Toned Down Tuesday

Mom reported back to Balance and Strength Class today. She was glad to get back to it. She needed a boost today, was out of sorts, but felt better after the class was over. Then she felt like doing more than just going home. Hobby Lobby, there we went!

It serves as an outing and an indoor walk, so she was happy but tired by the time we were finished. I feel badly for older folks. Will I have anyone to get me out when I’m 90? Gosh, I hope so. I am sure I’ll need help, everyone does. Maybe it’ll be grandkids, or stepdaughter, or my son who lives in town. I’m certainly not worried or concerned about it, but hope I’m still a vital human by that time.

The painters finished up today. There’s something fresh and new about new colors and a clean start. Kind of early spring cleaning. now to get new accessories. Artwork, maybe an art quilt, stuff, and more stuff. This is the fun part. Photos to follow.

No writing today, but lots of thoughts about the book. I’m creating dialogue to tell parts of the story, as this is supposed to be more readable and relatable. It makes the whole story different. Hope to hit it again earlier tomorrow, in between an appointment for the Babe and just putzing around the house. I found another couple of books at Hobby Lobby today, Calligraphic Drawing, and Creative Lettering Companion. I’m all about books at bargain prices, and these were discounted deeply.

I also started reading a new book, River People, by Margaret Lukas. She is a fellow Nebraska Writers Guild member. The story is set in Nebraska in the late 1890s. It should be a great read, if you’d like to learn more about it, it is available on Amazon.

This week is the big holiday that was invented by the Romans to celebrate love. There are all sorts of definitions and origins if you Google Valentine’s Day, and you can believe what you’d like. While I was still single, I was amazed at the vast number of women who received (delivered) bouquets of roses at work. When the vases were delivered, other women would ask, “From your husband?” The answer was a mixture of sarcasm and bitchiness, “He knows better than to forget.” Wow. Is that the way to show love, expect it as a show to other women? I love to receive flowers. These days, if I see a pretty bouquet at the store, I’ll buy it. The babe and I both can enjoy the blooms, and it’s a good pick me up for the house during gloomy days.

It’s been a couple of long days here at Raabe Ranch. Even the dogs are extra tired. It should get back to normal in a day or two here. Just glad to have a head start on spring sprucing up and all the wonder that goes with it. I would bet we get a snowstorm or two before spring really arrives, but it won’t last too long. Famous last words, right? Thank you for reading today, I hope to see you again tomorrow.

Another Sunday in the Suburbs

It’s almost noon in Gretna, NE. We’ve had a full morning, and are getting ready for the crew we hired to come paint tomorrow. When we first moved in three years ago, the Babe painted the living room, kitchen, two small bedrooms we use for studio/office space, and our bathroom. ReBath made a tiny ugly shower into a beautiful thing. It’s all handicap ready for when the time comes, if it does. The lady that built the house had it constructed that way. Mostly all door handles instead of doorknobs. Wonderful for us arthritics! The one door with a knob is leading to the deck, and I struggle with it. But it’s a good test of what you’ve got or not.

So builders grade paint is nothing but a dirt magnet. We had the kitchen and living room share a color called “Mimosa” on a couple walls. The others are neutral. My studio/office is my favorite color – Yellow. It’s happy, bright, and makes me think of sunshine. The Babe’s office is a smoky purple, grey in nature. We brought the paint from the old house, didn’t get the guest room painted before we sold, and we liked the color. The guest level is professionally finished by Thrasher, I believe. It’s nice. The colors are very neutral and clean.

Our colors are getting a bit crazy, but who cares? We’ll have a Caribbean Blue bedroom, with a darker accent wall. The laundry room will be neutral, one accent wall grey in the living room, and the extra bathroom will be a delightful Grape color. It should be fun, and I’ll be glad when we get the carpets cleaned. We’ll be ready for spring. And for the puppy to be spayed. She’ll be six months old on Valentine’s Day. What a gift! A brown eyed yellow lab! Love her to pieces.

Character cards. Opening scene card.

