Masterful Monday

Can that be right? Masterful is defined as imposing one’s will on others. It’s being domineering, imperious, imperative, and peremptory. Huh? It does sound pretty unflattering, even to call Monday. But I don’t mean it in a bad way. My intent is all that matters here, and my intent is good. It’s a good thing. How so?

I do not want to be a person who regrets not doing things they always wanted to do. I will publish a novel and some children’s books. Before I don’t have the opportunity any more. In order to do that, I need to have my ambitions and my skills and my purpose defined, mapped out, and get with the work. In a way, I’m imposing my will to do this on my ability to procrastinate. I’m making it the most important thing to accomplish in the next couple of years. Seriously. It’s got to be first. The hitch is here: it can’t be more important than spending time with the Babe, our families, our grandkids. Moderation is the key. And work like hell in the block of time I can spend on it every day.

Some Days!

Song of the Day: “I’m Going to Love You Through It,” by Martina McBride. I’ve been the woman waiting for that phone call. I’ve been the woman who hung up and thought, “Shit, now what?” It was terrible calling the Babe at work and telling him. He cried out, “No!” And he said, “I’m on the way home.” I felt terrible telling him on the phone. We always know when each other is upset, by the tone of voice. I couldn’t hide it at all. No, I’ll never play poker.

The month was October. Boy, was I aware of Breast Cancer by the end of the month! My mammogram came back needing an ultrasound. I went to have that done. The radiologist and nurse told me, yes, it’s a definite lump, and I’d need a needle biopsy. All through this, I was thinking about Dan’s ex-wife, Sandy. She was just diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. She had immediate chemo and radiation. We were establishing a friendship, as she was no longer working. I wasn’t either. It was wonderful talking with her about her kids with Dan. We were blessed to be able to be friends.

The Babe went with me to the biopsy. He told them he was going to be in the room with me while they did it. They tried telling him, “You might want to wait outside.” He wouldn’t hear of it. ‘I was in Vietnam, so nothing bothers me.” They talked throughout the whole procedure, and as I placed my right arm above my hand, the Babe took hold of it. He didn’t let go until the doc and nurse left the room. I knew he’d love me through it. There was never any doubt about that.

The doc seemed almost cocky, though. She said the three samples didn’t look like cancer at all. I chose not to believe her. The Babe, however, believed her. So much that he was dumbstruck when the news came. I wanted to scream at her. How could she give us false hope like that? Wow. I hope she never did that again to another woman and her family. I was angry for how hurt the Babe was.

Next step was surgeon, he was quite thorough. The lump(s) were too small to be felt, trust me, everyone tried. To get clean margins, he removed enough tissue that was baseball sized. Ponder that. I’m pretty lopsided, but not bad, didn’t have reconstruction. I was in my late 50s, and I’m so fortunate to be an eleven year survivor. I don’t like the fact the medication added 30 pounds to me while removing all the estrogen from me. I’d had a hysterectomy at 39, so I was already a “quart low.” Or more. I don’t know. It’s not ever been the same, but I’m so grateful to God. Screw the 30 pounds.

Tell Your Much Needed Story

My friend Sandy, mother of the Babe’s children, lost her battle. Her sister also had the same cancer, she is gone now, too. Oral cancer claimed my sister in law, Laura. All around us, it’s been a battlefield. How it picks and chooses is a mystery. Sounds strange, though, I have always felt I would have breast cancer. I don’t know if you’d call it a premonition or not, but I was not surprised at all when I got the call. Hard as it was to tell the Babe, it was the worst to tell my baby brother, Tim, all 6+ feet of him, lean and lanky, tattooed man. He is the kindest person I’ve known. I’m lucky he’s my best friend after the Babe. He was still reeling from his loss.

Somehow, we all made it this far. And we’ll keep going. It’s what’s in the plan for our lives, I believe. Without being cocky myself, I do find it easier to see the signs God gives me. They are everywhere. See if you can tell where your signs are. They are things you would never have considered, they must be acted upon with logical thoughts and plans, not reckless abandon. While it might be God’s plan for us, we have to do our part. Just practice, it will come to you.

Thank you for all your support and reading. You’re giving me a boost that is important. We’re getting closer and closer to that year mark for blogging. It’s kind of fun to look back, and see how the writing has changed, and how many things I discover about WordPress. I’m a work in progress, and it feels so good! Wash up, Mask up, Be Kind, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

“It’s Not Too Late and I’m Not Too Old!

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!

Fabulous Friday

Hi, friends!

An overcast, almost chilly day here in Gretna, Nebraska. We are seeing a lot of green things growing here, and the one house in the neighborhood who doesn’t believe in weed control has infected our lawn with the blight of suburbia! Dandelions! I know, we should be all organic about them and let them live, but no, not like he did. No grass at all. Just dandelions. The Babe is on the hunt for them, so watch out!

Already this morning, I’ve gone through a bunch of my book, editing and changing things up. I’m on about page 50, Chapter 10. It’s fun. Changing descriptions to spoken words by the characters is a good way to show, not tell. If someone in the story is relating family stories it’s a lot more interesting than reading words. I learned that in my first submission. Good one, too. It’s important to story telling. Sometimes, I just pick up a book and read. If it piques my interest, I pay attention to the writing. Dialogue from characters? Yes. What a process.

