Wednesday & Thursday

The overcase skies yesterday resembled what I would call “snow skies.” It feels dampish, dark, and looks like a snowstorm will happen later. In some ways, I hope it does. I’d love to have to stay home tomorrow. Yesterday was Hamburger Night at the VFW, and our usual gathering time with our friends. Simple enough, yet rich with memories. Good memories of good friends.

It has occurred to me lately how many friends we have lost. I have a number of them from my cell phone contacts and Facebook friends. Many more lie in the pages of my address book. It’s amazing how you just no longer have that person or those people in your life. Friends and family, then a memory. It’s all the more reason to be kind. You never know how long you’ll have these people in your life so make the most of it.

Once the Babe and I do our household tasks, it’s so freeing to decide what we’d like to spend time on the rest of the day. After doing this blog, I think I’ll read more of Margaret Lukas’ River People. It’s about life in Nebraska in the 1890s and are a glimpse into what women endured in that era. Anyone who lived through the hardships the prarie presented to them had a story, that is for sure. We are so fortunate to live in a time of equality. Yes, we still have some wrongs to right, but we are not where we were in the 1890s.

Have you ever watched REELZ channel on Direct TV? They have real life autopsies on celebrities which are kind of interesting. They also have a series called, “I Lived with a Killer.” Today the story is about a mob killer and it’s amazing how deep down evil those guys are. The wife and one daughter of this guy plot to put drugs and poison in his meatloaf to kill him. What a very tangled and messed up life the families had. Psychological abuse is one of the very worst things to inflict upon another person and this man was a master at it.

Evil has existed since the dawn of time. It is an inevitable thing in the world. So many people who couldn’t overcome a bad environment, or who just fell in with the wrong people are victims of themselves often. I find it sad, although many kids come from a terrible environment and somewhere, someone inspires them to break a cycle. Breaking out a cycle of family dysfunction is extremely difficult. Often your family or origin doesn’t see the dysfunction. You may be accused of thinking you’re better than they are. That isn’t the case, you simply want something different for your life. Settling isn’t what you want to do. It is no reflection on them, it’s just not in you to go along to get along.

The dysfunction doesn’t need to be evil. Any change or attempt to improve will boggle the minds of some in your family. Just expect it. If it doesn’t happen, you are fortunate. The dysfunction could be domestic violence. It could be alcoholism. It could be opiod abuse. I am from a family that has many alcoholics on both sides. I don’t think it was uncommon for men returning from WWII and Korea to drink. To drink too much. At that time in our history, men were expected to be “manly.” To not show tenderness, weakness, upset, and not to question what they did during the war. They were soldiers, and they were following orders. My own dad was in the medic corp. He was out running around on the battlefield with another guy and a stretcher to retrieve the wounded. He saw many, many horrors of war. He wasn’t even twenty years old. He returned home for six years, and was called up to do the same thing in Korea. Patching up the wounded, hoping they’d make it home. He did drink when he returned home, but not excessively once he married Mom. They probably couldn’t afford it.

The bad memories didn’t go away, they became part of his normal life. An aunt asked him what the Concentration Camps were like. He said, “I’m not going to talk about it, but here’s a book to read. This will tell you better than I can.” He was awesome taking care of my kids when they were sick and I had to work. He recorded temps, times of medications, etc. It was great. Somehow, he learned to live with his thoughts. Never a teetotaler. He just relaxed if he drank, and was very funny. I’m lucky I didn’t grow up in a home where violence lived.

And by now, it’s Thursday, late morning. I’m working on this blog, then more editing and writing on my book. I’m so glad to have a day at home to try and catch up. We still have some rearranging after the painters finished, and I’m glad that big job is done. It is quite cold outside now, five above zero, and the feels like is -9. Sunny and clear, but wow, It’s cold.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. We returned home a little too late for me to post yesterday, so sorry about that. I’m working on editing again today. It is coming along. We become impatient sometimes while waiting for the process to take care of itself, and yet, here we are, busy everywhere and not having the time to finish a thought. It will even out when Mom’s finished with therapy at the end of April, I’m hoping. I will return tomorrow, this time I’m certain.

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.

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 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!

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!

Superb Saturday

The world looks quite different at 3:49 a.m. That’s when I got up this morning. The Babe got up a few minutes ago, and I tried like crazy to fall back asleep, and it was apparent that would not happen. Coffee tastes different at this hour. Dawn takes longer to get here. I could have purchased a lot of neat stuff from the Internet. I read all the posts I missed after 9 p.m. You must have all been out having fun last night! Not a lot of stuff going on.

There is a brand new, 29 day month ahead of us. It’s Leap Year, where we add all those spare hours and minutes together since 2016, which gives us a bonus day every four years. I have a lifelong friend, Barb Moffatt, whose birthday is the 29th. I think that may have been strange growing up. Choosing your birthday? It would have been kind of fun.

