Shiny, Happy, New Monday!

After the last month being schedule-crazy, I have the entire week free until Friday. Mom goes to the eye doctor then. I am free to add in whatever I want to do. I am visiting a couple friends from way back in the late seventies. I’m looking forward to it.

Until visiting later today, I’m going back to writing first thing in the morning. The day is far more productive. Friends, we cannot often gauge how quickly we’ll change a bad habit. It is said it takes 21 days. So be it. It should take me until around my birthday to make progress towards changing the bad habits I’ve fallen back to.

I’m grateful to go visit friends who have played an important part in my independence as a single Mom. Janet babysat my kids whenever I needed her. I’ve always been grateful for that. Our friend Kathy was my main sitter, and Janet helped whenever she could. Her husband Don was an Omaha firefighter who offered support and encouragement when he could. I love the fact we’ve remained friends all these years later. As a couple, they’ve always been first to offer help. Good people, we need more like them.

None of us knows what our future holds. Health or illness? Work or rest? Gains or losses? The older I become, the more I know things can change so quickly. In 1995, I went from being healthy and basically fit to nearly being bedridden in one short week. A tumor in my spinal canal was crushing the spinal cord. The pain was something I will never forget.

The weather was chilly and drizzly yesterday. We enjoyed Netflix and meals from HelloFresh. I enjoy cooking so much more with tastier food. Let me know if you’d like to receive a complimentary box. No joke, there are no strings attached. Let me know by FB Messenger what your email address is. Thank you!

I’m going to organize some stuff, then visit my friends. It’s a hot summer day according to the forecast. I’d appreciate some more spring non-windy days, but I’ll take what we can get. Have a beautiful day and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Lesson Learned

I learned something very important today.

I’m on Day 2 of a major cleanup/organizing my studio/office. There will be a Day 3 with perhaps a Day 4. I knew it wouldn’t be One and done. I didn’t expect 3 days. Why? I have chronic back pain, and it is getting me back in spades. You’d think I’d learn.

I’m not supposed to lift anything over ten pounds. Have you seen the old printer I moved from the Babe’s office into mine? Have you seen the backpacks full of books about writing I need to sort and shelve? They will live on a corner shelf and a small library cart I need to put together. Not a problem. I need to sort through all the sewing projects collected on the sewing machine cabinet. Re-homing in the basement studio is in store for them. Some special projects will stay upstairs. All else will also go to the basement studio. That will also be reorganized, but that is for June, July, and August. Hopefully, the three tall book cases will be assembled by then.

Yes, I lifted over 10 pounds. Two days in a row. We also picked up groceries. They were heavy, too. I will probably do that until I absolutely cannot. That means I’ll have pain. I usually do. This is nothing new. I also know waiting for the Babe to get home and he is often too tired to do those things. We’re both aging. While logically, we know that, we still fight the idea. I’ve had restrictions for 25 years. Sometime I can test them; lately it’s not such a great idea.

We took care of a necessity on the way home. We stopped at Baskin Robbins and the Babe ad I each had iced cream. What a treat! That’s probably my last food for the day. It’s nearly 5 p.m. and we’re going to stay home and have a relaxing evening. Hope you do, too! And I hope there’s ice cream in your future. Take care. See you tomorrow!

Superb Sunday 4/24/2022

Wow. Sometimes I forget things. We all do. I’ve forgotten haircut appointments and scheduled phone calls. The worst thing I forget? Like most people of a certain age, forgotten to take my prescription medications.

With the chronic. Pain I have, that’s not good. I don’t take opioids and CBD products don’t work. So, it’s live with it and understand how to work through the pain. It takes a lot many days. Today, I did not want to get out of bed. Once the coffee, meds, and hot shower kicked in, it was all systems go.

We had ball games for Gavin today. His skills are improving every game. It’s hard when the kids as a team make mistakes. You can tell all the kids are growing as players and as humans. The catcher called time out and walked up to give Gavin a pep talk. It was such a proud moment! Gavin got back in the zone and the game continued. Since it was a tournament today, the first game was a win, the second a loss. The kids’ collective heart broke. Until next week, boys. Fresh game, new team, new challenges.

