Sublime Saturday

The day started early, as usual. The Babe had to go to the VFW Post early to get all the cash drawers ready to the Husker game today. We opt to watch from home. It’s much more comfy that way. It is a great day, and we’re looking at another nice weather day tomorrow.

Nebraska, where we live, is a hot spot state for COVID. Is this ever going to end? Our Governor seems reluctant to close everything, but I’m not sure how to achieve less contagious conditions without it. The economy will take another big hit if that happens. What is the right answer? I don’t know. I’m ordering groceries from Walmart and picking them up. It has worked great the three times we’ve done it. Probably going to continue, at least for a while.

It appears the Keto Egg Bake for breakfast is a big hit. The Babe loves it. And it’s easy. The cream cheese squares that melt into each serving are divine. It’s an easy, quick way to have some good protein to start the day. It’s a change from our routine of several years, a bagel with peanut butter, and a Greek yogurt. The dietitian recommended it after Dan’s open heart surgery in 2014. Time for a new routine. We’re not hungry either, and that’s the best.

The Muffins are Great!

Funny, I’ve really taken off with my novel writing. It’s coming along nicely. Then the guilt sets in. I have several places in the house to tidy up and reorganize, and of course, that doesn’t appeal to me. We’re always happy after we do that, but procrastinate until we get there. Why is that a quirk of humans? I’ve been both OCD in house keeping but now, more inclined to let things go. The Babe is a great help with the vacuuming and mopping the floors. I could be better about dusting. I decided a long time, a family lived in my home, not the staff of Better Homes and Gardens. That was way back in the 1980s! It was freeing. Try it!

I’m writing about my character Katie, having a baby. It’s 1971, she’s very young, and she has a general practitioner for a doctor. She expected him to tell her what to expect in labor and delivery, and he shared nothing with her. Back then they really made things easy for the doctors. It was before Lamaze classes, and most often, they knocked you out, and you might not even know what you had. That happens to Katie. It’s sad how things used to be. She went into labor before she could ask the doctor what to expect, aside from the obvious.

It’s easy to judge the character and her lack of experience. You need to know nearly fifty years ago, there was not a lot of information available. Women often told each other old wives’ tales, frightening tales of loss, and some doctors had egos that did not permit them to entertain questions. It is sad. It’s all part of what helps her grow into an independent woman, capable of many things. The story is about her freeing herself from the bondages of tradition, playing it safe, and living like all the other men or women in your family. She breaks the mold. She ventures out. She learns to live.

Thank you for reading today. I’ll see you again tomorrow. I hear there’s this football game on right now. Go Big Red! Hope they play well today. Be Safe out there!

Summery Saturday

Back in the day, when I was in my 20’s and we first bought a house, washer and dryer, the yard had a clothesline to dry laundry. I loved hanging clothes on the line. Of course, the jeans were stiff, the towels weren’t very soft, and I resorted to drying them for comfort. When our second son was born, I was back out in the spring, hanging diapers to dry in the sun. There was a time in life when a woman’s “worth” was determined by the laundry she hung to dry. I suppose if it was orderly, hung out early, and taken in before dark, you were viewed as orderly, industrious, and efficient. My great aunt once said, “Oh, that Kathy Jewell hangs our a fine wash.” Aunt Anna, you were such a dear, and you were not overly fussy with compliments, so I’m going to take that as the compliment it was meant to be. And I’m proud to have received it.

She was such a fine lady, classy, and the unmarried aunt who lived with Grandma and Grandpa. She worked nearly 50 years at the “phone company,” (boys and girls, back then, there was only ONE phone company!). She could have been a very successful female in the 1990s or 2000s, if she were born 30 years later. Even though she was a supervisor and great employee, there were not the kudos paid to women who worked in the 1950s and 60s as there are now. There was no equality. Women who became pregnant even if married, were fired.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Can you believe it? THIS is the closest Pexels.com could come to “baby diapers hanging on line to dry.” Cute baby, but kind of misses the point.

As I’m thinking back to days I willingly hung diapers out on the line, I’m wondering what Aunt Anna would have to say about my writing. She would insist on truth, I believe. And perfect grammar. And being dignified. That I be a complete lady. And that I thank God for the gifts He’s given me. The being a complete lady may not ring entirely true, I mean, the language could be unladylike at times. Sorry, Auntie. But I do thank God. Frequently. Often. Every day.

And the next thing, aside from having my own website, blog, and Author Facebook page, is I’m starting up pages on Twitter and Instagram for my Author news. There may be a little personal news on there, where it’s pertinent to my writing. I’m glad to take the leap into the exposure needed now to make a bigger impact on the world, so more may find my musings, books, articles, and photos. Of course, I know not a damned thing I’m doing. (Sorry, Aunt Anna. Yes, I’ll light a candle in Church).

