Tenuous Tuesday

I’m amazed the results are not in for the Caucus in Iowa. I never knew what that was until several years ago when my eldest son, Frankie, went there to get autographs from Bill Clinton, Hillary, and several others. He watched the process and told me what went on. I just can’t help but wonder how in the world we rely on hand counting people, who can move from one section of the room to the other, and be counted several times if someone from another group can persuade them to come to their side and be counted. Is there a minimum number of people participating? It seems the groups we saw on the news were only older people, I mean my age and older, and some impressionable high school kids.

Don’t get me wrong. I was an impressionable high school kid once. And the first time I voted for president was in 1972. I voted for Nixon, because he ended Vietnam and my husband came home early. I suppose there are worse reasons to vote for someone. But ever since then, I’ve been disallusioned by the process. And the lack of good candidates. And by how you can lie instead of telling the truth. And now, social media can really sway people who do not do their own fact checking.

I was an independent for the majority of my life, neither wanting to be Republican or Democrat. I am probably a liberal conservative now. I have grown to ask how things will be paid for before I think it’s a good idea. Being a Computer Systems Analyst and Coder for a number of years has brought out the information gathering in me. Getting all the information is important.

I voted for Al Gore in 2000, because I didn’t think a former baseball team owner could be president. I was wrong. I came to respect George W Bush for his leadership after 9/11. I actually became a Republican. It has caused some rifts in my family, but I cannot stop other people’s feelings. We have to respect people for who they are in their hearts, not for their political party. As an American citizen, an aging American woman, I feel our country has the best hope being led by someone with business experience. I have felt that for a very long time, if government were run like a business, there would be more attention paid to financial details, and less to hand shake deals, good old boy buddy systems. I believe as a nation we need to all examine our moral fiber and go back to thinking of God, family, faith, nation. What does that make me? Someone who believes in America, what it stands for, and that life is primarily good. People are primarily good. The world is a beautiful place. The grandmothers of the world can help teach our children the world will be as good as they help make it. We have to respect each other, authority, disagree respectfully, and work very hard for change that is good for all of us. There is no free lunch anywhere. Not even at Grandma’s house.

There will be those who refuse to read my work because of this revelation. Sorry you feel that way. It certainly isn’t my intent. My intent is to tell you I care about the shape of the nation and the world. And as the politicians, who left Iowa without any results, ran off to New Hampshire to troll for more votes, different caucus, same rhetoric, I’m still here. You left us in a lurch. We Grandma’s have a lot of influence, character, intelligence, and moxie. All the while we had no rights, we really ran the base of the nation. The family. Our unit of responsibility. We raised the children who bore the children who rose to greatness. Whatever party they were. Those who had good moral character, made their decisions after much consideration. I shudder to think it matters more now what party the person is representing than their character. That is not what Dr. King had in mind, or in his heart. We must come back to finding our similarities, not our differences. Come back together. With respect.

Thank you for reading today, it was a tough one to write. I try to stay middle of the road, but gee, sometimes you just can’t. Come back tomorrow, and we’ll look at some writing stuff again. See you then!

Super Bowl Sunday

STOP!! This has nothing do to with the football game later today, except to say I’ll be watching later. I’ve become a fan of Patrick Mahomes, and admire this very young man for how he is handling the intense spotlight. He comes from good stock, as his father was a professional baseball for the Minnesota Twins. It’s a great story. Hard, hard work, dedication, confidence, humility, generosity towards others, it’s all there. This is a story like many others of us who work day after day. Month after month. Year after year. Some of it is very hard and others never see it. As we build our foundations concrete block by concrete block, others resort to the poured walls method we see in construction now. It’s a quick way to get the job done, with fewer materials and less (much less) labor costs. Many block and brick layers are no longer in business, but the trade misses them. Just like many trades today. Hurting for skilled, dedicated workers, who are not afraid of hard work, and who will go the extra mile to do the job right. I have always been a huge fan of men (and now women) who can work with their hands. We need them all desperately.

