Mobile Monday

A Sunny Day or Six Would be Great!

Getting a late start today for the blog. I had two early appointments this morning, and the rest of the day had a conference with my writing coach, and a lot of thinking about what we talked about. It started out gloomy again. Maybe tomorrow. There is always hope.

I’ve had my temperature checked more today than I have in the past five years. Well, not really. I’m surprised Walmart didn’t check it. They had no disinfecting wipes to clean off the cart handles and didn’t require people to wear masks. They did a good job reconfiguring the aisles. They have some dividers in the middle of 12 foot aisles and nice markings in the aisles indicating the six foot apart rules. It was perfect. I found Butter Beans! And Dog Treats. Essentials for Cowboy Beans and for keeping the dogs happy. It was a win-win.

The conversation with my writing coach was good. I got some honest feedback to help me take my idea and what I’ve written so far, add some things, and be able to make it the best telling of my story about Katie and her seven brothers: Patrick, Andrew, Edward, John, Marty, William, and Michael. It is amazing to make the decisions about characters, their flaws and strengths, and the perils they will interact during. It’s a continuing process, and sometimes I get an idea and decide that may be in a follow-up story, maybe in a trilogy. That would be quite exciting!

Those of us in the 1970 Graduating Class from Archbishop Ryan High School will not be having our 50th Reunion this year. That is sad, but since we are all “of a certain age,” maybe we’ll start a new tradition of a 51st Reunion. It could become a thing, you know? And perhaps our good friend, Anna Merola, will be able to come from Italy. It would be wonderful!

As I left the dentist this morning near 144 & Fort in Omaha, I did see the Nebraska National Guard flyover doing a tribute flight to honor the state’s heroes in the trenches of treating COVID-19 patients. It would have been more spectacular against a blue sky, but the clouds accentuated it as well. The special tributes to those in harm’s way are incredible.

My nephew Don is an ER (ED) nurse in Arizona, and I know he is an angel to his patients. He is in the profession because of his mother, who died from oral cancer in 2007. He was a graduating senior at Bellevue East High School then. Wow. Talk about your graduation being messed up. Her funeral was the day after his 18th birthday. What a lot to overcome! Don enlisted in the USAF, and served his country. I love what he’s done with his life. And, still a newlywed, he married the lovely Carrie last November in Omaha. I’m so happy for them, proud of them, and am just waiting to see their new chapter. You, Don, are my hero. May God continue to bless you!

I’m issuing an apology in advance of you reading this meme. It is an important part of a theme in my book, and it is important for all of us to own our actions, words, and behaviors. If you do not you will never be able to be your best. It is especially hard for people who were raised in dysfunctional families. There is no shame in it, the shame is in not changing the things that are wrong. Not calling out the bad behavior within our own groups leaves the door open for passing along the bad things. And you don’t want to do that. Be strong. Be aware. Be brave enough to say, “It stops here. My family did the best they knew how. And some things need to change for the future.”

I thank you for reading today. I appreciate you so very much. See you again tomorrow, you know I’ll be here ! Stay Safe. Wash your hands. Call a Friend. Learn something new! Take care.

Summery Sunday

Good Sunday Morning! Hope you are all well. Hope you have a steamy cup or six of coffee, however you like it, and that you talk to someone you love today. It’s in reaching out that we reach each other. Not in a physical way, but symbolically, reach out so someone. It may be the only contact they (or you) have all day.

The Babe and I watched CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley today. I really like that program. Although it does report some news, it talks in a very positive way about the status of all, and doesn’t try to scare the Holy Heck out of you. I’m serious. It was much more uplifting to hear from Henry Winkler about his bad dyslexia and how he has dealt with it than to hear more updates on the death totals, protesters, and elections in November. It was actually refreshing.

At first, I was with everyone who wanted normal back again. The more I read and realize that may not be what we should want, the more I don’t want it back. I love seeing families trying to plant gardens, to spend time with each other in a loving way, and for many people who have finally figured out that the Almighty Dollar isn’t what we should strive for.

