Old(er) People

Should never be allowed in the kitchen. OK, well maybe never is too long a time to be banned. This morning, the Babe and I began our task of cooking 30 pounds of hamburger to make Sloppy Joes for the PTSD presentation/Talk Saves Lives Training the VFW Post 2503 is hosting on Sunday at noon. The Post is donating the lunch, and we’re doing the work at home to give the cook a break. They already have to cook for a Craft Fair tomorrow. Funny thing is, they’re making Sloppy Joes and Hot Dogs.

In South Dakota, the locals call Sloppy Joes “Bar-b-ques.” Isn’t that funny? Local differences, just like “soda” vs. “pop.” America is great, isn’t it?

So the browning of the hamburger went well, I had 3 large cans of crushed tomatoes and 3 large cans of tomato sauce. I pre-measured 3 separate cups that contained all the seasonings for each 10 pounds. Salt, Pepper, Smoked Paprika, Italian Seasonings, Garlic, Worcestershire Sauce, Sugar, and whatever else. All set. Then, the battle of the can openers happened. The header photo finds them poised for action. The white one, on the left, is the new Pampered Chef one, is specifically made to be used by those of us who have arthritis in our hands, fingers, and need a little assist. I like it because there are no more sharp edges on the can lid once it’s removed, like the one on the right creates while cutting.

The first can, no problem. In fact, the first five, no problem. Then the opener became a diva and wouldn’t cut the last can lid. The Babe tried it. Nope. It just doesn’t adhere to the can, you can feel it doesn’t engage, and therefore, doesn’t cut. I tell the Babe, “I did drop two cans, maybe this one is one of those.”

We decided to turn it upside down and try it on the bottom. Nothing. I picked it up, turned it right side up and there it went. The cut lid that looked intact gave way. And there went a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes all over the counter top. Wow. I said a couple naughty words, and we started to move it off the counter top and into the pan, where it belonged. And that, boys and girls, is why older people shouldn’t be allowed in the kitchen. Don’t you agree?

We had a laugh or two, and kept cooking. I can hardly wait to start baking the nine boxes of brownies I get to do. It’ll be fine. Really, it will. There are no canned goods to open.

More from the book, “Wired for Story,”

Tone and Theme are stressed very early. So is the phrase, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” Have you ever known someone who can tell such great stories, jokes, and anecdotes they always have a crowd at their elbow? They’re the one we always want to be an emcee at our events, and maybe even give our eulogy at our funeral. They really know how to tell a great story. We can learn, with practice.

Another incredible thing I just learned – all story is emotion based. If you’re not feeling, you’re not reading, according to Lisa Cron. I get this. Have you ever read something very emotional for the protagonist, and you feel it, too, as you read? The author has done a good job.

Emotion determines the meaning of everything. If we’re not feeling, we’re not conscious. Most of us were taught emotion and logic were two opposite things. They are, but one must exist for the other to exist. I haven’t read further than this yet, and I hope to do so tomorrow, in between baking brownies. Who knows what madcap hijinks the Babe and I will engage in? I’m sure we’ll enjoy it, and have some good laughs. Have a great evening, see you tomorrow.

Monday, Monday

Wow, I’m having a day, how about you?

In the middle of trying to straighten out a snafu with some other folks, I called my cousin at the VA, and as we chatted, I noticed the coffee pot was overflowing from the grounds basket, not from the pot. All the water, grounds, etc, spread all over the counter top, down into the drawers, and onto the floor. All my good intentions for this morning; learning how to use my sewing machine (never plugged it in), writing my blog (now, nine hours later), and not getting anything done! It lends truth to my Grandma Bobell’s statement: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Amen, Grandma, Amen.

I laughed with my cousin about it being a Monday, and wow, what else could go wrong? I must have tempted fate, because things happened here and there. I’m still smiling, but frustrated. It won’t get me down, but I remember when I’d fuss and fume for days over things like happened this morning. It’s age and learning to practice gratitude. And always remembering it could always be worse (and many times, it has been).

In the grand scheme of things, I suppose everyone has a day every now and then. We all do. And we go on. Some folks are not equipped to deal with everyday difficulties. Maybe they’ve never had to cope. Maybe things always went their way. Maybe they always won a trophy. Or maybe their parents managed their lives so much there was no margin for error. Bless their hearts.

I’m planning on finally getting to put thread in my new sewing machine tomorrow. It was my plan today, but someone else’s mess became my problem, so my day has been spent on damage control. Thank goodness for friends who listen and who know who you are and what you’re about. Those people make up for everything. Thank you, you all know who you are.

