Unforgettable, Part II

We’re continuing with the Unforgettable Friends theme from yesterday. A good friend suggested we talk about the grief that can accompany the loss of those Unforgettable Friends.

Some are friends for certain times in our lives. They are with us for a season, for a reason, and they do not stay in our lives. We learn lessons, both good and bad, from having them in our lives. How do we deal with that?

Oh gosh, those who are friends for even a period of years, can have a positive effect on us, even sharing valuable life hacks with you when you need them. You can be friends for thirty years, Things can often change dramatically and you are no longer friends. You’re grateful for them when you were friends. The time is no longer right for you to be friends. You go your separate ways, and have no further contact. It happens, and usually it’s for the best.

We made room for other relationships. Sometimes the new people you meet are the ones you need right now in your life. You learn and grow further. God puts them there sometimes. Show your gratitude to them, to your higher power or God, and recognize the gift they are. You come to recognize those chance meetings are really part of a big picture.

Of course, we have lifelong friends. Those are hard to lose. Death, the final goodbye, is such a thief. Stolen from our lives and our hearts, grief from these losses can be crippling. The Babe and I have had substantial losses in the past three years. All ages, walks of life, and beliefs. Our veteran friends Nugent, Danny, Jay, Lenny, and Kenny. Our songwriting friend Rick Tiger. Our lifelong friends Lou, Janet and Patty. And work friends Gary, and Tony.

They have all left our lives and we miss the places they were filling. We cannot fill the emptiness they leave. Excesses does not fill the voids; alcohol, gambling, overeating, random encounters, etc. Some folks become angry, negative, and act out. There is no shame in needing to talk with someone. Many people claim talk doesn’t help. It does. Sharing helps us give voice to what we need, what we fear, and what we need to heal. If we don’t, we can cause lots of damage to others.

The damage can affect our children, our jobs, our personal lives, and our future happiness. After our dad died, I withdrew. I held back even from my kids. That was damaging to my daughter, who was the youngest. Losing my dad was so enormous, I wanted nothing else to hurt that bad. My grieving was not healthy. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about loss, grief, and going on. For my future, I hope knowledge will help me cope when I think I cannot. I learned the hard way, withdrawing is not a healthy way to deal with grief, no matter how big it is. It’s also part of why I became a Peer Support Specialist. I hope to be a listening ear for folks who need to talk. I’m available.

Katina, thank you for suggesting we write about this part of Unforgettable friends. We have wonderful memories of friends, relatives, neighbors, and colleagues. Those keep us, along with our faith we will all be together again. If you need help with grief, contact our friends at the Centering Corporation in Omaha, Nebraska. They are the oldest grief organization in the United States. They have been present with Gold Star Families, survivors of 9/11, Oklahoma City Bombing, and many other terrible disasters, losses, and attacks.

Have a beautiful Sunday. More quilting in my future today. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you what I did while quilting. I’ve never done it in over 50 years of using a sewing machine. Such a deal! See you tomorrow! Thanks for being here. I appreciate all #1067 of you.

The Hawk. Insomnia. Messages.

I’ve been awake since probably 3 a.m. Yes. 3 a.m. I am still not tired yet at 7 a.m. A quick nap this afternoon will be in order. I woke when the Babe got up to use the restroom, as dudes in their 70s often need to do at night. Lexie was sleeping between us and she stood to circle around and lie down again. She moves until she bumps into any body part on me, then she sighs. It’s kind of nice.

While lying in bed, willing myself back to sleep, my first conscious thought again was the hawk from a few days ago. Here’s that article. Yes, I feel it was a message to urge me to free up time to do the things I want to do – writing, quilting, creating. The hawk, a symbol of honesty and clear vision, came to me in the very spot my friend Rick Tiger said we’d sit and write a song this summer when he and his wife would travel to Omaha to do another show at the VFW. Sadly, Rick contracted COVID and passed away last October.

