Simple Saturday

Many things are swirling around in my head this morning. Lots has occurred in the last 24 hours. First thing I’m thinking of my cousin Mike and how grateful they must be to have pulled off two wedding receptions in August and early September now that COVID is peaking again in Nebraska. Rules for bars are again, mask to enter building and leave, and mask to walk around in building.No more standing room only events. Events must drop to below 50% capacity. I would not be surprised if the bars and schools be closed again before Thanksgiving to slow the spread again. Our hospitals are nearing a much higher capacity than they want. I just pray to God we can get the election done, in the books, and move on to whatever is next.

Photo by Annie D on Pexels.com

Second, I’m thinking about Estes Park. It is one of our favorite places to make a destination. We love the nature, beauty, scenery, and people. Always something interesting going on. Flood visited there a few years ago, and now a two month old wildfire is calling for evacuations. Prayers for those folks, their families, property, and the wildlife. It all suffers during events like this.

Third, we had a great Post and Auxiliary meeting last week. Ron Hernandez, the founder of Moving Veterans Forward in the Omaha/Papillion area spoke to us about the Victory Apartments, and the other opportunities that are available for the Post to help him get off the ground that will serve Veterans locally. I see a lot of opportunity here for us and I’m excited about it.

I have some things to update for our Post website, and need some lessons from our Web Host, Image Masters. Luckily, the host with the most is my brother in law, Brad Shuck, and he’s always willing to teach me more about how the website works and can work. Great guy. Great photographer, too. He’s in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Check out his work.

Today is the day to make good on my intentions to bring in any plant that will perish with a frost. We’re due anytime, and I have some succulents that will be great inside the house. I don’t want to lose them. That’s for a little later on, and I might let them sit after spraying them for bugs to see what comes out, if anything. Then the transplanting can happen.

Even if we’re quarantined again it won’t be so bad. I’m already looking at grocery delivery, that’s the one thing I’m no longer crazy about doing. It’s kind of a hassle, and hard for me to carry a lot in from the car, after picking it up to put it in the cart, unloading cart, reloading cart with bags, putting bags in the car, that’s a lot of lifting and moving the same stuff to get home. I need to consult with our daughter Tracy to see how we can get started. She’s on to all the shopping stuff. Bless her!

Gavin Has Been Such a Blessing For Our Pups. And Organic Bones.

I’m organizing all my social media marketing information today, too. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are both used by the Post and by me as an Author. I’m starting up on both of them, so I figure planning them side by side should work. They are both meant to give exposure to the target audience. The Facebook is pretty well established for the Post, and my author page could use some boosting. I still have some online training to review and add to the plans, so that will be some good stuff to sit by the fire and do while the Babe watches football. This is what life is meant for. Being together and getting things accomplished. I’m grateful.

The second chapter seems to be pretty good so far. It’s about 1900 words, which is pretty fair. I don’t want to get hung up on word count, so I’m planning a little ahead. I don’t want to go much further than Chapter 3 before next Sunday night when I send Sam Tyler, my Book Coach, the updated versions for her feedback. I’ve mentioned before, if I’m way off track, I’d rather have just a chapter or two to rewrite than the whole book. Makes sense.

The Babe made some stellar Beef Vegetable Soup late yesterday. It’s reheating now in a great big soup pan. Tis the season for good stuff like that. It’ll be ready after a bit, and will be a welcome break from the morning. Of course, now that it’s afternoon, it’s time to get those plants inside. Life can be mundane, yet accomplishing those tasks gets things done, and you can move on to other tasks and relax. Ahhh. Saturdays. Even retired Saturdays are good.

Thank you for reading, it’s something else I’m eternally grateful for. We’ll meet you again tomorrow, with more tales of marketing myself, the Post, and being an author. Be Safe. Be Courteous. Be Patient. I’ll try to be, too.

Suddenly It’s Sunday Again!

Wow! What a week! It’s been the longest short week I’ve had for quite a long time. It was a great one, though. How about for all of you? I hope you’re all well and able to enjoy this beautiful Sunday, wherever you are.