I am enjoying the book, “The Gown,” about the making of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown. In those times, embroiders worked on all the royal gowns, dresses, and fine ware the queen, princesses, and children wore. Right now, I’m learning about right after WWII, the major design houses in Europe were re-establishing themselves. (Think Christian Dior). References were given when certain young women looked out for others at the Concentration Camps. Jews had an equal chance to get these sewing and hand work jobs. And they deserved them.

The Babe and I are working on our next volunteer opportunity, one that will help us give back in a huge way. More on that as it becomes available. As for this evening, I’m donning my comfy lounge wear, and diving back into The Gown. Let’s visit some more tomorrow! Thank you.

September 11, 2022

Everyone still remembers where we were that awful day in 2001. We were still enjoying the happy vibe of a family wedding on September 8, and everyone headed back to work/life on that Tuesday. Until.

Fast forward 20 + 1 years and here we are. Still at war, against an enemy that morphs itself into other forms of disguise and renames itself. It still remains the pure evil the devil himself is. It will always be with us. Always.

We attended a dinner tonight for the 50 Mile March Foundation. The money raised was distributed to Guitars for Vets, Operation 22 Until Freedom, and Moving Veterans Forward. It is inspiring to be a small part of the effort these incredible humans put forth to meet their goals of helping Veterans that are experiencing homelessness, mental illness, and other issues. We have an obligation to help these men and women assimilate back to civilian life after serving our country. We owe it to them for defending freedom.

It is late, and WordPress wouldn’t load on my Chromebook. I could only access it on my iPhone. Rather than miss a day, I typed it on the phone. Hard to do. With that, I’m going to end for the night. I hope you have a good evening. I will see you tomorrow!

Do You Believe You Can?

Then you can. Do you believe you will? Then you will.

You need to believe you have learned the necessary skills to, then you need to practice. Yes, practice helps make it feel less foreign. It helps you feel more confident. I’ve just begun speaking up when I feel disrespected. It doesn’t sound as polished as it will, but I’m not afraid to put my two cents in anymore.

People always wonder what made you change? Yes, you have changed. Feeling overwhelmed, over committed, and guilty when you say no takes it’s toll. Maybe you’ve reached the point where you won’t commit to what you no longer want to do. It’s a great place to be.

Often we feel if we don’t do it, it won’t get done. Often, it won’t. But if carrying someone else’s responsibilities just lets them off the hook, just stop it. Whatever the result is, is on them, not you. It is very freeing. And the world doesn’t fall apart. Even if they blame you, it’s not on you.

It’s a very different feeling, giving yourself permission to say “no.” Try it, you may come to love it. I do. I feel my limitations today, as we did some deep cleaning on our lower level family room. I hope to hire someone to put together our three tall bookcases and finally, unload the books I want to keep. I arranged all my crafts and painting supplies, some recently acquired, where they’re all in a cubbyhole and easily accessible. I believe this will give me more opportunity to work on them, too. Just saying “no” frees up a lot of time for me, I’m sure it will for you as well.

While learning to speak up for yourself is a great thing to learn at long last, some will not be happy you are doing this, especially those who wish to monopolize your time for their own. The sooner the better. You’ll know when you’re ready, and just know I’ll applaud you all the way. It takes a long time for some of us. The great thing is that we do learn and act accordingly.

Have a beautiful evening, and enjoy the holiday tomorrow. We plan to enjoy it at home, our favorite place, with each other. We can have early coffee, breakfast, putz around, sweep out the garage, put the boxes of bookcases downstairs, rearrange some more crafting stuff, take a nap, and all the other stuff. Whatever we choose to do. I love retirement! How about you? Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.

I Find Your Posts . . .

worth reading, but so sad we are not friends on here.

impressive, along with your personality and sense of humor.

Inspirational, and I came across your posts. You look so beautiful, adorable.

And so it goes. Ladies, when we have public pages, which we need for our businesses, we become open to this type of crazy scammers who try to get into our lives, our wallets, and well, our unmentionables.

For me, they’re nearly always a General, Admiral, Admiral General, Lieutenant General, or . . . well, you get the fakery here. Check their profiles and they may claim to be born in Damascus, Syria, Los Angeles, New York City, Canada, or elsewhere. They usually are in some branch of the service, US Army Air Force, The US Army, the Marine Corps, etc. Guys, at least do your research better! Know the six branches of the US Military. We’re not stupid as you think. The Army is not part of the Air Force! C’mon, man!

