Friday, I Think

COVID-19 Quarantine Day # 6,385.

I’ve seen some folks posting on The Facebook they’re in quarantine for 8,365 days. It’s all in how we look at it. I know it’s probably easier for retired people like the Babe and me. If we were gone from a job we loved with or without pay, yes, it would seem like torture.

Unless money is an awful hardship for you, try looking at your time at home in a different way. While I was working, I left for work in the dark and came home in the dark. Yes, it was a long day, every day. And it seemed as if I never saw my house in the daylight. I was on medical leave after a surgery in the early 90s when I truly saw my house at all hours of the day. I realized how nice it was.

My kids and I were alone at that time, and it was really a long time off work and school. And yes, I was younger, 39 I believe. I came to see our home and the isolation in a much different light. I appreciated what I had been working so very hard to earn and possess. It was a time that stopped my daily frenzy and made me grateful. If you’re feeling like you can’t take it anymore, try that. It’s like looking at the world through different lenses. Not rose colored. But reality colored. Big difference.

This is my inspirational plaque.

I mentioned this plaque yesterday, and the computer gods prohibited me from showing you the photo. If you missed the post, here’s a link to it. Thank you, my dear niece and friend, Wendy. It’s hard to imagine that we used to babysit for you. You were a fun little toddler. And you are a blessing to all that know you now. I’m grateful to have you in my life.

It will be a different kind of day. Since our VFW Post is going to launch a scaled back food night for Wednesday, May 6, 2020. They have been closed since before St. Patrick’s Day. It’s not just a financial thing, it’s to help life the spirits of people who have formed a family or sorts. We miss each other. None of us know what’s going to happen in the next six months, I have a feeling it could go either way. Nebraska has lifted the stay at home life a bit. Restaurants have been given the ok to open with restrictions, and many have decided to remain take out only. It’s up to the individuals.

I’m going to go to the Post later to do some EXCEL spreadsheets for the Babe who is their Quartermaster. It’s the first of the month, and the books need to be reconciled, despite bringing in $0.00 and having expenses despite being closed. The officer group will meet and decide how to place tables, members, food service areas, and keep the doors sanitized. We have to start somewhere. We will see how it goes. People have to make their decisions. We always have the option to stay home if we don’t feel safe.

I’m really working hard to get my novel to the place of showing, not telling. That is much harder to do than it sounds. Telling is so easy. Showing is hard. I need to find how to show during a narrative of things that happened fifty years before. How the heck do you do that? I have a good reference called “Show, Don’t Tell,” and I hope the answer lies somewhere in there. It will make the process so much better. I have a feeling I have much more to rewrite than I thought. But it goes with the territory.

It is quite nice not having to take Mom to her appointments and errands. It’s been about four years since she quit driving. My younger brothers have been great about helping her out, too, and I’ve been the solo driver for weekday needs. It’s been something you do for your elders when they need it. No questions asked. It feels weird to not have the commitments, but I am enjoying my free time. I’ve told her not to hesitate should she need my help again. The danger of us getting COVID-19 will go down in the coming months. We’re social distancing like we should have been. I’m concerned about her not letting people go to the store for her, but the decision is hers. She’s insisting she needs to go, so I hope she’s surrounded by a mantle of protection from the virus. Check the definition of mantle vs. mantel. Word of the Day!

Truer words were never uttered!

We humans think we can control our destiny. We can’t. The sooner we realize that, and make adjustments in our attitudes and lives, the sooner we can live with much more ease, happiness, and joy. Yes, joy. It’s ours for the taking, all we have to do is relinquish control. Control is really an illusion anyway. We must not lie to ourselves.

It’s about time for me to meet the Babe. It will be a good rest of the day. When I return home, I’m going to layer and pin some quilts. Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time, and look forward to seeing you here again tomorrow. Be safe!

Fabulous Friday!

Hello, friends. I hope you are having a wonderful Friday. Our pretty (deep) snow has begun to melt. We have pretty much stayed inside today again. The Babe and the dogs are continuing walking twice every day. It’s good for all of them, and I should be doing it, too. We did dig out my recumbent bike and I want to be on it beginning tomorrow.

I’m making Chicken Chimichangas for dinner. They’re ready to pop in the oven, red beans and rice are also on the menu. It’s a new recipe, so I’ll let you know what the verdict is. The face masks are more than halfway done. I hope to get them mailed either late today or tomorrow. I have sewing friends all over the world who are making hundreds of them. I’m just not able to sit at the machine that long. Some are quite beautiful.

About 25 masks, early this morning.

Since I’ve become a quilter, I can tell you quilter friends are some of the most generous people I have ever met. One Canadian friend coordinated an effort during the Tsunami in Japan to send quilts to many, many people. I made two squares from the pattern block they used. It was beautiful when they finished it. It was fun to be part of such a far reaching project. Another time, a friend managed the International Quilt Festival in Ireland. Many of us made a block with our hand appliqued on it. It was another satisfying world-wide group effort.

