Superb Saturday & #180!

Happy Saturday, friends, family, and followers! It’s nice enough at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska to have the windows open a little. Of course, this morning the furnace is still kicking on, but it won’t be soon as it warms up. I’m fortunate, the writing staff is napping and the Babe has gone to the VFW Post 2503 for some office work and to help the Honor Guard pay last respects to a veteran who is being buried today. I’m so proud of his participation in this ritual. I sat next to my mother and heard the words said upon presenting the flag, and it has made me tear up every time I hear them. The nation is indeed grateful to each and every veteran who served with honor. I am too. Thank you all for what you all continue to do for this great nation.

Awhile back, I downloaded a free sample of the software Pro Writing Aid. I must say, I do like it a lot, and have used it on my book before the re-write after my first edit. My editor Sam cautioned me to make sure suggested changes make sense before accepting them. That is a good point and I’m glad she told me that. I would have double checked anyway, heck, being a retired software coder, I know they are only as good as the coder who wrote them. I freely admitted when I made some colossal goofs when writing code and pre-testing it. “Sometimes, I even amaze myself” was what I’d laugh and say when catching errors I made. It always only did what I told it to do. Admitting mistakes. That gets you far in life and work, too. Just don’t keep on repeating the same ones.

Anyone who has ever been burned by autocorrect can attest to the weird stuff that shows up since autocorrect and spellcheck really don’t know what they’re doing. Again, limitations enforced by the coder. Grammar mistakes are king, aren’t they? We need to be patient and proofread what we write. Memos, e-mails, letters, books, and texts take on a way different meaning when words are substituted without our knowledge or checking. Protect yourself, take the time to read.

That said, because we’re all human and no one is perfect, cut each other some slack. At times when someone posts a lot of grammatical errors in a Facebook Post, it only bothers me when the one who makes all these errors claims to be smarter than everyone else. Haughtiness doesn’t get you anywhere when you’re making a statement like that.

I’m having a good time during my re-write. I’m in Chapter 10 right now. Nearly halfway. At this rate, I may be able to get it back to my editor by the end of March. This year! Yay! I’ll keep you posted for sure. I’m a sucker for accessories. Fashion accessories, computer accessories, and now, writing accessories, commonly known as references. Here’s a book I’ve enjoyed perusing.

Tired of “nod” and “sigh”? Me, too.

This amazing little 88 page book has chapter divisions by body part. Eyes, Noses, Mouths, all body parts, except for the genitalia. Had to say it, you know you were wondering. The gist of this 1,000 Character Reactions from Head to Toe is that my characters need to do more than sigh, said, heard, and stand still. They can take a long drag from a cigar, parrot back, hear as if everything was under water, and sashaying away from someone. Don’t get too crazy with these words, though. Jerry Jenkins, who wrote the “Left Behind” series and who is a successful author, says to quit with too many descriptive words for “said.” It may be appropriate in some genres and not others. I’ll have to let you know about that theory, too.

BTW, this is our 180th published blog since last July 5, 2019. In the beginning, I didn’t write every day, but I do now it at all possible. I’m sad it took our dog Roxie being run over by a car to make me start writing every day. You never know what will strike your heart and be a story you want to share. It helped us with our grief, too. If you would like to read that first blog, here is a link for you to read. Bring Kleenex. She was a charmer.

I would absolutely love for you to continue this journey with me, right along to when we reach the 360th blog post and beyond to buying a book once we publish them. In the meantime, thank you for reading today, I’ll be here tomorrow, as I hope you are. Go out and have a beautiful Saturday.

Happy Birthday, Addison!

Today, thirteen years ago, the Babe and I became Grandparents. What a life altering experience! It’s been quite a ride, and I pray the next thirteen years is as memorable and filled with love. The day Addison was born, we made a trip up to Sioux Falls to attend a wedding shower. I was helping throw the shower for Dan’s niece, Michelle. We knew Tracy was experiencing something, but didn’t think anything would come of it. We arrived, set the tables up, and had to turn around and go home. We hoped to make it back in time, and figured we would. It was about three and a half hours to get there. Nothing was happening yet, she was in the L&D room, her mom Sandy and Aunt Sharon were there, along with Grandpa Randy and Grandma Peggy.

