Long Day, Long Week

It’s Saturday. Glad for the weekend.

I haven’t seen one ball game of Gavin’s for a very long time. Today , I get to see two. 9 and 11. I look forward to it, far more than you can probably believe.

My brothers will look after Mom over the weekend. It works well. They are so easy to work with. The three of us are a good care team.

Last weekend, Memorial Day weekend, was the unofficial summer start. We have had a couple of days hot and humid so far, and we will have many more ahead. It’s time. And I have some baseball to catch up on.

It’s so hard to believe Gavin will be 11 this year. He loves baseball, and I love to watch him play. It’s great. Best fun I’ve had in years.

My oldest played Little League ball. He was a skilful player at 10, just like Gavin. His dad coached, but that was when we separated, and his dad refused to pick him up for practice and games. I had to work until 5 every day, and did not get home in time to take him to practice or play games. His dad wouldn’t since it I filed for divorce. His dad was the coach. My son told me he could forgive his dad for everything else but baseball. I’m so happy my grandson doesn’t have that situation.

The rest of the weekend? I will spend time with the Babe. We haven’t seen each other much this week. We have a lot to catch up on. I feel so lucky to do that. There are a lot of husbands who wouldn’t have it if their wife needed to tend to her mom. Mine knows family is everything and knows we all have only one Mom. I’m a lucky woman.

You know, we have a lot of things to do to finish preparing for summer. I’m so sad there will no longer be a specialty nursery in Gretna who raises seed planted Geraniums for summer and poinsettias for Christmas. I should be able to re-start the geraniums every spring, for as long as I want. It will be wonderful to have those same plants, year after year. Such a keepsake.

We have some things to take care of this weekend; hope you get to enjoy yours. Have a great Saturday! See you tomorrow.

June 2, 2023

My challenge is over. I wrote 30 minutes a day every day during May. I chose different topics based on situations the Babe and I have encountered with the many friends and family members diagnosed with cancer. It gave you an overview of situations, feelings, and processing all of it.

It turns out we’ve finished the challenge, raised $345 for the American Cancer Society, and raised awareness of some situations and feelings. This month, I want to finally finish editing my narrative for my children’s book. I’ve had it on a shelf, because life got in the way.

My book, about grief and loss, is for children. It is about the hard lessons our grandson Gavin learned about losing his Grandpa Randy and our dog, Roxie. I wanted it to be finished for his birthday last year. That didn’t happen, but I hope this year, I can at least present a draft copy to him on his birthday.

One thing I’m experiencing now since Mom’s treatment is over is I feel like I need to see her every day. Five weeks of being with her five days a week built a habit or expectation I didn’t have before. It takes up about four to six hours a day. When I return home, I’m tired and don’t feel like doing much. This is sabotaging my creativity and the things I do for myself. I believe those feelings are normal, and I need to integrate my creativity back into my daily routine.

In two weeks, we visit the oncologist again, and probably have scans to check how Mom’s treatment did its job. And that’s a lot to have on my mind as well as hers.

It’s hard to keep doing the things to get through the day, while life is changing so drastically around me. I care little about cooking, eating, and most other things. The best thing I can do is read a book, if I can concentrate on the story. Another best thing is to do my embroidery stitching or work on a small quilt. The act of working with floss, thread, a needle, and a pattern for color and stitch placement occupies the part of your mind where worry originates. It nips the problem at the bud. Try it.

Hope you have a beautiful Friday. We get to go to a ballgame tonight and see Gavin play. It will be a wonderful way to spend the time while we’re waiting to see what comes next. See you tomorrow.

A Summery Day in June

Saw a fun thing today. Although I thought the kids were a little young to be out alone, minibikes in tow, complete with racing helmets, it evoked thoughts of summer as a child.

We saw two minibikes parked in the same parking place in a lot, and two little boys, at a high tabletop and bar stools on the patio at the restaurant. Their racing helmets, perched on the table next to each of them as they drank large sodas and ate their burgers and fries. Yes, life was large for these two lads.

We thought there were maybe about ten or eleven. Too young to take out the minibikes and have lunch at the local sports bar. As a mom and grandma, I’m hoping they made it home safely. And I hope they never lose their sense of adventure. While following the rules. Be safe, guys. Be safe.

This was the quintessential view of summer and reminded me of going on our bicycles down to any soda fountain in South Omaha, and having a cherry coke. It was the sense of freedom for us. It was great. Our initial debut in the world.

Young men, be careful out there. I hope you are safe this summer, and I hope you have a blast at the same time. You will always remember these days. See you tomorrow.