As I watched today, I recalled all the games we’ve watched for the grandkids. Grandson Joell out in Maryland played little league, and we were able to see some of his games. It was a lot of fun, too. Unfortunately, he took a hit in the face by a crazy pitch and decided he’d like swimming better. He is a competition swimmer and does very well. He secured his first job recently, as a swim instructor for younger kids at his swim club. How awesome! He let go of something and found his own niche in the world. I love how the parents orchestrated both of the boys finding what they love and are supportive of their dreams. That makes all the difference in the world. Same goes for Addison with her Competition Dance and High School Dance Team.

Tomorrow, I’m beginning the journey again. Order of business is to organize my information for a free week long Children’s Book Challenge Week. I want to be prepared every day when class begins at noon at ends at 2 p.m. I should get some great information as I work with my illustrator in the next couple of months. Jordan is quite busy and should have something for me to review in a couple of weeks.

I am excited to get back to the serious work of writing. The first step, along with the Children’s Book Challenge, is to straighten up my studio/office. No more untouched quilt kits making me feel guilty. I will only allow things in the studio/office which are being worked with. All else will be in the basement level studio. It should allow for a lot of creativity to flow. I look forward to that.

Tomorrow is another brand new, shiny opportunity to have a beautiful day, create something, and do some good. What are you going to do that will make you happy and make a difference in the world around you? Have a good rest of the evening, and see you tomorrow!

Thursday – First Day

I am taking part in the Nebraska Writer’s Guild Spring Conference. I’ve attended three times in the past, pre-COVID. We have writing sprints right now, so I thought, “What a great time to write a blog and not skip a day.” Most likely, I will not want to write once I get home tonight.

Yesterday, I felt like a kid the day before school starts. I was a weird kid who loved school. We did little during the summer. Dad worked nights and slept days, and we only went on one vacation as a family. It wasn’t good. My baby brother screamed his head off during the entire drive to Minden, Nebraska. We stayed maybe a night in the motel and headed back home.

I looked forward to school starting. I really looked forward to this conference. It’s a chance to meet more people who like what I do, and who do what I do, too. Some are quite good, too. I hope with hard work that I’ll be able to pick up the ball and run with it. My plan is to begin again with my novel. I’ll probably read what I have finished so far and outline some more to ease back into it.

I am glad there is a big variety of topics for the breakout sessions. They begin after lunch at 1:30 p.m. Writing sprints are timed segments, where you write as many words as you can for the time given. Whoever writes the most words is a “winner.” It is an exercise to dump your brains out on the paper. Most people work on their books, and I will too, probably later. It’s good practice.

The anticipation of learning something new always lifts my spirits. I am going to join a session on using TikTok to market my writing. I know it’s a thing. The grandkids are hooked on it. I wonder how they’ll feel when they find out their grandma is on TikTok. Shhhhh! It’ll be our little secret! There are many ways to embarrass yourself. I might as well learn one more! I’ll let you know how it goes.

The first breakout session that interests me is about Creating Characters Your Readers Know. The blurb caught my eye because it referred to channeling your difficulties, overcomer struggles and life experiences into characters your readers know. This is exactly what I am doing writing about Katie Fitzgibbon. I believe it will be eye opening for me.

The second session today is about TikTok. It ought to be fun. (If I tell myself that enough times, it will be.) A local author, Brandy Prettyman will talk about The Business of Writing. Since I’m an official LLC, I need to get with the program. I overlooked mailing in a couple of forms to the State of Nebraska last year, and they sent me reminders on a very regular basis. It’s a shame, there were only expenses, no income. It’ll still be good to hear what she has to say.

It’s a toss up for the last hour, “Writing in Deep POV,” or “The Unputdownable Page: How to Create stories Your Reader Cannot Put Down.” The second one sounds good. I believe the presenter is the keynote speaker, so maybe she’ll talk about that a bit in her speech. The more I think about it, the more I think the Deep POV will be for me. Especially since the depth of the character’s feelings comes into play in my novel. Thanks for helping me decide.

It is now time for lunch. Of course, I’ve purchased some books and gained some others that were free. Have a splendid afternoon, and enjoy the day. See you tomorrow!

Beauty/Loveableness/Teens

It’s said beauty is in the beholder’s eye. I suppose that is true. As I’ve grown older, my definition of beauty changed dramatically. I suppose as a teenager I found my idea of beauty in fashion magazines, teen magazines, and had a skewed idea of beauty. It was anything but me. I think most girls my age felt this way, although I did not know that. We just didn’t have those kinds of discussions.