The idea is, not only will a newly posted blog create a post on my author page (Kathy Raabe, Author), it will also post on Twitter and Instagram. Here’s crossing my fingers, making the magic happen yet again, and making the post available on two more platforms. Yay!

Yes, Doubters, Haters, and Critics Need Not Pay Attention

And it’s kind of fun working with it until it might make some sense. I need to do the same for the VFW Post once we establish a new website. That’s another project, I’m working on with my brother in law, Brad, from Image Masters. (Think, “Jake, from State Farm.”)

Hopefully, there will be time to work out my Chapter 2 of “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons” today and tomorrow. It’s time to send more work to my Book Coach Sam Tyler. We will continue our working relationship on a month to month until we agree I can go it alone. Right now, I need guidance. It’s good I found it early, rather than have to scrap 80K words.

Besides writing, I’d like to accomplish more on that quilt I’ve been working on forever. Next week will be more workers in the house, we’re having LVT flooring (Laminate Vinyl Tile) laid in the kitchen, entry, and two upstairs bathrooms. Assembling strong young men to move the marble topped huge kitchen table AND the matching marble topped server from the kitchen to the living room. Same strong young men welcomed a couple days later to move very heavy furniture back in place. Photos to follow of finished projects. The Babe is really happy beautifying our space, and it’s so nice. Partners, it’s what we are. Blessed.

The Babe. Most Thoughtful Guy.

So yesterday, the Babe stopped at the store after I met him for lunch. He bought my favorite guilty pleasure, a Midnight Milky Way. The dark chocolate really makes this taste delicious. It was such a sweet surprise. Thanks, Babe! Be thoughtful. Be Courteous. Be Kind. Be Safe. We need to treat each other well, even strangers. Wash up and Wear your mask.

I watched the interview Matthew McConaughey did with Dr. Fauci yesterday. It was very well done. Thoughtful and full of good information. Rumors put to rest, and common sense in the house. They said what I have been saying. Yes, we need to wear masks. To get the spread under control, and to stop having peaks and valleys in numbers. It does no good if we keep peaking. We need to keep falling to get to a safe place. The temporary inconvenience will be worth it, once we can open everything for good. We’ll never get there if we don’t all pay attention. Complying is something Americans don’t like to do. But I don’t want to spread illness to a cancer patient, grandma, my grandbabies, or young parent either. Think beyond yourself. Watch the video here.

Thank you for reading today. I’ll see you all tomorrow, and please share with a friend, won’t you? Or share on your Twitter or Instagram. I appreciate it.

Fabulous Friday

It is really a beautiful day outside. I swear God sends cold fronts through the humid and hot areas like Nebraska to give us a break and make us feel like living again. It improves the general feeling of your soul and gives your mind a break. Still, I like the four seasons. Four “alleged” seasons. It seems like we skip a lot of spring and a portion of fall many times. Hope there is comfort to deal with the rest of the pandemic we are having.

Where we live in Gretna, it is very close to Omaha. The VFW Post we attend is in Omaha. We have concerns about the possible mask ordinance Omaha was considering. It appears the health department has backed off from enacting one. I say it’s a shame, the legalities were questioned and they asked people to use their best judgment. With those rights comes responsibilities. To me, it makes sense to wear a mask. We do not often make the best judgments. Some use motorcycle helmets as an example. I favor helmets, seat belts, and wearing masks. Yes, it’s annoying. So are helmets and seatbelts. But I’m safer using them.

My asthma doc ordered me to have a COVID test before my appointment with her last week. I thought I would test negative and did. I believe curtailing my social activity and social distancing, which includes wearing a mask when shopping is helping. Please think long term on the outcome, it may make more sense.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

In addition to working on my Poppies Quilt, I’m devouring a couple more books for writers: Write Great Beginnings, and Point of View. It appears there is more competition than ever to attract a reader who will read a book. It also appears there are fewer who start a book who actually finish one. I have only quit reading maybe 4 books in the last ten years. When I buy them, I think it’s a terrible waste to not finish. One was borrowed from the library, a biography by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Brian is a genius and has had mental illness for nearly his entire life. It’s a very sad story, and one that concludes well. There are better versions written, believe me.

In addition to having a hook to attract a reader, you have to do a lot to keep them reading. Each chapter ending should make them just want to keep reading. I love books that do that. They are easy to read and quick. No time wasted. Now to learn how to do exactly that.

I have some real characters to introduce once I build them. It is such fun to be able to do that. There is something I read to make sure to appeal to the theater of the reader’s mind. What does that mean? Simply put, have you ever enjoyed a book more than a movie? Yes, an author needs to write so well the images in our minds are vivid and our imaginations can take us through the story. That’s the challenge.