In the early morning fog of waiting for the coffee to finish brewing, it occurred to me. The hawk may have been Rick. He encouraged me to write, and that is what I intend to do. I am amazed. It’s what I’m working towards, that very thing. And the hawk appeared above me where we were to write the song we talked about. I’m tagging his wife, Joyce, in this blog. Joyce, Rick is still working, isn’t he? I’m grateful for the prompt he asked God to send to me. It’s a gift! Thanks, Rick!

Tonight, the Babe and I are going to the kick-off meet and greet for the first Bombshell Patriots of Nebraska Conference. I’m proud to be part of this event and am eager to hear the speakers tomorrow. They are all very accomplished women. I cannot wait to learn from them. It should be a great weekend. Check them out on Facebook, Bombshell Patriots. They’re in Colfax, Iowa. Their website is: http://www.bombshellpatriots.org.

Should be a great conference.
It will be an honor to hear these women speak and meet them.

I won’t be able to blog until late tomorrow evening, so we will see each other tomorrow. Thank you for reading, stay safe, and have a beautiful evening.

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!

Discipline v. Freedom?

Today, it feels great to be sitting back in the office/studio, Lexie in her chair, music on, (Listening to Rick Tiger, fyi), and planning what to say here again. There is never a total loss of what to say, there are so many things to discuss. Today, I saw these two topics:

“A life without discipline is a life without joy.” Muriel B

“Today, I will remember that self-discipline is in my self-interest.”

By moving back into the office/studio, I am practicing discipline. From probably Thanksgiving until yesterday, I’d lounge with the Chromebook, writing the blog while watching Rachael Ray. I had a great old time. It was relaxing (which I needed), it gave me time to focus on making our Christmas season special for us (and gave me time to refocus on my sadness about the season, from the kids being gone to not getting to see our youngest grandkids very often), and to force myself to focus on what we have, not what we don’t have. The have’s so outnumber the have not’s when you analyze it, I feel a little foolish to dwell on what’s slipped through my fingers instead of what’s in my hand right now. My hands are overflowing!

In life as well as in my author/creator/quilter/crafter/artist world, I need the discipline to enter the room where the magic happens in order for it to “happen.” Magic happens when I’m fully engaged. I cannot be fully engaged when I’m listening to how to make Rachael Ray’s Eggplant Parmesan with part of my brain while trying to write with what little is left to use at that moment.

Discipline has been a word with both a good and a bad definition. As kids, we grew up equating discipline with a spanking. Some kids defined it as a beating at home. Yes, there were many homes like that. While I was raising my kids, I started out with what we all learned, a mild swat on the bottom. Sometimes you had to get their attention. Most of the time, mine would be quiet, and well-behaved. Discipline meant something different to my kids, and was usually grounding, never a beating!

Discipline now may mean loss of screen time (which may trigger a tantrum), losing a special snack, or taking a time out. Discipline is also what we need to keep ourselves on any path; whether it is the Keto Diet, watching a video class for your craft, reading your idols latest publication, it takes discipline to get to a task and perform as you need to.

You will never reach whatever goal you have; losing weight, finishing your novel, learning to paint, producing ribbon earning quilts, or whatever. It sometimes takes more energy to get off the couch and open the laptop than to actually sit in the chair and write 500 – 1000 words. Done and Done!

Discipline no longer is a burden we have to do but hate doing. Doing what needs to be done is the only thing that will get us where we need to go. It’s the only way we can measure our progress, which happens to be my “word of the year.” I get joyful when I see I’ve made progress. I get joyful when I end another post for blogging. I get joyful when I put dinner in the crockpot by 9 a.m. Dinner’s done and I have more time to write, read, and learn. Bonus!

Let’s all celebrate progress by remembering discipline is the best friend we can have; it’s the vehicle that is equipped to get us where we’re going. It doesn’t matter if you’re an alcoholic in recovery, a PTSD or other trauma survivor, a person losing weight for health reasons, or an author writing a book. You soon discover self-discipline is in your self-interest. The trick is not becoming obsessive or compulsive about it, which is a topic for another blog.

