Feelings-Sudden and Manageable.

Whether we want to admit it, we all have feelings. It’s just that they exist. Present in our makeup, triggered with a sight, a sound, or a smell, they can take over. We are not responsible for our feelings or how we feel when they overtake us. We are, however, responsible for our response to them. What?

You heard me. If your response is to yell at whoever is near, belittle them, and humiliate them so you feel better, that’s wrong and you’re responsible for the fallout from that. That’s extremely dysfunctional behavior and you own that. You owe apologies to everyone you hurt. They did nothing to you. You responding to those pesky feelings, and here we are.

Learning how to handle those feelings will make you a better person, more settled, and your growth will be great. Feelings management has to be learned. It’s not inborn. We cannot manage triggers. We can only manage what we do with our feelings. Lashing out at people only serves to isolate you when you need support. Alienate enough people and you’ll end up very alone and lonely. Be conscious of this; it’s sometimes impossible for us to undo the damage we’ve done.

I’ve tried very hard to be conscious of this out-of-control behavior. I’ve witnessed this much in my life, and I still hate when I see it unfold before me. It’s so damaging if it’s directed at you. Please, learn to control your emotions, and don’t hurt others because of them. Learning to be honest with yourself. Admitting you’re afraid or feeling threatened is hard work. And the angry outbursts are much better silenced than heard by the entire neighborhood.

Every family has it’s challenges. We all keep our secrets. The fewer the secrets, the more ready you are for challenges. Honesty is the best way to talk about this stuff. Try it. You may like it. Let’s see each other tomorrow, ok?

What’s My Favorite Thing to Cook?

This prompt is courtesy of my friends at WordPress. When I can’t decide on a topic, we’re just going to take their prompt and run with it.

My favorite has changed over the years. When I was a young Mom, I loved having a peanut butter sandwich and apple slices with my littles. We’d picnic in the backyard, or even go with other neighborhood friends to the Zoo. We’d both load up the wagons and food and Kool Aid, and go to walk the Zoo. It was easier back in the 70s and 80s; it was much smaller.

As time went on and I was alone with my kids, I loved cooking Sunday dinner. Roast, whatever we could afford. My kids were all home and Frankie, the elder of the tribe, made it a point to tell the littles (Nick and Becky) it was important to have dinner as a family. He loved those dinners, and so did I. The kids all did. Before my sons worked, we’d start the day on Sunday with Jazz on the local radio station, and a big breakfast. All four of us sat around and read the newspaper afterwards, too. I miss those days. What I don’t miss is the robbing Peter to pay Paul, the nearly overdrawn checking account every day, and the running out of cash and milk on Tuesday when I didn’t get paid until Friday. That was horribly stressful. And the stress of raising kids, praying you get it right. They were good; they made good choices. I was lucky.

I’ve always loved cooking meals for company, holiday meals for our family, and I believe I’m probably just about done cooking solo for holidays. My back just can’t handle all the standing, etc. I will make sure I have a helper from now on. That’s how things get handed down.

My favorite thing to make is dessert. Cake, pie, bites of candies, brownies, etc. It’s no wonder; I’m a person probably addicted to sugar, so of course I’m great at building desserts. I have a few Keto recipes to reduce the bad stuff. Might get some in before Valentine’s Day for the Babe and me. We don’t normally make a big deal out of it; we know we love each other. Some folks live and die by it. Hallmark wins, and Russell Stover, every time.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another 40 + degree day. We actually sat outside for awhile today. The air was fresh, but a little cool with the bit of wind. Each day gets us closer to spring. Cabin fever has driven the Babe a little stir crazy. He just wants out. Out to enjoy and do something. Soon, my dear. Soon.

My study of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is going well. It’s picked up in the last couple weeks, when I realized I have learned some variation of some concepts before, and that I’ve been on the Artist’s Way for a few years now. I’m looking to broaden the stroke of the brush, though. I’m thinking of adding narratives of my quilt making and of my learning to draw and paint. Why does it have to be only writing? Why can’t I showcase all my creative endeavors? Anything can happen, right? What do you think, would you be interested in seeing all or just the writing? Let me know.