I used to think it was easy for people with money to tell you it wasn’t everything. While that is true, I’ve been on both sides of the equation. Dirt poor as a single Mom, and now when money isn’t what matters any more. Years ago, my mom told me when you have enough money, it doesn’t matter anymore. Truer words were never spoken. I didn’t want for much. All I wanted was enough money to go to the grocery store AND buy shoes for each of my three kids. Without worry. Without robbing the utility bills payment and still have one kid that needed shoes. Didn’t want to get greedy.

And now, I understand how families feel who are not being paid because of their jobs being shut down. I cannot fathom being a person whose livelihood depends on tips. I never had to use a food bank or apply for government cheese, but I feel for people who don’t due to pride. As I gained more training and experience and higher pay, all it did was put me in the category of the kids not qualifying for reduced lunch at school. The raise was only $.50 per hour usually. The taxes on a single person reduced take home pay. And the guidelines for reduced lunch were your gross pay, not net pay. With the higher lunch prices, it actually was a negative net pay change. Imagine that. My answer was to get more education, and I would earn more money. That and a change of employer made all the difference in the world.

The things I’ve described above have taken a couple things I never knew I had. FAITH in myself. HOPE in my efforts. BELIEF that I could do it. As I ventured further into the world, I gained more of those three things. They’re intangible but necessary for success in anything, be it college, job interview, creating your own opportunity, or learning anything new. Like a new direction for your lives. Yes, it’s frightening. But if you don’t venture out, you’ll fail by not trying.

Do you know someone like this?
Is it YOU?

Yes, this was me about fifty years ago, right out of high school. I knew I’d never finish college much less be able to pay for it, I knew I’d never meet someone so I married my high school boyfriend, I never thought about hair styling school because I was sure I’d never work. What would the nearly 68 year old Kathy tell the then 18 year old Kathy from this perspective on her life?

  • Listen to yourself, not everyone else.
  • Get some confidence in yourself.
  • You are valuable.
  • You are intelligent.
  • You are very capable.
  • Don’t listen to negativity, especially from your mom.
  • Be brave enough to ask your dad about things.
  • Do it afraid.
  • Find a group that is on your side.
  • Find support. It’s out there.

And so many other things. There were no community colleges in the Omaha area in the late 60s and early 70s. The women’s movement was just starting here in Omaha, Nebraska, behind the curve of the nation, but it was all about things that were foreign to me, my mom, my family’s way of thinking. I now embrace certain things about it, but couldn’t imagine it back in those days.

As a late bloomer, I can only imagine what I could have accomplished with another twelve years out in the world making my way. That said, I am so grateful to have been at home with kids and having that beautiful experience. They gave me the strength to leave a bad situation and look for a better life. They were my reason for living and venturing and enjoying life. It has been quite a ride, and I regret nothing.

It’s perfectly OK to look for support outside of your family. It’s perfectly OK to be different than “they” want you to be. It’s perfectly OK to blaze a trail. Do it afraid, but do it. You’ll learn quickly. You must learn to create opportunities if you don’t see any in front of you. Education. Professional groups. Networking. Social Media. No one can take your learning away from you. Don’t keep yourself from it. It’s yours for the taking and keeping.

As we continue through these days of uncertainty, create opportunities for yourself. Work related, fine. Free time related? Sure, why not. Why do you think the baking aisle at the store is noticeably understocked right now? People are trying something new, something they haven’t had time for before. Baking is a start. Online art classes are a start. There are many, many low cost or even free ones. Check it out! Better to spend your time learning something you’ve always wanted to do than watching some of the videos out there.

And there is another benefit. A real one. If you have young kids who see you learning, it will keep them learning. They will value learning. They will value education. They will value calculated risk taking. It’s all a fantastic experience. Go for it!

Thank you so much for reading today. Enjoy this Sunday in any way you can. It remains overcast with a big chance of rain tomorrow, so the Babe is finishing the little patio garden fence. It has a gate, and is so cute! I hope to see you again tomorrow. I’ll be here, hope you are, too. Learn. Something. New. Stay healthy! Stay sane!

