Old Stuff

If you’re an old typewriter fan like me, isn’t the header photo today just the most fabulous thing you’ve ever seen? It would be fun to have those on a wall in the home office, right here in Gretna. Trouble is, they’d have to go in my craft room downstairs. Up here, I have other things. Such as:

When the Babe painted this room, I ordered all these stencils to adhere to the walls. I didn’t know I’d begin writing, thus making this not only a sewing room, but an office/studio for writing too. I’m working towards incorporating a shipping department in here, too, to ship off my books when folks order them. I’m looking ahead with positivity, and that’s what I see. I do have a couple pictures to hang, like the antique typewriter with the magnolias on top of it. I’d certainly buy some more little doo dads that reflect that if I come across any.

I saw this the other day, and it made me smile. It’s from the Typewriter Guy’s Facebook page. He does some rather fine things, check him out! Also, a fellow named Topher Kearby does typewritten verses, sayings, etc. on original artwork. I like his work, too. Check his beautiful renderings out, too. I enjoy his work, also.

Goldie wore a path in the grass playing fetch.

We had an absolutely delightful time on the deck this morning. The Babe was out there earlier than me, and he reported seeing a huge owl flying out from the trees, the height of the shed, and fly south and back into the trees. I so wish I could have seen it! We had three pots of coffee in the two hours we lollygagged and dawdled around before getting ready for the day. It was so nice. With him doing what he does at the Post everyday, we don’t get that extended, uninterrupted time together too much. Those are the best times, aren’t they? Impromptu hours that could go on forever? I think so.

Goldie wore quite a path in the grass from a whole spring and summer playing fetch, hasn’t she? She plays at least three times a day. I swear, she can run down the steps from the deck to the yard, pick up her toy, then run to the outer edge of the yard, by the fence, and back up the stairs and eventually give it to you to throw again, upwards of a hundred times. Sometimes, she’ll stop and go potty, but not often, then back to the business of playing. It’s wonderful to see a dog so healthy and happy.

It’s going to be a busy weekend for us. We have plans to take care of a lot of stuff at home we haven’t had time to do this summer. Some deep cleaning, then we’ll be good to go. And of course, my writing, my quilt, hanging my kimonos, and all the good stuff. First action after this post, it’s clean up my work surface my Chromebook is on, and all the papers, books, folders, etc. A straightened up work area makes the work go better.

My conference with Sam, the book coach, went well. I seem to go in and out of a good writing mode. I still try and cram so much backstory in, it distracts from the story’s message. I need more discipline and practice, so that is what the next two weeks will be about. I hope my brain can empty itself once we do the chores around the house I’ve been neglecting. Just dusting and a little shining things up, we’ll be good. It’s tough with two dogs, but they live here, too. I expect dog hair and dander. I’d rather have them than a spotless house. They’re good for our hearts and souls.

I hope you all have a safe weekend. Don’t get the COVID-19 virus from too much togetherness at gatherings this long weekend. The safer we make each other, the sooner we can put this behind us. Whenever the vaccine is made available, things will look up. Let’s make sure it’s real before we set out hearts on it. Disappointment will not be good at this point. I feel so badly for the people who feel forgotten and deserted in the nursing homes. They give up, and have a high mortality rate. Send a note, card, whatever you can, make a call. Do something for those old folks who gave us the world.

Until I see you tomorrow, thank you for reading today. I appreciate your interest and support so much. It helps more than you realize. Stay safe, be polite, appreciate the hot but beautiful weather.

It’s Saturday!

My friend, Gabbie Wieck, published her new children’s book. Available on Amazon. It’s a delightful story.

I enjoyed Gabbie Wieck’s latest book, a children’s book. One came to my house for Gavin and Addison to read to their puppy, and one went to Colorado to Kayla and Cody. They’ll all enjoy the cute story. Thanks again, Gabbie!

My mission for these last ten or so days has been to get some origin on paper of what Katie’s flaw is, the thing she needs to change, and conquers by the end of the story. All else comes from this story of origin.