It so happened February 10 was also Grandma Sandy’s birthday. How fun to become a Grandma on your birthday! Sandy passed away ten years ago from lung cancer, but she enjoyed her grandkids so much in the short time she lived after they were born. Sandy and I became good friends, and talked a lot about her kids growing up. The Babe and I married when our kids were all adults, so I didn’t experience them growing up. Together we have five kids, and now four Grandkids.

It was a beautiful thing to hear Sandy and Dan talk about when they were expecting Blake all those years ago in Sioux Falls. They talked about how broke they were (we all were, back in the day), and the cradle the Babe made. He made two more, one for each of his grandkids. It was truly a labor of love. They were one couple who could get past the divorce stuff and be friends. I’m sure they took the long way around to get there, but it was a wonderful thing to see. We would all be very lucky to be in that mindset for our kids of divorce.

I waited until everyone else held Addison, and the room was packed with people. Grandma Sandy brought her over to me, and said, “You haven’t had your turn, yet.” She placed the little pink baby in my arms. The tears came for both of us, and it was a beautiful moment. I think of Sandy often when the kids do something funny or even naughty, and how we talked so much. And that moment I first held our girl.

“Being a teenager means you’re not a little kid anymore”- Addison, on turning thirteen.

Sandy was still working when Addison was born, and I was not. Luckily, I got to watch her when the sitter had something else to do, or later when she couldn’t go to daycare due to the sniffles. I had so much fun with her. I think we have a special bond, and it would be there even with all the other grandmas Addison has. Her family extends as far as she can see, and it’s awesome. When I made them all Christmas stockings, she asked if we could make one for her daddy’s sister’s baby. We did. She is generous, happy, knows her own mind, expresses herself in times of trouble, and isn’t afraid to tell the teacher(s) if someone is treating her or someone else badly. She just gets it. She’s always “in” to go for ice cream, too.

We have watched countless dance recitals, classes, demonstrations, and competitions. This girl loves to be on stage dancing a solo. It amazes us a kid can learn to do that. We didn’t have experience speaking in front of people until we became adults. Glad they teach kids that now. So when they’re not kids anymore, they’ll be comfortable dancing, giving a speech, directing their workforce, etc. Addison has a heart of gold, and I pray she always looks at life with the joy she does. She loves her family so much, and her cousins in Maryland and Minnesota.

Thanks for reading today. It’s my pleasure to see you here, where I’ll be tomorrow. Hope you are, too. Now, it’s back to the book rewrite. Have a blessed day.

Thankful Thursday

My writing staff and I are having a meeting of the minds this morning. Goldie (front) and Lexie (back) got the Babe up at 4 a.m. again. He was kind and let me sleep until 8 a.m. What a great guy. Typically he wakes up earlier than I do, but also goes to sleep much earlier too. It all evens out, I suppose. While the Babe is off again on VFW business, I’m here, creating with the animals.

My creative staff and I are meeting this morning.

Goldie is six months old already, and nearly the size of Lexie. Being a purebreed, she has more outstanding features than a pound puppy, but that doesn’t mean she’s superior. No, not at all. You can tell the difference, however. She is a very smart dog, and needs stimulation. They all do. Kind of like people, really. All ages of living beings need outward stimulation for a balanced life.

Last night at the VFW, we had a reunion of sorts. A good friend moved away a couple years ago after losing his wife, and came to visit for the first time since then. Although we’ve kept in touch via Facebook and texting, this was the first time we had seen him. It was a beautiful reunion. I am so overwhelmed by the men of the Post and the hugs, slaps on the back, the closely held conversations of a few words that say so much, and the checking to make sure they have current phone numbers to contact later on. This is what a band of brothers is. Each of them welcomed him with open arms. They truly love and care for each other. You have to when you depended on each other for your lives. Camaraderie is a beautiful thing to be a part of. If you can witness it as I did last night, you are truly lucky. This is why our Armed Services helps make this the greatest nation in the world. These everyday men from all walks of life, came together as youngsters to do a job they were called upon to do. They did. They are all better for having performed their duties.

Some guys made the service a career, some did not. They all remember their duty, although don’t talk about it a lot, if at all. It’s better kept in their hearts. They show such kindness towards the older guys, and it is returned a hundred fold. Yes, there are disagreements. Yes, there are differences of opinions. There is one thing that holds them tightly together. America and their love for it. Money could never buy this if it were a commodity. You can measure it, however, since all have taken an oath to serve to the death. And they still would if asked. It’s an honor to know them and call them my friends.