The Babe and I had a big list of stuff to do this week. Probably 75% of it was done. But even at that, washing windows was not in the cards with all the much needed rain. Probably this week. I once had a house with 36 windows. They were old, cheap combination windows I cleaned twice a year. What a job! Now, instead of having to take the parts out, I can take out the screens, and use a product that hooks to your garden hose. You can clean the window, switch the product off, then rinse. Five minutes, then give the screen a shot of suds and rinsing, it’s all clean and ready to put back in when dry. Since we have a ranch style home, you can squeedge the water off or dry with a cloth. You can see again!

We went to the Post this morning for the first Sunday breakfast in a long time, and we enjoyed a good meal for $8. They did well, and it shuts down at Noon. We had breakfasts once a month for quite awhile, then stopped because not a lot of people were coming up, and that was before COVID. Good call to start them again. A new group of helpers makes the work go well.

Today, I will put the finishing touches on my stories of origin. It’s been a fun project and I’ve learned a lot. This has also been the week to unveil the new VFW Post 2503 website. The Babe’s brother in law Brad is a web designer, among other things, and he put it together for us. I’ve learned a lot more about WordPress this week, so that time has been so worth it. It’s been a fun as well as frustrating week. My stubbornness has kept me from calling him for help in figuring things out. Some things I still needed help with, but it took me back to my working days and the triumph of trouble shooting problems. A victory when you figure stuff out, for sure.

There will be a learning curve to keep going, and it’s ok. I’ve actually improved my website too, in case you didn’t notice. The new “Home” page has a bit about me and my headshot. I’ll need a new one since my COVID hair has grown almost shoulder length. I decided to keep the hair. I’ve missed it. I’ve had long hair most of my life, it’s sort of a signature. So what if it’s gray. No one cares anymore. Part of my brand, actually. “It’s Not Too Late, and I’m Not Too Old.”

The newest blog for the day is under “Today’s Blog” and a collection of all my blogs is available on the “Blogs at a Glance” page. There is a page to “Contact” me, and I’d sure like my followers to fill that out. I’ll keep e-mails to a minimum when they start, trust me! I haven’t published yet, but I’ll have your contact information for when I need it. I’d appreciate your help with that.

The other thing you could do under comments, is suggest a topic for the daily blog. If there is some part of writing you have questions about, I’d be glad to try and answer them. You’ll be helping me a great deal.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

I have to say, I’m scouring the free photo sites and looking for typewriter photos. I marvel at how big they are now. I hated typing on an old manual typewriter, the very old kind, because I had to address envelopes for advertising. The darned shift hold wasn’t in too good of shape, so it would type off center of the line. Arghhh! Had to throw them away, the boss wouldn’t let me erase it and white out hadn’t been invented yet. It was embarrassing!

I have to say, owning one of these typewriters would be fun for messing around, but I’m personally very happy with the ease of computer software. It’s awesome. Easy to correct. I don’t know how many words I can type, but wow, it’s way better than the hunt and peck method most people seem to use now. I cannot imagine typing an entire 80K novel using the hunt and peck method!

Photo by Logan Fisher on Pexels.com

I love these Aspen trees in Colorado. This is the perfect time of year out there. Well, summer can be, too. I have never been there in the snow, or a blizzard, so I can’t speak to that. Our daughter Becky moved there in 2001, and it’s our favorite place to go, even before she lived there.

This afternoon will be spent re-reading my character origin stories, and maybe actually reading a book for pleasure. The deck is just perfect right now, so I plan to enjoy it. How will you spend your day?

Thank you for spending part of it with me. I’ll be here again tomorrow, and I hope to see you, too. Have hope in your hearts, we all need it now more than ever. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Safe. And definitely, Be Aware of all around you.

Woo Hoo, Time Crunch!

First, I need to make a correction. Yesterday I mentioned Detective Herrera was to be buried at the Omaha National Cemetery, I was wrong. He will be buried in Lincoln. He is not only a Lincoln, Nebraska Police Officer, he is also an Army Veteran. This man served us well in many, many ways. Sorry for the confusion on my part.

Today is another rainy, dreary day. I’m starting to get a little down in the dumps, but will make a comeback. It’s going to be better, I just have to make up for lost time and get a some writing done. I’m still working on character origin stories, and so far have Katie’s husband John, her dad, and her mother. In between learning some new things with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and WordPress.

