A Saturday in January

This is about the coldest it has been in Nebraska in a while. All the Babe and I need to do is dig deep in the closet to find the warmest gloves, scarves, and hat. And we each have several coats to choose from. We are so fortunate. Yesterday, the Babe went through his closets to find warm coats he no longer wears. He has four or five of them, ready to go, in a plastic garbage bag. We know two ladies from the Post who volunteer at a Veterans Homeless Shelter, and they will take the coats to the shelter this week. He didn’t want to donate them to Goodwill, etc., because it sells them. He wanted them to go directly to a veteran in need, for free.

We did a little office work at the VFW today, getting ready for a mailing. Every year they have a fundraising initiative to raise money to maintain the building and grounds. I like this to be my volunteering so I can apply my clerical skills to helping in any way I can. It helps the Babe, since I can type faster than he can, and then he is finished sooner than later. It was a good day.

We went to Walmart for a few groceries. Few people were out. It amazed me there were so many people much older than we are. Usually we are the oldest ones there. Maybe they go on Saturday, but it just seemed so cold out for them. I think frigid temps are so hard on older people. I know it adds to aches and pains; it aggravates arthritis and other ailments most people acquire as time goes on.

Tonight, I’m writing by the fireplace as my studio is frigid again. The dogs love the fire and lay in front of it until they become too hot; then they move away quickly. What lucky pups. We heard about two men who abused a lab pup somewhere near a lake. They threw the dog, so it landed on its back, the ice broke, and the pup fell in the freezing water. How terrible. I hope the state does not allow them to own another pet. Ever again. People who do that to animals usually abuse children and other adults in their lives.

The football season is nearing the end tomorrow with the last two playoff games. The Super Bowl will follow. We are cheering for Kansas City and hoping they come out ahead. The young quarterback is fun to watch.

Tonight will be a little more reviewing my first chapter and assess if it’s still making the cut for the rewrite. One important thing I have learned is how authors try to cram the entire backstory into the first chapter of the book. Nothing much happens, it just gets dumped out, and the action doesn’t start until Chapter Two. I did it, too. Thanks to my editor, I have learned how that approach could make the readers drop my book like a hot rock.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate it very much. As usual, I’ll be here tomorrow, and I hope to find you here, too. Stay warm!

Friday, the Snow Day!

It is eagerly awaited by school children everywhere. I’m amazed the prayers and novenas directed to the heavens by Catholic School kids city-wide hasn’t connected yet with the weather gods to cause a snow day. Until today!

Gosh, I started out this morning about 11 a.m. to check things in my writing world. Thought I’d get the blog written first thing. Now, it’s 7:40 p.m., and here we are. It’s been a busy day for not leaving the house. Schools were closed all over the metro, my mom’s Fall Prevention/Balance class was cancelled because of the weather, and the Babe was here to be the dogmaster all day. It’s the greatest thing in the world to see a lab or lab mix run outside in the snow. They love it! Those big paws slap at the icy areas and break off pieces to chew on. Goldie’s crazy and loving every minute of her life. She has started to counter surf, and I want to break that bad habit right now. Roxie (bless her soul) and Lexie never stopped surfing, and I hope Goldie stops. Note to self: Google Counter surfing dogs.

So what did I do today? I figured I would just jump into my re-write, and I did but not in the way I thought I would. I used Pro Writing Aid and corrected over 900 errors. Just finished now. So while that isn’t what I set out to do, I’m still ahead because it corrects the clumsy grammar, the awkward sentences become graceful, it is amazing. Does it still sound like me? I suppose that doesn’t matter, as long as the story is told well, is interesting, and readable. 

I am amazed how quickly the day passed with me being busy all day and accomplishing something. It feels good. This is the year I will publish a book or several. I am working towards that goal and it is exhilarating. Learning what to do is a great feeling, and at my age, it’s great to silence the naysayers in your head that have kept you from doing before. If you fail, at least you have tried. How many never ever get that far? I don’t want to be one of those who wished they would have. God has been so very good to me, I am nothing but grateful. Every day, every morning, I thank Him above for blessing me so much.

I have to plan tasks for tomorrow, and I decided I have to include quilting in my weekly activities. We are having our bedroom painted, and it will be two lovely colors in the aqua family. I need a quilt to go with the new color. And I have just what we need. It’ll be fun, and it’s two kits from my stash, plus a few fat quarters. Snowfall Quilt is the name. It’s so pretty. I have to incorporate it into my weekly plans for the next three months. I will use working on it as a reward and hope it continues on the rest of the month and into the year.

