Saturday Fun Times!

So yesterday we went to the garden center and purchased some beauties. I planted a few things in pots earlier, and one in the ground in the front yard. A smaller hydrangea bush. It should look pretty good next to the butterfly bush that grew so huge last year. We’re planning to keep it trimmed up a bit as it grows, so it doesn’t encroach on the sidewalk to enter the house. Last year it needed to be trimmed a lot.

My back does cause considerable problems when I do work like this, so I sat down on the little front porch steps to rest it a minute. I untangled the wind chimes I purchased a few years ago at Shopko, when they were still open. It was tangled to badly, I was tempted to cut it apart and restring it. But then I started thinking about my dad. He could untangle necklaces that were twisted and tangled so bad you were tempted to throw them out. He was a man of incredible patience when it came to things like that.

I started thinking about him as I sat, trying to untangle the knots of all elements of this wind chime. The more I thought about him, the easier the tangle became. I was truly amazed at how the time passed, the tangles fell away, I thought of how my dad would work on things while working them out, I could smell the freshness in the air, I was aware of the coolness of the concrete, it was such a relaxing, enjoyable experience. And this was the result:

Late getting started, but the front is looking better.

I’m sure now I’ll have those heartwarming thoughts of my dad when I glance out the window while writing or sewing. I’m such a “just look out the window at this or that” kind of person. I hope to experience many more things like this when I’m looking away to let my eyes wander.

The Babe is mowing the yard in between working more on the birdhouse bench he’s building. It’s amazing how thick the grass in the back yard has become, despite the dogs being out and using it as dogs do. I used to think only retired people had nice lawns. I remember mowing our lawn on a big banked hill when my kids and I lived on Nicholas Street. My son Nicholas sure thought it was great to live on a street named after him. I do believe it was named long before he was thought of, but I didn’t want to burst his bubble. I have a bunch of plants to keep planting this afternoon, and I’d better get back to it.

There are a couple plants I need to plant in nicer containers, like the Hibiscus tree, and hope I can keep it alive this winter. Maybe remembering to water it will help, too. Since we have lost our great cleaning lady, we’ll be cleaning now and should be in a better position to be watering plants that need it. Yes, I’m sad to lose Lori, but she needs some benefits and to be more secure for her future. I wish her well, and am glad to have had her since we moved into this home. Good Luck!

Below is an overview of the flower garden the Babe fenced in for me. There are Columbine, a small Hydrangea, and a couple Asiatic Lilies down there. We’re going to lay down Landscaping Cloth and decide where the annuals go. I hope to get everything in and thriving by tomorrow afternoon.

Lots of Potential

There is something about this meme that I love. I do believe many of us have been doing this since social distancing and stay at home were introduced. I know it’s hard for the Babe to put into words how he feels, he just knows things are “off”. I feel the same way. It’s kind of like listening to someone talk, but you feel and hear like you’re underwater. Or you go somewhere and don’t think about driving there, but realize you are there. That’s the time to do like these two little guys do above. If you can’t or don’t want to talk about it, maybe you just need someone to sit with you. Quietly. Just feel the being together. It helps. Try it with someone you trust, love, and respect. It is the best medicine.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. Sit by someone you trust and love. Enjoy their quiet company. Or untangle your windchime from last summer. It will take your mind away from your troubles. So relaxing. I will be here again tomorrow, hope to see you then. It’s the Babe’s birthday. I’m off to bake a Red Velvet Cake. The store was out of German Chocolate. So the Babe bought our granddaughter’s favorite. Hope the others like it! Take Care. Drive Safely. Wash Your Hands!

Hump Dayyyy!

The week is half over, if you live in a regular Monday through Friday world. I have six Saturdays and a Sunday, myself. Without Church in the equation, it’s more like seven Saturdays. You know when a person is young, charting out their careers, families, their place in the world, they never have enough time. I remember talking to my Grandma Bobell one time, after my daughter was born. She was my third child, and although I didn’t work away from home, I was very busy. I did my own cooking, baking, cleaning, and a lot of things like that. I enjoyed sewing and crocheting, too.

I was visiting Grandma with my kids and she said, “Just remember, when you get old, you’ll have all the time in the world, and nothing to do.” She kept busy, but it was very sedentary. TV watching. Smoking. Reading. Smoking. It was a time when old people were thought of as just “old.” Glad that as I’m entering into my “late 60s” that we no longer think that way. She was a very intelligent person, read a lot, and studied a great deal about World History. She was well versed in Roman times and Greek eras. She knew exactly where she wanted to go when one of her daughters went to Italy with her. Grandma may have only been on a plane ride once in her life, and here she was, flying to Italy with Aunt Judy. To be a fly on the wall! She enjoyed seeing things she only knew about by reading. She couldn’t walk very well, so many of the tours she stayed on the bus. At least she was there.