Photo by Ludvig Hedenborg on Pexels.com

Now, it’s time to finish homework today and tomorrow. This work is fun, assigning character traits that are negative yet also thinking of how they could be good under the not so good. People are the model for these behaviors. And we all know how interesting they are!

Photo by Coco Championship on Pexels.com

Do you ever people watch? The Babe does a lot. Sometimes I don’t even notice that he is. He watches interactions between people and is especially honed in on older people and little children. He is always the first one to jump up and help hold the door or otherwise help an older person. He was like this with his mom who had MS. Watching that made me know he’d always look out for me. And he does.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

When he watches little children, babies play hide and seek with him, they smile and wave at him, and play hard to get. Kind of like I did. Haha! They are a joy to watch, and you just hope they have a happy and safe environment to grow up in. Such sweetness is missed when you don’t have babies in close contact with you anymore.

Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com

There is nothing so sweet as a baby just learning to smile and respond to you. The whole world usually takes notice. There are, however, some people who don’t stop and gush (like we do) over a stranger’s baby. And that’s ok. Some people may mistake our interest in a bad way. I usually try to tell them our youngest grandkids live far away, and we just have to share the love. We don’t touch or bother them. It’s pretty sweet, really. Most young parents are open to it. Who doesn’t thing their baby is the cutest, smartest, and best?

I’m going to dig in and accomplish a lot today, not just writing, but around the house too. I plan to spend as much time as possible outside next week. The forecast appears to have every day with a sun icon on it. What IS that strange ball of fire in the sky, anyway? It’s going to be great to see it again.

Take care! Be safe. Let’s do this Saturday up right. I appreciate you spending time with me, and I’ll see you tomorrow! Thanks, let’s go do this!

#Three Hundred Fifty!!!!

I am so proud to share with you, this is #350 of the posted blog pages. It is an accomplishment, a routine to establish, a goal met. I write every day, and I have proof. I know some days have been better than others, and that is normal. The days I have a block, I concentrate on beauty around me. The Babe, Our dogs, nature, my flowers, whatever sticks in my mind. For instance, yesterday I did not set out to talk about my history of Presidential Voting. It just flowed there. It seemed to come from the place of my heart that knows arguing will not solve this issue with people. I wasn’t looking to lose readers, friends, or anything. I don’t think that happened. Thank you.

THIS is what yesterday’s post was.

The flooring guys finished up yesterday, and had to come back today for 1/2 hour to finish up setting the toilet in the guest bath upstairs. No big deal. The dogs, bless them, are so worn out from not being able to nap on their respective couch spots, that they will probably sleep until it’s time for us to go to the Post later for Hamburger Night.

We’ve been helping Tracy get Addison to and from school this week since Dad’s out of town for work. Grandpa takes the responsibility seriously. He missed out on school stuff with his kids, so this is an eye opener. Granted, it’s totally different than back in our day, but it’s even so different than when my kids were in school. Addison and Gavin are happy to be back at the school. It’s built just outside their fence. What a great thing! The lot was empty when they moved in, and suddenly, there was a school.

I received my first two chapters of “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons” back from my writing coach, Sam Tyler, and they’re coming along nicely. I have some homework for today, and we’ll have a conference tomorrow. I am so excited about this whole process. I’m learning, my brain is engaging, and I’m telling a story that’s been on my heart for a lot of years. Yes, it takes a long time, but nothing good is easy. Hard work yields great things. Sam is teaching me how to pull good stuff from myself. It’s amazing.

Yes, It Is!

So my workshop class yesterday was pretty flat. She had us read the first thirty pages of three different “Literary Fiction” novels. One was a Pulitzer Prize Winner. I’m quite open minded. One was total garbage. Almost pornographic. It should have had a warning. Anyone who knows me knows I am pretty accepting of most things. This book was not steamy in a good way, it was full of shock value, nothing of substance. And a third one, I couldn’t take seriously because a gay writer was the narrator about his life and loves, and I pictured this guy talking through the story.

Remember that voice? It’s all I could hear reading the first 30 pages of “Less.”