American Cancer Society Fundraiser

Followup, May 31, 2023

So, here we are.

Mom’s cat, Hugo, misses her a lot when she’s gone to the doctor’s or to treatment.

He made himself right at home, next to my Chromebook this morning. I’m not a cat person, and I believe he knows that. But he knows I’m one of the other humans that will be here today, and I can tolerate him. 

Mom thinks he cannot jump up on the table when his stool is upended on the chair that is left out. Guess again, Granny! He can! 

Hugo’s world is rocked since Mom’s been ill. Animals know when their humans are sick, it’s a sense they have. Amazing, and now we can use those senses to assist humans in their lives and keep them safe. I marvel at that. What a force to harness. 

So here we are; at a fork in the road for Mom, waiting to hear the results of her treatments, and on the second to the last day for my fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. I invite you to use my link and check out the Facebook page with my fundraiser. 

I joined to raise awareness. Our family, of my parents, and three brothers and myself, three of six of us have had cancer. Dad had lung cancer, diagnosed in 1988, died 51 days after diagnosis; I had breast cancer, and am cancer-free for 14 years; Mom had oral cancer in 1997, cured with surgery, and now has cancer again in 2023. 

In case you might have a small donation to support the cause, please go to my Facebook page and find Fundraisers. I’ve raised $345 of my $500 goal. I beat the original $250 goal, and I’m happy with that. I raised it when you went over, and if we meet the $500, that’s ok, too. Thanks to all who have supported me in my quest. You rock!

My topic this month, while meeting the goal of writing 30 minutes a day for 31 days, the challenge is to write 30 minutes a day for the 31 days of May. My topic is discussing different aspects of how a cancer diagnosis, treatment, recovery and aftermath affects not only the patient, but also the family and/or friends.

So today’s topic has to be the pets. Hugo has been with Mom for a very long time. She adopted him from the Humane Society while she was still driving. I’m not sure what they would do without each other. I know he misses her terribly when she leaves the house.  

I know our dogs miss the Babe something awful when he goes to the grocery store. So what if I am still there; it’s him they howl and cry over. I feel like chopped liver.

If you have a pet and enter treatment, or need to be hospitalized, please get someone you can trust with your animal. They deserve it! And so do you. See you tomorrow.

And Just Like That . . .

The weekend is over.

The flags, folded and stored. The bugles back in their holders. Uniforms hung to use at the next funeral. The veterans and Honor Guard of the towns and cities are alone with their thoughts of comrades lost. Gold Star Families have empty seats at their tables. Precious, yet painful memories.

The beach goers are shaking sand off everything and drying towels and swimsuits. Little kids are getting their nightly baths to remove the grit of the day and cool the sun from their skin.

Do you feel you had enough relaxation? Me neither.

While memorials and gatherings were going on the last three days, doctors and nurses were still tending our sick in the hospitals. Our military was still standing guard. Priests still visited the sick. Families still visited their elders.

Life, strangely, still goes on while many are doing other things. Celebrating holidays, swimming, picnicking, boating, and enjoying the first event of summer. Where ever we are in the moments of our lives, others are experiencing their worst events ever. It is strange to notice those things, coexisting.

We had mixtures of those kinds of things. Visiting with Mom, going to a graduation party, and snacking on summer foods. Life takes you from one side of it to another. And tomorrow, it’s back to business as usual. Mowing the lawn, walking the dogs, and living your best life.

As you enter regular life again today, wear the nice outfit, put on the special earrings, save nothing for special occasions. Every day we live is a special day, a good day, a day to consider special. Remember that as you move through your day. Make special moments and memories. You will have them forever. See you tomorrow.

God Awoke Me This Morning.

I’m serious.

Not just in the way He does every day. When a writer or author has an idea brewing and finds themselves fully awake on a Saturday morning at 3:45 a.m., (I checked), with no intention of falling back asleep; it’s a God thing.

The older I become, the more I believe in these God moments.

I first noticed them about 35 years ago. I divorced my husband, and set out to conquer life on my own, three kids in tow: house, car, and dog. All the situations I needed to mend in my life were finally apparent to me. And the solutions to those situations were in full view, too. I had to learn to read the signs.

So what was I awake for?

I read a lot about authors and ideas. Many wake during the night with a dream, idea, or muse that comes to them. This is probably what happened this morning. I made coffee and went to the laptop. I wrote 2,000 about our mom before I stopped. Three cups of coffee later, with quite a buzz going. By then, the dogs and the Babe were up and we were all on the deck. A hawk swooped near and took off up into the sky.

Upon reading the meaning of a hawk flying nearby, I could feel the hair on my arms rise. It signifies many things depending where you are in life.

