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.

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!

Memories of the Best Kind

I had a weird thought today. Probably when my aunt and uncle, Lois and Joe Conrad, were getting ready to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary, I had the honor of pressing her wedding dress for display at their reception. I was about 4 or 5 when they got married, and I remember going to the reception for a little while. My dad’s cousin JoAnn and her husband Chuck picked my brother and I up after dinner and took us to Grandma Bobell’s home until the party was over. We fell asleep because we were tired, and were just a couple little kids.

Fast forward to pressing her gown 50 years later. They wanted me to iron in the kitchen, and I went to the sewing room where the ironing board was. I picked it up the iron, and took it to the kitchen. I followed them, and they insisted on moving the ironing board. Rather than closing it, and proceeding, they decided carrying it folded out, each of them carrying one side. It was clumsy, really, and I really smiled to myself they were so cute. He still wanted to be the strong man, taking care of his wife, and making sure she didn’t over exert herself. They were both in their early 70s. It’s the first time I noticed how much they aged.

Fast forward to present day? We are deep in the throes of decluttering and deep cleaning. I have to say, the Babe is the best. Saturday, we were looking through the Christmas decorations we were deciding what to donate and what to keep. He was adamant I not pick up anything heavy because of my back. I also tried to make his work easier. I can only stand up for about 15 minutes, and then my back bothers me. I thought back on Uncle Joe and Aunt Lois. And then I said to myself, “And there we are!” It made me sad, yet I smiled.

I smiled because despite the fact the Babe and I only have been together for 25 years, we’ve a lot to celebrate. Despite the fact we didn’t have any children together, we have a blended family we are proud of. Five kids, five grandkids, four sons/daughters in law, and a lot of love. We’re along for the ride now.

As a person who’s been disabled for over 25 years, I thanked God today so I made sure to be grateful for the man who is now my husband. I’ve wished my dad could have met him; it’s enough Uncle Joe met him. The same day I pressed Aunt Lois’ wedding dress, Uncle Joe told me, “You know, I didn’t like that Frank guy you were married to; he was kind of a cocky guy. But this Dan, I really like him. You did good.”

Not only did Uncle Joe, from Mom’s side of the family approve, Uncle Bob, (Dad’s brother) and Uncle Joe (Dad’s other brother) liked the Babe too. A double vote of confidence. Dad approved.

I am a lucky woman to have the experience of having these good men be concerned for me and my welfare. I have no uncles anymore. I do have one aunt, in California. Dad’s sister Mary Ann is still with us, and just celebrated her 93rd birthday. Happy Birthday, Aunt Mary Ann! We all love you. Stay well.

What do you fondly remember about your aunts and uncles or other family members? I’m so fortunate to have good memories about relatives. More to be blessed about. Have a great day, and we’ll see you tomorrow.

Wow! Wow. New Goals 2023.

Featured

This is a Wow Sunday. Yes Wow.

The first thing I saw this morning while WORDPRESS was opening were the current stats. I know stats can be boring, but these things struck me as kind of a big deal. Here they are:

I’ve published 1200 blogs as of yesterday!

I have 1032 Followers. 16 from e-mail; 511 from Word Press sign up; and 505 from Social Media likes.

I have written and published a blog 194 days in a row. I want to extend that to 365 consecutive blogs in a row. I need you all to continue reading and recommending. I’m aware not every blog is an out-of-the-park home run. But some days the effort is important. This is the stuff that’s important to me, on that day. And some days work extremely well, some days don’t. Doing the best for each day is all we can do. Some days, it’s 100%, other days it’s 80%

Under All-Time Stats? 39.7K Views, 17.4K Visitors, 517 Best Views Ever. What was it about? My best guess is it was about Billy McGuigan and his brothers performing at a local show. I usually do a review of what we’ve seen, and it’s a dominant topic for Omaha, Nebraska. We love them. When I isolate it, I’ll let you know.

The reason stats are booming is because of all the followers, their friends and family. And for that, I thank you all.

Let’s try for 2000 followers by the end of the year. We can do it.

Grandma Kathy will publish her first book. I will dive back into it in February. We can do it.

The header photo has nothing to do with our WordPress stats. It has everything to do with the lesson in humility I’m experiencing this week. I’m a good quilter. I have over 20 years experience quilting, and over 50 years sewing clothing. What I’ve run into after a year of not sewing or quilting at all is a lot of issues. Issues with a new machine, some learning curve with appliqueing, and general frustration. That was just with Kayla’s quilt!

