Saturday Fun Times!

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

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

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

Late getting started, but the front is looking better.

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

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

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

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

Lots of Potential

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

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

Mobile Monday

A Sunny Day or Six Would be Great!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taco Tuesday?

I have been working on reading my manuscript alongside a former copy with 3K more words. The mystery deepens, I’m up to Chapter 26 and haven’t found it yet. I think there were more paragraphs I moved from their places to the end of the pages so I could use it later if necessary. I’m glad there weren’t a lot of paragraphs that needed to be placed anywhere. At least, this is my working theory of the issue and it’s solution. Hope it’s that simple in the end.

It is an overcast day and chilly. May shouldn’t be so chilly, we keep wanting to go to the nursery but haven’t yet. I think there will be plenty of plants, I’d just really like to get something planted and watch it grow. In the peace of the quarantine social distancing. From the patio. And others from the deck. I’m envisioning warmer weather and pleasant afternoons, without rain, gale-force winds, and Japanese Beetles.

For the first time in quite a few years, we don’t have any graduates. How about you? We had one wedding postponed and two others will be in held during the summer, depending on which way the social distancing goes. I understand the disappointment the graduates feel. I cannot imagine the disappointment brides and grooms feel after all the planning they’ve done.

When I graduated from high school, because of our modular scheduling and other advances Sister Pacis introduced to the Archbishop Ryan Memorial High School, we had a lot of things that weren’t as we thought they would be.

For the first time, we had no yearbook. Normally, the yearbooks were hard covered, had the usual photos and copies of all our Ryan EYE (school newspaper) published during the school year. At the last minute, there was a small, paperback edition for a yearbook. Disappointing at best. We also weren’t called “Seniors.” The class distinctions were done away with. Some of my class graduated six months early, as they had their requirements met. I could have, but had no plans for after graduation, so I just hung out for another semester. I tutored a couple “Under Classmen” and spent my spare time in the Library, and Art Room Lab. Didn’t skip classes, I didn’t drive or carpool. I would have had to walk several blocks to get the bus if I wanted to leave. So much for sneaking out!

For my first three years, my homeroom was on the second floor. Traditionally, the Junior and Senior classes had homerooms on the first floor. I was so looking forward to not having to walk up both flights of stairs. I was the only one of my group of friends that had to go to the top floor (AGAIN). I was not happy. Yes, it seems silly now, but nothing seemed to be turning out as I dreamed my senior year would be. We had a ceremony, my parents couldn’t find me in the line or on the stage. We were arranged by height, all the girls seemed to have long, straight hair and tortoise shell glasses. (We did).

We thought we were on top of the world, despite the changes and things we lost. I’m sure the kids who missed graduations, the last quarter of classroom work, and saying goodbye to everyone will be fine, too. We don’t get a choice about these things. We have to be ok. If we’re not, we might miss the next best thing that’s coming down the line for us. That would put us a day late and a dollar short for the rest of our lives. We can’t let that happen. Mourn the loss (because it IS a loss). And get ready for the next great adventure of your life. C’mon. You’re just starting out. Keep going on adventures. Keep reaching for the next star. Don’t ever stop. You will soon forget about the things that didn’t happen.

Thank you for reading today, and for your support. I greatly appreciate it. Hope you have a good evening and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow. Stay safe, hydrate, wash those hands, wear your mask, and socially distance to stay safe. See you tomorrow!

Twofer-Tuesday

Hold onto your hats outside today in Eastern Nebraska! Wowzers, is it windy. When it’s like this all day long, I tend to stay inside. Asthma doesn’t like windy spring days. Or winter days. Hazard of the condition. What’s on your list for the day? The Babe is mowing again. The grass has greened nicely even in the back yard where the dogs do their thing. It amazes me every year. Each day, things come more alive. I love spring. Sometimes it’s my favorite season. The thought of the earth coming alive again is such a gift. Do kids still plant beans in a styrofoam or clear plastic cup to watch it sprout? We loved doing that as kids. Always a fun thing for science class. But in today’s world, do they use styrofoam or plastic? Probably not. Shoot! What can they use that’s environmentally safe/friendly/etc., that you can see through?

Our little patio garden is in the planning stages. I hope we’ll get to plant sometime right after Mother’s Day. The only things that survived the winter were some random Asiatic Lilies and a few Columbine plants. I love Columbine, they’re so delicate looking and so easy to care for. And they multiply like crazy! I’ll post a pic of the little fence maybe tomorrow.