A hawk is a predator and a protector. It has the over-all perspective and can view all that is happening. It can strike at an opportune time. Timing is everything. Choose your actions wisely. I’m liking that meaning.

I also like the idea of staying above the fray and being calm and decisive. In life right now, that is a plus. Between Mom’s health and my writing, there are many opportunities for stepping back and selecting the best decisions to make. Life is full of those opportunities if we are aware of the signs. It’s pretty cool once you pay attention.

You may think it all hooey, but I don’t. Anything is possible in this great universe of ours, and I will certainly not pretend to know it all. Creativity and imagination are the things I am blessed with and enjoy using.

After all this, I was exhausted. A mid day nap was in order and taken. We’re ready for date night to Glenwood Ampitheater to see Billy McGuigan and his brothers perform. It’s been a while, and I need the music therapy. After that, all will be right with the world.

The McGuigan Music Magic always soothes my soul. More on that tomorrow.

Have a beautiful evening. All is right with the world.

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

One of my heroes died this week. Tina Turner was an extremely talented woman who taught many of my generation of women they could make their own way in life. Without being subject to treatment by a man that is abusive, verbally and physically.

Someone did not physically abuse me. I used to think it would have been easier if others could see what was happening. I married someone who treated me just like I mistakenly thought I deserved, which was verbally abusive. My kids suffered it too. Married at 18, I thought love was supposed to hurt, that you fight and makeup, he buys you flowers and Wally and the Beaver sit down with you both at dinner. Didn’t happen that way.

I was extremely unhappy. Isolated; no transportation, etc. I wanted to go to college and finally went to Metro Community College. Some days, I took the bus. But things fell into place, and after about 18 months of studying, still doing all the work at home, and unheard, I filed for divorce and never looked back.

That was near the time Tina Turner was making it big. Her story gave me hope. I wanted to be as strong as Tina Turner was. She honed her craft and strutted on that stage with fire and fervor I couldn’t believe existed. She fascinated me. I read her bio. It was quite sad and violent, but she rose above all the hate, pain, and hurt and became a force to be reckoned with. And she exuded happiness.

One thing I learned was she studied Buddhism. It helped her center, focus, learn to be one with the universe. Believing in any higher power is critical. We need to realize something bigger than us. I believe God showed me the way over the past 41 years. It’s guided me to where I am right now.

Tina Turner led the way for many women like me. Listen to her music. It still blows me away.

Around that same time, Cher also became a force on her own. She did the same. Walked away, knowing she deserved better.

During the rest of 1982, when my ex tried to get back together, I finally told him:

“Tina did great without Ike. Cher did great without Sonny. And Kathy will do fine without Frank.”

Have a great day, see you tomorrow. Oh, and BTW. The Babe? Simply the Best!”

Another Birthday This Week!

My author friend James R. Lawrence informed me I share my birthday with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on May 22. How cool is that! Of course, I suppose that means I was born on Doyle’s birthday. He died in 1930, long before I was a twinkle in Dad’s eye. In fact, Dad would have been six years old in 1930.

It tickled me to death about sharing a birthday with someone who was such a genius writer. It’s nearly as good as my daughter sharing her birthday with Paul Newman. If they only knew what wonderful, strong women shared their days of birth.

So, the Babe is celebrating his 73rd birthday this day, May 24. We’re just puttering around at home. I finally feel calm after two days of craziness. Yes, any elderly person is a handful as they are closer to the end of their lives than the beginning. I suppose we could say the same for any of us. If you throw cancer in on top of the normal issues, you’ve got a situation needing a lot of management and intervention, while helping them keep their dignity. A tall order for four healthy people in their 60s and 70s.

Sometimes, you just need to melt down. Even those of us who are the strong ones in the family. It comes with good mental health. If we don’t/can’t keep it together and relieve the stress productively. I’ve learned healthy ways of doing that, from people respected experts in their field.

Centering Corporation in Omaha, NE, is the first place I look for; printed information and handouts for any stage of grief and mental health. Personal guidance to select those resources for civilians and veterans alike is available. I’ve learned so much from them. Just give Janet a call.

I’ve never been one who says, “I need a drink,” while getting through strife. If anything, I feel it is the worst thing you could do. I still feel that way. Yes, I drink. Yes, I have, at times had one too many. Not so much lately. It’s there, but not a primary focus in my life. I’ve escaped the family curse from generations ago. It is truly not going to solve anything. Please remember that.

