Ahhhh Sunday!

Today is a special day for my cousin’s family. We gathered at a local winery to have a wedding shower for his oldest daughter. What a happy family. They have two daughters getting married this year! Mike and his wife Mary are taking it in stride. They are one of the best couples you could ever find. They are very devoted to the Knights of Colombus, and have traveled well with the group. Mike has been blessed to kiss the ring of the Pope during a special audience. What an honor!

Mom will be in her glory, since she is the elder of this tribe. She loves to see the kids, their kids, and grandkids. All of her sisters will be watching from heaven. Aunt Lois will play jokes on everyone. Aunt Carol will be in the food line four times, claiming each trip is for another person each time. Aunt Judy will be making funny faces at any babies present. I miss my aunts, and am glad for all the good memories with each of them. Aunt Lois and Uncle Joe in particular would have been so proud of the events of the day. Cousin Mike is the host with the most, just in line behind his dad, who was the quintessential host of all time. Such good memories.

Brides are so happy at their showers. Katelynn look stunning! She had the most beautiful off white lace dress on, I loved it. Can’t wait to see her wedding dress. My late Aunt Carol told me about her granddaughter in Rapid City, who is getting married at a later date, and said, “It’s so nice to see a young couple so in love and working together, when they are just starting out.” She was right. Sometimes you get jaded or forget the thrill or just don’t think about the spark anymore. My cousins are happy people and happy couples. The men married to the girls were all present in another room. They jumped into action when it came time to clean up the room and carry stuff to the cars. I know Lois and Joe were smiling down from heaven. Their six noisy, crazy, good people kids, are all doing fine. You can tell they had good teachers of good values, caring, and taking care of each other. We didn’t get to meet the new baby in the family, but her mama was wise to stay home, she doesn’t want to expose the baby to any flu or strange germs. I don’t blame her, babies are too precious, and that’s a parents job, protect those babies! We’ll meet her later. Stay safe, sweet baby!

I realized yesterday, I’ve hit a milestone of sorts with my novel re-write. I’ve got 40K words now! That’s up about 6K, so it seems I’m making more progress than I thought. Love when that happens! Tomorrow is a morning with the house cleaning crew, so I’ll be entertaining the pups while the girls clean the house up and down. So fortunate to be able to afford this service. It helps me so much.

More novel work tomorrow, hoping time permits. And I’m seriously behind on the I Create Daily Art Challenge for February, 2020. I need some serious catching up. Need to locate the jean jacket pattern I bought to make a dusty pink jean jacket from. There is enough for pants, too. The fabric is a yummy soft draping stretchy denim. Hope to at least get it cut out during February. Folks, it’s a problem when you like a lot of different creative things. Hope to coordinate them someday. Soon.

In the meantime, if you live in town or close to family, plan an event like a pot luck where everyone brings a dish and gets together. The sooner the better. Life is so scattered anymore, keep in touch with the people who came from where you came. Who came from the same folks you did. Their kids and grandkids will have a rich history, and lots of memories to fall back on.

Thanks for reading today, I appreciate it so much. Have a great Sunday evening, and I’ll see you here tomorrow. Good Evening!

Happy Valentine's Day

This is a big day for “love” and “lovers”. And card companies, and chocolate makers, retailers everywhere. A huge part of the population sometimes feels as if they are less than the rest of us who happen to have partners of one kind or another.

I remember being single on this day. I remember sitting at work while everyone in the office received flowers from their someone. Everywhere. Flowers. Candy. Cards. Stuffed Animals and Balloons, all sorts of things. I felt less than desirable, less than loved, and soldiered on to get through the day. I was always glad it was over. Being in a relationship and marriage, now it’s so different. Sometimes we forget to get a card for each other, it’s all good. Each and every day, we demonstrate the love we were lucky enough to find with each other. I remember those long, lonely years. And I know some day we will face losing our partner. And we will experience another kind of lonely.

God was very good to both of us. For all of you who are single by chance or by choice, it gets better. You will find someone who is perfect for you. Make sure you keep your standards high and don’t let your lonliness lead you to a bad relationship decision. The worst mistakes I have made were made out of lonliness. Think more highly of yourself. The lonliness will pass. The best company you can have is yourself. Once you are comfortable being alone, you will be better off. Trust me, it doesn’t last forever.

