What I’ve Learned About Love While Watching Outlander

So I have been bingeing on “Outlander” the last few months – all five seasons. Yes, I have become enthralled with it. What a magnificent love story!!

And this is what I’ve learned:

  • Don’t be afraid to love. Give your heart willingly and completely. Risk loss and heartache. Be brave.
  • Give words to your love. Say all the things you feel. Even it seems corny, say it to the one you love.
  • Give action to your love. Do the small things as well as the big things. Be helpful. Be kind. Be thoughtful.
  • Fight for your love. Make the effort. Put in the time and energy. Make your love feel important.
  • Tell others of your love. Be proud. Speak positively about your love.
  • Be true to your love. Don’t stray. Don’t lie. Don’t let someone or something come between you.
  • Don’t keep secrets from your love. Be honest. Be forthcoming. Be your true self.
  • Have fun with your love. Laugh. Be spontaneous. See the humor in everyday things.
  • Be strong for your love. Hold tight. Be present. Cry with them in the sad times. Don’t quit.
  • Be willing to share your love. Include children, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents – all the family you can find. And friends. Love shared is love multiplied.
  • Spend time with your love. Be willing to listen, watch and share. Your time is your greatest gift.
  • Allow your loved one to be their best self. Support their passions, hobbies and skills. Share their joys. Applaud their growth.
  • Be lovingly physical. Make love. Hold hands. Kiss often. Stroke arms. Sit close. Rub backs. Touch feet.
  • Protect your love. Don’t let interlopers in. Don’t let love die from lack of attention. Keep watch. Stay alert.

And so love is not a casual accidental thing. It is intentional. It takes time and work. It is not just a noun. It is also a verb. It is a full-time job for the rest of your life.

And it is so worth it!!!!!!!

How To Watch The Super Bowl And Not Gain 10 Pounds

So that day is here. You know that day. That day of eighteen hours of straight football watching for one game – the Super Bowl. It started yesterday – all day. I mean really! What can they talk about hour after hour? You’d think they were, oh I don’t know . . . women! (Did I say that ?!)

And don’t forget the snacks. We have to have chips, salsa, dips, sliders, wings and popcorn. And then the pizza, cheeseburgers, fries and tacos. Pretty much anything with cheese and/or BBQ sauce on it.

And beer – don’t forget the beer. I can’t imagine how many gallons will be consumed. Oh my!!! (The good thing is they will only be driving from the sofa!)

Oh my hips are groaning and I haven’t taken a bite. What’s a gal to do?

I can’t serve Tofu and cottage cheese. Gramps is a Texan and he wants “real” food.

So here I am in pre-game stress. I see nothing but about 10,000 calories ahead of me today. I must have a strategy.

OK, so every time I hear the word “touchdown,” I will take a big drink of water to help fill me up and keep me hydrated.

And every time a team makes a first down, I will get up out of my chair and do five jumping jacks.

Ops, there’s the cupcakes ready from the oven. Oh, they’re going to be so good when I frost them.

Oh, and every time my sweetie Mahomes carries the ball himself for yardage, I will jump up and yell. (That’s worth calories, right?)

Oh gosh, the BBQ sauce is bubbling. Gotta go stir it.

OK, where was I? Oh right. Now every time Kansas City scores (Can you tell I’m a fan?) I will do my happy dance. I wish you could see it. It’s pretty cool!

Gotta go get those sliders done. Be back in a minute.

Whew! I’m getting exhausted! Can’t wait til I can sit in my recliner, put my feet up and watch my Patrick perform.

Now, back to my strategy. I have hand sewing I am going to be doing to keep my hands busy . . . but I’d hate to get BBQ sauce on it. Better re-think that one.

Well, anyway, I plan to stay busy – if I can, if I remember. Best laid plans and all.

OK, for certain I will be yelling and laughing a lot. That’s worth a couple wings, isn’t it?

Oh, this isn’t going to be as easy as I thought.

And now I have to go. The pizza just got delivered.

The Measure Of A Memory

Gramps has been busy on his old computer finding movies we have taken of Mac over the years, editing them, adding music and titles, and then moving them over to a new storage before everything goes to the new computer. (Thought you could just plug in the new one and start going, right? WRONG!!!!!)

In the process, we have been sort of re-living Mac’s early years. It’s been a real trip down memory lane.

And I realized, as I was watching Mac at age five at our annual July 4th fireworks party, that I was really there. I could hear his little-boy voice asking questions. I could feel the anticipation of setting up the fireworks in the back yard. I was actually laughing at the silliness of the adult men bragging about who had the biggest ordnance. I was counting the heads of the little kids to make sure no one was in the fire zone. I was checking to make sure everyone had a glass of refreshment in their hands.

I mean I was there! I believe I could almost smell the sparklers burning.

That’s how powerful a memory can be. It’s not just remembering an occasion – it’s reliving it with all your senses.

It’s like taking a trip but with no luggage, no vehicle, no stay in a hotel, no long hours on the road or in the air and no cost!! It’s all there in your head, just waiting for you.