I’m glad to have from today until next Tuesday morning to myself (and the Babe), to regroup and plan how the next couple weeks will go. Mom needs some additional therapy for her back, and I’m all for that, so it will be more appointments twice a week. They add up, but should help build her up to have a more enjoyable time in her flower gardens this spring and summer. Right now, the plan is to rejoin the balance and strength training in September through next winter to keep her as strong as possible. Every older person needs extra conditioning to keep living a good independent life.

This is a sunny, bright, beautiful day today. It is cold, we know it’s still winter, and it won’t last too much longer. It’s a great day to create something. I’m going to try my hand at some more water coloring for the 30 Day Art Challenge. I also need to cut more fabric squares for my Snowfall quilt. And I need to write more on the novel. The words have been coming out at a good pace the last several days, so I need to capitalize on that. Thank you for reading today. I will be here again tomorrow, and hope to see you then!

Super Bowl Sunday

STOP!! This has nothing do to with the football game later today, except to say I’ll be watching later. I’ve become a fan of Patrick Mahomes, and admire this very young man for how he is handling the intense spotlight. He comes from good stock, as his father was a professional baseball for the Minnesota Twins. It’s a great story. Hard, hard work, dedication, confidence, humility, generosity towards others, it’s all there. This is a story like many others of us who work day after day. Month after month. Year after year. Some of it is very hard and others never see it. As we build our foundations concrete block by concrete block, others resort to the poured walls method we see in construction now. It’s a quick way to get the job done, with fewer materials and less (much less) labor costs. Many block and brick layers are no longer in business, but the trade misses them. Just like many trades today. Hurting for skilled, dedicated workers, who are not afraid of hard work, and who will go the extra mile to do the job right. I have always been a huge fan of men (and now women) who can work with their hands. We need them all desperately.

Part of what we need is the mindset that comes with those professions. Not afraid to get dirty. They are really artists when you get down to it. A framer can eyeball things and often come up with the right measurement and right angle to cut the wood. Just to be safe, they measure and cut. Yes, mistakes are sometimes made, but not like people who have no idea what to do or how to do it. It’s that way when trying to learn new skills. Whether it be carpentry, block and brick wall building, quilting, writing, sewing garments, or blogging. Practice is needed. Sometimes years of practice. And the better materials you can afford, the better your outcome. But you can still do the job if you have budget concerns.

My family is a family of people who learned how to do many things by building and creating. My dad owned a full service gas station and garage after WWII. He sold it before he went to Korea. He could always listen to an older engine or drive the car and tell you what could be wrong with it. He was skilled that way. He could work with electricity in the house, (plumbing, not so much), building walls, (finishing and refinishing woodwork, he could do it all. My brothers have followed suit. My mother sewed a lot of our clothes. She did flower arranging about twenty years ago, when she was a youngster of 70. My older brother was good with cars and due to his small stature, ran many of the first computer cables in the old Omaha World Herald building in the 1980s when the computer age was beginning. He is good at the guts and workings of some electronic things. A younger brother worked as a machinist, a draftsman, and now works for that gutter guard company. The youngest brother works for CAT, or whatever they’re calling themselves these days. He is a mechanic, and is very good. His people skills make him perfect for the customer service he provides. They’re all good guys. I’m a lucky sister, indeed.

Then you get to me. Growing up, I learned embroidery, as did many young girls in my time. I learned to sew in high school, and even sewed wool suits for my career in computers (coding, application development, etc.) because I was a single mom with three kids. It’s how I could afford to dress for the next job I wanted. I was glad some of those homemaking skills were so handy. Now, the kids are raised, two grandkids need rides or watching weekly, and two live too far to participate daily in their lives. I always thought I’d have a constant influx like my grandmothers did. Nope, didn’t happen. Now what? Learn new stuff. Learn how to reinvent yourself.

I was delighted earlier today to see a Facebook Post that depicted a 98 year old woman in London who had her opening art show. Yes, at 98! Ahem! That phrase across my face at the top of this blog?

I’m not too old, and it’s not too late!

Click link for article about the 98 year old artist.

So commences the I Art Daily challenge from my friends at I Create Daily. Yesterday, I prepped fabrics for the Snowball Quilt I’m making. I’m allowing one day a week to sew this beauty. I only want to finish by next winter, so no hurry. And I dug my milk crate full of art supplies out of the closet in my studio. Going to jump in today, did a little planning yesterday.

