Summery Sunday

Good Sunday Morning! Hope you are all well. Hope you have a steamy cup or six of coffee, however you like it, and that you talk to someone you love today. It’s in reaching out that we reach each other. Not in a physical way, but symbolically, reach out so someone. It may be the only contact they (or you) have all day.

The Babe and I watched CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley today. I really like that program. Although it does report some news, it talks in a very positive way about the status of all, and doesn’t try to scare the Holy Heck out of you. I’m serious. It was much more uplifting to hear from Henry Winkler about his bad dyslexia and how he has dealt with it than to hear more updates on the death totals, protesters, and elections in November. It was actually refreshing.

At first, I was with everyone who wanted normal back again. The more I read and realize that may not be what we should want, the more I don’t want it back. I love seeing families trying to plant gardens, to spend time with each other in a loving way, and for many people who have finally figured out that the Almighty Dollar isn’t what we should strive for.

I used to think it was easy for people with money to tell you it wasn’t everything. While that is true, I’ve been on both sides of the equation. Dirt poor as a single Mom, and now when money isn’t what matters any more. Years ago, my mom told me when you have enough money, it doesn’t matter anymore. Truer words were never spoken. I didn’t want for much. All I wanted was enough money to go to the grocery store AND buy shoes for each of my three kids. Without worry. Without robbing the utility bills payment and still have one kid that needed shoes. Didn’t want to get greedy.

And now, I understand how families feel who are not being paid because of their jobs being shut down. I cannot fathom being a person whose livelihood depends on tips. I never had to use a food bank or apply for government cheese, but I feel for people who don’t due to pride. As I gained more training and experience and higher pay, all it did was put me in the category of the kids not qualifying for reduced lunch at school. The raise was only $.50 per hour usually. The taxes on a single person reduced take home pay. And the guidelines for reduced lunch were your gross pay, not net pay. With the higher lunch prices, it actually was a negative net pay change. Imagine that. My answer was to get more education, and I would earn more money. That and a change of employer made all the difference in the world.

The things I’ve described above have taken a couple things I never knew I had. FAITH in myself. HOPE in my efforts. BELIEF that I could do it. As I ventured further into the world, I gained more of those three things. They’re intangible but necessary for success in anything, be it college, job interview, creating your own opportunity, or learning anything new. Like a new direction for your lives. Yes, it’s frightening. But if you don’t venture out, you’ll fail by not trying.

Do you know someone like this?
Is it YOU?

Yes, this was me about fifty years ago, right out of high school. I knew I’d never finish college much less be able to pay for it, I knew I’d never meet someone so I married my high school boyfriend, I never thought about hair styling school because I was sure I’d never work. What would the nearly 68 year old Kathy tell the then 18 year old Kathy from this perspective on her life?

  • Listen to yourself, not everyone else.
  • Get some confidence in yourself.
  • You are valuable.
  • You are intelligent.
  • You are very capable.
  • Don’t listen to negativity, especially from your mom.
  • Be brave enough to ask your dad about things.
  • Do it afraid.
  • Find a group that is on your side.
  • Find support. It’s out there.

And so many other things. There were no community colleges in the Omaha area in the late 60s and early 70s. The women’s movement was just starting here in Omaha, Nebraska, behind the curve of the nation, but it was all about things that were foreign to me, my mom, my family’s way of thinking. I now embrace certain things about it, but couldn’t imagine it back in those days.

As a late bloomer, I can only imagine what I could have accomplished with another twelve years out in the world making my way. That said, I am so grateful to have been at home with kids and having that beautiful experience. They gave me the strength to leave a bad situation and look for a better life. They were my reason for living and venturing and enjoying life. It has been quite a ride, and I regret nothing.

It’s perfectly OK to look for support outside of your family. It’s perfectly OK to be different than “they” want you to be. It’s perfectly OK to blaze a trail. Do it afraid, but do it. You’ll learn quickly. You must learn to create opportunities if you don’t see any in front of you. Education. Professional groups. Networking. Social Media. No one can take your learning away from you. Don’t keep yourself from it. It’s yours for the taking and keeping.