PT Barnum once said, “There’s a sucker born every minute!” While that is true, I hope and pray my friends, author friends, poets, and any woman (or man) I may one day work with are not any of those scammed. Please, loneliness can overcome you, but gosh, you may never recover emotionally or financially if someone takes advantage of you. Be cautious. Don’t argue or respond to these Lotharios. They’re out to Catfish you.

I have to say, the Eric Hill (or Eric T. Hill, General Eric Hill, etc.) character has been blocked more than once, and any other profile he may create is also blocked, but in my experience, it just doesn’t work. As soon as I block, delete, etc., there he is again. Aggravating at best. Don’t people have other things to do? I would hope so. Shouldn’t these Generals, Admirals, and the whole lot of them have some troops to lead? Wars to strategize? Officers Clubs to frequent?

And the bigger question to Facebook is, why doesn’t blocking work? You must have some algorithm to block these comments and never allow them in the first place. Trust me, the fewer real photos anyone has is a red flag to me. Oh, and the scammers always have a dog with them in some photos. They do some homework. If they’re bots, there is some human behind them somewhere making this happen.

And the fact that “you seems worth talking to,” OMG! My life is now complete! My purpose on earth is to talk to this guy! Let’s send that friend request before we take another breath! Swoon!

I find it very sad some people are scammed with this. The fact some folks have such low self-esteem is beyond tragic. Get some things to read about learning to love how great you are.

I’m sure there will be some scammers who see this and will not appreciate I’m making fun of them. They may inundate my pages with phony comments and I’ll have to use my time deleting, blocking, all that good stuff. I would rather not have to do that, but Dude, you’re not going to scam me. Get over yourself.

Despite the number of please to just let’s be honest friends, I’ll take a hard pass to that. It won’t even work if something (God forbid) happens to the Babe. Once you’ve had the Babe, you’re spoiled for anyone else. God only makes a once in a lifetime love once in a lifetime. #grateful

Time to start the day. I may write tomorrow’s blog today, since Mom’s birthday is tomorrow. I’ll need to spend some time with her tomorrow. Hope you have a beautiful day today. I’ve got pieces to glue onto the quilt blocks for a certain little girl named Kayla in Colorado. And pick fabric for the quilt I’ll make for her little brother, Cody. I’ll show you that later. It’s perfect for a little boy. Well, a girl could love it too.

Take time to evaluate your friend requests, comments, and scrutinize everyone you don’t know who wants into your life. Be safe. And don’t let them put one over on you. You’re too important to be hurt, scammed, or taken advantage of. See you tomorrow!

The Smartest Word We Can Say

Are “Help Me!”

It definitely doesn’t mean we’re needy. I was raised in a “Do it yourself, you can’t rely on anyone!” kind of environment. When I was a single Mom, I did a lot on my own. At that point in my life, I was angry and didn’t trust anyone to stick around. I was looking for love in the wrong places as the song goes. Nothing was permanent. My kids and I were a great family, we were close, and had a lot of wonderful times. We also had hard times. When the car broke down or we needed a plumber, it was tight. Back then, the local plumber my folks used billed you 30 days later. A Godsend!

The kids and I learned a lot about dry walling, privacy fence installation, and a lot of other things. I was lucky the boys did the lawn without being shamed into doing it; they actually enjoyed it. One time, they tried to make a mowing pattern like they saw at Wrigley Field during the televised Cubs games. Great memories.

If I were to be honest with myself, I was devastated the person I thought would love me forever didn’t understand anything about me, the kids, or the life I thought we were building. It just didn’t matter to him. A lot of relationships end when one person refuses to grow and the other is held down. Sometimes you need to end something in order to become who you were meant to be.

It was the discomfort I felt during that time that urged me to change my life. I had to. I asked for help from professionals who knew what they were doing. It was the biggest risk I’d taken. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about creating opportunities and being honest with myself. I do know enough to lead my life, make my decisions, and enjoy the consequences or learn from my failures.

Honesty is what you learn when you ask for help. I had to be honest, Ken and Barbie were not happy as everyone thought. I’d also grown up in a house where we don’t tell people our business, and we especially don’t tell our father. As I’ve watched a close friend of mine bare her soul of her struggle with PTSDc, I’ve felt challenged to tell the truths I have, the ones that are close to my heart. I’m amazed at how people relate, and say, “I felt that way, too.” Or “I never realized how miserable you were.”

Many times we’re the guy or gal at the end of the rope being pulled to safety in the Coast Guard helicopter. Sometimes, we’re the pilot, helping someone else. I believe this is what we’re here for.