This afternoon, I want to work on my Poppy Quilt. It needs three different boarders on it, then I can select the backing for it, layer it, and add it to the stack that needs quilting. That will be a good bit of work for May. If I could quilt one quilt a week and finish it, it will be a very good month! A challenge since the weather is finally nice, but they need to be done.

Goldie has so much fun fetching in the yard. It’s so nice in the mornings that I can just go out in my pajamas and throw her toy. She has so much energy. She loves her people, too. Has to be with us. Lexie acts as if she could care less, but snuggles in bed every night. She’s on a kick now that she won’t get into bed until I do. Kind of cute, really. But then she gets in my place! Huh. We’ll have to do something about that.

Unrealistic? Uhm, maybe.

It’s about time for lunch now. A quick sandwich then off to finish the Poppy Quilt. Stay tuned for a photo tomorrow. There. Now I have to finish it! Thanks for reading, I hope you have a good day, stay home, wash your hands, straighten out your office, and be kind. I’ll see you again tomorrow.

Beautiful Sunday

It’s a banner day in Gretna, NE today. Cool enough for a jacket, but not in the sunshine. We took a little drive earlier and saw a lot of people out at trails in Sarpy County and just hope they socially distance as is advised. Reinfection in Round 2 will probably be bad. Let’s try and prevent doing that.

The Facebook Live event Jimmy Weber did last night was top shelf. So many good songs. So many good new songs. It was a delightful way to spend a Saturday night. The only way to top it would be in person. Soon, my friends, soon. Here is a link if you either missed it or would like to watch again. I’m sure I’ll watch again. Enjoy!

The masks are ready to be shipped out. We stopped by my mom’s while we were out and dropped her mask off. She has talked it up to some folks and asked if I had enough fabric to make a few more. What a question for a quilter! Don’t quite have the time. On a mission! Needing to complete my book and a couple other projects. Time’s a wastin’!

Our Goldie has discovered her voice. Oh my, can she bark. She is alerting the Babe to the fact he needs to toss her rope and ball toy off the upper deck. She runs down the steps, grabs it, and runs back up the steps. Wears her out! She has strongly suggested a couple times a day that it’s play time. And walk time. And food time. We cut her back to just one cup of food twice a day. She was getting a little plump. She has filled out too nicely. She should thin down during the nice weather. She loves to run in her yard. We have a big lot, and I laughingly refer to it as “Raabe Ranch”. I’ve even listed it as a place I check into. It’s kind of fun. Yes, I’m easily entertained.

One thing I’ve noticed since this quarantine has started is The Babe and I seem to talk some smack to each other. He has a great sense of humor. I’ve always loved it if I can make him laugh. He’s laughing with me a lot lately. (or is it at me-hmmm)? Any other empty nesters notice that? Despite being married for twenty two years, we still can make each other laugh. I love that about us. Hope it never stops. Laughter helps a lot of things go better. And, love cures people. Both the one who gives love and the one who receives love. It’s a win/win when you look at it. And it’s not just the physical attraction part of love. It’s the deep, respectful, spiritual kind of love when your soul is involved with theirs. It’s the best. I wish it for all of you.

We are going to be in this quarantine/social distancing for quite a while I believe. I want to be sure it’s safe before I venture out too much. I’ll wear a mask. We might have to do that for a while, too. What we need to try not to do is worry. More time has been spent worrying than anything. More sleep has been lost that way. My mom worries incessantly. Maybe it is a badge from that generation of Mom’s. I didn’t worry. I’d be concerned about some things my kids were doing, but I didn’t lose sleep over it. Maybe I’m not a good Mom. My dad always told me not to worry until I get all the information about a situation. Then I could act on the information and would not need to waste the time and energy on worry. I’m so glad I learned that from him. Try and practice it. Your anxiety will reduce. Your rest will be better. Your outlook will improve. Most really awful things we fear never happen, do you know that? Worry doesn’t prevent the loss of anything but our peace of mind. Incessant worry is a learned behavior. It would be great to unlearn it. You will feel so much better.

Have faith. Have hope. Love your people. Appreciate everything. Thank you for reading today, I hope it finds you well. Let’s all stay that way. I’ll be here again tomorrow, hope to see you then! Hang in there and hang on.

Monday Madness

Hi everyone! It’s been a very busy day, and I’m ready for a relaxing time!

I went out today for the first time in about three weeks. It felt weird to drive, although the streets weren’t too busy. If felt like I was going against the rules by being out, although it was to go to the doctor, for a regular check-in.

The first thing I noticed was the half of the first floor that is a gift shop sort of area was stripped bare. Nothing on any of the shelves. It made sense, since people touch the merchandise, so it would spread the virus. Can’t have that. I missed the gifts. They have such unique, reasonably priced things. I hope it’s back in October when my next check up is. My mammogram won’t be scheduled until they start seeing patients in that area again. If I find a lump or whatever, since I’ve already had breast cancer, they’ll schedule one, but not annual ones yet.

