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!

Trying Tuesday

In an age when we can communicate with someone across the world in seconds, we are still having a time with our aging parents. When they suffer from diminished vision and hearing as my mom does, it makes their lives so hard. She is attending a balance and movement class twice a week. She is upset she needs me to take her, but I keep telling her it’s keeping her in her home, and preparing her for working with her flowers this summer. She smiles and nods. She had no other issues after her stroke three or four years ago other than a part of her vision field being vacant – a black hole, if you will. Whenever we’ve talked about losses as people age, we have both been afraid to lose vision. Everything we do needs vision.

She has had some adjustments made at home. She had my brother Steve replace all her lightbulbs with LED bulbs, they help her see on dreary days. When it’s cloudy, her mood is as dark as the skies. She can’t help it. We all try to be patient, and sometimes we need to express our frustration with the situation. Other times, with all the bright lights, we tease her, “Geez Ma, what you trying to do, read the paper or land a plane?” We have always been able to tease her at the right moment. Usually she gets upset over little things and worries – a lot.

Yesterday, though, she was very upset and for due cause. A neighbor took her to the dentist yesterday. I took her a couple weeks ago, and I know she made a payment on her bill for today. She paid in advance. Yesterday, before her procedure, they told her she hadn’t paid. She couldn’t find her receipt in her purse and became very agitated. She knew she paid it. I remember the staff was busy talking about personal stuff, and not paying attention to business, in my opinion. When I talked to her yesterday, she was very upset, nearly in tears, and I told her we’d take care of it today, that it will be fine. She was worried about losing her credit rating. I told her they didn’t dare.

Old people have enough to contend with, and need people with exceptional people skills, especially when there are problems. The receptionist was not as nice as she probably should have been under the circumstances. Luckily, even with Mom’s blood pressure shooting up to the high 170’s, a medical crisis was averted. So glad one didn’t happen. When you get to be 90 +, I don’t think it would take too much to have people be extra nice to you. You have enough hassles trying to get around. You hate asking for help, but you need it, and you hate that you need it. Give them a break, bless their hearts!

Mom always apologizes for being a burden, I tell her I’ve got nothing but time. Little does she know, the last time I saw my dad before he died in 1988, I promised him I would watch out for Mom. I would take care of her when she needed help, he didn’t need to worry. He thanked me and told me he loved me. He wasn’t a guy to say that, so I think he knew his time was nearly over. I am glad I’m able to keep a promise I made all those years ago.

So as you go about your life with your good vision and hearing, be grateful. Be grateful because we will all be saddled with some infirmity. We will all wish for better health, movement, hearing, or sight. I hope people will be kind to us as we pass through that phase of life. Teach your young and not so young, be kind. Be patient. Be who you will need when you are old. Or sick. Or deaf. Or blind.

Thank you for reading, I appreciate it very much. I will be back tomorrow, and I hope you will, too. Have a beautiful evening.

More Monday

It’s been a great day today! How about for you? I found out today my cousins became a grandma over the weekend. Congratulations, Terri and Scott! You have a beautiful family and you deserve a wonderful legacy.

I had a pretty great day beginning my re-write. A book I’m using by KM Weiland about structuring your novel has a workbook, to accompany it. I ordered it and it arrived yesterday. I photocopied pages I need to complete my first chapter. It is the one where all the action happens to hook people into committing to read the rest of the book. I’ve had very few books I couldn’t get into. Was it because they were poorly written? Or was I not in the mood for whatever kind of book it was?? I am willing to plea guilty, being distracted or needing to read an easy book. I know that happens a lot with me. I’ll also admit sometimes it IS the author’s fault. (Think 50 Shades of Gray series – ho hum writing if I ever read it. Terrible writing. I’m not the only one who thinks this.) It’s a shame that woman made so much money on bad writing. I’d rather go broke than earn a bazillion dollars writing stuff like that. It wasn’t the sex, not at all, it was the poor quality of writing.

