Thankful Thursday

All things considered, it’s a good day to be above ground.

Some days, some folks will have to dig deep to find something to be positive about. And Lord knows, we NEED to remain positive about things while we deal with this COVID-19. As a person who blogs daily, I can tell you, it’s hard to ignore that it’s out there. It is consuming our airways, our conversations, and our lives. In talking with Mom the other day she said, “I’m not dwelling on it. I just don’t know why I’m not sleeping.”

Our Mom is from the generation of women who wore worry as a badge of honor. I have had concerns about my kids and family, but have never lost sleep over their decisions and so forth. Mom has lost sleep over what my brothers and I haven’t – and it’s been about our lives. My attitude has consistently been God will take us through things. He’ll be good to us. Miracles happen every darned day. And they will continue to. How do you get to that place?

I think my first thing has always been to believe in God. Faith is everything. Faith needs to guide you through things you don’t understand, be it loss, a pandemic, or cancer. Don’t try and wrestle the problem away from God. He’s waiting for you to hand it over to Him. Pray. Do good things for others. Distract yourself. You may need some practice. Just note how you feel when you’re living life, even being self-quarantined, vs. how you feel while you’re sick with worry. Or sleepless with it.

It takes extra work to try and have a normal life right now. Do it. Do it afraid. Be grateful. For today, I’m going to concentrate on the miracles we see with medicine in our times. Just the fact that scientists and doctors have been able to identify this COVID-19 is a miracle. The fact it didn’t have to kill millions before it was discovered is a miracle. The fact we’re self-distancing is such an easy thing to do, if we adhere to it. We will not be ill if we don’t go on Spring Break, to the beach, in Florida. A friend who lives there told the Babe yesterday that he went on a motorcycle ride yesterday and the beaches were packed. And now, younger people are becoming ill. I know most of them are smart enough to follow directions. I know many of them don’t care, and at the same time, many more DO care what happens. They don’t want their parents and grandparents to take ill. As a grandparent myself, I’m thankful many of you are that thoughtful. You can always go to the beach when this is all over. And it will be, trust me.

The Polio Epidemic was the first time I remember something that was big and scary. I was maybe four years old? Mom, my older brother and I walked to his school for kindergarten, and we waited in line for what felt like forever. When it was our turn, a nurse in a crisp, white uniform, complete with starched nurses hat, gave all three of us a little cup like they serve nuts in. It had a clear liquid in it. We all drank it and left. And that probably protected us from that horrible epidemic. We knew one man who was affected by it, and it left one hand useless for the rest of his life. Despite that, he was an incredible carpenter, handy man, and artistic creator. I think he was one of two “away from work friends” my dad had. They were fast friends until Martin moved his family back to Florida. We all survived Polio.

The second memory of something scary was the Cuban Missle Crisis. Living less than twenty miles away from Strategic Air Command and the underground at Offutt Air Force Base, we knew this area would be hit first by enemy bombs. I was in ten years old at the time. Younger than our oldest grandchild. I was in fourth or fifth grade. Being Catholic, the nuns spared no details from us. We were to pray, and be calm because God would take care of us. Little did we understand at the time, there would be no survival in bomb shelters. We would have all died. Looking back, that was a lot for such young kids, but still, we knew the reality of our world. It probably helped us more than hurt us. We survived this crisis.

I’d like to share my trust and faith with anyone who is afraid right now. You can overcome your anxiety. If you are working with a medical professional to do so, good for you. I’d like all of us to come out on the other side of this with some life experiences that are good. Reconnecting with people is a great thing to do right now. Do that. Reach out if you can. Talk to your family if you can. Watch videos of babies laughing. Watch some music videos. Try a different genre, expand your horizons while you’re social distancing. Let’s use this time to grow and be grateful we live in these miraculous times.

I want to thank you all for reading today. If you have a minute, share my FB post about my blog with your friends. I’d appreciate it very much. I’ll see you again tomorrow, and I’ll let you know how my writing went. It’s where I’m headed now. Be safe. Be healthy.

Hope this gives you a good laugh and something to talk about.

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.

Terrific Tuesday

Sitting by the fire, and the events of the day are helping me to smile. Today was a day for me to Uber Mom over to Think Physical Therapy. She calls me her seeing eye person, or her driver. Oh well, as long as she gets there. I hope someday she tells someone I’m her daughter. She doesn’t think like that, however. She had to go to Menards, to stock up on cleaning supplies. She also purchased a wreath for next Christmas. She also purchased some other odds and ends. The girl that cleans her house knocked over one of Mom’s Christmas trees, breaking the stand. It doesn’t stand up well anymore.

