Thankful Thursday

My writing staff and I are having a meeting of the minds this morning. Goldie (front) and Lexie (back) got the Babe up at 4 a.m. again. He was kind and let me sleep until 8 a.m. What a great guy. Typically he wakes up earlier than I do, but also goes to sleep much earlier too. It all evens out, I suppose. While the Babe is off again on VFW business, I’m here, creating with the animals.

My creative staff and I are meeting this morning.

Goldie is six months old already, and nearly the size of Lexie. Being a purebreed, she has more outstanding features than a pound puppy, but that doesn’t mean she’s superior. No, not at all. You can tell the difference, however. She is a very smart dog, and needs stimulation. They all do. Kind of like people, really. All ages of living beings need outward stimulation for a balanced life.

Last night at the VFW, we had a reunion of sorts. A good friend moved away a couple years ago after losing his wife, and came to visit for the first time since then. Although we’ve kept in touch via Facebook and texting, this was the first time we had seen him. It was a beautiful reunion. I am so overwhelmed by the men of the Post and the hugs, slaps on the back, the closely held conversations of a few words that say so much, and the checking to make sure they have current phone numbers to contact later on. This is what a band of brothers is. Each of them welcomed him with open arms. They truly love and care for each other. You have to when you depended on each other for your lives. Camaraderie is a beautiful thing to be a part of. If you can witness it as I did last night, you are truly lucky. This is why our Armed Services helps make this the greatest nation in the world. These everyday men from all walks of life, came together as youngsters to do a job they were called upon to do. They did. They are all better for having performed their duties.

Some guys made the service a career, some did not. They all remember their duty, although don’t talk about it a lot, if at all. It’s better kept in their hearts. They show such kindness towards the older guys, and it is returned a hundred fold. Yes, there are disagreements. Yes, there are differences of opinions. There is one thing that holds them tightly together. America and their love for it. Money could never buy this if it were a commodity. You can measure it, however, since all have taken an oath to serve to the death. And they still would if asked. It’s an honor to know them and call them my friends.

I’m glad to have from today until next Tuesday morning to myself (and the Babe), to regroup and plan how the next couple weeks will go. Mom needs some additional therapy for her back, and I’m all for that, so it will be more appointments twice a week. They add up, but should help build her up to have a more enjoyable time in her flower gardens this spring and summer. Right now, the plan is to rejoin the balance and strength training in September through next winter to keep her as strong as possible. Every older person needs extra conditioning to keep living a good independent life.

This is a sunny, bright, beautiful day today. It is cold, we know it’s still winter, and it won’t last too much longer. It’s a great day to create something. I’m going to try my hand at some more water coloring for the 30 Day Art Challenge. I also need to cut more fabric squares for my Snowfall quilt. And I need to write more on the novel. The words have been coming out at a good pace the last several days, so I need to capitalize on that. Thank you for reading today. I will be here again tomorrow, and hope to see you then!

Wonderful Wednesday

Today is a special day for the world. It is Rick Tiger’s birthday. I want to wish him a happy day and hope for many more for him. Rick is a storyteller/singer/songwriter, and the Babe and I met him a few years ago.  He has written many beautiful songs. Check out his catalog of songs, and you’ll likely find something you like that he wrote. Today in my studio, we’re being serenaded by Rick. I love being able to create my own playlists. Google Rick and you’ll see his many accomplishments. It’s a great story. Here is a link to his website. http://www.ricktiger.com

It’s also a special day because they have nominated a very special friend of ours to the Rocky Mountain Country Music Awards, Jimmy Weber, as Musician of the Year.  Wow! No one works harder than Jimmy to achieve what he has. I’m delighted for him, hope he wins. Find more info on
Jimmy go to: http://www.jimmywebercountry.com

Back in time, both Rick and Jimmy, these creative people have been where I am. Just starting out. They are two of the many people who inspire me to create, who I listen to when they have talked about their dreams and encouraged all of us to just to out and follow ours. Good stuff! If anyone enjoys my writing as much as I enjoy their music, it will thrill me to death. Until then, I’ll be here in my studio, working on my dream. Just like they did. Dan and I love both of you guys!