I’d like to believe someone wrote my story here.
It can be yours, too.

Friday, I Think

COVID-19 Quarantine Day # 6,385.

I’ve seen some folks posting on The Facebook they’re in quarantine for 8,365 days. It’s all in how we look at it. I know it’s probably easier for retired people like the Babe and me. If we were gone from a job we loved with or without pay, yes, it would seem like torture.

Unless money is an awful hardship for you, try looking at your time at home in a different way. While I was working, I left for work in the dark and came home in the dark. Yes, it was a long day, every day. And it seemed as if I never saw my house in the daylight. I was on medical leave after a surgery in the early 90s when I truly saw my house at all hours of the day. I realized how nice it was.

My kids and I were alone at that time, and it was really a long time off work and school. And yes, I was younger, 39 I believe. I came to see our home and the isolation in a much different light. I appreciated what I had been working so very hard to earn and possess. It was a time that stopped my daily frenzy and made me grateful. If you’re feeling like you can’t take it anymore, try that. It’s like looking at the world through different lenses. Not rose colored. But reality colored. Big difference.

This is my inspirational plaque.

I mentioned this plaque yesterday, and the computer gods prohibited me from showing you the photo. If you missed the post, here’s a link to it. Thank you, my dear niece and friend, Wendy. It’s hard to imagine that we used to babysit for you. You were a fun little toddler. And you are a blessing to all that know you now. I’m grateful to have you in my life.

It will be a different kind of day. Since our VFW Post is going to launch a scaled back food night for Wednesday, May 6, 2020. They have been closed since before St. Patrick’s Day. It’s not just a financial thing, it’s to help life the spirits of people who have formed a family or sorts. We miss each other. None of us know what’s going to happen in the next six months, I have a feeling it could go either way. Nebraska has lifted the stay at home life a bit. Restaurants have been given the ok to open with restrictions, and many have decided to remain take out only. It’s up to the individuals.

I’m going to go to the Post later to do some EXCEL spreadsheets for the Babe who is their Quartermaster. It’s the first of the month, and the books need to be reconciled, despite bringing in $0.00 and having expenses despite being closed. The officer group will meet and decide how to place tables, members, food service areas, and keep the doors sanitized. We have to start somewhere. We will see how it goes. People have to make their decisions. We always have the option to stay home if we don’t feel safe.

I’m really working hard to get my novel to the place of showing, not telling. That is much harder to do than it sounds. Telling is so easy. Showing is hard. I need to find how to show during a narrative of things that happened fifty years before. How the heck do you do that? I have a good reference called “Show, Don’t Tell,” and I hope the answer lies somewhere in there. It will make the process so much better. I have a feeling I have much more to rewrite than I thought. But it goes with the territory.

It is quite nice not having to take Mom to her appointments and errands. It’s been about four years since she quit driving. My younger brothers have been great about helping her out, too, and I’ve been the solo driver for weekday needs. It’s been something you do for your elders when they need it. No questions asked. It feels weird to not have the commitments, but I am enjoying my free time. I’ve told her not to hesitate should she need my help again. The danger of us getting COVID-19 will go down in the coming months. We’re social distancing like we should have been. I’m concerned about her not letting people go to the store for her, but the decision is hers. She’s insisting she needs to go, so I hope she’s surrounded by a mantle of protection from the virus. Check the definition of mantle vs. mantel. Word of the Day!

Truer words were never uttered!

We humans think we can control our destiny. We can’t. The sooner we realize that, and make adjustments in our attitudes and lives, the sooner we can live with much more ease, happiness, and joy. Yes, joy. It’s ours for the taking, all we have to do is relinquish control. Control is really an illusion anyway. We must not lie to ourselves.

It’s about time for me to meet the Babe. It will be a good rest of the day. When I return home, I’m going to layer and pin some quilts. Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time, and look forward to seeing you here again tomorrow. Be safe!

Is It Thursday?

