Happy Birthday, Addison!

Today, thirteen years ago, the Babe and I became Grandparents. What a life altering experience! It’s been quite a ride, and I pray the next thirteen years is as memorable and filled with love. The day Addison was born, we made a trip up to Sioux Falls to attend a wedding shower. I was helping throw the shower for Dan’s niece, Michelle. We knew Tracy was experiencing something, but didn’t think anything would come of it. We arrived, set the tables up, and had to turn around and go home. We hoped to make it back in time, and figured we would. It was about three and a half hours to get there. Nothing was happening yet, she was in the L&D room, her mom Sandy and Aunt Sharon were there, along with Grandpa Randy and Grandma Peggy.

It so happened February 10 was also Grandma Sandy’s birthday. How fun to become a Grandma on your birthday! Sandy passed away ten years ago from lung cancer, but she enjoyed her grandkids so much in the short time she lived after they were born. Sandy and I became good friends, and talked a lot about her kids growing up. The Babe and I married when our kids were all adults, so I didn’t experience them growing up. Together we have five kids, and now four Grandkids.

It was a beautiful thing to hear Sandy and Dan talk about when they were expecting Blake all those years ago in Sioux Falls. They talked about how broke they were (we all were, back in the day), and the cradle the Babe made. He made two more, one for each of his grandkids. It was truly a labor of love. They were one couple who could get past the divorce stuff and be friends. I’m sure they took the long way around to get there, but it was a wonderful thing to see. We would all be very lucky to be in that mindset for our kids of divorce.

I waited until everyone else held Addison, and the room was packed with people. Grandma Sandy brought her over to me, and said, “You haven’t had your turn, yet.” She placed the little pink baby in my arms. The tears came for both of us, and it was a beautiful moment. I think of Sandy often when the kids do something funny or even naughty, and how we talked so much. And that moment I first held our girl.

“Being a teenager means you’re not a little kid anymore”- Addison, on turning thirteen.

Sandy was still working when Addison was born, and I was not. Luckily, I got to watch her when the sitter had something else to do, or later when she couldn’t go to daycare due to the sniffles. I had so much fun with her. I think we have a special bond, and it would be there even with all the other grandmas Addison has. Her family extends as far as she can see, and it’s awesome. When I made them all Christmas stockings, she asked if we could make one for her daddy’s sister’s baby. We did. She is generous, happy, knows her own mind, expresses herself in times of trouble, and isn’t afraid to tell the teacher(s) if someone is treating her or someone else badly. She just gets it. She’s always “in” to go for ice cream, too.

We have watched countless dance recitals, classes, demonstrations, and competitions. This girl loves to be on stage dancing a solo. It amazes us a kid can learn to do that. We didn’t have experience speaking in front of people until we became adults. Glad they teach kids that now. So when they’re not kids anymore, they’ll be comfortable dancing, giving a speech, directing their workforce, etc. Addison has a heart of gold, and I pray she always looks at life with the joy she does. She loves her family so much, and her cousins in Maryland and Minnesota.

Thanks for reading today. It’s my pleasure to see you here, where I’ll be tomorrow. Hope you are, too. Now, it’s back to the book rewrite. Have a blessed day.

Such a Sunday

On this day, in 1979, my beautiful daughter Rebecca made her appearance on earth. She was about a week late and I was so ready for her to be born. She is an ultrasound tech (I think that’s her title) in Colorado. She lives with her husband, Brian, and her baby girl, Kayla. She has been in Colorado since 2001. I am sure she will never return to Nebraska. She was a very independent child, and it should not surprise me that she is a very independent woman. That independence keeps her very busy and engaged in life, and I rarely get to see her. I hope that someday that changes. I had always made time for my kids if they were to come visit. I cancelled a quilting class with someone I really wanted to see to go visit when Kayla was six months old. It was easy to give up quilting with my idol to see my daughter. I do not see people going to this length to be with family most of the time. Life is just different than it used to be. We can change that if it fits our family. If not, Mom’s like me need to find other purpose in life. Mine is creating. Writing, quilting, and sewing.