We’re watching Omaha’s Creighton Bluejays v Villanova Basketball game right now. We’ll see each other again tomorrow, ok? Have a great Sunday.

2-3-2023. Friday’s Things.

Yesterday was Ground Hogs day. Phil saw his shadow. Six more weeks of winter. But six weeks is around the Spring Solstice anyway, so what difference does it make? I don’t know how or why this spectacle began, but I suppose it’s fun. I didn’t question as a kids, the nuns taught us about it, and I’m surprised they did. There is no religious significance to the day, at least I don’t recall learning that. What do you know about it?

Yesterday was also the birthday of a very special Veteran I know. Marion Logermen turned 99 years old. He is a WWII Veteran. He was stationed in Italy, and earned a Purple Heart. The Battle of Anzio is one part of the war he witnessed. He is a very kind man, and someone I’ve been lucky to get to know and talk with. It’s folks like him who make it hard to not be as active at the VFW. At this point of winter, and due to his age, we most likely wouldn’t be seeing him anyway. I’ll have to call him and let him know we were thinking of him today.

I worked on the borders of Cody’s quilt today. Didn’t get them all finished, but they should be tomorrow. Hoping to wrap that project up next week. Next week will also include filing taxes, finishing the quilt, and looking at the kid book with fresh eyes after too long. February is turning into such a productive month. Let’s check back again in about 25 days.

Finished my third book for the 2023 Reading Challenge. So far, on track! Still coaxing the creative spirit out from the storage shed. I’m really tempted to sign up again for monthly art (painting) projects, but since I didn’t do any of the others I signed up for last year, I just can’t right now. I need something to get me going on it. It will happen.

Once we start committing to our creative journey, it is not selfish to want our own, private time. If we don’t carve that out of our day, we may become resentful. And that’s not healthy at all; not for our spirit, soul, or creativity. Let’s remember that.

If you’ve ever had a martyr in your life, you know how guilt-producing they can be. And you’re not even guilty. That’s how they work. They make everything your fault. You’re always the one who is wrong, at fault, doesn’t know what you’re talking about. They use words like always and never. If you are programmed with that message, it takes a long time to find out it’s not true. And, it’s not only false, it’s abusive. Don’t let them get to you. Don’t let them steal your joy. Create. And make the world a much better place. See you tomorrow.

February 2, 2023

Just a little more to read and I’ll finish “All the Perfects” by Colleen Hoover. It’s a little confusing, each chapter is either “Then” or “Now.” We are winding up to a big finish, and I hope it’s a good ending. We’ll see.

It’s kind of interesting. Some of the last few books I’ve read have different timelines. They sometimes meander all over the place. At other times, they are linear, in correct sequence. This one relies strictly “Then,” and “Now.” I may have become lost a couple times. Hope I get back on track very soon; like in the next two pages.

Today, there was more info on the possible shooter at our local Target store. He was schizophrenic. How very sad. There is no good reason this all happened. There is no excuse for it. The mental health field should be more able to get patients to comply with protocol that will keep them functioning in society and living a life that is safe for them and society.

It is not one element of the storm, it is all of them; untreated mental illness, instability, and many, many other unseen issues even before you add in the weapon element. We cannot blame only one. The problem will not be solved by banning one element. The entire problem needs addressing all at once. Equal blame can be assigned to all.

We saw the Metro in the DC area had yet another shooter loose today. Hearing it was the Metro caused us concern. Our grandson rides with some of his homies to school. Further reports clarified it was nowhere near our grandson’s area. Another thank God. The heightened sensitivity towards the news cycles is not unusual, it happens all the time. We’re honed in on it, then life goes back to normal.