Today is the day I’m going to plan some goals for February. My friends at I Create Daily have an Art challenge this month. It encourages us to create something in our chosen medium. Of course, the 90 day challenge is still going and that is all about my books. The goals are the same, my reality is in place and those goals will face adjustments.

My chosen mediums will be: Art, (drawing and water color); Clothing, (dusty rose colored jean jacket and pants); Quilting, (cut out “Snowflake Quilt” (king sized, 56 squares). This way, I’m ready for whichever of my muses should summon, I’ll be ready for it (them). We’ll see how that works. It is feasible to do Art one day, Clothing one day, Quilting one day, and write the other three or four days. Theory and Practice, oh what a foolish mortal I am. My theories seem to lag seriously behind my practices. It could just happen. More on that later.

A friend of mine has published her first book. Shannon DeAnna Schofield wrote “Perfectly Imperfect”. It is available on Amazon Kindle. I applaud her, I think it will sell well. It is about her journey through life. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but is honest, raw, gripping, and is about her redemption. Put it in your basket and read it this weekend! I hope to follow in your footsteps late this year.

I’m on Pinterest thanks to Nebraska Writers Guild!

Exciting times in the Nebraska Writers Guild! There is currently training on our FB page for Pinterest, and Instagram. A member has graciously offered to make board covers and pins for us. I have my blog, and they are including blogs as a board. Thank you to Renie Loeffler Rutten for doing all this work! Love it! Clicking this on Pinterest will take you to a specific blog. How fun! My Pinterest page is Kathy Raabe, Author. I have a NWG Members books board and am pinning them. There is a huge selection of genres, something for everyone.

Would you like to see all the blog covers? I could include them and post them on Facebook. It will be yet another free way to go increase our presence even before publishing a book. For those of you who may not know, I’m on Facebook as Kathy Raabe, Author visit me there! I so appreciate you reading today, and hope you’ll return tomorrow. More on goal planning then. I think it will be a great month for creativity. Hope it is for you, too. I will see you tomorrow. Have a beautiful day!

Trying Tuesday

In an age when we can communicate with someone across the world in seconds, we are still having a time with our aging parents. When they suffer from diminished vision and hearing as my mom does, it makes their lives so hard. She is attending a balance and movement class twice a week. She is upset she needs me to take her, but I keep telling her it’s keeping her in her home, and preparing her for working with her flowers this summer. She smiles and nods. She had no other issues after her stroke three or four years ago other than a part of her vision field being vacant – a black hole, if you will. Whenever we’ve talked about losses as people age, we have both been afraid to lose vision. Everything we do needs vision.

She has had some adjustments made at home. She had my brother Steve replace all her lightbulbs with LED bulbs, they help her see on dreary days. When it’s cloudy, her mood is as dark as the skies. She can’t help it. We all try to be patient, and sometimes we need to express our frustration with the situation. Other times, with all the bright lights, we tease her, “Geez Ma, what you trying to do, read the paper or land a plane?” We have always been able to tease her at the right moment. Usually she gets upset over little things and worries – a lot.

Yesterday, though, she was very upset and for due cause. A neighbor took her to the dentist yesterday. I took her a couple weeks ago, and I know she made a payment on her bill for today. She paid in advance. Yesterday, before her procedure, they told her she hadn’t paid. She couldn’t find her receipt in her purse and became very agitated. She knew she paid it. I remember the staff was busy talking about personal stuff, and not paying attention to business, in my opinion. When I talked to her yesterday, she was very upset, nearly in tears, and I told her we’d take care of it today, that it will be fine. She was worried about losing her credit rating. I told her they didn’t dare.

Old people have enough to contend with, and need people with exceptional people skills, especially when there are problems. The receptionist was not as nice as she probably should have been under the circumstances. Luckily, even with Mom’s blood pressure shooting up to the high 170’s, a medical crisis was averted. So glad one didn’t happen. When you get to be 90 +, I don’t think it would take too much to have people be extra nice to you. You have enough hassles trying to get around. You hate asking for help, but you need it, and you hate that you need it. Give them a break, bless their hearts!

Mom always apologizes for being a burden, I tell her I’ve got nothing but time. Little does she know, the last time I saw my dad before he died in 1988, I promised him I would watch out for Mom. I would take care of her when she needed help, he didn’t need to worry. He thanked me and told me he loved me. He wasn’t a guy to say that, so I think he knew his time was nearly over. I am glad I’m able to keep a promise I made all those years ago.

So as you go about your life with your good vision and hearing, be grateful. Be grateful because we will all be saddled with some infirmity. We will all wish for better health, movement, hearing, or sight. I hope people will be kind to us as we pass through that phase of life. Teach your young and not so young, be kind. Be patient. Be who you will need when you are old. Or sick. Or deaf. Or blind.

Thank you for reading, I appreciate it very much. I will be back tomorrow, and I hope you will, too. Have a beautiful evening.