We have been away from a television and news all day. It is a shame, Kobe Bryant dying with one of his daughters. He was a very talented basketball player, and I’m sure he has influenced many kids to play the game. I hope he could influence the same kids in making good life choices, in understanding hard work, dedication, keeping promises, work ethic, business ethics, and working towards a good moral character. These things leave a bigger legacy than being a star basketball player. Work on a legacy of good character and you will be great at other things.

Yes, we live in a fragile world. You never know which turn will be the one where your time is up. Make the most of every moment you have so you have no regrets. Too many people wait and end up sorry they did. Don’t. Make that phone call today. You won’t regret it.

Today was busy, too. The Babe and fellow VFW Post 2503 Honor Guard members had their photos taken. They are a group of the best guys. They are good to me when Dan is ill, and all have a concern for him out of camraderie and respect for his work as Quartermaster. I love to see them all look out for each other. They take me aside from time to time to make sure he’s ok. It’s heartwarming.

The weather will be kinder this week. I am spending time in my studio and making sure detail are fleshed out about my additional characters for the novel. Like anything else, once I dive in, it will all start to fall in place. Gotta start somewhere. Going to do a little reading tonight, catch up on the newspapers, the novel I’m reading. Cozy up and love your family.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. I’ll be here tomorrow and hope you will be too.

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!

And So It Begins . . .

This is officially a new year for us to spend however we may. We have an advantage this year, as there will be an extra day to give us 366 do-overs. What will you do with these 366 chances? The mind may be a little boggled with all this freedom to choose, with so many possibilities.

I belong to a group online called “I Create Daily.” I’ve been a member for about a year. It is a group of people who are creative in many different ways, some artists, some writers, some fiber artists, some photographers, who are united in finding more ways to push our creative selves to do all we can do. This takes a different mindset than just wandering through our lives, creating a little here, and a little there. We are reexamining how we spend our time, how we think, and how we can create better than we believe we can. LeAura Alderson and Devani Alderson are the leaders who ask the tough questions and encourage our answers. It helped me write the first draft of my novel last year. I wrote during a thirty day challenge, and learned new ways to encourage the words out of me.

Because of the group, I looked for any writing groups I could find. I found the Nebraska Writers Guild, and joined. There were two conferences I attended last year. The first one, I was surrounded by romance writers (I’m a fiction girl, or children’s books) and terminology I couldn’t decipher. It was a little tough to remain optimistic. I was also older than many people, and probably the same age as others. The second one, I was fortunate enough to meet a lot of women of all ages that clicked with me, and several I’ve kept in touch with. It is wonderful. We are learning about each other and encouraging each other to write, to tell our stories, and to keep telling them. I’m really looking forward to spending more time with these smart, dedicated women, all of us learning about ourselves and what we are capable of.

The Babe and I spent a little time at the VFW this afternoon. I volunteer to help him in the office, so I updated the spreadsheets they use for inventories and accounting, to prepare them for another month of keeping track of all the parts of the business side of the volunteer organization. It’s a good way to use some of my abilities to help the veterans out. I enjoy it a lot.

Yesterday, I mentioned it is my Dad’s birthday today. It dawned on me this afternoon, I made a mistake reporting his age. I have corrected it in the blog, and am here to announce I made the mistake, and fixed it, and am continuing on. It’s my first humility lesson, and I’m listening. Instead of 95, he would be 96 today. I loved his birthday. Since it was a big holiday, the family actually came to our home and celebrated New Year’s as well as his birthday. It was a fun day. At that time, all the bowl games were played New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Some folks grazed at the buffet, the men had adult beverages in front of the TV, and the women sat at the dining room table with their wine or cocktails and talked. I usually had to find the kids when they escaped the room. Most of them played either in my little brothers’ bedroom or in the rec room in the basement. It was a great way to start the year.

