About Last Night . . .

A night the Babe and I were waiting for since early December 2020 finally happened. To hear TOGETHER, Billy McGuigan’s live performance of his COVID album released a few months ago. The music is reviewed here. The live performance? It was fabulous. Although I’d listened a hundred or more times (yes, I do that with music I love), seeing Billy McGuigan live is always a top-notch experience. Kevin Klimowski, a fan from Des Moines, and I sat near each other and and commented on how good they sound recorded and in person as well. Boys and girls, that’s the sign of a group of REAL musicians. Billy doesn’t mess around. They will never let the music die.

Although I’ve been a Billy and brothers’ fan for a long time, we are still seeing new and exciting things at any function these guys play. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Carly Frolio’s beautiful voice. She sings like an angel and accompanies Billy well. Unfortunately, we missed the Parking Lot Concerts last summer at the Omaha Community Playhouse. If Carly sang there, we missed it. Sorry! Much like her fellow band mates, she has many creative skills, including photography.

In addition to the band, something else new was students from McGuigan Arts Academy as ushers, a wealth of information, and front row fans. Our little girl usher informed us we “could take all the pictures we wanted of Billy McGuigan.” Thank you, honey. She told Kimberly Faith Hickman, “Now, I’m an usher,” before this bespectacled, braided, confident little girl bounced down the aisle, intent on mission completion.” She found our seats with the precision of a soldier on a mission. She waved us over, pointed, and said, “Enjoy the show.” Mission completed, young lady!

All of the children sat in the first row after helping introduce Billy. They all looked thrilled to death. Much like the adults who frequent his shows, they jumped to their feet and danced their hearts out. A new generation of McGuigan’s Minions. Who knew? The Arts Academy is doing great things. Some kids were backstage hands. What a great thing! Hands on learning. Lucky, lucky kids.

Billy’s son, Ciaran McGuigan keeps coming more into his own more and more as a guitar player. Max Meyer, is a lead guitar player, and Ciaran’s teacher. Max does great things with a guitar you have only heard about with the likes of Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton. Love listening to you, Max! We even heard him singing, “Surfin’ U.S.A.” I loved the Beach Boys when I was a kid! You evoked some great memories!

Matthew McGuigan is a favorite, too. He is always consistent, steady, and a great vocal back up. He was mentioned as turning 40 yesterday, and with his second COVID vaccine, he took it all in stride. Go Matthew! This is a banner year for you, too! He and brother Ryan McGuigan stayed pretty much in the background Saturday night. It was Billy’s night. And he rocked it. The love of family really stands out with this group. They are their own family! And the fans, we complete that family. Kate Whitecotton organizes the whole lot, and it comes off without a hitch every time. She’s magical!

I keep wondering what else these guys can do that’s not been done before? A whole bunch, all the talents considered. We will be there, Billy, Ryan, and Matthew. We have heard the life story, and we’re glad you’ve used your experiences for good. Not just your good, but for ours, too. Billy started out playing Buddy Holly at the Omaha Community Playhouse. And the rest is history. He is nowhere near done. At 46, he has at least 30 more years of performing ahead of him. He already knows he can do a Sinatra-Buble-Connick, Jr., type of show. And he killed it! When you can’t jump anymore, when you may have trouble reaching for the strings on your guitar anymore, you can croon. Until then, though, feel free to share your life, thoughts and feelings with your family from Bellevue, Omaha, Gretna, Elkhorn, and the surrounding areas. You guys are home with us, and we couldn’t be prouder. You will tend the music and keep it alive as long as we need it. And you. The Best is Yet to Come!

Thursday Tidbits

I’m sharing a video today of a show from Nebraska News Network, called Quarantine Tonight. Last night, they featured a local band, the Ken Sitler Band. They play Eagles, Pearl Jam, Rock and Roll, and some original songs. Very accomplished musicians. I believe in broadening my musical horizons. It’s a good show, and different from my normal taste. And I like it! You may, too.

Orestes said, “Often the test of courage is not to die, but to live.” How very true that is. Why? When I was young, I thought my only life and goal was to be a wife and mother. I honestly knew in my heart I would die, I would cease to exist if anything happened to my husband or children. God showed me that wasn’t true.

When my oldest son drowned and was revived the summer between kindergarten and first grade, I felt that fact hit me square in the face. My son was in the hospital with possible brain damage, and I was still functioning. I was still taking care of his little brother Nick, I was still pregnant with my daughter, and God sent me many messages that blew my childish beliefs out of the water.