I do believe blind dates still have a place in our world today. I don’t think I’d be a good candidate for online dating if I were single. Too many lies. I’ve been lied to in person more than had truths told. I don’t want to be lied to electronically. The Babe is the first man I ever met who told the God’s honest truth all the time. That took a little getting used to. And now, I would expect it rather than just hope for it. That is what happens when you learn to value yourself. It’s the best lesson I’ve learned in my life.

Today, Mom had another good day at therapy. It’s helping a lot more than she realizes, and I think it’s good for her to get out more frequently than she has been. Sunday we get to have a new adventure at a family wedding shower. First time for Mom going to a winery. First time for everything.

Thank you for reading today, I’m grateful you stopped by. I will be here again tomorrow, please stop by. It’s always great to see old friends. Give your single friends a hug.

Hug your friends today. They need to be loved, too!

Toned Down Tuesday

Mom reported back to Balance and Strength Class today. She was glad to get back to it. She needed a boost today, was out of sorts, but felt better after the class was over. Then she felt like doing more than just going home. Hobby Lobby, there we went!

It serves as an outing and an indoor walk, so she was happy but tired by the time we were finished. I feel badly for older folks. Will I have anyone to get me out when I’m 90? Gosh, I hope so. I am sure I’ll need help, everyone does. Maybe it’ll be grandkids, or stepdaughter, or my son who lives in town. I’m certainly not worried or concerned about it, but hope I’m still a vital human by that time.

The painters finished up today. There’s something fresh and new about new colors and a clean start. Kind of early spring cleaning. now to get new accessories. Artwork, maybe an art quilt, stuff, and more stuff. This is the fun part. Photos to follow.

No writing today, but lots of thoughts about the book. I’m creating dialogue to tell parts of the story, as this is supposed to be more readable and relatable. It makes the whole story different. Hope to hit it again earlier tomorrow, in between an appointment for the Babe and just putzing around the house. I found another couple of books at Hobby Lobby today, Calligraphic Drawing, and Creative Lettering Companion. I’m all about books at bargain prices, and these were discounted deeply.

I also started reading a new book, River People, by Margaret Lukas. She is a fellow Nebraska Writers Guild member. The story is set in Nebraska in the late 1890s. It should be a great read, if you’d like to learn more about it, it is available on Amazon.

This week is the big holiday that was invented by the Romans to celebrate love. There are all sorts of definitions and origins if you Google Valentine’s Day, and you can believe what you’d like. While I was still single, I was amazed at the vast number of women who received (delivered) bouquets of roses at work. When the vases were delivered, other women would ask, “From your husband?” The answer was a mixture of sarcasm and bitchiness, “He knows better than to forget.” Wow. Is that the way to show love, expect it as a show to other women? I love to receive flowers. These days, if I see a pretty bouquet at the store, I’ll buy it. The babe and I both can enjoy the blooms, and it’s a good pick me up for the house during gloomy days.

It’s been a couple of long days here at Raabe Ranch. Even the dogs are extra tired. It should get back to normal in a day or two here. Just glad to have a head start on spring sprucing up and all the wonder that goes with it. I would bet we get a snowstorm or two before spring really arrives, but it won’t last too long. Famous last words, right? Thank you for reading today, I hope to see you again tomorrow.

Another Sunday in the Suburbs

It’s almost noon in Gretna, NE. We’ve had a full morning, and are getting ready for the crew we hired to come paint tomorrow. When we first moved in three years ago, the Babe painted the living room, kitchen, two small bedrooms we use for studio/office space, and our bathroom. ReBath made a tiny ugly shower into a beautiful thing. It’s all handicap ready for when the time comes, if it does. The lady that built the house had it constructed that way. Mostly all door handles instead of doorknobs. Wonderful for us arthritics! The one door with a knob is leading to the deck, and I struggle with it. But it’s a good test of what you’ve got or not.

So builders grade paint is nothing but a dirt magnet. We had the kitchen and living room share a color called “Mimosa” on a couple walls. The others are neutral. My studio/office is my favorite color – Yellow. It’s happy, bright, and makes me think of sunshine. The Babe’s office is a smoky purple, grey in nature. We brought the paint from the old house, didn’t get the guest room painted before we sold, and we liked the color. The guest level is professionally finished by Thrasher, I believe. It’s nice. The colors are very neutral and clean.