Part of what we need is the mindset that comes with those professions. Not afraid to get dirty. They are really artists when you get down to it. A framer can eyeball things and often come up with the right measurement and right angle to cut the wood. Just to be safe, they measure and cut. Yes, mistakes are sometimes made, but not like people who have no idea what to do or how to do it. It’s that way when trying to learn new skills. Whether it be carpentry, block and brick wall building, quilting, writing, sewing garments, or blogging. Practice is needed. Sometimes years of practice. And the better materials you can afford, the better your outcome. But you can still do the job if you have budget concerns.

My family is a family of people who learned how to do many things by building and creating. My dad owned a full service gas station and garage after WWII. He sold it before he went to Korea. He could always listen to an older engine or drive the car and tell you what could be wrong with it. He was skilled that way. He could work with electricity in the house, (plumbing, not so much), building walls, (finishing and refinishing woodwork, he could do it all. My brothers have followed suit. My mother sewed a lot of our clothes. She did flower arranging about twenty years ago, when she was a youngster of 70. My older brother was good with cars and due to his small stature, ran many of the first computer cables in the old Omaha World Herald building in the 1980s when the computer age was beginning. He is good at the guts and workings of some electronic things. A younger brother worked as a machinist, a draftsman, and now works for that gutter guard company. The youngest brother works for CAT, or whatever they’re calling themselves these days. He is a mechanic, and is very good. His people skills make him perfect for the customer service he provides. They’re all good guys. I’m a lucky sister, indeed.

Then you get to me. Growing up, I learned embroidery, as did many young girls in my time. I learned to sew in high school, and even sewed wool suits for my career in computers (coding, application development, etc.) because I was a single mom with three kids. It’s how I could afford to dress for the next job I wanted. I was glad some of those homemaking skills were so handy. Now, the kids are raised, two grandkids need rides or watching weekly, and two live too far to participate daily in their lives. I always thought I’d have a constant influx like my grandmothers did. Nope, didn’t happen. Now what? Learn new stuff. Learn how to reinvent yourself.

I was delighted earlier today to see a Facebook Post that depicted a 98 year old woman in London who had her opening art show. Yes, at 98! Ahem! That phrase across my face at the top of this blog?

I’m not too old, and it’s not too late!

Click link for article about the 98 year old artist.

So commences the I Art Daily challenge from my friends at I Create Daily. Yesterday, I prepped fabrics for the Snowball Quilt I’m making. I’m allowing one day a week to sew this beauty. I only want to finish by next winter, so no hurry. And I dug my milk crate full of art supplies out of the closet in my studio. Going to jump in today, did a little planning yesterday.

Ah, the possibilities!

Sometimes in planning, we need to look back at last month just to see where we are. I’m further along than I ever dreamed I would be. One goal in 90 days was to learn more about Social Media promotion of my blog, establish myself as an author, and gain a following. Interesting enough, the social media part was the part that ran out in front, thanks to the Nebraska Writers Guild Social Media training. If you’d like, join the Guild, and you’ll have access to this, too. You can find them at Nebraska Writers Guild. Does my heart good that even while I was feeling as if I was behind again, I really wasn’t.

And more possibilities!

Yesterday, I mentioned my friend Shannon Schofield, a newly published author from an I Create Daily writing group we both belong to. Here’s a link to her gritty tale of her life, bad choices, and her redemption. I applaud her for telling her tale. I have not read it, but as soon as I can purchase it in paperback, I will. Here is that, too.

And, here’s a link to my author Facebook Page. I’d love to have you follow me there as well. WordPress automatically posts there everyday to let you know the blog is up. I hand post to my personal FB page as well, but sometimes I get busy and forget. All new stuff. All good stuff. All stuff that will get this last third of my life going to be the best of the whole thing. I’m planning on living another 30 years, at least. How about you? Thanks for reading today, I got a little talkative. Just ask the Babe. I do that sometimes. See you tomorrow, I’ll be here. Hope you are, too.