So after a great start to the day, and a good day writing, I’m golden for the rest of the day. I have decided at some point I am also going to try poetry. The reason behind that decision is, you must say what you want to express in few words. Just like songwriting. Limited words. Huge messages. Poetry is supposed to help you in writing prose. We will see as we go along.

We are having grilled cheese and tomato soup tonight. Did you have that much as a kid? We had tomato soup, water only. The Babe has only had it with milk. I was amazed. His parents must have been rich. Or used that sneaky swap – powdered milk, not liquid milk. Mix it up when the kids are gone, they’ll never know the difference. Hah! And grilled cheese. Mmmmmm good. I love grilled cheese, melted on toasty grilled bread.

This is Auschwitz Commemoration Day. I remember as a kid seeing a movie while I babysat late at night. It was “Judgment at Nuremberg.” I was probably twelve or thirteen. It was a black and white movie, and very graphic with real photographs. I don’t know how some people cannot believe this horrible event happened. It did. My father was among the young soldiers under General George Patton who liberated this hell on earth. He never spoke of it. He did tell one of my aunts once to read a certain book and that is all that was ever said.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. I will be here tomorrow, and hope you will too.

Such a Sunday

On this day, in 1979, my beautiful daughter Rebecca made her appearance on earth. She was about a week late and I was so ready for her to be born. She is an ultrasound tech (I think that’s her title) in Colorado. She lives with her husband, Brian, and her baby girl, Kayla. She has been in Colorado since 2001. I am sure she will never return to Nebraska. She was a very independent child, and it should not surprise me that she is a very independent woman. That independence keeps her very busy and engaged in life, and I rarely get to see her. I hope that someday that changes. I had always made time for my kids if they were to come visit. I cancelled a quilting class with someone I really wanted to see to go visit when Kayla was six months old. It was easy to give up quilting with my idol to see my daughter. I do not see people going to this length to be with family most of the time. Life is just different than it used to be. We can change that if it fits our family. If not, Mom’s like me need to find other purpose in life. Mine is creating. Writing, quilting, and sewing.

We have been away from a television and news all day. It is a shame, Kobe Bryant dying with one of his daughters. He was a very talented basketball player, and I’m sure he has influenced many kids to play the game. I hope he could influence the same kids in making good life choices, in understanding hard work, dedication, keeping promises, work ethic, business ethics, and working towards a good moral character. These things leave a bigger legacy than being a star basketball player. Work on a legacy of good character and you will be great at other things.

Yes, we live in a fragile world. You never know which turn will be the one where your time is up. Make the most of every moment you have so you have no regrets. Too many people wait and end up sorry they did. Don’t. Make that phone call today. You won’t regret it.

Today was busy, too. The Babe and fellow VFW Post 2503 Honor Guard members had their photos taken. They are a group of the best guys. They are good to me when Dan is ill, and all have a concern for him out of camraderie and respect for his work as Quartermaster. I love to see them all look out for each other. They take me aside from time to time to make sure he’s ok. It’s heartwarming.

The weather will be kinder this week. I am spending time in my studio and making sure detail are fleshed out about my additional characters for the novel. Like anything else, once I dive in, it will all start to fall in place. Gotta start somewhere. Going to do a little reading tonight, catch up on the newspapers, the novel I’m reading. Cozy up and love your family.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. I’ll be here tomorrow and hope you will be too.

Friday Frolics

Here it is, late in the afternoon, and I’m again just starting to blog. It’s been a busy last 24 hours. Mom had PT today. Inspiration hits a writer at the oddest times. This morning, for instance, I was brushing my teeth, getting ready to leave the house to pick up Mom.

And an idea came to me about some brothers I need to add for my novel I’m rewriting. They will fit nicely into the theme of the story which is people can escape family “curses” if they learn there is another way to live. And some of these characters will escape, others will not. Some will not even realize they’re doomed. It mirrors life.

