#250!! Super Saturday!

I’m amazed this is blog post #250. It’s been a journey since last summer. We’ve had the loss of a beloved pet, the Babe had a heart cath and endless healing at the site. It was a very long couple months healing him up. Hard to keep him still long enough to heal. The day he got his wound vac to help it heal, he decided Lexie needed a friend. And we adopted Goldie. She has done wonder for us after the loss of Roxie. In between there were numerous trips with Mom to appointments, obligations, and in between I had time to write. I enjoy it a lot.

I appreciate people who tune in to read, other bloggers who offer comments and ideas, and especially my friends who support my late in life endeavor. Thanks to all of you. It’s been such a busy day today. The Babe went to the store, then cleaned some areas of the carpet that needed it. Between a sick dog (Lexie doesn’t like her new dog food) and a puppy who sometimes waits too long, it needed cleaning. In between time, I actually pinned a few quilts together:

The fourth quilt was a little crooked, so I put it aside for today. It’s time to quit when you start to have things go badly. It’s funny once you’re learned how to do something like quilting, and you know when to stop. Writing is much the same way. But yesterday, the technical issue with the printer was huge and frustrating and challenging. Other things depended on getting it to work, so I couldn’t set it aside.

How many of us are going to see our Mom’s tomorrow? Mine is going to brunch at my brother’s home, and I’m going to call her in the morning. She’s kind of funny to read, doesn’t want a big deal made out of things like Mother’s Day and her birthday. Yet, she’ll plan a party for herself. You never know whether to take the lead, or just show up. Hard to tell always. She did relinquish control to us last year for her 90th birthday, so hope she learned we actually can put things together. Mom’s are funny sometimes.

So, what am I going to feed my Babe from South Dakota since the meat supply is supposed to dwindle due to the pandemic? He is not fond of too much chicken, or pork chops. Beef is his absolute favorite. Especially steak and hamburger. You can take the boy out of South Dakota, but you don’t dare try to take the beef from the boy from South Dakota. What will we do? Suggestions will be welcome. I’m all for having brinner (breakfast for dinner), a salad with cottage cheese (forget that for the Babe). I’ve even had a bowl of cereal for dinner.

I’m going to finish reading a book I’ve been reading for awhile. When I finish some other things, there is one I really want to read about a local murder and scam by a woman who made it look like the victim was still alive. The story is fascinating but the lead forensic investigator is the son of an old friend. I’ve known him since he was about three years old. He is brilliant, and found the evidence to convict this murderer. More about that later.

Thank you for reading today. I do appreciate it. See you here tomorrow, and I hope you have a good rest of the day, and a pleasant Sunday. See you then!

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!

Sunday Songs

It’s another perfect day outside. I’m in writing this blog post, closed up the sewing machine temporarily (I have another quilt ready to put together in rows.) This will be an exciting year for our decorating in the bedroom. And the rest of the house. I’m taking my hedge hog project outside for in between the chapters to re-write. Even if we can only do one chapter a day, I’m happy with that. It would be finished before the end of May. It could happen.

This pandemic has taught me one thing. At this point in my life, the stuff I get done is more important that the stuff I don’t get done. I want to do a lot of things, but I’m accomplishing what’s important – sitting and talking with the Babe. Texting the kids. Calling my mom. Talking to that pesky baby brother who has grown into a good man who happens to be my best friend. There is a high probability I will outlive the Babe. We know this. Why not waste the day enjoying the view and talking? It’s not a waste. Money cannot buy those kinds of days. A quilting friend of mine in Kansas lost her husband a couple weeks ago. I’m not sure if he had been ill or not. That aside, this life is precious. We just never know.

While my “outing” yesterday was somewhat shocking, I decided one thing I really dislike about wearing a mask is you cannot smile at anyone. That’s the biggest thing, a smile. Everyone is a bit edgy, you know you are, too. A smile lets people know they’re around someone who understands. They’re around a nice person who wants to share a smile. That person could become encouraged with a smile to do something they are dreading. During difficult times in my life, I remember how a smile added something to my day, made me remember the world is good and beautiful.