Conflict is the center of fiction. Intensifying the troubles that stand in a main characters way. The problems are big, and he or she drive the story with their decisions. Because they chose this, something else happens. I’m told it gets easier the more I understand it. I trust Sam Tyler, my writing coach. She has made this endeavor so good for me. I’m so lucky to know her from the Nebraska Writers Guild. She is a writer and coach. Very good with critique. Asks hard questions. All with good reason. If I can’t answer the questions, how can I write my answers to them?

AHA! There it is! This is also a great living example of why/how to outline everything (major events) in the story you want to tell. Sure, you have it all in your head, but trust me, your memory isn’t that great some (most) of the time. As I write, other ideas spill out and I can end up in a completely different area than I wanted to be. I’m learning to be a planner, not a pantster. A pantster is writing by the seat of your pants. When you think you have a great idea, it’s easy to think you don’t need to plan anything. I can be foolish at times!

Just as maps are not always up to date in Google, our outlines can leave a bit to be desired. We need to be open (always) to modifying the outline. Even if you’re well into the story. Lots to think about. Lots to wade through.

And There You GO!

Off to work on another unrelated issue. I’m helping get information together for the new VFW Post 2503 website. It should be a fun project. The one we have is pretty outdated and cumbersome to work on. I’ll be learning some WordPress tricks I don’t know and will benefit tremendously from it. Thank you for taking time to read the blog today. I appreciate it, and hope to see you tomorrow. Stay Safe, my friends. I want you all with me the rest of this journey. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Careful out There!

Wonderful Wednesday

Hi, folks! It’s another sunny summery day in Nebraska. I know we need rain, it’s just so much more beautiful when we can enjoy sunshine. The pups have been in and out, and in and out. They’re just getting warmed up! The header today has a picture of Lexie when we first had her. She weighed 4 pounds and was 4 weeks old. We did get Roxie at the same time, she had a parasite and only weighed 3 1/2 pounds. The mom was sick, so they were placed as soon as possible. They were only on solid food for two days. Lots of love later, we’ve had wonderful companionship with them.

I’ve seen many articles written on forgiveness lately. Not sure if I’m being told something or if it’s a coincidence. It is hard to forgive another who hurt you to the depths of your being. I believe it’s worse when you don’t know why they did what they did to you. In situations like this, I think women tend to overthink and take too much responsibility for doing something wrong. Nothing is further than the truth! You picked the wrong person with which to share that part of you!

That last sentence is truth spoken with the utmost love. Really. I have done that more than a few times. Not everyone is a candidate to know you and your insecurities/faults/secrets. They gain your trust (because you’re a trusting person), and use the information to hurt you deeply later. Been there, done that, over and over.

One thing I can tell you, it’s not always the guys fault. They are either a cad or they don’t care. Or they are a cad and they don’t care. We women are by nature sharers. Adult Child of an Alcoholic? You’re probably just following the family tradition of dysfunction. It manifests itself all over your life, and you don’t even drink. The dysfunction is learned behavior, passed down from generation to generation. If you want to change your life, you can learn a new behavior. It took me a long, long time to unlearn behaviors that no longer served my life. Once I learned my truth, life has been so incredible. I believe I was in the dark all those years, struggling with who I was and who I attracted, I wasn’t ready to see I played a part in all of it. Not playing that game anymore.

I’m also reading a lot about creating new habits. It is very hard to do that if you historically have done the opposite, that is, discouraged new habits. Being positive and forward thinking is hard to do, you need a lot of practice. Before I started thinking for myself, I was negative. I thought all people were. I thought all adults were.

I thought love always hurt. That’s what all the music I listened to told me. I saw examples all around me. I came to expect hurt and disappointment in love. Movies always portrayed dramatic arguments between couples, “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” I heartily disagree with that statement. Love Story was the movie people talked about when I married young (19). Now that I’m a grown woman, I’ve learned.

Love is exactly why you have to say you’re sorry.

You will be surprised by what you hear.

Forgiveness is for you, not for them. It doesn’t let them off the hook, it doesn’t mean you have to accept treatment that is abusive, verbally and certainly not physically. Abuse starts out verbal. That’s what kept someone like me under control. I’d go along to get along, never thinking there was a choice. Now I see nothing but choices. Time changes everything. So does knowledge. And self-esteem.

When the Babe’s mom was clearing out her home before going to the nursing home, she made a photo album for each of her kids. It was so fun to look back at the Babe’s life in photos. An ornery little tow headed kid, dimples galore, and such an impish grin. Handsome, strong, young. We all were once. It was beautiful photos of him holding his children the first time, coming home from Vietnam, gathering with his extended family, and the like. When he turned the page to his second marriage, his mom said, “Oh, I should have cut Debbie out of these.”

I told her, “Oh, it’s ok, I have a past, too. I’m with him now, that’s all that matters to me. The Debbie years have been over for quite a while.”