By the time I go from the bedroom to the kitchen, I can lose track of what day it is. I also lose it by the afternoon or early evening, even though it doesn’t matter. Losing track. Used to be we needed to at least act we were with it, on top of the world, holding our finger on the pulse of business, industry, creation, religion, and whatever else arena we needed to compete in. It just isn’t that important any more. In some ways, I hope that remains, so we don’t put so much pressure on ourselves. So that our jobs, society, and leisure times don’t put so much pressure on our psyches. It’s too much. I hope we never get that way again.

I hope we don’t because the time we are making for our families right now shouldn’t be lost. Yes, parents probably need a break right about now, but so do the kids. If you’re unfortunate and have badly behaved kids, you can fix that right now. Before school starts again. Before sports start again. Before work starts again. The most important thing for us all to learn is be kind to the world. Be kind to your kids, school, sports teams, and co-workers. We can unlearn any bad habits we have, so can our kids. Make up for lost time in what’s left before we can go out again with no masks. Think long and hard about it. Your whole life can change for the better right now.

We must begin somewhere

After my breast cancer treatment and after my wonderful niece and friend Wendy lost her husband, she came to see me and brought a gift. It was a plaque and stand. It helped me get up out of the chair, start walking, start doing all the things I’d stopped doing while I was too tired to do anything. It did the trick. And since that day over ten years ago, I put it out where I can see it when I need a jumpstart to get back to living. I took it out this week, and it’s now on the mantle again. The Babe and I both see it every morning while we have coffee. It’s gotten us both going. Let’s all get going. Let’s be interested in life whether you’re still in quarantine or whether you’re going to ease back into life outside of your home. Be cautious, but do it. You have to start somewhere. We all have to start somewhere.

Due to technical difficulties, I cannot post a photo of the plaque. It says “today BEGIN”. I’ll post a pic when it is available. The words are powerful for me, and I hope they are for you, too, it you need them. At different times in life, we all do. And in times of pandemic, we all do at the same times.

Restrictions in restaurants are lifted, with certain new rules in place. Many places are continuing take out orders only. Some are opening. The VFW Post 2503 is planning on opening on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, at 4 p.m. for a Hamburger Night. A limited menu will be available. No drinks sold unless they are sold with a dine-in meal.

Taco Tuesday

It was an early start to the day for us today. There is some animal who makes a horrid noise during the night and early in the morning. No, the Babe is wearing his CPap machine faithfully. It could be a raccoon, or do possum make noise? It’s not a cat. Well, it makes this awful noise and wakes me up about 4 a.m., and I can’t see what time it is. If you don’t know what time it is, you have no concept of how horrible it is that you were awakened by some animal shrieking in the Wetlands. If it’s 3 a.m., you can go back to sleep, hopefully. If it’s 6:30 a.m., you may as well get up for the day. It’s important to know the time, so you know how miffed to be.

This morning, the wonderful cleaning duo came to work wonders to our house. It’s always such a welcome thing to have them in and do more work in two hours than I can do in a week. No guilt anymore, I do need the help, and it takes the work off the Babe’s plate. He can do it, too, but he deserves a break, too. The house always smells so good when they leave. I admit it, we have two dogs, and two adults who are home all day. It gets dirty and stuffy smelling. It’s home. It’s lived in.

We often have eight Goldfinches at a time at our feeder.

The birds are loving their perches around the fence. I read a post today that said the Baltimore Orioles are in Bellevue, so I’d like coaxing some with the Grape Jelly feeders. I’ll have to look at Amazon later. Heck, I’d be attracted to a Grape Jelly feeder! What a treat. Once when I was pregnant with my oldest, I craved buttered toast with Grape Jam. It was so good!

It sounds as if some places are going to slowly reopen May 4. It is the choice of restaurants if they want to. Union, where my son works, is opting to stay pick up service only. They are eliminating the possibility of anyone getting ill that way. Good for them! I know there are other folks who are adamant about opening everything. I also know there are folks who are adamant about staying closed. Period. We’re not going to go crazy, but will wear masks where we should. There was a second style I wanted to try. Maybe by the time Church reopens, I’ll have them finished.

