Fluffy, Flaky Friday

I’m keeping a watch out the windows for the snow predicted this morning. I enjoy a pretty snow, with little traffic impact. Goldie had a blast running in it last winter. I think she’ll be just as happy this year, too. I think it’s in the breed. Labs are smart, beautiful, and so happy.

I’m trying to teach her to be patient and wait until I can take a break from writing to play fetch. She isn’t too happy right now, but she went to the living room for a nap. The rope toy is at my feet. Good girl!

She likes the Christmas tree so far. It’s only half put together, I just ran out of energy yesterday. The top pieces go on today, and it’s pre-lit, so it complete half of the work. I hope to finish decorating and stowing everything by late tomorrow, then just relaxing on Sunday. The best laid plains of mice and men, right?

If you live where it snows, do you appreciate the beauty of it? Seriously, we often complain. Do we view it as a nuisance or with childlike wonder? It’s all in the attitude. I remember joining the guys I worked with during their “perilous journey to work” stories. I had three stops to make every day before going to work, since each child went to a different school. It was quite a ride.

Snowstorms are never a perilous as they once were, and that’s kind of too bad. From what I understand, the coveted “Snow Days” will no longer exist in this age of remote learning. We rarely had school called off, but my kids often did. They were great at shoveling the driveway out for me, and that was so nice. They shoveled, then played. Bless their hearts.

Photo by Flo Dahm on Pexels.com

No, our snow won’t look this beautiful, but it will be pretty enough. It’s all in the attitude. Everything is. Although you can mouth the words over and over, sometimes it takes a while before it penetrates your soul. Being human, we resist learning certain things that would make our lives easier. We’d rather hold our grudges until they sink us than let loose of them. Why? They have taught us that way. They can be our parents, teachers, friends, trusted adults. It doesn’t always have to be that way.

Seeking revenge is another area we make more difficult than it needs to be. Revenge is not ours to have. It’s spiteful and probably damages the host as much as the object. Let Go. Give it to God. Lighten your own load for things like love, peace, harmony, brotherhood and forgiveness.

“What?”

You heard me. Love, peace, harmony, brotherhood, and forgiveness. Forgiveness is hard. Yet your load lightens when you forgive. And just because you forgive doesn’t mean you forget. Resentment keeps you in the past where things decay and die. Is that where you want to dwell? I didn’t think so. I know several people who court their resentment grandly. You’d think it was an actual living thing. Well, it is, as long as they keep it alive and destructive in their heart, their life, and their mind. They become permanently stuck, bogged down and unable to move. How unhappy their lives are and how heavy the burden became.

Photo by Dariusz Grosa on Pexels.com

At one time in my own life, I was very unhappy and rarely smiled, except with my children. A new neighbor moved in next door before my first husband left and she commented to me after he moved out, “You are finally smiling. You never did when he was still here. You know, that means it was the right thing to do.” I couldn’t believe it. I thought I hid the unhappiness. Guess again. I learned a lot from that statement.

It’s snowing! Goldie just alerted me it’s time to go outside. I’ll be finishing the tree today and hope to have photos tomorrow. Have a beautiful day today. Forgive someone, you’ll feel better. I’m working on that one, too. Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Thoughtful. Spread love, not the pandemic. Take care. I’ll see you again tomorrow.

Fun Friday

Did some errands earlier today, and we just had lunch. The knees are still bad right now. We’ve had a busy week helping with getting Addison to and/or from school, taking Mom to get her hair done, and my other appointments as necessary. This is a very busy time of year. Sad to say, in three weeks or more, Christmas will be over. For the next three weeks, some of us need to get started with cheerful, grateful attitudes. It becomes a habit after three weeks, and will be easier to summon when we need it.

We received the best mail today! Billy McGuigan recorded a solo album during quarantine. What else is a musician to do when in quarantine? He wrote and recorded everything. By himself. It should be great. I’m going to wait until tomorrow to give it a listen while I’m writing in the morning. It should be great. I know it’s old school, but I do like CD’s.