When the therapist came to the lobby for Mom, I pulled out my cell phone and typed as fast as I could. I couldn’t let this idea evaporate into thin air. It happens more than I’d like to admit, so noting it was a good call. I just finished embellishing the notes from this morning onto note cards, one for each of the characters in the novel. They all have their shortcomings. Some over come insurmountable odds to beat, heal, and grow. Some overcome nothing and blame the world for their ills.

And the Nebraska Writers Guild is making a push to get the authors’ books on Pinterest. Apparently the pins will stay fresh for an incredible number of days, while Facebook and Instagram do not. There is a member, Renie Loeffler Rutten, who offered to make board covers for pins for book covers and author blogs. I asked if she do one for me. I think it’s beautiful. Lovely. Here it is:

Look for my Author Blog Board on Pinterest. It will link you here to my website and blog.

I will let you know when any book covers are added. I am nowhere near to being finished with the kids books, but it will happen all at once, I believe. It’s such a neat thing, all of this free exposure for writers, readers, and other creative sorts. What a great time to begin writing!

It was another early to rise morning, and I think this will be it for me today. I am so grateful you visited today, and hope you’ll return tomorrow. You know I’ll be here. Thank you!

Stormy Weather

Neighbors, surveying the snow from Tuesday night.

It’s seen in neighborhoods all over the heartland after a snowstorm. The Babe (right) and our neighbor Terry (right) met up while both were clearing snow Wednesday morning. I had the perfect view while writing yesterday’s blog. Babe, you’ve still got it! One of my younger brothers had a girlfriend in the 80s that called herself the pocket inspector. Remember, buying jeans in the 80s and finding a little white paper in the pocket that read, “Inspected by #258. I’m #258! I’ll inspect your pockets anytime!” We all laughed. You just don’t see those tags anymore. Oh well, I’ll still inspect your pockets, Babe.

Unless it comes to laundry day. I do not look in pockets or at them. My kids knew to empty theirs, but the Babe often left rollerball pens in his work shirts. It hurt nothing until one went through the washer and went to the dryer, opened, and spilled ink all over everything (my lingerie). Oh boy, what a mess. He never left another one in a pocket while he was still working. Now, he doesn’t use them. Thank goodness.

Today was errand day. We picked up letters and envelopes the Post had printed for their annual building fund. We will stuff, seal, and label inquiries to about 1200 members of the Post and Auxiliary. We have an aging building that needs repairs and updating regularly. The Veterans before us worked very hard to build everything, the least we can do is keep it operating however long we can. Afterwards, we picked up Addison from school. It seemed like a hundred years since we picked her up! We all had a good laugh about that. They had a snow day last Friday, were off MLK Day, then another snow day. Hope they don’t have one tomorrow, but it could be. The weather will do whatever it does, and we’ll adjust.

I am not using this as my model, especially 5, 6, and the do-over of 1!

I chatted with my editor yesterday. I assured her I was not on the ledge, but admitted to myself and her out loud I was afraid to start re-writing. Maybe it wasn’t salvageable. It certainly is! It will be better than I could have imagined. It just needs help and lots of patience. I will begin with Chapter 2, as Chapter 1 was so full of backstory, I couldn’t believe it! Beginner’s mistake, and I’m in this for the long haul.

Thank you for checking in today, I appreciate it. And I’ll be here tomorrow, hope to see you then.

Snowy Wednesday and Gray Hair

Here we are, snuggly under my new sherpa throw, sitting by the fire, and enjoying the snow falling. It is beautiful. The Babe gave me a dirty look over the top of his blue glasses. We both spent many years commuting in this stuff and are glad to be retired and not HAVE to go somewhere in bad weather. When my kids were students they attended three different schools because of their age differences. This was the case for several years. Now that it’s over, I marvel at how we managed. The big thing was we only had one bathroom! They all understood I could NOT be late for work. We left the house at 7 a.m., I dropped them off at three different locations, and was at work by 7:45 a.m. I miss those days yet am glad they are over.

