Thursday Thoughts

On our way to the VFW Post yesterday about 4 p.m., we were in the first traffic jam we’ve been in for a long time. It was noticeable enough we commented on it. It would be nice if traffic kept being sparse, smooth flowing, and uneventful. Probably not going to happen. It was again great to be among friends and share a meal and beverages.

Why Do We Think We Know Better Than God?

This is a part of our “normal” back. That said, it will never be “normal”. There is a new Commander taking over next month. The other new officers need to learn the ropes and keep the place running. The Babe is still Quartermaster. He offers the members some continuity, and that’s a good thing. The bulk of income is from room rentals, and those are beginning to pick back up. All good signs. We need to keep social distancing when in public, though. And we are meeting the requirements to be open.

God will help us adjust somehow. The whole pandemic, and the protests turned riots, have made our heads swirl. It’s intense and crazy and not civil. I posted a comment about being safe at home during riots and pandemics and some smart aleck posted I should stay home for the next 20 years. What? Wow. The invincibility of youth. You too, will be more cautious someday, young man. I hope you live long enough.

Today has not been an easy day. Pandemic blues are lingering, along with the apprehension of the tension in the nation. I still believe in my country, the United States of America. I believe we are fortunate to live in the best country in the world. I’m uncertain about current events, for sure. It feels as if the media whips us into a frenzy on a regular basis, as if we are on a bad reality show. It is very stressful for a mind and heart to endure that kind of stress continually. We need a break. We need some peace. We deserve it.

I’m weighing how to do my outlining and structuring part of my book. Being overwhelmed makes it difficult to know which way to go at this point. I’m going to do some reading on those topics tonight, and hope it’s enough to make a difference with my being stuck in neutral. It’s hard being so far along and not able to keep the momentum going to finish. If I don’t get in gear tomorrow, I think a day off may be in order. Do other creative people out there have problems like this? It’s seeming to come and go, and I so hope I’m normal. Not Abby-Normal.

Thanks for reading today. I appreciate you sticking with me on bad days like today and good days like yesterday was and tomorrow will be. Have a fruitful evening, that’s my plan! See you tomorrow.

Thanks for hanging in there with me today.

Tuesday Twofers

BOGO and Twofers mean the same thing, pretty much. Buy one, you get another one free. Buy two, each are 1/2 price. Either way, it’s a bargain. Whether you need two of one thing or not.

My reading for today talked about forgiveness. Forgiveness is really a twofer, too. If you forgive someone, you can’t be damaged anymore by the old hurts someone inflicted upon you. That’s really a blessing, isn’t it? Forgiveness is something we need. You don’t have to trust the person anymore. In fact, it’s probably better if you don’t trust them. Forgiving them doesn’t mean you let them hurt or abuse you anymore. You let go of the resentment towards them. Forgiving them doesn’t mean you have to be around them, either. Stay the heck away from them! You lighten your load. It’s no longer controlling your thinking or your actions. You have let go. Good for you! Forgiveness isn’t for them. It’s for you.

I’ve forgiven some folks in my life. Some, and I’m still trying to forgive others. I can forgive easier if you hurt or abused me than I can forgive you for hurting my kids. It may be the Mama Bear in me, but I’m working on that as well. I’m trying to practice what I preach and read and write. It’s hard. It’s something that will take daily attention, but not brooding about. Work a little, go on to something positive. It helps, believe me. Know when to give it up.

Contribute Positive Energy!

The hurts are ugly, the positive is beautiful. The beautiful soon overpowers the ugly. It’s easier to let go. Stop beating yourself up for trusting when you shouldn’t have, for trying to help someone who didn’t want help, for thinking they wanted to get better with your help. They are untrustworthy, unable to accept help, and will make you out to be the bad guy when they’ve decided they don’t want to change because it’s too hard. It’s all on them, not you. Yes, I’ve been in situations where I’ve given too much, where I’ve cared more than they have, where I’ve felt the sting of rejection when they turn on you as the problem. It’s never us. It’s them. Refuse to accept their blame. It’s not yours to carry.

We need to care for ourselves, deflect blame, and forgive them. It IS them, not us. It’s called a lot of things, codependency, bad choices, whatever you want to call it. If you’ve been raised in a home where the blame was transferred to you, you didn’t deserve it. You didn’t “make them do that.” They did it themselves. Think. Think about how you talk to your kids. Teenagers, young children, toddlers, even babies.