Thanks to Sam, my wonderful editor, I have moved the whole story around. The family home is the scene, and Katie is my main character. An only girl in a family of boys. Seven of them! Wow, I can relate, but I only have three brothers. Some days, that was way too many. She is the dependable one, and most of the brothers are afflicted by the disease of the family – alcoholism. It’s not just a matter of drinking too much. It’s a mindset of excesses, blame, secrets, lies, and abusive behavior. Katie has broken free from the curse. She recounts how lonely that has been, but is glad she learned these lessons, and had a sixth sense about the whole lifestyle. Nothing was ever made better by having a beer/glass of wine/shot/highball or whatever. Nothing was ever made better by “needing” a drink. Society has fed the dragon, and only now can Katie see how she has been blessed.

This family is a conglomoration of many I have known, observed, and read about through the years. People end up in some terrible situations because of their vices. I know I have. I have made my worst relationship mistakes because I was lonely. That is the God’s honest truth. Parts of Katie are me, other parts are not. For the record, I consume alcohol. It has never controlled my life. I don’t need it. I won’t drink if I’m upset, need to make a coherent decision, have someone depending on me. I can have fun and not get in “fights” if I drink. All in all, not a big deal.

As I forward to my manuscript, wish me luck, creative thoughts, excellent spelling, perfect words, and good concentration. It’s just a matter of getting it done. And you’ll be the second to know when I do. I really appreciate your reading, your support, and you always come back to see what will happen next. I do too, because I don’t know either! See you tomorrow.

Sunny Saturday

When you live in the midwest, anytime the temperature is above twenty, it’s not windy, and the sun is out, it’s like a fine summer day upon us. People are nice to each other, the stores are a little less crowded, the grocery stores are pretty much sold down in inventory. Maybe they are planning cook outs? I’m not sure, but the shelves were oddly vacant today.

We just don’t eat at home a lot, so our “grocery list” is probably like a snack supply trip. Bagels and peanut butter for breakfast, with a yogurt, coffee, and we usually eat a late lunch/dinner out. The rest is lettuce for salad, cottage cheese for me, apples, carrots, and crackers and cheese for a snack. I used to fully stock the refrigerator for dinner every night, but we just ended up throwing so much away, it was not good. I think if you eat a balanced diet, the rest will take care of itself. We both could lose several pounds, so I don’t think we’re in danger of malnutrition. I’m just not that hungry anymore. For anything. It might be an aging thing??

I’d rather have lighter fare than restaurant luncheon items. Burger and fries? Maybe once a week, no more often. Tacos? Maybe once a week. I would eat a small steak and salad, or pork chops and a potato. Baked potatoes are great, especially loaded. I like sweet potatoes baked with a dash of sugar and cinnanom. delicious. I’ve never seen the thing about smoothies. To me, it’s just mushing everything up, and sometimes there is so much sugar added. I like the purity of raw fruits and like to eat them as such. Veggies the same way. The closest to natural the better.

We have a birthday in the family on Monday. Addison will be thirteen. She was born on her Grandma Sandy’s birthday, which was really cool when it happened. Sandy lost a hard battle to lung cancer ten years ago. It was such a sad thing and we all think of her often. Sometimes I wonder what she would think of these wonderful grandkids of hers. I know she would love them to pieces. All three of them. All we can do is love the kids and tell them about their other Grandma. As long as we keep her alive in our conversations, she will live on.

It hasn’t been a good day for writing. When I start out late, it seems I cannot get things on paper. Tomorrow will be another day. I’m just going to review my printed pages and figure out where to tell stories about my additional characters. It should work. Instead of my main character just thinking the story, I’m going to have the characters talk the story. Descriptions, narrative, and lots of colorful characters should do it.

I thank you for reading today. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope to see you, too.

Finitely Friday

There are only twenty-four hours in this highly touted day of the week. When you are working for a living, you cannot wait for it to arrive. What do you do once it’s there? Maybe we put too much into this one day a week, why should all it’s siblings have a lesser fan club? Especially Monday. What happens when you are retired? You have six Saturdays and a Sunday. Those days are not that different, one from another, and it is difficult for new retirees to keep track of what day it is.