You Can Only Eat an Elephant
One Bite at a Time!

One step at a time is how I’ve had to live for over 25 years, since a medical emergency caused a large portion on my spine to be disassembled without reconstruction. I have lingering pain, scoliosis, fibromyalgia and a bunch of other stuff because of it, but in those 25 years, one step at a time, have been beautiful! We’ve traveled, I met the Babe, we married, so did four of our five kids, become grandparents, and have a lot to look forward to in each other’s company. I’m so lucky to have found someone who didn’t take my “slowness” as a problem. His mother had MS for many, many years. I loved to watch how he was with her. I experience that same kindness and love when I have a bad day. Which isn’t a lot (when I actually complain) but when I do, he usually knows by his observations than by me saying something. God’s been good to me.

After talking with my book coach yesterday, I am deep into researching my main character. What do I want her to convey? What is her weakness? What can she show the readers that they can learn from? What can I learn from her? I don’t have it written down, but by writing it, I’ll know if she’s working or not. Then the rest of the story may be told. I need to touch very deeply on her emotions about things. To show how she’s changed and grown. Sounds as if that’s a lot of deep, thoughtful work. I’m eager to do it.

I have also discovered where the “extra” words exist and what they’re about. I have saved the ideas, to see if they fit into anything I have written. If not, they may be useful for something else. I’m just glad to discover where they were and that I’m really not missing a lot in the story.

My character learns this in her life. Her most important lesson.

Today will be another Wednesday Night Hamburger Night at the Post. Their special is Chicken Fried Steak, a real crowd pleaser. I’m not a fan, but usually that menu item is really a top seller. It will be great to connect with our friends again. It was a long time we were away from each other!

I find the information available about the ongoing pandemic to be kind of confusing. It is we just stayed home to ease the hospital run on ventilators? So when we go out and if we become ill, they just have ventilators for all of us now? So we avoided it thus far, does it mean we’re safer now? Our Test Nebraska site allows you to make an appointment to be tested whether you are symptomatic or not. Should we all be tested? What do you all think? Comment below, I’d like to know your take on it. I shudder to think what will happen late in the fall and next winter.

My character needs to learn this during her journey.

I’m hoping we are able to get some plants in the next few days. The Babe constructed a nice wooden fence (with a small gate) to keep my new plants safe from a curious puppy. He is also building a cute bench for extra seating or holding flower pots. We’ll decide after it’s finished. The back is shaped into different sized bird house fronts. They’re painted different colors. Not sure if it will go on the patio or the front porch. It would fit there perfectly, or we could put it on the deck, too. This is what makes new things fun, figuring out where to put new things you have made. We have fun!

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time so much. I’ll be here again tomorrow, and I hope to see you then! Stay safe. Wash your hands. Help your neighbor, wear a mask. See you!

Tuesday Fun

Mom had her last balance class today. I think she’s going to miss it, it was more social interaction than she wanted to admit and she enjoyed that more than she thought she would. Plus, she is stronger. She was a little wobbly after having lunch, and I made sure she got back in the house safely. No more now until her back therapy starts on Monday. So, here we go again.

There was a delightful lady in the waiting area talking with the coordinators before her individual therapy. She spoke rather loudly, and was so funny. She was English, and had a fun way of telling her story about why she needed therapy. She started back in the 1990’s, and gave a blow by blow description of every ache she had from then on. She talked of gardening and said, “What would an old biddy be doing gardening?” I haven’t heard that phrase “old biddy” for a long, long time. It struck me as rather funny. I would imagine those coodinators hear many a story, tall tale, and life story of the folks they have for patients. It would be quite a book, wouldn’t it?

I’m finishing reading the book by my friend, Shannon Schofield. It’s a story that follows the young lady telling it from childhood through adulthood and tells the trauma suffered and overcome. It would be an inspiration to a person who had been through similar trauma. Many, many people have stories of how they have come through the dark, into the light of healing, joy, and love. In these times, there is no reason for a person to suffer. Find someone who can help you through a doctor, educator, family services agency, or a clergy person. And prayer. The power of prayer is far reaching and complete. Give it a chance.

The rest of the week will be a good time to rearrange some storage stuff from Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and my snowman collection. Once that is done, I want to unearth my recumbent bike to start working out with it March 1. I want to use it for the next six months and get some exercise along with the knee injections I’ll get starting March 7. If it’s sitting in the middle of the room downstairs, I’ll use it. I’ll make myself use it. And I can read while pedaling. Win, win!

Whether an old biddy or an old broad, I want to be a work of art! The Babe already is!

Dan and I were young (in our 40s) when we met, dated, and got married. The comic Pickles (above) reminded us of our neighbors, Darwin and Pryllis. They were such great neighbors when I moved next door to them with my three kids. They were a watchful eye, a place to go if the kids needed help, and they overlooked normal teenage noise later on. Good people. Now, Pickles reminds me of the Babe and me. We’ve grown into that age of our lives. It goes by so quickly!