Ever since I was a kid, I have always pictured the characters in books as a tv or movie star. Or a real person, if I know one who fits the description. The voice always mimics a character I have heard. It’s imagination, at work. And I’ve always had an active one.

As my work on storytelling continues, it is exciting and a little intimidating at the same time. It definitely stretches you as a human, so you notice more things, wonder how to describe situations and people, and search for words you may not have used in an eternity. Sometimes, when writing about an era 50 years ago (after my high school graduation in 1970, for example), it’s a challenge to remember clothing styles, manners of speech, and even what the laws were back then. Some things we take for granted now were not possible in the 1960s and early 1970. Equality for women. Establishing credit in a woman’s own name. Having a bank account if you’re a female. Seriously, it was that bad. This is what feminists really did for us as women. Basic rights, equality in the eyes of the law.

As you ponder that fact, just remember how fortunate we are, as women and men, to be free to live as we do. It is a precious commodity. Let’s protect it. Let’s revere it. Let’s remember how it came to be. Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it a lot. Be safe out there. Be cautious, courteous, and caring. Wash Up, Mask Up, Let’s get rid of the COVID-19 Blues. See you again tomorrow.

Summery Saturday

Back in the day, when I was in my 20’s and we first bought a house, washer and dryer, the yard had a clothesline to dry laundry. I loved hanging clothes on the line. Of course, the jeans were stiff, the towels weren’t very soft, and I resorted to drying them for comfort. When our second son was born, I was back out in the spring, hanging diapers to dry in the sun. There was a time in life when a woman’s “worth” was determined by the laundry she hung to dry. I suppose if it was orderly, hung out early, and taken in before dark, you were viewed as orderly, industrious, and efficient. My great aunt once said, “Oh, that Kathy Jewell hangs our a fine wash.” Aunt Anna, you were such a dear, and you were not overly fussy with compliments, so I’m going to take that as the compliment it was meant to be. And I’m proud to have received it.

She was such a fine lady, classy, and the unmarried aunt who lived with Grandma and Grandpa. She worked nearly 50 years at the “phone company,” (boys and girls, back then, there was only ONE phone company!). She could have been a very successful female in the 1990s or 2000s, if she were born 30 years later. Even though she was a supervisor and great employee, there were not the kudos paid to women who worked in the 1950s and 60s as there are now. There was no equality. Women who became pregnant even if married, were fired.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Can you believe it? THIS is the closest Pexels.com could come to “baby diapers hanging on line to dry.” Cute baby, but kind of misses the point.

As I’m thinking back to days I willingly hung diapers out on the line, I’m wondering what Aunt Anna would have to say about my writing. She would insist on truth, I believe. And perfect grammar. And being dignified. That I be a complete lady. And that I thank God for the gifts He’s given me. The being a complete lady may not ring entirely true, I mean, the language could be unladylike at times. Sorry, Auntie. But I do thank God. Frequently. Often. Every day.

And the next thing, aside from having my own website, blog, and Author Facebook page, is I’m starting up pages on Twitter and Instagram for my Author news. There may be a little personal news on there, where it’s pertinent to my writing. I’m glad to take the leap into the exposure needed now to make a bigger impact on the world, so more may find my musings, books, articles, and photos. Of course, I know not a damned thing I’m doing. (Sorry, Aunt Anna. Yes, I’ll light a candle in Church).

The idea is, not only will a newly posted blog create a post on my author page (Kathy Raabe, Author), it will also post on Twitter and Instagram. Here’s crossing my fingers, making the magic happen yet again, and making the post available on two more platforms. Yay!

Yes, Doubters, Haters, and Critics Need Not Pay Attention

And it’s kind of fun working with it until it might make some sense. I need to do the same for the VFW Post once we establish a new website. That’s another project, I’m working on with my brother in law, Brad, from Image Masters. (Think, “Jake, from State Farm.”)

Hopefully, there will be time to work out my Chapter 2 of “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons” today and tomorrow. It’s time to send more work to my Book Coach Sam Tyler. We will continue our working relationship on a month to month until we agree I can go it alone. Right now, I need guidance. It’s good I found it early, rather than have to scrap 80K words.