Such a Sunday

On this day, in 1979, my beautiful daughter Rebecca made her appearance on earth. She was about a week late and I was so ready for her to be born. She is an ultrasound tech (I think that’s her title) in Colorado. She lives with her husband, Brian, and her baby girl, Kayla. She has been in Colorado since 2001. I am sure she will never return to Nebraska. She was a very independent child, and it should not surprise me that she is a very independent woman. That independence keeps her very busy and engaged in life, and I rarely get to see her. I hope that someday that changes. I had always made time for my kids if they were to come visit. I cancelled a quilting class with someone I really wanted to see to go visit when Kayla was six months old. It was easy to give up quilting with my idol to see my daughter. I do not see people going to this length to be with family most of the time. Life is just different than it used to be. We can change that if it fits our family. If not, Mom’s like me need to find other purpose in life. Mine is creating. Writing, quilting, and sewing.

We have been away from a television and news all day. It is a shame, Kobe Bryant dying with one of his daughters. He was a very talented basketball player, and I’m sure he has influenced many kids to play the game. I hope he could influence the same kids in making good life choices, in understanding hard work, dedication, keeping promises, work ethic, business ethics, and working towards a good moral character. These things leave a bigger legacy than being a star basketball player. Work on a legacy of good character and you will be great at other things.

Yes, we live in a fragile world. You never know which turn will be the one where your time is up. Make the most of every moment you have so you have no regrets. Too many people wait and end up sorry they did. Don’t. Make that phone call today. You won’t regret it.

Today was busy, too. The Babe and fellow VFW Post 2503 Honor Guard members had their photos taken. They are a group of the best guys. They are good to me when Dan is ill, and all have a concern for him out of camraderie and respect for his work as Quartermaster. I love to see them all look out for each other. They take me aside from time to time to make sure he’s ok. It’s heartwarming.

The weather will be kinder this week. I am spending time in my studio and making sure detail are fleshed out about my additional characters for the novel. Like anything else, once I dive in, it will all start to fall in place. Gotta start somewhere. Going to do a little reading tonight, catch up on the newspapers, the novel I’m reading. Cozy up and love your family.

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

Friday Frolics

Here it is, late in the afternoon, and I’m again just starting to blog. It’s been a busy last 24 hours. Mom had PT today. Inspiration hits a writer at the oddest times. This morning, for instance, I was brushing my teeth, getting ready to leave the house to pick up Mom.

And an idea came to me about some brothers I need to add for my novel I’m rewriting. They will fit nicely into the theme of the story which is people can escape family “curses” if they learn there is another way to live. And some of these characters will escape, others will not. Some will not even realize they’re doomed. It mirrors life.

When the therapist came to the lobby for Mom, I pulled out my cell phone and typed as fast as I could. I couldn’t let this idea evaporate into thin air. It happens more than I’d like to admit, so noting it was a good call. I just finished embellishing the notes from this morning onto note cards, one for each of the characters in the novel. They all have their shortcomings. Some over come insurmountable odds to beat, heal, and grow. Some overcome nothing and blame the world for their ills.

And the Nebraska Writers Guild is making a push to get the authors’ books on Pinterest. Apparently the pins will stay fresh for an incredible number of days, while Facebook and Instagram do not. There is a member, Renie Loeffler Rutten, who offered to make board covers for pins for book covers and author blogs. I asked if she do one for me. I think it’s beautiful. Lovely. Here it is:

Look for my Author Blog Board on Pinterest. It will link you here to my website and blog.

I will let you know when any book covers are added. I am nowhere near to being finished with the kids books, but it will happen all at once, I believe. It’s such a neat thing, all of this free exposure for writers, readers, and other creative sorts. What a great time to begin writing!

It was another early to rise morning, and I think this will be it for me today. I am so grateful you visited today, and hope you’ll return tomorrow. You know I’ll be here. Thank you!

Stormy Weather

Neighbors, surveying the snow from Tuesday night.