As I remained dateless after the age of 16, I thought no one would love me. Images of Twiggy and Goldie Hawn as the “Sock it to Me” girl made me believe I would never be thin enough for someone to love. It reinforced the message from Madison Avenue, my mom, and what I saw around me. Everyone but me was beautiful and loveable. I felt fat and ugly. And not very smart. Little did I know I actually had a pretty face, beautiful eyes (hidden by pop bottle lenses of the 60s) and was the right size of a normal human teenage girl. (The other day, a friend commented, “I wish I was the weight I was when I first thought I was fat.” Amen, sister!)

I lost all that. While my first husband was gone in the Army (Europe in an office, not in Vietnam), I crash dieted my way to less than 130 pounds. Starved myself, lost 50 pounds, and wore hot pants and shorts for the only time in my life. It was hard to maintain. I went back to a normal weight again, and felt fat. I wasted how sad so much of my life on feeling like that. Who the heck cares? I did, way too much.

I’d gain 35-40 pounds during each pregnancy when some doctors only wanted a 20 pound weight gain. I suspect many babies did not have the great start they deserved during this era. Mine were all healthy from the get go, thankfully. I’ve yo-yo’d my way during the rest of life. I was at an unhealthy plateau for a long time, until COVID let me to realize I wasn’t comfortable. I lost about 40 – 45 pounds, feel great, and haven’t KETO’d since.

By charts, etc., I should weigh less. I’m not sure that’s going to happen. For my health, it would be a little better, but the rest of my health numbers, etc are great. No high cholesterol, blood pressure under control, and I have various specialty docs I see for chronic pain. My knees don’t require injections every 90 days any more. I’m good, by most standards.

My idea of beauty now? It’s never found in a celebrity or the pages of a magazine. It’s found in the smiling, wrinkled face of a grandmother; the wisdom of a toddler who talks constantly; the excitement of a person discovering their talents after a lifetime of doing for others. It’s in nature; it is in wildlife; and it is in the every day, commonplace things. It is in the beholder’s eye. The heart of the beholder. The mind of the beholder. It’s a tween telling you they like spending time with you. When you tease your grand kid about silly things they did when they were young, they smile. It’s there! It’s everywhere.

As I finish up the cleaning from yesterday, I’ll see the beauty and show gratitude for taking care of our home. I’ll see it in our dogs. I’ll see it in the book I’m reading. It is everywhere. I’m going to soak it all in, and be grateful for learning what is truly beautiful. Check it out for yourself. Let’s see each other tomorrow. Be safe out there!

Opening Day, 2022!

Note: Today is opening day for the Chicago Cubs. This morning, I saw on GMA they have posted a form letter with fill-in-the-blank reasons for absence from work. How fun! Back even before my time, games were all played during the day. They would fill the stands with men in suits and hats, and ladies in their finery. They did not install lights at Wrigley until 1988. It was a big deal when they did. Hope they have a great season. Go Cubs Go!

Yesterday was another crazy, busy day. The wind, strong from every direction, blew everything back and forth. Garbage cans littered the landscape. For interstate driving, difficulty steering, and extreme caution were the rule of the day. When will spring finally arrive?

It’ll get here when it gets here. Period.

In the meantime, yesterday also was a day with Mom. Before COVID, we attended the retiree group of the Omaha World Herald, the B62’s. Mom didn’t work there, but Dad did for my whole life, 37 years (in 1988, he retired, diagnosed with lung cancer, and died). Through the years, she attended alone. After she gave up driving, I became her chauffer to the event. The group now meets at a different restaurant than the original location; the prior meeting place has closed after over 50 years in business.

We had a pleasant discussion with a man who graduated from my high school in 1968, two years before me. Ryan High School closed in the 80s and they razed the building last year.

Steve Paschang is a skilled conversationalist. We know many of the same people; he currently works with advertising focusing on social media. What a great person to know right now! Thanks, Steve, for sitting with Mom and me.