My heart broke yesterday for one of the young Target workers. She was being interviewed about her experience and mentioned it was ingrained into them after having their entire school career filled with active school shooter training. What a shame, having that be a part of a young person’s life. My generation didn’t have that to worry about. Our kids and grandkids do. What kind of world do we have?

It’s exactly at this point, we need to stop and be positive. There are far more people who are good, kind people. Bad things happening is the exception, not the norm. Many more of our days go by uneventful than deadly and frightening. Yes, give me a boring day any day of the week. Here’s to a boring next couple days. Stay safe out there, and see you tomorrow.

The Last Day of January, 2023

If you live in Nebraska or any state north of there, you know what I’m talking about.

This morning, when I opened the inside door to let the dogs out, the combination door to the outside was frosted over. Not just on the glass, but on all the metal, too. It was about zero degrees out. And don’t touch it with wet fingers – or your tongue.

Yes, it’s that cold out. The possibility for frigid temps, snow, and bad weather exists for another couple of months. We have lots of things to take care of inside until springtime comes along. There are lots of books, projects, and writing to do.

For the first month of 2023, I made a decision for my future. The art/drawing/painting bug has been biting me since I went with my friend Lora last summer to see Van Gogh. I have not started yet, but hope to by March 1. February 1, I’m taking out my kid book again and begin to edit the long passages.

The hardest part of me with a kid book is to learn most parents don’t want a book to last more than about five minutes. They’re too busy to read. That makes me sad, but I can’t change that.

The quilts are coming along nicely. I am learning to accept the fact I only think I can finish things quicker than I do. It’s hard, but it’s better than driving myself crazy. It’s part of learning to accept ourselves. I have to accept every part of myself to let the creative vibes do their thing. The clearer my strong points become, the better to capitalize on them.

I am very much almost right on with my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2023. I started Colleen Hoover’s, “All Your Perfects.” I’m about 1/3 way in so far, and I’m thinking it may only take a day or two to finish it. Some of her books are a little hard to follow; I think that was maybe because I was probably much older than her fans who read the books/trilogy. I’m guessing she also wrote these books earlier in her life. The combination could be why I had some difficulty being interested in the story about very young love, first apartments, first breakups.

I’ve repeatedly read about the more you read, the better you will write. I’m all for that. I do love to read. And learning all throughout life helps us create keys to different parts of ourselves. Some keys open doors we’d rather not open. They can stay closed. The keys that open doors to new adventures, new people, new discoveries. Those are the doors we want to open. They exist to enhance our lives. I think we all want to do this.

We need to stop talking ourselves out of living our dreams. Trying things we’ve always wondered if we could do or not. We are not too old. It is never too late. Start putting our dreams into action. It feels so good! Begin today! See you tomorrow.

“The Enlightenment of Iris”

I just finished a long, relaxing weekend with Joshua Berkov’s latest book, “The Enlightenment of Iris.” It was great! Talk about surprises and plot twists. It had it all. Laughing, crying, and lots of actual characters. I imagine these characters as having some root in life, maybe a family member or two. Joshua, could this be a little true? I imagine a family reunion of yours. If Iris, Angeline, and Esther were sisters, I bet they’d be a hoot on Thanksgiving or Passover. Angeline and Esther had an Enlightenment book of their own, too. They were what got me hooked. I’m still reeling from your plot twist, Joshua. You are a master!

And don’t get me started on “Adulting at the Moto Lodge.” If you all want some fun stuff to read, and good writing, get some of Joshua Berkov’s books. You won’t be sorry. There are a couple other books by Joshua, I’ll probably order those too, next Amazon order.

It was a relaxing, wonderful weekend for the Babe, me, and the dogs. Colder than heck outside, but we had lots of comfort food the past two days, and enough down time to have a nap each day. And now, it’s Monday again. Another week to have a great start and finish. Let’s do this!

Want to hear the funniest thing I can think of right now?

The Babe always teases me about all the fabrics, quilt kits, notions, patterns, etc. I have. And yes, I have a wonderful collection. I bought ahead for when I’d be retired. And so here we are.