Ah, the possibilities!

Sometimes in planning, we need to look back at last month just to see where we are. I’m further along than I ever dreamed I would be. One goal in 90 days was to learn more about Social Media promotion of my blog, establish myself as an author, and gain a following. Interesting enough, the social media part was the part that ran out in front, thanks to the Nebraska Writers Guild Social Media training. If you’d like, join the Guild, and you’ll have access to this, too. You can find them at Nebraska Writers Guild. Does my heart good that even while I was feeling as if I was behind again, I really wasn’t.

And more possibilities!

Yesterday, I mentioned my friend Shannon Schofield, a newly published author from an I Create Daily writing group we both belong to. Here’s a link to her gritty tale of her life, bad choices, and her redemption. I applaud her for telling her tale. I have not read it, but as soon as I can purchase it in paperback, I will. Here is that, too.

And, here’s a link to my author Facebook Page. I’d love to have you follow me there as well. WordPress automatically posts there everyday to let you know the blog is up. I hand post to my personal FB page as well, but sometimes I get busy and forget. All new stuff. All good stuff. All stuff that will get this last third of my life going to be the best of the whole thing. I’m planning on living another 30 years, at least. How about you? Thanks for reading today, I got a little talkative. Just ask the Babe. I do that sometimes. See you tomorrow, I’ll be here. Hope you are, too.

Superb Saturday

The world looks quite different at 3:49 a.m. That’s when I got up this morning. The Babe got up a few minutes ago, and I tried like crazy to fall back asleep, and it was apparent that would not happen. Coffee tastes different at this hour. Dawn takes longer to get here. I could have purchased a lot of neat stuff from the Internet. I read all the posts I missed after 9 p.m. You must have all been out having fun last night! Not a lot of stuff going on.

There is a brand new, 29 day month ahead of us. It’s Leap Year, where we add all those spare hours and minutes together since 2016, which gives us a bonus day every four years. I have a lifelong friend, Barb Moffatt, whose birthday is the 29th. I think that may have been strange growing up. Choosing your birthday? It would have been kind of fun.

Today is the day I’m going to plan some goals for February. My friends at I Create Daily have an Art challenge this month. It encourages us to create something in our chosen medium. Of course, the 90 day challenge is still going and that is all about my books. The goals are the same, my reality is in place and those goals will face adjustments.

My chosen mediums will be: Art, (drawing and water color); Clothing, (dusty rose colored jean jacket and pants); Quilting, (cut out “Snowflake Quilt” (king sized, 56 squares). This way, I’m ready for whichever of my muses should summon, I’ll be ready for it (them). We’ll see how that works. It is feasible to do Art one day, Clothing one day, Quilting one day, and write the other three or four days. Theory and Practice, oh what a foolish mortal I am. My theories seem to lag seriously behind my practices. It could just happen. More on that later.

A friend of mine has published her first book. Shannon DeAnna Schofield wrote “Perfectly Imperfect”. It is available on Amazon Kindle. I applaud her, I think it will sell well. It is about her journey through life. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but is honest, raw, gripping, and is about her redemption. Put it in your basket and read it this weekend! I hope to follow in your footsteps late this year.

I’m on Pinterest thanks to Nebraska Writers Guild!

Exciting times in the Nebraska Writers Guild! There is currently training on our FB page for Pinterest, and Instagram. A member has graciously offered to make board covers and pins for us. I have my blog, and they are including blogs as a board. Thank you to Renie Loeffler Rutten for doing all this work! Love it! Clicking this on Pinterest will take you to a specific blog. How fun! My Pinterest page is Kathy Raabe, Author. I have a NWG Members books board and am pinning them. There is a huge selection of genres, something for everyone.

Would you like to see all the blog covers? I could include them and post them on Facebook. It will be yet another free way to go increase our presence even before publishing a book. For those of you who may not know, I’m on Facebook as Kathy Raabe, Author visit me there! I so appreciate you reading today, and hope you’ll return tomorrow. More on goal planning then. I think it will be a great month for creativity. Hope it is for you, too. I will see you tomorrow. Have a beautiful day!

Funky Friday

It’s about 6:30 p.m. on Friday, and we’re home by the fire. The dogs are gnawing on their bones and periodically barking at each other. Like children, they want what the other one has, so this dance goes on until they decide the couch looks comfy enough give up gnawing. Wow. Life doesn’t get better than this.