When I was moved into early “retirement” in 2000 due to my health, I was kind of a mess. I was only forty-eight years old and was a newleywed. It just didn’t seem like something I should be doing. It was hard. My body let me down and I was a bit angry about that fact. As one of my brothers’ said, “That’s what you get for taking care of yourself.” Well, maybe.

I have since recovered from the overwhelming feeling to explain my early departure from the working world. When I told my doctor I couldn’t do it anymore, he said, “I’m surprised you made it this long.” What? And the rub is it’s one of those things a person cannot identify on sight. That may be what made it so hard. That and my age. And the fact after keeping it together through being a single mom, college student, friend, sister, you name it, that it finally was my turn. Bitterness could have easily taken over.

I met the Babe right after that horrible illness, and he was more than ok with me having a hidden illness. His mother battled MS for most of her adult life and he was well aware of people who lost their health. From watching his interactions with her over the years, I came to know what type of compassionate caregiver he is. And he is. Like most men, he’s a better caregiver than patient, but that’s another story. Initially I felt I kept him from doing things, but he said no, he’d rather be hanging out with me. And it turns out we’re perfect for each other. Sure, we get frustrated. We’re human. But in the long run, neither of us will give up or quit on the other. And that’s a quality I”m glad we both have.

Each day we have is the same twenty-four hour period on the clock, calendar, and moment in time. I had a boss who would take Monday off instead of Friday for a long weekend. His thinking was everyone takes Friday, Monday can be less crowded and just as special. Just a little change in thought, and powerful things can happen. Try it. You might like it. It could change the way you view your world, life, and creativity.

In the creative realm, for those who create things from other materials, you need to strike while the iron is hot. While the ideas are flowing, get them down, cut the fabrics, paint the pictures, write the words. And then coax them to become their best. I cannot say, “Friday is not a good day for creating, come back Monday,” because the idea most likely will be lost forever. Write down a note to spark the memory when you are able to capture the idea more fully. After a while, it won’t matter where or when you get those ideas. You will be able to make a note then coax it back into a more full statement. Practice. We all have enough time for that.

Don’t wish your life away. Make the most of each twenty-four hour trip around the sun. Give thanks for each day no matter how bad it can be. Tomorrow could be worse, but chances are, it won’t be. Some days the best thing you can say about it is, “It’s over now.” Do-overs. How lucky we are to have one every day. We may look back and decide these days weren’t so bad after all. All the Thursdays, Tuesdays, and Sunday nights have the capacity to be awesome. Just like we do. Every day people. Doing extraordinary things. Every day of the week.

Thank you for reading today. I’m grateful you did. I’ll be back tomorrow, and hope you will be, too. See you then. I’m off to work on my second chapter in the novel re-write. Go figure!

Wonderful Wednesday in Nebraska

Yes, it can be a wonderful Wednesday in Nebraska – or Arizona, or South Dakota, or Tuesday, Thursday, you get it. It’s all in our attitude if it’s wonderful or not. Look at it this way. It’s lightly snowing this morning. It’s pretty outside. It’s sending moisture to my very dry flower bed areas that are covered by cold stones. It’s preparing the soil and flowers that will come back to grow and bloom in the spring. Preparation. The Creation Plan of God, although I dispute the 7-days-and-He-was-done theory, is so immense, interdependent, and all encompassing, it makes me feel very small, like a speck of dirt in the universe.

Could you imagine a writer or artist having a plan similar to God’s plan of Creation for a book or work of art? It would take far longer than seven days to complete. The characters! And I thought MY family was quirky! Er, unique. That’s it, unique, one-of-a kind, that’s it. Yes. Ahem. Or the colors and shapes in a work of art that contained the story? Wow. You may have guessed by my unconventional capitalizations that I was raised Catholic. Creation, He, all those things were capitalized when I was a kid. In my mind and heart, they still are. While I question a lot of the point blank teachings we were force fed, I still have the respect for the faith of my father, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles. Faith is very important for the Irish, and for all of us. Mom was a “convert.” All that meant was that Dad and Mom could not have been married unless she agreed to raise all her children Catholic. Regardless. It’s really kind of sad, when you think of it. Lots of people were coerced into that kind of promise, not knowing what lay ahead. I will not venture into any topics like Church cover ups of abuse or anything like that. What I will talk about is the treatment of women as the lesser creation of God, that we are not equal. No, we are not. In many ways, we are superior to men. With all due respect, in many ways they are superior to us as well.