Meanwhile, back at the Raabe Ranch, I am studying the second part of Pinterest training. An online group is offering guidance as the Nebraska Writer’s Guild did on posting in Pinterest. I’m amazed by the numbers provided for how long a shelf life advertising has on Pinterest. About 8,760 days. 24 years. WOW! Let that sink in. So I believe I’d better learn this pronto!

I also had a call yesterday from Constant Contact, an organization that works with WordPress helping collect email addresses. It is something I’m looking at. I realize full well Mail Chimp does that for free or darned near. It’s all about finding out about choices and how to spend my time well. The Constant Contact call was from expressing interest, not a cold call. I like that. I also like he could quote a lot of my blog posts. I know, he’s a salesman. At least they took the time to read some of what I wrote. More looking at options to come.

YES. Yes. yes. Some folks believe retirement is the time to do nothing. Absolutely nothing. I’ve always had hobbies. Mostly of the “girly” kind; sewing (garment construction, quilting, and decorating), embroidery, crocheting. I’ve created many, many gifts for people and clothed myself, even sewing business suits for me. It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot. Mom told me the other day my maternal great grandmother worked at Clarkson Hospital. Her job was sewing the nurse’s uniforms. Hats, dresses, cloaks, all of it. Mom said, “You come by your outstanding sewing skills naturally.” That made me happy to make that connection with Great Grandma Riss. Mom is not sure whatever happened to Grandpa Riss, no one said. So many disappearances back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. So many questions that will never have answers. So glad to have those hobbies.

And in February, I’m joining others in the private Facebook group in a 30 day creative challenge. I will focus on a creation every day that I will either draw, write (maybe poetry), or photograph. There are prompts given, and it’ll be another great experience. The last time I did this artistic challenge, I overloaded myself with too many things. I did not finish the month and I was exhausted. Note to self: hard as it is to accept, you’re not in your 20s anymore. Or 30s. Or 40s. Or 50s. I refuse to go further until it’s time to! I have a few good years left!

I’ll let you know when I successfully pin some real Nebraska authors’ books to a board on my Kathy Raabe, Author Pinterest page. Until then, thank you for reading along today. I will be here again tomorrow, and I’d love to see you here! Stay warm, be careful out there!

Suburban Saturday

Maybe Gretna, Nebraska isn’t considered a suburb, since it is it’s own little town. We don’t associate closely with Omaha, or Papillion and LaVista, so I suppose I should have titled this Small Town Saturday. The gist of it is, I’m snug at home, working on a quilt that has a darling scene on it. After it’s gifted, I will make sure to post the finished project. It’s a labor of love. Tomorrow, if time permits, I will begin quilting it.

I simply love to create things. Whether it’s with words or fabrics and thread, I love the whole process. My parents instilled in all of us a great imagination. Some of that, I believe, is from reading. Reading in and of itself helps create things in your imagination, your mind. Whenever I read a book as a child, I usually pictured scenes in my head. The characters were real people. Sometimes, the people resembled the characters in television shows or movies we saw. It was my brain, making something concrete out of something in my imagination, that happened to come from a book. Maybe that is why I still love fiction to this day. To think next year, I will see my name on the spine of a book I wrote is a thrill beyond belief. It won’t be without hard work. My goal is to get the process of writing so ingrained in me that it will be similar to doing a large quilting project, or a remodeling project. I’ve done lots of those over the years. When I was a single mom, it’s how my sons learned to use power tools, and make things. I had learned from watching my dad, and was able to teach them some basics, and with the help of shop class (before schools did away with it).

While I was working on my project today, it occurs to me to be mindful of those who dread the thought of Christmas. There are many, many people who are alone this year. I have been in that position, and it is hard. Yes, I had my children, but it was not the same as having an adult man to be in a relationship with. God blessed me with the Babe, and he even asked me to marry him on Christmas Eve, 1997. I couldn’t make that up. It was wonderful.

Some folks aren’t happy with their lives for one reason or another. Other folks need to make major changes in their lives to have a chance at staying alive until this time next year. Obesity, Alcoholism, Smoking, are all conditions people have control over. Their lives are dependent on it. All around us are people who are not secure in their lives and situations. Jobs can be unstable. Homelessness abounds. Children are cold and hungry. Women (and men) can be afraid of their partners. Abuse, both physical and verbal, is so rampant in life today, we cannot continue to turn a blind eye to situations in front of us. Find a way to become involved to help people who cannot escape these situations on their own.

