Good Saturday Morning!

Hoping you are enjoying a sunny morning like we have here in Gretna, NE. As David Letterman used to say, “from the Home Office in Wahoo, NE.” (Remember?) I suppose this would be true. International Headquarters, the place where it all began, and some other descriptions. Can you think of any that are apt? Comment, and let’s have fun with it. Home Office in Gretna, NE.

You know, we are slowly gaining more readers. I’m delighted you take the time to read, share, and tell your friends about my blog. It’s great to be relevant. Today (after we do an errand for the VFW which includes checking the mail) is going to be a day or writing. This week got away from me again, and I need to catch up on the I Art Daily challenge for February. It seems my brain is full of ideas and sketches yet I continue to run out of time in the day. This is what retirements is, I guess. It is better than having your time drag on. I have never understood the work “bored.” As kids, we were never allowed to say the word. Kind of like Voldemort. (He who should not be named).

Bored is a word kids use now. I believe their parents (my children’s ages) introduced the word when kids were raising a ruckus or needing attention when the parents are busy. Busy doing things like driving, ordering dinner, and a host of other things. We used to live a long way from our daughter Tracy and her family. It took 45 minutes to get from their home to ours. By about 30 minutes meltdowns began. They were tired of sitting in the carseat. (Not bored, however). I would start singing to them. Not words to a song, just make a melody. Addison would stop being fussy. She would smile at me. And she would mimic what I was doing.

Gavin was such a different kid. Poor guy had acid reflux so bad it was horrible. He lived in a bib until he was a year old. Upset tummies are bad as adults, and worse for babies. Again, he wasn’t bored. He needed a different tune than Addison had. He was a tougher nut to crack, but we got him to stop crying. He favored men as a kid, and there was a time I thought he didn’t like me. He now tells me he’s so lucky to have a Grandma like me. His Mama thinks he’s a schmoozer. Could be. But it works. We have a great time together. Coloring, painting, playing games.

One time, Gavin and Addison were both with us. Gavin said he was bored. Addison said, “You can’t use that word around Grandma. Grandma says there is no such thing.” She found him something to do and he wasn’t bored anymore. What I’m saying is let your kids and grandkids learn to entertain themselves. It works. You may lose some patience once in awhile, but they will learn one of the most important things in their lives . . . how to pass time without being a pain to everyone around them. You will have a lot of stress relieved, trust me.

Don’t think I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’ve had three kids and I raised them myself from ages 3,7, and 10 on to adulthood. They were good kids. I could take them places and be around people who didn’t like kids. They were welcome anywhere. Raise your kids to be welcome in any situation. It’s part of the job of a parent. They deserve to learn how to get along in the world.

I hope you enjoy your day and the rest of the weekend. Find something new to do. Read a book, see a movie, watch the Daytona 500 tomorrow, engage in life! You will never have time to be bored. Just don’t waste the precious time we all have in a day. Rather be overbooked than bored!

Thank you for reading today. I hope you return tomorrow. I’ll be here, hope to see you!

Wonderful Wednesday in Nebraska

Yes, it can be a wonderful Wednesday in Nebraska – or Arizona, or South Dakota, or Tuesday, Thursday, you get it. It’s all in our attitude if it’s wonderful or not. Look at it this way. It’s lightly snowing this morning. It’s pretty outside. It’s sending moisture to my very dry flower bed areas that are covered by cold stones. It’s preparing the soil and flowers that will come back to grow and bloom in the spring. Preparation. The Creation Plan of God, although I dispute the 7-days-and-He-was-done theory, is so immense, interdependent, and all encompassing, it makes me feel very small, like a speck of dirt in the universe.

Could you imagine a writer or artist having a plan similar to God’s plan of Creation for a book or work of art? It would take far longer than seven days to complete. The characters! And I thought MY family was quirky! Er, unique. That’s it, unique, one-of-a kind, that’s it. Yes. Ahem. Or the colors and shapes in a work of art that contained the story? Wow. You may have guessed by my unconventional capitalizations that I was raised Catholic. Creation, He, all those things were capitalized when I was a kid. In my mind and heart, they still are. While I question a lot of the point blank teachings we were force fed, I still have the respect for the faith of my father, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles. Faith is very important for the Irish, and for all of us. Mom was a “convert.” All that meant was that Dad and Mom could not have been married unless she agreed to raise all her children Catholic. Regardless. It’s really kind of sad, when you think of it. Lots of people were coerced into that kind of promise, not knowing what lay ahead. I will not venture into any topics like Church cover ups of abuse or anything like that. What I will talk about is the treatment of women as the lesser creation of God, that we are not equal. No, we are not. In many ways, we are superior to men. With all due respect, in many ways they are superior to us as well.