We had fresh banana bread yesterday and it was so good. It’s been awhile since I baked it, so that made it extra special. The flour supply is a little low in the cupboard, so I need to remember to buy some next trip out. Is it in short supply or is that only on the coasts? That’s a good reason to live in the midwest, we don’t have some of the problems with supply they have further away. Trends are slow to reach us as far as fashion, music, and current movies but who cares about that stuff? We have ground-breaking research and teaching hospitals. We have so many kind people. Farmers are made of tough stuff, and so is the urban population. We’re generations closer to people who had to work very hard (physically) for a living. Yes, we have gang issues, homelessness, illnesses, and other less than desirable things. We also are first to pitch in and help each other. I love that about our people.

Right now, it’s a perfect time for a little nap. Hope you’re all staying well, busy, and happy if you’re at home or working. Keep distancing and washing those hands! We’re nowhere near done with being cautious. Thank you for reading this abbreviated blog today, and I hope to see you again tomorrow. I’ll be here, hoping that wind calms down. Be safe!

Wise Wednesday

It’s a nice day in Gretna, Nebraska. It is sunny, with a few fluffy clouds here and there. Normally, this would be a fantastic, beautiful day. I cannot say that since the wind is pre-Hurricane force. And in Nebraska, that’s damned windy! Late yesterday, I tried to sit out on the patio, and with that wind, I was cold! I got an afghan off the pile that my wonderful mother-in-law Liz Raabe made for Dan over the years. She made so many for so many people. She’s been gone six years now, I think, and we miss her a lot. She always had a happy attitude. Sure, she had days, we all do. She always was happy to see everybody, and no matter what, made you feel as if you were the most important person on the planet when she talked with you. Liz, thank you for raising such a wonderful man. The Babe has your big heart. We’re lucky to have each other.

I’m feeling a little bit “off” today. It might be we ate take out tacos from a place near home. I’m not used to eating anything that’s fried, especially for the last month or so. My innards feel all twisted up. So, lots of tea today, probably a lot of resting.

The Babe is making a little fence to keep Miss Goldie out of my flower bed by the patio. He hopes to finish it today. I am so impressed by how he cuts here and there, mixes a little instant concrete up, and voila! A fenceline. He is awesome. Glad he’s getting back to his shed. He had it built when we moved here, as a place to keep everything and work where he won’t get the mess in the house. A Man Cave/Cabin/Shed, whatever! As a shed warming gift, our friend(s) Lenny (and Kris) gave him his very own radio/CD Player. He plays the radio, mostly. After his adventures with ischemic heart disease the last two years (stroke, endarterectomy, wound vac, etc.) he’s been a little adrift trying to get back into living again. He’s finally there!

It feels good to complete a project, whatever it is. I’ve decided since I’m doing a hedgehog themed picture for our newest grandson Cody, he really needs to have a quilt to go with it. I sent a cow painting (like from Hobby Lobby) for Kayla’s room, and found the fun paper pieced cow quilt as the finishing touch. It was so fun to make, and every day when I stopped for the day, I just sat and laughed at how funny the cow was. Had the perfect piece of fabric in my stash for the back, too. It was a furry cowhide.

What are you reading today?
Where are you going today?
What kind of story are you part of now?

I’m reading several different things, some for research, some for pleasure, some to make me laugh, some to learn, some to see how other authors do it. Goodreads App probably wants to give up on me. I have about 15 books going at once. Some, I’ve lost interest in, some were too sad at the time I was reading them (like any book where the dog dies. I’m a mess when that happens), and one I thought was written by a man who hated women (his descriptions were archaic, almost chauvinistic).

I have only abandoned four books in the past ten years. One was, “Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl,” (Really a SteamPunk type of world, sent it to my daughter,) “Wouldn’t It Be Nice: My Own Story” by Brian Wilson, (It was so sad about his mental illness and the mis-treatment he went through, a lot of this was repetitive), “I am Malala,” (Story of her fight is incredible, but over half of it was repetitive and very politically slanted,) and “Miriam’s Healing,” (I gave it away before we moved).

I adore this little mouse in the picture above. Some of my most favorite books are children’s books. I have a ton of them from Addison and Gavin. I think they’ll come in handy for Kayla and Cody. Kayla loves to read, I’m so glad! Her Mama and Daddy read to her all the time. She’ll probably be pretty smart, as they both are, too. Hope we can go visit when this pandemic is over. Really over.

