Monday Habits

TRUTH!

We have all done this at one time or another. Some folks are geniuses at it. There may be perfectly valid reasons people do this. Often it’s a matter of conditioning. You may have learned it from childhood. I catch myself sometimes asking the Babe if he’s mad. He says, “No.” I need to stop that. Sometimes it flashes back at me from when I was a kid, if Mom got mad at you or someone else, she wouldn’t speak to you. It is pretty passive-aggressive, and we’d walk on egg shells the next time we’d be around whoever she was mad at. It took me a long time to learn you can be mad at someone and still have them in your life. You get over your anger and include them in your life again. Most of the time. I rarely saw people reconcile their differences. My parents never argued in front of us kids. Many didn’t. But you can rest assured, my kids and I always talked things out. So do the Babe and I. Most things don’t bother him at all. I’m glad. I’ve learned to be a lot more easygoing, too. Life is so good.

YES!!

I know we sometimes get off track when we try something new, be it a way of thinking or new habits for better living. There is always a happy medium, we just have to find it. The days I am out on errands of helping Mom are days it’s hard to readjust when I get home. All the great habits and good intentions in the world seem to be out the window. It’s time then to read a good book, research my characters, tighten up a story line, or just watch a mindless movie. It all helps clear my head. I cannot stop, I can only pause.

Mom just cracks me up sometimes. She said last night her TV quit working. It’s black. Nothing happens. Between her fear of using remote controls and her failing vision, it’s hard to tell what is going on. She has this idea, however, that only her sons know how to troubleshoot TV, Cable, and remote controls. I’ve told her many times I’m the tech geek in the family. I had to learn from the kids when they left home. I’m pretty good at it now. But you know, when you’re 90, you still don’t think girls know what boys do.

Using all my technical experience and education, I can assure you the problem is solved. She needed new batteries in the COX Cable remote. Worked like a charm then. She got the TV seven years ago, and this is the first time she’s had to change batteries. Wow. With all due respect, I wonder if she’ll outlast the new batteries? Time will tell.

We have to be patient with our elderly, after all, they taught us all the good and useful things we have retained. Until we had our own view of the world, we saw it through their glasses. Now we have our own visions, many learned the hard way. It’s still good you’re at the place you are now. All of that, whatever it is, made you who you are today.

Yes, they should have!

We’re picking up Addison later today, and going to late lunch. I finally understand why old people eat dinner at 4 p.m. You’re done for the day, won’t have indigestion from lying down and trying to sleep with a full stomach, plus the meal is cheaper. And we really aren’t that hungry anyway. Things always have a way of working out, don’t they? I appreciate you taking the time to read, it’s something I appreciate a lot. See you tomorrow, hopefully earlier. Then we’ll get more done, right? Enjoy!

Another Sunday in the Suburbs

It’s almost noon in Gretna, NE. We’ve had a full morning, and are getting ready for the crew we hired to come paint tomorrow. When we first moved in three years ago, the Babe painted the living room, kitchen, two small bedrooms we use for studio/office space, and our bathroom. ReBath made a tiny ugly shower into a beautiful thing. It’s all handicap ready for when the time comes, if it does. The lady that built the house had it constructed that way. Mostly all door handles instead of doorknobs. Wonderful for us arthritics! The one door with a knob is leading to the deck, and I struggle with it. But it’s a good test of what you’ve got or not.

So builders grade paint is nothing but a dirt magnet. We had the kitchen and living room share a color called “Mimosa” on a couple walls. The others are neutral. My studio/office is my favorite color – Yellow. It’s happy, bright, and makes me think of sunshine. The Babe’s office is a smoky purple, grey in nature. We brought the paint from the old house, didn’t get the guest room painted before we sold, and we liked the color. The guest level is professionally finished by Thrasher, I believe. It’s nice. The colors are very neutral and clean.

Our colors are getting a bit crazy, but who cares? We’ll have a Caribbean Blue bedroom, with a darker accent wall. The laundry room will be neutral, one accent wall grey in the living room, and the extra bathroom will be a delightful Grape color. It should be fun, and I’ll be glad when we get the carpets cleaned. We’ll be ready for spring. And for the puppy to be spayed. She’ll be six months old on Valentine’s Day. What a gift! A brown eyed yellow lab! Love her to pieces.

Character cards. Opening scene card.