Dad died in 1988, three weeks before his 65th birthday. What a shame, he had just retired. We miss him, and I really wish he could have met the Babe. They would have gotten along famously. So plan your goals. Set them out in front of you, and think of how you will execute them. Join the FaceBook group I mentioned if you’d like. The people are becoming friends and quite a support system.

My goal for this year is to publish several children’s books, and my novel. I have 365 more days to work with, and I don’t want to waste any. We all only have so much life, so many days allotted to us. I’ll be sixty eight years old in May. That’s entering the age where you never know what may happen. The body is aging. Many of our friends have had strokes. I pray I don’t have one. Everything I enjoy requires use of my mind, my vision, my hands, and attention. I pray these all stay intact.

With our good VFW Friends.
back row: Judy, Nugent, Lora
front row: The BABE (Dan), me, Kris, Lenny
The Babe and me on New Year’s Eve

Thank you for reading today! I appreciate your time and your input. Any topics you’d like to see covered? Anything but politics, thank you. Come back tomorrow, I’ll be here. I hope you are, too.

Happy Birthday, Joell!

Today is a very special day in our family. Our oldest grandson, Joell, turns twelve today. It is so hard to believe! He is in sixth grade, which is middle school where he lives in Maryland. We visited in May, 2019, and were present for his Promotion Ceremony from elementary school to middle chool. He has attended a Spanish Immersion program since first grade, and the school is pretty amazing. He will continue the SI program until he graduates from high school, I believe. His mother’s family is Puerto Rican, so it is good that he can practice the language with his mother and some relatives.

No More Elementary School for This Guy.

I hope Joell realizes how special he is to us. We talk about you a lot at our home. We are getting better at texting you and communicating since you now have a phone # of your very own. We love you for a lot of reasons, one being your big heart, so full of love.

You have been taught to share from a young age. Sometimes, when we have been visiting you for Thanksgiving/your birthday, we have seen your parents take boxes of hot meals they have shared from our dinner table to downtown Washington DC and you have helped give them away to the homeless. You were with your Mama on Thursdays to deliver Meals on Wheels. You saw many older people who were lonely and couldn’t afford nourishing meals. You and your mama took food to them and visited them. You helped them be less lonely. You think about other peoples’ feelings. You are a generous young man. I remember when you, your parents, cousin Addison, Grandpa and me, and Shucks from South Dakota went to Puerto Rico.

You were happy to show cousin Addison the places your family loves in Old San Juan. You and Addison posed for photos at the ruins there, and flew kites as your mama did as a little girl when she visited her Grandma who still lived there. And when you and Addison came upon the man who sold ice cream from a cart on the street, you pulled out your wallet so you could treat your cousin. What a generous soul!

Through the years, we have seen you have parties with your school friends, and were happy with all the good friends you have made. You will continue to be a good friend to many people who will continue to meet and get to know. It’s part of a balanced life. Your parents have taken great pride in making sure you learned from an early age about the important things. Family. Friends. Faith.

Last Day of Safety Patrol, May, 2019

You are an accomplished world traveler! You have been many, many more places than some adults have been in your life. You and your family were in Hawaii for a couple of Christmas’, have traveled to Europe and seen good and bad parts of world history. The beauty of Rome and the horror of Auschwitz have made impressions in your young mind. You are curious about things like this, and make it a point to learn the lessons the world needs to learn about such events. You have learned about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad and saw where many of the slaves crossed into Canada. Your experiences have been very rich, thanks to your parents. What a lucky young man!

At the Vietnam Wall, Summer, 2019. You are helping your Grandpa heal.

Your dad took this photograph at you and Grandpa at the Vietnam Wall in Washington, DC, his summer. It is a perfect reflection of the two of you, a first and third generation of males of this family, and signifies your importance in Grandpa’s heart, and mine too. You can learn about Grandpa by knowing what experiences he has had in life, just as we learn about you by going to swim classes and competitions with you. You are an incredible swimmer! It’s something I never learned because I was too scared. You have mastered something that is a real accomplishment.