Have a beautiful Monday! It’s a clear but cold day here, and at Noon or so, the Babe and I are going to pick up our granddog from the kennel where she stayed while her family was at the Dance Team competition in Minnesota. They’ll be home late this afternoon after the kennel closes. Josie needs to greet her people when they arrive home! Let’s greet self-discipline like a 50 pound lab mix greets her people; you’ll get where you’re going for sure. See you tomorrow!

Let’s Be Joyful!

As I Recall It

We’ve talked before about losses we’ve all experienced because of COVID; loss of security, loss of food security, loss of jobs, loss of family and friends, and the loss of regular schedules for school. It’s a lot.

Many people have recovered well from COVID, the variant, kids are back at school, many folks are back to work, donations are being secured for those food insecure this holiday. The one loss that cannot be regained is the loss of our family and friends.

The Babe and I lost three men friends this year. One was from COVID. Our table at the VFW has fewer occupied chairs. We have two more widows sitting with us for a total of three. I’m the only married woman left. There were three of us. We deeply miss Nugent and Lenny. They were buddies; when Nugent needed his nails trimmed, Lenny would take him to the Nail Salon, and he said they had “toe-ectomies.” Lenny had a way with stories. They always pointed to him as the hero. They might end with him telling you to go to hell. They might end with him declaring “Fix! Fix!” He usually got the girl in the end, during the summer of love when he was a life guard at Peony Park.

Regardless of who got the girl, Nugent had a good friendship with Lenny. He had one with the Babe, too, but it was a more professional one. Nugent had a fabulous bar in his family room, and it was always perfectly stocked. He had great stories, and they were told masterfully. We miss him. He was quieter than Lenny, but every once in awhile, he’d release a thought and crack us all up. A nice, nice man.

Today, I read the small book our friend Rick Tiger wrote, “As I Recall It.” It’s a little book that recalls some pretty significant events in his life. He is modest about his success. He is modest about his talent. He is humble about his beginnings. He makes it clear he and his siblings had deep love from their mother and didn’t want for much of things of the heart. They knew they were loved, they knew they all had to help, they knew they had to behave. And they did that most of the time.

I love the segment where he admitted he and one sister fought over most everything. He, however, knew she was being bullied. And he took care of it. His taking care of it landed him in the principal’s office often. He told his truth and being called to the office was the extent of the punishment. I love that he told about that. It explains his deep love for his family; his wife Joyce, their daughters, and their Grandbabies. What a rich life he describes!

Many things make Rick’s family and friends miss his spirit, smile, and simplicity. He was an honest lover of his wife, Jesus, and Louisiana. Just listen to the words, the piano, the voice. The fog keeping you from leaving, having a cup of coffee while you wait it out, the bourbon sunsets, lose a friend; the saints come marching in. It’s a love song to his state, and it makes me want to travel there to see what he describes. It’s beautiful, to put it mildly. Someday, I hope to have the skill putting words together he had.

I miss Rick for the instant friendship we had. He wrote songs that described times in everyone’s life. Falling down and out of love. Whiskey and Holy Water. The Good Side of the Bar. He was as down to earth as your best friend. He valued everyone. He was a person you weren’t embarassed to ask to pray for you or yours. Every time the Babe had a procedure the last five years, I’d ask Rick to pray for him. He did, without reservation. And he’d text me and ask for updates afterwards. A humble, honest man. What a treasure to have had a friend like this.

I’m grateful for all three of these fine friends of ours. Without knowing them, our lives would have been quieter, smaller, and we would have had fewer laughs. We wouldn’t have had beautiful music to tell our stories, and listen to the wisdom Rick had. I’m grateful to still have the gift of all his CD’s, autographed, and his short book. All autographed.

Thanks for the memories, Rick!

