Beautiful Sunday

It’s a banner day in Gretna, NE today. Cool enough for a jacket, but not in the sunshine. We took a little drive earlier and saw a lot of people out at trails in Sarpy County and just hope they socially distance as is advised. Reinfection in Round 2 will probably be bad. Let’s try and prevent doing that.

The Facebook Live event Jimmy Weber did last night was top shelf. So many good songs. So many good new songs. It was a delightful way to spend a Saturday night. The only way to top it would be in person. Soon, my friends, soon. Here is a link if you either missed it or would like to watch again. I’m sure I’ll watch again. Enjoy!

The masks are ready to be shipped out. We stopped by my mom’s while we were out and dropped her mask off. She has talked it up to some folks and asked if I had enough fabric to make a few more. What a question for a quilter! Don’t quite have the time. On a mission! Needing to complete my book and a couple other projects. Time’s a wastin’!

Our Goldie has discovered her voice. Oh my, can she bark. She is alerting the Babe to the fact he needs to toss her rope and ball toy off the upper deck. She runs down the steps, grabs it, and runs back up the steps. Wears her out! She has strongly suggested a couple times a day that it’s play time. And walk time. And food time. We cut her back to just one cup of food twice a day. She was getting a little plump. She has filled out too nicely. She should thin down during the nice weather. She loves to run in her yard. We have a big lot, and I laughingly refer to it as “Raabe Ranch”. I’ve even listed it as a place I check into. It’s kind of fun. Yes, I’m easily entertained.

One thing I’ve noticed since this quarantine has started is The Babe and I seem to talk some smack to each other. He has a great sense of humor. I’ve always loved it if I can make him laugh. He’s laughing with me a lot lately. (or is it at me-hmmm)? Any other empty nesters notice that? Despite being married for twenty two years, we still can make each other laugh. I love that about us. Hope it never stops. Laughter helps a lot of things go better. And, love cures people. Both the one who gives love and the one who receives love. It’s a win/win when you look at it. And it’s not just the physical attraction part of love. It’s the deep, respectful, spiritual kind of love when your soul is involved with theirs. It’s the best. I wish it for all of you.

We are going to be in this quarantine/social distancing for quite a while I believe. I want to be sure it’s safe before I venture out too much. I’ll wear a mask. We might have to do that for a while, too. What we need to try not to do is worry. More time has been spent worrying than anything. More sleep has been lost that way. My mom worries incessantly. Maybe it is a badge from that generation of Mom’s. I didn’t worry. I’d be concerned about some things my kids were doing, but I didn’t lose sleep over it. Maybe I’m not a good Mom. My dad always told me not to worry until I get all the information about a situation. Then I could act on the information and would not need to waste the time and energy on worry. I’m so glad I learned that from him. Try and practice it. Your anxiety will reduce. Your rest will be better. Your outlook will improve. Most really awful things we fear never happen, do you know that? Worry doesn’t prevent the loss of anything but our peace of mind. Incessant worry is a learned behavior. It would be great to unlearn it. You will feel so much better.

Have faith. Have hope. Love your people. Appreciate everything. Thank you for reading today, I hope it finds you well. Let’s all stay that way. I’ll be here again tomorrow, hope to see you then! Hang in there and hang on.

Monday Madness

Hi everyone! It’s been a very busy day, and I’m ready for a relaxing time!

I went out today for the first time in about three weeks. It felt weird to drive, although the streets weren’t too busy. If felt like I was going against the rules by being out, although it was to go to the doctor, for a regular check-in.

The first thing I noticed was the half of the first floor that is a gift shop sort of area was stripped bare. Nothing on any of the shelves. It made sense, since people touch the merchandise, so it would spread the virus. Can’t have that. I missed the gifts. They have such unique, reasonably priced things. I hope it’s back in October when my next check up is. My mammogram won’t be scheduled until they start seeing patients in that area again. If I find a lump or whatever, since I’ve already had breast cancer, they’ll schedule one, but not annual ones yet.

Miss me some baseball!
(And my hairdresser!)

When you hit 65, they see you every six months. Medicare also requires a mental health eval once a year. It’s ten questions dealing with depression. I’ve known this Doc for probably twenty five years. I’ve trusted him with my life and the Babe has done the same, he is very thorough, very good at problem solving, and not afraid to perform tests to get answers he doesn’t want to put off getting. We had time to visit a bit, too. He said this pandemic is not going to get better until there is a vaccine. With every place infected on a different timetable, the virus will ebb and flow over and over. I think this makes sense. It won’t be over until we are vaccinated. Period. I’ve heard others say this too. This is reality. It’s not negative, it’s how it is.

I told the Doc it’s hard to fill out that depression eval during a pandemic. I told him sometimes I’m afraid. He said he understood. It’s a big deal. It’s changed all of our lives in ways we never could have imagined. He said we need to do the best we can and pray a lot. Good advice for all of us. And being afraid is normal.