Since my hawk encounter (read about it here), I have had some revelations. I seriously need to get back to creating things. Quilts. Books. Writing. Things I am passionate about. I’m sliding headfirst into tallying seventy years on this earth. The sands of time are running out in my hourglass of a life. I need to get my butt in gear if I’m ever going to accomplish what I want to. I want to keep creating beautiful things. I want to learn to draw and paint. I have all the supplies, just need to make the time. My home and schedule are being rearranged. Stay tuned!

Looking forward to doing things I absolutely love. What a wonderful life! #gratefulgrandma. See you tomorrow!

Endless Possibilities

Random as this thought is, today’s header photo is of the new bedspread I just purchased for our bed. The pillow saying, “Life is Beauty Full” is perfect, isn’t it? It makes me happy. Not so much the Babe. He says all those pillows interfere with him getting into bed. He’s such a man sometimes! Well, huh? I guess all the time.

Today, this post is your BOGO. What? I discovered when logging into WordPress to blog, I discovered I never posted the Friday edition. Sometimes that happens. I could have skipped, but I have something to tell a story about, so here goes.

We quote Rossiter Worthington Raymond as saying:

Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon;

and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.”

Think about this. Any horizon, limited by where we stand as we look, is only temporary. Since the world is indeed round, horizons are endless. We need to keep moving to even think about seeing all the horizons. I compare it to going to school. As a little child, elementary school has a goal; thus it’s on your horizon until you reach it. Middle school is the next horizon and goal. Then high school. And so it goes.

After high school, you can now decide between trade school and college. Of course, there are countless other possibilities. But as you’ve moved past each horizon, your next horizon changes.

The same thing happens with your personal growth. As you near one personal horizon end, and another presents itself, go for it! Of course, only if it is worthy of your time, talent, and tenacity. You will achieve anything possible by not giving up. If you reach the goal on the next horizon and find it fails, you have learned a valuable lesson. You will adjust your planning and work for the next horizon and proceed with knowledge you did not possess before. No one can take that away from you. It’s a great feeling, believe me.

If someone has quashed your confidence, pioneer spirit, or dreams along your way, take heart; you are not alone. There are many people, especially women, who believe they lack what it takes. Most of the time, it exists. Maybe it needs re-direction. You could be resoundingly successful on a little different horizon. Look at you doing what they said you couldn’t!

Whatever creative outlet calls your name, you will express whatever is in your heart through that medium. It could be painting, quilting, writing prose, dancing, or even writing poetry. If you acknowledge this soul/creative outlet connection, you will feel spent when you finish each project. Being spent and feeling good is a benefit. You’re calmer, more settled, less anxious, lots of things. Man (and women) are not meant to live on bread alone. The arts are crucial to our beings.

Today, it is beautiful outside, a bit chilly, but nice enough to enjoy my rocking chair on the deck. I always say hi to our friend Rick Tiger when I do this. It’s where I had to sit when I wrote about his passing last year. Last time we heard him perform, I was asking him how songwriting differed from other writing. He told me next visit to town, we’d write a song. I showed him out two rocking chairs on our deck. He said this is where we would sit. Dang COVID. COVID, you will not kill dreams. I see another horizon for me, off in the near distance. And I’ll sit here while I do it.

Thanks for reading. Your BOGO is now complete. See you tomorrow!

Grace While Grieving

We need to cut ourselves some slack, especially while grieving. We get through the stuff we have to do, the arrangements, the clergy, the luncheon. We may make a mad dash for the black suit or dress aisle at the local JC Penney’s, or change a last minute appointment to another day, but we handle necessities. If you make silly everyday mistakes on little things, don’t worry. You’re just human. You’re entitled, especially during this time.

Why did no one ever tell us about this part of life? Why is it only Far Eastern civilizations recognize earth as merely a nanosecond in Eternity. The good stuff happens in the afterlife. I’m just learning this is the last 25 years or so.

We never talked about death, what happens to the body as the life leaves, and what part the mind/body connection has. I do much better with information when dealing with troubling situations involving the unknown.

More openness about the process is present now with the longevity of people, access of information (no, not the internet), and genuine interest. Grief itself is it’s own subject. You can talk about the deceased for as long as you like or need.

There is no time limit. If someone tries to place one on you, think twice about your relationship. I did. When I lost my best friend, a guy I was dating couldn’t understand why I still felt bad after ten days. Are you serious? I promptly broke up with him.