Think about how you talk to your co-quarantined family. Even if you’re suffering from cabin fever, be kind. Be nice. Treat them the way you want to be treated. When you get back out into the world, be kind to the service workers. The cooks, waitstaff, owners, bartenders, counter help, nurses, aides, cleaning people, repair people, first responders, doctors, and everyone. These, as they say, are strange times. Let go of your baggage, and live in the here and now. Living is NOW, not yesterday or tomorrow. Live now and make beautiful memories, not regrets. Your future, and the future of others, depends on it.

I’m feeling the need to do some piecing on the quilt blocks when I finish here. It is calling to me. That and laundry (are you sure only two people live here? Who dirtied all these clothes?) and maybe cutting out some more masks. I’m sending some to family in South Dakota. Good thing they’re patient!

Thanks for reading today. I’m eager to jump into that quilt. It’s calling my name, and hopefully, they’ll be something to show you tomorrow. I’ll see you then!

More Monday

It’s been a great day today! How about for you? I found out today my cousins became a grandma over the weekend. Congratulations, Terri and Scott! You have a beautiful family and you deserve a wonderful legacy.

I had a pretty great day beginning my re-write. A book I’m using by KM Weiland about structuring your novel has a workbook, to accompany it. I ordered it and it arrived yesterday. I photocopied pages I need to complete my first chapter. It is the one where all the action happens to hook people into committing to read the rest of the book. I’ve had very few books I couldn’t get into. Was it because they were poorly written? Or was I not in the mood for whatever kind of book it was?? I am willing to plea guilty, being distracted or needing to read an easy book. I know that happens a lot with me. I’ll also admit sometimes it IS the author’s fault. (Think 50 Shades of Gray series – ho hum writing if I ever read it. Terrible writing. I’m not the only one who thinks this.) It’s a shame that woman made so much money on bad writing. I’d rather go broke than earn a bazillion dollars writing stuff like that. It wasn’t the sex, not at all, it was the poor quality of writing.

So after a great start to the day, and a good day writing, I’m golden for the rest of the day. I have decided at some point I am also going to try poetry. The reason behind that decision is, you must say what you want to express in few words. Just like songwriting. Limited words. Huge messages. Poetry is supposed to help you in writing prose. We will see as we go along.

We are having grilled cheese and tomato soup tonight. Did you have that much as a kid? We had tomato soup, water only. The Babe has only had it with milk. I was amazed. His parents must have been rich. Or used that sneaky swap – powdered milk, not liquid milk. Mix it up when the kids are gone, they’ll never know the difference. Hah! And grilled cheese. Mmmmmm good. I love grilled cheese, melted on toasty grilled bread.

This is Auschwitz Commemoration Day. I remember as a kid seeing a movie while I babysat late at night. It was “Judgment at Nuremberg.” I was probably twelve or thirteen. It was a black and white movie, and very graphic with real photographs. I don’t know how some people cannot believe this horrible event happened. It did. My father was among the young soldiers under General George Patton who liberated this hell on earth. He never spoke of it. He did tell one of my aunts once to read a certain book and that is all that was ever said.

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

Magnificent Mondays

Lots of great things are on the horizon for me and other Nebraska Writers Guild members. Last week, they announced we will again have our Spring Conference in Omaha, and it’s in April. I am so looking forward to meeting up with some folks I met at the Fall Conference and learn more about the craft I am learning now.

The NWG announced on their Social Media Page some training for Pinterest. I listed Pinterest and other Social Media platforms as what I would like to add to my presence. I’m excited the Guild is ahead of me and wants to teach me at the same time. How fortunate I am to be here at this moment. For those who believe, I call it a God moment. For those that don’t, I suppose you’d call it Karma. Either way, I’m delighted. It just further convinces me this is time to be writing. I’ve waited a lifetime for the “right time.” So grateful.

Here I sit, with two children’s books written, one family book waiting for my co-author to offer their contribution, and a novel ready to be re-written. A year ago I wouldn’t have ever thought all of this would happen. It is. I have discovered the more professionally I approach the tasks of the day, the better the outcome. Instead of being in my cozy studio/office, I am at our beautiful marble-topped table in the kitchen. It’s a beautiful view out the window. See for yourself! This view in any season never disappoints me. In the spring it is teeming with life. In the summer, the birds are vocal. In the fall, the colors are pretty but not very varied. Still, it’s lovely to see.

The Woodlands provides a beautiful backdrop for working on this writing.

With the Babe out on VFW errands this morning, I can hardly believe the dogs both laid down on the couch for naps. I will let those sleeping dogs lie, believe me! They continue to surprise us with their own shenanigans and hijinks only our four-legged friends can. After we lost our two dogs over six years ago, (they were old and worn out), we hesitated to adopt any more pups. We did because we both felt if something happens to one of us we would want a pet for company. Something to get you out of bed in the morning. Here we are, six years and three dogs later.