My marriage fell apart, and I didn’t die. Instead, I flourished. God gave me the courage to live, and to make my life so much fuller by leaving. It’s been such a great experience these last nearly 40 years. Sometimes you have to break things apart to make them whole again. I learned. I grew. I flourished. My son was normal, and he’s a very special spirit. I’m sure he saw God that day. He had more things to do. He’s one of the happiest and calmest people I have ever met. I do think my daughter felt my emotional turmoil when the accident happened. I don’t think that can be hidden from a baby growing inside of a mother’s body. I worried she would have issues upon her birth. She didn’t. I was so grateful.

I stood against the destructive patterns I formed and observed growing up. I didn’t treat my kids as I was treated. In doing that, I probably missed giving them what they needed; I gave them what was missing from me. If I could have a re-do, I’d take it. But I can’t. All I can do is ask for forgiveness where it’s appropriate. Create healthier boundaries, guidelines for what I’ll tolerate and what I won’t. Respect demands that of us. We were meant to live bigger than we do. I’m learning some of that with Carol Gino this week. She is a very wise woman about how spirits work in our lives. I’ve had that happen, with my son drowning and when my dad died. It’s quite powerful.

It’s up to us where our lives are headed. Yes, we can choose to be stagnant. Or we can choose to grow and evolve. It’s easy to curl up and want to die. It’s hard to stand and face the fury of life. The strength you can develop is unbelievable at first, until you grow to rely on it. It’s part of who you are. It’s part of what you’ve hidden because God knows why. Don’t hide your light anymore. Show it to the world. Your story could be just what someone needs to hear. Thank you for reading today. Be Kind. Be Courageous. Gain Strength. Gain Resolve. Use your superpowers for good. See you tomorrow. Be Careful out there!

Saturday Leaps of Faith

The Neighborhood at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska is teeming with activity! Homes have loads of fresh mulch or good black dirt dumped in their driveways. Yes, it is a beautiful, calm, sunny day for the first Saturday in April. The day before Easter. As kids we learned this was the day all of the followers of Jesus were on the low-down. They were gathered in groups in rooms with the lights off, windows and doors locked, wondering what they do now. They did not want to meet the same demise Jesus did. Their faith was shaken. They all had doubts, not just Thomas. It had to be the longest 24 hour period in all of their lives.

The nuns sort of told us we should be engaged in prayerful, quiet activity all day. Our mom’s all loved that. Then of course, we had to go to the Saturday evening service at 8 p.m. It lasted a very long time, and often we walked home at 10 p.m. It was safe back then! Of course, we were required to go to the Children’s Mass at 9 a.m. These were the days before Saturday services “fulfilled Sunday’s obligations.” I have to laugh, my Protestant friends say Catholics are the only ones who are concerned about things “counting,” and the world famous 15 minute Mass at St. Mary Magdalene’s Catholic Church in downtown Omaha. Ask us, we’ll tell you.

I’m glad the different religions finally realize God loves us all. Equally. Yes, equally. He doesn’t favor one over the other. Some religions are founded on mistaken ideas, and call for things far outside what God expects from each of us. Find yours and concentrate on how to have spirituality in your life. Be with people who reflect your beliefs. Be accepting, kind, tolerant, inclusive, and stand by your beliefs. It’s about integrity. One of the best things a person can have.

Two years! Wow! This is pretty cool, folks.

In other news, I didn’t realize this was my second anniversary with WordPress! How fun to have this milestone today. It took a leap of faith on my part. I didn’t blog much until that July 5, 2019, when we lost our Roxie. I had to get the distress and grief our of me. It was devastating. Someone entered our yard and left a gate open. There were still fireworks going off, she was scared, and ran into traffic on the highway, two blocks away. Her last minutes had to be full of terror. My book for kids is about her and our grandson, Gavin.

Speaking of a leap of faith; my featured header photo today is a collage of the CD’s I’m listening to today while I work. I’ve not met two of them (or you’d all know about it!), Kevin Costner & Modern West and Bruce Springsteen. I will say I do not agree with Bruce’s politics. He has done a lot of good for people through his career, he had food drives at his concert sites before we heard of them; he chronicled the demise of his hometown, closing factories, etc. He has a song on his “Magic” album called “Leap of Faith.” Give it a listen. I like it.

At any rate, the others are some local singer/songwriters who took their own leaps of faith and put themselves and their original songs out there. Billy McGuigan and Jimmy Weber are two local musicians who we enjoy a lot. They have special chemistry when they perform together, and they are both very dynamic solo or with their bands. Fine, fine musicians we’ve had the pleasure to get to know. They both never cease to amaze me with what they do. Billy has a new solo album, “Together,” it’s doing well. The Babe and I get to see him and his brothers in the band perform this great album in person next Saturday at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Looking forward to it!