The folks at the VFW Post 2503 are disappointed we won’t be able to have Rick back again next year. Word spread quickly about how much fun it was that night. He sat at a table with all of us and talked for about a half an hour before he started singing. Hugs were exchanged, and we all made new friends. Thanks, Rick and Joyce. Joyce, know there are lots of others thinking of you and your family during this holiday week. May the angels surround you with comfort and love. Take care of yourself, and kiss those grandbabies! They cure everything. Folks, Rick’s music is available for gift giving this season. And so is his book. I can hear his voice in the words. What a great storyteller. I do wish we could have had a song-writing session next summer. It was something we talked about, and I could have learned so much from him. Songs are stories set to music. You know how I love great stories.

Thanks for reading today. Keep your loved ones close; we just never know. Make memories this week. Remember good ones, too. See you tomorrow!

p.s. I made a major boo-boo yesterday. Misspelled a word in my title. Oh well. Sorry! Being human, I think it will happen from time to time. Take care, be safe out there!

Forgiveness is a Process.

There is a saying about Irish Alzheimer’s. It’s when you forget everything but the grudges. BOOM!

Yes, I’m proud of my Irish heritage. Although we have a reputation for being deep in the drink, we don’t have more alcoholics than other ethnic groups. It’s something all of us heard growing up, and the Italians were the Mafiosa, The Polish were, well. Mentally challenged. The Scottish and Jewish were stingy. We all believed the half-truths that kept our ethnic groups apart just like religion does. The Irish Catholic Church was in one neighborhood, the Polish Catholics in another, the Italian Catholics, yet another. We based segregation on not only ethnicity, but religion to boot.

And we were segregated. My mother is 92 years old, and her parents thought ill of Italians; none of her sisters or her could date Italian “Mama’s Boys.” Mom told me once if Grandpa Bobell was alive, I wouldn’t have been allowed to marry the Croatian I married. My German Grandpa was very much hateful towards the Croatians. They divided the country after WWII, and they disappeared with the Slavic nations. Croatians had darker skin than Germans, and there was a prejudice about that, too. Crazy world, isn’t it?

I find it pretty interesting to read about the history of Omaha, Nebraska. My family grew up there, and so did my brothers and I. My dad lived within a mile of where he grew up, attending the same Catholic Church he did for his entire lifetime. That’s pretty amazing. Except for that stint in Europe and the one in Korea, courtesy of the United States Army, his world seemed pretty small. I can imagine the prayers of a young man, 19 years old and with the Medical Corps, praying to God to get him home safely, I’m sure he had PTSD. He had to, with what he witnessed. My dad was the most forgiving person I knew; he always told me to give people the benefit of the doubt. After the second time they double-cross you, there is a pattern and you shouldn’t trust them anymore. Good advice. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Forgiving someone isn’t a one and done thing. Some hurts are so deep, so soul-piercing, you need to heal before you can even think of forgiving. Sometimes, it’s just not a wise thing to do. Yes, some folks don’t deserve your forgiveness. That isn’t the point. Forgiveness is something you do for yourself, not for others. Grudges are heavy to carry around. They take all of your energy. Wanting to forgive is not the same as willing to forgive. There in lies the rub.

Logic tells me I need to forgive. Emotion tells me, “After what they did??” Logic tells me being human makes us imperfect. Emotion tells me to hit the bricks, the quicker the better. My Catholic upbringing tells me if I want God to forgive me, I need to forgive others. You got me there, big time. God doesn’t do things He doesn’t want to. Humans have to sometimes.

That said, forgiving is Divine. It doesn’t mean you forget. That’s a very important lesson we don’t learn. At least I didn’t as a kid. It is foolish to give someone who deeply hurt you the same access to you afterwards. Caution and common sense must prevail. Only in a second chance can you learn if this is habitual behavior or if it was a onetime occurrence.

I’ve been in work groups with people in them who knew more about systems, etc. than the boss did. They usually were curt and rude to co-workers. But management allowed it. Not a friendly work environment. It stinks to be new on a team and be treated like you’re stupid by a co-worker. Once I worked with a woman who towered over everyone. She would stand above your workspace, hitting her fist into her free hand while she told you how to do something she didn’t think you did correctly. How hostile! I’m glad those days are long gone. Bullies aren’t acceptable, never have been.