Losing one of our dogs led me to write my first blog, back on July 5, 2019. You may read it here if you would like:

https://kathyraabe.com/2019/07/05/the-little-white-puppy/

It delighted me this morning when I saw this:

Two Hundred and One Likes! Thank you!

I am so happy you like what I write! And I know it’s not my mom, she has no computer and likes nothing! Seriously, she likes nothing to do with one. I have to laugh. I drive her to the bank; she refuses to use a drive through or an ATM. To get cash, she walks inside, waits in line, writes a check for CASH, and comes back out to the car. She claims it’s the only way to do proper banking. I’m amazed sometimes. But then I shouldn’t laugh. As the meme goes: she taught me to use a spoon.

Simply Saturday

Wow, it’s tepid in my studio this morning! No, it’s COLD! Our home faces west and the two bedrooms at the front of the house are freezing when it’s this frigid outside. We are in Nebraska, and it’s January. We no longer dress as Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story, but maybe we should. When we trudged to school in four feet of sleet, eight feet of snow, and no provisions, we never thought about being chilled. If you were unfortunate enough to be female during that era, you had to wear a dress, a uniform skirt, or uniform jumper. It was cold! Wait, I remember in kindergarten and first grade I had leggings. They were not the skin tight clingy kind we wear now that are fashionable not serviceable to wear. They were more like snowsuit coveralls. Wool. Lined and warm. Hot. But while you wore them to school, you had to shed them once you removed overshoes, hat, sweater, muffler, mittens held in by elasticized clips. If you were a cool kid whose Mom didn’t care about your health, you had earmuffs. We refrained from outdoor recess on those days.  We would have to get dressed almost after we undressed, to leave by the bell. The good old days. Nope. Oh, and since I went to Catholic school grades one through twelve, first grade saw me and countless others sit through an hour Mass every morning with all those clothes on in Church.  I swear it wasn’t heated for that hour, because it never felt that hot, unless you were coming down with something. 

Have you known someone who seems to get angry a lot? Very riled up over the slightest little thing? I know of quite a few. It is unnerving for the bystanders. The angry ones usually throw temper tantrums of sorts. They may slam items down on a table. They may slam doors, windows, items, or anything they might get their hands on. Or cuss a blue streak. Or kick a dog, or hit another human. None of this is acceptable behavior. I am so glad to be away from this behavior now. It rattles me when I experience it. Intimidating people is never ok. All you do is make them glad they’re not around you when you behave like this all the time.

What good does this do those who have outbursts? They think they are just venting. Just venting is discussing what made you angry, not making people around you jump and hope you can’t see them should your anger spew any further. Letting of steam is liable to burn those you love. You have no right to affect other people with your tantrum. Period.

A tirade cannot solve a problem. You cannot rain on other people because you want a storm. Be kind. Be patient. Be gentle. And learn to deal with anger rather than spew it.

New selections for Raabe Ranch

On a brighter note, how does it go when you and your partner/spouse/friend/whoever lives with you pick out paint colors? First, my referral to Raabe Ranch is a joke. We live in a neighborhood but our lot is probably twice the size of our old house, in a newer neighborhood. We have a beautiful treeline behind us and a little creek. I joke it’s Raabe Ranch because the dogs have so much room to run in. And play in. And get tired in. Like a corral. We loved the house and adored the yard. Even though it’s large, when we can’t take care of it anymore, we’ll hire it done.

Back to selecting paint colors. The Babe and I always talk things out first. He did some painting three years ago when we first moved in here and did the master bath last summer after the big remodel by Re-Bath. He can officially retire from doing so again. Unless you love painting, by the time a guy is nearly seventy, he can hire it done. This will be the first time we hired a company, so I’ll let you know how it goes. The price was great so we’ll proceed. The colors are bright and happy. We seem to favor that type. The blues are for the master bedroom. Above the blue will be the laundry room. Left of the blue is gentle grape for the main bath. I can just see deep purple towels or even black ones in there. Luxurious! We will get the woodwork repainted in both bathrooms, too. It always seems to show wear and tear because of the water, humidity, and steam. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

I am off to do more reading and hopefully some note taking or outlining for this re-write. Writing and publishing the blog in the morning opens up my afternoon so I can spend more time doing creative things. Might consider hand quilting a quilt my grandma hand pieced early one hundred years ago. By the fire, where it’s warm. Or even crochet on a project I’d like to do. By the fire. Or read a book for pleasure. By the fire. Are you sensing a theme here?

By the time we publish this, I have put away Santa where he belongs!

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading this morning/afternoon. I’m grateful you did. Hope you stop by again tomorrow. I’ll be here, cold or not!