And Jimmy Weber has a friend/road manager/sidekick, “Handsome” Jake Mayer. They are in Nashville, TN this week recording another new album of their original music. The just released one, “Black and Blue Heart,” hits so close to home if you’ve ever been alone. I have. I cannot wait to hear what those two have been up to. Jake is an amazing lyricist. One day, I hope to talk to him about his words as they relate to Jimmy’s amazing music. What those guys do with a guitar and a bunch of words (both carefully chosen), is pure magic. There they are, taking their leap of faith.

Ray Scott is someone I’ve never met, but I did just about see his show one night at Buck’s in Venice, Nebraska. Jimmy Weber opened for him, we saw Jimmy that night, but the Babe wasn’t feeling well. He had a wound vac attached to him and he just couldn’t sit up straight anymore for the evening, so we had to leave. Hopefully next time he’s up this way, we’ll be able to see him live. I’ve purchased a bunch of his CD’s and like his style. His voice is unique, and he just tells it like it is. Check the usual music outlets to listen and purchase. His leap of faith was to do things his way. And he’s a big man, I don’t think anyone questions him much.

Rick Tiger is a singer/songwriter from Louisiana. The Babe and I met him the first time we saw Jimmy Weber perform alone. Jimmy sang first, and Rick followed. We loved him. He has written many songs you’ll recognize, and any more you can relate to. That night, he sang about Coffee & Conversations, which reminded the Babe of waking up at his grandparents farm in South Dakota. Once he walked me through the property and identified where everything used to be. The barn was gone, but the memories of it weren’t. You will be reminded of something in your life if you listen to Rick long enough. And he’s the nicest man you can meet. His wife Joyce is such a kind woman. They are perfect with each other. Blessings abound in their life, and they will tell each other about it. Nice, nice people.

When you’ve spent a little time with people who are so talented, it’s inspiring. They are taking their leaps of faith. And I’m about to take mine, by publishing my first book. I’m excited beyond description. Thanks for being on this journey with me. Thanks for the examples and encouragement, guys! I appreciate it a lot.

Thanks for reading today. Tomorrow is what it’s all about. The renewal of Easter Sunday. I vow to renew habit I need to renew. I vow to exhibit behaviors to make me a better person. More patience. More understanding. More listening. And I’ll continue to love words and stories, whether they’re on the page or in a song. Good music makes me write better. What a motivator music is! What great music to be motivated by. Have a beautiful rest of the day. I’m going to the deck, where we’ll probably stay for the rest of the day. God’s been so good to us. See you tomorrow! #Grateful #Blessed

Awesome Monday Morning

I’m listening to Kevin Costner and Modern West. There are many songs that are perfect for the long, loving relationships, marriages, friendships. It’s where I find myself right now with the Babe. True Companions. “The One.” Being my protector, the one who helps me rise above the negativity in life. A true heart. I can protect him, too. From negativity, from himself, as he does for me. We’re so lucky to have this life together. I’ve been encouraged to go for my dream by this man. He may not understand it totally, but he’s on board for the duration.

This is a shot in the arm for my energy, in addition to losing about 20 pounds. We’re still doing Keto, and doing well. For me, I know it will be a slow but steady process. The whole point is to end up healthier, and it’s easy for us to keep going. I’m hoping for the longevity my Grandma Jewell had; she lived to 97. She was such a beautiful woman. Her heart was pure gold.

I told a little backstory yesterday about the craziness going on while I was trying to write the blog announcing Cartney McGuigan as my illustrator. The whole thing just came together, and I believe we all have opportunities that are golden, right in front of us. We have to be open to them; no idea is a crazy one; they’re ideas. They can be expanded and made into things that are not only possible but become vital to pursue. That is how I feel about writing. This whole prospect of possibilities makes me so happy!

I know I’m late, but our goal this week is to thoroughly clean the house while packing away all the Christmas decorations. So far, the tree is stowed, so we’re going well. The ornaments are all on the kitchen table, they’ll be put away later today. Having all the time in the world is helpful when you can only do so many things in a day. I always overestimate what we can accomplish, but never give up. We do what’s most important to us as a couple, and that is spend time with each other. Sure, we get grumpy at each other, but we’ve both learned what’s important and what isn’t. It saves a lot of petty disagreements most people have. It just isn’t worth it.

Next week, we go for sorting everything to do our income tax. That will be a wildebeest that needs taming. Seriously. Every year, I believe in my heart I will absolutely keep better track of our receipts, documentation, the whole thing. Every year, I have a box and desk like this:

Maybe next year I won’t do this again. LOL. Mom always says I had my father’s filing system genes. Oh well. I could have inherited worse!