Memories are precious treasures. They are personalized destinations. They are your own books that you can read over and over. And anything can trigger a memory – a photo, a smell, a word, a touch, a thought. But the trip is free and there is no age limit. They are great indulgences during quiet alone times or the current favorite, forced quarantine.

After watching the movie, I had all the feelings of having been there – the memory of the memory. so to speak. I was still smiling and chuckling over the funny things done and said. My heart was still overflowing with the sweetness of the children and the joy of having the entire family together. I was still in awe of the fireworks display and proud that we had organized such a wonderful evening for everyone.

All those feelings were rushing over me. And the best one was knowing that we had provided a fantastic memory for everyone else.

The Joy Of Large And Small

Usually our Quilt Retreat in January is enjoyed by 30 or more women. But in this year of restrictions, we had only 11 ladies attending. Small number but with large enthusiasm.

We arrived at the Retreat Center to find the work tables arranged in such a way that we each had a very large U shaped area to sew in. What a joy this was going to be!!!. We could spread out all our “stuff” and not bump into each other, yet still be close enough to talk and share. The perfect large/small space!

And we could each have a bedroom to ourselves. Talk about living large! No worrying about disturbing others when you went to bed or got up, no needing to wear earplugs or fighting over the fan off/fan on issue.

We were not allowed to use the dining area, again due to COVID restrictions, so we ate at our work areas in small groups of 2-4. What great conversations we had – and laughter?!!

I think we learned more things about each other because we talked more in small groups, something we don’t always get a chance to do in the large group. It seemed like a much more intimate retreat this time. Quite a blessing actually.

The food is always large!!! There’s nothing small about it – ever! I can never say enough about retreat food – especially that I don’t have to prepare it or clean up after it! That’s one of the greatest joys of retreat, besides the sewing, of course.

Now let’s get down to the reason for the whole retreat – the sewing. It was strangely large. ….and small. Here, I’ll show you.

This beauty is definitely large and was made from a million small squares. Yes, a million, by actual count. (I don’t really know. I’m just guessing!) But don’t you love all the blues?

This one is also large. It is very traditional in color and style. I would say it is practically perfect.

Now this one is very small – 5″ square to be exact. It is one block of a Dear Jane quilt. Isn’t it adorable and very precise.

Here we have large again. This going to be a quilt for a fallen police officer in the State of Texas. Isn’t it magnificent?

More small blocks for the Dear Jane quilt. The entire quilt will be pink and red. I can’t wait to see the whole thing. It will be very large!!!

Do you love these small embroidered blocks? Threadwork on black is always so striking.

This beauty is only half it’s final size, which is gigantic! The fabrics are what make this so stunning. Imagine a row of fabric between each of these rows and on the outsides. Now can you see it’s true magnificence?

And then we have this adorable little table runner. By the last day it had orange prairie points around the outside. Could it be any cuter?

And this is the epitome of large and small. It is made from little baby clothes into a big girl’s quilt. It’s very colorful and tactile. That special granddaughter is going to love it.

What a grand time I had at my small retreat! I’m bursting with big memories, a full stomach, a peaceful mind, little sewing projects, an overflowing heart and no regrets.

You Are My Favorite

I have six grandchildren – five boys and one girl. They range in age from fourteen to twenty-three.

I tell each one they are my favorite. They each smile and laugh and say “You say that to all of us!”

And that is true! I do say it to each one, every time I see them. “You are my favorite,” because each one is, in their own special way, my favorite.

Mikey is my gentle giant. He is soft-spoken with a beautiful smile, a loving heart and giving ways.

Jake has the beautiful eyes and long hair of a male model. He is loyal, musical, loves history and is truly fair and honest.

Jimmy is my computer whiz. He finishes every job he starts, is very logical and can entertain himself when necessary – i.e. he likes his alone time.

Matt is the social butterfly. He is loud and boisterous, loves music and astronomy and has a wicked sense of humor. He can’t sit still for more than five minutes but can talk forever.

Mac is another computer nerd who wants to fly helicopters when he graduates. He is very loving, shy and funny. He saves his money for computer parts.

Katie, my one and only girl, is the artist who loves to draw and gets excited about pencils and pens. She is very creative, maintains an entire imaginary world in her head and loves cosplay. She is a true free spirit.

Can you see now why each one is my special one? How could they not be?!!

More important, I want each to know it – to hear the words out loud from me as often as possible. They are special as they are. It is unconditional love from me to them.

That “special” connection will always be there, no matter where we all are no matter our age or circumstance. Nothing will ever be able to break that bond.

And besides, I have to keep telling each one so the others won’t get jealous!!!

Think I made all this up? Check out comics.com/pickles by Brian Crane for January 14, 2021!

20 Questions To Ask Your Grandchildren

Do you have grandchildren in another state, as I do? Do you have grandchildren nearby, as I do? Do you visit them on the phone more often than you see them in person, as I do? Especially these days?