The Babe and I saw this action yesterday, at the end of the 50 Mile March. It got us in the feels for sure. Our friends from 50 Mile March, (Jay Miralles), Moving Veterans Forward, (Ron Hernandez), and Guitars for Vets (Taylor Frye Ullom), were feeling the effects of walking 50 miles in 22 hours. They are battered, beyond tired, blistered, and beginning to plan next year already.

Being part of the ones who battle the 22 a Day statistic humbles us. All we can do is gain information about suicide and learn it is not shameful. People are often at the point of no return and they’re afraid for whatever reason to ask for help. In September, the VFW Post 2503 in Omaha is hosting an afternoon of discussion and training on “Talk Saves Lives.” I’ll share the information soon. If you will be in Omaha on Sunday, September 25 from Noon – 4 p.m., you may be interested.

Today is a warmer day, and in the sun it’s hot. It’s supposed to do that all week, then cool again. Such is early fall in Nebraska. Take care today. Offer to help someone without them asking. Simply holding the door is fine. It all helps. See you tomorrow!

Back to Work

The rest we had for the last three days has helped my outlook, I feel refreshed, renewed, and almost energized towards showing some progress with my kid book, grand kids quilts, and other projects around the house. I have to dig in and produce, it’s time.

This morning, I took about 2 1/2 hours to prepare the eight sets of blocks for Kayla’s quilt. It will be so cute. They are bright, happy colors, and I’ll share as we make progress.

The news is on tonight and we haven’t listened for a few days. What is going on? The shooting of a kid football coach in Texas because of a disagreement between coaches and refs? Wow. Just wow. Many more issues across the country with folks who are mentally ill; one double homicide in Nebraska. A young man killed his grandmother and great-grandmother. He did not use a gun. He used a hammer. Mentally ill people will find a way to do what they think they should do, no matter how wrong.

I have no answers, except people may no longer have their loved ones committed if a medical doctor hasn’t witnessed bad behavior. I get it, it protects people against bad family members, but WOW! Those two old grandma’s did not deserve what he did to them.

I have my meeting tomorrow with my replacement for the webmaster and FB manager for the VFW Post 2503. I am so appreciative to Bill Hackenberg, he is the answer to my prayers. I’ll get those quilts, kid books, and novel written yet! I’m looking forward to having more time to do my own stuff, after about 8 years of managing all that.

New things are on the horizon, and I am ready to dive in. I’ll keep learning about publishing, writing, marketing, all of it. It just seems right to be in control of all aspects, since it’s no longer uncommon. At 70, I may not have enough years left to find an agent. And I want my book to remain mine, not a publishing company’s.

It’s now time to cook dinner for the Babe, and relax for the evening. I hope your day was good, and your evening pleasant. It rained today for the first time in a very long time. I wanted to go play in it! How about you? Do you feel the rain, or do you just get wet? I hope you felt it.

Keep going in your new direction, and follow your dream. Trust all will be well on our path. It will work out, you’ll learn how to make adjustments along the way. Have a good evening, and we’ll see each other tomorrow. Be safe.

We Create Our Own Nightmares.

Sometimes, that’s the cold, hard truth. We all want our own way. It doesn’t matter if we’re a cranky toddler, an angst-filled teenager, a broken-hearted mid-lifer, an elder of the tribe, or an angry nonagenarian. We all have our moments.

We think we know everything at those moments. How others need to respond to us, the situation, who should do what, how they should do it, and of the result will be exactly what we think it should be. How could it fail? Let me count the ways, my dear.

We think our power is greater than it is; we’re not supposed to manage other’s outcomes. We have no idea what will work for everyone we think is involved. If everyone actually bends to our iron will, things may work out for a time. Before they backfire in our faces. The feeling of power is short-lived. Wow. We didn’t know what’s best. Imagine that?

Coming from an environment where some tried to control others lives, I know for a fact how true this statement is. Those folks don’t admit they’re wrong, nor when you’re right. Sad. Stay in your lane, people! Most often your own best guesses about my life are wrong, just as my ideas about your life are most likely wrong. The exception in cases of deep addiction to alcohol, drugs, or gambling. You need help not only with the substances, or activity, but also with your mental health. Sometimes, it’s necessary to have another help you figure out what to do. You need to care about your recovery more than I do, though. I cannot and will not do the hard work for you.