It is snowing lightly outside my window. They are pretty flakes, that seem to be melting on contact. The view is nice, and I feel a warmth in my heart that I want to keep burning forever. It’s contentment, it’s satisfaction after creating. Any creative person can tell you what it is. It’s the feeling I used to get after expertly tailoring a suit for my business career; it’s the feeling I get after completing a beautiful quilt; it’s the feeling I have when I write. You made that thing; you wrote those words, you created those bridesmaid’s dresses, you created with ideas that filled your mind. It’s a purpose in life for some people. It makes others happy, too. It’s there for the sharing.

Thank you for reading today. I have a bunch of ornaments to wrap, stow, and some more instructional videos to watch and share with Cartney. Hope to get caught up and on the right track to have everything in order to allow for some more creativity. Quilting is calling to me right now.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Let’s all be kind to one another. How we behave in the next couple weeks can determine where we as a country will go in the future. I pray it’s a good path, I pray it’s a peaceful path, I pray it’s a kind and loving path. Let’s do our part. I’ll see you tomorrow!

Friday Finale

This is how my day started. Bon Jovi was on GMA this morning. I’m quite a fan of his, even since the 80s during the hair band era. He is an extremely handsome man, even in his 50s. I admire two things about him, aside from his musical talent. He operates a restaurant in his hometown, and the meals are free. It is quite an operation, and he continues to work there many days. The other thing, he is still married to his high school sweetheart, marking 40 years this year. How unusual. I can’t imagine the early days were easy for her. But, nonetheless, they’re still a couple who love each other and their family very much.

This song came from a photograph his wife took of him washing dishes in the kitchen of the restaurant. She asked him to come up with a caption for it. He said, “When you can’t do what you do, you do what you can.” And that, boys and girls, is how this song, “Do What You Can,” was born. Some people can just take ordinary words and make them magical. I hope to be able to do that, for you and for myself.

Do What You Can – And Do It Today!

How inspiring. And there are lessons in the lyrics. We need to be loving each other much more than we are. We need to be kind, we need to do what we can especially now, to make the world a better place during this crazy time we’ve all bought into. No, I’m not talking about wearing masks, I do believe there is a virus out there that can kill us. We lost two gentlemen from the VFW Post, both in their 90s last week who died of COVID. One just wanted to go fishing, and he became ill. I’m glad the poor guy was able to go fishing. But who’d thought he would become ill then. Seems unfair to them.

What I’m talking about is the ugliness I read every day on Facebook. I swear George Stephanopoulos had a gleam in his eye as he talked about “order of succession” should Trump, in his advancing age, die, and Mike Pence die, and then Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker of the House, would be President. Wow. Have we really come to that? I’m just so tired of it all.

Sure, I could shut it down, stay away. I don’t want to. I’ve made some wonderful acquaintences from groups I belong to, such as Quilting and Writing. I won’t give those up. So I scroll further and further between posts these days. Let’s. Just. Stop.

From the clinic visit yesterday, I’m experiencing much more swelling just below the ear, into the jaw. I have no toothache, but man, it’s hurting. The doc said do what you can do for the discomfort until you either start to run a fever or something else comes up. OK, I’m hoping it’s not a toothache, abscess or something ugly like that. It about had me declaring a day to live in PJ’s and lounge. But, once I heard that great new song by Bon Jovi and the incredible Jennifer Nettles, I couldn’t let a day slip away. Music motivates me. Helps me look on the bright side.

I was smart, finishing all the laundry yesterday, and I’d like to finish my scenes/outlines today. That may free up part of the weekend for me. And that would be a good thing. Sunday, there is a Show & Shine Car Show at the Post, we look forward to going up for that. It’ll be fun.

And then, this will propel me into the rest of my day. This rendition of the old “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” by Bon Jovi saw performance at a Superbowl Half Time Show. It was the first time I heard Jennifer Nettles. I love her voice. She has such a strong, great voice. It’s quite a collaboration. If I could sing, I’d want a voice like that.

As I make way to writing some more scenes, I’d like to challenge you to think of how you could make a positive impact in the world. Learn how to do it in a small way. We don’t need to open free restaurants for the homeless or very low income folks, we can make a small donation to a food bank. We could collect things for charity. Pick out a charity like Moving Veterans Forward who gives everything to the Veterans they’re helping. And the recipients of the help have to work for it, too. It’s not a free ride.

A long time ago, a very smart person told me there’s nothing better for a teenage boy like being able to earn a few bucks and have his own money on his person as he walks down the street. Now, same would be true for females, too. And I saw that. If you’re financially stable, even if it’s just a first paycheck, you walk differently. You talk differently. You have some confidence in yourself. That’s what MVF helps these people achieve. And that’s definitely worth our time.