After a bit, I’m going to sit down on the patio and work on an embroidery project I’m making for our new little grandson, Cody Wyatt. I wish I could show you a photo. His Mom and Dad do not want photos out there of their kids. I respect that, they’re the parents. He looks like a little man. Our daughter Becky tells me his sister Kayla is a sweet sister to him. She just turned two. My, Becky has her hands full! Two in diapers, my hat is off to them. Lots of work. Also lots of love.

I just did a couple more chapters of re-writing and am calling it quits for the day. Going outside to enjoy the Babe’s company. Thank you for your time today. Stay safe, washing hands, and don’t venture out until you feel safe to. I’ll see you again tomorrow.

Marveling It’s Monday!

So this is the view from the office today. You can see the streak from an airplane above the trees and there is enough shade yet for the pups to take a nap in. They love being outside! I do too.

Can’t See This Too Much. Fresh Air is the Best Therapy for Your Soul.
The Finch Family Was Rude Last NIght!

However, the neighbor up above on the beam over the table isn’t too nice. While arranging my stuff to work, I discovered we needed a clean up on – well, Table 5? The Finch Family left some gifts for me. Ack! Note to self: Move the table away from the nest to avoid incoming. There, now where were we?

This is such a perfect time of day. It’s just warm enough to be comfortable, especially in the shade. In some ways, I was flashing back to summer mornings when I was a kid in South Omaha. Of course, when I was in 6 – 8 grades, the girls had to go to Mass and sing every morning. Yes, every morning. There was no sleeping in ever at our house. Not weekends, not summer. If we were out too late from the night before, Mom woke us up earlier.

We had no air conditioning the whole time any kids lived at home. Don’t know how Dad, a night worker, slept during the day in that oven of a house. With maybe just a window fan. Anyway, the days were pretty much all alike, kind of like now. Get up, Church, breakfast, change clothes, play. Or read, or whatever you were going to do. Riding bikes was a lot of fun with my friend Peggy. We imagined we had cars, or were part of the Cartwright family on the Ponderosa. It didn’t matter. We used our imaginations and had fun. It’s funny now to think of it. Oh, or be Ricky Nelson’s girlfriend. That was a good one. Swoon!

Goldie, the Office Manager

My productivity took a nose dive yesterday after lunch. When that happens, I need to sit in the recliner with the heating pad on my back. Hate when that happens. Had a nice short nap, and just did some reading the rest of the day. I have four quilts to quilt, three need layering right now. Poppies, Psychedelic Flower, Hibiscus Blocks, and a Wintery Cardinals Quilt I bought last fall. Those are all about the same size, and I’ll only need one King Sized Batting cut in fourths for them all. That makes it so much easier. Hope to get those all layered and pinned this week.

The Babe brought up a good subject. If one of us becomes sick, we probably should have the room ready for the patient. We have a full little apartment downstairs, minus a kitchen, but have a refrigerator, bathroom with a huge shower, and a queen sized futon couch in the craft room. Now, that means I’d need to straighten up the craft room. It is disorganized, and I’ve never finished moving into it. A day or two (depending on how my back holds up) will accomplish the task. I’m hoping to start that this week.

I don’t know that the bed needs sheets on it as of yet, but maybe that’s what he’s going for. I suppose either way, I need to get the bed ready for the Babe, since he’s probably the one who will vacate the upstairs, regardless of who gets sick. Meals on wheels? Room service? I’m not sure. We’ll have to see how he works out that little detail.

Our dog Lexie is worse than a kid. When she decides to be naughty, she’ll drink out of the big bowl she shares with Goldie. Then she sticks her paw in it to spill it. That’s OK outside, but I frown on that in the kitchen. She knows we love her, she just has to be ornery once in awhile. That’s the Raabe in her. Come bedtime, though, she snuggles right up next to my side, and I’ll often wake to find her head laying on my stomach. I’d like to think it’s because she loves me, not because I’m extra fluffy as a result of quarantine weight gain/ Maybe a little of both?

Lexie is in charge of Security!