Thanks to Sam, my wonderful editor, I have moved the whole story around. The family home is the scene, and Katie is my main character. An only girl in a family of boys. Seven of them! Wow, I can relate, but I only have three brothers. Some days, that was way too many. She is the dependable one, and most of the brothers are afflicted by the disease of the family – alcoholism. It’s not just a matter of drinking too much. It’s a mindset of excesses, blame, secrets, lies, and abusive behavior. Katie has broken free from the curse. She recounts how lonely that has been, but is glad she learned these lessons, and had a sixth sense about the whole lifestyle. Nothing was ever made better by having a beer/glass of wine/shot/highball or whatever. Nothing was ever made better by “needing” a drink. Society has fed the dragon, and only now can Katie see how she has been blessed.

This family is a conglomoration of many I have known, observed, and read about through the years. People end up in some terrible situations because of their vices. I know I have. I have made my worst relationship mistakes because I was lonely. That is the God’s honest truth. Parts of Katie are me, other parts are not. For the record, I consume alcohol. It has never controlled my life. I don’t need it. I won’t drink if I’m upset, need to make a coherent decision, have someone depending on me. I can have fun and not get in “fights” if I drink. All in all, not a big deal.

As I forward to my manuscript, wish me luck, creative thoughts, excellent spelling, perfect words, and good concentration. It’s just a matter of getting it done. And you’ll be the second to know when I do. I really appreciate your reading, your support, and you always come back to see what will happen next. I do too, because I don’t know either! See you tomorrow.

Finitely Friday

There are only twenty-four hours in this highly touted day of the week. When you are working for a living, you cannot wait for it to arrive. What do you do once it’s there? Maybe we put too much into this one day a week, why should all it’s siblings have a lesser fan club? Especially Monday. What happens when you are retired? You have six Saturdays and a Sunday. Those days are not that different, one from another, and it is difficult for new retirees to keep track of what day it is.

When I was moved into early “retirement” in 2000 due to my health, I was kind of a mess. I was only forty-eight years old and was a newleywed. It just didn’t seem like something I should be doing. It was hard. My body let me down and I was a bit angry about that fact. As one of my brothers’ said, “That’s what you get for taking care of yourself.” Well, maybe.

I have since recovered from the overwhelming feeling to explain my early departure from the working world. When I told my doctor I couldn’t do it anymore, he said, “I’m surprised you made it this long.” What? And the rub is it’s one of those things a person cannot identify on sight. That may be what made it so hard. That and my age. And the fact after keeping it together through being a single mom, college student, friend, sister, you name it, that it finally was my turn. Bitterness could have easily taken over.

I met the Babe right after that horrible illness, and he was more than ok with me having a hidden illness. His mother battled MS for most of her adult life and he was well aware of people who lost their health. From watching his interactions with her over the years, I came to know what type of compassionate caregiver he is. And he is. Like most men, he’s a better caregiver than patient, but that’s another story. Initially I felt I kept him from doing things, but he said no, he’d rather be hanging out with me. And it turns out we’re perfect for each other. Sure, we get frustrated. We’re human. But in the long run, neither of us will give up or quit on the other. And that’s a quality I”m glad we both have.

Each day we have is the same twenty-four hour period on the clock, calendar, and moment in time. I had a boss who would take Monday off instead of Friday for a long weekend. His thinking was everyone takes Friday, Monday can be less crowded and just as special. Just a little change in thought, and powerful things can happen. Try it. You might like it. It could change the way you view your world, life, and creativity.

In the creative realm, for those who create things from other materials, you need to strike while the iron is hot. While the ideas are flowing, get them down, cut the fabrics, paint the pictures, write the words. And then coax them to become their best. I cannot say, “Friday is not a good day for creating, come back Monday,” because the idea most likely will be lost forever. Write down a note to spark the memory when you are able to capture the idea more fully. After a while, it won’t matter where or when you get those ideas. You will be able to make a note then coax it back into a more full statement. Practice. We all have enough time for that.

Don’t wish your life away. Make the most of each twenty-four hour trip around the sun. Give thanks for each day no matter how bad it can be. Tomorrow could be worse, but chances are, it won’t be. Some days the best thing you can say about it is, “It’s over now.” Do-overs. How lucky we are to have one every day. We may look back and decide these days weren’t so bad after all. All the Thursdays, Tuesdays, and Sunday nights have the capacity to be awesome. Just like we do. Every day people. Doing extraordinary things. Every day of the week.

Thank you for reading today. I’m grateful you did. I’ll be back tomorrow, and hope you will be, too. See you then. I’m off to work on my second chapter in the novel re-write. Go figure!

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.