I’m amazed despite being aware of the bit of depression I’ve had, it has affected everyone. People have described it as feeling as if you’re in a fog. Like your head just isn’t right. I think once people can get outside and enjoy the weather, plant in a garden a little, and feel the sun on our faces, it will start to feel normal again. There is something in dirt that releases hormones in us as we fill flower pots, dig in the garden, and see the beauty of the nature we are nurturing that makes everything right with the world. My world will be much more right when I see if my hydrangeas are still alive or not.

Thank you for reading tonight. I appreciate your time. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope to see you then! Stay hydrated. Keep your spirits up. Stay home, wash your hands, and all that. Have a good evening.

Sunny Sunday!

Greetings from the Home Office Studio in Gretna, Nebraska! It is a scrumptious day out there, a bit chilly, but the sun is shining. That makes all the difference in the world. As you know, with all this social distancing going on we are not able to go out to movies, shopping, stop off and have a beverage, and go see our favorite musical entertainment. I shared yesterday about our friend, Jimmy Weber, who did a gig last night from his home. It was so good to hear him sing live again! The seating was great, no lines at the ladies room, and they stocked our favorite beverages! There were a couple technical issues, but that stuff is even happening to Netflix these days. (Buffering is still alive and annoying while watching your favorite series’ new season!). That aside, he sang a lot of his new songs that will be recorded later this year in Nashville. Hope they’re ready for you, Jimmy! Stay well.

Today, our friend Rick Tiger and a friend are on FB Live from 4 to 6 p.m. Tune in, you’ll know you’ve heard Rick’s songs before. He’s written a treasure trove of them. He’s a good guy, and you’ll feel you’ve known him forever. Thanks in advance for supporting our friends!

While high school athletes and seniors mourn the loss of their time in the sun, there are couples all over the world who are having to postpone the most important day of their lives together – their weddings. I truly feel sorry for them as weddings are something they look forward to for months and even years. How disappointing to have quarantines in place, where no more than ten people can gather together. Some can’t even include their entire families!

Which brings me to the point of this story. My cousins Mike and Mary have four grown kids, three girls and a boy. The son is in college, so they’re all grown for the most part. Their oldest had a wedding scheduled for yesterday, April 4. After much discussion, they went forward with the ceremony, in the groom’s parents yard. They were so blessed to have such a pretty day. From the photos, it was a beautiful wedding. They adjusted. They got through it. They didn’t like having to change their plans, but they did. They were grateful and everything went well. That’s what being married is about. Things don’t always go the way you want, but a compromise is found, and you go on, being grateful for the gift of each other. It’s a testament to their parents and to Marc and Katelynn too, for picking out the important part and going with it. You kids are off to a great start.

In addition to adjusting, you also need to keep your sense of humor in marriage. The Babe and I have found it to be our most important and most used tool in the arsenal. While going through the photos online, we were blessed with this one. It was the groom’s idea, and it truly speaks to their sense of humor and grace, and will be a story to tell their grandkids about. I absolutely love this!!

What a great way to start a (COVID-19) marriage.
With laughter!

Do me a favor? If you get down in the dumps over all this staying at home, come back to this blog post, and have a good laugh on Katelynne and Marc! Congratulations to them!

It ought to be interesting, my cousins Mike and Mary have another daughter getting married in August, 2020. I wish them the best of luck in keeping their schedule amidst this looming crisis. This is a family who believes in their faith, the goodness of God, and the kindness of people. They will all be ok. I hope the same for all of us.

Better days are coming again.
Be aware and receive them fully.

At the present moment, I have to say, this isn’t the worst bad time I’ve had – yet. Sometimes, as a single mom, I thought we might go bankrupt, but that worst never happened. Sometimes, as a single mom, I prayed my kids would have enough of a teacher in me that they would break the stereotype of “bad kids come from broken homes,” and they grew up good, responsible citizens. (I still hate the term “broken homes”to this day). Sometimes, as a breast cancer patient, I was afraid the cancer would have a mind of it’s own, destroying my life and taking me from this earth, but it didn’t. The list goes on and on of the things that would qualify as my worst hard/bad time. Yes, many could have happened, but by the grace of God, they did not. I am praying for all of us, that this global pandemic, is not any of our worst hard times.

Thank you for reading today. I hope it made your heart a bit lighter. I appreciate you very much, and hope to see you again tomorrow. Who knows what fun we’ll have then? I’ll be here.