Being retired, I get to choose which groups of people I associate with. I love like-minded people. People who want to make the world a better place, who want to help others along the way. Things flow better when you’re united by a common cause. I’m enjoying the friendships I’ve built with other Nebraska Writers. It’s mostly online, and that’s ok. They’re a wealth of information, and I hope to sit with them and listen to them talk. I learn so much by listening. My dad always told me, “If you want to know what’s going on, sit and listen. Keeping your mouth shut and your ears open, and you’ll know as much as the others know.”

Dad’s advice worked when dealing with executives or homeless Veterans. Respecting people is never something I want to overlook. It’s important, no matter what their position is. And sometimes we need to forgive things that people are not sorry for. That’s a genuine test of your character and will. No, you don’t want to forgive. The person isn’t sorry. They’ll never apologize. Be the bigger person. Free yourself from carrying that grudge. It’s amazing. I applaud you.

This is a cloudy, chilly fall day outside. I’m listening to our friend Rick Tiger’s music. I’m so sad COVID took him way too soon. His wife, Joyce has so many beautiful love songs he wrote with her in mind. They’re as lovely as she is. The words in my head make me imagine the way he would sing, and the look of love he had for his bride. One song talks about it if were his last day on earth, he’d ask the Lord if he could wait outside the pearly gates and wait for her. Joyce, he is waiting for you. Please don’t rush. But he’ll be there, waiting. What a lovely man he was. He still is, in our memories. I enjoyed his outlook so much. So hard to believe there will not be a Rick Tiger night again at the VFW. It was fun.

After having COVID these past two weeks, I woke this morning finally feeling human again. Maybe it’s the fact the headache finally subsided. It was just a dull ache. The brain fog is lifting, I think. I’ve thought of Rick so much during this illness. I was lucky to not get pneumonia. We know someone hospitalized with COVID pneumonia right now. It is a situation we’re praying over, intently. All I can do it pray. For those who lost loved ones, and who will lose loved ones. Just know we care. We forgive you. And we ask God to be good to you. Take care out there. Let’s see each other again tomorrow.

Winding Through Wednesday

Today, Mom needs to go to the dentist. If I don’t get this finished before I need to leave, I can finish it in the waiting room. Or I can start reading another book. The book may win, as I have several that sound very interesting. “Ticker Tape,” by Nebraska Author Tammy Marshall is probably the one I will land on. It’s about a Vietnam Veteran returning home and his life after the war. It could be any of the men I encounter daily at the VFW Post we volunteer at. It could be the Babe, or any of our friends. I’m looking forward to reading the story.

It’s kind of amazing, in the last three years, since I started writing, I look at stories completely different now. The stories, the scenes, what happens on camera, what happens off camera. What belongs, what doesn’t. It’s a whole different way of thinking. Not saying it’s better, just different. I’m finally coming to understanding of my craft and I can see my own progress. We’ll keep going!

I am greatly encouraged when I can see my own progress. On a daily basis, we get busy doing and may not realize how far we’ve come. And I’m becoming a better writer every day. I want to be a better story teller all the way around. My stories just happen to be written down with words. Some folks make their stories into songs, some folks make their stories into art.

My friend Rick Tiger and I talked about writing, both in the context of songs vs. stories. He told me we would write a song next year, when he returned to the VFW to sing again. Unfortunately, he came down with COVID after he returned home, and the world lost him September 1. I’m still reeling when I think of this wonderful man, this friend who would help pray you through difficulties and check in with you later, is gone. I’m so sad for his wife and family. His story is not finished, not by a longshot. And I may write a song someday, but I know he will still guide me through it. That’s how it works with friends and family who pass on. They’re still with you. You have to be still and feel them. Spirits are strong.