My brothers have worked out with a cousin to surprise my mom tomorrow afternoon. You’ll see it here, I think we may render the old girl speechless, which is quite a task. Good job, brothers! Can’t wait to share it with you all.

Keep your spirits up this next week. If the holidays are hard for you, take heart. They are hard for me, too. I’ll tell that story later. It’s another one you cannot make up. I like to think of soldiers who are away from home, and hope they know how we appreciate their sacrifices. It’s tough on a family to be separated at times of family celebrations. We are such a great country because of our soldiers, who have kept us free all these years. Thank you all for your service.

First responders, nurses, doctors, workers in nursing homes, hospital workers, anyone in the service industries, know we are grateful for what you do. These are usually thankless jobs. Make sure to thank those who perform these duties.

Thank you for reading today. Let’s meet again tomorrow, and you can hear about our surprise for our 90 year old mother. I’ll be here, I really hope you are.

Snowy Sunday

It looks beautiful outside. It’s snowing, and who knows for how much? I thought we were on the edge of the snow line, but maybe we weren’t. We have the Cookie Exchange this afternoon, along with the soup supper, so I hope we all make it there and back.

Gavin was such fun last night. We watched a couple of Christmas movies and ate pizza. He is so easy to please. This morning, we re-watched the Grinch. When he got his clothes out of his bag to get dressed, he said, “And I didn’t even take my electronics out of my bag.” No, he did not. Between the dogs, Grandpa, and the movies, he was entertained enough.

Goldie is really loving the snow. She runs and plays and rolls over when she takes a corner too fast. It’s pretty sweet. Lexie prefers to go out, do her business, then hurry back in. Kind of like me. I could stay home a lot of times when the Babe wants to go somewhere. I’d rather snuggle by the fire, watch a good movie or read a book. Time goes by pretty quickly then.

This could be a busy week again, between doctor appointments, meeting up with friends, and working on a last minute special project, so I plan on just reading a book in between posting the blog for today and leaving for the Cookie Exchange. It’s fun to watch how the kids decorate their sugar cookies and carefully select which special one to enter the contest with. A good time is always had by all.

I really am looking forward to digging into my book again and assessing how to improve it along with the suggestions from my editor. This is the real stuff author’s do, and wow, do I ever appreciate their work, it’s hard to go from thinking you wrote something ready to publish and realize you really can’t publish it very soon. Humility is good for the soul. And the writers ego.

The good thing about doing re-work, is you really do get a chance to tell the story in the best way possible. Adding some points of view from other characters, for instance, will help you tell a more complete story. It also helps to define and refine the characters. Something I hadn’t considered by simply telling from a narrator’s point of view. A reader probably would lose interest in that. If you’re the praying kind, say a few for me over the next few months. It may take that long.

It has come to my attention this is about the 106th post I’ve written. That’s getting up there! I’m glad to share a little every day with all of you, and really happy you stop to read when you get the time.

Whatever you may be doing today, stay warm and safe. If you’re where it’s sunny and hot, then have a cold one for me. Thank you for reading today. I’ll be here again tomorrow, and I hope you are, too.

Nativity and Angels with a few Santas. It’s all good

Magnificent Monday!

The sun is shining despite some gale force winds and a flurry of snow this morning. I’m so glad I can stay in today, finishing my decorating (maybe) unless I start looking at storage boxes in our basement and rediscover fun stuff. I think Addison remembers a lot from years ago, but maybe not. Surprises are fun.

Talking about surprises, I moved a box of CD’s and saw this one on top. Playing it now. This was such a good one! So, with the help of Eric Clapton, I’m going to get a lot done today, providing the dogs are good and my achy, breaky body holds up.

Eric Clapton. One of the best.

A lot of this music is almost reverent. I believe it was Clapton’s tenth album solo, in 1986. The song, “Holy Mother,” just tears at my heart. A relative was in the throes of several addictions and this song always made me think of him trying to fight his demons. He struggled a very long time. He is over twenty-six years sober. He has a lot to be proud of, but he is modest about it. He has come so far, and I’m so proud of him.

Holy Mother

written by Clapton/Bishop

Holy Mother, where are you?

Tonight I feel broken in two.

I’ve seen the stars fall from the sky.