Marvelous Monday Morning

I’m actually starting this on Sunday just after posting my Sunday blog. Today (Monday) Mom starts her individual therapy for her back. I think she has eight sessions and we’re hoping she keeps using these mechanics and newly gained strength as she gets back out in her flower gardens this spring and summer. We talked to her doctor last fall (I spoke for my younger brothers and myself) about our seeing Mom as losing strength and tottering around, since her balance is impacted by her diminished vision and her hearing loss. Mom was not happy and felt picked on, but when I left, the doctor must have told her how lucky she was that we not only noticed her failing, but actually said something. Mom’s a very stubborn person and is hard to mention something that could be improved. And, as her ENT says, “All old people lie.” I like that statement, because they do! They all want to stay at home even when it becomes unsafe for them to do so. Many old folks turn the comment around, and point out things they don’t like that you do, and that makes it worse. At any rate, I hope she learns what she needs to so she can stay in her home for at least another year or so. Steps are dangerous at her age, and the bedrooms and bathroom are on the second story. Lots of opportunity for a disaster, especially adding in a cat who wanders all over the place. Yikes!

This is a special date for the Babe and me. On March 2, 1996, we met each other for our first date. The guy kept following me around and convincing me he wasn’t going anywhere. I folded like a cheap tent. Seriously, I did not have a great dating record. I picked people that weren’t right for me, and once I got over that, here comes this guy that tells the truth. He calls when he says he will. He wants to spend time with me. He thinks I’m wonderful. And I think he is. And he says, “I love you.” in the first week we’re together. I say, “Oh, no you don’t. You can’t. You won’t.” I just don’t want another disappointment. And here we are, married for 22 years this October. He’s not going anywhere. Neither am I. He’s my best friend and my greatest fan. I’m his, too. I told him it would be an honor to be his wife. It still is, Babe. So on this, our 24th anniversary of knowing each other, I say, “Thanks, Babe. For being who and what I always hoped for. I had been told it didn’t exist. But I found it in you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Love you.”

October 3, 1998 – we were 46 and 48, respectively. Babies! Photo courtesy of Janet Nichols.
Lucky us, to still have each other. This year, we’ll be 70 and 68, respectively. I’m his much younger wife.

The Babe is a man of his word. He vowed to turn my hair gray when we got married. Nearly twenty two years later, see what a good job he did! It’s been a wild ride, mostly due to health issues. Cancer (me), heart disease (him – over and over), a stroke (him), carotid artery surgery (him). From the beginning, we thought we’d be lucky if he lived twenty years – and he has beaten that number and we reap the benefits of it every day. We are grateful.

Enough mushy stuff, as my son Frankie would say. It’s pretty overcast this morning. We had a snow shower, but only in the back yard. There are piles of snowflakes there, but the front yard is bare. Go figure! This past weekend was Addison’s first Dance Competition, at the MAC in Council Bluffs. Waiting to hear how she did, but usually she’s high in the rankings. She has eight dances this year, so there are eight opportunities to shine.

It’s time to finish cutting out some fabric for my Poppy quilt. It’ll be good to have something new to hang on the freshly painted wall. Quilts will be my Art for the rest of the year. I want to concentrate on publishing my books, and quilting, not add any more to my plate. The Nebraska Writers Guild has created online training for Authors posting on social media. The concentration right now is on Pinterest. I need to make some time in the next couple months to learn this well, so it becomes second nature, kind of like Facebook is. So many pieces to create your marketing plan. It’s amazing.

Thank you so much for reading today, I appreciate it. I’ll be here tomorrow, I’d love to have you return. Have a beautiful Monday.

Fabulous Friday

It’s nearly the end of February 2020, and I’m looking at readjusting my Goals for 2020. It has to be done. I have honestly wondered if I could have adult ADHD or ADD and have come to the conclusion of “No, I just love too many things.” That can be a problem, just as not having creative juices flowing can be. I need to go back to my right brain thinking, and make some Goals based on all the things I dearly love to do. I’ve come to love blogging, and it will be at the top of my writing list.

Much as I want to learn to draw and brush up my creative lettering and calligraphy skills, they will have to wait for a bit. Even if they need to wait until January, 2021, right now they need to. I just don’t have enough time in a day to do these things. I deleted all my emails pertaining to classes on these topics, I just have to ignore those opportunities for now. Done and done.

Right now, I volunteer for Benson VFW Post 2503 as the back up newsletter person and the one who posts newsletter to their website. For a few years now, the website has seriously needed a facelift, drastic plastic surgery, or something to bring it out of the 1990s and into the 2020s. I am involved in conducting an investigation into the cost to move to WordPress, which is what I use for my website/blog. Along with that, I am still planning on adding pages to my website, and as my books are finished, they will be included on my website. The websites have different functions and purposes, so I’m not worried about doing them both for awhile. The goal is to make it much simpler than it is now so someone from the VFW can assume the role of Administrator. The current package doesn’t allow for simplicity. At least I did self-learn it over the past four years and became fairly proficient at it. Old coders never die, they just are assigned a Legacy System!

