Saturday Fun Times!

So yesterday we went to the garden center and purchased some beauties. I planted a few things in pots earlier, and one in the ground in the front yard. A smaller hydrangea bush. It should look pretty good next to the butterfly bush that grew so huge last year. We’re planning to keep it trimmed up a bit as it grows, so it doesn’t encroach on the sidewalk to enter the house. Last year it needed to be trimmed a lot.

My back does cause considerable problems when I do work like this, so I sat down on the little front porch steps to rest it a minute. I untangled the wind chimes I purchased a few years ago at Shopko, when they were still open. It was tangled to badly, I was tempted to cut it apart and restring it. But then I started thinking about my dad. He could untangle necklaces that were twisted and tangled so bad you were tempted to throw them out. He was a man of incredible patience when it came to things like that.

I started thinking about him as I sat, trying to untangle the knots of all elements of this wind chime. The more I thought about him, the easier the tangle became. I was truly amazed at how the time passed, the tangles fell away, I thought of how my dad would work on things while working them out, I could smell the freshness in the air, I was aware of the coolness of the concrete, it was such a relaxing, enjoyable experience. And this was the result:

Late getting started, but the front is looking better.

I’m sure now I’ll have those heartwarming thoughts of my dad when I glance out the window while writing or sewing. I’m such a “just look out the window at this or that” kind of person. I hope to experience many more things like this when I’m looking away to let my eyes wander.

The Babe is mowing the yard in between working more on the birdhouse bench he’s building. It’s amazing how thick the grass in the back yard has become, despite the dogs being out and using it as dogs do. I used to think only retired people had nice lawns. I remember mowing our lawn on a big banked hill when my kids and I lived on Nicholas Street. My son Nicholas sure thought it was great to live on a street named after him. I do believe it was named long before he was thought of, but I didn’t want to burst his bubble. I have a bunch of plants to keep planting this afternoon, and I’d better get back to it.

There are a couple plants I need to plant in nicer containers, like the Hibiscus tree, and hope I can keep it alive this winter. Maybe remembering to water it will help, too. Since we have lost our great cleaning lady, we’ll be cleaning now and should be in a better position to be watering plants that need it. Yes, I’m sad to lose Lori, but she needs some benefits and to be more secure for her future. I wish her well, and am glad to have had her since we moved into this home. Good Luck!

Below is an overview of the flower garden the Babe fenced in for me. There are Columbine, a small Hydrangea, and a couple Asiatic Lilies down there. We’re going to lay down Landscaping Cloth and decide where the annuals go. I hope to get everything in and thriving by tomorrow afternoon.

Lots of Potential

There is something about this meme that I love. I do believe many of us have been doing this since social distancing and stay at home were introduced. I know it’s hard for the Babe to put into words how he feels, he just knows things are “off”. I feel the same way. It’s kind of like listening to someone talk, but you feel and hear like you’re underwater. Or you go somewhere and don’t think about driving there, but realize you are there. That’s the time to do like these two little guys do above. If you can’t or don’t want to talk about it, maybe you just need someone to sit with you. Quietly. Just feel the being together. It helps. Try it with someone you trust, love, and respect. It is the best medicine.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. Sit by someone you trust and love. Enjoy their quiet company. Or untangle your windchime from last summer. It will take your mind away from your troubles. So relaxing. I will be here again tomorrow, hope to see you then. It’s the Babe’s birthday. I’m off to bake a Red Velvet Cake. The store was out of German Chocolate. So the Babe bought our granddaughter’s favorite. Hope the others like it! Take Care. Drive Safely. Wash Your Hands!

Mobile Monday

A Sunny Day or Six Would be Great!

Getting a late start today for the blog. I had two early appointments this morning, and the rest of the day had a conference with my writing coach, and a lot of thinking about what we talked about. It started out gloomy again. Maybe tomorrow. There is always hope.

I’ve had my temperature checked more today than I have in the past five years. Well, not really. I’m surprised Walmart didn’t check it. They had no disinfecting wipes to clean off the cart handles and didn’t require people to wear masks. They did a good job reconfiguring the aisles. They have some dividers in the middle of 12 foot aisles and nice markings in the aisles indicating the six foot apart rules. It was perfect. I found Butter Beans! And Dog Treats. Essentials for Cowboy Beans and for keeping the dogs happy. It was a win-win.

The conversation with my writing coach was good. I got some honest feedback to help me take my idea and what I’ve written so far, add some things, and be able to make it the best telling of my story about Katie and her seven brothers: Patrick, Andrew, Edward, John, Marty, William, and Michael. It is amazing to make the decisions about characters, their flaws and strengths, and the perils they will interact during. It’s a continuing process, and sometimes I get an idea and decide that may be in a follow-up story, maybe in a trilogy. That would be quite exciting!

Those of us in the 1970 Graduating Class from Archbishop Ryan High School will not be having our 50th Reunion this year. That is sad, but since we are all “of a certain age,” maybe we’ll start a new tradition of a 51st Reunion. It could become a thing, you know? And perhaps our good friend, Anna Merola, will be able to come from Italy. It would be wonderful!

As I left the dentist this morning near 144 & Fort in Omaha, I did see the Nebraska National Guard flyover doing a tribute flight to honor the state’s heroes in the trenches of treating COVID-19 patients. It would have been more spectacular against a blue sky, but the clouds accentuated it as well. The special tributes to those in harm’s way are incredible.