As we continue through these days of uncertainty, create opportunities for yourself. Work related, fine. Free time related? Sure, why not. Why do you think the baking aisle at the store is noticeably understocked right now? People are trying something new, something they haven’t had time for before. Baking is a start. Online art classes are a start. There are many, many low cost or even free ones. Check it out! Better to spend your time learning something you’ve always wanted to do than watching some of the videos out there.

And there is another benefit. A real one. If you have young kids who see you learning, it will keep them learning. They will value learning. They will value education. They will value calculated risk taking. It’s all a fantastic experience. Go for it!

Thank you so much for reading today. Enjoy this Sunday in any way you can. It remains overcast with a big chance of rain tomorrow, so the Babe is finishing the little patio garden fence. It has a gate, and is so cute! I hope to see you again tomorrow. I’ll be here, hope you are, too. Learn. Something. New. Stay healthy! Stay sane!

I’d like to believe someone wrote my story here.
It can be yours, too.

Wise Wednesday

It’s a nice day in Gretna, Nebraska. It is sunny, with a few fluffy clouds here and there. Normally, this would be a fantastic, beautiful day. I cannot say that since the wind is pre-Hurricane force. And in Nebraska, that’s damned windy! Late yesterday, I tried to sit out on the patio, and with that wind, I was cold! I got an afghan off the pile that my wonderful mother-in-law Liz Raabe made for Dan over the years. She made so many for so many people. She’s been gone six years now, I think, and we miss her a lot. She always had a happy attitude. Sure, she had days, we all do. She always was happy to see everybody, and no matter what, made you feel as if you were the most important person on the planet when she talked with you. Liz, thank you for raising such a wonderful man. The Babe has your big heart. We’re lucky to have each other.

I’m feeling a little bit “off” today. It might be we ate take out tacos from a place near home. I’m not used to eating anything that’s fried, especially for the last month or so. My innards feel all twisted up. So, lots of tea today, probably a lot of resting.

The Babe is making a little fence to keep Miss Goldie out of my flower bed by the patio. He hopes to finish it today. I am so impressed by how he cuts here and there, mixes a little instant concrete up, and voila! A fenceline. He is awesome. Glad he’s getting back to his shed. He had it built when we moved here, as a place to keep everything and work where he won’t get the mess in the house. A Man Cave/Cabin/Shed, whatever! As a shed warming gift, our friend(s) Lenny (and Kris) gave him his very own radio/CD Player. He plays the radio, mostly. After his adventures with ischemic heart disease the last two years (stroke, endarterectomy, wound vac, etc.) he’s been a little adrift trying to get back into living again. He’s finally there!

It feels good to complete a project, whatever it is. I’ve decided since I’m doing a hedgehog themed picture for our newest grandson Cody, he really needs to have a quilt to go with it. I sent a cow painting (like from Hobby Lobby) for Kayla’s room, and found the fun paper pieced cow quilt as the finishing touch. It was so fun to make, and every day when I stopped for the day, I just sat and laughed at how funny the cow was. Had the perfect piece of fabric in my stash for the back, too. It was a furry cowhide.

What are you reading today?
Where are you going today?
What kind of story are you part of now?

I’m reading several different things, some for research, some for pleasure, some to make me laugh, some to learn, some to see how other authors do it. Goodreads App probably wants to give up on me. I have about 15 books going at once. Some, I’ve lost interest in, some were too sad at the time I was reading them (like any book where the dog dies. I’m a mess when that happens), and one I thought was written by a man who hated women (his descriptions were archaic, almost chauvinistic).

I have only abandoned four books in the past ten years. One was, “Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl,” (Really a SteamPunk type of world, sent it to my daughter,) “Wouldn’t It Be Nice: My Own Story” by Brian Wilson, (It was so sad about his mental illness and the mis-treatment he went through, a lot of this was repetitive), “I am Malala,” (Story of her fight is incredible, but over half of it was repetitive and very politically slanted,) and “Miriam’s Healing,” (I gave it away before we moved).