So, it’s back to plotting These Walls DO Talk, creating the family that lives in the house where the walls know so much of them. No, it’s not science fiction, and the walls don’t REALLY talk, but too many memories exist there. You’ll see.

And then the wall art I’m creating with quilting kits I’ve had in inventory. The Poppies will grace our wall when I piece, layer, and quilt it, along with the colorful Dahlia that will be on display in our newly painted bedroom. The lovely new tools I purchased for drawing, doodling, coloring, and painting will have to wait for now. Sometimes I extremely dislike being sensible and grown-up.

Here’s a little quilt I did about three years ago when we moved into this house. I loved the colors, and I’ve always been fond of elephants. I machine pieced it and hand quilted it, and it was to hang in our old plain colored bathroom. Fast forward to today, and after the painters completed the lovely shade of purple bathroom, it suddenly doesn’t go anymore. It goes perfectly in the living room. There is truly a place for everything, and a time for everything. I just try to cram too much stuff in a day.

My Elephant Quilt

I love this little guy. It adds a touch of brightness during this late winter time. Later today, I’m going to cut out the pieces for the beautiful Poppy Quilt and maybe get started on that in the next day or two. I also need to sandwich the Dahlia quilt for quilting. That will be easiest, since it doesn’t need any sewing together at all. It’d be great to get those both done during March. Working on them will be my reward for working on my book. Mental rewards are a great incentive, aren’t they? Food rewards are frowned upon anymore, but Mom used to promise dessert if we were “good.” We never knew what “good” meant, because we always had homemade chocolate chip cookies in the cookie jar. She baked them every week. The neighbor kids loved them. My nephew Don Kraft makes them every time he visits Omaha, on the last day in town. What a neat tradition, from such a neat guy.

Thank you so much for reading today! I will see you here tomorrow, and we’ll have more fun. Have a beautiful Friday.

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.

Thankful Thursday

My writing staff and I are having a meeting of the minds this morning. Goldie (front) and Lexie (back) got the Babe up at 4 a.m. again. He was kind and let me sleep until 8 a.m. What a great guy. Typically he wakes up earlier than I do, but also goes to sleep much earlier too. It all evens out, I suppose. While the Babe is off again on VFW business, I’m here, creating with the animals.

My creative staff and I are meeting this morning.

Goldie is six months old already, and nearly the size of Lexie. Being a purebreed, she has more outstanding features than a pound puppy, but that doesn’t mean she’s superior. No, not at all. You can tell the difference, however. She is a very smart dog, and needs stimulation. They all do. Kind of like people, really. All ages of living beings need outward stimulation for a balanced life.

Last night at the VFW, we had a reunion of sorts. A good friend moved away a couple years ago after losing his wife, and came to visit for the first time since then. Although we’ve kept in touch via Facebook and texting, this was the first time we had seen him. It was a beautiful reunion. I am so overwhelmed by the men of the Post and the hugs, slaps on the back, the closely held conversations of a few words that say so much, and the checking to make sure they have current phone numbers to contact later on. This is what a band of brothers is. Each of them welcomed him with open arms. They truly love and care for each other. You have to when you depended on each other for your lives. Camaraderie is a beautiful thing to be a part of. If you can witness it as I did last night, you are truly lucky. This is why our Armed Services helps make this the greatest nation in the world. These everyday men from all walks of life, came together as youngsters to do a job they were called upon to do. They did. They are all better for having performed their duties.

Some guys made the service a career, some did not. They all remember their duty, although don’t talk about it a lot, if at all. It’s better kept in their hearts. They show such kindness towards the older guys, and it is returned a hundred fold. Yes, there are disagreements. Yes, there are differences of opinions. There is one thing that holds them tightly together. America and their love for it. Money could never buy this if it were a commodity. You can measure it, however, since all have taken an oath to serve to the death. And they still would if asked. It’s an honor to know them and call them my friends.

I’m glad to have from today until next Tuesday morning to myself (and the Babe), to regroup and plan how the next couple weeks will go. Mom needs some additional therapy for her back, and I’m all for that, so it will be more appointments twice a week. They add up, but should help build her up to have a more enjoyable time in her flower gardens this spring and summer. Right now, the plan is to rejoin the balance and strength training in September through next winter to keep her as strong as possible. Every older person needs extra conditioning to keep living a good independent life.

This is a sunny, bright, beautiful day today. It is cold, we know it’s still winter, and it won’t last too much longer. It’s a great day to create something. I’m going to try my hand at some more water coloring for the 30 Day Art Challenge. I also need to cut more fabric squares for my Snowfall quilt. And I need to write more on the novel. The words have been coming out at a good pace the last several days, so I need to capitalize on that. Thank you for reading today. I will be here again tomorrow, and hope to see you then!