I joked with her when we got to the photos I was in, “Now we’re in the Kathy years!” She laughed. How I miss that beautiful lady. She raised a good man. And his brother. And two good women in his sisters. We don’t see them nearly enough. The Babe’s sister-in-law passed about six months after his mom did. She was adamant we need to seek each other out, keep the connections alive. She was right. Miss her, too.

It’s a good feeling to forgive past loves, past friends, past hurts. It doesn’t mean you forget. You need to remember what people are capable of to forgive them. That keeps you from repeating the mistake. And yes, they were mistakes. Situations that happened are over, please work to put them in their proper places. Forgiveness. A mighty gift you give yourself.

I love the sentiment expressed here!

This is a great sentiment. I would change it to read: “Because I do not want to live without you.” We are both grown enough to know life will go on without each other. One of us will be left alone when one of us dies. That is what we mean by this. I’m delighted to be the last. Trust me, we have words. We get mad at each other. We get over it quickly. We try to live every day like it could be our last together. No regrets that way. It’s never, ever too late!

My wish for all of my single friends: May you find the kind of love you need and want. I know it’s hard. When you least expect it, you will find it. Be open. Protect your heart, though. It will happen. Like you, I was skeptical (maybe even negative). I was never more wrong in my life. You will see. Message or comment to me when it happens for you.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. Keep distancing, masking, washing hands, sanitizing, and being safe. No political agenda here. Just want you all to be healthy. If you are, then I am. And I’ll be one step closer to being able to meet our newest grandson. Yes! Be safe. See you tomorrow!

Taco Tuesday

It’s 3:30 p.m. and I’m just starting to write the blog for the day. It was a day to take Mom to the Cardiologist for an annual visit. She has an appointment for next year, July 20, 2021. She thought it was silly to make an appointment a year in advance at her age. I told her it was an optimistic way to look at it. It’ll be here before you know it, right?

After the doctor, she “needed” to go to Hobby Lobby. She replaced some 30 year greenery in hanging baskets on the enclosed front porch. She gets her money’s worth out of stuff, for sure.

One of the best projects my folks did to their house was to enclose the front porch. It’s good sized, has combination windows, and has offered a nice place to sit in the evening without bugs of summer. It’s good for about three seasons if you push it. I spent hours playing on the open porch, and my kids all played there too. Although she lives in the house we all grew up in, it’s her home, not ours anymore. Our homes are where we live. Of the houses my kids were raised in, only one is still standing. They remember “the white house,” and talk about the neighborhood. The house was razed by the city for street improvement.

The home they left for adulthood is still standing. It’s the house I bought by myself and the house the Babe and I first lived in after we married. Home is wherever we live. Mom has only lived in probably two houses her entire life. I can’t imagine her moving to assisted living on her own. I think she’d be mad at us if we suggested it as a good idea. That big house just wears her out. Bathrooms are on second floor or in basement, there is nothing on the main level.

Considering my doctor advised us to get a ranch style house and forgo steps, I’m so glad we did. I’m looking at knee replacement whenever I decide I can’t take it anymore. I’m not ready yet. For all the surgeries I’ve survived, this one gives me the willies. I can’t see any of my major scars very well. A knee, well, it’s out there. I’m not vain about it, just gives me the creeps. And the creeps are not good.

My Memories of Summer Reading Club at the Omaha Public Library. Good Times!

Isn’t this little saying by Julia Donaldson just lovely? It reminds me of every summer, my brother and I raced to see who could read the first ten books. He usually beat me. He spent more time reading and just did it faster. That’s ok, I wasn’t a slouch at it. Almost all the kids in class received a bookmark as the award when we started back to school in September. The stories usually captivated me, and I loved the true to life stories.

Three of our grandkids say they don’t like to read. That makes me sad. I hope someday they change their minds. The two grandkids in Colorado are read to a lot, and chances are, they will read on their own when the time comes. Books are my favorite gift to give and receive. Gift cards to book stores are the best.

Now Here’s An Idea!

It’s just so easy to order books on Amazon for delivery. I do like bookstores, I just haven’t been out to one for a long time. It still feels weird to go out and get necessities. A friend of mine is releasing a children’s book. I’ll share a link when it’s available online. Shouldn’t be too long. I’m excited for her! She has a nice little family, a husband and two little boys. One was just born in the last couple months.

As I watch my mom toddle along, I wonder how long we’ll have her. She’ll be 91 next month, and still lives alone. It was old folks day at the cardiologist, and saw many “children” bring “Mom” or “Dad” to the clinic. Some couples were there, but not many. Although she complains about the cost of the blood thinner, I think it’s kept her from having any more strokes the past few years. And the Babe is on blood thinners, too. So two main people in my life are kind of living on the edge, either of them could have an event at any time. I’m not going to worry about it. It it occurs, we’ll deal with it. I’m just not ready to give anyone up yet. Prayers are always welcome.