The irony in this situation is this:

For all the kidding I’ve endured, today, I was working on Cody’s quilt, and stitching the eyes on for the dogs. They’re simple white outer circles, and black inner circles. Huh. For all the boxes of threads I have; sewing, embroidery, quilting, and serger, guess what? I have not one spool of white sewing thread. To make matters worse, the local quilt shop in Gretna, The Quilted Moose, is closed on Sunday and Monday. Wow. I think I’ll have to make a trip into Omaha or just wait until Tuesday. That might be what I do. I have other parts of the appliqued dogs I can work on. Just thought it was quite ironic.

Have you ever had something like that happen to you? Share it. Life is just this ironic, isn’t it?

Maybe this will be a week of irony. Irony can be good, too, can’t it? I’d settle for funny. Even if I’m the butt of the joke, it’s ok. We can’t take ourselves too seriously. It’ll be a busy week, so let’s get started. The new month will be here in a couple days, so let’s get it started off on a positive note. See you tomorrow.

Saturday & Sunday Fun.

Things are quiet this weekend so far. We had a little extra sleep last night, and that is a glorious way to start the day. Things just sort of went along today, morphing from cleaning to working on taxes, to cutting some quilt applique pieces. The eyes are ready to be sewn on some dogs, and I set more pieces for bigger dog blocks are on tomorrow’s list of to-do’s. Looking forward to another day of relaxing and enjoying the day.

I finally caught up a bit with “The Artist’s Way,” by Julia Cameron. Truthfully, I read a rather sarcastic review of the book. I thought some had merit; and I found it may make more sense or seem more meaningful, fresher, whatever you want to call it, if the audience was younger. Much of what I read now seems I’ve heard before, or read, or even lived it.

The recovery for this week is a sense of possibility. I don’t feel the need to make lists of 5 things I want to do, things I haven’t done yet because of fear, and so on. I’ve really identified things I want to learn, and know I will do them, as soon as I can.

Toni Morrison says she thinks we make too big a deal of doing all our domestic duties and raising our families and maybe squeezing in a creative work or two and giving our highest praise for what might be the genuine talent a person has. The talent they should perform full time. Enough of waiting until the kids, raised and gone, have left the nest. Why make yourself wait a lifetime?

Good question. Don’t fret over the answer, though. It will waste more valuable time. Just do it. I believe I need to try drawing and painting. If I’m terrible, so be it. Then I’ll know. I can create more hours in a day by doing what we’re doing, downsizing stuff we don’t have use for anymore, and making sure we always pick the house up, and the laundry caught up. It is happening as we speak.

I’m glad to be at this point. My deadline for getting back to my kid book is February 1. I will finish the quilts after the first of the month. Taxes, rearranging the quilt studio, finish the office. It’ll all be good. New habits to achieve more.

How about you? Do you have anything you are working to achieve in your retirement, your weekends, before your next birthday? There is something freeing and frightening by putting it out here for everyone to see. I did it, now it’s your turn. Let’s get started! Still time to get the mystery solved on Dateline tonight. Stay warm, it’s frigid out there! Be safe. See you tomorrow!

Saturday Ideas

How’s your day going? I hope well. We started early, like always, and are taking our time about figuring out how to spend the day until the first NFL playoff is on. Relaxing and reading is always a double win for me. And the Babe has chili fixings. Does it get any better?

I was thinking a lot about our Grandma Jewell the past week. When we were kids, Mom bought Imperial Margarine. It was cheaper than butter, and no one had much money. Housewives had to pinch pennies. We only used butter on major holidays, like Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. We felt rich, everyone dressed up for dinner and feasting on special cuisine.

Grandma always used butter. The real kind. It was magnificent. She also baked clover leaf rolls, and the combination of melted butter with freshly baked rolls was heavenly. And the scent! Wow. The stuff dreams and wonderful memories are made of.