This weekend I’m gathering and wrapping all the little gifts for our grandkids in Colorado. I’d like to mail them by next Wednesday. Should make it. I also want to decorate, too. I have nice decorations for our new tree, and it’ll be nice to have it up again. We don’t exchange gifts among any adults in the family. It’s all part of preparing for the holiday. Preparing your heart is important, too. Stories abound of generosity and goodwill during the season, yet, as soon as it’s over, people, being human, go back to selfishness and stinginess. So sad. Let’s try not to do that anymore. Let’s all try to be wonderful humans.

We had a new Keto meal tonight. The Babe found it online and suggested we try it. Ground beef, broccoli, cream cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, and bake it. It was tasty and there is enough for another meal. Those are the best dinners to cook. After a month, we’ve both lost about fifteen pounds. It’s strange, though, it shows much more in how our clothes fit. That is the real test. It’s a process. We didn’t gain it all in a day, we won’t lose it in a month, either.

It’s a brief blog, tonight. It will be longer tomorrow, it’s time to say good night. Proof I write much better in the mornings. I’ll see you then. Thank you for reading. Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Thoughtful. Take care.

Photo by Hert Niks on Pexels.com

Friday on My Plate

It’s midafternoon on Friday, October 23. My oldest’s birthday was Tuesday, and we met for breakfast at Village Inn. I couldn’t tell you the last time we saw each other. He has crazy work days and since he’s in the restaurant business; he likes to relax when there is a rare day off. He works a second job cleaning the restaurant daily, so whether he cooks a shift or two, he is still up super early to clean. He has no responsibility other than himself, and he is a very hard worker. Always has been.

It became a standing joke between us what kind of card I bought him year after year. One year, I really goofed! I bought the same wordy, mushy card I bought the year before. Color me embarrassed! Plus, the mushy ones are long and – well, mushy. So this time I bought a funny one. It was a hit. He’s a good man, and I’m always happy when I’ve been around him. He just gets life. He is always happy, and contented, and doesn’t bother anyone. We reminisced about some stuff and laughed about many things. It was good. I walk away feeling like I did something right. What a great feeling for a parent.

It is a cold, windy day here at the home office in Gretna, Nebraska. Supposed to snow Sunday. I hope it does, Colorado desperately needs moisture. They predict a moderate snowfall to fall over the weekend. The edge of a fire is five and a half miles from my daughter’s house in Fort Collins. She sent the photo of their street yesterday afternoon. It was just like you see on the news. Orange, smoky sky. I pray she, her husband, and their babies and dog are alright. We appreciate prayers.

Rocky Mountain National Park is being pummelled by fire. A friend who lives in Scottsbluff posted on Facebook yesterday a call went out to anyone owning a horse trailer and truck, requesting they come immediately to help move some horses. The poor creatures! I also see photos of Elk herds, all gathering close to lakes in Estes. My heart hurts knowing this. It’s our favorite place to vacation and explore.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Babe removed all outdoor furniture from the deck and patio this morning. Our empty turquoise planters are on either side of the garage door now, waiting for me to create some Christmas decoration to put in them. I need some zip ties and wire, probably, to hold them together and sink the wire deep into the flowerpots, so nothing blows away. First time they do, we’re done with decorating.

The kids and I used to have a lovely tradition of lighting the house up through the Christmas season. They would put up everything during the day on Thanksgiving while I prepared our feast. It was a great deal of fun. We would have dinner between four and five, then gather outside in the street (we lived on a dead end so no, we weren’t in traffic!), and Frankie would throw the switch and Voila! It was magnificent, each year better than the last. They could go on the roof, play with electricity, and have fun being the men of the household, planning the display and working together to accomplish something good. I miss those times, too.

I am going to do a lot of computer work this weekend. I need to upload some things for the VFW Post website and get more active for both Instagram and TWITTER accounts, both for the Post and my personal author one. I also need to reorganize my workspace. I spent the whole Zoom session with Sam without my printed copies of what we were talking about. Right after our conversation, I looked down and saw my open leather satchel, unzipped, with papers and yellow legal tablets sticking out of the top. My papers! I forgot to take them out after my writing session at Panera’s Tuesday, while waiting for Mom to get finished with her perm. It seems like it’s been a very long time since Tuesday. I need to just sit and read a book or two. It’ll happen again, this weekend.