Now, if you think it’s creepy when you think of something, then your Facebook ads reflect that, I have to say it’s creepier when you’re looking at books that are in the same genre yours are, you find them AND all I want to know about stories of origin. Right in front of my face! But why did they not even jump out at me before? I believe it’s a God thing, but also, it wouldn’t have made an impact on me if I hadn’t been searching for it. Weird.

You know, I never really got into building puzzles, as some folks call them. My first husband would seal one piece and hide it so he could put the last piece in place. He’d make fun of me because I didn’t have a “sharp eye,” to find things. He’d had a lifetime of that sort of competition with his six siblings, and his mom, so he had more practice! I tried a puzzle in 2000, I think, after I was no longer able to work. Didn’t grab me.

But you know what, I work puzzles all the time. When cutting many pieces out of one piece of perfectly good fabric, then follow a pattern to reunite them all in a beautiful design. All the clothing I’ve sewn over the years is just a puzzle, too. So I might buy one this winter. I suppose the Babe will not like it on the table, but maybe I’ll put it down in the family room. Who knows. Remind me not to buy a hard one! Some are ridiculously hard. My hat is off to anyone who can conquer those beasts.

If Albert Einstein really did say this, “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” It sounds like something my dad would say. He often quoted Henry Ford’s “Whether you think you can or think you can’t: you are right.” Very true stuff. We admired Henry Ford right along with Dad. He was mostly a Ford man his entire life. He had a stint as a service station owner, and was very good with cars. Once they progressed to having computers, he gave repair work up. The Jewell’s Standard Station ceased operation when Dad went to Korea. He worked at a Testing Station when I was born in 1952, at least, that’s what’s on my birth certificate. I do remember seeing him there when a was quite young, someone drove us there, maybe so Mom could get his paycheck and deposit it in the bank.

We used to have to have our automobiles “tested”, or checked on so we had safe cars on the streets. They stopped that maybe when I was in my teens. It was a source of taxation for the city and state, and the testers became scarce in the 1970s, I think. If I’m mistaken, please feel free to comment.

I read this morning most authors only sell one hundred copies of their books. And then quit. It could be worse. Always. I think we have enough relatives we can break a hundred. I know a few who may buy one copy and share. The idea is they read it, so that’s ok where you can’t afford it. I don’t expect to be a bestseller right away. That takes time. I do think I’ve kind of narrowed my fiction down to stories of families. Stuff people don’t openly discuss. Nothing illegal or immoral. Codependency, when things are hidden away from people. Lies are told to save face. Excuses made for a loved one. It affects everyone in the family, and not in a good way. What I’m writing are experiences gathered from many households with friends, relatives, and others. The family I tell about is a conglomeration of all of them. No one person or entity is talked about. All put together, they are a fictitious family.

I’m going to curl up with this today.

I have a lot of reading and writing to finish before my self-imposed deadline of 6 p.m. tomorrow evening. I will send Sam all my work and wait to hear from her. One other item on my to do list is to scour Goodreads to find similar genres. It turns out, there are many books about families, their secrets and lies, and the outcomes of each.

I believe as more people are interested in genealogy, more will find disturbing behaviors within their family bloodlines. Many, many men fled other countries and once in the United States, they may have fled another state, leaving whole other families behind. It was also common during the Great Depression. Many children were in orphanages because their dear Mothers could not afford to feed them. Some were placed because the Father’s had no idea how to cope with a houseful of kids if their mother died in childbirth or of smallpox, diphtheria, or some other dreaded disease of the early 1900s. My former father-in-law spent time in an orphanage, as did my Grandfather; the first when his mother died, the second when his father died.

All of these things help make for interesting stories for how and why people become who they are. What they believe about themselves that is categorically wrong. A lot of families just don’t talk about those kinds of experiences. They happened, though. To good people. Good people who deserved better. Life, indeed, is not fair.

I hope you had a good day today. The Babe is putting up a light fixture in the entry. It’s pretty. Film at 11? Thank you for reading. It’s a pleasure to write for you. See you again tomorrow. Be Safe.

