Simply Saturday

It’s another rainy Saturday in Gretna, NE at the home office and studio. It’s been a lot of outside hard work for these two older folks all week, in between rainstorms. Not all the plants are planted into the dirt yet, hopefully tomorrow. I am making a public announcement right now. I am unable to continue gardening like I used to. It was nothing to dig stuff out, replacing it with my preferences instead of the previous owner’s. Not any more. I’ll have to hire a grandkid who doesn’t mind getting dirty. That’ll work. My body just can’t do these things anymore. Period. Acceptance.

It’s now officially summer. Peaches, tomatoes, watermelon, cukes, zucchini, blueberries, sweet corn and strawberries. Yum.

Yesterday, one of our errands was to establish a relationship with the folks at Huffman Produce. They have only one stand open right now, West End of Village Point in Omaha. June 1, the other locations will. Check Facebook and you’ll find them. Good stuff. I love this about summer! I’d rather grow our own, but as I just admitted, I’m probably past that type of activity. I can still enjoy the result.

There was unrest in Omaha last night as protesters filled the intersections of one of the busiest intersections in Omaha. The Police were assaulted with water bottles, rocks, fireworks, and verbal insults. Why does it always degrade to this? Yes, protest. Don’t assault anyone, don’t burn the place down, for Pete’s sake. It just doesn’t have to happen. Haven’t we learned how to avoid all this? Why can’t we just get along? All I can do is pray. And be good to the people around us. And speak up when people talk smack about people of color, police officers, etc. Talk the talk. Walk the walk. I want us to be peaceful. It’s about damned time!

After a year of COVID-19, job losses, death, economic downturns, now we have riots? Please, God. Make it stop.

All of the ugliness will only stop when we humans stop misbehaving. All of us. All of the time. My faith hasn’t failed me yet. I doubt that it will. We will find a way. Please start in your home and neighborhood. Right now. If you learn nothing else during the Pandemic, learn kindness. Kindness across races, religions, sexual preferences, economic and political differences. Differ but be civil.

My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak and broken. My buckets of water are symbolic at this point in my life.

I truly do want to carry water for those in need of it. But for now, I will collect things to share with others. I will take them to the female veterans who are homeless. I will look for other ways to help. There is always a place in need of what you have to offer. Be aware. It’s essential to our very survival as a race.

Thank you for reading today. I have a lot of “homework” after my conference with the book coach this week. I love investigating things. The Internet makes it so very easy to do so. What a miracle it is, when used properly. Blessings abound. Be careful out there. Wear your mask. Wash up. Get some fruits and vegetables fresh from the farms of America. It will make you feel so good! Love your family and your neighbors. It’s a great start. I’ll see you back here tomorrow. Peace!

Mobile Monday

A Sunny Day or Six Would be Great!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

COVID-19 Blues

When I opened WordPress this morning, I was greeted with a meme that wished me Happy Anniversary. It was one year ago today I started my website and blog. I established it and wanted to learn more before I dove in headfirst. You see, I don’t swim. At all. Water terrifies me. I can use pool noodles and not hyperventilate, but take them away, and I sink. It’s a fear I’ve never overcome. I’d rather speak in front of an auditorium than try to swim. And I have spoken in front of an auditorium. I emceed a dinner at Metro Community College once about twenty five years ago. Probably a thousand people attended. Bob Boozer was a speaker. I knew nothing about it until the emcee was sick and they called me. What a surprise! I lived to tell about it.

I blogged a couple times between April and July, 2019. When we tragically lost our Roxie was when I started daily (almost). I can see a lot of differences depending on the day, and I’m glad for those of you who continue to follow. As soon as I finish my book and get closer to publishing, I will add website pages, about ordering, what we’re working on, and whatever else that entails. But as of now, we’ve met over two hundred times! That’s a lot of blogging, a lot of reading, writing, and a lot of trying to decide what to talk about. Thank you for bearing with me.

I’m sure you all know how much I love quilting. In ten years, I hope to see the improvement in my writing just as I’ve seen the improvement in my quilting skills. At first, I thought I’d never be able to make a nice quilt. Quilters always feel the need to confession, sort of like the Catholics do. It’s not necessary at all. Most of the time, no one else even notices mistakes. We are often our own worst enemies. Writers are also their own worst enemies, believe me.

As a quilter, a lot of friends have shared this pattern with me. I purchased it, and it arrived a couple days ago. I love the irony there is in this piece. The overs and unders of roll placement, patterned vs. white, and the glaring example of that one piece left on the roll, half covered with glue. What good is that? Who does that? It might make a good raffle prize for the Nebraska Writers Guild Fallish Conference later this year. I’ll have to see if my good intention comes to fruition. It might make a good memory quilt for our youngest grandson, Cody, who was born in January, before all this hoarding started. That remains to be seen.

I just couldn’t resist!

Do any of you have the problem of enjoying too many creative endeavors? Like art, writing, quilting, photography, etc., etc., etc.? I do. It’s a hard thing when you like a lot of things. Even back in the 80s when I took a placement test at the community college to see what areas of interest I had. It’s hard when you like a lot of things. It’s great if you can devote enough time to each facet, but not if you are simply hacking away at each part. I did decide to forgo the art part until I finish the novel. And relax starting another one for at least six months, unless there’s a valid reason to start another novel right away. If a publisher is hounding me for a series, and I must get started quickly. It could happen. Not likely, but I’m new at this, how am I to know?