Comment below and let me know what you’re doing. Help each other. Call an elderly neighbor. Say hi to people you encounter. Let’s all start making this a more positive world. We need it. Thanks for reading, I hope to see you again tomorrow. Let’s do this!

Wednesday

Wednesday again already! This is an absolutely perfect day outside. Enjoy it, won’t you? I just walked through the house, thinking how beautiful it looks with the sun streaming in. It makes me smile and feel good. I’m so grateful for what the Babe and I have.

It was an early start to the day, Addison needed a ride to school. The Babe goes and then gets the bookwork for the day done at the Post. And as it’s Wednesday, they have “Hamburger Night” from 5 – 7 p.m. We love seeing our friends and getting out for a bit. We’ve been members for probably seven years, and have met many wonderful people there.

When the Babe and I went to drop off donations at Moving Veterans Forward, we were fortunate to have a grand tour of their facility and a brief summary of all the things they offer. It’s phenomenal. We will have him come talk to the Post and Auxiliary in the near future. What a worthy organization. If you’re in the Omaha, Nebraska area and want to help, or if you know a Veteran in need to help, send me a message via my Facebook page, Kathy Raabe, Author.

Speaking of loving sunny days, I remember a time when I couldn’t tell you how my house looked in daylight. When I was working two jobs, I left home in the dark and came home in the dark. It seems that period of time had overcast, dark skies. I appreciate it very much. That’s what a person needs to do if they’re not having a good day, is concentrate on the good things. The sunny days. The fact you are warm, clothed, and fed. So many people don’t have enough to survive, through no fault of their own. Some folks expect they’re entitled to everything free, and I disagree with that. I have no problem with assistance, but it needs a beginning and ending date. Generations on assistance doesn’t make sense to me.

I am writing more scenes this morning, and I’m really enjoying the process. Next week is another session via Zoom with Sam Tyler, my Book Coach. I feel like I’m improving a lot, and it’s hard for me to say that. I was raised during a time when women were not supposed to be egotistical. And you were egotistical if you bragged about what you do. Today, they call it self-love. No, I didn’t have much of that. Mom was pretty clear, don’t spend all day primping, looking in the mirror, don’t be a braggart. Be compliant. Go along to get along. Don’t make waves. Girls don’t sweat. I wanted to play baseball with Johnny Bauer, but wasn’t allowed to. Girls don’t do that. He always talked about the Yankees, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle, and Roger Maris. So here I am, not being egotistical, just telling the truth.

In case you’re wondering, this is a no-politics zone. I will vote. It’s my personal business who that is for, and in making that decision, I’ll look closely at the VP’s. Succession is a very real possibility given the ages of both Presidential candidates. Enough said.

Let’s get along in the next however many days we have until the election. Let’s start practicing our manners again. Everyone. Republicans and Democrats. We need to be civil, and we need to do it now. We can change how we behave. Let’s do it for our great country, who could use a break from all of the fighting. I’m sure by January, 2021 there will be talk about the 2024 election and so it will go. Frankly, I’m just so tired of negativity.

The quilt in the upper left pictures is finally pinned and prepped for quilting. It’s so pretty, it has Swarovski crystals with embellishments on the embroidered Hibiscus flowers. It took quite a while, it’s a good size, and I’m keeping this one. I love the backing fabric.

The front door wreath I made last week. So glad to have painted the door, it’s much brighter than the dark navy blue it was. Just a couple of dollars worth of paint makes a world of difference, doesn’t it?

And then the perennial at lower left keeps growing. I don’t get to that side of the house often, so it surprises me when I do. I used to love gardening, and now, with the arthritis in my spine, knees, and feet makes it very hard to get down and do it. It could be worse, my dad would always say. Yes, it could, Dad. Twenty-five years ago, I had a tumor that impacted my spinal cord. It wasn’t cancerous, but I nearly ended up paralyzed from it. I thank God every day for my mobility, such as it is. God is very good. After going through all that, I met the Babe. What great timing God has!

Be Kind, Be Civil, Be Courteous to everyone you meet today. I plan to, even if someone riles me up. Thanks for reading, I’ll see you tomorrow! Be Safe out there.

Summery Saturday

Tonight is a special night. We are finally able to go see live music, outdoors, and socially distanced at the beautiful Davies Amphitheater in Glenwood, Iowa. We are going to see “Billy and the Downliners,” a/k/a Billy McGuigan and his talented band. It’s going to be great. Although they have performed at the Omaha Community Playhouse as a Drive-In production, we didn’t attend that one. It stinks being in the “old person” category, and having some health issues. It stinks being responsible about it, but I’d rather we both be here in the future to see him perform than go now and be sorry we did. I’ve never seen such talented musicians gathered together. They all have their moments to shine, and together, it’s stuff that you will probably hear from the angels in heaven. The best part of all? They love their fans, and appreciate them. No egos here. Just confident people sharing their gifts with us. How lucky Omaha is to have them. My heart feels lighter.