For tonight? I’m going to read a book I’ve had going since pre-COVID. I just haven’t finished it. It’s my kind of story – former Navy Seal, Cop in Colorado, solves murder cases, etc. I just want to see if perhaps I can make good on the Goodreads estimate of number of books I may read in 2020. It’s not too exciting, but it’s an accomplishment. How about you?

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your support so much. Wash up, Mask up, Be Kind, Be Tolerant, Be Courteous. We all need each other to treat each other well. This will pass much more easily if we do. Do what’s right. Do something your grandma could be proud of. See you tomorrow, be safe.

Thoughtful Thursday

Hi, friends! Today is full of stuff for us to do away from the serenity, silence, and security of home. Mostly for the Babe. All I have is a mammogram later this afternoon. Due to the pandemic, that was considered a non-essential medical procedure/visit. I beg your damned pardon, I’m a breast cancer survivor. It’s essential I have one every year to keep the survivorship going. They dropped the ball, bigtime on this. I called, despite them telling me they would call when they opened up again for those. I’m not happy about it, but am grateful I can keep track of my own stuff. What about someone who can’t, or who is in denial?

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

I’m so grateful to be cancer free all these eleven years. A very wise friend, a minister and good friend to Dan and me, told us cancer always comes back if not in the same place, elsewhere. She has done pastoral care for a long time and knows what she’s talking about. If I want to think negatively, I’d worry over when that will happen. I cannot do that, it would ruin today. I’m glad I have my dad’s outlook; wait and see what they say, then we’ll decide what to do. His patience taught me so much. I’m glad to know about cancer returning, because it will help me should it be diagnosed again.

I’m so proud, because I had cancer and my daughter went to radiation with me, she decided to go to school and become an interventional radiology tech. This was a very demanding area, and she was on call often. Car accidents, medical emergencies, all things you can imagine happened. When she had her first baby at 40, she made the decision to do mammography. It pays ok, but she would no longer have to take call. Now, with two kids under 3, her days are full of work, and her nights are full of family.

I know Rebecca can offer comfort to someone who is scared. In 1995, (pre-Babe years) when I had a tumor in my spine, she was a rock at the age of 16. I wish she wouldn’t have had to go through that. Her brothers were great too, but she was with me at home. It was too much, but it couldn’t be helped. Say a little prayer for me at 3:30 pm, ok? I appreciate it a lot.

Sometimes I get very involved in writing and the CD ends. The silence is pretty stimulating for me with writing. The only better sound is the sound of my sewing machine, creating something else. I’m so glad to have so many hobbies, books to read and write, and things to do. So many, I’ll probably never finish them all.

That’s ok, too, because I have some fun things to finish. I have a quilt my Grandma Bobell hand pieced that needs to be quilted. It’s stained but that’s ok. My mom was born in 1929, and I know Grandma made this before Mom was born. I’m hand quilting it, so I’ll pick that back up when fall arrives, otherwise I’ll be roasting trying to do it now. Unless when the Babe cranks the A/C. Maybe it would work after all!

This quilt top is nearly 100 years old!

Back to the music of Glen Campbell. I like to listen to him. While I’m writing, sometimes I can block out the lyrics, concentrating on the orchestra in the background. Other times, it’s his mesmerizing guitar playing, or the lyrics of Jimmy Webb, who is still creating beautiful music now. The music is a great representative of the 60s and 70s, and I can recall seeing it performed on many variety shows which were so bountiful on television in those days. I miss this kind of good entertainment. There is nothing that compares with these old shows.

There is one song, however, that I didn’t like at all. It was called “Everyday Housewife.” It was about a housewife who dreamed of days past, when she was a sought after date, when people paid attention to her, and when she mattered. I always found it to be so sad, limiting, and trite. I didn’t participate in the “women’s movement” until later when I woke up and wanted some respect as an everyday housewife. We all mattered, but some of us were treated as servants, and even property. I’m so glad that time is over.

I do remember trying to justify my not working. Anyone who was my age was working or in school. I was busy all day, not watching soap operas, but teaching my kids and playing with them, and giving them what experiences we could afford. I’m glad for all the years I was able to be with my sons. My daughter didn’t have me at home, and for that I’m sad sometimes. She grew up much more outgoing than her brothers were.

And another song that was from those time: Galveston. I loved that song, but never made the connection to the fact that the man was in Vietnam. I’ve always been aware of the lyrics, “I clean my gun, and dream of Galveston.” Wow, I feel kind of silly about missing the whole point. Live and learn.

Time to “let the dogs out,” and “let the dogs in,” so we’re going to wrap it up for today. I hope you have a beautiful day, thank you for sharing it with me. See you tomorrow, and I hope you all have a good evening. Stay safe! Be Kind, Be Thoughtful, Be Courteous. Wash up, Mask up, and enjoy this day.

