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time.” Jimmy Webb, 1968

Suffice it to say, I was alive and heard Glen Campbell sing Jimmy Webb’s incredible song “Wichita Lineman” on the radio, I was not alive when Joyce Kilmer wrote her lovely poem about trees.

Those two passages just popped into my mind while writing this. A third one also did:

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, words will never hurt me”

and I think this is totally wrong. Words have the ability to devastate a person, destroy a child, or start a war. Or all three at once. Anyone who has ever had someone gaslight them knows this firsthand. It’s terrible and hard to recover from.

Strong words? A story was told in that session about a group of famous writers talking about how many words you needed to tell a story. Ernest Hemingway is credited with this quote, and wrote a series of six word stories that followed this one:

“For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn.”

I am moved to tears by these six words. I want to hug and kiss my grown children over these six words. How about you?? Please leave a comment below, like my blog, and pack your bags to come along on this journey towards finishing my novel. I will share parts of it from time to time, ask you opinions, have you select one passage over another, and other things similar.

I’m going to keep track of all the comments, likes, new follows, etc., and there will be a prize at the end of the month, based on your contributions towards helping me finish this novel. I think it will be fun, hope you’ll join me. Participating will not hurt a bit. I promise. Thank you so much for reading today.

It may come to this once in awhile. Just dig deeper!

What Will November Bring?

Aside from Thanksgiving, retailer invented Black Friday, the end to the Nebraska Cornhuskers football season, and possibly snow, what will it being for you,?

I will be participating in National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. I will be finishing up several projects.

I will finish my novel, These Walls DO Talk.

I will finish my book for grieving families called Grandpa’s Gone.

I will finish another book, Roxie, What Are You Doing??

I will finish a children’s book called Bonus Grandma’s.

Challenge Accepted?
No idea what to expect.

It will be a month of learning and I am eager to see how the tally will end. Something new and different.

Dan now has a gaping hole where his incision was. A wound vac will be applied/installed/mounted which will remove dead skin, infection, debris, and will help shrink and seal the wound from the inside out. Medical miracles always are amazing. For right now, he could qualify as scary for Halloween! He is exhausted, in pain, and spirits kind of low. Prayers are graciously accepted.

He perks up caring for his new little blonde. I’m trying to spend time with Lexie. She is fine in the yard with Goldie but pretty territorial in the house. Any suggestions??

Have a safe Halloween evening. Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing. I appreciate it and all of you.

In Sickness and in Health

For everyone who takes these vows, many are young and vibrant, some are mid-life and still doing well. And then there are those of us, who in middle age, meet and marry the loves of our lives but . . .

But we know full well that both our spouse and ourselves have some health issues that may loom at any moment.

The happiest day ever. Still an honor to be this guy’s wife.

For us, Dan has ischemic heart disease. That comes with a lot of ups and downs. By the grace of God, he has not had a heart attack.

What he has had is a roller coaster of procedures and scares. What WE have had. We are equals and partners. We are here for each other no matter what. Much easier said than done.

Two weeks ago, Dan had a heart cath to see if he had any blockages since the quad bypass five years ago. No blockages, yay!

However, two weeks later, after too much tenderness at the site he returned to the doctor. Ultrasound reveals a psuedo aneurysm. Since the site was bleeding internally, it required surgery to get the bleeding stopped and clean out the area. More recovering for a guy who’s already been through the mill.

Last summer, he had a stroke followed by an left carototid endarterectomy. That was very scary. His stroke was at the base of the brain, causing a visual field blackout. This healed and recovered about 95%, so he can drive again.

It’s been one thing after another, and men may have less patience to recover. Their pride is hurt. They are slower to admit they’re scared or apprehensive. They may not want to be patient while recovering. They may be so angry they’re not 100%, a normally upbeat person could become a crabby old curmudgeon. It happens.

That’s where that vow comes in. A little complaining is normal, but no one can be verbally abusive and be normal. Abuse is never acceptable. Ever. A reminder is in order about what’s appropriate and what isn’t.

Encouragement and positive reinforcement of the patient to recover is vital. It’s exhausting for the caregiver. Take care of yourself. You cannot give when you are tapped out. Take time out for you.

It’s not all been Dan’s issues. I’ve had a bunch. Orthopedic, cancer, a lesion on my spinal cord in the neck area that could have been MS but wasn’t, and he has given care beyond what I could hope for.

We’re good together. I’m praying it will go on for a very long time.

He’s only a dancer once in awhile.

Thank you for reading. I’d love your comments, we can encourage you as well. That’s why we are all here, to be kind to each other, and help each other, within respectable boundaries. Have a happy Wednesday!