I’m off to do some research on Alcoholics Anonymous. I purchased their 75th Anniversary Edition of their Big Book. It reminds me of the Missals we carried in the 60s to Mass in the Catholic Church. It has a ribbon page marker like they had, it’s a plain black cover, and the edges are gilded in red metallic. It’s beautiful. There is a companion book called “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions that I hope to learn a lot from. It is research to figure out how to deal with the family created to write about.

There will be some work on Chapter 10 of the book, too. And embroidery on the little hedge hog picture for baby Cody’s room. Looking forward to the rest of the day. Thank you for spending this time with me, I hope you have some goals for the day, even if it’s to work on your Quarantine Tan. Sunscreen, please! We all should use it. Hope to see you tomorrow, and we’ll see if this day went according to plan! Enjoy!

Superb Saturday

The Sweatshop shut down early today. Now it’s up to the shipping department!

I’m sitting outside in the sunshine where the temperature is about sixty degrees, according to my Google Pixel phone. Except for a bit too much breeze, the day is perfect. That’s Nebraska in the Spring, boarders on bipolar many years. I do miss some of the flower garden I used to have. Peonies and beautiful Iris, the first flowers of my garden. I’d take them to my dad’s grave on my birthday, before the Memorial Day grave decorators are out.

It’s too beautiful to stay inside. After a false start a couple weeks ago here we are again. The dogs love it, we love it, it’s out happy place, either on the deck or patio. Right now it’s the patio, more sun is present at this hour. I’m so grateful to be here for another day of life. I finished a bunch of facemasks today. The sweatshop is closed. The shipping department will do it’s thing later today, and the Babe will mail the packages on Monday. Funny thing. The IT Department in Sioux Falls notified me they actually DO need the power cord for the backup hard drive they need to troubleshoot. I just have to laugh. We humans make funny boo boos, don’t we? So it will be mailed to the IT Department in South Dakota. Probably not until Monday. Neither of us are going anywhere anytime soon, you know?

I’m looking forward to watching my friend, Jimmy Weber, sing tonight and play some of his new songs. Folks, I’m making a public confession here. I was not a great country fan until I heard Jimmy perform alone and with friends. He can play like nobody’s business, sing with heartfelt emotion, and make it entertaining and fun. I’m a fan, and have been introduced to other performers through him. I appreciate his expert guitar playing on any genre. And he’s a great human being. He will go live tonight from 8 – 9:30 p.m. CDT. You will be amazed at this talent. He will be assisted by his manager, (Handsome Jake Meyer), tech guy, songwriter, and moral support division. He’s a good guy, too.

The incomparable Jimmy Weber.
7 – 8:30 Tonight, on Facebook Live, Jimmy Weber’s Page.

There are quite a few things to do before I settle in to watch and listen to Jimmy Weber tonight. Finish my Intake Q & A for my Book Coach, submit it and the first ten pages of my manuscript (I get goosebumps when I say that word), edit some more with Pro Writing Aid, and do those meals we need. Probably a late lunch/early dinner. The Chicken Chimichanga’s were awesome! We had pineapple and peach salsa, so it covered all the food groups, folks. Leftovers today and one more meal (frozen).

Cooking fiasco. I couldn’t believe it. On Easter Sunday, the bread was baking in the oven. All of a sudden, black smoke came rolling out of the top vent, and filled the kitchen, living room, and everywhere. The butter on top of the bread melted and fell to the bottom of the oven. Right on the hot metal that covers the flame in the newer gas stove we have. Wow. It was really something. We got it cleared out pretty quickly, but it was pretty amazing. I have not done anything like that ever. I do actually know how to cook, bake, and a few other things. It troubled me, the smoke detectors never went off. Never. They are hard wired into the electrical system, so even if the batteries were dead, they should work. Hmmmm. After watching Tiger King on Netflix, maybe my suspicions are aroused. I’ll have to check it out. Damn that Carole Baskin person!

Thanks for reading today. Listen to Jimmy Weber tonight, you’ll be glad you did. It’s like you’re sitting down with him talking over a beverage and he’s playing just for you. Enjoy! I’ll see you again tomorrow. Be Safe. Be Kind. Be Informed.