I adore this little mouse in the picture above. Some of my most favorite books are children’s books. I have a ton of them from Addison and Gavin. I think they’ll come in handy for Kayla and Cody. Kayla loves to read, I’m so glad! Her Mama and Daddy read to her all the time. She’ll probably be pretty smart, as they both are, too. Hope we can go visit when this pandemic is over. Really over.

If you have ever wanted to read something funny yet truly happened, pick up a Bill Bryson book. He wrote the book which the movie, “A Walk in the Woods,” was based on. The movie starred Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. Nolte was perfect for this part. He should have had an Oscar nomination for it. Redford is always good, no matter what. He wanted Paul Newman to be in the movie (instead of Nolte), but Newman told him he knew he couldn’t handle the terrain of the Appalachian Trails, where the movie takes place. That would have been the BEST! Nolte was fantastic, nonetheless.

The first half of the book was the movie. The second half of the book caused me to howl out loud because the writing was that good at describing things. Another Bryson book I loved was “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.” It’s available on Amazon. Bryson grew up in Des Moines, Iowa. Anyone who grew up in the 50s or 60s will relate to all of this story. It’s a beauty, read it, you’ll be amazed at how good it makes you feel.

We can all use this as our motto, our daily goal, our mantra.

I’m grateful for your time today. I’m going back to work on my chapters from yesterday. I’ve split up one long one, moved another one away from where it was, and am seeing there may be a huge critical point that could see resolution, far away from where this journey started a year ago. Yes, I started to write the book a year ago. It doesn’t resemble its former self, but that’s a good thing. I believe it has more appeal to more people, more ages, and certain groups of readers. It’s kinda cool when the author isn’t sure of where they will end up in their own story. The process leads you there. I’m amazed at how it works. I hope to see you tomorrow. Come on back!

Fabulous Friday

Hi, friends!

An overcast, almost chilly day here in Gretna, Nebraska. We are seeing a lot of green things growing here, and the one house in the neighborhood who doesn’t believe in weed control has infected our lawn with the blight of suburbia! Dandelions! I know, we should be all organic about them and let them live, but no, not like he did. No grass at all. Just dandelions. The Babe is on the hunt for them, so watch out!

Already this morning, I’ve gone through a bunch of my book, editing and changing things up. I’m on about page 50, Chapter 10. It’s fun. Changing descriptions to spoken words by the characters is a good way to show, not tell. If someone in the story is relating family stories it’s a lot more interesting than reading words. I learned that in my first submission. Good one, too. It’s important to story telling. Sometimes, I just pick up a book and read. If it piques my interest, I pay attention to the writing. Dialogue from characters? Yes. What a process.

This afternoon, I want to work on my Poppy Quilt. It needs three different boarders on it, then I can select the backing for it, layer it, and add it to the stack that needs quilting. That will be a good bit of work for May. If I could quilt one quilt a week and finish it, it will be a very good month! A challenge since the weather is finally nice, but they need to be done.

Goldie has so much fun fetching in the yard. It’s so nice in the mornings that I can just go out in my pajamas and throw her toy. She has so much energy. She loves her people, too. Has to be with us. Lexie acts as if she could care less, but snuggles in bed every night. She’s on a kick now that she won’t get into bed until I do. Kind of cute, really. But then she gets in my place! Huh. We’ll have to do something about that.

Unrealistic? Uhm, maybe.

It’s about time for lunch now. A quick sandwich then off to finish the Poppy Quilt. Stay tuned for a photo tomorrow. There. Now I have to finish it! Thanks for reading, I hope you have a good day, stay home, wash your hands, straighten out your office, and be kind. I’ll see you again tomorrow.

Thankful Thursday

It is so beautiful outside this morning. It started a little cool, but that’s ok. The Babe is mixing concrete (by hand), to replace a slab at the bottom of the deck stairs. He made a temporary extra wooden step previously, but with all the dog traffic, it didn’t hold up too well. Goldie doesn’t know what to think. She is a bit timid about new things. She kind of hangs back and watches. You have to love her. She’s been a Godsend to the Babe since we lost Roxie.