I thought Cody’s quilt would be easy. It has been, until doing the pieced border. Those are the piles you see in the header. All the blocks were to be sewn the same. 38 of them. I complied. The top boarder was fine. The very bottom will be the same. There will be two inner top borders, two inner side borders. All the pieces going the correct direction. I’ve torn pieces apart, resewn, and torn apart again.

I rearrange them, wonder if I’ve lost my touch, and get a little fretful. Am I too boastful about my skills? No, not really. It is a good thing to talk about what you’re good at entitled. We are not boasting when we’re stating facts. We’re also expressing gratitude for the gifts we’re given.

I’m giving it one more try this afternoon before the next football game comes on. Then I’ll probably pick up the latest Joshua Berkov book; “The Enlightenment of Iris.” More on her later this week. Have a great Sunday. See you tomorrow.

Friday Finale

These are the things going on in our world:

The Snowmageddon predicted on Wednesday kind of shifted and morphed into more rain than anything. We had more “lingering” snow overnight than we had during the predicted storm. It’s been nice to look out and see it, and not have to leave the house in the cold Thursday.

Today’s blurb from The Artist’s Way has spurred a lot of memories. “Describe your childhood room.”

Oh wow! My childhood room was my haven from the world. Luckily, I was an only girl with three brothers. Our older brother had his own room, the two younger ones shared a room. I spent hours and hours in my room. It was always homework after school and often into the evening. Hours of homework every night.

Dad made me a desk from the vanity that matched my dresser. He did such a great job on not damaging it. When I had it refinished to discover a beautiful bird’s eye maple wood under the years of darkened varnish and layers of antiquing. Jackpot! It’s beautiful. I suppose someday should I need assisted living that dresser and vanity will go with me. From the cradle to the grave, right?

My room was painted blue and the woodwork was painted bright white. I had three windows. As a young girl, I remember the thunderstorms we had at night. The thunder exploded after the lightening cracked and made me jump out of my skin. I buried my face under the pillows many nights. There was an old tree in the back yard. I was sure it would come crashing down, into my room, killing me during the night. Never happened. But I was petrified, nonetheless.

The room had a big walk-in closet. I didn’t have a lot of clothes, mostly church clothes and the uniform I wore to school. I kept my winter coat in the closet too. As my life went on, and I returned home while my first husband was in the service, I lived there and had my son Frankie. The room was big enough for my twin bed, dresser, vanity, baby bed, and baby chest of drawers, and my black & white tv. I moved back home less than a year after getting married. My husband was drafted five months after we married. I found out I was pregnant two months after. I moved home in May of 1971. Frankie was born in October of 1971.

All of my life was in that bedroom. I have great memories after getting married and moving back home. I came back to the family I left and brought a baby home a few months later. He was such a good baby. His dad served in Germany and didn’t return until he was 15 months old. I got an apartment just before Frankie turned one. I was happy to be able to live alone and wait until my husband returned home.

Mom still lives in the home I grew up in. I’m lucky to be able to visit my childhood room. It kept me sane, gave me the privacy to dream, draw, and write plays a friend and I acted out. Such innocence. I also listened to music that got me through hard times. Brian Wilson’s brilliant song, “In My Room,” was my anthem as a teenager and pre-teen. I was safe, I could put my problems aside. The bullies couldn’t get me there.

All of these memories have been on my mind since Julia Cameron placed them there. My favorite thing in my room? As Julia Cameron asked, I’ll answer. I still have the small shelf Dad built me one year. I had all these dust-catching knick-knacks. The shelf is in the bathroom of our family room downstairs, with knick-knacks from tropical places on it now. I still remember the Christmas I opened it. What a good childhood memory.

Have a wonderful Friday. And stay safe, warm, and be good to yourself this weekend. 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.

Happy Wednesday!

School is closed, there are weather alerts, and we will see between one and seventy-two inches of snow in the area, depending on who you listen to and where you live. Weather forecasting in the heartland is pretty interesting.

Some kids need to tune in to remote learning tomorrow, and others get to sleep in and forget about it. I don’t know how the administrators figure out who will remote learn and who gets to sleep in. What a job to have. Kids will love you or hate you, just for deciding about school. They’ll survive.