Stay Safe, friends. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Careful out there. Hoping to see you again tomorrow. Thanks for reading today.

Friday Finale

This is how my day started. Bon Jovi was on GMA this morning. I’m quite a fan of his, even since the 80s during the hair band era. He is an extremely handsome man, even in his 50s. I admire two things about him, aside from his musical talent. He operates a restaurant in his hometown, and the meals are free. It is quite an operation, and he continues to work there many days. The other thing, he is still married to his high school sweetheart, marking 40 years this year. How unusual. I can’t imagine the early days were easy for her. But, nonetheless, they’re still a couple who love each other and their family very much.

This song came from a photograph his wife took of him washing dishes in the kitchen of the restaurant. She asked him to come up with a caption for it. He said, “When you can’t do what you do, you do what you can.” And that, boys and girls, is how this song, “Do What You Can,” was born. Some people can just take ordinary words and make them magical. I hope to be able to do that, for you and for myself.

Do What You Can – And Do It Today!

How inspiring. And there are lessons in the lyrics. We need to be loving each other much more than we are. We need to be kind, we need to do what we can especially now, to make the world a better place during this crazy time we’ve all bought into. No, I’m not talking about wearing masks, I do believe there is a virus out there that can kill us. We lost two gentlemen from the VFW Post, both in their 90s last week who died of COVID. One just wanted to go fishing, and he became ill. I’m glad the poor guy was able to go fishing. But who’d thought he would become ill then. Seems unfair to them.

What I’m talking about is the ugliness I read every day on Facebook. I swear George Stephanopoulos had a gleam in his eye as he talked about “order of succession” should Trump, in his advancing age, die, and Mike Pence die, and then Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker of the House, would be President. Wow. Have we really come to that? I’m just so tired of it all.

Sure, I could shut it down, stay away. I don’t want to. I’ve made some wonderful acquaintences from groups I belong to, such as Quilting and Writing. I won’t give those up. So I scroll further and further between posts these days. Let’s. Just. Stop.

From the clinic visit yesterday, I’m experiencing much more swelling just below the ear, into the jaw. I have no toothache, but man, it’s hurting. The doc said do what you can do for the discomfort until you either start to run a fever or something else comes up. OK, I’m hoping it’s not a toothache, abscess or something ugly like that. It about had me declaring a day to live in PJ’s and lounge. But, once I heard that great new song by Bon Jovi and the incredible Jennifer Nettles, I couldn’t let a day slip away. Music motivates me. Helps me look on the bright side.

I was smart, finishing all the laundry yesterday, and I’d like to finish my scenes/outlines today. That may free up part of the weekend for me. And that would be a good thing. Sunday, there is a Show & Shine Car Show at the Post, we look forward to going up for that. It’ll be fun.

And then, this will propel me into the rest of my day. This rendition of the old “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” by Bon Jovi saw performance at a Superbowl Half Time Show. It was the first time I heard Jennifer Nettles. I love her voice. She has such a strong, great voice. It’s quite a collaboration. If I could sing, I’d want a voice like that.

As I make way to writing some more scenes, I’d like to challenge you to think of how you could make a positive impact in the world. Learn how to do it in a small way. We don’t need to open free restaurants for the homeless or very low income folks, we can make a small donation to a food bank. We could collect things for charity. Pick out a charity like Moving Veterans Forward who gives everything to the Veterans they’re helping. And the recipients of the help have to work for it, too. It’s not a free ride.

A long time ago, a very smart person told me there’s nothing better for a teenage boy like being able to earn a few bucks and have his own money on his person as he walks down the street. Now, same would be true for females, too. And I saw that. If you’re financially stable, even if it’s just a first paycheck, you walk differently. You talk differently. You have some confidence in yourself. That’s what MVF helps these people achieve. And that’s definitely worth our time.