It appears I forgot to post this on Wednesday, so you get two blogs today. See you later!

Eventful August, 2021

Does life sometimes happen so fast and furious your head spins? This month has been quite eventful, both in good and bad ways. I feel compelled to examine my goals and replan some things. Life is moving along at a breakneck speed and I am not at the moment. With the loss of our friend last week, it’s kind of got us in a quandry. And we took Saturday and Sunday to get rid of the tree in the yard from last weeks storm and just chill. And that’s good.

A few years ago, on our way from visiting our daughter and family, we stopped just inside the Nebraska State Line to the west. I always look for some small book or trinket to remember where we’ve been. I was drawn to the book shelves, like always. I saw a medium sized book titled, “Voices From the Plains.” Its an anthology for the Nebraska Writers Guild. Until then, I was tinkering in my head with the idea of writing a kids book. I bought the anthology and read about half of it.

Now, three years later, I’ve decided to take the risk of submitting at least one entry for publication in this year’s Voices #5. I will submit the first chapter of my novel for scruitny. There is also a naming contest. Each entry allows a name submission. Cool beans, eh? I’m fortunate to have met some great people and we have befriended each other as time goes by.

My first conference left me feeling like a fish out of water. However, I didn’t give up. I still met a few people; Tammy Marshall, an author from Nebraska is one session I enjoyed. She is now a retired teacher and active writer. She does a newspaper column and has recently published a book, “The Ticker Tape.” I’ve ordered it from Amazon; it’s about a Vietnam Veteran and his experiences after participating in a parade (belated) to welcome Vets home. It is a catalyst that unleashes a series of events. I look forward to reading this story.

The second conference was great! I sat with many women at all different stages of writing. Some experienced, some not, some trying to find their voices. Good people with whom we’ve kept in touch. I look forward to the next one. I prepaid for the last spring conference, which was a zoom conference, and I have not watched the videos. They are no longer available to us, but I just don’t have enough time for it all.

From upper left photo, I’m intrigued by this “Live a Great Story,” company. I am putting a 4″ sticker on my car, and will wear my lapel button proudly. It reminds me to use the good silverware, tablecloths, etc. Don’t save it for tomorrows who may never come.

The middle photo was posted by our friend Joyce Tiger today. Her husband Rick, singer and songwriter is hospitalized with COVID and double pneumonia. Prayers will be appreciated. If you’d be so inclined I’ll share the link to the Go Fund Me page created to help with medical expenses. Thank you!

Mission Roll Call is a group to support Veterans who suffer from PTSD. The whole debacle in Afghanistgan is triggering a lot of feelings. Strong feelings. Feelings like no other a civilian ever felt, most likely. Offer to listen, offer to give them a ride, reach out if they’ll accept it. We cannot be losing any who are on the ledge right now. Offer to be a bridge. Don’t give up on them; don’t let them give up on themselves. I’m sharing like crazy right now on the VFW Post 2503 Facebook page; offering help if it’s needed. We’re checking in on our vets who may not be in a good place right now. Encouraging and supporting. That is one thing we need to do. Have compassion for our fellow citizens and human beings. I have a deep love and respect for you all. Let’s talk, ok?

My to do list and my Ryan High School Reunion mug remind me how quickly life can turn on a dime. No more putting off doing what I’ve always wanted to do. At this point in life, it can all be over before we know it. “Those books ain’t gonna publish themselves! Neither will them blogs!”

The last photo is of my new bands supporting causes I believe in. “22 a Day is 22 Too Many.” Sadly true. It hits home in a million ways. I’m seeing so many people hurting right now. The Vietnam Vets know exactly how these Afghanistan Vets feel. They’ve lived it. Thank goodness there is hope for the younger guys and gals. They won’t be ignored for 40 – 50 years. Help is out there. NOW. Let us help you find it.