When you think about all a human needs to do while navigating through this thing called life, it can be overwhelming. We all need to remember it does not mean for us to go through things alone. If they blessed us enough to have a partner through all of this, it’s great. If you don’t have one, you can select someone to be that go to for you. Yes, it takes getting outside of ourselves. It takes risking rejection. Just do it. After practice, it becomes second nature. Your perspective changes with your attitude does. You can do it.

Hope you get to enjoy this day and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Gifts of Birthdays Past

*** Originally planned for Monday, May 22, 2023. A technology glitch lost the blog, and I am reconstructing it after the fact. The topic came to me after a friend, Jay Miralles, wished me Happy Birthday and told me to write something special. It is nothing like the one lost.***

Yesterday, May 22, 2023, was my 71st birthday. My mind doesn’t feel that old, but my body does.

It’s from the disability, which was determined when I was 48 years old. I went on early Social Security/Medicare at the ripe old age of 50. It was depressing as hell. I was angry.

I met the Babe less than six months after I had a very invasive surgery to remove a tumor from my spinal column in 1995. It was crushing my spinal cord, and would have paralyzed me if left to continue growing. The spine had much less support and developed a 27 degree curve of scoliosis. It is most likely much more than that now. My uan neducated guess is well over 40 degrees by now.

The Babe is the one who first mentioned he thought I should go on disability because, “I didn’t have to work anymore.” My daily pain was on the rise every day; my relief was scant, even with pain pills. They did not help much after a while. I quit taking them. When I told the doctor I needed to stop working, it was the year 2000, five years after surgery. I’d been married a little over a year. The doctor told me, “He’s surprised I made it so long.” Wow. Gift of my 48th birthday.

In that huge change in my life is one of the Gifts of Birthdays Past – Someone to celebrate my special day with. He’s my partner in eating ice cream. Today, we met for iced cream, at Freezing Thai Rolled Ice Cream. It was so special!

After the bust of a birthday I had Monday, with Mom in the ER for several hours, this was a bonus surprise after lunch with the babe Tuesday. Such unexpected fun things are out there, all waiting to be discovered.

I’ve been fortunate to have the Babe, who is a very understanding man about a lot of things. My disability is the most important thing I needed understanding about. The other is/was the walls around my heart. He identified them, their reasons, and dismantled them. I learned to trust, that love doesn’t hurt, and how to stand up for myself like never before. Color me grateful.

We’ve built not only a life together, with the tangible things like homes, vehicles, etc. We’ve built a family together, with our kids, grandkids, and especially each other, and extended family. We are each other’s anchor. We’re each other’s best friend. We learn from each other. All gifts that are given to both of us, increasing with each birthday, Christmas, whatever holiday you want to name.

This is certainly not written as well as my piece that was lost in cyberspace. The point was to look back on some of the things I saw as gifts, and know these things are given to us on a daily basis. We are are all rich in gifts from the universe, or from our God. It’s up to us to be grateful for them and to use them well.

What do you see as your birthday gifts from your God, the universe, and how are you using them? Hopefully you recognize them, and know how to use them.

I hope you have a great Wednesday. Today is the Babe’s birthday. He wants no fuss, but we will (finally) have cake. The corners are mine. See you tomorrow.

Today’s About Me.

Whether we get to spend our birthday, how we wish they leave to the gods. Or THE God. It’s said trials come along to see how you react to them. Such went my birthday. And it wasn’t the worst thing, just disappointing. So we’ll do what actual adults do, and we’ll go to Plan B. We spent the whole day with Mom in the ER. She had symptoms showing they may need to have emergency equipment since the situation could escalate. It didn’t but I’m glad for the precautions. Just another pesky UTI. You cannot be too careful. Birthday cocktail of an Old Fashioned and dinner of pizza. Check.

Plan B? Do it the next day. It was to just be a quick conference with a banker, and on my way to write the blog I missed from my birthday. Guess again. I’d planned to spend three hours catching up on writing while waiting for my appointment to get a haircut.

The conference appointment didn’t register; they had no record of it. I had already spent two fruitless hours at another branch with the same issue. They told me I needed the permission from another person. They took off work to get this process completed. After begging, they saw us, and in an hour, got the job done. OK, now the blogging. Just now got started at 5:30 p.m.

I’m super late for the recap of my birthday. This is at least recognition of yet another timely example of how taking care of our family and friends with cancer can disrupt plans for daily living. There are no holidays, birthdays, and celebrations sometimes. Duty calls.

In a nutshell, tomorrow we’ll share the ideas I had for writing about the trials of the birthday day. And how the whole essay disappeared, despite frequent saving and backups. Hope your Tuesday was good. I’m very overtired from my aggravated asthma. Resting is tops on my to-do list this evening. See you tomorrow.