Besides writing, I’d like to accomplish more on that quilt I’ve been working on forever. Next week will be more workers in the house, we’re having LVT flooring (Laminate Vinyl Tile) laid in the kitchen, entry, and two upstairs bathrooms. Assembling strong young men to move the marble topped huge kitchen table AND the matching marble topped server from the kitchen to the living room. Same strong young men welcomed a couple days later to move very heavy furniture back in place. Photos to follow of finished projects. The Babe is really happy beautifying our space, and it’s so nice. Partners, it’s what we are. Blessed.

The Babe. Most Thoughtful Guy.

So yesterday, the Babe stopped at the store after I met him for lunch. He bought my favorite guilty pleasure, a Midnight Milky Way. The dark chocolate really makes this taste delicious. It was such a sweet surprise. Thanks, Babe! Be thoughtful. Be Courteous. Be Kind. Be Safe. We need to treat each other well, even strangers. Wash up and Wear your mask.

I watched the interview Matthew McConaughey did with Dr. Fauci yesterday. It was very well done. Thoughtful and full of good information. Rumors put to rest, and common sense in the house. They said what I have been saying. Yes, we need to wear masks. To get the spread under control, and to stop having peaks and valleys in numbers. It does no good if we keep peaking. We need to keep falling to get to a safe place. The temporary inconvenience will be worth it, once we can open everything for good. We’ll never get there if we don’t all pay attention. Complying is something Americans don’t like to do. But I don’t want to spread illness to a cancer patient, grandma, my grandbabies, or young parent either. Think beyond yourself. Watch the video here.

Thank you for reading today. I’ll see you all tomorrow, and please share with a friend, won’t you? Or share on your Twitter or Instagram. I appreciate it.

Tuesday Gratitude

It’s a blue-skied day again today. I always welcome this time of year. Lots of people had strange wind damage yesterday, it was a weird event which happens once in awhile. Weather is so strange. It has to be respected because it is so powerful. Many kinds of severe weather can happen in Nebraska, and other states. I’d hate a hurricane, Floridians would hate tornadoes. Blizzards aren’t that bad when you’re retired. It doesn’t matter if you get out or not. Just fill the coffee again, and there you are. Light the fire and watch a Netflix series or two.

As we age, we need to have lots of preventative maintenance. Kind of like a car. If you don’t do it regularly, you could have a lot of unknown issues that could be costly for a car, or deadly for a person. The Babe had a colonoscopy today, and all is well. That is a huge blessing. We are grateful. Come back in three years, what is a great outcome.

It appears Joe Biden has a running mate. I have no opinion of Ms. Harris, and it matters not to me that she is a female or black. Neither makes me think a candidate more or less worthy. I have concerns about Biden, and Harris, and about Trump and Pence. I just hope there is never another Presidential assassination. It is a horrible event to happen to a nation.

I was in sixth grade when Kennedy was shot. We heard all the gory details. After all, we learned everything about the crucified body of Jesus Christ by the time we were seven, there was no reason to spare assassination details. And we all witnessed the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby. When you consider the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy happened in 1968, as did the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago; we experienced a lot of violence. The violence human beings are capable of.

That violence happens often and daily in America now. Life seems to have lost it’s value to the killers. As many grandmothers and mothers do, I pray none of our family is harmed by this violence. One of our sons serves in the U.S. Secret Service, and he is trained beyond what we could ever imagine. He is a perfect man for the job he has. We are nothing but proud. He is actually safer than we are, if you think about it. God will be good to him, and to his beautiful family.

So true . . . let’s all have a good heart.

I fared well with a quick review from my book coach, regarding my rewritten Chapter One. Very minor things, which I will submit to her again, along with a draft of Chapter Two. I have an idea of what will happen in Chapter Two, and I’ll try to behave with my verb tenses, keep the protagonist in all the scenes, and keep to the timeline. All the stuff I learned in Chapter One so far. It’s a great process, I’m glad to be experiencing it.