My point is we equal each other out. That is the whole idea. What one cannot do, the other does. We all have different talents, abilities, and gifts. If we use them like we could and should, it all balances out. I believe it. So does the Babe. That’s how we make it work. That’s how we can be friends after nearly twenty two years of being married. And twenty four years together. Wow. Back in 1996, we were hoping for a good fifteen or twenty years, based on his coronary artery disease. God gave us the miracle of great doctors and health care who have taken good care of the Babe’s health. It could be better, but he’s still here.

In these years, I’d have never guessed we would have had his issues, Agent Orange illnesses, my cancer, his stroke, my disability, losing his sweet Mom and sister-in-law Pat, my sister-in-law Laura, and so on and so forth. It’s a give and take, we take care of each other and thank God we can do this. We have worked hard, and are humbled by what we have. We are fortunate. Through the work of the VFW and our church, we help others. We must share, but not give it all away. That isn’t fair to anyone.

A long time ago, my mom was mad at Dad for not handing over cash to me to help when I was a single mom with three kids. He had it, sure. But he wanted me to be self sufficient. And I learned. Only one time did I have to borrow and I paid him back. It was $200 for my daughter’s braces. I paid him back. The cancelled check is in my sewing cabinet drawer. It’s there to remind me of what I learned from him, and it’s the only memory I have of his beautiful, cursive handwritten signature. Thanks, Dad. I know you would have loved these grandkids in their 40s and Dan. His kids would amaze you, too. But then, you know all about these happenings in our lives.

Let’s keep looking ahead to our futures, be mindful from where we all came, and know we cannot live there. What is alive is ahead, not behind. Spring will come. All in God’s time. Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. As always, I’ll be here tomorrow. Time to go take Mom to get her hair cut. Blessings!

Tenuous Tuesday

I’m amazed the results are not in for the Caucus in Iowa. I never knew what that was until several years ago when my eldest son, Frankie, went there to get autographs from Bill Clinton, Hillary, and several others. He watched the process and told me what went on. I just can’t help but wonder how in the world we rely on hand counting people, who can move from one section of the room to the other, and be counted several times if someone from another group can persuade them to come to their side and be counted. Is there a minimum number of people participating? It seems the groups we saw on the news were only older people, I mean my age and older, and some impressionable high school kids.

Don’t get me wrong. I was an impressionable high school kid once. And the first time I voted for president was in 1972. I voted for Nixon, because he ended Vietnam and my husband came home early. I suppose there are worse reasons to vote for someone. But ever since then, I’ve been disallusioned by the process. And the lack of good candidates. And by how you can lie instead of telling the truth. And now, social media can really sway people who do not do their own fact checking.

I was an independent for the majority of my life, neither wanting to be Republican or Democrat. I am probably a liberal conservative now. I have grown to ask how things will be paid for before I think it’s a good idea. Being a Computer Systems Analyst and Coder for a number of years has brought out the information gathering in me. Getting all the information is important.

I voted for Al Gore in 2000, because I didn’t think a former baseball team owner could be president. I was wrong. I came to respect George W Bush for his leadership after 9/11. I actually became a Republican. It has caused some rifts in my family, but I cannot stop other people’s feelings. We have to respect people for who they are in their hearts, not for their political party. As an American citizen, an aging American woman, I feel our country has the best hope being led by someone with business experience. I have felt that for a very long time, if government were run like a business, there would be more attention paid to financial details, and less to hand shake deals, good old boy buddy systems. I believe as a nation we need to all examine our moral fiber and go back to thinking of God, family, faith, nation. What does that make me? Someone who believes in America, what it stands for, and that life is primarily good. People are primarily good. The world is a beautiful place. The grandmothers of the world can help teach our children the world will be as good as they help make it. We have to respect each other, authority, disagree respectfully, and work very hard for change that is good for all of us. There is no free lunch anywhere. Not even at Grandma’s house.