Comment below and let me know what you’re doing. Help each other. Call an elderly neighbor. Say hi to people you encounter. Let’s all start making this a more positive world. We need it. Thanks for reading, I hope to see you again tomorrow. Let’s do this!

Bicycles and Books

Yesterday, I had a great session with Sam Tyler, my Book Coach. The hardest thing about writing is it’s been so long since I had formal training about writing, much less about writing fiction. And then, deciding what kind of fiction. I’m trying to learn how to dig deep, deep into feeling to write about a young woman and her changes in life. The changes were choices to get her to a place she’d never been before: acceptance, self-love, confidence, and peace. She knew it existed, and it was a struggle to break through and arrive there. My coach is teaching/reminding me of the formal aspects of writing, and overseeing my demonstration of what I’ve learned.

The kind of books I like to read? Cop stories, mysteries, long forgotten stories about little children during the depression, stories so far away from feelings and healings it’s not funny. Well, I never did want to do things the easy way, according to my mom. Yes, I prefered to find my own way, not the easy way. My job for the next couple weeks is to keep writing new stuff and dig deep. Harder than it sounds.

The Babe and I are getting things cleaned up and placed back in our living area after the new flooring and fireplace facing. It looks so nice, we’re planning on enjoying it a lot this winter. We love the gas fireplace and spend a lot of time there. The dogs love to lay facing away from it, with their butts right near the glass and sleep the day away. They know how to enjoy life, you know?

Yep, I’m learning to make this a fine art.

Thanks to my fellow author Rhonda M. Hall for the meme above. This woman bikes all over the place, all over trails over hills and flats, every day. Bikers are devoted people. No, not the Harley riding, leather wearing, tattooed, club members. The bicycle crowd. They are an industrious lot. A few years ago, when I lived at the top of a hill, I bought a bike and cycled the Keystone Trail just after it opened. I could do the trail to and from, but to get up that hill at the end never was even a remote possibility. Ever. Couldn’t ride anymore after my giant back surgery in 1995, so gave it up. Great exercise, though. I have a stationary recumbent bike I need to do every day. Always new goals to add, aren’t there? I will if you will. You go today, and I’ll go tomorrow.

Part of writing includes reading. You’d think not. One thing I’ve learned, is the more you read in your genre, the better you are able to write in your genre. I didn’t know that before. I figured, reading was reading, writing was writing. Nope, not at all. I have a book Sam suggested I briefly review on Amazon (the first 10 pages are free, often). I liked what I was reading an ordered the book. It’s called, “As Waters Gone By,” by Cynthia Ruchti. It’s a beautifully written book, full of great examples. I’ll be trying to read during quiet moments this weekend.

Bicycles and books, reminds me of the Summer Reading Club at the Omaha Public Library. When we were old enough, we would ride our bikes to the South Branch and go inside to check out books. We would take a long time to peruse the shelves for what was available. Every summer we raced to finish the ten books first. We never did. A girl from my class had rheumatic fever, and couldn’t run and play outside. She always first or in the top ten. We were forced outside every day, every morning. Dad was a night worker, so we had to be quiet, inside and outside. No a/c. I always felt bad for him.

So many books, so little time! Addison commented to me on the way home from school yesterday, “Grandma, I don’t know how you can read so much.” I told her it was my way to have fun. I do believe if you don’t instill reading in kids when they’re young, they will find some other way to entertain themselves. My folks both read a lot. Magazines, books, everything. Not the Enquirer, though. That doesn’t qualify, in my opinion.

Right now, just outside my window, there are probably ten Painted Lady Butterflies on my Butterfly Bush. It’s so pretty. I tend to gaze at them a lot. I’m glad to have not only a window in my studio/office, but a beautiful view, too. I chose this bush and wanted it outside my window. Good choice, it’s lovely.

Hope you find a good book to curl up with and just relax this weekend. I’m on a mission to get out house back in order, then the book is getting my attention. Oh, and I have a new grandpup to meet sometime, too. Can’t wait to see how excited the kids are with Josie. Hope to introduce Lexie and Roxie to her later on, too. Stay safe out there, distance, do the mask, wash the hands, be kind, thoughtful, courteous, and patient. We all need people to do the same for us. Thanks for reading. And I’ll see you tomorrow, right here.