So many life-altering things happened in the short first sixteen days of August. I shudder to think what else may occur during the next fifteen days. It’s in God’s hands for sure. Enjoy each and every day for what it is, all on it’s own. You have the power to make them great ones, even in the face of adversity. Let’s do this together. Work on making your story a great one. I am. See you tomorrow! I’ll tell you more about something else we took a risk on then!

“I’ll See You At the Reunion!”

Later today is the big night for the Class of 1970 from Archbishop Ryan High School in Omaha, Nebraska. It is our 50 + 1 Reunion. I haven’t attended since 1995, our 25th. I am so looking forward to this one. Through the magic of Facebook, we’ve reconnected with people across the world (we have one person, Anna Merola, who lives in Italy!). It’s been fun building that friend’s list over the past few years.

My besties from that era and I are texting back and forth like teenage girls, setting up a Happy Hour meeting on some unsuspecting bar/restaurant. Jan, Kris, Mary, Georgene, and I will get reacquainted before we meet with other classmates. One memory I have of these gals is Mom would drive us all to Friday night dances. She always said, “You need to all wear the same perfume. I’m getting 8 distinct scents here, it gives me a headache!”

Tabu, Ambush, and I forget the other popular scents of the times. Yardley was big. Twiggy ruined self esteem of many of us (at least me). And the Pepsi generation ruled, and they quoted Mick Jagger as saying, “Don’t trust anyone over 30!” We listened. We hated the war (that was a hard one for me; my relatives all served in the wars and conflicts before Vietnam), rejected the establishment, and probably were all Democrats. Bobby Kennedy visited Omaha, at a small baseball park called Christie Heights, before his ill-fated trip to California. Kent State happened; we had race riots in Omaha, Martin Luther King, Jr assassinated, too. Chaos. There were riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago that year.

And now, 50 + 1 years later, many of us are now Republicans or Independents, we’ve had divorces, breast cancer, illnesses that are hard to believe, divorces, miscarriages, near-death-experiences, births and deaths, loss of parents, retirements, disabilities, and the smartest, most beautiful grandchildren ever born. We’ve done so much; and much more is left to experience. I pray we are still reuniting for many years to come.

Here’s a Bon Jovi song about Reunions. I have a recording of one by Rick Tiger, but can’t seem to find it now on YouTube. Rick visited Omaha in July and we hosted him at the VFW Post. We talked about writing and song writing. He told me next time he comes into town, we will write a song together, on our deck overlooking the wetlands. I’d be crazy to turn that invite down! Stay tuned, kids, there is a lot more to do! Writing is writing, eh? Life is nothing but exciting ahead.

To everyone having reunions this summer, have fun. Share your life, share you! We’ll be at the Field Club this evening. Looking forward to it! We will definitely see each other tomorrow! Take care.

Friday, Finally!

Today marks post #675. July is only half over and we’ve covered a lot of ground with life. The Post hosted a Car Show/Fundraiser for Nebraska COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors). I’m proud to announce we raised $2,020. We met the goal I had of $1,400. The rest is just extra cushion for their bank account. The funds were raised for transportation, lodging, and expenses for three Nebraska Law Enforcement Officers’ families who lost their loved one in duty related deaths in 2019 and 2020. Our volunteers at the Post are phenomenal. Couldn’t have done this without them.

Now we are gearing up to host Mr. Rick Tiger at the Post this evening. The Babe and I met him a few years ago, have all seven of his CD’s, and like the memories he raises when we listen to the words of his songs. It will be an enjoyable evening for sure. Then the work begins again!

We are planning a presentation of checks to some of the organizations we fundraise for. We plan to invite the media, Nebraska COPS representatives, Moving Veterans Forward representatives, and Guitars for Vets representatives. It should be a good event, and educate people a little more about who we are and what we do.

In my spare time (!), I’m Facetiming with Cartney today, to discuss our book. Hope we can successfully complete our project at least by December 31. Publishing your first book in the year you turn 70 is a worthy goal. Cross your fingers! Say your prayers! It’ll be an adventure. Have a beautiful day, be kind and gracious, and courteous. It might make someone’s day!