So for tonight, drive carefully. I’m so grateful to stay home. Since they have diagnosed me with asthma I don’t like to be out in extreme cold or humidity. No need to go out. Hoping tomorrow we can watch a couple movies we haven’t seen. Thank you for visiting my blog today. I appreciate your time. And, I’ll be here tomorrow, hope to see you then. Take care.

Thursday, or Friday's Plain Sibling

Do you like Thursday as a day of the week? If Thursday had feelings, it would probably not have good feelings. Like if you are a boy or girl with a perfect sibling, one that behaved impeccably, got perfect grades, with swimsuit model good looks. I know how that goes. My older brother earned very good grades in school. I wanted to be as smart as he is. Until someone told me I was as smart, and smarter. That made me feel good.

If he was sick, he wanted to be alone in his room. I wanted someone with me. That was not a bad thing, since children are different. I was told, “Why can’t you be like your brother?” That left me feeling like something was wrong with me. I was Thursday. A perfectly good day on my own. I was just not Friday. I did my thing quietly. My dad would come into my room when I was sick and play checkers with me. He showed me how to stay cool as a cucumber when I could see I could double jump someone. He was tricky that way. He even taught me to wink with sunglasses on. So people would know I was winking at them. That was a big deal when I was four. It was fun and passed the time.

Young parents today may not realize how it hurts a kid to be compared to a more successful sibling. Please stop doing it. It is hurtful. We are not them. Thursday is not Friday, and never will be. Why wish for a different day when you have a perfectly good one in front of you? Thursday can be productive or relaxing, snowy or clear, memorable or something to forget. But it can never be Friday. Ever. No matter how much you compare it. It can’t be Monday, either. Now that’s a day no one seems to wish for, either. Even less than Thursday.

Monday can be ready for you to start anew, give it your best, and have a different outcome than you did last week. Just follow with that same enthusiasm on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. Go to those new days enthused and you won’t believe what you can achieve when your expectation is not overshadowing what each of these beautiful twenty-four-hour units of time is on their own. Just like people. Similar, but not carbon copies of each other. God does not make them that way. Neither are people copies of each other. Or kids. Or babies. Or teenagers. Or retirees. Or baby boomers. Thank goodness for the variety we have in the people and days that surround us. Spend them wisely. Treasure their differences and similarities.

I think because the holiday weeks differed from the regular weeks of the calendar, I’ve had a time adjusting to the full week schedules now. I have been thinking Thursday was Friday the past two weeks. I love Thursdays. We get to pick our granddaughter up from school. Seeing a young person who is eager to tell you what they did at school is fun for us at this stage in our lives. It takes me back to when my kids were middle school age, and their descriptions of how their days went, all those years ago. I have that same memory Monday, Wednesday, and Thursdays every week. And I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

I hope you enjoy this Thursday and all it offers. I hope you value each of your children, grandchildren, neighbor kids, etc. for all they offer. Thank you for reading today, I appreciate the time you took. I will be back again tomorrow. I hope to see you here. Enjoy!

Wonderful Wednesday

Today is a special day for the world. It is Rick Tiger’s birthday. I want to wish him a happy day and hope for many more for him. Rick is a storyteller/singer/songwriter, and the Babe and I met him a few years ago.  He has written many beautiful songs. Check out his catalog of songs, and you’ll likely find something you like that he wrote. Today in my studio, we’re being serenaded by Rick. I love being able to create my own playlists. Google Rick and you’ll see his many accomplishments. It’s a great story. Here is a link to his website. http://www.ricktiger.com

It’s also a special day because they have nominated a very special friend of ours to the Rocky Mountain Country Music Awards, Jimmy Weber, as Musician of the Year.  Wow! No one works harder than Jimmy to achieve what he has. I’m delighted for him, hope he wins. Find more info on
Jimmy go to: http://www.jimmywebercountry.com

Back in time, both Rick and Jimmy, these creative people have been where I am. Just starting out. They are two of the many people who inspire me to create, who I listen to when they have talked about their dreams and encouraged all of us to just to out and follow ours. Good stuff! If anyone enjoys my writing as much as I enjoy their music, it will thrill me to death. Until then, I’ll be here in my studio, working on my dream. Just like they did. Dan and I love both of you guys!

Meanwhile, back at the Raabe Ranch, I am studying the second part of Pinterest training. An online group is offering guidance as the Nebraska Writer’s Guild did on posting in Pinterest. I’m amazed by the numbers provided for how long a shelf life advertising has on Pinterest. About 8,760 days. 24 years. WOW! Let that sink in. So I believe I’d better learn this pronto!