A great suggestion came in from my longtime friend, Janet Nichols. She suggested I include the recipes I talk about. It’s a great idea, thank you Janet! Yesterday I talked about Pasta e Fagioli. I used ground turkey in place of the ground beef/sausage. The Babe has such bad heartburn we substitute even for Chili. We use ground turkey. Good stuff.

I have tried repeatedly to include a link to the recipe, and for some unknown reason, it is not working. Too much snow, I guess. But you can Google “Pasta e Fagioli”. Select the results from Damn Delicious, and you will have Olive Garden’s recipe for it. Funny thing? I forgot to add the pasta, the last ingredient, to be added at the very last hour. It’s still good!

This morning I was reading some varied articles about women letting their hair turn grey. Yes, it is a natural thing. I colored my hair while I was working because I felt it helped me appear relevant, as I do not look my age. I was in my 40s while still working. I started working later in life, after my divorce and was competing with kids right out of high school. Since I started greying in my late 30s, I wanted a cover up. I kept it until my breast cancer diagnosis in 2009. After the lumpectomy, I had my hairdresser cut my long beautiful light brown hair OFF. I wanted to be ahead of the curve if I was to lose my hair with chemotherapy. I didn’t need chemo. Boy, was I fortunate. I kept my hair short these past eleven years and like it. I miss longer hair. I want to let it grow again and maybe get some curl in it. I still have very thick hair, and I don’t wish to spend nearly an hour drying it. I’ll see how far I get. Until then, it’ll be lots of gels, combs, and maybe a Cubs hat.

Going to be a long day with the snow, ice pellets, and whatever else falls from the sky. At least it’s not iguanas! Seriously. It’s a thing in Florida. Warning people because of the cold, Iguanas may fall from the trees. Poor things! Thank you for reading today. I appreciate it very much. I hope you have a great day and come back tomorrow. I’ll be here.

Terrific Tuesday

Sitting by the fire, and the events of the day are helping me to smile. Today was a day for me to Uber Mom over to Think Physical Therapy. She calls me her seeing eye person, or her driver. Oh well, as long as she gets there. I hope someday she tells someone I’m her daughter. She doesn’t think like that, however. She had to go to Menards, to stock up on cleaning supplies. She also purchased a wreath for next Christmas. She also purchased some other odds and ends. The girl that cleans her house knocked over one of Mom’s Christmas trees, breaking the stand. It doesn’t stand up well anymore.

Mom asked several sales people if they had any more Christmas tree stands. One said they thought so. About forty minutes later, she had a new artificial tree stand, for $6.38. And eleven percent rebate. Heck of a deal. The two women who searched the store, the storage, the basement and checked with other stores could have told Mom, “No, we don’t have any.” They really went above and beyond to look for the item she needed. Maybe they knew she decorates in October, or maybe they just wanted to help. They made her day, and I’m sure she’ll pray for them tonight. We need more of this in the world, don’t we?

The videos I viewed yesterday were helpful in drawing some basic creatures, elephants, giraffes, and other shapes. I will break out my dad’s Cartoon Drawing books and review how they teach drawing basic shapes. The fun lettering book came today from Adornit. I’m happy this can be part of my artwork for the February Challenge.

I did a lot of lettering in Art Classes in High School. Enjoyed it a lot.

Just not enough hours in the day! My mom wishes for more time. Not sure to do what, because she swears she’s always busy but doesn’t tell us what she does. She insists she still needs the 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, a huge living room, dining room and a kitchen that is her home since 1949. She is a constant worrier so I guess that takes up some time.

The Babe and I are having homemade Pasta e Fagoili for dinner. It’s a great easy slow cooker meal that is perfect for these cold winter evenings. Hope you stay warm. Thank you for reading and know I’m grateful for you doing so. I will be here tomorrow, too, hope you will.