My point is we equal each other out. That is the whole idea. What one cannot do, the other does. We all have different talents, abilities, and gifts. If we use them like we could and should, it all balances out. I believe it. So does the Babe. That’s how we make it work. That’s how we can be friends after nearly twenty two years of being married. And twenty four years together. Wow. Back in 1996, we were hoping for a good fifteen or twenty years, based on his coronary artery disease. God gave us the miracle of great doctors and health care who have taken good care of the Babe’s health. It could be better, but he’s still here.

In these years, I’d have never guessed we would have had his issues, Agent Orange illnesses, my cancer, his stroke, my disability, losing his sweet Mom and sister-in-law Pat, my sister-in-law Laura, and so on and so forth. It’s a give and take, we take care of each other and thank God we can do this. We have worked hard, and are humbled by what we have. We are fortunate. Through the work of the VFW and our church, we help others. We must share, but not give it all away. That isn’t fair to anyone.

A long time ago, my mom was mad at Dad for not handing over cash to me to help when I was a single mom with three kids. He had it, sure. But he wanted me to be self sufficient. And I learned. Only one time did I have to borrow and I paid him back. It was $200 for my daughter’s braces. I paid him back. The cancelled check is in my sewing cabinet drawer. It’s there to remind me of what I learned from him, and it’s the only memory I have of his beautiful, cursive handwritten signature. Thanks, Dad. I know you would have loved these grandkids in their 40s and Dan. His kids would amaze you, too. But then, you know all about these happenings in our lives.

Let’s keep looking ahead to our futures, be mindful from where we all came, and know we cannot live there. What is alive is ahead, not behind. Spring will come. All in God’s time. Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. As always, I’ll be here tomorrow. Time to go take Mom to get her hair cut. Blessings!

Superb Saturday

The world looks quite different at 3:49 a.m. That’s when I got up this morning. The Babe got up a few minutes ago, and I tried like crazy to fall back asleep, and it was apparent that would not happen. Coffee tastes different at this hour. Dawn takes longer to get here. I could have purchased a lot of neat stuff from the Internet. I read all the posts I missed after 9 p.m. You must have all been out having fun last night! Not a lot of stuff going on.

There is a brand new, 29 day month ahead of us. It’s Leap Year, where we add all those spare hours and minutes together since 2016, which gives us a bonus day every four years. I have a lifelong friend, Barb Moffatt, whose birthday is the 29th. I think that may have been strange growing up. Choosing your birthday? It would have been kind of fun.

Today is the day I’m going to plan some goals for February. My friends at I Create Daily have an Art challenge this month. It encourages us to create something in our chosen medium. Of course, the 90 day challenge is still going and that is all about my books. The goals are the same, my reality is in place and those goals will face adjustments.

My chosen mediums will be: Art, (drawing and water color); Clothing, (dusty rose colored jean jacket and pants); Quilting, (cut out “Snowflake Quilt” (king sized, 56 squares). This way, I’m ready for whichever of my muses should summon, I’ll be ready for it (them). We’ll see how that works. It is feasible to do Art one day, Clothing one day, Quilting one day, and write the other three or four days. Theory and Practice, oh what a foolish mortal I am. My theories seem to lag seriously behind my practices. It could just happen. More on that later.

A friend of mine has published her first book. Shannon DeAnna Schofield wrote “Perfectly Imperfect”. It is available on Amazon Kindle. I applaud her, I think it will sell well. It is about her journey through life. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but is honest, raw, gripping, and is about her redemption. Put it in your basket and read it this weekend! I hope to follow in your footsteps late this year.

I’m on Pinterest thanks to Nebraska Writers Guild!

Exciting times in the Nebraska Writers Guild! There is currently training on our FB page for Pinterest, and Instagram. A member has graciously offered to make board covers and pins for us. I have my blog, and they are including blogs as a board. Thank you to Renie Loeffler Rutten for doing all this work! Love it! Clicking this on Pinterest will take you to a specific blog. How fun! My Pinterest page is Kathy Raabe, Author. I have a NWG Members books board and am pinning them. There is a huge selection of genres, something for everyone.

Would you like to see all the blog covers? I could include them and post them on Facebook. It will be yet another free way to go increase our presence even before publishing a book. For those of you who may not know, I’m on Facebook as Kathy Raabe, Author visit me there! I so appreciate you reading today, and hope you’ll return tomorrow. More on goal planning then. I think it will be a great month for creativity. Hope it is for you, too. I will see you tomorrow. Have a beautiful day!