Terrific Tuesday

A Dance. Not a Light Switch.

Almost all of us have been in situations we don’t want to be in. Some of us are expert at saying, “This is not what I want, I’m gone,” and leave. And never come back. We protect ourselves and know we deserve better. We don’t feel guilty, we feel appropriately balanced.

Others of us are so dependent on others, we may ask our kids if we can go see our friends today. We’re the adult! You don’t need their approval! If you ask permission of your mate, that’s not good, in my opinion. If you’re checking about the family calendar that’s different, but know you’re coordinating schedules, not asking permission. Permission to me is requested of a higher up, like a boss. Not an equal partner, spouse, or friend. Yet, there are many who always seek permission, as if they are not able to make their own decisions.

Still others of are still learning about these things. We know when something is uncomfortable, but we are more called to duty than anything. It could be this way for dealing with an aging parent. We make statements that go unheard, simply because another person has never acknowledged or honored our boundaries. They were the bully and manipulated you into doing what they wanted. They cannot do that once we learn our worth. It is more like a dance, when we are still dealing with those troublesome personalities who bullied and bossed us around. They become frustrated at not getting their way, and we may feel badly for saying, “No.” But we have set out boundary. They are trying to bully their way across it. “No” reinforces it well. They become more uncomfortable and leave us alone. Nothing to feel bad about. You were firm. It’s a victory! A dance, not a lightswitch. And it’s ok. You’re learning. You’ll also learn not to feel guilty.

Yes. First Thoughts. Yes!

A whole new world opens up for a person who learns to stop accepting second thoughts (or no thoughts) and “Maybes” as answers to invitations. I used to accept those from people. From people I asked to do thing, to go places, invitations to events in my life. There is no silence as long as the wait after someone asks a question only to be met with, “Well, I’m not sure, maybe.” Or just met with more silence. Like your question doesn’t exist. Like you don’t exist. They deserve a “Yes” or a “No.”

It is tricky to learn these new things. I’ve been working on it all for about forty years. I’m no longer brainwashed. I’m no longer feeling second best. I’m no longer feeling ignored. I will only spend time with people who want to be in my life. No second bests. Not any more.

And some people think I’ve changed. Some people think I’m terrible. I have changed. I no longer sell myself short. I no longer think I don’t deserve good treatment. It’s been a long and winding road. There is always some old programming left you hear once in awhile. That you’re boasting if you stand up for yourself. That you have an inflated ego. Blah, blah, blah. Not true. Not anymore.

And it is exhilarating!

In the novel I’m writing, I’m examining a character who learned to stand up for herself, for what is right, and has learned to speak up, despite the cold shoulder and bullying by her family. It’s lonely. But she becomes used to it. And she realizes the people who treated her the worst were the ones she loved the most because they were family. She also learns you can select a family who accept you for who you are, who support you and your dreams, and who treat you well. She sees where she started the journey and still has a few triggers with certain words and situations. It’s a gift she gave herself. And it keeps giving to her and those who love her.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. I will see you here again tomorrow. You know I’ll be here!

It’s Thursday Again

I’m amazed at the number of “elderly” (our age) people who tell us their kids won’t let them leave the house. What? They don’t live under the same roof at all, but the kids are making their parents stay home. It makes me wonder. Our kids just ask what we’re doing. Does that mean they don’t love us? Hardly. One of the kids picked up toilet paper for us when we couldn’t find any in our stores. Other than that, we speak to them and check in about everyday life but don’t go further than that. Is it that they trust us to be cautious? Is it they don’t think of us becoming ill and dying from it? I choose to look at it that they think we know what to do. What do you think? Have you told your parents to stay home? Our mom doesn’t listen too well. At nearly 91, she still insists on going to Walgreen’s and Hy Vee for groceries herself. She has a good chance at becoming exposed. I’d rather not be exposed.

Our Hamburger Night was good again. We visited and made plans for Taco Night tonight. The Babe heads up the kitchen staff for that. I’m not able to lift anything heavy or stand for a long time, so I come along for moral support mostly. Not sure if I’ll join him or not. It’s that or stay home to let the dogs out, let the dogs in. Let the dogs out. Let the dogs in. Let the dogs out. Let the dogs in. You get the idea.

i’m putting together some notes for the rest of my book. I need more meat in the story at certain chapters. It’ll be hard (maybe) to get another 8K words. Once they start, though, they come easier. It’s not impossible. Just need to get to it. I hope to hear from my book coach in a couple of weeks and see what the assessment of my first three chapters is. At a much younger age I used to agonize over such things. I don’t anymore. I do hope it comes back favorably though. If not, back to the drawing board.

This one is thought provoking.

Thank God for the empathy of others. We especially need that now.