I’m feeling the COVID-19 Blues lifting already! It’s nice to have something to look forward to, aside from waking up every morning. It’s sure become a habit to sit out on the deck with the dogs every morning. Just watching the sky, the trees, the birds. It’s so awesome. I don’t like to think what we will do in late fall when it’s too cold to sit out there. There has to be something equal that’s inside, and not the morning news. It’s just so dark anymore. I think America as a whole are really trying to be safe in this pandemic. We can’t always get what we want. My generation heard that phrase in a Rolling Stones song back in the day.

Sure we have rights, and with rights come tremendous responsibility. Wearing a mask is in that category, in my humble opinion. My freedoms are still there, I’m just thinking of all of us by wearing one. Please, pick something else to be stubborn about. Don’t get me, my 91 year old mom, my 70 year old husband, or my little grandson (I haven’t gotten to meet yet) sick by thinking you’re proving a point. It’s not worth it. I’d rather live, and I would bet you would too. Help me help you never meant more than right now.

New Words to Live By

Too often we become complacent in our lives. We don’t have to have fireworks and parades all the time. We accept things that are holding us back as people. We accept people who hold us back, too. The best situation for improving your life is to have a partner who has your back. That is rare, especially if you want to do some projects or take up a new time-consuming hobby. That’s when you can really tell if you have the right person with you or not. If they aren’t happy for you in your growth spurt, there could be trouble if they have a temperament that needs their ego fed.

That said, you can be contented and support your S/O if you are secure in your life, your relationship, and are genuinely happy for their future, which is also a part of your future. I re-discovered that treasure in my life this week. After nearly 22 years of marriage, it’s still there, and better than ever. The Babe supports my endeavors whatever they are. He may not want to participate, or understand why I want to write, but he supports me, and I support him, too. He knows writing is important to me. When he told me that this week, I felt like the keys to Fort Knox were handed to me. That’s a huge, huge gift to a creative person. May you all have that someone in your life. And if not now, may you find it soon. You deserve it, too. I’m grateful.

Project for today, in addition to studying more about writing.

Thank you for reading today. I hope you have something safe and special planned. Pop Rock, with Billy McGuigan will play for an extended time at the Omaha Community Playhouse, if you’re up to going. You won’t be sorry, trust me. Dates are August 5 – 23. See you tomorrow, right here. Be safe. Be kind. Be courteous. Let the music blow your socks off.

Hump Daaaaay!

A pessimist would say, “Why bother? Hump Day? Every day is the same as another when you’re stuck at home.” An optimist would say, “Wednesday is just a great as any other day! You woke up today, the sun is shining AGAIN!” And aren’t we lucky we have some place, whatever it is, to self-distance/quarantine ourselves? Yes, we are. When you look at countries like China, India, the Middle East, Africa, they don’t even have basic sanitation and clean water to drink. How on earth would we survive that? We need to count our blessings and be grateful.

Even if you are diagnosed with Corona Virus (COVID-19) chances are, you will survive with little damage to your lungs. People like myself, who have asthma or any other underlying health issue, will have a harder time if they have the lung damage associated with the virus. This IS different than the flu. The mucous is extra thick once it settles into your lungs. It causes permanent damage to the lungs where it sets up house, so to speak. I’d hate like hell to have my lungs compromised because some person decided they were bored and gathered with a crowd, playing a game of soccer, went shopping to Target to get their Starbuck’s and just browse the racks, or sent their kids to visit Grandma and Grandpa because they needed a break from home-schooling. Please, don’t do it!

Even though we need to be vigilant, we can still keep occupied and not go stir crazy. If you are a person who is still working, maybe enjoy how your home (apartment or house) looks all day long. You’re usually at work and don’t often get to enjoy it during the day. It makes you have a different perspective of your abode. You may (safely) have a little talk over the fence with the neighbor. The Babe is out doing that all the time. He knows everyone by first name. I love that about him. Everyone loves him. I’m lucky. And so is he!

A cousin’s daughter scheduled her wedding for April 4, 2020. They have had to cancel the reception. They will still have the ceremony, reduced to 7 people, them, the officiant, and have rescheduled the reception for later this year. Her younger sister is set to marry in August, along with another cousin’s son, also in August. Hoping these young people get started on their lives together and all brides and grooms get to have their time. I can imagine how devastated they all feel, and at the same time, they’re all very responsible people who know they must follow these new rules for living. They’re temporary restrictions, not permanent ones. God Bless all of you!