Do you find the conversations sometimes lagging when you can’t think of something to say? Or do you just ask the same questions every time?

Would you like to spice up those talks and maybe learn more about those precious kids? How about share a laugh or a secret? Maybe even let them ask you a question or two, or is that too scary?

Want some assistance all you grandparents out there?

Here are some helpful suggestions.

1 – What is one thing you would change about the world?

2 – Imagine you just won a million dollars, what would you buy first?

3 – What is something that helps you fall asleep at night?

4 – If you could change your whole name, what would you change it to?

5 – What makes you happy?

6 – How do you deal with angry feelings?

7- What is the best thing that ever happened to you?

8 – If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

9 – What do you think is the most difficult job in the world and why?

10 – If we had to leave today and you could only take one thing, what would that one thing be?

11 – What do you look forward to when you wake up every day?

12 – What is the question you always wanted to ask but didn’t?

13 – What is the worst thing you have ever eaten? Why was it so bad?

14 – What is your favorite word?

15 – What are four things your friends would say you are really good at?

16 – If your favorite color had a smell, what would it be?

17 – What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you?

18 – How would you describe a perfect day?

19 – If you were allowed to make the biggest mess EVER, how would you do it?

20 – Which sense is your favorite, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling or feeling? Why?

Words Are Powerful

Words are powerful! They are actual things. They exist out there in the world, as well as in our heads. They have substance, form and consequences.

Words can inspire an artist to paint the grand masterpiece. They can convince a soul it is loved. They can comfort a damaged mind, calm a frightened child, bring forth a belly laugh, rally an army.

OR . . . . . Words can break a heart, incite a riot, cause confusion and lead an innocent astray.

Words are powerful!

Words are not to be used lightly or casually, thrown away like useless trash. Words are sacred gifts given with forethought, generosity and love.

People, especially children and those who love us, will remember what we say to them and about them. The words we use will impact them, maybe forever. That is no small responsibility.

Our words need to always be intentional, appropriate and positive. They need to make the world a better place or not be spoken at all. Silence is much preferred to negative, destructive and harmful words.

Often the intent gives the word its power and strength. As in curse words (Which in my mind is just lazy language!) and ethnic slurs. None of them are intended to evoke any positive or kind responses. They are all meant to harm people.

Words are powerful!

Sometimes the tone of the delivery gives the word its most impact. Words that are sung can have a profound effect and can evoke responses in a very unique manner. We all remember a lullaby, a camp song, our high school song, the National Anthem or a random TV commercial.

We love how words are used in special ways – a poem that rhymes, Haiku, a Shakespeare play. And we never get tired of hearing the good old standards “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Birthday” and, of course, “I love you”.

Words should be used generously but always with kindness, thoughtfully with care and lovingly with joy.

Words are powerful!

What A Difference A Year Makes

Last year I was greeting everyone with a smile, hugs and touches. This year I’m waving from six feet away with a mask on my face and maybe bumping elbows.

Last year I was gathering in groups large and small, enjoying the companionship, thinking it was normal. This year I’m home a lot, alone a lot, Zooming a lot, thinking it’s normal.

Last year year I planned my Holidays, as I always did, with people, food, travel, sharing, giving and all the trimmings. This year I planned my Holidays like never before with many questions, many doubts. Could I even have people, food, travel and all the trimmings?

It feels like a lot of losses in this strange year. Many things have gone missing, maybe lost forever. But I am still here.

I’ve certainly changed. But I would have changed anyway. We all do over a year’s time, don’t we?

I know all the things I took for granted last year will never be taken for granted again. (I hope not anyway!) I know all the little things have become big things, the ordinary have become extraordinary and the normal have become, well . . . . . . just odd.

And it all happened so fast – overnight really. Mask wearing went from being an oddity to commonplace in a matter of weeks. Social distancing is being taught to toddlers and the status of the virus is all we talk about anymore.

But it’s the touching I miss. No amount of elbow tapping, waving from a safe distance or Zooming can replace a good solid bear hug for me.

I’m a touchy-feely person from way back but I never realized how much I actually needed to physically connect with people to relate to them until I was not allowed to do so.This year has really brought that to the forefront for me. I am desperate to shake a hand, pat a back, touch a shoulder or stroke an arm that need’s it.

I feel like an island in the ocean struggling to connect with the shore of another island. And I have no paddle.

And let’s talk about those masks!! Can I tell you how much I miss your faces?!

A face without a nose or a mouth has very little expression. It’s only half a face, really. And half a face just isn’t enough for me. I need it all!!!!

I need all the little smiles, smirks, pouts and frowns.

But when all is said and done, it is what it is. And we have to adapt. If not, we are in a constant state of stress, which of course, we don’t need any more of this year.

So is this year different than last year? YES!

Will next year be different than this year? YES!

Will it ever be the same again? NO!

Do we want it to be? Oh gosh, NO!

Are we going to be alright? You betcha WE ARE!!!!