Monday with All the Magic

It’s been a little weird the last few night’s sleep-wise for me. Lexie had an upset tummy for a day or so, and she wouldn’t stay on the bed to sleep. We don’t like her roaming the house at night because a couple times she had an accident or two. She’s old enough to know better, so not sure what that was about. We make her go out at night now, and night for us can be 8:30 p.m. I can’t stay sitting upright any longer, and Dan goes to sleep. I watch TV until maybe 11 then lights out. But Lexie would have none of that. So she slept in her kennel two nights.

I read an article stating women sleep better with a pet. In that couple hours before I turn off the lights, I massage her ears, her neck, rub her belly, etc. She was tired after being sick. I hope she sleeps well tonight. And me, too. Six a.m. is an early call without enough sleep!

I am shocked to hear after two weeks off for Winter break, one local public school was not in session today. They gave the reason of teacher planning day. What??? It just seems they could have at least gone four days and taken off Friday to make it look good.

Next month I am doing a challenge for Art. The idea is to create a small work of art every day for 30 days. I’m taking some photographs of sunrises, close-ups of objects around the house and some photos of the dogs to use as models of what to draw and paint. Just a little practice every day should be manageable.

Tomorrow I’ll have a day at home before a couple more days of taking Mom where she needs to be. After a quiet month with few appointments for her, there are three this week. I hope to get a lot of reading about my story structure done.  It will make getting started a lot easier.   

Thank you for reading tonight. I appreciate it a lot. And I’ll see you here again tomorrow.  We’ll talk about story structure.

Sunday Fun

We always start with the best of plans. We went to Church at the Gretna UMC. They only have one service, 9:30 a.m. It is a nice little country Church and the people are friendly. Pastor Gary Main has visited Dan when he has had surgeries and he makes sure pastoral care is on the top of his list for serving the people. We are glad to be in such a Church family.

We drove to the VFW Post for Dan to print some paperwork. The Babe decided a burger was in order on the way home, and before you knew it, the clock read 3:00 p.m.  We finished taking down the Christmas tree.  The room looks bare, but now I have my recliner back in its rightful place.  Ahhh!

I’m in off the ledge, folks, and don’t feel so overwhelmed.  I found some software I’m experimenting with, called Pro Writing Aid.  Has anyone ever used it?  Let me know your thoughts.  I used the software on a shorter book I’ve written, called “Grandpa’s Gone”  It’s about when my grandfather died on Christmas Eve when I was twelve years old. It is something you can’t help but be remember every year.  The software had some good suggestions for my book.  It is one of several I hope to publish this year. 

Between the software and the book I’m reading about structuring novels, it has set me back on the right track. I might request a trial of Pro Writing Aid and run my novel through it. It could point out a lot of beginners errors I have made. Helpful tools are out there, and I’ll use them every time they make sense. A person is never to old to learn something new. Or start something new. It’s my mantra. What is yours?

Have a nice evening and thank you for reading today. You know how I appreciate it. I’ll be here tomorrow and hope you are too.

What day? Friday?

Hopefully, with no holidays next week, we’ll all be back to remembering what day it really is. Just about the time I remember which day it is, the Babe will say, “Really? I thought it was . . . ”

Busy again today. I took the quilt to my friend, and we decided to go to breakfast. It was so nice to get to talk without interruptions. We had some errands to do, and here we are, now. My brain is so full it almost hurts. Goals are great, and birthing them is worse, it is so hard figuring out which way we should go. There are so many choices.

My Mantra

In cleaning out e-mails just now, I discover I have a few free classes I’ve signed up for and never watched. If I’m still interested in them, I’ll keep the emails, if not, they’ll get deleted. Have you found yourself signing up for free things, or am I the only one?

All part of tidying up my mind to make these goal decisions. I will need to learn about posting on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. I already have an author page on FaceBook, and have a blog on WordPress. The website will develop more after I publish my first book. So that is a goal that is written down. Now to figure out how long each step will take.

Tomorrow, I will start reading my novel and assess how it flows. It has been out of my mind for a month or so. This is the time to do it. I’ve been told I need more dialogue to demonstrate what is going on. This is called showing, not telling. It’s amazing how I thought I knew what that is, but found out I made the same beginner mistakes every author does.

New Art Work for my Studio

I love old typewriters. I love pictures of them, replicas of them. I even have one on my business card. Since my battery is almost dead, I’m going to stop for now. I can’t wait to start reading and rewriting tomorrow. Thank you for reading, I appreciate it. I’ll be back tomorrow, and hope you do too.

The Last Day of 2019

I’ve been quilting today. For the first time in a long time, I’m using invisible thread. It’s not something I dreamed up as a prank, there is truly invisible thread. It keeps me from having to change thread over and over to make it match different colors on the quilt. Anyway, it’s challenging because it’s nearly impossible to see. It taught me some patience today, and I’m grateful for that. If it was easy all the time, where would the fun be?