Mom asked several sales people if they had any more Christmas tree stands. One said they thought so. About forty minutes later, she had a new artificial tree stand, for $6.38. And eleven percent rebate. Heck of a deal. The two women who searched the store, the storage, the basement and checked with other stores could have told Mom, “No, we don’t have any.” They really went above and beyond to look for the item she needed. Maybe they knew she decorates in October, or maybe they just wanted to help. They made her day, and I’m sure she’ll pray for them tonight. We need more of this in the world, don’t we?

The videos I viewed yesterday were helpful in drawing some basic creatures, elephants, giraffes, and other shapes. I will break out my dad’s Cartoon Drawing books and review how they teach drawing basic shapes. The fun lettering book came today from Adornit. I’m happy this can be part of my artwork for the February Challenge.

I did a lot of lettering in Art Classes in High School. Enjoyed it a lot.

Just not enough hours in the day! My mom wishes for more time. Not sure to do what, because she swears she’s always busy but doesn’t tell us what she does. She insists she still needs the 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, a huge living room, dining room and a kitchen that is her home since 1949. She is a constant worrier so I guess that takes up some time.

The Babe and I are having homemade Pasta e Fagoili for dinner. It’s a great easy slow cooker meal that is perfect for these cold winter evenings. Hope you stay warm. Thank you for reading and know I’m grateful for you doing so. I will be here tomorrow, too, hope you will.

SunSum: Sunday Summary

If you want to grow, you need to find these people; and learn with them, and from them (Kathy Raabe)

In my online creativity group @ICreateDaily, LeAura Alderson coined this word today, a day when we summarize our week and report stuff. Stuff meaning either successes or learning points, good things or surprises, and shared information or personal lessons. The whole gist of it is review what you used this week to promote your creativity and do more of it. If you are still not hitting it right, let’s try something different to see if it directs you to your right path. And she does this day after day for a group of us. It’s so cool. I found the group about a year and some months ago. I like it. Lots of creatives making suggestions, promoting each other, and sharing positive things about art, writing, painting, and even bee keeping. Yes, we are learning about bee keeping, too. If you’d like to join, go to FB and look for I Create Daily, and the 30 Day Art Challenge. You’ll get there.

I am well aware they discourage us to use our blogs a” Dear Diary,” but this is funny. A couple weeks ago, the Babe and I went to buy groceries at that large discount store that is everywhere. Yes, WalMart. As we were leaving, he walked towards something that was laying in the driving lane of an aisle. It was a package of Good Value Chocolate Chip Cookies to bake!

“Not run over yet or anything! The seal was still intact!” He was excited. I scoffed at him. Yes, I scoffed. I had a bazillion reasons they should go in the trash bin nearby, but still, they found their way into our refrigerator at Raabe Ranch. I smiled every time I saw them. Just thought I’d see how long it would take him to ask about them.

Today was the day, boys and girls! He asked how to turn on our new gas oven. I showed him. He usually acts helpless like that so I’ll do things for him. Haha, not this time. So bake them, he did. They are dark and crispy. Overdone. But he gets Kudos for trying. And on a day I need to work on my writing, he can watch football with the dogs and have his own snacks.

Now, a poll, if you please. How many of you would have picked the package up, taken it home and baked cookies? How many would have left the package in the parking lot? I’m really curious. Leave a comment and tell me your reaction. I’ll let you all know tomorrow if we have parking lot shoppers here or not. p.s. I did eat one cookie. They’re too crispy for me, so I won’t eat any more.

We are not leaving the house today. It is way too cold and icy in Gretna, Nebraska, to be doing things outside of the comfort of your own home. Stay warm, stay inside, stoke the fire, and Go Kansas City Chiefs! I hope the kid leads them to victory.

Thanks for reading today. I appreciate your time. I will be here again tomorrow, and I hope you will be, too. You need to see how many others would:

Picked up the package of cookies?

or

Left it in the parking lot? Comment below, thank you.

Photo by Marta Dzedyshko from Pexels

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!