Trying Tuesday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snowy Wednesday and Gray Hair

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

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

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

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

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

A Saturday in January

This is about the coldest it has been in Nebraska in a while. All the Babe and I need to do is dig deep in the closet to find the warmest gloves, scarves, and hat. And we each have several coats to choose from. We are so fortunate. Yesterday, the Babe went through his closets to find warm coats he no longer wears. He has four or five of them, ready to go, in a plastic garbage bag. We know two ladies from the Post who volunteer at a Veterans Homeless Shelter, and they will take the coats to the shelter this week. He didn’t want to donate them to Goodwill, etc., because it sells them. He wanted them to go directly to a veteran in need, for free.

We did a little office work at the VFW today, getting ready for a mailing. Every year they have a fundraising initiative to raise money to maintain the building and grounds. I like this to be my volunteering so I can apply my clerical skills to helping in any way I can. It helps the Babe, since I can type faster than he can, and then he is finished sooner than later. It was a good day.

We went to Walmart for a few groceries. Few people were out. It amazed me there were so many people much older than we are. Usually we are the oldest ones there. Maybe they go on Saturday, but it just seemed so cold out for them. I think frigid temps are so hard on older people. I know it adds to aches and pains; it aggravates arthritis and other ailments most people acquire as time goes on.

Tonight, I’m writing by the fireplace as my studio is frigid again. The dogs love the fire and lay in front of it until they become too hot; then they move away quickly. What lucky pups. We heard about two men who abused a lab pup somewhere near a lake. They threw the dog, so it landed on its back, the ice broke, and the pup fell in the freezing water. How terrible. I hope the state does not allow them to own another pet. Ever again. People who do that to animals usually abuse children and other adults in their lives.

The football season is nearing the end tomorrow with the last two playoff games. The Super Bowl will follow. We are cheering for Kansas City and hoping they come out ahead. The young quarterback is fun to watch.

Tonight will be a little more reviewing my first chapter and assess if it’s still making the cut for the rewrite. One important thing I have learned is how authors try to cram the entire backstory into the first chapter of the book. Nothing much happens, it just gets dumped out, and the action doesn’t start until Chapter Two. I did it, too. Thanks to my editor, I have learned how that approach could make the readers drop my book like a hot rock.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate it very much. As usual, I’ll be here tomorrow, and I hope to find you here, too. Stay warm!

Thursday, or Friday's Plain Sibling

Do you like Thursday as a day of the week? If Thursday had feelings, it would probably not have good feelings. Like if you are a boy or girl with a perfect sibling, one that behaved impeccably, got perfect grades, with swimsuit model good looks. I know how that goes. My older brother earned very good grades in school. I wanted to be as smart as he is. Until someone told me I was as smart, and smarter. That made me feel good.

If he was sick, he wanted to be alone in his room. I wanted someone with me. That was not a bad thing, since children are different. I was told, “Why can’t you be like your brother?” That left me feeling like something was wrong with me. I was Thursday. A perfectly good day on my own. I was just not Friday. I did my thing quietly. My dad would come into my room when I was sick and play checkers with me. He showed me how to stay cool as a cucumber when I could see I could double jump someone. He was tricky that way. He even taught me to wink with sunglasses on. So people would know I was winking at them. That was a big deal when I was four. It was fun and passed the time.

Young parents today may not realize how it hurts a kid to be compared to a more successful sibling. Please stop doing it. It is hurtful. We are not them. Thursday is not Friday, and never will be. Why wish for a different day when you have a perfectly good one in front of you? Thursday can be productive or relaxing, snowy or clear, memorable or something to forget. But it can never be Friday. Ever. No matter how much you compare it. It can’t be Monday, either. Now that’s a day no one seems to wish for, either. Even less than Thursday.

Monday can be ready for you to start anew, give it your best, and have a different outcome than you did last week. Just follow with that same enthusiasm on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. Go to those new days enthused and you won’t believe what you can achieve when your expectation is not overshadowing what each of these beautiful twenty-four-hour units of time is on their own. Just like people. Similar, but not carbon copies of each other. God does not make them that way. Neither are people copies of each other. Or kids. Or babies. Or teenagers. Or retirees. Or baby boomers. Thank goodness for the variety we have in the people and days that surround us. Spend them wisely. Treasure their differences and similarities.

I think because the holiday weeks differed from the regular weeks of the calendar, I’ve had a time adjusting to the full week schedules now. I have been thinking Thursday was Friday the past two weeks. I love Thursdays. We get to pick our granddaughter up from school. Seeing a young person who is eager to tell you what they did at school is fun for us at this stage in our lives. It takes me back to when my kids were middle school age, and their descriptions of how their days went, all those years ago. I have that same memory Monday, Wednesday, and Thursdays every week. And I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

I hope you enjoy this Thursday and all it offers. I hope you value each of your children, grandchildren, neighbor kids, etc. for all they offer. Thank you for reading today, I appreciate the time you took. I will be back again tomorrow. I hope to see you here. Enjoy!