I remain hopeful our Veterans graves will be decorated with the American flags this Memorial Day. It would be a shame if they remained bare. A news story yesterday stated the VA is not allowing groups such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to plant the flags as they usually do. The National Cemeteries in Long Island, New York have 500,000 graves in them. It sounds as if it will not be allowed at all. I understand the social distancing, believe me. I would think that even if they worked in pairs the Boy and Girl Scouts could find a way to socially distance and still be able to plant the flags. Yes, it is a symbolic gesture, but it is an important one I believe. After all, people are allowed to go the store now, and even pick up dinner from a restaurant. It will be interesting to see what happens. I hope someone regains their mind to let them put the flags in.

The remainder day will probably go quickly. We will start serving tacos to some hungry veterans and Honor Guard members after 4 p.m. More talking with friends tonight, and hoping everyone is well. It will be a good afternoon. Until it’s time for me to leave, I’ll do a little more editing and planning. I hope you all have a good rest of the day, stay safe, and keep up the social distancing. See you back here tomorrow!

Thankful Thursday

Yesterday, I wrote about venturing out for the first time. Or rather, the anticipation of going out for the first time. If you’d like to read it, check yesterday’s post, Woo-Hoo Wednesday. We all felt very strange going somewhere to dine again, and to especially see our friends after two months.

I spoke with a lady who reiterated what I felt yesterday. She mentioned feeling safe because we all know each other. I wholeheartedly agreed. It was wonderful to be out. To be among friends. To feel safe while relaxing some aspects of social distancing. The Post strictly adhered to the guidelines the Health Department insisted be followed for reopening. People understood. People were kind to each other. As I reflect back on it today, I am thinking of those who did not come out. They were not convinced they should be out yet. And that’s ok. We took a risk, and it was a good one.

It did our hearts good. Sharing a meal with friends who are like family is almost a sacred act. I can only imagine the joy we’ll feel when we are able to be with our grandkids again. Hugs for all! We all miss those the most. Yes, it felt like forever since we were able to gather. We tried to catch up on the news from each other. We had a limit of six to a table, and had to rotate in and out to not break the rules. It was so worth it. Some men hadn’t shaved for awhile. Some women needed haircuts. None of that mattered, we were just glad to be out.

All that said, I can’t say I have a desire to get on a plane, drive to Colorado (really hard to not go, with a new grandson and all!), go shopping in a crowded place, or attend a outdoor concert yet. I don’t feel we’re safe enough to do that yet. We may not be for a long time. Yes, warm to hot weather is going to make the virus unable to make us ill, but traces will still be around. It will be round two in a few months with a double punch from Coronavirus and the flu. Lucky us. We’re going to be doing this for a long time, folks. We can do baby steps getting out again. In time we will be more secure about it. Just pick a place you know you’ll feel safe. And go, when they’re open. And you will experience joy at being with your friends again. A reward for staying home these past two months, that we were all present. It will happen for all of us soon. Enjoy the experience. Savor your people.

I may have lost 3K words from my book while editing with Pro Writing Aid. Not sure if the word counter had a hiccup or anything, I don’t see where they are missing. It may take awhile to locate the gaps. There are some chapters that need more work, and I’d still like to reach 50K words or more. Lots of loose ends to tie up, and relationships to mend (those that can be mended). Hoping I can find them sooner rather than later. It will work out, things always do!

Ancient Chinese Proverbs May Be The Best

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate you taking the time to do so. Hope to see you again tomorrow. I’ll be here! Stay safe! Wash hands, Be Kind, Call a Friend Today!

First Monday in May

Have you seen the memes about this year, so far? I love some of them. Most worthless purchase for Christmas 2019? A 2020 Planner! Yuk it up, folks! We’re here all week! I would bet more folks learned about the Ten Plagues of Egypt than during any Catechism Class on record. Seriously, I’m just glad there have been no floods to go with this (at least, so far). Too many people were underserved during that horror of last year. Some are still homeless.

All ten of these awful plagues would more seriously impact our lives than staying home would. Blood in the water? Horrid. Frogs? I cannot imagine. Maybe they’d eat the Japanese beetles this year that have destroyed our Linden tree leaves the past two years. Shows the impact of nature. Lice or Gnats? Yecchhhh! Death of Livestock? I tear up when I see the cattle freezing in the Western part of Nebraska during the blizzards of the plains. So sad. Boils? Have you ever had one? I had one on my thumb as a kid. Had to soak it in Epsom salts. I think that was the old school cure for everything. Finally went away. Hail? We’ve had horrible hailstorms in Nebraska the past ten years or so. We replaced siding on our old house twice. Total damages were at least $17K each time. That’s not counting roof, cars, and other things. They’re expensive.