The President has wisely given each state it’s own latitude in reopening after the pandemic. We are not even close to being ready to be thinking of that. It is still the safest to stay home. Period. I know it’s difficult for people who are not earning their full salaries, some of our family aren’t working their full number of hours either. We need to be kind, we need to be aware of people who may need someone to talk to, we need to check on our elders and people who live alone, and we need to stay home for now.

I’m going to do some more editing using Pro Writing Aid over the weekend. It’s a really good way to flag if you’ve repeated common words, or need to find a different group of words to describe something. It helps my writing become better. I’m happy with the software and it makes my job easier. What won’t they think of next?

I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha has a world famous zoo, is home to the College World Series, had the Olympic Swimming trials four years ago and was to host them this year. They are rescheduled for 2021. These events help bring in millions of dollars in tax revenues. Not this year. The city will have a massive budget shortfall and has no way to make that up. Trouble is, Federal Relief will not go to the City as an entity. The City does not have the required 500,000 people. It’s a way many cities and towns will slip through the cracks all over the country. There are things we may not even realize yet that will be impacted by this virus.

Hope you have a nice evening. I’m going to go finish cooking dinner now. Thank you for reading today, and I hope to see you tomorrow. I will post earlier. See you then!

Easter Sunday

So some folks are saying this is an Easter like no other. Easter comes and goes just as Christmas does. Whatever is in your heart at the time is what the holiday is for you. Since our family is scattered all over the place and five family schedules are about impossible to sync up, we don’t gather as a family. Our kids all know each other but aren’t close. They were all gone from home when the Babe and I met. It’s different, I suppose, if you get together while the kids are younger. They will have grown up somewhat together. We are kind of glad ours did not. The three oldest, the boys, were all good. The two youngest, the girls, were the type that if they had met when they were in middle school, what one didn’t think of, the other one would have. Yes, I’m sure of it. The girls were the subject of more conferences than you can imagine. They have all grown into good, responsible people, and you know sometimes getting to this point in life requires a few detours. Love them all!

So our celebration of Easter will be with food. For just the two of us. And we’ll just hang out and be together. I hope the Babe is weathering it well. I think we’re doing ok with each other, but then it’s not all that different than any other day in retirement. Except that only one of us goes to the store now. Except that I should make a face mask before a routine doctor visit tomorrow. Except that we stand at least six feet apart from the neighbors when we chat now. Our neighbors are on kid enforced lock downs. Ours didn’t do that for us. If we need something, Tracy and TJ will pick it up and drop it off for us.

Other than that, I’m just dying missing Gavin start a new level of baseball this year. I think he’s been ready to play in an advanced league, not only because of his awesome skills, but because I think he needs to be at a more competitive level player wise. I hope it brings him past some of the issues there were apparent with younger kids. Younger kids tend to play in the dirt. Yes, play in the dirt when they’re bored, tired, don’t care, or whatever makes them do this. If he is around boys who are in position, watching the pitcher and batter, ready for the ball he won’t have time to play with the dirt. His potential is there, I’ve seen it. Ever since he could hold a toy it’s been a ball. I want to watch his Dad coach him as Grandpa Randy coached his Dad.

We’ve lost Grandpa Randy, but gosh, he’s still here making us laugh at his antics. The Babe and Grandpa Randy would look at each other and say, “That’s the Raabe in him.” “No, that’s the Stricklett in him.” Now Grandpa Randy has front row, third base, front row seats to watch his grandson play ball. Once this virus hits the bricks. And it will. If it’s later than sooner, I just want us all well. Whatever it takes.

I started to re-read some of my printed out novel yesterday. It’s kinda cool, you can turn on an add-on before opening the document in Chromebook, and Pro Writing Aid will flag whatever they think were my goofs in each paragraph. Some aren’t goofs, sometimes they suggest a different word or phrase, some I just ignore. I like it a lot. It’d be great to be through it by the end of the week, then tidy other things up on it for the rest of the month.

I’m not sure if I need to have a whole group of people read, re-read, critique, edit, and pulverize what I wrote. Feedback is great. What do you do if you’re a writer? I have moved a bit off the center of what I was telling my original story about. It was “flat” I suppose, a person simply remembering different rooms in her house, after it’s empty. All that is left are the memories. Past that, it was her recollections. Now, I’m telling the story but have added a cast of characters who are her brothers, who help tell the story. I think it is told better, and I’m finding I took parts of real people and combined them to land on these brothers. Some are good people, some are not. They all have a different bad habit or addiction to deal with. Several individuals do not have the family “illness” of dependency, co-dependency, or addiction. They may have a different form of the same sickness, but they are quite aware of it and all it entails. It’s a story about saying, “I am not inheriting this part of my family.” Some do, and some don’t.

My hope for all of you who are stressed out is that you all learn this about life.
It will make your living so much better!

I thank you for stopping by today and reading. I’m off to enjoy this person, the Babe, who is my best friend. We will have a nice, quiet day. No Easter egg hunts, but just a few thoughts about the gift all Christians received today. Whether you asked for it or not. We are all blessed. Thankful. Grateful. I will see you here again tomorrow. Blessings!

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