It’s a couple days late, but the Babe and I are going to watch this week’s Yellowstone. He can’t stay awake on Sunday night for it, so we record it for later. It’s continuing to be a great story line again this season. The scenery is so beautiful. Makes me want to go back to Montana again. We left the back entrance of Yellowstone National Park to see Big Sky Country. It was breathtaking!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I thank you for reading today. I appreciate it so much. Be safe out there. Some schools started back up today, and more will go back tomorrow. Take a little time for yourself, be kind, be courteous, be smart. I will see you right here again tomorrow. Thank you very much.

Friday, Blessed Friday

At last, we have a family wedding to attend today. This cousin did not have to reschedule her big day, thank goodness. It should be a lot of fun for everyone. This family is so sweet, they are all wonderful human beings. It will be beautiful weather, too. Maybe a little rain, but nothing huge. Every day is a perfect day for two people who love each other to get married. We will socially distance, and if it becomes too crowded, we’ll go home.

Photo by Lum3n on Pexels.com

Parents and educators are getting pretty upset with wondering about the virus and kids in school all day. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. Superintendents everywhere are expected to be able to predict the future, and they cannot. No one really can. The experts cannot even agree with all the information, real or not, that is circulating out there. All we can do is prepare for anything. Prepare to homeschool again in a month or so. It may very well ramp up again. Omaha, Nebraska is one area that is ramping up in number of cases. We are steering clear of very large crowds, and distancing when we are out. I hope and pray our grandkids do not become ill, or my mom.

My Pro Writing Aid software add-ons for Chromebook are behaving strangely. While it does a great job of generating reports full of improvements, the format is no longer correct after making and saving changes. Big problem! All sentences are left justified, all centered words, like chapter numbers are left justified. That shouldn’t happen. I’ll have to ask their tech people about it. I may have to use the software on my Microsoft O/S laptop, and not on the Chromebook. I could save each chapter to the cloud, then run Pro Writing Aid reports on it there. Maybe things would stay in place then. (It’d be saved as a Word Doc, not a Google Doc).

Yes, Be Stronger Than Your Storm

There are many, many storms out there being fought by many, many people. Women, Men, Children, Elderly, Young, Middle-aged. Some fight against demons most cannot imagine, thank goodness. But, oh those with unimaginable demons, we don’t judge you by what’s been done to you. It is not your fault at all. Some people’s bad choices create storms, such as a gambler or an alcoholic. Some people learn bad behavior, such as spousal abuse and child abuse. These are not normal things in a life. You should not experience these things at all, as a child or participate in them as an adult. You need to gain power over these storms. Power over the storms and your life; and your future. It can change if you want it to. Yes, it is hard work. There is help.

Know there are people who can help you, regardless of the issue. Reaching our is very hard. It is the first step out of the storm. One step up and two steps back happens often. Don’t give up. It’s worth it.

I hope you find some peace this weekend. Enjoy your days, however they come about. Sometimes, things go nothing but wrong no matter what you do. Other days are perfect, no matter what you do. Have one that’s in between the two. Thank you for reading, I’m grateful you did. I’ll be back tomorrow, and hope to see you then. Be Careful out there. Be safe. Be Kind.

Thursday Insights

Hi, guys. It’s nearly noon and I’m just getting started with today’s blog. I had a great session with Sam, my book coach today. I have more changes to make, and they’ll make my story better. We talked about how different writing a book is from writing a blog. And it is so different, it deserves a moment to discuss it.

This blog is written from my heart. It’s content are my musings on any given day. Some days, I have ventured into current events, but I try to steer clear of them. I talk of things of my heart, people I love, how the Babe and I spend our time, and how grateful I am for the life I’ve had so far. God’s been pretty good to me. It could have gone so many different ways.

Great Words for These Times

Actually, these words are great for any time, not just now. Be rare. Be someone people can trust. I think we all need someone we can trust totally. Those people are the ones who are hard to find. Of course, I trust the Babe. Be a trustworthy friend.

I may have mentioned before, the only bad thing about masks is you can’t smile at someone. That’s not good. Many times while going through Target, I’ll come across some little kids or moms and dads, and want to smile as I excuse myself and walk past. They don’t know I’m smiling as I do it. Isn’t half the communication lost then?