Friday Fun

Hello from the home office in Gretna, where the magic happens. This is a day to finish up things for the work week and think of something wonderful to do over the next two days you have off the job, and refresh for next week. It’s a whole new game for us retired folks. Since school has started, though, we need to begin picking up our granddaughter after school on certain days so we can get her home with Gavin. So far, so good, on the school days. I hope they continue. The masks are required, and I think these two are old enough to understand it’s a must if they want to keep in school. I think they missed it a great deal. Our grandson in Virginia will be remote learning until at least November, then it will be reevaluated. Cross your fingers, pray, and wear your mask, people!

New Stacked Stone on Fireplace. Well Worth It!

Isn’t the new fireplace nice? It’s amazing how changing to stone from ceramic tiles made such a difference. Yes, there is a board standing there until everything dries, it’s not part of the new look. I love that the trades (hopefully) will see a revival. We will always need someone to do this type of work. Electricians, plumbers, concrete finishers, block and brick layers are all desperately needed as are auto mechanics. It’s a shame the mantra of the 1980s, “You can make more money sitting down than you do standing up.” Yes, tech jobs do pay tremendously well. I had one myself. The salary depended on your skills and abilities, not your sex. And now, it suddenly occurs to the educators and others that we need schooling in those areas. Not a surprise, really.

One place I wouldn’t want to work is the United States Post Office. My former husband retired from there over ten years ago. It was a good job, being a letter carrier. He had an old walking route while I was still married to him, and he did a good job. Back in those days, you had to sort your own mail, and bundle it according to your stops. The carriers seemed to know when someone moved, or if you had a wrong apartment number on a letter, they had sense to see that and still deliver the letter instead of returning it. That doesn’t happen now.

Since the Babe and I got married in 1998, we have received weird mail, it’s as if companies made up more people at our address by using our last name in conjunction with my three kids’ first names. Seriously. Frank Raabe is one. No one by that name. Still, we get one every so often. Those mailing list companies make so many assumptions when they’re eager to sell off names and addresses. And we received one for Rebecca Raabe. Nice name, but we have no one by that name either. Sheesh!

This expresses my studio and craft rooms perfectly

There are days when I get irritated at myself for the creative clutter I have. Not enough (yet) to go through each and every item for each and every hobby or interest, but I get irked nonetheless. Sorting and culling the herd will be a winter project. No, it’s not hoarding, but my daughter and sons have commented there are more boxes of stuff to make stuff than of clothes, kitchenware, and decor. See if I’ll have them help us move again! Lol. No, it’s to the assisted living place next move. I mean it.

Speaking of moving, I think Mom holds the world’s record on living in the same house for the longest. She and Dad married in 1948, had an apartment, then moved into the house in which she still lives in 1949. Seventy-one years living in one house. Wow. She was 20 when they moved in. Just think on that. So, in her life, she only lived at three places: growing up, brief apartment living, and our home. At first they rented three rooms upstairs to a couple from Offutt. There was an actual second kitchen upstairs, one room living room, one room bedroom, and they shared the bathroom. Seventy one years in one house has to be a record.

Can you imagine sharing a bathroom with another family? Even when I got married in 1970, furnished apartments were very common. Kitchen, living room, bedroom furniture came with your rent. Good and bad. Someone else’s old lumpy mattress? Often it was like the one we left at home. People didn’t spend what they didn’t have. The hygiene patrol would probably have a heyday with this.

My studio/office/craft room, it’s where the magic happens!

Hope you have a beautiful rest of the day. Take time to appreciate your surroundings. Appreciate yourself, too. I’m off to do laundry and quilt. That Poppy masterpiece may be finished yet. Thanks for reading today. I appreciate the time you spend with me. See you again tomorrow. Be safe. Wear your mask, wash up. Let’s just do what we need to do and get through this. It’s the quickest way to make our own way into the future. Don’t live in fear. Be confident we are only temporarily inconvenienced by wearing masks. It won’t be forever. Use civility. Use compassion. Use kindness.

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!