I had toast the other day for breakfast, and the Babe buttered it for me. Nothing else. A healthy grain bread, toasted, and buttered. I’m finding it easy to eat it slowly, The last little flavor burst is sweet beyond belief. How is it the taste is so enhanced? I’m not sure. Is it from opening up and letting my creativity reign? It could be. We’ve talked about opening up and paying attention to what goes on. I think that could be some of it. I’m just enjoying the memories produced. I can see Gram, in one of her lovely aprons, holding a pan with those beautiful baked goods.

I’ve read the sense of smell evokes the most vivid memories. I have to believe that. For a very long time after my son drowned, I couldn’t tolerate some smells. Normal smells. Wet sand. Suntan oil. A beach. Believe me. They are right. I hope you never have bad memories related to scents. I hope they’re only good ones. Like Grandma’s kitchen.

Whatever you’re doing today, enjoy it. Enjoy your people. Pets. Solitude. It’s all good. See you tomorrow!

Nice and Easy Does It, Every Time

If truth be told, it’s often strangers who throw real, honest support behind us, believing in us, and giving our creations notice, honest feedback, and sharing with others. This is what we need and what we fear, sometimes. It can make us uneasy with how we’re viewed, even by a friend. It’s new and we need to get used to it.

Still with Julia Cameron while we’re recovering a sense of power in our creative journey. As things start to gel, percolate, and become more possible than impossible, we may hear some criticism. Yes, of us. Of our work. From strangers and people known to us.

When I was a kid I liked to draw people and clothing. I’ll tell you nearly every time I’d show my artwork, I’d hear, “It’s nice, but you sure can’t draw faces.” I probably would still hear that if I told someone I was taking drawing up again. So I’m just going to keep that info among us. How about that? Works for me.

Sometimes we get going on a path of growth and change only to have it stall, drag it’s feet, and quash our creativity for a few days to a few weeks. What did we do wrong? Not a darned thing. Really? Yes. It’s the nature of the beast. Great! Now you tell me! I thought it’d be all systems “GO!” No, doesn’t work that way.

We are more normal than we think or want to be. The one thing we can do is keep doing our normal routine. In a marathon, the experienced runner will tell you to run ten slower miles for every fast one. That is the reality of many things. Creating is one of them. In fact, there is a very old Frank Sinatra song called, “Nice and Easy Does It; Every Time.” My dad was a great Sinatra fan; I can recite many of the lyrics of a lot of old songs from the old days. Dual purpose? It reminds me of Dad.

So, when you get in a rush to keep up a breakneck speed at creating; Remember. “Nice and Easy Does It Every Time.” Remember, Easy Accomplishes It. Julia Cameron tells us. While we’re waiting for more energy and ideas, don’t forget one of the most important things we need to do every day: Be kind to ourselves. Do something special for yourself every day. It might be sit and read a favorite book for an hour; take a bubble bath; whatever you want. Don’t skip it; if you don’t believe you’re worth it, no one else will.

Quiet time, solitude, is good for us. How long has it been since we checked with ourselves to see how we are? We need to be honest with ourselves. If you’re doing something hard, reward yourself afterwards. The one thing we don’t want to do is reward ourselves with food. I love desserts of many kinds. That makes a bad reward, it will hurt me in the long run. A much better reward is a book I really want to buy and keep. It may help open up more creativity in me, too.

Whatever you do, always be kind to yourself. Forgetting that will sabotage yourself. You need to be your own best friend. Nice and easy. Be nice and easy on yourself. Every time. See you tomorrow.

Monday, Monday & Anger

We’re still decluttering and talking about how to both know what’s going on with everything in the household. Ever since we got married, we kept our finances separate. We both had debts that took a while to pay down. By then, the kids needed legitimate help once in a while, and we just kept things separate.

Since we’re both in our 70s now, we decided it’s a good idea to fill each other in on our separate debts, regular payments, etc. This revelation shocked some folks, but it works for us. It’s worked for nearly 25 years, no need to change it now. Soon, we’ll both be on point to take something out of our retirement accounts annually. I love we have always been able to trust each other with everything. Assets, money, retirement, fidelity, relationships with opposite-sex friends, the whole nine yards. It is a gift that keeps giving.