I need to put blinders on as I write about a scene. I notoriously try to cram backstory in while trying to fool myself into thinking it belongs there. Sam cannot be fooled, that’s her job. So, I’m writing some more and reminding myself along the way; “If it has nothing to do with the scene, leave it out.” Much easier to say than do. I have a book to read with good examples of how to give the backstory with few words, usually dialogue. It’s amazing how differently the author has accomplished that. Writing is a lot harder than most people think. I don’t hate my work, I like it. It just needs tweaking.

The Babe is working on updating some things about the house. New fireplace face, new flooring in the kitchen, entry, and two bathrooms. It’ll be nice, just hope it goes well. People are eager for work, after being quarantined off and on. We should be able to complete both projects before any additional distancing is required. I think having retired from a business that provided updating to existing homes and dreams coming true in new construction, he naturally thinks that way. I just have the benefit of his knowledge. Thanks, Babe!

Well, I have some rereading and rewriting to do. And probably a lot of rethinking. It’s all ok. Blocks of time will be spent now since we no longer have Gavin to keep us busy. Miss that little guy. Gosh, I hope the school kids adapt well. Tuesday will tell for him, Wednesday for Addison. And all the teachers, please be safe. Thank you for doing what you do for our children.

Thank you for reading today. Anything worth having is worth working hard for. My dad always said that. And I’m remembering his words, because I’m working hard to my novel. And I know it will be worth it in the end. Be safe, Be kind, Be thoughtful, and Be courteous. We need to be good to each other. See you again tomorrow.

My Story. So Worth It.

Rainy to Sunny Wednesday

We’ve had all sorts of weather already today. Rain, chilly breeze, and now it’s partly sunny day. Great week is on tap. We have a wedding on Friday, so the weather will cooperate for the beautiful bride and her groom. This couple was fortunate, their wedding and reception was not postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19. Her sister’s was, and they will have their reception next month. It all works out.

We’re kind of wondering what to do with ourselves. Gavin’s Mom took vacation from today until next Thursday, so we won’t get to have him today or next week. Hard to believe school is starting. He and his sister attend Papillion/LaVista schools, so they are taking the plunge, right back to a full schedule, onsite, masked, no lockers for older kids. I think they need it, psychologically. They need the safety of school, the friendships, the learning to get along with others in a large group, and the learning you can only have in a classroom. The impromptu discussions that happen randomly are important to learning, too. Sometimes you get more from those than from textbooks. My only hope is for all students and teachers, staff, aids, resource officers and the like to have a safe year.

Tomorrow is my conference with my book coach. I shared my list of books I’ve purchased randomly to learn about writing, publishing, Legalities of self-publishing, etc. The list is about 30 books. So much to learn! I also have a GREAT COURSES class on writing. I forgot I had it, I only watched the one I bought about drawing. Time to rotate the writing one out to the DVD player.

Way back in the old days, before we knew about COVID-19, I ordered some cute paint by number canvases. Didn’t realize they came from China. Never got them, I emailed them frequently to let them know I had not received what I paid for yet. Finally, this week, they arrived. I think they look like a lot of fun. These will be a winter project for sure. Here they are:

This is for my granddaughter Kayla’s room.
This one is for our home.

It’s the time of year again the butterfly bush is huge right outside my studio window. The Painted Lady butterflies are beautiful! It makes me feel calm, sometimes there are ten or more lighting on it. Such a sight. We have a bush that is nearly as large as the butterfly bush. It has large leaves, had a few little white flowers in the spring. The fall and winter isn’t supposed to have red berries. We’ll see what it does this year. It may end up transplanted to the back, near the Wetlands. The Hydrangeas are almost large enough to place in the front flower bed as well. We’ll see how the Babe feels about it. Fall is the best time to transplant all this stuff, I think.

Today is a take it as it comes day. I’m going to work on my quilt again. It should go well. Hopefully, photos tomorrow! Stay safe out there, wash up and mask up. The kids need us to all cooperate, so they can learn, feel safe, and get on with their education. Be Kind, Be Thoughtful, Be Courteous. Your day will go much better. See you tomorrow!

Oh Honey, You Have No Idea!