For all the jokes about Coronavirus, it is appearing to be quite a huge thing. The CDC is issuing warnings. We had better realize if we do have an outbreak here, it could very well mean we have to quarrantine in our own spaces. Americans, in my opinion, are going to be reluctant to give up their freedom to jump on a plane or into a car and go wherever we want whenever we want. If we have to stay home for any length of time, we had better prepare ourselves mentally for it. It would be in the interest of everyone should we have to stay confined. I’m not worried at all about the folks at the National Guard Camp in Ashland. What would concern me are the people who insist on going out when they are clearly ill – coughing all over everyone, sneezing, and contanimating everything they approach. And everyone. In the meantime, I think I need to stay stocked up on staples we can cook meals with, just in case.

I always love when it’s time to get out the patio and deck furniture and hose everything off for the season. It’s way too early to do it, but not too early to think about it. Once it’s warm for a good amount of time, I like to sweep the concrete patio and deck, and hose it all off to get the dirt off. The hose works great to clean all the screens off as well. The basement windows haven’t been cleaned too often lately, so it’ll be great to get that done. Once we get the blizzard we always get this time of year. Between now and May, it will snow like crazy at least once. It has to. We’ve only had 14 inches of snow so far. Last year, we had three times that much by now.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate it. I’ll be here tomorrow, hope you can join me then.

Forever Friday!

A beautiful sunny afternoon is upon us here in Gretna, Nebraska. I took Mom to a balance session today. They had her work on a couple of weight machines today. She feels like the muscles from Brussels right now. Tomorrow, another feeling. She wasn’t intimidated, and I’m proud of her for trying. She has one session left, then in March starts individual therapy sessions for her back, twice a week. Not sure how my involvement shakes loose in that, we’ll see.

I started to read my friend, Shannon Schofield’s book, Perfectly Imperfect, today. Wow. She has it categorized as fiction, although it is her story, her life, and her traumas revealed. I’ve always wondered about families where the parents smoke weed, party hardy, and with other drugs, and have no limits. Sure, their kids can play outside for awhile, eventually the kids are wise to what the grown ups are doing, and it affects them. It has to. When my kids were little, I never even drank. I knew I was the one who had to get up with them the next day and never wanted to be hungover while doing it. I started to drink after my early thirties, and never had a problem with it. Some folks aren’t so lucky.

All I can say, is hold onto your hats, when you read Shannon’s book. I’m surprised she survived at all. God bless her. I hope she finds an audience and is successful with it. It’s a story that needs to be told. And it is a real eye opener. Get it from Amazon today!

Why not?

This Peanuts is so apt for where I am headed now. The publishers of the world will beat a path to my door as soon as I decide where the end is on my novel re-write. (HAH!) I’m maybe five or six chapters in, and it’s a job, keeping all the brothers straight. Katie is my main character, and she has seven brothers. Three older and three younger, she is the middle child. In most ways she is the oldest, seeing as her older brothers are all alcoholics who are not dependable when their Mom needs help. Only Katie and the three younger brothers are reliable. There is animosity among her older brothers for her, and they exhibit characteristics of the biggest chauvinistic pig you may know. Katie shares family stories with the them all, the older brothers argue with her over facts, and the younger brothers love to hear stories of their early lives and their grandparents. And how their Mom was before her alcoholism made her depressed, cynical, rude, and unhappy. The gist of the story is family curses can be broken. Cycles can be broken open and freedom exists on the other side. Katie has done it, and is helping others find the way out. It is a story of survival, seeking, strength, and stamina. Katie does all that and more.

Tomorrow and Sunday will be great days for writing. No real plans, and nothing pressing to do. I hope to catch up a couple more chapters and add depth to these crazy brothers my character Katie has. What a group! I have know people with some of these characteristics. I’m taking all the worst ones and making separate people of them. It will make sense later, when you read the book, it will all ebb and flow. Life is full of lessons, my friends. Katie has learned many of them.

Have a fun Friday night, thanks for reading today. I’ll be here tomorrow, see you then!

Toned Down Tuesday

Mom reported back to Balance and Strength Class today. She was glad to get back to it. She needed a boost today, was out of sorts, but felt better after the class was over. Then she felt like doing more than just going home. Hobby Lobby, there we went!

It serves as an outing and an indoor walk, so she was happy but tired by the time we were finished. I feel badly for older folks. Will I have anyone to get me out when I’m 90? Gosh, I hope so. I am sure I’ll need help, everyone does. Maybe it’ll be grandkids, or stepdaughter, or my son who lives in town. I’m certainly not worried or concerned about it, but hope I’m still a vital human by that time.