I also had a call yesterday from Constant Contact, an organization that works with WordPress helping collect email addresses. It is something I’m looking at. I realize full well Mail Chimp does that for free or darned near. It’s all about finding out about choices and how to spend my time well. The Constant Contact call was from expressing interest, not a cold call. I like that. I also like he could quote a lot of my blog posts. I know, he’s a salesman. At least they took the time to read some of what I wrote. More looking at options to come.

YES. Yes. yes. Some folks believe retirement is the time to do nothing. Absolutely nothing. I’ve always had hobbies. Mostly of the “girly” kind; sewing (garment construction, quilting, and decorating), embroidery, crocheting. I’ve created many, many gifts for people and clothed myself, even sewing business suits for me. It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot. Mom told me the other day my maternal great grandmother worked at Clarkson Hospital. Her job was sewing the nurse’s uniforms. Hats, dresses, cloaks, all of it. Mom said, “You come by your outstanding sewing skills naturally.” That made me happy to make that connection with Great Grandma Riss. Mom is not sure whatever happened to Grandpa Riss, no one said. So many disappearances back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. So many questions that will never have answers. So glad to have those hobbies.

And in February, I’m joining others in the private Facebook group in a 30 day creative challenge. I will focus on a creation every day that I will either draw, write (maybe poetry), or photograph. There are prompts given, and it’ll be another great experience. The last time I did this artistic challenge, I overloaded myself with too many things. I did not finish the month and I was exhausted. Note to self: hard as it is to accept, you’re not in your 20s anymore. Or 30s. Or 40s. Or 50s. I refuse to go further until it’s time to! I have a few good years left!

I’ll let you know when I successfully pin some real Nebraska authors’ books to a board on my Kathy Raabe, Author Pinterest page. Until then, thank you for reading along today. I will be here again tomorrow, and I’d love to see you here! Stay warm, be careful out there!

Tuesday's Tales

Today, I’m grateful for a sunny day and the love of a sweet yellow lab. She is quite the toy chaser. Even I can wear her out! That’s an accomplishment. Goldie is doing much better with her potty training. It’s tougher in winter, but at least you really know how much they learn what they should be doing. At least that’s what I tell myself and the Babe when we get frustrated about all the in and out. Part of puppy duty for sure.

We tire this Girl OUT!

Took Mom to her balance/fall prevention class today. She is at a considerable disadvantage because of her limited vision and hearing. She cannot hear the instructor or any of the other ladies in the class. She was nervous, much as any kid on their first day of school. It’s a new experience for her, as she prefers to be solo doing anything. Nevermore. She didn’t say too much about it except that she hoped she wasn’t too tired Friday after class to go to Menard’s. She can’t miss that 15% off sale on cleaning products. I told her we’ll figure it out. We always do.

It appears I will have time today to watch some videos for Pinterest for Nebraska Writers Guild. A member went to a great deal of work to spell everything out for us. I’m glad. I may have been a software programmer and analyst, but I was the world’s worst end user. It had to tell me exactly what to do in perfect sequence. It’s how I wrote data entry software. Lots of error checking before writing the record to a batch file for processing later. We did not have any real time updating back then. Heck, we were lucky if it updated overnight! In computers and information alone we have come a billion miles since 1985-2000, the fifteen years I worked in the field. From dumb terminals to PC’s. It’s amazing.

Well, I just watched six videos and am convinced Pinterest is amazing for long-term marketing that is free. My question is, though, do any straight men use Pinterest? I wonder how men would use it? Baseball teams? Fantasy Football? Who has the best wings any night? In my mind, I cannot fathom men using it. In which case, although the ad has the longevity of a McDonald’s hamburger, extended shelf life may not do much good if half of your audience never sees the ad. What do you think?

To tell the truth, I was on Pinterest a long time ago. It ended up taking a lot of time I did not want to spend glued to a device. Why would I want to spend more time on a device looking at pictures of people living their lives in photos, recipes, flower arrangements, quilt patterns, and not be living my life? I will need to learn to like it again in exchange for reaching many people with pins of my books once they hit the market. Small price to pay, I’d say.

Thank you for spending time with me today, I hope you have a nice evening. I will return tomorrow. I hope you will be here, too.

Magnificent Mondays

Lots of great things are on the horizon for me and other Nebraska Writers Guild members. Last week, they announced we will again have our Spring Conference in Omaha, and it’s in April. I am so looking forward to meeting up with some folks I met at the Fall Conference and learn more about the craft I am learning now.

The NWG announced on their Social Media Page some training for Pinterest. I listed Pinterest and other Social Media platforms as what I would like to add to my presence. I’m excited the Guild is ahead of me and wants to teach me at the same time. How fortunate I am to be here at this moment. For those who believe, I call it a God moment. For those that don’t, I suppose you’d call it Karma. Either way, I’m delighted. It just further convinces me this is time to be writing. I’ve waited a lifetime for the “right time.” So grateful.