Our colors are getting a bit crazy, but who cares? We’ll have a Caribbean Blue bedroom, with a darker accent wall. The laundry room will be neutral, one accent wall grey in the living room, and the extra bathroom will be a delightful Grape color. It should be fun, and I’ll be glad when we get the carpets cleaned. We’ll be ready for spring. And for the puppy to be spayed. She’ll be six months old on Valentine’s Day. What a gift! A brown eyed yellow lab! Love her to pieces.

Character cards. Opening scene card.

Thanks to Sam, my wonderful editor, I have moved the whole story around. The family home is the scene, and Katie is my main character. An only girl in a family of boys. Seven of them! Wow, I can relate, but I only have three brothers. Some days, that was way too many. She is the dependable one, and most of the brothers are afflicted by the disease of the family – alcoholism. It’s not just a matter of drinking too much. It’s a mindset of excesses, blame, secrets, lies, and abusive behavior. Katie has broken free from the curse. She recounts how lonely that has been, but is glad she learned these lessons, and had a sixth sense about the whole lifestyle. Nothing was ever made better by having a beer/glass of wine/shot/highball or whatever. Nothing was ever made better by “needing” a drink. Society has fed the dragon, and only now can Katie see how she has been blessed.

This family is a conglomoration of many I have known, observed, and read about through the years. People end up in some terrible situations because of their vices. I know I have. I have made my worst relationship mistakes because I was lonely. That is the God’s honest truth. Parts of Katie are me, other parts are not. For the record, I consume alcohol. It has never controlled my life. I don’t need it. I won’t drink if I’m upset, need to make a coherent decision, have someone depending on me. I can have fun and not get in “fights” if I drink. All in all, not a big deal.

As I forward to my manuscript, wish me luck, creative thoughts, excellent spelling, perfect words, and good concentration. It’s just a matter of getting it done. And you’ll be the second to know when I do. I really appreciate your reading, your support, and you always come back to see what will happen next. I do too, because I don’t know either! See you tomorrow.

Finitely Friday

There are only twenty-four hours in this highly touted day of the week. When you are working for a living, you cannot wait for it to arrive. What do you do once it’s there? Maybe we put too much into this one day a week, why should all it’s siblings have a lesser fan club? Especially Monday. What happens when you are retired? You have six Saturdays and a Sunday. Those days are not that different, one from another, and it is difficult for new retirees to keep track of what day it is.

When I was moved into early “retirement” in 2000 due to my health, I was kind of a mess. I was only forty-eight years old and was a newleywed. It just didn’t seem like something I should be doing. It was hard. My body let me down and I was a bit angry about that fact. As one of my brothers’ said, “That’s what you get for taking care of yourself.” Well, maybe.

I have since recovered from the overwhelming feeling to explain my early departure from the working world. When I told my doctor I couldn’t do it anymore, he said, “I’m surprised you made it this long.” What? And the rub is it’s one of those things a person cannot identify on sight. That may be what made it so hard. That and my age. And the fact after keeping it together through being a single mom, college student, friend, sister, you name it, that it finally was my turn. Bitterness could have easily taken over.

I met the Babe right after that horrible illness, and he was more than ok with me having a hidden illness. His mother battled MS for most of her adult life and he was well aware of people who lost their health. From watching his interactions with her over the years, I came to know what type of compassionate caregiver he is. And he is. Like most men, he’s a better caregiver than patient, but that’s another story. Initially I felt I kept him from doing things, but he said no, he’d rather be hanging out with me. And it turns out we’re perfect for each other. Sure, we get frustrated. We’re human. But in the long run, neither of us will give up or quit on the other. And that’s a quality I”m glad we both have.

Each day we have is the same twenty-four hour period on the clock, calendar, and moment in time. I had a boss who would take Monday off instead of Friday for a long weekend. His thinking was everyone takes Friday, Monday can be less crowded and just as special. Just a little change in thought, and powerful things can happen. Try it. You might like it. It could change the way you view your world, life, and creativity.