As I told you last night in my late post, the Internet was down almost all day yesterday. Wow! Does that make your life different. It really brought to mind how much we rely on it for everyday stuff. Not only does it entertain people all day, my Google Docs weren’t available since the Internet was down. Word Press was also unavailable. It made me re-think my whole day. I read a book, relaxed outside with the Babe and the pups. It was great.

Today, it’s back to work. Proofread my preview for the book coach, send it to her via e-mail (which was also down yesterday), and continue doing work on the book. I’m really getting to like one character that I didn’t think I’d like at all. It amazes me how things can change just as the story develops. It’s just something that happens in your mind during the process. I wonder if other authors have that happen? Excuse me, are there any writers out there who have had that happen? I’m new at this, I’d love to know if it’s normal.

This will be for our new grandson, Cody Wyatt, who lives with his sister Kayla Jolee and their parents and dog Chief in Colorado. The ad didn’t say it was counted cross stitch so I’m cheating. Grandma’s go the extra mile for their grandkids!

I think this little picture will be cute for a little boy. His Mama loved hedge hogs. We even had a pet one, she named him Cliff (after Cliff Claven). I’m thinking of baby toes and smiles and good scents while I’m counting stitches, etc. Babies are just the best. Our world needs more of them, who are welcomed, and loved, and cherished. We all need to feel those three things.

Our friend Jimmy Weber did not an award last night, but we did see him perform the Star Spangled Banner. He always does such a great job on a difficult song. His love for our country shows with every note. It’s refreshing to experience that. When a link becomes available, I’ll post it.

There is a bird’s nest under our deck. It’s been there since we moved in. At first, Robin’s used it. This year, however, they did not return. There are many House Finches in our wooded area, and they have now called the nest home. They sit and sing to us, then go check on the eggs. It’s a pretty neat experience, and I wish the grandkids could come see it. Next year. One year, House Finches made a nest in a hanging planter with a Fuchsia plant. We could look in on the baby when we watered. It was pretty cool to be able to do that.

Every little bit helps!

I’d better get on with the day. I appreciate you checking in today, I appreciate you taking the time. Be positive about everything today, it will make a huge difference in your day. I will be back tomorrow, and hope to see you here. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Sneeze into your elbow. These things will help keep you safe. Blessings.

Humppp Daaayyy!

It is now nearly 4:30 CDT in the afternoon. I started this blog this morning. Then the Internet Provider crashed everything. For the whole day! It was quite a day for being disconnected. I finished my preview copy of my book for the Book Coach I’m working with. But I couldn’t e-mail it for her. I’m not certain Google Docs even saved the proper words to “the Cloud.” The Internet was wonky all day!

What in the world did we do before all this technology took over? We enjoyed our families and our space. Whatever our space is, we made it ours and enjoyed it. If you were a fifteen year old kid, you had posters on your walls, your own music, and did homework while you waited for dinner to be ready. Your seventeen year old sister may have been talking on the phone to another friend, but it didn’t last all night. You met as a family at dinner and talked. Maybe not a lot. But you noticed your parents at least acted interested in what went on in your world. They probably didn’t share much about their own troubles. You weren’t meant to be their friends, you were their children. Adults didn’t put their burdens on you.

Be a Survivor, Not a Victim.

This afternoon, after the Babe finished weed-eating and mowing the “field” (We have a big yard) we sat on the patio and talked. I couldn’t do this work, he needed to just relax. He said, “This is retirement. Isn’t it great?” Absolutely. The Babe has taught me, who was always organized, the Fine Art of Procrastination. Some days I think I was too good and eager a student, but now the world doesn’t end if I don’t meet a self-imposed deadline. It doesn’t, and I’m not as stressed as I used to be about them. Thanks, Babe!

I had a great writing session this morning, tying up loose ends in my first eight chapters that will go to the book coach I’m working with. I’m taking the night off and going to re-read it all in the morning. The Internet was down as I finished writing, so who knows what was saved at the last minute to the cloud for Google Doc? I was a clerk/secretary for too many years to let it go out in the world without proof reading it one more time. So that’s tops on the list for tomorrow.

