Friday on My Plate

It’s midafternoon on Friday, October 23. My oldest’s birthday was Tuesday, and we met for breakfast at Village Inn. I couldn’t tell you the last time we saw each other. He has crazy work days and since he’s in the restaurant business; he likes to relax when there is a rare day off. He works a second job cleaning the restaurant daily, so whether he cooks a shift or two, he is still up super early to clean. He has no responsibility other than himself, and he is a very hard worker. Always has been.

It became a standing joke between us what kind of card I bought him year after year. One year, I really goofed! I bought the same wordy, mushy card I bought the year before. Color me embarrassed! Plus, the mushy ones are long and – well, mushy. So this time I bought a funny one. It was a hit. He’s a good man, and I’m always happy when I’ve been around him. He just gets life. He is always happy, and contented, and doesn’t bother anyone. We reminisced about some stuff and laughed about many things. It was good. I walk away feeling like I did something right. What a great feeling for a parent.

It is a cold, windy day here at the home office in Gretna, Nebraska. Supposed to snow Sunday. I hope it does, Colorado desperately needs moisture. They predict a moderate snowfall to fall over the weekend. The edge of a fire is five and a half miles from my daughter’s house in Fort Collins. She sent the photo of their street yesterday afternoon. It was just like you see on the news. Orange, smoky sky. I pray she, her husband, and their babies and dog are alright. We appreciate prayers.

Rocky Mountain National Park is being pummelled by fire. A friend who lives in Scottsbluff posted on Facebook yesterday a call went out to anyone owning a horse trailer and truck, requesting they come immediately to help move some horses. The poor creatures! I also see photos of Elk herds, all gathering close to lakes in Estes. My heart hurts knowing this. It’s our favorite place to vacation and explore.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Babe removed all outdoor furniture from the deck and patio this morning. Our empty turquoise planters are on either side of the garage door now, waiting for me to create some Christmas decoration to put in them. I need some zip ties and wire, probably, to hold them together and sink the wire deep into the flowerpots, so nothing blows away. First time they do, we’re done with decorating.

The kids and I used to have a lovely tradition of lighting the house up through the Christmas season. They would put up everything during the day on Thanksgiving while I prepared our feast. It was a great deal of fun. We would have dinner between four and five, then gather outside in the street (we lived on a dead end so no, we weren’t in traffic!), and Frankie would throw the switch and Voila! It was magnificent, each year better than the last. They could go on the roof, play with electricity, and have fun being the men of the household, planning the display and working together to accomplish something good. I miss those times, too.

I am going to do a lot of computer work this weekend. I need to upload some things for the VFW Post website and get more active for both Instagram and TWITTER accounts, both for the Post and my personal author one. I also need to reorganize my workspace. I spent the whole Zoom session with Sam without my printed copies of what we were talking about. Right after our conversation, I looked down and saw my open leather satchel, unzipped, with papers and yellow legal tablets sticking out of the top. My papers! I forgot to take them out after my writing session at Panera’s Tuesday, while waiting for Mom to get finished with her perm. It seems like it’s been a very long time since Tuesday. I need to just sit and read a book or two. It’ll happen again, this weekend.

Stay Safe, friends. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Careful out there. Hoping to see you again tomorrow. Thanks for reading today.

Thursday, or Friday’s Plain Sibling

Do you like Thursday as a day of the week? If Thursday had feelings, it would probably not have good feelings. Like if you are a boy or girl with a perfect sibling, one that behaved impeccably, got perfect grades, with swimsuit model good looks. I know how that goes. My older brother earned very good grades in school. I wanted to be as smart as he is. Until someone told me I was as smart, and smarter. That made me feel good.

If he was sick, he wanted to be alone in his room. I wanted someone with me. That was not a bad thing, since children are different. I was told, “Why can’t you be like your brother?” That left me feeling like something was wrong with me. I was Thursday. A perfectly good day on my own. I was just not Friday. I did my thing quietly. My dad would come into my room when I was sick and play checkers with me. He showed me how to stay cool as a cucumber when I could see I could double jump someone. He was tricky that way. He even taught me to wink with sunglasses on. So people would know I was winking at them. That was a big deal when I was four. It was fun and passed the time.

Young parents today may not realize how it hurts a kid to be compared to a more successful sibling. Please stop doing it. It is hurtful. We are not them. Thursday is not Friday, and never will be. Why wish for a different day when you have a perfectly good one in front of you? Thursday can be productive or relaxing, snowy or clear, memorable or something to forget. But it can never be Friday. Ever. No matter how much you compare it. It can’t be Monday, either. Now that’s a day no one seems to wish for, either. Even less than Thursday.

Monday can be ready for you to start anew, give it your best, and have a different outcome than you did last week. Just follow with that same enthusiasm on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. Go to those new days enthused and you won’t believe what you can achieve when your expectation is not overshadowing what each of these beautiful twenty-four-hour units of time is on their own. Just like people. Similar, but not carbon copies of each other. God does not make them that way. Neither are people copies of each other. Or kids. Or babies. Or teenagers. Or retirees. Or baby boomers. Thank goodness for the variety we have in the people and days that surround us. Spend them wisely. Treasure their differences and similarities.

I think because the holiday weeks differed from the regular weeks of the calendar, I’ve had a time adjusting to the full week schedules now. I have been thinking Thursday was Friday the past two weeks. I love Thursdays. We get to pick our granddaughter up from school. Seeing a young person who is eager to tell you what they did at school is fun for us at this stage in our lives. It takes me back to when my kids were middle school age, and their descriptions of how their days went, all those years ago. I have that same memory Monday, Wednesday, and Thursdays every week. And I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

I hope you enjoy this Thursday and all it offers. I hope you value each of your children, grandchildren, neighbor kids, etc. for all they offer. Thank you for reading today, I appreciate the time you took. I will be back again tomorrow. I hope to see you here. Enjoy!