The painters finished up today. There’s something fresh and new about new colors and a clean start. Kind of early spring cleaning. now to get new accessories. Artwork, maybe an art quilt, stuff, and more stuff. This is the fun part. Photos to follow.

No writing today, but lots of thoughts about the book. I’m creating dialogue to tell parts of the story, as this is supposed to be more readable and relatable. It makes the whole story different. Hope to hit it again earlier tomorrow, in between an appointment for the Babe and just putzing around the house. I found another couple of books at Hobby Lobby today, Calligraphic Drawing, and Creative Lettering Companion. I’m all about books at bargain prices, and these were discounted deeply.

I also started reading a new book, River People, by Margaret Lukas. She is a fellow Nebraska Writers Guild member. The story is set in Nebraska in the late 1890s. It should be a great read, if you’d like to learn more about it, it is available on Amazon.

This week is the big holiday that was invented by the Romans to celebrate love. There are all sorts of definitions and origins if you Google Valentine’s Day, and you can believe what you’d like. While I was still single, I was amazed at the vast number of women who received (delivered) bouquets of roses at work. When the vases were delivered, other women would ask, “From your husband?” The answer was a mixture of sarcasm and bitchiness, “He knows better than to forget.” Wow. Is that the way to show love, expect it as a show to other women? I love to receive flowers. These days, if I see a pretty bouquet at the store, I’ll buy it. The babe and I both can enjoy the blooms, and it’s a good pick me up for the house during gloomy days.

It’s been a couple of long days here at Raabe Ranch. Even the dogs are extra tired. It should get back to normal in a day or two here. Just glad to have a head start on spring sprucing up and all the wonder that goes with it. I would bet we get a snowstorm or two before spring really arrives, but it won’t last too long. Famous last words, right? Thank you for reading today, I hope to see you again tomorrow.

Super Monday Stuff

Good evening! Again, the day got away from me. It was a busy one, with another doctor visit with Mom. She wanted IHOP after that. She’s delighted they added individual Hazelnut Flavor Coffee Mates. We also hit the Half Off Book Store to look for used books. She found a whole basket full, so I hope her LED lights help her read to pass time. She really wears out quickly. I guess when you’re 90, it goes with the territory.

My brother took her last Christmas tree down yesterday, and put it all away. She told me I have to forbid her to buy any more ornaments next year. I laughed and asked, “Have you MET yourself??” She laughed, too. Makes me wonder how she’ll be next year, if she’s even still here with us. Can’t look too far ahead, just enjoy today.

I found some fun self taught Calligraphy, Watercolor, and Lettering kits today. Although they’re for kids, I thought what I really wanted was a little instruction and basic tools to practice and play with. I think they’ll all work well enough for that. I hope to try them later tonight or tomorrow early afternoon. It’s house cleaning day. I’m so grateful to have people who come clean our home for a reasonable price and do a great job. They’re trustworthy and are hard working. We found them when we had a professional cleaning before selling our other house. It was a great job, and the Babe decided I should get to keep them. It helps me so much with my messed up back to be able to delegate this big task.

I can be a young artist, can’t I??

After an absolutely beautiful day yesterday, it’s about thirty degrees cooler today. It is still winter, after all. Whatever snow falls from not until April 15 tends to not be here so long. When it does begin to thaw, I pray the rivers and creeks stay within their banks, we have people who are still homless after the floods of 2019. Those folks who did recover should not have to bear that duress again. It’s too much on a human heart to handle. Prayers for all of them.

I saw this cartoon last week and just thought how funny it way. I remember getting immersed in certain parts of learning history and science. I loved the study of Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Rome. And science, I loved astronomy. Learning about the solar system, it was so cool. And as kids, the race in space was paramount in out lives. Catholic nuns said we had to beat the Russians so they couldn’t send missles to destroy us from up there. As if Cuba wasn’t close enough! Thank goodness we all lived to talk about it all.

This is how some kids are about their learning.

Do you ever eat a type of food that really reminds you of someone or something from a long time ago? Today, being at IHOP, we had pancakes. When we were kids, my mom’s father would stop and have lunch with us on Friday. Since Catholics abstained from meat then, we would have meatless meals all day. Mom made pancakes for lunch with Grandpa. Every Friday, and we did that for a long time. When I was twelve, he had a massive heart attack and died on Christmas Eve. It was horrible. I remember the phone calls, the upset, the sadness. And after that I didn’t like pancakes anymore for a very long time. They are wonderful, but I just couldn’t eat them. Grief does strange things to us that we sometimes don’t understand. It took a long time, but I can finally enjoy the delicious, fluffy gifts from the kitchen.

I want to thank you for reading again today. I’m excited we’re gathering more readers, followers, and would love to have you share my blog with your friends who may be interested. I’ll return tomorrow, and share the works of art we create with all the fun stuff I acquired today. See you then!