It may sound strange, but as I’ve added extra characters to my heroine Katie’s family, I really want to see one brother make a 180 degree turn about in his life. Could be the optimist in me, but I’m thinking he’s going to want to have a family life with his siblings before he dies. He has miles to go before they can trust him again, and it could happen. It may not, but it could. We’ll see where the rest of the rewrite takes us. I’ll keep you posted.

I’m ready to sign off here, sorry to be so late today. Below is a screenshot from Facebook, mentioning an event that was cancelled due to Coronavirus. My friend Jimmy Weber was nominated for an award, the Babe and I are watching to see if perhaps he wins. No one is more deserving. Good luck, Jimmy!

Tune In, Folks! Hopefully, we’ll see our friend Jimmy Weber win in the category he was nominated!

As always, thank you for reading. I appreciate your time and will see you tomorrow. Unless the Babe uses one of my measuring cups for baking to measure out his Weed Kill concoction. Then he’ll be the Carol Baskin of Gretna! Stay tuned all of you Tiger King fans. Hope to see you tomorrow!

Tuesday # 498

I’ve seen some really cute posts on Facebook lately that talk about Quarantine Day # 8,375 and the like. It’s about how it feels somedays, you know? I shudder to think how places back east are trying to jump the gun and open up again. I don’t believe it’s a good idea, we will surely be locked back down again perhaps more so than we are now.

Pray for those who are violating the social distancing rules.

I believe most people are compliant. I’m not thinking we’ve lost our rights at all. Sometimes people need protection from themselves, like during a pandemic. A cool head and common sense must reign our thoughts and activity now. Now is just not the time to start up on life again. It’s too soon. The protesters could be in for a giant surprise after touting their freedoms over the last week. I feel badly for the people who will be infected by those who think the rules shouldn’t apply to them. Their grandmas, grandpas, and babies could be in peril. How selfish.

When I was a Systems Analyst at Mutual of Omaha I worked in the Rate Adjustment area when I first started. As with any computer program changes, we first had to analyze how any changes made would affect the way the program operated at present. Don’t break anything that is working. Then, when we made changes, we had to carefully test and make sure the changes did what they were supposed to do. And then of course, make sure you didn’t cause an issue down the road.

It’s kind of like that while testing for this pandemic. The results of any action should not impact life as we know it with illness or death. Isolating temporarily is just what we need to do. Still. The reason? We cannot be sure what this viral disease is going to do to us if we do nothing. There are way too many ways it affects our bodies. Skin, kidneys, lungs, heart, some or all of it is affected.

We aren’t getting the same results when testing antibodies as therapy, some folks who were infected are becoming reinfected, some aren’t. It almost seems no two cases are alike, so there is no treatment emerging as the be all and end all to this virus. When your testing results do not end the same, nothing you are doing is the cure, the answer to our prayers. In that respect Americans are so impatient to have everything NOW. Science does not work that way. I’m perfectly happy to wait it out.

Yes, we are retired, but we surely don’t want any of our adult children or grandchildren to become ill. The five grandkids range in age from three months to thirteen years. Too much that is precious is at stake for a few irate people to cause trouble now. I pray mob mentality doesn’t take over. Be sensible. Be smart. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Be kind. Offer help. Your wishes are not the most important. The greater good is what needs to be protected before we’re out of the woods. We are the ones who must protect America and ourselves.

I need to do some more editing on the novel today. Yesterday, I reviewed about thirty eight pages, which is a good start. It was beautiful sitting on the patio while reading. The thought I’m keeping is I can sit there and read the real book before next winter. The deadline could change, but the goal to finish is the same. These are exciting times.

What would you like to have to show for your time in quarantine? Aside from makeup, hair, home haircuts, facemasks, solo workouts, virtual meetings, recipes, and public service announcements? Think about it. Time will go and never come back.