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.

Suburban Saturday

Maybe Gretna, Nebraska isn’t considered a suburb, since it is it’s own little town. We don’t associate closely with Omaha, or Papillion and LaVista, so I suppose I should have titled this Small Town Saturday. The gist of it is, I’m snug at home, working on a quilt that has a darling scene on it. After it’s gifted, I will make sure to post the finished project. It’s a labor of love. Tomorrow, if time permits, I will begin quilting it.

I simply love to create things. Whether it’s with words or fabrics and thread, I love the whole process. My parents instilled in all of us a great imagination. Some of that, I believe, is from reading. Reading in and of itself helps create things in your imagination, your mind. Whenever I read a book as a child, I usually pictured scenes in my head. The characters were real people. Sometimes, the people resembled the characters in television shows or movies we saw. It was my brain, making something concrete out of something in my imagination, that happened to come from a book. Maybe that is why I still love fiction to this day. To think next year, I will see my name on the spine of a book I wrote is a thrill beyond belief. It won’t be without hard work. My goal is to get the process of writing so ingrained in me that it will be similar to doing a large quilting project, or a remodeling project. I’ve done lots of those over the years. When I was a single mom, it’s how my sons learned to use power tools, and make things. I had learned from watching my dad, and was able to teach them some basics, and with the help of shop class (before schools did away with it).

While I was working on my project today, it occurs to me to be mindful of those who dread the thought of Christmas. There are many, many people who are alone this year. I have been in that position, and it is hard. Yes, I had my children, but it was not the same as having an adult man to be in a relationship with. God blessed me with the Babe, and he even asked me to marry him on Christmas Eve, 1997. I couldn’t make that up. It was wonderful.

Some folks aren’t happy with their lives for one reason or another. Other folks need to make major changes in their lives to have a chance at staying alive until this time next year. Obesity, Alcoholism, Smoking, are all conditions people have control over. Their lives are dependent on it. All around us are people who are not secure in their lives and situations. Jobs can be unstable. Homelessness abounds. Children are cold and hungry. Women (and men) can be afraid of their partners. Abuse, both physical and verbal, is so rampant in life today, we cannot continue to turn a blind eye to situations in front of us. Find a way to become involved to help people who cannot escape these situations on their own.

My brothers have worked out with a cousin to surprise my mom tomorrow afternoon. You’ll see it here, I think we may render the old girl speechless, which is quite a task. Good job, brothers! Can’t wait to share it with you all.

Keep your spirits up this next week. If the holidays are hard for you, take heart. They are hard for me, too. I’ll tell that story later. It’s another one you cannot make up. I like to think of soldiers who are away from home, and hope they know how we appreciate their sacrifices. It’s tough on a family to be separated at times of family celebrations. We are such a great country because of our soldiers, who have kept us free all these years. Thank you all for your service.

First responders, nurses, doctors, workers in nursing homes, hospital workers, anyone in the service industries, know we are grateful for what you do. These are usually thankless jobs. Make sure to thank those who perform these duties.

Thank you for reading today. Let’s meet again tomorrow, and you can hear about our surprise for our 90 year old mother. I’ll be here, I really hope you are.

Snowy Sunday

It looks beautiful outside. It’s snowing, and who knows for how much? I thought we were on the edge of the snow line, but maybe we weren’t. We have the Cookie Exchange this afternoon, along with the soup supper, so I hope we all make it there and back.

Gavin was such fun last night. We watched a couple of Christmas movies and ate pizza. He is so easy to please. This morning, we re-watched the Grinch. When he got his clothes out of his bag to get dressed, he said, “And I didn’t even take my electronics out of my bag.” No, he did not. Between the dogs, Grandpa, and the movies, he was entertained enough.

Goldie is really loving the snow. She runs and plays and rolls over when she takes a corner too fast. It’s pretty sweet. Lexie prefers to go out, do her business, then hurry back in. Kind of like me. I could stay home a lot of times when the Babe wants to go somewhere. I’d rather snuggle by the fire, watch a good movie or read a book. Time goes by pretty quickly then.

This could be a busy week again, between doctor appointments, meeting up with friends, and working on a last minute special project, so I plan on just reading a book in between posting the blog for today and leaving for the Cookie Exchange. It’s fun to watch how the kids decorate their sugar cookies and carefully select which special one to enter the contest with. A good time is always had by all.

I really am looking forward to digging into my book again and assessing how to improve it along with the suggestions from my editor. This is the real stuff author’s do, and wow, do I ever appreciate their work, it’s hard to go from thinking you wrote something ready to publish and realize you really can’t publish it very soon. Humility is good for the soul. And the writers ego.

The good thing about doing re-work, is you really do get a chance to tell the story in the best way possible. Adding some points of view from other characters, for instance, will help you tell a more complete story. It also helps to define and refine the characters. Something I hadn’t considered by simply telling from a narrator’s point of view. A reader probably would lose interest in that. If you’re the praying kind, say a few for me over the next few months. It may take that long.

It has come to my attention this is about the 106th post I’ve written. That’s getting up there! I’m glad to share a little every day with all of you, and really happy you stop to read when you get the time.

Whatever you may be doing today, stay warm and safe. If you’re where it’s sunny and hot, then have a cold one for me. Thank you for reading today. I’ll be here again tomorrow, and I hope you are, too.

Nativity and Angels with a few Santas. It’s all good