Once Bitten Twice Shy?

Wasn’t there a metal band in the 80s who sang a song “Once Bitten Twice Shy?” Through the blessing called GOOGLE, I find it was by White Snake. Yes, my oldest liked Metal and Hair Bands (Bon Jovi & Van Halen), heck I even liked those last two. And now you can hear them all on elevator music. It happens to all of us. My younger son Nick liked the boy bands, Pointer Sister, girl soloists, etc. Daughter? She liked the Death Metal garage band that went onto become the Faint. Yes, the Faint. She had a boyfriend (Mike) who was the lead singer/guitarist. She broke up with him before they got big. Funny how things go along. She now likes Country music, and they have their two beautiful kids, named after western heroes (Cody Wyatt) and a Country singer (Kayla Jolee). I can’t help but wonder what those kids will listen to. Hopefully not rap. Sorry, I just don’t like angry sounding stuff that rattles my fillings. I can even get to like lots of stuff, but not rap. Not in me.

So as I’m off to see if my plot will bite me again, I hope you have a beautiful day today. We have winter ick again, but it won’t last long. The last couple days I think I’ve given in to some of the COVID-19 Blues, and I don’t want to give away any more of my time to him. Not unless I could write a blues song about it like an old, wise, gravelly voiced black man could. With that life experience, it’d be a great song, don’t you think? What a character he would be. I think he could tell a lot of stories about lives he’s lived. But that’s for another time.

And thanks for reading today. I’m glad you were here with me, it’s given me a boost to keep working today. I hope your day is good. Do whatever you wish to. Reward yourself for staying in. We must if we want to emerge on the other side of this with our communities intact. Please don’t think you won’t catch it. You might not, but you could infect me. Or the Babe. Let’s be sensible. Thanks! See you tomorrow.

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.

Sunny Sunday!

Finally! At Long Last! It’s sunny outside. Not one cloud in the sky. Although it’s quite windy, I do believe there will be some good opportunity to sit on the deck or patio today. I’m currently in my studio to write this so I don’t get sidetracked as I did yesterday.

You may remember I’m not allowed by my daughter to post photos of them, their daughter or their dog. That said, I can finally share. On January 13, 2020, I became a Grandma and the Babe became a Grandpa again, to a little boy, Cody Wyatt. He’s a cutie in his pics and videos. They are quite private about their business, so announcement had to wait until now. Kayla Jolee is a big sister, and loves him. Until he’s being held. Then she wants to be held. You know the drill if you’ve ever been around babies. All is well.

So, every once in awhile, there is a different way people conduct their lives. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it’s just different. I have to respect their wishes, as they’re the parents, not me. So I try to do the best. There will be a little socially distant shopping in my future.

So today is going to be a productive day. I need this sunshine to perk me up. Seriously, I was getting down in the dumps, no matter how hard you try sometimes, and God gave us all a sunny day. After the forty days and nights of rain, God gave a rainbow. If that’s ahead, that’s great. The blue skies are plenty for me right now. We’ve been hearing birds singing for weeks now. You can pick out the Blue Jay calls, the Cardinals, and plain old chirping of Robins, but now we’re hearing a Woodpecker hammering away at something. You’d think those guys would get a headache from the constant hammering all day long. God thought of everything, though. I guess they don’t get headaches.

I’m all for going to buy more bird feed. The Babe’s not quite on board yet but will be. The Gold Finches are plentiful here, as are Cardinals and all kinds of birds I can’t even identify. A couple years ago, I bought binoculars as a shared birthday gift, since our birthdays are only two days apart. I need to make a point to use them this year. That and put orange peels out for the Baltimore Orioles. That one is tough for the Babe, he doesn’t want critters and varmints coming in the yard, but we can place it out of reach. We’ll figure it out.

Sometime today I’ll do a walk around the yard to see if any plants are sprouting. I need the reassurance the hardy stuff will do it’s thing here as soon as Spring is here to stay. It’s also a great time to spot any dandelions who may be sprouting already. Luckily, our neighbor who sported a completely full of dandelions lawn has moved away. The owner gutted the house (I hear it was really bad inside) and I hope he included some extensive lawn service along the line. It has to be an improvement.

You know, in our old neighborhood, we had quite a diverse population. No kidding, folks from China, Pakistan, the Ukraine, Viet Nam, and others we couldn’t identify. The front yard of the Pakistani people was filled with trees. No kidding, a peach tree, a couple apple trees, beautiful evergreens, and plants all over too. I think the reason they did that is they never had a green space before. Can you imagine living somewhere you had dirt, no toilet, and little else? They were the nicest people. After 9/11 they were taunted by folks that didn’t live in the neighborhood. I’m glad they didn’t leave, they were very good citizens. And a side of karma to their naysayers: Their boys had scholarships to college, and not long after that, they were driving Porsche’s. Good job, young men. You did very well. I hope the rest of your lives is so productive.

Stretch your legs today. I need to. Crazy, heartbreak, unsureness, you can leave today. Leave your key, and stay gone. Laughter, Love, Living, come on in and stay. I’ll give you a key. But not those other guys. They’re gone. Immediately. Thank you so much for reading. I appreciate you keeping up with me, it’s been a downer of a week, we’re better for it, though. New Life. New Love. New Laughter. We’re going outside! C’mon back tomorrow, I’ll be here! Coronavirus be damned! Stay home and wash your hands. We’ve been thrown out of better places.

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.