I treasured that slight human action that means so much. Maybe I’m a sappy romantic, but I love if I approach someone and their face lights up in a smile. It tells me they’re glad to see me. You can tell a fake one, too. Just wait until this mask thing is lifted. You’ll see what I mean. In the meantime, I have to come up with an alternative to a smile. I have a tendency sometimes to be thinking about stuff and have a furrowed brow (some would call them wrinkles, but I refuse. They are a furrow.) and be considered a crabby old lady. Gosh, I hope not. I’m really not. Unless you mess with our kids or grandkids. They certainly don’t need me to protect them, their parents are so in tuned to everything about those precious children. As it should be. Kids should get to enjoy their childhoods, without someone stealing it from them.

Gavin, our nearly nine year old grandson told me we couldn’t be around each other because of this virus thing. Had I heard of it? Yes, Gavin, I have. Well, we can’t go to school, and we have to stay home, but I can have fun playing in my yard or riding my bike. He is having a blast, I’m so glad. He will remember the positive about this, not the bad stuff. God Bless our Children!

Every single day.

I believe we all realize how fragile life is. As our scientists scramble to identify something every case of COVID-19 has in common (I’m betting there is nothing), we are kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop. The other big bang in our lives that will let us know what we are dealing with. We may never know. Science is precise, exacting, and takes time we may not have. Have we over reacted? I don’t think so. Should we be working on re-opening our lives and businesses and entertainments? I think we’re a little early on that. Wearing a mask might not be a bad idea should you go places where business is being transacted. Maybe wearing a mask in cubicle world at your job is a good idea. Be mindful. We have a lot to lose, people. Please put up with these little inconveniences to save others lives. It could be your baby, toddler, teenager, forty-something child, or your Grandma who you save. It’s what good people do. Think of others right now. Be kind. Wash your hands. Wear your masks. Keep doing what you’re doing to keep our world going.

Music is an important part of my world. It helps me cope with the unthinkable. A local musician, Jimmy Weber, did a “show” from Buck’s Bar in Venice, NE last night. I hope you were able to catch it on FB Live. If not, I’m sure it will be reposted. You have to tune in just to see the most beautiful guitar I may have ever seen. He introduces it and plays one song on it. Hotel California. Shut the Front Door! It was awesome. You have to hear it for yourselves. Jimmy Weber, Facebook Live Video, from last night. Enjoy!

Thank you for reading today. I’m hopeful this will be a very productive week for all of us. What have you planned? I’m working on a list for the week. I appreciate being part of your day. You’re definitely part of mine. See you tomorrow!

Thankful Thursday

Hi, guys!

We’ve been outside before the wind picks up to the 50 mph they’re predicting. It was a good time to get the winter layer of dirt off the deck, patio, and few lawn chairs we’ve put out. The rest will come out and be cleaned off after the snow goes away. They’re predicting something frozen for the Easter weekend. It’s ok. It’s not as if we are going anywhere anyhow. Yes, we’ll watch the FB Live of the Service at our Church. It’ll be a good day.

I’m listening to Ray Scott for inspiration music today. And I have to say, I’m hooked. I will snag up all his music today. His voice is unbelievable. So far, I have “Guitar for Sale,” and “Nowhere Near Done.” We saw only a couple songs in person last November at Buck’s Bar. Our friend Jimmy Weber opened for him, but by the time we had several beers and dinner, listened to Jimmy’s set, the Babe wasn’t feeling well. It was when he still had the wound vac to heal the huge wound still open after a heart cath. It was not a good time to stay out late. The Babe apologized all over the place, sweet man that he is. Next time, Ray! I’m loving your work.

Music of the Day. Go Ray Scott!

Our son-in-law is stopping by with his battery charger later. The Babe needs to borrow it to re-charge his riding mower battery. We’re so lucky to have some kids here. I suppose people with no children at all have a network of people who are able to help them. Having kids is no guarantee they will help you when you get older. They may not live nearby. They may also not be able to help. Emotionally or financially. It’s best not to expect things from them that they can’t or won’t do. It saves a lot of hurt. Lord knows we don’t need any more hurt in this world.