Holy Mother, can’t keep from crying.

O I need your help this time,

Get me through this lonely night.

Tell me please, which way to turn

To find myself again.

Holy Mother, hear my prayer,

Somehow, I know you’re still there.

Send me please some peace of mind

Take away this pain.

I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait any longer,

I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait for you.

Holy Mother, hear my cry,

I’ve cursed your name a thousand times.

I’ve felt the anger running through my soul;

All I need is a hand to hold.

Oh I feel the end is come,

No longer my legs will run,

You know I would rather be

In your arms tonight.

When my hands no longer play,

My voice is still, I fade away.

Holy Mother, then I’ll be

Lying in, safe within your arms.

This song helps me heal, it helps me accept things I don’t want to accept. I look at it as a prayer. What do you think?? Is that possible?? I believe it is. Here are a couple of links to YouTube, so you can listen to the song. The first is Clapton alone, the second is Clapton and Pavarotti. Like most good, beautiful music, it can be sung a variety of ways.

Love this guy. His guitar playing is stellar!
Same song, different setting.

Much of what we hear in the backgrounds of our lives can help make our mood. It may depend on the genre of music, some writers can only write while instruments play in their background. I can listen to rock and roll, complete with words, and it peps me up considerably. Jazz in the background makes me get through some really mundane tasks. I have not tried writing to it, but I think it will be the same experience. I can really sew to music. It’s amazing how the repetition helps you with the words, too.

Much of what I listen to, my kids listened to at home. On Sunday mornings, we had our own “Jazz Brunch” and listened to a local radio station who played Jazz from 9 am to NOON on Sundays. It was a great time, we read the paper, ate, talked, and cleaned up the kitchen. Good times!

Thank you for joining me today. If you are out, stay warm, and be kind. Your day will go much better. I hope to see you tomorrow!

Super Saturday??

Well, folks, you have stuck with me on this journey for thirty whole days. I have written nearly every day, letting you know what I’m doing and how I was getting ready to write the 50K words in those thirty days. Thank you for doing that.

This is my last day for writing, and I have another 4K words to write today, so I can declare myself a winner. I will finish those 50K words. It’s an accomplishment that boggles the mind.

I am so looking forward to having my life back, so to speak. I have a project I’m completing for a friend that is a Christmas themed item, so I’ll hit that hard next week. I’m going to put up out new Christmas tree, and see how that cheers the household up. The Babe and I have so much to continue giving thanks for, now that his health is improving so much.

I also have a friend whom I haven’t seen forever. We are going to go to a movie or lunch, we both need to get out and away from our houses. There is a luncheon I’m driving my mom to this week, and she has some errands no doubt. Next Friday night, we have tickets to go see Yesterday and Today at our Omaha Community Playhouse. It is a show starring three brothers, who sing the Beatles songs like you cannot believe. They are incredible entertainers and musicians. They do an interactive show, taking written requests before the show, and reading the requests, saying hi to the person who requested the song, and then doing the song. Previously, the second half of the show was all pre-planned, all mapped out and rehearsed, the same every time. They decided to challenge themselves this year, and go to all request. And they will draw the requests live. That will be a neat twist.

I have one package to mail for Christmas, for our youngest granddaughter, Kayla, in Colorado. Her parents do not want her photo on the Internet, including my blog and Facebook accounts, so I can only tell you she is an adorable twenty-one month old. She will be two years old on Pi Day, March 14 this little cutie made her appearance in 2018. We do not see her nearly enough.

I’m dying to buy her some clothes, but her mommy tells me that have no room in their house for storing things, and she prefers to buy clothes. A gift card to Carter’s will be her gift, along with a little musical plush animal that plays Christmas music. Toddlers love those things. And Grandma’s always can give the grandkids noisy toys because it’s the Grandma’s job.

My Grandma Bobell was a real jokester. One year, since there were several little boys within two years of the same age, she bought them all a gun that shot projectiles and made a horrible noise. She giggled as she looked at her daughters and said, “I thought the boys would have fun.” In return, she got the look from each of her four daughters, that indicated they were less than pleased. So, Steve and Tim, Mark and Rick, Joey, and Bobby, all were thrilled to death. I don’t know how long such toys lasted, but they were to play with only when my dad, who was a night worker and day sleeper, was not at home.