In the back of my mind, I’ve thought over and over about things that would be great to accomplish during the brand new year that begins tomorrow. Why wait until then? You can start today, tomorrow, or a week from now. The two main things are: 1. START. 2. KEEP MOVING. All steps that keep you moving towards the goal, however small they are, will get you there. How do I know?

I know because a few goals have been very important in my life. When my dad was dying, I talked with him about the only regret I had. At 37, I had not graduated from college. I got married at 18 because I wanted to, and was divorced at 30. I had a couple years of community college level classes and had earned a programming certificate and started working in that field. My dad said, “Just keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll make it.” I have remembered that my whole life. I graduated from college in 1995, twenty-five years after I graduated from high school. Yes, it took a long time, and it was worth it. Having my degree in my forties made me more marketable. It was hard, raising three kids, working full time, and having a life. My kids were so good during that time. They had a good example of someone working towards a goal.

My point with all this is we set goals all the time. We take up a new hobby, we decide to spend more time reading or playing piano, or spend more time with our spouses and children. Whatever it is, start doing it. Keep doing it. You will not be sorry. You will be happy you did. My dad taught me so very much. As a little girl, I remember if I went somewhere downtown and had to walk to a store, he would take my hand. I could hardly keep up with him, but he slowed just enough so I could. He teased as most dads tease daughters. I was so proud to go places with him. I’m a very lucky woman to have had such a gentleman for a father. If he were still alive, he would be 96 years old tomorrow. He guides me even now, thirty one years after the last time I talked with him. He is missed.

My new reminder for 2020. It will spark a great memory and spur me onward.

Tonight, the Babe and I are meeting friends at the VFW for the annual New Year’s Eve dinner and dance. The band is DayBreak. It will be fun to see our friends after a few weeks of being other places. Dan doesn’t drink, so we have a designated driver. I pray for all of you to be safe, make it safely home, and wake up well tomorrow.

Thank you all for reading today, I appreciate you taking time to do so. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope to see you then.

The Magical Day is Here!

We are just relaxing at home for awhile before going to a friend’s home for Christmas Dinner. We have enjoyed holiday dinners with Lou, his daughter Beth, and Dan’s daughter Tracy, husband TJ, and grandchildren Addison and Gavin. We have done this for several years. Lou’s wife Sharon was Tracy and Blake’s aunt. Sharon’s sister Sandy was Tracy and Blake’s Mom. This would make a good character line for a novel, wouldn’t it?? Sandy, Sharon, and I were friends. Yes, I was lucky enough to be friends with these two great ladies.

They both passed away from lung cancer, the same kind their mother died from. We have formed sort of a family, the group of us. Lou invites us for many family celebrations. Today, Christmas, 2019, is a celebration of not only the birth of Jesus, it will be the first dinner in Lou’s rennovated lower level of his home. He was among those with devastating loss after the flood last spring. The lake house has never, in over fifty years, been flooded. This past year, the once in a lifetime flood happened. And boy, did it. Many houses in that area are still waiting to be repaired. Luckily, Lou has many good friends and contacts in the construction industry in the Omaha area. He is retired but is what I still consider to be one of the good, honest, and reliable businessmen in the business. He is a wealth of information of how to get things done. He is a good friend to Dan and me, and he was always there for the kids when Dan wasn’t. I owe him a big one, too. If he hadn’t offered Dan a job at Watkins Concrete Block Co., Inc, Dan and Sandy would have never moved to Omaha. I probably would have never met him. So I’m thankful for Lou. He has indirectly affected my life and it’s outcome.

It was a beautiful day and meal. Lou is an excellent cook, and we all had tasks assigned to finish the meal off. The conversation was wonderful, lots of stories, lots of love exchanged. How lucky we are to have spent the day with such good people.

Now starts all the end of the year clearance sales, the weight loss ads, the gym ads. Don’t pay a bunch of money for something you won’t do a month from now. Remember any day is a good day to start a new behavior, to break a bad habit, to make a change that will be beneficial in the long run. Any day is a good day to start.

Thank you for reading today’s very short blog. I hope your Christmas Day has been a good day. It’s whats in your heart that counts. I’ll be back tomorrow, and back at working on the quilt, then the rewrite of my book. See you then!

Magnificent Monday

Today was a wonderful day. The Babe and I had separate things to go do, so he went to the VFW Post, and I picked up my girlfriend to go to a movie. What a life we retirees live!