Although the Feds have extended the deadline for paying your taxes, the deadline for filing will be in about a week or so. I’ll get finished, just a matter of totaling up all the medical, dental, and drug costs for us retirees. I’m so grateful I have good insurance. It’s been a blessing all through my single Mom life, my married and working life, and the retiree/author life. For all the bad press corporations receive, I cannot badmouth them at all. They have generously reimbursed my tuition for a college education, and have covered my many and unusual long term illnesses. I’m grateful for them.

This morning, as we were having coffee and listening to the news, the topic of unemployment came up. We are so fortunate to not be impacted by that. Of course, our IRAs and other investments have dropped substantially, but we are still getting pensions and are fine. God has been so very good to us, and we’re grateful for that, too.

I don’t know of anything that is so joyful for me as answering the phone to hear grandson Gavin say, “Grandma, I really miss Lexie and Goldie.” They miss him, too. So do Grandpa and I! It’s been way too long since we saw the kids. Addison isn’t a dog kid, so she will never say that. She does say she misses us, however. Grandkids are the bonus round of life, you know? They are so much fun. I can’t wait until Gavin starts to play baseball again this summer. His new team practices all year, but they of course cannot right now. That’s too bad, but necessary at this time.

The Mayor of Omaha had to close all the city parks. Some people (over 200) were gathered at a park the other night at 10 pm for a barbeque (!?) and of course, someone shot three people. One died, two wounded. Pitiful. People have been behaving badly at a few places, and I hope they stay away from everyone now. Yes, it’s hard. But don’t think the rules don’t apply to you. There is always someone, isn’t there? The naughty kid who misbehaved and made everyone in the class have to stay after school. The cheater in high school who stole the test beforehand and aced it, causing everyone’s grades to be tossed out. And now there is the person who gathers at the dog park, the playground equipment, or the baseball field, causing all city parks and trails to be closed. It never fails.

And, amongst those ranks are the people who do what is right, what is the next right thing to do, and follows the rules and directions. There are, fortunately more of us than the other kind. Continue being a good citizen, ok? That is how we will all survive this quarantine and the aftermath. Do what’s right. Be grateful. Learn to smell the roses while being cautious of the thorns. Thank you for reading today. I deeply appreciate it, and hope to see you again tomorrow. I’ll be here. See you then.

Sunny Saturday

It is a beautiful blue-sky, sunny day in Gretna, Nebraska. The day reminds me of one that starts out cool and turns beautiful. Like when you rise early and load the car to go on vacation. You remember vacations! I imagine we’ll all want to go on one when this Coronavirus is over. It could be awhile.

I’ve always thought these to be stunning, but not too functional. Perhaps their time has come?
This is pretty much all on my mind today.
Blog, write, and later some block sewing. And thinking of our grandkids. I’m missing them all!

The kids and grandkids are all on my mind this morning. I’m praying for all of them, hoping all are well and going to stay that way. In the family are: a chef, a Federal Law Enforcement Officer, his stay at home wife who is a great homeschooler, a truck driver, a real estate agent, two who manage trucking of railway goods delivered to trainyards by the Union Pacific railroad (essential personnel), a health care worker, and a project manager director. Some of them are parents of our four grandkids, two in Omaha area, one in Maryland, one in Colorado. That’s a lot of diversity and some important, essential people on that list. They may be more exposed than most, and we have to keep living our lives. With common sense at the helm.

Common sense for them will be adequate distance from others while on the job, probably avoiding the subways, and washing their hands – a lot. All we can do is check in on them once in awhile and pray we’ll all come out on the other side of this ok. I believe we will. If not, we will learn how to deal with the end results.

The Babe tells me the last time he felt this way was in Vietnam. Not having any idea of what will happen is the feeling of loss of control. I get it. My feeling of loss of control was in December, 1995, when I had a tumor compressing my spinal cord and in a week lost the ability to walk without assistance. That was the worst feeling in the world, as my daughter was still at home. My sons had just moved into an apartment. I had to get better for my kids. And for me. The Babe had his wife, Sandy to come home to. He was never the same for her.