“Get It In Gear” Thursday

Today we got an early start. I worked on listing some preliminary goals for the first 90 days of 2020. They may be a little ambitious, but if I work like today, I’ll forget lunch and maybe lose a little weight while we’re at it! It’s now 3:30 p.m. and I’m starving! The Babe and I are having beef stew for dinner, so it’s smelling pretty good. Won’t be ready for a few hours, though. We had a snack to fill the void, but it’s not doing the trick yet.

The Babe and I both had things to do today, he did some accounting work for the VFW at home, and I finished the quilt. It’s beautiful! Here’s a little sample, it needs the binding on the edges, which is what my friend will finish to gift it to her friend. A group effort for sure, but it was a nice break. The binding is a red background with black Scotty dogs on it.

Wish I could keep this!

In the meantime, I’ve started to list my goals for 2020, and voila! Amazon delivered my 90 Day Goals Journal and Planner. My I Create Daily Group all use the same formats for the Planners, and I’m glad it came before Saturday. I’ll only have to write things down once now. You can read about the group on FB or at their website ICreateDaily.com. I have learned a lot from the leaders and other members.

So, as I continue to plan, I’m realizing how hard it is to commit to the nitty gritty part of creating. While it’s impossible to know what will come out of our minds on any given day, we need to know on Day 1, I need to create THIS. Believe it or not, it works. It organizes our minds to do the hard stuff. It’s hard to make something as abstract as art/creating/writing into concrete things. Yet we do. We continue every 90 days doing it. I do believe once we are immersed in creating, it keeps flowing. I hope to continue to tap this creativity inside of me. I’m enjoying every minute of it.

I may have mentioned yesterday, but I do want to learn so much more about how WordPress works. I want to improve the website and blog. I hope you stay the course with me, it’s going to be a great adventure. Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it very much. I’l be here tomorrow, and I hope you are here, too.

Tonight, I’m going to write out some goals in my new Journal/ Planner, and think about about book covers, blurbs on the covers, artwork in the children’s books, and so forth. It’s just too much fun. I’m delighted to spend my days like this.

The Last Day of 2019

I’ve been quilting today. For the first time in a long time, I’m using invisible thread. It’s not something I dreamed up as a prank, there is truly invisible thread. It keeps me from having to change thread over and over to make it match different colors on the quilt. Anyway, it’s challenging because it’s nearly impossible to see. It taught me some patience today, and I’m grateful for that. If it was easy all the time, where would the fun be?

In the back of my mind, I’ve thought over and over about things that would be great to accomplish during the brand new year that begins tomorrow. Why wait until then? You can start today, tomorrow, or a week from now. The two main things are: 1. START. 2. KEEP MOVING. All steps that keep you moving towards the goal, however small they are, will get you there. How do I know?

I know because a few goals have been very important in my life. When my dad was dying, I talked with him about the only regret I had. At 37, I had not graduated from college. I got married at 18 because I wanted to, and was divorced at 30. I had a couple years of community college level classes and had earned a programming certificate and started working in that field. My dad said, “Just keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll make it.” I have remembered that my whole life. I graduated from college in 1995, twenty-five years after I graduated from high school. Yes, it took a long time, and it was worth it. Having my degree in my forties made me more marketable. It was hard, raising three kids, working full time, and having a life. My kids were so good during that time. They had a good example of someone working towards a goal.

My point with all this is we set goals all the time. We take up a new hobby, we decide to spend more time reading or playing piano, or spend more time with our spouses and children. Whatever it is, start doing it. Keep doing it. You will not be sorry. You will be happy you did. My dad taught me so very much. As a little girl, I remember if I went somewhere downtown and had to walk to a store, he would take my hand. I could hardly keep up with him, but he slowed just enough so I could. He teased as most dads tease daughters. I was so proud to go places with him. I’m a very lucky woman to have had such a gentleman for a father. If he were still alive, he would be 96 years old tomorrow. He guides me even now, thirty one years after the last time I talked with him. He is missed.

My new reminder for 2020. It will spark a great memory and spur me onward.

Tonight, the Babe and I are meeting friends at the VFW for the annual New Year’s Eve dinner and dance. The band is DayBreak. It will be fun to see our friends after a few weeks of being other places. Dan doesn’t drink, so we have a designated driver. I pray for all of you to be safe, make it safely home, and wake up well tomorrow.

Thank you all for reading today, I appreciate you taking time to do so. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope to see you then.