We saw “Richard Jewell”, directed by Clint Eastwood. It was very good. I can’t help but feel sorry for the Richard Jewell’s of the world, people who have good hearts, know lots of things about the subject at hand (bombs), and are sweet men who take care of their mothers. Everything that could go wrong does. It is very interesting that he is very observant and ends up being correct in his assessment of the backpack bomb. He was smarter than the government. The G-men were pretty terrible. I know there are some who are very bad men (and women). They are nothing like the G-men the Babe and I know, and have met. Trust me, Babe’s son works for the government. He and his colleagues would never behave in this way.

I went to the Target after the movie, and was amazed at the people shopping for Christmas gifts. When we bought gifts for everyone, I was always done by December 15. Seriously. Either I made gifts for people, afghans, dinner napkins, ornaments, fleece pullovers, jackets, or something personal. Always. I enjoyed it a lot. As I’ve gotten older, it’s tougher to crank out gifts like I used to. Not as much time, and there are so very many crafts and hobbies I really enjoy. And now that I’ve added writing to the mix, it’s a toss up as to what I would do for the people in the family. My siblings and I don’t exchange gifts, neither do Dan’s. We have stopped doing gifts with our adult children, and we do for the four beautiful grandkids. Most of the time they or their parents want gift cards. It is just not as it used to be. And that’s ok.

I cannot imagine being financially secure enough to buy whatever my kids wanted. That never happened in my life until after they left home. I started out behind the 8-Ball and was just catching up twenty years ago. I earned whatever minimum wage was in 1982, the year I was divorced. That was $5 something an hour. $200 a week, minus taxes. I can hardly believe that. In those days, I could walk to Woolworth’s downtown and put stuff in layaway for my eleven, seven, and four old. I’d pay weekly or monthly, and get the gifts out near Christmas. That’s what they received. I don’t think they lacked anything. Certainly not love. My mom used to tell me when you finally had enough money, it just didn’t matter anymore. And she was right.

The best Christmas eve I ever had? It was in about 1986, I had sold our family home, and I rented a house near 84th Street and the Interstate. My younger kids were picked up by their Dad, the oldest who was 15, did not want to go. He stayed at his friend’s house, and missed the 5:30 p.m. pickup. His dad made his brother and sister tell him where the friend lived, so he stopped by there on the way. Frank, Jr., was so embarrassed, he wanted to die. I don’t blame him. You just don’t embarrass your fifteen year old. Ever. When I picked him up, he said he wanted McDonald’s for dinner, so we went there. As we ate burgers and fries, he told me how he wanted to do things in life that were different than his dad wanted him to do. He expressed his opinions about things, told me he’d rather not go visit his dad, and I told him his thoughts and needs should be acknowledged. He was fifteen, after all. We had a wonderful time together as time went on, and one thing I really miss is going Christmas shopping with him. We would shop for hours for his brother and sister, and have lunch, and go to Menard’s for more or new decorations, it was so much fun. I miss those times to this day. It just hasn’t been the same.

So now, in 2019, as we near 2020, the Babe and I have two grandsons, and two granddaughters. We love them all. Two live in town, two live out of town. We wish we could spend holidays with them all and their parents. It just is not possible. As life is, we are here, and they are not. They do their thing, we do ours. It’s substantially different than I ever thought it would be. And that’s ok, too.

The reality of this changed world we live in is we sometimes need to give up on our dreams and hopes of how life should be. We need to take it as it goes. That is very hard to do. Once we relax into a different normal, it’s ok. It seems like normal because it is, it’s our new normal. And we need to embrace that whoever we are, and wherever we are. And I finally have this year, at least I think I have right now. It could change twenty four hours from now, but for now, it needs to be different than I always imagined. We will all be all right.

Just so we make an attempt

Yes, an attempt. We need to admit things will be different. That is not always bad. Sometimes it’s very good.

And today, as I purchased my $52.00 of groceries at Target, I was glad I wasn’t buying last minute gifts, things I forgot, or things unexpected company might like if they happen to stop by. I bought a card for the Babe, and that was it. Bagels and Yogurt. That’s it. No stress.

No muss, no fuss. Do I wish all the kids were coming home? Heck yes. But since they are not, they will probably be in their own homes, where it’s familiar for their kids. That’s what Christmas is, it’s for the kids. Not for we adults. I may be way off base, but I’m delighted with what we have. At least for now. We love them all, and love that they can handle their own families. We raised them to do that. Way to go!

Thank you for reading today. I will be here tomorrow, when it’s really Christmas Eve. I hope you will be as well. It’s kind of a big deal. We’ll talk about that. See you then!