Mom had a doctor visit today. It’s interesting how old people need to go have someone clip their toenails. I hope to never become so stiff I cannot do that anymore. It’s such a simple everyday task. There are so many of them that elude older folks. Simple, everyday things. Mom doesn’t use lotion on her feet anymore. She says her feet are slippery on her wood floors. The Doc asked if she had slippers to wear. Mom said, “Yes, but they’re not in bed with me.” Gosh, Mom, neither are the wood floors! I’m not sure what she means by that.

The Nail Tech was wonderful. She was kind to Mom and trimmed everything up, then massaged her feet with lotion. It made Mom’s day. It was such a treat for her and made her happy. She is already looking forward to her next Podiatrist’s visit.

Such a simple thing. Don’t take things for granted. Things we can do for ourselves at a young age are gifts when we’re older and people need to perform them for us. It’s kind of sad. You start out doing things for your baby; they grow and do for themselves, and then someone needs to be a helper for them at the end of their lives. Life is a circle, isn’t it?

The snow is supposed to begin around 9 a.m. this morning. You will have been able to read this anytime four hours earlier. I hope it’s a beautiful day of snow and watching the dogs play in the snow, not of rain, ice, and all that goes with that. If we’re going to have a once a winter snowstorm, it should be a wonderful event, one to enjoy. I’ll let you know if this really comes true or not.

My sewing machine is at the shop, just investigating if everything is in alignment. I had a mishap that was my fault, so it needs looking at. I didn’t want to let it go and possibly mess something up worse. Back to the Bernina for the blocks on Cody’s quilt. I think I goofed and have 38 blocks to rip up and re-sew. A great thing to do on a snowy day in Nebraska.

Hope you are in a cozy place today. And if you’re around this snowstorm, hunker in and enjoy yourself. Life is too short to drive in ice storms. Have a lovely day, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Weekend Day #1-Saturday

What are you doing on the weekend? Watching NFL playoffs? That’s where we’ll find the Babe. and he deserves every minute. We’ve done a lot this week. Doing a big deep-cleaning and rearranging of the house. Concentrating on the Babe’s Office and my Studio/Office. The Babe doesn’t need his office anymore; he offered it to me for my writing. It’s near impossible to do quilting and writing in a small office. Too many reference materials, instructions, etc.

I’m delighted to separate the two activities into their own private spaces. I’m feeling more creative every day. I asked a friend who writes and paints, how does she divide her time between the two distinct activities? Her response? She goes with whatever is speaking to her. I’d find that a great way to decide how to spend my time. I suppose I’m trying to make it more concrete.

It may not be concrete at all; creativity is abstract, isn’t it? At least I think it is. What do you think? Does anyone out there have more than one creative endeavor? I love to sew, quilt, and now, writing is up there, too. I want to add painting and drawing. Initially, I believe I need to have a schedule for the lessons I have for painting. The videos are available to me until 2024.

I put all the dog squares together today for Cody’s quilt. Yesterday was his third birthday. What a fun day it is when your child has a birthday!

The Babe assembled all our new book cases. I cannot tell you how happy I felt to have a proper place for my books. They look wonderful, finally in their home. Such a simple thing, yet so meaningful. I have many books about quilting, too. It will be nice to see those books too, in their new home. Not to mention our wedding photos. Haven’t seen them since about seven years ago, when I packed them to move.

Tomorrow will also be a day to pack up the Christmas tree for storage. In our downsizing, we’ve found someone to take two separate Christmas trees we had. That frees up a lot of space. So will the boxes of books. We look forward to becoming very tidy, organized, and less stuff around.

In “The Artist’s Way,” Julia Cameron tells us we must do two things: Morning pages every day, and an Artist’s Date once a week. For this week, my Artist Date is to watch the videos that introduce supplies to us and determine how many of them I have. I started getting supplies before I began the lessons, then didn’t follow through. Not this time. I will take these lessons this year.

Think of me enjoying the surprises in my stock of art supplies this morning. Maybe I won’t have to purchase many supplies after all. Cross your fingers! It’ll be fun. We both feel as if we may catch something; mile earache, sore throat, tired. Hoping it’s just a fleeting viral thing. We’ve both had RSV this winter, so we hope we don’t get sick again. Enjoy your Saturday, and be good to yourself. You deserve it. See you tomorrow.