If you have ever wanted to read something funny yet truly happened, pick up a Bill Bryson book. He wrote the book which the movie, “A Walk in the Woods,” was based on. The movie starred Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. Nolte was perfect for this part. He should have had an Oscar nomination for it. Redford is always good, no matter what. He wanted Paul Newman to be in the movie (instead of Nolte), but Newman told him he knew he couldn’t handle the terrain of the Appalachian Trails, where the movie takes place. That would have been the BEST! Nolte was fantastic, nonetheless.

The first half of the book was the movie. The second half of the book caused me to howl out loud because the writing was that good at describing things. Another Bryson book I loved was “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.” It’s available on Amazon. Bryson grew up in Des Moines, Iowa. Anyone who grew up in the 50s or 60s will relate to all of this story. It’s a beauty, read it, you’ll be amazed at how good it makes you feel.

We can all use this as our motto, our daily goal, our mantra.

I’m grateful for your time today. I’m going back to work on my chapters from yesterday. I’ve split up one long one, moved another one away from where it was, and am seeing there may be a huge critical point that could see resolution, far away from where this journey started a year ago. Yes, I started to write the book a year ago. It doesn’t resemble its former self, but that’s a good thing. I believe it has more appeal to more people, more ages, and certain groups of readers. It’s kinda cool when the author isn’t sure of where they will end up in their own story. The process leads you there. I’m amazed at how it works. I hope to see you tomorrow. Come on back!

Marveling It’s Monday!

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

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

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

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

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

Goldie, the Office Manager

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

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

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

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

Lexie is in charge of Security!

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

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

Humppp Daaayyy!

It is now nearly 4:30 CDT in the afternoon. I started this blog this morning. Then the Internet Provider crashed everything. For the whole day! It was quite a day for being disconnected. I finished my preview copy of my book for the Book Coach I’m working with. But I couldn’t e-mail it for her. I’m not certain Google Docs even saved the proper words to “the Cloud.” The Internet was wonky all day!

What in the world did we do before all this technology took over? We enjoyed our families and our space. Whatever our space is, we made it ours and enjoyed it. If you were a fifteen year old kid, you had posters on your walls, your own music, and did homework while you waited for dinner to be ready. Your seventeen year old sister may have been talking on the phone to another friend, but it didn’t last all night. You met as a family at dinner and talked. Maybe not a lot. But you noticed your parents at least acted interested in what went on in your world. They probably didn’t share much about their own troubles. You weren’t meant to be their friends, you were their children. Adults didn’t put their burdens on you.

Be a Survivor, Not a Victim.

This afternoon, after the Babe finished weed-eating and mowing the “field” (We have a big yard) we sat on the patio and talked. I couldn’t do this work, he needed to just relax. He said, “This is retirement. Isn’t it great?” Absolutely. The Babe has taught me, who was always organized, the Fine Art of Procrastination. Some days I think I was too good and eager a student, but now the world doesn’t end if I don’t meet a self-imposed deadline. It doesn’t, and I’m not as stressed as I used to be about them. Thanks, Babe!

I had a great writing session this morning, tying up loose ends in my first eight chapters that will go to the book coach I’m working with. I’m taking the night off and going to re-read it all in the morning. The Internet was down as I finished writing, so who knows what was saved at the last minute to the cloud for Google Doc? I was a clerk/secretary for too many years to let it go out in the world without proof reading it one more time. So that’s tops on the list for tomorrow.

It may sound strange, but as I’ve added extra characters to my heroine Katie’s family, I really want to see one brother make a 180 degree turn about in his life. Could be the optimist in me, but I’m thinking he’s going to want to have a family life with his siblings before he dies. He has miles to go before they can trust him again, and it could happen. It may not, but it could. We’ll see where the rest of the rewrite takes us. I’ll keep you posted.

I’m ready to sign off here, sorry to be so late today. Below is a screenshot from Facebook, mentioning an event that was cancelled due to Coronavirus. My friend Jimmy Weber was nominated for an award, the Babe and I are watching to see if perhaps he wins. No one is more deserving. Good luck, Jimmy!

Tune In, Folks! Hopefully, we’ll see our friend Jimmy Weber win in the category he was nominated!

As always, thank you for reading. I appreciate your time and will see you tomorrow. Unless the Babe uses one of my measuring cups for baking to measure out his Weed Kill concoction. Then he’ll be the Carol Baskin of Gretna! Stay tuned all of you Tiger King fans. Hope to see you tomorrow!