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.

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.

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