Here I sit, with two children’s books written, one family book waiting for my co-author to offer their contribution, and a novel ready to be re-written. A year ago I wouldn’t have ever thought all of this would happen. It is. I have discovered the more professionally I approach the tasks of the day, the better the outcome. Instead of being in my cozy studio/office, I am at our beautiful marble-topped table in the kitchen. It’s a beautiful view out the window. See for yourself! This view in any season never disappoints me. In the spring it is teeming with life. In the summer, the birds are vocal. In the fall, the colors are pretty but not very varied. Still, it’s lovely to see.

The Woodlands provides a beautiful backdrop for working on this writing.

With the Babe out on VFW errands this morning, I can hardly believe the dogs both laid down on the couch for naps. I will let those sleeping dogs lie, believe me! They continue to surprise us with their own shenanigans and hijinks only our four-legged friends can. After we lost our two dogs over six years ago, (they were old and worn out), we hesitated to adopt any more pups. We did because we both felt if something happens to one of us we would want a pet for company. Something to get you out of bed in the morning. Here we are, six years and three dogs later.

Losing one of our dogs led me to write my first blog, back on July 5, 2019. You may read it here if you would like:

https://kathyraabe.com/2019/07/05/the-little-white-puppy/

It delighted me this morning when I saw this:

Two Hundred and One Likes! Thank you!

I am so happy you like what I write! And I know it’s not my mom, she has no computer and likes nothing! Seriously, she likes nothing to do with one. I have to laugh. I drive her to the bank; she refuses to use a drive through or an ATM. To get cash, she walks inside, waits in line, writes a check for CASH, and comes back out to the car. She claims it’s the only way to do proper banking. I’m amazed sometimes. But then I shouldn’t laugh. As the meme goes: she taught me to use a spoon.

Any Given Sunday

We are expecting more snow today. It was not bad when we left the house for church, sunny. When we left, it became overcast and foggy. Can’t figure it out. Just dress in layers.

More football playoff games today. I hope Kansas City gets to advance. That Mahomes kid really is good. The others, I don’t think I care about. Just glad Brady isn’t in the Super Bowl, for obvious reasons.

The Nebraska Writers Guild announced its Spring Conference will be in Omaha again, and I’m eager to attend. Just hope there are no family weddings that weekend. I can always skip the ceremony and go to the night reception. It’ll be fine.

The Guild also announced training for social media, in particular, Pinterest. For a while I was on Pinterest. Then I decided I wanted to waste all my time on Facebook, and here we are. I think the training will be valuable, and I’m lucky it has come along.

Before I do any work today reflecting on goals achievement and adjustments for next week, I’m prepping a late lunch/early dinner. Baking banana bread and making a small batch of potato soup. That sounds perfect for a cold day. I hope the dogs are snuggly today. They really don’t care for the cold, but they still have to go out. I’ve never been one to get clothes for a pet. My daughter was a little kid when she dressed our first dog, Shadow, in her winter coat, hat, boots and scarf. The photos are somewhere and they’re funny. Shadow was a good doggie. She was mellow and rolled with it.

Sometimes in our lives we try to help people overcome things that are causing chaos in their lives. Sometimes we’ve needed to do that for ourselves, so we think or expect them to do as we did, or at least make it seem like they appreciate our help or advice. When we don’t get it, it puzzles us. It even makes us  angry. I’ve been guilty of that. The anger boiled out of me and surprised me. It wasn’t just anger; it was sheer exhaustion from trying to help an ungrateful person who I love very much. They responded with their own anger, a door slammed in my face. I became more angry and removed myself.

I decided for my sanity, I could not help my friend anymore. Or even be around him, because of his negativity, his misogynistic attitude towards women, and his verbal abuse. I feel better. And I have realized is I didn’t know the person he had become. I kept the idea in my mind and heart of what we were as young kids still existed in each of us today. It does not appear to be anywhere in him. I know it is in me. I have to let go of that old friend and realize distance is a good thing. Part of me wants to explain, but I know he does not care. It is part of his illness and addictions. I wish him well. Someday, he may understand things. I can no longer wait for him to catch up. My life needs living. And I intend to do just that.

In the meantime, it’s before noon, and I’m finishing today’s blog. Yay! That leaves about nine more hours to create today. Some will be food, some will be knowledge, some will be content. I’m grateful to have you read today. I hope to see you tomorrow. I should be able to write my blog before noon again. I’ll be here. Have a great day!