Miss me some baseball!
(And my hairdresser!)

When you hit 65, they see you every six months. Medicare also requires a mental health eval once a year. It’s ten questions dealing with depression. I’ve known this Doc for probably twenty five years. I’ve trusted him with my life and the Babe has done the same, he is very thorough, very good at problem solving, and not afraid to perform tests to get answers he doesn’t want to put off getting. We had time to visit a bit, too. He said this pandemic is not going to get better until there is a vaccine. With every place infected on a different timetable, the virus will ebb and flow over and over. I think this makes sense. It won’t be over until we are vaccinated. Period. I’ve heard others say this too. This is reality. It’s not negative, it’s how it is.

I told the Doc it’s hard to fill out that depression eval during a pandemic. I told him sometimes I’m afraid. He said he understood. It’s a big deal. It’s changed all of our lives in ways we never could have imagined. He said we need to do the best we can and pray a lot. Good advice for all of us. And being afraid is normal.

I’m amazed despite being aware of the bit of depression I’ve had, it has affected everyone. People have described it as feeling as if you’re in a fog. Like your head just isn’t right. I think once people can get outside and enjoy the weather, plant in a garden a little, and feel the sun on our faces, it will start to feel normal again. There is something in dirt that releases hormones in us as we fill flower pots, dig in the garden, and see the beauty of the nature we are nurturing that makes everything right with the world. My world will be much more right when I see if my hydrangeas are still alive or not.

Thank you for reading tonight. I appreciate your time. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope to see you then! Stay hydrated. Keep your spirits up. Stay home, wash your hands, and all that. Have a good evening.

Mastery Monday

Good Monday Morning! I’m trying to use different words, still starting with “M” to call Monday besides Marvelous. Do you have any suggestions for me? I have a thesaurus, but they’re not set up that way – all the suggestions begin with a different letter. Darn! They’re not Marginal, or even Meager, at least not if I’m trying to be positive! Measurable, possibly, Medicinal, surely! No way they’re Melancholic, Melodramatic or Menial, but could be Mellow, Memorable, or Model. What will you choose as your Monday?

I’m selecting Mastery. In being a creative person, I seek to Master the quilt I’m making, here’s a “so far” photo:

The Poppies Quilt for Our Living Room
Still a Work In Progress

This is a little bit at a time project, since in between we’re letting the dogs in and out, seeing what the dogs are barking at, sitting still so the dogs will go to sleep, then napping ourselves, it’s all just a bit crazy. Peace will reign again, my friends, just hope it’s sooner than later. So, I hope to Master the little bits and pieces I can get accomplished today. I’m also going to assemble the goods to make a fabric mask or two for the Babe and myself. I’m hoping to talk my mom into wearing one when she goes to the store. I know, ideally she should be staying at home. We’ve told her that. She said she doesn’t worry about the virus. But she should. We all should. And I certainly don’t want to catch it. But if she insists on going out, she should at least wear a darned mask.

So Monday is a “Mastery” Monday, where I’m working my darndest to Master the Masks, my quilt, and some book writing/editing. Tomorrow may be “Tiger Tuesday,” where we watch more of the Tiger King. So far, I think the TK and that woman are in cahoots with each other. It’s all publicity stunts, over and over. They’re quite colorful, aren’t they? They make so much off of those poor cubs. I don’t see why people want their pictures with wild animals. You cannot even be sure a well trained family dog won’t bite you should a situation go terribly wrong, much less a wild animal. It seems perhaps those older men who had the younger guys live with them and gave them access to the animals used them to lure those young men and women into their beds, homes, and lifestyles. Sad. They not only prey on the animals, they prey on vulnerable people, too. Not good.

Although the sun is not out today, my scene brightens when a goldfinch flies across the yard. Against the brown of the trees and bushes in the Wetlands behind our house, the brilliant yellow of those birds lights up the background. It’s beautiful, and is a nice reward for feeding them. The little red house finches all sit in the branches of our Linden Tree (About fifteen feet from the deck and patio), and sing at the deck and patio. They’re so pretty and very proud of their songs. Already, so much right at our back door to be grateful for, and therefore be happy about.

That reminds me! I have two more quilts to finish for hanging in the house. One is embroidered blocks with Swarovski crystals hand sewn onto for embellishment. The blocks are Hibiscus flowers. The other quilt is of a Goldfinch. Both simply need layering, pinning, and quilting. Very near done. I should make every effort to finish those by the end of this COVID-19 pandemic. There. I said it out loud, so that will hold my feet to the fire to get it done! Baby steps every day. We’ll all get there. Just keep at it. Don’t give up! Dreams of finished projects can get us through to the other side. Finished quilts, books, artwork, music, whatever you can do, just do it. We’ll all be fine when this is over. Remind me, should I forget, ok?

We all have a bit to do, don’t we? Then let’s get about our business. I really appreciate your taking time from your day to read the blog. I enjoy seeing that people really are reading and relating. If you think of it, share it with your friends, and encourage them to like and follow, also. We can all cheer each other, encourage each other, and watch each other bloom. I’ll be back tomorrow, hope to see you and your friends, too. Take care!