My nephew Don is an ER (ED) nurse in Arizona, and I know he is an angel to his patients. He is in the profession because of his mother, who died from oral cancer in 2007. He was a graduating senior at Bellevue East High School then. Wow. Talk about your graduation being messed up. Her funeral was the day after his 18th birthday. What a lot to overcome! Don enlisted in the USAF, and served his country. I love what he’s done with his life. And, still a newlywed, he married the lovely Carrie last November in Omaha. I’m so happy for them, proud of them, and am just waiting to see their new chapter. You, Don, are my hero. May God continue to bless you!

I’m issuing an apology in advance of you reading this meme. It is an important part of a theme in my book, and it is important for all of us to own our actions, words, and behaviors. If you do not you will never be able to be your best. It is especially hard for people who were raised in dysfunctional families. There is no shame in it, the shame is in not changing the things that are wrong. Not calling out the bad behavior within our own groups leaves the door open for passing along the bad things. And you don’t want to do that. Be strong. Be aware. Be brave enough to say, “It stops here. My family did the best they knew how. And some things need to change for the future.”

I thank you for reading today. I appreciate you so very much. See you again tomorrow, you know I’ll be here ! Stay Safe. Wash your hands. Call a Friend. Learn something new! Take care.

Marveling It’s Monday!

So this is the view from the office today. You can see the streak from an airplane above the trees and there is enough shade yet for the pups to take a nap in. They love being outside! I do too.

Can’t See This Too Much. Fresh Air is the Best Therapy for Your Soul.
The Finch Family Was Rude Last NIght!

However, the neighbor up above on the beam over the table isn’t too nice. While arranging my stuff to work, I discovered we needed a clean up on – well, Table 5? The Finch Family left some gifts for me. Ack! Note to self: Move the table away from the nest to avoid incoming. There, now where were we?

This is such a perfect time of day. It’s just warm enough to be comfortable, especially in the shade. In some ways, I was flashing back to summer mornings when I was a kid in South Omaha. Of course, when I was in 6 – 8 grades, the girls had to go to Mass and sing every morning. Yes, every morning. There was no sleeping in ever at our house. Not weekends, not summer. If we were out too late from the night before, Mom woke us up earlier.

We had no air conditioning the whole time any kids lived at home. Don’t know how Dad, a night worker, slept during the day in that oven of a house. With maybe just a window fan. Anyway, the days were pretty much all alike, kind of like now. Get up, Church, breakfast, change clothes, play. Or read, or whatever you were going to do. Riding bikes was a lot of fun with my friend Peggy. We imagined we had cars, or were part of the Cartwright family on the Ponderosa. It didn’t matter. We used our imaginations and had fun. It’s funny now to think of it. Oh, or be Ricky Nelson’s girlfriend. That was a good one. Swoon!

Goldie, the Office Manager

My productivity took a nose dive yesterday after lunch. When that happens, I need to sit in the recliner with the heating pad on my back. Hate when that happens. Had a nice short nap, and just did some reading the rest of the day. I have four quilts to quilt, three need layering right now. Poppies, Psychedelic Flower, Hibiscus Blocks, and a Wintery Cardinals Quilt I bought last fall. Those are all about the same size, and I’ll only need one King Sized Batting cut in fourths for them all. That makes it so much easier. Hope to get those all layered and pinned this week.

The Babe brought up a good subject. If one of us becomes sick, we probably should have the room ready for the patient. We have a full little apartment downstairs, minus a kitchen, but have a refrigerator, bathroom with a huge shower, and a queen sized futon couch in the craft room. Now, that means I’d need to straighten up the craft room. It is disorganized, and I’ve never finished moving into it. A day or two (depending on how my back holds up) will accomplish the task. I’m hoping to start that this week.

I don’t know that the bed needs sheets on it as of yet, but maybe that’s what he’s going for. I suppose either way, I need to get the bed ready for the Babe, since he’s probably the one who will vacate the upstairs, regardless of who gets sick. Meals on wheels? Room service? I’m not sure. We’ll have to see how he works out that little detail.

Our dog Lexie is worse than a kid. When she decides to be naughty, she’ll drink out of the big bowl she shares with Goldie. Then she sticks her paw in it to spill it. That’s OK outside, but I frown on that in the kitchen. She knows we love her, she just has to be ornery once in awhile. That’s the Raabe in her. Come bedtime, though, she snuggles right up next to my side, and I’ll often wake to find her head laying on my stomach. I’d like to think it’s because she loves me, not because I’m extra fluffy as a result of quarantine weight gain/ Maybe a little of both?

Lexie is in charge of Security!

I’m off to do some research on Alcoholics Anonymous. I purchased their 75th Anniversary Edition of their Big Book. It reminds me of the Missals we carried in the 60s to Mass in the Catholic Church. It has a ribbon page marker like they had, it’s a plain black cover, and the edges are gilded in red metallic. It’s beautiful. There is a companion book called “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions that I hope to learn a lot from. It is research to figure out how to deal with the family created to write about.

There will be some work on Chapter 10 of the book, too. And embroidery on the little hedge hog picture for baby Cody’s room. Looking forward to the rest of the day. Thank you for spending this time with me, I hope you have some goals for the day, even if it’s to work on your Quarantine Tan. Sunscreen, please! We all should use it. Hope to see you tomorrow, and we’ll see if this day went according to plan! Enjoy!

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.

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