It’s seen in neighborhoods all over the heartland after a snowstorm. The Babe (right) and our neighbor Terry (right) met up while both were clearing snow Wednesday morning. I had the perfect view while writing yesterday’s blog. Babe, you’ve still got it! One of my younger brothers had a girlfriend in the 80s that called herself the pocket inspector. Remember, buying jeans in the 80s and finding a little white paper in the pocket that read, “Inspected by #258. I’m #258! I’ll inspect your pockets anytime!” We all laughed. You just don’t see those tags anymore. Oh well, I’ll still inspect your pockets, Babe.

Unless it comes to laundry day. I do not look in pockets or at them. My kids knew to empty theirs, but the Babe often left rollerball pens in his work shirts. It hurt nothing until one went through the washer and went to the dryer, opened, and spilled ink all over everything (my lingerie). Oh boy, what a mess. He never left another one in a pocket while he was still working. Now, he doesn’t use them. Thank goodness.

Today was errand day. We picked up letters and envelopes the Post had printed for their annual building fund. We will stuff, seal, and label inquiries to about 1200 members of the Post and Auxiliary. We have an aging building that needs repairs and updating regularly. The Veterans before us worked very hard to build everything, the least we can do is keep it operating however long we can. Afterwards, we picked up Addison from school. It seemed like a hundred years since we picked her up! We all had a good laugh about that. They had a snow day last Friday, were off MLK Day, then another snow day. Hope they don’t have one tomorrow, but it could be. The weather will do whatever it does, and we’ll adjust.

I am not using this as my model, especially 5, 6, and the do-over of 1!

I chatted with my editor yesterday. I assured her I was not on the ledge, but admitted to myself and her out loud I was afraid to start re-writing. Maybe it wasn’t salvageable. It certainly is! It will be better than I could have imagined. It just needs help and lots of patience. I will begin with Chapter 2, as Chapter 1 was so full of backstory, I couldn’t believe it! Beginner’s mistake, and I’m in this for the long haul.

Thank you for checking in today, I appreciate it. And I’ll be here tomorrow, hope to see you then.

Magnificent Mondays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It delighted me this morning when I saw this:

Two Hundred and One Likes! Thank you!

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

Snowy in Nebraska

Today, it looks, feels, smells, and sounds as if it’s winter. The wind is freezing on your cheeks, blowing snow into your face and everywhere. Drivers backed traffic up for who knows what reason. The howling of the wind, the frozen air in your lungs, and frozen hands on your face, are enough to make us wish for Florida or Arizona. This weather can be great once the wind calms and the road crews sand and salt the streets. I love how the bare trees look with snow stuck on them. Days like these a gas fireplace is welcoming. A good book is not far away.

This isn’t even the bad part.

A heart full of gratitude helps a person become more aware of their surroundings, and in tune with the world. Makes sense to me. I have a sign hung at eye level so I can’t help but read it when I leave the bedroom. It reminds me to begin each day with a grateful heart. I smile when I look at it. I make a much longer list of gratitude than I do of complaints. Even on the crummy days. I get grumpy, though. The Babe can confirm.

After coffee and a nice hot shower, the day is a blank page on days I don’t have to take my mom to appointments. Today, I had my eyes examined. I ordered new glasses that will block the blue from computer screens. It is better for your health. The blue enters the retina and reduces melatonin. Melatonin is what you need to get a good night’s sleep. That should help tremendously. I look at screens a lot, but not as much as when I was programmer/systems/analyst.

Tomorrow I think we don’t even need to leave the house. I need to get back to plotting my plan of action for re-writing my book. Life has gotten in the way this week, but I should be ready for a couple good days of work coming up. One thing I know needs to be re-learned, and that is that after a “.” you only leave one space, not two. It is no longer necessary, and it ages the typist/writer. Funny how things change. Did you know when the typewriter was first invented they thought it too complicated for a woman to operate. Men were the typists. Go figure!

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