I feel as if I’m behind with the Artist’s Way this week. I’m creating like crazy on the quilt for grandson Cody, and we’re getting a lot of little things completed along the way. We thought the Christmas tree would be in the box by dinner time today, but no, that didn’t happen. We’ve decided we’re pleased with the results of our extra attention we’re paying to our home now. It’s making our surroundings more comfortable and productive.

I’m glad our dad always insisted we learn to pay attention to what goes on around us. Pay attention to people, traffic, other people walking, whatever is going on. We grew up in a world and neighborhood where all the neighbors knew each other, where it was safe to ride our bikes to the library or the park.

My kids pay attention like I did as a kid. While driving them to school one day many years ago, one of them talked about the beautiful sunrise we could see daily; complete with a couple clouds, orange and crimson streaks, for effect. It was after my dad died. Nick said, “This reminds me of when Grandpa had us watch Bob Ross paint on television.” Yes. He certainly paid attention. I want to paint scenes like that. I will. Just follow along, it will happen.

I need to devote more time to the lessons in the Artist’s Way. This week is about anger. This is a tough feeling for me. Like most women my age, they taught us to not show anger. Nice girls and women do not get angry. Control your temper, ladies. This was not true in our home. Our mom was frequently angry. I did not know why, I just felt responsible. This was what she experienced growing up. Yelling is how she cleared the air. I would quietly go to my room and hide out until I had to come out. Walking on eggshells is not a way to live. I was such a nervous kid, always afraid I did something wrong. I shrunk up and tried to be invisible. Anger should not be the only emotion kids witness.

The proper way to deal with anger is to use it for good. If you are a person who blows up and yells at everything, you need to learn why you do this and learn what you need to do to handle the feelings causing this before you cause harm to others in your family, especially children. Mom still goes through her “rant and rave” sessions. And it still makes me feel like I did something wrong. It’s different from “venting,” it’s damaging to relationships, your personal life, spaces, and other people.

What Cameron says about anger is huge. Anger is fuel, it’s a map, it is to be listened to. Anger is a map. To show you where you need to go next; it shows what you need to change boundary-wise. It points the way, not just a finger. If Mom, stressed and angry, should have used the anger to see what the problem was and how she could correct it. She didn’t know any better.

Problem was, the dysfunction took over, just as she witnessed as a child; yelling and shouting was the learned response. It is one of the worst ways to handle the situation. But they didn’t know any better. It would have been a healthier response to think about the stress, overwhelm, and problem. Handle it constructively.

During this time era, people kept secrets. Secrets about everything. Domestic violence. Infidelity. Mental Health issues. Special needs children. Children who had learning disabilities. And stresses/problems of stay at home moms. No one admitted to any problems.

I didn’t have a blueprint for what to do when your kids grew up. I’ve had a hard time when they’ve all left, which is what I raised them to do. Even with the Babe in my life, I missed those kids so bad. I still do, but differently. I’ve never insisted they come on holidays when others may need their presence too. They all know they’re welcome anytime. But where did that leave me? All we can do is carve out a niche for us and furnish it with what we need.

All of this is uncharted territory. Find what you get angry about and figure out how to stop it. There was a time in my life that I, too, yelled at my kids. My mom was angry, and I didn’t want that to happen to me. My unhappy first marriage caused my anger. I filed for divorce and stopped the destructive behavior. I became very calm and happy. It was amazing. I didn’t end up an angry woman. Grateful.

I will take this unit to heart. Recovering a sense of power is important. I am aware of my power and I want to use it to the max. We’ll see how the week goes. We’re supposed to get some snow this week. I’m happy. It is winter, after all. If you’re angry, analyze where it comes from. And how to re-direct it. You may get some answers you didn’t bargain for. Have a happy Monday, and we’ll see you tomorrow.