As a fund-raiser for their tip wage staff, Union Pizzaria and Sports Bar in Omaha, NE, printed some t-shirts with their various businesses on it and is donating all the proceeds to a fund for their impacted workers. What a great employer in the food and beverage business! My son works at Union, along with his room-mate. When they lost everything in an apartment fire last fall, these guys were right there, making sure they were getting what they needed, time off, whatever needed to be done. So grateful my son is associated with people like this. God Bless you guys! Go to their Facebook post for more info!

A great way to feel better? Help someone else. There are many, many restaurants who have gone to pick-up food to keep their doors open. Try ordering out! I don’t know about you, I’m a bit tired of cooking, but I do like it’s healthier than what we eat out. I just need to get back to salads and the like. It just all takes time. I’ve probably had quite enough comfort food for awhile. I truthfully don’t even like french fries that aren’t done to a certain degree of crispness. Nothing soggy, thank you very much.

Thank you for reading, I appreciate it. Union’s tip wage staff would appreciate it greatly if you’d stop by 156 & Maple for a t-shirt or two. Order their daily special before you go and you can solve the dinner problem. They appreciate it greatly. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope you come back. Have a happy, safe day.

Wednesday Already?

My cousins and I are mourning the loss of our cousin Rich. Rich died from cancer and he’s the first of our immediate family of our generation to die. We’re so sorry for all of his kids, and hope they find comfort in their memories of him. He served in the USMC in the mid-seventies, and was an excellent carpenter. He must have inherited that from his biological father, who was a carpenter. He was adopted by his step dad, along with his brother Mark, and sister Joleen. Hugs to Mark and Joleen. What a time to lose someone, when you cannot even hold a funeral. Tough times in those situations.

Following a lot of folks on the Facebook, I’m glad I’m not the only one who loses track of what day it is. It’s the bane of retired folks, but with so many people home all day, I think it has finally struck the general population. I think it’s perfectly normal, and we’ll get adjusted how humans have adjusted for centuries, and then it will be time to go back to whatever normal will be. Retired folks will still have the problem, but it’s an ok problem to have. Really. Trust me!

Music of the Day. Love to have Jimmy serenade me while driving to and from Mom’s. Relaxing!

My listening stuck at Jimmy Weber today while driving to Mom’s for her last PT appointment. It’s been a very long three months (for me) and it has helped her a great deal. She’s still not super steady on her feet, balance is affected by her loss of hearing and sight. At least she’s stronger. Her right leg remains much weaker, which is from the strokes a couple years ago. She is looking forward to working in her gardens this year. Mostly all flowers. I always joked, “It keeps you out of pool halls.” And it does!

We are truly living in strange times. Just driving into Omaha and back, the number of cars is fewer than before. It seems like a lot more semis are using the roads, and a big thanks goes to the truck drivers. You and the railroads are moving much needed goods in America right now. I’m just going to need to by some toilet paper by the weekend, I do believe. We have three bathrooms, so each is stocked, but with sharing back and forth the supply is dwindling right now. I think a lot of people that aren’t in their 60’s are going in at old people hour and stripping the shelves earlier. We, as a country, need to share with others better. C’mon, let’s be good humans. Leave some for the rest of us. Please. Thank you!

I typed over 1,000 words for my book yesterday. One of the characters really started to take form. I’m telling about each person separate from the story. It’s a hard choice to make, backstory, as they call it, ruins the flow of the telling of the story. I’m trying it out to see if the juicy tidbits about this crazy family can be told alongside the story to fill in what may be missing. If it doesn’t work, I’ll have more research to do. How do you introduce characters who are close to seventy years old and reveal how they got the way they are? Any suggestions? Ideas? Leave me a comment at the end here, we’ll learn how to do that together.

It’s too late today to really dig in and get much done but I’ll be able to do that tomorrow. It’ll free up a lot of my time now that Mom’s finished with therapy. Another new normal. And pray she doesn’t fall and get hurt! She’s been so fortunate thus far. Hope it continues.

I also want to take a walk around the yard and see if there are any flowers trying to push their way skyward. I didn’t get tulips planted in the ground, but did in a pot. Might be time to start watering that and hope for the best. They can go in the ground anytime after they bloom. Crossing fingers, hoping the dogs didn’t dig everything out. Goldie will have to be taught not to eat the stems, leaves, and blooms. They all go through the billy goat stage, I just hope hers doesn’t last long.