With the Direct TV package we have, there is, of course, music available. The Babe has consistently turned on 70s music or 80s music every day. It’s weird to hear the 80s music and recall just yesterday, I was a single mom with all different kinds of music coming from my kids’ rooms. It was a fun time. Some of it I miss, some I don’t. And the 70’s music reminds me of my first marriage, the kids being little, and life in general being so different than now. In the not too distant future, COVID-19 will be a memory, and we’ll think back on all we did (or didn’t do) during the quarantine. Hopefully, we have something good to show for it. Don’t waste it. Time is too precious.

Which is why I appreciate you spending time every day to see what’s happening in my little corner of this wonderful world. It’s better with you all in it. See you again tomorrow, with more progress on the re-write. Have a productive, fabulous day! Hugs to you all.

I’m Going to Hug EVERYONE When We’re Let Out to Mingle Again.

Mid Week Risk Taking

Whatever you think you can do, or think you can, begin it. Boldness has a genius, power, and magic with it. – Goethe

One thing I clearly noticed about myself upon going out Monday, after being in quarantine for three weeks, I seemed to be low on confidence. I think it’s (hopefully) normal to feel that way. And it’s going to take awhile to regain all that is ours, and that includes confidence, remembering what day it is, and being more inclined to wear clothes, not pajamas, every day.

That said, I think I need to show myself that I’m still as competent as I was two months ago. And that I can still do any number of things well. Maybe practice some of all of those things this week. Since the annual monkey of filing Income Taxes is off my back, I’m free to do whatever. To begin, I’m going to fill out a Client Intake Q & A to work with a coach on my novel. I need someone to help me focus, and I’d really like to still publish by October 1 at the latest. Big order. The date can certainly wiggle a bit. But the idea is, I want to finish the novel and go further on this road.

My reading and inspiration for today is listed at the top of this post, and I’m applying it to my book. And in applying it to my book project, I’m applying it to my life. Yes, I’m at least beginning to see the end in sight. I need to get myself moving, even if I’m not sure of some of the next steps. They will make themselves known, just as prior steps have. I’m a beginner, and I have enough knowledge to keep going. No, I have no idea what the outcome will be. I know what I want it to be, and it will be that and more. Inertia must be overcome, and that’s what I’m doing by continuing this “finish writing the book” step. The next step cannot come until this one is nearly complete. Makes perfect sense.

At this point, people freeze often and express fear, ineptness, lack of confidence, and other negatives. Do it anyway. Do it afraid. Do it lacking confidence. The fear will subside. The confidence will build. You will be glad you stayed the course. You will succeed. Enjoy the journey. Trust your gut instinct and your judgement. To do that, act boldly. You will find the momentum in the boldness of your actions.

Even if no one is watching, we are. We know we are succeeding. We are doing well with those baby steps towards the goal. Being bold enough to do it afraid gives us the confidence to keep going. Keep stepping towards the goal. You’ll be back to the good place of creativity in no time, you just have to keep going. The confidence builds. The trust in ourselves builds. The work is getting done. The trust gives us more momentum. We are the only ones we can trust with our futures. Our parents don’t know what’s best for us. If they did, we would never leave home. Once the magic of succeeding happens, we can see we do know what we’re talking about. And we know what’s best for us. So go on that journey. Draw, paint, write, create in whatever way you want. You will find yourself along the way.

You may be surprised to meet yourself, all confident, creative, sporting a level of consciousness you never thought possible. You are the best version of yourself. You may have days you doubt, but don’t let them last long. Create some more, that will reinforce your new image of you. Practice improves your abilities. Reinforces your new image of yourself. Helps you go boldly where you have never gone before. Trust me, you will go there again, and again, and again. Look forward to it.

Today’s part of moving to the goal:
Fill out the Intake Q & A and prep the attachments needed.

Part of what I need to do is fill out this paperwork and submitting some of my rewritten novel to the coach I’m working with. I will submit all necessary parts of this by the end of the week. And I’ll dig in to finish the re-write. I’d love to have it finished by May 1. (Another goal, made public!)

Thank you for your time again today. I will be here tomorrow, and will appreciate it if you come back as well. Going to spend the rest of the day practicing creating something beautiful. And something useful. A quilt and some COVID masks. It doesn’t get better than that at the moment!

Joke of the Day