In the creative realm, for those who create things from other materials, you need to strike while the iron is hot. While the ideas are flowing, get them down, cut the fabrics, paint the pictures, write the words. And then coax them to become their best. I cannot say, “Friday is not a good day for creating, come back Monday,” because the idea most likely will be lost forever. Write down a note to spark the memory when you are able to capture the idea more fully. After a while, it won’t matter where or when you get those ideas. You will be able to make a note then coax it back into a more full statement. Practice. We all have enough time for that.

Don’t wish your life away. Make the most of each twenty-four hour trip around the sun. Give thanks for each day no matter how bad it can be. Tomorrow could be worse, but chances are, it won’t be. Some days the best thing you can say about it is, “It’s over now.” Do-overs. How lucky we are to have one every day. We may look back and decide these days weren’t so bad after all. All the Thursdays, Tuesdays, and Sunday nights have the capacity to be awesome. Just like we do. Every day people. Doing extraordinary things. Every day of the week.

Thank you for reading today. I’m grateful you did. I’ll be back tomorrow, and hope you will be, too. See you then. I’m off to work on my second chapter in the novel re-write. Go figure!

Super Monday Stuff

Good evening! Again, the day got away from me. It was a busy one, with another doctor visit with Mom. She wanted IHOP after that. She’s delighted they added individual Hazelnut Flavor Coffee Mates. We also hit the Half Off Book Store to look for used books. She found a whole basket full, so I hope her LED lights help her read to pass time. She really wears out quickly. I guess when you’re 90, it goes with the territory.

My brother took her last Christmas tree down yesterday, and put it all away. She told me I have to forbid her to buy any more ornaments next year. I laughed and asked, “Have you MET yourself??” She laughed, too. Makes me wonder how she’ll be next year, if she’s even still here with us. Can’t look too far ahead, just enjoy today.

I found some fun self taught Calligraphy, Watercolor, and Lettering kits today. Although they’re for kids, I thought what I really wanted was a little instruction and basic tools to practice and play with. I think they’ll all work well enough for that. I hope to try them later tonight or tomorrow early afternoon. It’s house cleaning day. I’m so grateful to have people who come clean our home for a reasonable price and do a great job. They’re trustworthy and are hard working. We found them when we had a professional cleaning before selling our other house. It was a great job, and the Babe decided I should get to keep them. It helps me so much with my messed up back to be able to delegate this big task.

I can be a young artist, can’t I??

After an absolutely beautiful day yesterday, it’s about thirty degrees cooler today. It is still winter, after all. Whatever snow falls from not until April 15 tends to not be here so long. When it does begin to thaw, I pray the rivers and creeks stay within their banks, we have people who are still homless after the floods of 2019. Those folks who did recover should not have to bear that duress again. It’s too much on a human heart to handle. Prayers for all of them.

I saw this cartoon last week and just thought how funny it way. I remember getting immersed in certain parts of learning history and science. I loved the study of Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Rome. And science, I loved astronomy. Learning about the solar system, it was so cool. And as kids, the race in space was paramount in out lives. Catholic nuns said we had to beat the Russians so they couldn’t send missles to destroy us from up there. As if Cuba wasn’t close enough! Thank goodness we all lived to talk about it all.

This is how some kids are about their learning.

Do you ever eat a type of food that really reminds you of someone or something from a long time ago? Today, being at IHOP, we had pancakes. When we were kids, my mom’s father would stop and have lunch with us on Friday. Since Catholics abstained from meat then, we would have meatless meals all day. Mom made pancakes for lunch with Grandpa. Every Friday, and we did that for a long time. When I was twelve, he had a massive heart attack and died on Christmas Eve. It was horrible. I remember the phone calls, the upset, the sadness. And after that I didn’t like pancakes anymore for a very long time. They are wonderful, but I just couldn’t eat them. Grief does strange things to us that we sometimes don’t understand. It took a long time, but I can finally enjoy the delicious, fluffy gifts from the kitchen.

I want to thank you for reading again today. I’m excited we’re gathering more readers, followers, and would love to have you share my blog with your friends who may be interested. I’ll return tomorrow, and share the works of art we create with all the fun stuff I acquired today. 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.