Magical Monday

Today was bittersweet. Mom asked me to take her to the ENT today. We made a stop at her favorite Half Price Bookstore afterwards. She has terrific trouble with her vision from a stroke several years ago and has extremely poor hearing, even with hearing aids. Either of these things will cause a person to be isolated from the rest of us. She has not wanted to attend the last couple luncheons for the retiree group from my dad’s job at the Omaha World Herald, and has turned down invitations to the two wedding receptions our family is looking forward to. It’s probably part due to her age and infirmary, and part due to more isolation because of COVID-19. Last November, she was not comfortable attending the wedding of a one of her favorite grandsons, because she wouldn’t be able to hear the ceremony.

The Old Days . . . Come and Gone.

I can see a vulnerability in Mom I have not seen before. She is aging, she has taken excellent care of herself, and that can be a double-edged sword. Her independence has been reigned in due to limitations. I’m eternally grateful she quit driving on her own. With her hearing issue, it was easy for her to get rattled in traffic. It was hard at first, but we went on in-town errands and always had lunch. The first Wednesday of the month was always Shopko day. She’d stock up on paper products and what not. We’d ooh and aah at the baby clothes and laugh at goofy things. It was fun. I’m sad Shopko closed, it appears she’s kind of been declining bit by bit since then.

Of course it’s expected, especially at her age. She’ll be 91 later this month, and I’m astonished at that. She hasn’t had an easy life. Our Dad worked nights, and she was in charge 24/7. I was a junior in high school before he transferred to working days. Our two younger brothers had Dad at home while they were in high school. They had different parents than my older brother and I did. It was different at the end of the 1960s when we graduated from high school. Our younger brothers graduated in the mid 1970s, a much different time. A different generation.

We lost Dad in 1988, just after he retired. It was so unfair for him. He worked hard all his life to provide for his family and never got to enjoy retirement. He died six months after he retired. Half of the time he was fighting cancer, the other half, he was home alone while Mom tended to her dying mother with her sisters. Grandma died in September, Dad in December. What a burden on Mom. No time for grieving, there was business to attend to.

Sometimes I think it’s harder for someone to release their independence if they’ve had it for a long period of time. If you’re still independently living in your 80s, it will be hard if you have your wits about you and you need to give some independence up. Many older people don’t get a real choice, some tragic circumstance dictates the end of their driving, or living alone, or walking without assistance. Mom was really brave to give up driving when she did. It could have come sooner in my opinion, because I could see how shook up she would get in traffic.

When the low income high rises were popular in the 1970s, Mom swore if she had to live in one of those, she’d die a slow death, filled with misery. She helped my brother Steve with his South Omaha Sun paper route, and saw the inhabitants of the 10 – 12 story high rises first hand. After her mother died, she swore she would leave her affairs in good order. For that, my brothers and I are grateful. We know she’ll leave us someday. It’s just a matter or when. It will be unexpected, but it will still cause sadness.

But we will celebrate her because she did the darndest things (quote from her mother-in-law). She was a docent at the Zoo for over 25 years. Babysat the baby gorillas and orangutans in the nursery, and was on tiger-birth watch if a female tiger would start labor in the middle of the night. She might call me up and say, “If you call late at night and you can’t reach me, I’ll be at the Zoo, doing . . . .” We’d tease the hell out of her, but were always glad she was so active and out and about.

So yes, we’re grateful. And sad at the same time. She’s having a hard time not being able to go about her life. And we have to be patient even in the worst moments. My two younger brothers are good men and help her out a lot. Taking care of a house is a chore at 91. Heck, it is at 68, too. But at least I have the Babe. Another thing my brothers and I are be blessed with; she has wonderful neighbors, who help her, and who scold her when she’s pulling weeds where she shouldn’t be. Thank you, David _________. We appreciate it!

So as I recall her telling me the ENT’s mother (also in her 90s) was on her hands and knees, scrubbing the floor before her cleaning lady came over, and how she was scolded by her son the doctor, I will also remember the story of her pulling weeds in an unsafe area. The neighbor simply said, “What do you think you’re doing?” several times, relieved her of her bucket and loppers, and waiting in the driveway until she went inside the house, and say, “You kinda are doing silly things too, that aren’t good for you.” She laughed, and said, “Well, I suppose so.” And all I can say is, “Rosemary; you do the darndest things!”