Me? I sure don’t ever want to quit learning. I’ll never know it all and I wouldn’t want to. Too much responsibility! A better life lies ahead of all of us who realize we need to be our own navigator. It’s even better when you have a co-captain/navigator in your life, a trusted person to travel with you. It’s not necessary, just nice. Appreciate those who love you and help you grow. Thanks a million, Babe.

Watch out for pitfalls and backsliding while learning to let others navigate their own road, when they’re capable. We’ll all make mistakes, there is no way around our being human. Learn from today’s mistakes. And don’t dwell on them. You’re living in the now and the future is ahead of you, not behind.

Today will be beastly hot, not fit for anyone. Drink lots of water, and rest. Outdoor work will still be there tomorrow. We have a heat advisory in our area, and I expect it to remain too hot for anyone. Grateful for the A/C. I have lots of catch-up work for the Post, and for us. Too many unexpected things happened all week. It’s going to be better. I know it will. Be safe, hydrate, and be kind. See you tomorrow!

Be Still, and Know That I am God.

Psalm 46:10 tells us to be quiet and listen. Listen to what the message is to you from God, god, or whatever Higher Power you believe in. We all have our own. And the older I am fortunate to become, my faith and spiritual beliefs become bigger. As I’ve navigated life as a Catholic, attended the United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church, I’ve learned so much.

My 50s Catholic training, that extended through the 60s and the early 80s, was pretty rigid. I hear they are not like that any more. And that is because of the human leaders of the Catholic Church, who believe they are the authority on what God wants us to do. Once I compared an updated catechism of the Catholic with the beliefs of the UMC. Hundreds of pages vs about 27 basic points. The UMC is big on letting you figure it out for yourself. I find that very appealing.

John Wesley, founder of what became the UMC, put it succinctly:

Do all the good you can

By all the means you can

in all the ways you can

In all the places you can

At all the times you can

To all the People you can

As long as ever you can

I absolutely love this. I believe they are words to live by, regardless of your religious belief. Try it out. Meditate on it for awhile. I’ve come to realize God is much bigger than I ever thought. While Catholicism has change dramatically since I was a child, God hasn’t. He’s been the one constant, however you believe. God has been so good to me. My nightly thought, as I go to sleep is:

God, Please Be Good to Me.

The Ocean is Large,

And My Boat is So Small.

Think on this today. It’s all about making the world a better place by our having been here. Give a compliment. Smile at a stranger. Say hello to a child who is watching you. It all makes a difference. And it feels good, too. Thanks for reading. It’s short today, I’m on my way to a luncheon with fellow Class of 1970 Alumni from Ryan High School. I decided I need to get out more, as I’m so comfy at home. I can’t become a hermit, which would be easy. So, you all have a great day. See you tomorrow!

Motives – We All Have Them

Are they based in good or evil? Are we a drama queen, enhancing our story at the slightest encouragement. We may have all done that a time or two. It’s a test of our character to tell the truth always. Judge Judy, with all her wisdom, tells litigants all the time, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember what you lied about.” She’s right.

People, especially from dysfunctional families/relationships have a tendency to make themselves victims at times. Sometimes, a partner is so beaten down with insults and sabotage they don’t realize they’re adding to their truth. It is a jolt when you finally get it.

If you truly love someone, trust them completely, and know you can rely on them, you never question their motives. Spending the rest of your lives together, which I once questioned to even be possible, becomes a reality. I never question the Babe’s motives. It’s refreshing. He doesn’t question mine, either. It’s as life should be. We’re blessed.

I liked this meme of the first line of Beatrix Potters book. Haven’t we all read those words? Proof we need a great opening line. Just like anything, you need a hook. It’s hard to learn. Practicing it as we speak.

What’s my motive for writing? It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Dad and older brother worked at the local newspaper in production. In high school, when I was on the school newspaper staff, I envisioned becoming a reporter someday at the paper. Got married instead. As I’ve said before, I’m a late bloomer. But it’s ok. I wasn’t ready yet. I am now.

We have date night tonight; Willy Wonka at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center. This should be a great time. I look forward not only to the play, but also to seeing the inside of the Center. I’ve always been curious of what it looked like inside. Tonight, we’ll see!

We have a lot of computer work to do today. The Babe is doing month end for the Post books, and I’m working on placing my illustrations on the pages again today. Even if I only do one page or two a day, it’s progress. More editing is ahead of me for the afternoon. How about you? Outside my studio/office window, I can see several groups of people returning to their cars after the Gretna Days Parade. We can hear the crowds and the rides making noises at night. The dogs don’t like it! Hope you all have a beautiful day today. We’ll see you tomorrow!