One day, we hope we can all go on a trip through South Dakota, so you may learn about the family and surroundings Grandpa Dan had as a boy your age. We look forward to spending more time with you, and would love to show you Mount Rushmore, one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen in my life. The Black Hills played a huge part in Grandpa’s life. We’d love to show it to you. Great camping, but we will probably stay at a motel. I think our camping in a tent days are over. Yours are just beginning. You have been to many National Parks in your area, which is rich in history and stories.

So Happy Birthday, Joell. We hope you have a year as incredible as you are to us, and that Grandpa gets better so we can visit again. He is feeling much better, thank you. Don’t forget how much we love you, and remember, you can text or call us, too!! Love you, Grandpa Dan and Miss Kathy.

To my regular readers, I hope you remember the $50 Visa Gift Card Giveaway drawing is December 1, 2019 at NOON. Like the post, comment on the blog, you can have two entries per day during the month of November. If you haven’t read all the blogs, catch up during the Thanksgiving Days off! Read while you’re in the Black Friday shopping lines. I’ll be cozy at home, writing. Thank you for reading, and see you tomorrow!!

Happy Birthday, Nicholas!

Nick on his Kindergarten Graduation Day.

Nick is my second son, born this day in 1975. Wow. That seems like such a long time ago. I was twenty-three years old. There was the blizzard on January 10 1975, the tornado May 6, and then along came Nick in November. Here I go with a story he has heard probably too many times.

Since their father couldn’t miss bowling night, I took Frankie, his older brother, Trick or Treating that night. In an old neighborhood like ours, many houses on a street may have one side of the street up on high banks, with two sets of stairs going up to the houses. It was crazy. There were fences in between the yards, so there was no cutting through the yards. Up the hundred stairs, trick or treat, then down the hundred stairs. Up the hundred stairs, trick or treat, then down the hundred stairs. And so on, over and over again.

With all this activity, I prayed God would not make this baby come tonight on Halloween. I’m glad he wasn’t, it really didn’t matter. I would have loved him the same. He was one of three babies in the hospital nursery who had black hair at birth. He always looked older, I thought. One baby was black, and the other dark haired baby was our neighbor’s grandson. Nick was easy to pick out in the nursery. As time went on, he did bear a resemblence to my father, who had black hair and big brown eyes. So did Nick.

Nick has a big heart, loves to help people, is a talented handy man, has learned a lot of things from taking stuff apart and puttinig it back together. He was always tearing apart his wagon, bike, and toys. He didn’t try with my car, however.

He amazed me as a toddler, he loved being read to. I was shocked because he could read at the age of four. I thought he should go to kindergarten early so he wouldn’t be bored when he got older. He wasn’t, and he loved numbers. When he was three, he spread the financial page of our newspaper out on the floor, and moved his index finger along the lines of numbers and said, “I just love the little tiny numbers.”

Today he lives with his husband in Gladstone, Missouri. I don’t get to see him as much as I’d like, he has an odd work schedule. I do miss him, it’s always fun to get together. Hope we can soon, Nick.

Lve me some Snoopy!

As far as writing goes, it’s 4 p.m. and my blog isn’t finished yet. Had to get Dan out to do his duties at the VFW Post he Quartermaster’s at, I got to see our dentist, we did some errands, had lunch, and poof, it was 3:30 p.m. I swear, the days go far too fast.

Still adding flesh to my characters, it takes a bit more than I thought. Describing everything about these characters may be overload, but I most likely will edit out anything that is a back story to the story at hand.

It’s a beautiful sunny afternoon, only 34 degrees, though. The early darkness is helping make it cozy by the fireplace in the evening. I’m wishing you a cozy evening, too.

What do you like to know about characters in stories before you begin to read?? Or do you just like to discover quirks and faults as they become evident?? Or should they be spelled out in a prologue?? Let me know what you think. I’m interested in your thoughts. Leave a comment, give a like and you will have two entries in my NaNoWriMo giveaway, one $50 Visa Gift Card. Drawing will be December 1, 2019. It could be you with a little extra Christmas cash!

Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.