Friday Fun

Hello from the home office in Gretna, where the magic happens. This is a day to finish up things for the work week and think of something wonderful to do over the next two days you have off the job, and refresh for next week. It’s a whole new game for us retired folks. Since school has started, though, we need to begin picking up our granddaughter after school on certain days so we can get her home with Gavin. So far, so good, on the school days. I hope they continue. The masks are required, and I think these two are old enough to understand it’s a must if they want to keep in school. I think they missed it a great deal. Our grandson in Virginia will be remote learning until at least November, then it will be reevaluated. Cross your fingers, pray, and wear your mask, people!

New Stacked Stone on Fireplace. Well Worth It!

Isn’t the new fireplace nice? It’s amazing how changing to stone from ceramic tiles made such a difference. Yes, there is a board standing there until everything dries, it’s not part of the new look. I love that the trades (hopefully) will see a revival. We will always need someone to do this type of work. Electricians, plumbers, concrete finishers, block and brick layers are all desperately needed as are auto mechanics. It’s a shame the mantra of the 1980s, “You can make more money sitting down than you do standing up.” Yes, tech jobs do pay tremendously well. I had one myself. The salary depended on your skills and abilities, not your sex. And now, it suddenly occurs to the educators and others that we need schooling in those areas. Not a surprise, really.

One place I wouldn’t want to work is the United States Post Office. My former husband retired from there over ten years ago. It was a good job, being a letter carrier. He had an old walking route while I was still married to him, and he did a good job. Back in those days, you had to sort your own mail, and bundle it according to your stops. The carriers seemed to know when someone moved, or if you had a wrong apartment number on a letter, they had sense to see that and still deliver the letter instead of returning it. That doesn’t happen now.

Since the Babe and I got married in 1998, we have received weird mail, it’s as if companies made up more people at our address by using our last name in conjunction with my three kids’ first names. Seriously. Frank Raabe is one. No one by that name. Still, we get one every so often. Those mailing list companies make so many assumptions when they’re eager to sell off names and addresses. And we received one for Rebecca Raabe. Nice name, but we have no one by that name either. Sheesh!

This expresses my studio and craft rooms perfectly

There are days when I get irritated at myself for the creative clutter I have. Not enough (yet) to go through each and every item for each and every hobby or interest, but I get irked nonetheless. Sorting and culling the herd will be a winter project. No, it’s not hoarding, but my daughter and sons have commented there are more boxes of stuff to make stuff than of clothes, kitchenware, and decor. See if I’ll have them help us move again! Lol. No, it’s to the assisted living place next move. I mean it.

Speaking of moving, I think Mom holds the world’s record on living in the same house for the longest. She and Dad married in 1948, had an apartment, then moved into the house in which she still lives in 1949. Seventy-one years living in one house. Wow. She was 20 when they moved in. Just think on that. So, in her life, she only lived at three places: growing up, brief apartment living, and our home. At first they rented three rooms upstairs to a couple from Offutt. There was an actual second kitchen upstairs, one room living room, one room bedroom, and they shared the bathroom. Seventy one years in one house has to be a record.

Can you imagine sharing a bathroom with another family? Even when I got married in 1970, furnished apartments were very common. Kitchen, living room, bedroom furniture came with your rent. Good and bad. Someone else’s old lumpy mattress? Often it was like the one we left at home. People didn’t spend what they didn’t have. The hygiene patrol would probably have a heyday with this.

My studio/office/craft room, it’s where the magic happens!

Hope you have a beautiful rest of the day. Take time to appreciate your surroundings. Appreciate yourself, too. I’m off to do laundry and quilt. That Poppy masterpiece may be finished yet. Thanks for reading today. I appreciate the time you spend with me. See you again tomorrow. Be safe. Wear your mask, wash up. Let’s just do what we need to do and get through this. It’s the quickest way to make our own way into the future. Don’t live in fear. Be confident we are only temporarily inconvenienced by wearing masks. It won’t be forever. Use civility. Use compassion. Use kindness.