I would not do that to any of the grandkids parents, I promise! The rest of today, I’m going to hit my 50K word goal, before midnight tonight. I had an inspiration about a topic this morning, which I think should give me a lot to write about. Goals, reaching them, and being accountable to yourself for something. It’s all just about good living. And living to do good in the world.

So, up until midnight tonight, you may enter to win the $50 Visa Gift Card I’m giving away in celebration of making my NaNoWriMo goal. I just wanted to share something with one of you to thank you for staying with me through this past month. I’ve never done the challenge before, and it’s been fun. You may enter a total of twice a day, for each day I posted a blog, which was 30 days. You can have up to sixty chances to win. Do a little speed reading, like the blogpost, leave a comment, and you’re in!!

Thank you for reading today and every day. I will see you all tomorrow. And remember, at NOON, I will draw and post who the winner of the gift card is. And the Babe will be glad I’m done with that much daily writing. I haven’t told him yet how much fun the next steps sound. Have a beautiful Saturday.

Black Friday??

Can you touch your toes after all that great food yesterday?? Can you still see them?? The best part about Thanksgiving is the leftover turkey in a sandwich. My dad liked his with my mom’s homemade cranberry relish. It was made with ground cranberries, and ground pieces of an orange, and sugar. It was a cold relish and was really good. I didn’t have a grinder to use, but you can chop the cranberries in a blender, filled to the top with water. Just drain the chopped cranberries in a colander, add sugar to taste, and you have a simple way to make something that tastes like it was complicated. I love the stuff.

How do you reheat leftovers?? You know, microwaves are truly incredible machines. They did not exist in my childhood. Or into my adulthood. You had to warm things up on the stove or in the oven. And had to be careful not to dry everything out so badly you could not identify it. Some things, like rolls and bread, are awful heated in the microwave. Trust me, it’s awful. Mashed potatoes are heavenly reheated in a microwave. I’m convinced the inventor of the microwave was a guy who loved mashed potatoes and wanted a decent way to reheat them. Give that man a hand!

Who is shopping today?? I am not, I assure you. Crowds do not entice me. I have some 8,000 words to write and finish up before Saturday at midnight. I sure hope to be able to tell you I accomplished the goal of 50,000 words. I want to be able to wear the t-shirt declaring me a winner. I hear there are some prizes from NaNoWriMo for we who finish the challenge. I confess I did not do well writing last evening after the festivities of the day. My old, aching back decided it would not work anymore last evening, so we spent the evening in the recliner with the heating pad and my TENS unit.

There is still time to enter my drawing for NaNoWriMo, and to enter again! You can have two entries for each like on the blog you like, and make a comment. Two entries a day. There are thirty days times two chances each. You can really go back and submit on previous ones back to November 1, 2019. Sixty chances to win! Read the previous blogs while you wait in line to check out with your purchases today!!

Drawing is December 1, 2019, NOON. I will announce the winner on the blog that day, and on my Facebook page. If I do not hear from the person drawn by the next morning, I’ll draw a new name. I’d love to draw your name and mail you a $50 Visa Gift Card. Enter!

Our dinner yesterday was perfect. We are so blessed to have the kids and grandkids we have. Gavin is seven, and he just git his first pair of grown up man kind of shoes. Black dress shoes look great on any gentleman, and Gavin is proud to be dressing up. He is such a blessing in our life. He has such a beautiful heart, and if he loves you, you know it. Addison is at the age where she would rather be with her friends, or in her room. Good kids are a blessing.

Dan has two children, I have three. We laugh and say it’s a good thing we didn’t meet when they we were younger. That would have been quite a herd of kids. Our boys are forty-eight, forty-six, and forty-four, and the girls are forty-two and forty. Their birthdays are in the months of October, August, November, October, and January. It would have been quite a household even if they were only all together on weekends. As it is, they were almost all off on their own when we met. It’s just about impossible to get them all together for an event, vacation, or just a meal. Three of them live in different states, so it’s complicated.

If you go out shopping in the Midwest today, please be careful. We have some wet, icky weather. It will take longer to get to where you are going. Your family would rather have you, healthy and happy, than some great deal for a gift and have you maimed or worse.

Thank you for reading today, I greatly appreciate it. We will see you again tomorrow, and just be safe today!