I would bet every adult who has had a feeling like this is having flashbacks, dreams, whatever there is that tells us we know this could go very badly. Acknowledge them. Don’t let yourself dwell on them, though. Yes, we were afraid after 9/11. We need to remember how we, as a country of free individuals, came to a new normal. A new normal of a free people. We will do that again. Things will not be the same as they are now. Hopefully we will be appreciative of people who really matter in life. Doctors, scientists, first responders, nurses, truck drivers, train operators , and our military all keep our counntry going. It’s time we reorient our thinking to look up to people who really make a difference in our every day life, not sports figures, movie stars, celebrities, and people who are famous for absolutely nothing. I find it very sad we need to get a Kardashian to go on social media to get young people to understand they need to stay home while school is out. It tells me some have lost their concept of real life. You won’t find it on a reality show, despite all you hear on social media or television or in the movies.

In the meantime, keep yourself busy with positive things. Create something with words, music, paints, anything you may have around you. Be inventive. Write a note to your Grandma or Great Uncle and mail it. They will love it! Talk across the fence to your neighbors. Take your dog for a walk. It’ll do you both good. Get some fresh air. Thank you for reading. I’ll be here tomorrow and hope you are, too. Now for some creating!

These folks have my deepest respect and admiration.

Fabulous Friday

It’s nearly the end of February 2020, and I’m looking at readjusting my Goals for 2020. It has to be done. I have honestly wondered if I could have adult ADHD or ADD and have come to the conclusion of “No, I just love too many things.” That can be a problem, just as not having creative juices flowing can be. I need to go back to my right brain thinking, and make some Goals based on all the things I dearly love to do. I’ve come to love blogging, and it will be at the top of my writing list.

Much as I want to learn to draw and brush up my creative lettering and calligraphy skills, they will have to wait for a bit. Even if they need to wait until January, 2021, right now they need to. I just don’t have enough time in a day to do these things. I deleted all my emails pertaining to classes on these topics, I just have to ignore those opportunities for now. Done and done.

Right now, I volunteer for Benson VFW Post 2503 as the back up newsletter person and the one who posts newsletter to their website. For a few years now, the website has seriously needed a facelift, drastic plastic surgery, or something to bring it out of the 1990s and into the 2020s. I am involved in conducting an investigation into the cost to move to WordPress, which is what I use for my website/blog. Along with that, I am still planning on adding pages to my website, and as my books are finished, they will be included on my website. The websites have different functions and purposes, so I’m not worried about doing them both for awhile. The goal is to make it much simpler than it is now so someone from the VFW can assume the role of Administrator. The current package doesn’t allow for simplicity. At least I did self-learn it over the past four years and became fairly proficient at it. Old coders never die, they just are assigned a Legacy System!

So, it’s back to plotting These Walls DO Talk, creating the family that lives in the house where the walls know so much of them. No, it’s not science fiction, and the walls don’t REALLY talk, but too many memories exist there. You’ll see.

And then the wall art I’m creating with quilting kits I’ve had in inventory. The Poppies will grace our wall when I piece, layer, and quilt it, along with the colorful Dahlia that will be on display in our newly painted bedroom. The lovely new tools I purchased for drawing, doodling, coloring, and painting will have to wait for now. Sometimes I extremely dislike being sensible and grown-up.

Here’s a little quilt I did about three years ago when we moved into this house. I loved the colors, and I’ve always been fond of elephants. I machine pieced it and hand quilted it, and it was to hang in our old plain colored bathroom. Fast forward to today, and after the painters completed the lovely shade of purple bathroom, it suddenly doesn’t go anymore. It goes perfectly in the living room. There is truly a place for everything, and a time for everything. I just try to cram too much stuff in a day.

My Elephant Quilt

I love this little guy. It adds a touch of brightness during this late winter time. Later today, I’m going to cut out the pieces for the beautiful Poppy Quilt and maybe get started on that in the next day or two. I also need to sandwich the Dahlia quilt for quilting. That will be easiest, since it doesn’t need any sewing together at all. It’d be great to get those both done during March. Working on them will be my reward for working on my book. Mental rewards are a great incentive, aren’t they? Food rewards are frowned upon anymore, but Mom used to promise dessert if we were “good.” We never knew what “good” meant, because we always had homemade chocolate chip cookies in the cookie jar. She baked them every week. The neighbor kids loved them. My nephew Don Kraft makes them every time he visits Omaha, on the last day in town. What a neat tradition, from such a neat guy.

Thank you so much for reading today! I will see you here tomorrow, and we’ll have more fun. Have a beautiful Friday.

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!