There will be those who refuse to read my work because of this revelation. Sorry you feel that way. It certainly isn’t my intent. My intent is to tell you I care about the shape of the nation and the world. And as the politicians, who left Iowa without any results, ran off to New Hampshire to troll for more votes, different caucus, same rhetoric, I’m still here. You left us in a lurch. We Grandma’s have a lot of influence, character, intelligence, and moxie. All the while we had no rights, we really ran the base of the nation. The family. Our unit of responsibility. We raised the children who bore the children who rose to greatness. Whatever party they were. Those who had good moral character, made their decisions after much consideration. I shudder to think it matters more now what party the person is representing than their character. That is not what Dr. King had in mind, or in his heart. We must come back to finding our similarities, not our differences. Come back together. With respect.

Thank you for reading today, it was a tough one to write. I try to stay middle of the road, but gee, sometimes you just can’t. Come back tomorrow, and we’ll look at some writing stuff again. See you then!

Super Monday Stuff

Good evening! Again, the day got away from me. It was a busy one, with another doctor visit with Mom. She wanted IHOP after that. She’s delighted they added individual Hazelnut Flavor Coffee Mates. We also hit the Half Off Book Store to look for used books. She found a whole basket full, so I hope her LED lights help her read to pass time. She really wears out quickly. I guess when you’re 90, it goes with the territory.

My brother took her last Christmas tree down yesterday, and put it all away. She told me I have to forbid her to buy any more ornaments next year. I laughed and asked, “Have you MET yourself??” She laughed, too. Makes me wonder how she’ll be next year, if she’s even still here with us. Can’t look too far ahead, just enjoy today.

I found some fun self taught Calligraphy, Watercolor, and Lettering kits today. Although they’re for kids, I thought what I really wanted was a little instruction and basic tools to practice and play with. I think they’ll all work well enough for that. I hope to try them later tonight or tomorrow early afternoon. It’s house cleaning day. I’m so grateful to have people who come clean our home for a reasonable price and do a great job. They’re trustworthy and are hard working. We found them when we had a professional cleaning before selling our other house. It was a great job, and the Babe decided I should get to keep them. It helps me so much with my messed up back to be able to delegate this big task.

I can be a young artist, can’t I??

After an absolutely beautiful day yesterday, it’s about thirty degrees cooler today. It is still winter, after all. Whatever snow falls from not until April 15 tends to not be here so long. When it does begin to thaw, I pray the rivers and creeks stay within their banks, we have people who are still homless after the floods of 2019. Those folks who did recover should not have to bear that duress again. It’s too much on a human heart to handle. Prayers for all of them.

I saw this cartoon last week and just thought how funny it way. I remember getting immersed in certain parts of learning history and science. I loved the study of Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Rome. And science, I loved astronomy. Learning about the solar system, it was so cool. And as kids, the race in space was paramount in out lives. Catholic nuns said we had to beat the Russians so they couldn’t send missles to destroy us from up there. As if Cuba wasn’t close enough! Thank goodness we all lived to talk about it all.

This is how some kids are about their learning.

Do you ever eat a type of food that really reminds you of someone or something from a long time ago? Today, being at IHOP, we had pancakes. When we were kids, my mom’s father would stop and have lunch with us on Friday. Since Catholics abstained from meat then, we would have meatless meals all day. Mom made pancakes for lunch with Grandpa. Every Friday, and we did that for a long time. When I was twelve, he had a massive heart attack and died on Christmas Eve. It was horrible. I remember the phone calls, the upset, the sadness. And after that I didn’t like pancakes anymore for a very long time. They are wonderful, but I just couldn’t eat them. Grief does strange things to us that we sometimes don’t understand. It took a long time, but I can finally enjoy the delicious, fluffy gifts from the kitchen.

I want to thank you for reading again today. I’m excited we’re gathering more readers, followers, and would love to have you share my blog with your friends who may be interested. I’ll return tomorrow, and share the works of art we create with all the fun stuff I acquired today. See you then!