I think the reality of our nation’s situation is business will not be back by April 12. Not if we want to live. I see more info regarding quarantining for at least another six to eight weeks. That sounds much more reasonable to me. I think the President is trying to say what everyone wants to hear. I think some folks dislike him so much, whatever he says will be criticized. No, he’s no wordsmith, I’ll agree with that. I would bet there is so much more to everything right now he must be switching gears quicker than anyone can. He gets stuck going back and forth, hence the hesitation. Let’s just be civil. And safe. And stay home. Wash. Be positive. We all need it!

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. Please be safe. Be positive, and we’ll meet again tomorrow. I’ll be here.

This Thursday

As all anatomical auras are, Allison ached at an idea in an anthology of ideas. Allison inched along, acting as if all’s A-#1. An inkspot advanced around an Asian artwork. Allison iced an elbow as aching ebbed. “Always, an energy aching,” as Allison’s extremity acted unquestionably unusable.

Zelda rang the bell. She was not wanting someone to come to the door. Zelda crept the perimeter, holding the crucifix near her head. The magic would come soon. Most would then be forgiven, noted, brought to the jail per the magistrate, following the hearing.

When All Else Fails . . .
Consult a Book of Prompts!

Hoping you are still reading. Did you think I totally lost my mind? My ChromeBook was malfunctioning? Someone changed my keyboard to type gobblygook? None of the above.

Most of the time when sitting down to write my blog, I already have an inspiration of some sort. Either it’s an experience, someone did something funny, aggravating, illegal, or I try to capture a strong feeling that is in my heart and on my mind. There is so much out there to share, and I’m lucky you listen by reading.

Some days, the ideas, words, thoughts, and stories just don’t happen. I would imagine a songwriter or poet experiences much the same. Poetry, I’ve read, forces you to use fewer and more exact words to get your point across, to complete your story, and help the reader use their imagination. A songwriter uses fewer words, also. The music can fill in where words cannot, where they are inadequate or fail to convey what is intended. A beautiful song, thoughtful lyrics, and a melody that sweeps you away, in my mind, is a huge #1 hit. It doesn’t matter how much airtime it gets, how many people buy it, if it strikes me in my heart and soul, it’s done it’s job. I’ll always remember what I felt when I first heard it. That songwriter did their job well.

For the times the words don’t come, when the ideas are elusive, when no words exist for a writer, the feeling keeps nagging, and you are still coming up empty, prompts work sometimes. Prompts like I pictured above, Writer’s Digest presents A Year of Writing Prompts. The second photo lists specific dates and ideas. February 27, Vowel-uable Writing. I wrote the first paragraph all with words that began with vowels, the second paragraph is written with words that began with consonants.

I know my readers are very bright people and have already seen what I just described along with the prompt. The whole idea of this is to get the brain thinking, how can you phrase this with only vowels, are consonants easier (you bet!), do people still use a Thesaurus? I just did. For the first time ever, I think. You could entertain yourself all day doing this. You may come up with some unintelligible sentences, but you would have exercised your brain. This is why I blog every day. If there is no time to work on my book or my quilting or my art, it all goes into my blog. I enjoy it so much.

Yes, I noticed also the prompts are only for 365 days and we have the elusive 366th day this year, since it’s Leap Year, an election year, and we have to even up the Gregorian Calendar. We have used this calendar for over 400 years. The primary motivation for this was primarily religious, to calculate when Easter would be. Lent begins 40 days prior to Easter.

All in all, it helps even time out. In reading this Huffington Post article, I was unaware of skipping a leap year. I don’t recall ever doing it, but is sounds as if it does happen. Read the article here. Why did we not know this before?

All the while I worked as a programmer, coder, systems analyst, and before the Y2K date stuff hit the fan, we used Julian Dates to define our date fields in the programs we used. It’s just what we did. I liked the old COBOL programs we wrote and maintained. I’ve heard many companies are searching for us old, retired COBOL programmers and will pay a good chunk of change to those of us who know what to do with these programs. Done right the coding is a masterpiece. When debugging, it was always one little thing, like a period, that usually caused your program to loop on into infinity and beyond! Some could be out there, still chugging away. Usually it fixed the problem when you either deleted the period, or added it in. Sometimes, when I finally found an elusive error, I would state, “Sometimes, I even amaze myself.” It keeps your ego in the humble zone for sure. I loved being able to write something from scratch or even modify someone else’s program, and make it work, adding an entirely new function. So glad I had a mentor who steered me towards that field of work so I could earn the amount of money I needed to help raise my kids, have a house, retirement, and all the things normal families do. It was a great run.

Thank you so much for reading today, I am appreciative of your time. For not knowing what to write, this prompt took us a few places I would never have expected when I started writing. And in that, dear friends, is where I can say humbly, “Sometimes, I even amaze myself!” And it’s a good thing. See you tomorrow! Have a great afternoon!