Mom had therapy again today. She’s getting her money’s worth and is actually enjoying the workout. Old people are so good at fibbing about how much activity they get at home. They get defensive, almost. I understand that, however. They don’t want anything to make it necessary for them to be moved from their home to where help is available. And at times, it’s just not safe anymore. That will be a hard day if it comes. Not going to worry about the future. We will deal with it when it comes, if it does.

When we live too far in the future or past we miss the present. The day to day hum of everyday living. Not all of it is happy, rewarding, interesting, or fun. Most of our every day lives is pretty mundane. But if we don’t do those things, life becomes disorganized, out of rhythm, and can teeter in the wrong direction. In learning how we stay in the present, we appreciate small things even more than we may if we’re fixated on the past or the future. Too many people worry so much about what could go wrong they miss opportunities for happiness on a daily basisiness. I believe it was Mark Twain who once said: “I have lived through many terrible events. Most of them, in my own mind.” Relax. Most of what we worry about never happens. And you may ruin today in the process. You cannot get this time back, folks. Just learn from it and move on.

Tomorrow is the first of February. I am particiating in a 30 Day Art Challenge with my friends at I Create Daily. They offer prompts each day and participants are supposed to create something from the prompt. If you come up blank, there are suggestions given. It should be a fun 29 days. Leap year! I did purchase a book about fun lettering and will try my hand at that next month as well as writing.

We should have a weekend at home, so I hope to get a little more writing done. At this point I’ll take what I can get, and just go one chapter at a time, one character at a time. We’ll get there, I know we will.

With being diagnosed with an acute sinus infection, being on steroids and antibiotics, I’m not going to be out running any races. I finished the book I was reading, “Sold on a Monday.” It was a beautiful but sad story. There are many stories about the 1920s and 1930s that people do not have a clue about. Sometimes people had to do drastic things to give their kids a chance at a life at all. Including the unthinkable, selling them. It doesn’t mean they were not loved. It meant the times were desperate.

I’m starting another book called, “Before We Were Yours.” I expect it will be equally as good. Just the thing between naps and meds and writing and laundry and watching the Super Bowl on Sunday. Take care of yourself, do the wise thing and rest when you need to. It goes a long way. Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. I’ll see you tomorrow!

Where Did Wednesday Go?

I ran out of hours in the day yesterday, and almost did today. Did the VFW Newsletter, mailed to the printer, emailed everyone on the electronic copy list, put it up on their website, then found out I left off a few days in February. Oops! Big Goof. It happens. It will be corrected. No lives were lost. Hope people are forgiving, if not, that’s a shame.

I saw a post yesterday that was delightful to read. An old high school friend, Tom Dolphens, was interviewed about his artwork. He has had a prolific career, and that is no surprise. Even as a young high schooler was above and beyond anyone else’s. He has a gift. He has shared it with the world, and I’m delighted for him. What a blessing he has been to people through his religious art icons. I tried to include a link, however, it would not work. I’ll investigate further and see if I can include it tomorrow.

How wonderful it must be to have been able to pursue your passion throughout your life. As I’ve said before, it’s never too late to follow a dream. That is exactly why I am writing. I hope to make a difference in someone’s life, to offer encouragement and support by sharing things I’ve experienced or witnessed in life. Life can be very hard. Sometimes it helps to have someone show you their way, so you can see others have survived hard things. I want to offer hope to people who may need it. I want to do it with words and perhaps some art, someday. And in between, I want to write some good stories. I have time. So do you, to follow your dreams.

It is almost the end of the month. I foolishly thought at the beginning of the month I could sit down and rewrite my whole novel by the end of January. If there were no other people or things to do in life, I could have. My arthritis and fibromyalgia keep me from being able to sit at the laptop for extended hours, so adjustments must be made. But every day, to be able to fit in a little work towards the goal, you will get there. Don’t give up. Don’t quit before you get started. I keep telling myself that, too.

Tomorrow morning is another class for Mom. No classes next week, she has some other appointments. She enjoys the Half Price Book Store when we are out. We go a few times a year. And lunch at IHOP. These events will make for a busy Monday. Hope she enjoys her day out tomorrow.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. See you tomorrow, I’ll be here. No more Hooky for me!