Tomorrow, we will bid farewell to everyone’s friend, Lou Riedmann. He was the Babe’s good friend, brother-in-law (they were married to sisters), and mentor. Lou lost his wife ten years ago. There is a lot of history between the Babe and Lou. I appreciate it all.

As we work through the next few days, always speak well to people. You will have no regrets that way. Be patient with those who are grieving. You may need it some day yourself. Live life to its fullest. Leave no stone unturned. See you tomorrow!

Friday Factors

What a busy day today! I’ve mentioned before I’m engrossed in the true life story, “Ordinary on Purpose,” by Mikala Albertson, M.D. She went through med school at UNMC in Omaha. She describes the neighborhood. I can easily identify where she may have lived. I find it fascinating. What a sad story. Her husband and her were both were both in medical school, they had two children, and her husband was an alcoholic and drug abuser. She kept it quiet. She didn’t want to reveal her less than perfect life. How sad.

I am doing a lot of reflecting about this book. It is a lot of truth coming down on me all at once. I marvel at what we women will tolerate in our relationships. It is almost unreal. I have read half of it. May make some headway tonight. Tomorrow morning, the Babe and I will go to the Post to ready the tables for dinner. It is an annual event, with about 60 people attending. We are grateful for the volunteers who help. We’re not able to do the heavy work, moving tables, cooking, serving, and cleanup. Thank goodness for helpers!

I created some gift bags for the wives of the Honor Guard members. Every year, the wife of the Captain does this. I have about 40 bags, with a variety of small items, including two York Peppermint Patties wrapped in Easter colors. It’s an array of things, kitchen towels, a small succulent plant, and others. Just a thank you for the patience and sharing your partner with the Honor Guard. It is an honor to see what these volunteers do in bad weather, heat and cold, wind and rain, to lay their comrades to rest. Everyone should attend a service once. It is impressive.

While I have alcoholics in the family along with a drug user who is now clean and sober, I can tell you it is very frightening to think of what may have happened to them. There were many years we weren’t sure where they were or what they were doing. Frightening indeed.

During that time, I did not want my kids around this person. I was afraid they would pick up the habit. Thank God they didn’t. It was the time of Nancy Reagan and “Just Say No!” I’ve always been the rule follower, the one who didn’t rock the boat. Drugs had no place in my life. While everyone dabbled in the 70s, my then husband and I did not. I didn’t even drink any alcohol until I got divorced at age 29.

The world is full of things that are no good for you, your body, your soul, your mind. Learn to work through your problems, not adopt a crutch to get by. Most addicts tell themselves they can quit any time. They are in full control. Don’t buy it.

I’m grateful to have the curse skip me. I believe it’s skipped my kids, too. It has not been that kind to others in the family. There is so much to learn about families, addiction, and who may inherit the genes of addiction. Learn, read, and make good decisions. Let’s see each other tomorrow. Take care.

“Lives of Great Men All Remind Us”

“We Can Make Our Lives Sublime

And, Departing, Leave Behind

Footprints on the Sand of Time”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote this poem. It makes me pause and think a lot. Longfellow was a poet and also wrote prose. He was called a fireside poet. He wrote many famous books, including the “Song of Hiawatha.” This book is really a poem, and judged to take over three hours to read. I didn’t realize it was so long.

The poem at the top of this post reminds me of another one, Footprints in the Sand. It talks of someone describing a dream they had one night. Well, here it is:

Hardly anyone I know would call themselves great. Part of that is being raised as a baby boomer; and if you’re female, you really don’t. We don’t use words like that. We should. Learning our worth as a human being is important. Saying it out loud is more so.

No, I’m not saying we should be narcissistic. Narcissists don’t have any concern for others. All the people I call friend do care about others. It is in their nature. We want to make the world better for all of us. Service to others is a big part of this. While we need to take care of ourselves, once those daily tasks are done, it’s good to get outside of ourselves and reach out to others. It’s part of a balanced life. I believe that is part of what helps us be great.

People notice us. They notice what we do; how we behave; how we react to disappointment. They see how we deal with difficulty or joy. A positive attitude and hope go a long way toward making a positive mark on the world. Let’s be positive as part of our footprints on the sands of time. It’s one of the best marks to leave.

Thank you for reading today. I value your time and hope you have a blessed rest of the day. Let’s see each other tomorrow. Be safe out there.