Locusts? I’ve been misinformed all my life. Cicadas are what I’ve been told were locusts. Lies, I tell you! But Cicadas are what make that awesome sound on a hot summer evening. Or afternoon. There is a hornet called a Cicada killer. They’re super ugly and lethal. To Cicadas. Darkness. A permanent eclipse would be weird. Anyone who’s ever gone to Alaska or even in Canada are weirded out by the short nights. Your internal clock would be confused for sure. The last is the worst thing I can imagine. Death of all firstborn children. We will not address that, it is the most horrible fate to put on someone. God made His point.

Love this one. Appropriate for my 50th Class Reunion this summer!

Confession: It was a goal for me last week to layer and pin three or four small quilts for quilting. I failed totally on that one. I could beat myself up, but I won’t. It’ll get done. I’m looking at this week. We’ll visit that topic again later in the week.

A goal for today is to get as far as I can in correcting punctuation, spellings, reducing overused words, etc., in my novel. I had a great start yesterday, hit the wrong key and had to escape. All 250 corrections I made were wiped out. Do over starts today, when I’m finished with this. I think making those corrections in the entire manuscript will help me expand some places and tighten up others. It’s all a learning process. This appears to be the best plan as of this moment.

And how do you take it when you realize something wasn’t a good way to go, or a good choice? Not a major life thing, but say in a project, artwork or otherwise? If no one is around, I take it well. I think. Well, maybe not. I’m usually glad no one knows. In my personal life, my worst mistakes have been because I was lonely. Think about it. My worst mistakes in writing, art, quilting, etc., are due to lack of experience. Lack of knowledge. Personal mistakes can be from lack of knowledge or experience too. One thing I’m working on is to learn to be silent if someone is telling me about my writing. I have read it’s not meant to be a conversation. It’s a report, a monologue if you will, with their feedback on your story or work. You cannot defend what and how you wrote or drew or painted. You need to be open to suggestion. You also have to learn to not take things personally. I need to do that. Deep inside, I know I have something to offer. If someone’s take on it is “you’re terrible.” I can simply thank them for their input and move on. Right?

The worst thing I could do is figure Pro Writing Aid can make all my corrections for me and I don’t need to proofread it again. Baloney! There have been many times it tells me I’ve mixed up a word for another when I haven’t . The things I’m learning along the way are really eye opening about our language, the meaning of words, and how important they are. Kind of like writing a song. I probably couldn’t do the music part but I could do lyrics, I believe. It’d take some learning, but it would be an awesome experience. I can read music, but it’s been a very long time. Bucket list!

Our class has a member, Anna Merola, who was originally from Italy. I did not know that until we were reunited through Facebook. She was such a nice girl, fun, intelligent, and someone I’d love to see again. Through the pandemic, we’ve shared reports, along with other classmates, and her best advice through this whole thing has been to stay home. She has and I know it’s been hard. She’s a widow and misses her children, grandchildren, like the rest of us. It has been a good thing about this pandemic is getting to know her again. We’re sorry she cannot make the trip to the U.S.A. from Italy in June as she planned. Maybe another time, Anna. Stay safe and healthy. Caio, baby!

Easier to do later in life than when we’re younger. Why?

With my 50th Class Reunion this year, it’s opened my brain to do a lot of thinking. If anyone may have been as self conscious as I was during those years from 9th grade to 12th grade and beyond, it’s easier to understand the saying above. I was a horrible mess. It was my lack of confidence. My inability to speak up. My lack of asking questions. My lack of setting boundaries. My learning what rights I have as a member of the human race. No early teenage kid knows this stuff. Do they? Did you? From the sidelines where the wallflowers and I were, it seemed the kids in Debate and Drama and Chorus had no issues with confidence. After all, they could speak, sing, and act in front of hundreds of people. And the Honor Roll kids were so smart, they oozed intelligence. They were headed somewhere. The athletes and cheerleaders, everyone wanted to be them. I did. They had perfect lives we all envied.

I couldn’t do any of that. I couldn’t draw well, even though I took mostly Art classes for electives. I was best at Lettering and Layout. I wanted to take Drafting, but wasn’t allowed to because there were no other girls. Coach Ponsiego was ok with it. Sister Peter Julian put the kibosh on my registering. She was my advisor for that year, and said, “Absolutely NOT. You have no business there as shy as you are.” Maybe it would have gotten me out of my shell sooner. Fifteen years sooner. As much as I hated Home Ec, I did learn to love making clothing, decorating, costumes, and now quilting. The art training didn’t go to waste, although I need to take drawing and painting again. I will. After my book is published. I have always loved to write. I wanted to, be a reporter, but didn’t know how to start. College? My parents couldn’t afford it, and I only earned $1.25 and hour, I think.

I’m off to work more on my book, “These Walls DO Talk.” (Working title.) I’m thankful for your visit today. I hope you return tomorrow, and we’ll chat some more. I appreciate you so much! Take care. I hope you have a fabulous day!