Is It Thursday?

By the time I go from the bedroom to the kitchen, I can lose track of what day it is. I also lose it by the afternoon or early evening, even though it doesn’t matter. Losing track. Used to be we needed to at least act we were with it, on top of the world, holding our finger on the pulse of business, industry, creation, religion, and whatever else arena we needed to compete in. It just isn’t that important any more. In some ways, I hope that remains, so we don’t put so much pressure on ourselves. So that our jobs, society, and leisure times don’t put so much pressure on our psyches. It’s too much. I hope we never get that way again.

I hope we don’t because the time we are making for our families right now shouldn’t be lost. Yes, parents probably need a break right about now, but so do the kids. If you’re unfortunate and have badly behaved kids, you can fix that right now. Before school starts again. Before sports start again. Before work starts again. The most important thing for us all to learn is be kind to the world. Be kind to your kids, school, sports teams, and co-workers. We can unlearn any bad habits we have, so can our kids. Make up for lost time in what’s left before we can go out again with no masks. Think long and hard about it. Your whole life can change for the better right now.

We must begin somewhere

After my breast cancer treatment and after my wonderful niece and friend Wendy lost her husband, she came to see me and brought a gift. It was a plaque and stand. It helped me get up out of the chair, start walking, start doing all the things I’d stopped doing while I was too tired to do anything. It did the trick. And since that day over ten years ago, I put it out where I can see it when I need a jumpstart to get back to living. I took it out this week, and it’s now on the mantle again. The Babe and I both see it every morning while we have coffee. It’s gotten us both going. Let’s all get going. Let’s be interested in life whether you’re still in quarantine or whether you’re going to ease back into life outside of your home. Be cautious, but do it. You have to start somewhere. We all have to start somewhere.

Due to technical difficulties, I cannot post a photo of the plaque. It says “today BEGIN”. I’ll post a pic when it is available. The words are powerful for me, and I hope they are for you, too, it you need them. At different times in life, we all do. And in times of pandemic, we all do at the same times.

Restrictions in restaurants are lifted, with certain new rules in place. Many places are continuing take out orders only. Some are opening. The VFW Post 2503 is planning on opening on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, at 4 p.m. for a Hamburger Night. A limited menu will be available. No drinks sold unless they are sold with a dine-in meal.

Fabulous Friday

Hi, friends!

An overcast, almost chilly day here in Gretna, Nebraska. We are seeing a lot of green things growing here, and the one house in the neighborhood who doesn’t believe in weed control has infected our lawn with the blight of suburbia! Dandelions! I know, we should be all organic about them and let them live, but no, not like he did. No grass at all. Just dandelions. The Babe is on the hunt for them, so watch out!

Already this morning, I’ve gone through a bunch of my book, editing and changing things up. I’m on about page 50, Chapter 10. It’s fun. Changing descriptions to spoken words by the characters is a good way to show, not tell. If someone in the story is relating family stories it’s a lot more interesting than reading words. I learned that in my first submission. Good one, too. It’s important to story telling. Sometimes, I just pick up a book and read. If it piques my interest, I pay attention to the writing. Dialogue from characters? Yes. What a process.

This afternoon, I want to work on my Poppy Quilt. It needs three different boarders on it, then I can select the backing for it, layer it, and add it to the stack that needs quilting. That will be a good bit of work for May. If I could quilt one quilt a week and finish it, it will be a very good month! A challenge since the weather is finally nice, but they need to be done.

Goldie has so much fun fetching in the yard. It’s so nice in the mornings that I can just go out in my pajamas and throw her toy. She has so much energy. She loves her people, too. Has to be with us. Lexie acts as if she could care less, but snuggles in bed every night. She’s on a kick now that she won’t get into bed until I do. Kind of cute, really. But then she gets in my place! Huh. We’ll have to do something about that.

Unrealistic? Uhm, maybe.

It’s about time for lunch now. A quick sandwich then off to finish the Poppy Quilt. Stay tuned for a photo tomorrow. There. Now I have to finish it! Thanks for reading, I hope you have a good day, stay home, wash your hands, straighten out your office, and be kind. I’ll see you again tomorrow.

Fabulous Friday!

Hello, friends. I hope you are having a wonderful Friday. Our pretty (deep) snow has begun to melt. We have pretty much stayed inside today again. The Babe and the dogs are continuing walking twice every day. It’s good for all of them, and I should be doing it, too. We did dig out my recumbent bike and I want to be on it beginning tomorrow.

I’m making Chicken Chimichangas for dinner. They’re ready to pop in the oven, red beans and rice are also on the menu. It’s a new recipe, so I’ll let you know what the verdict is. The face masks are more than halfway done. I hope to get them mailed either late today or tomorrow. I have sewing friends all over the world who are making hundreds of them. I’m just not able to sit at the machine that long. Some are quite beautiful.

About 25 masks, early this morning.

Since I’ve become a quilter, I can tell you quilter friends are some of the most generous people I have ever met. One Canadian friend coordinated an effort during the Tsunami in Japan to send quilts to many, many people. I made two squares from the pattern block they used. It was beautiful when they finished it. It was fun to be part of such a far reaching project. Another time, a friend managed the International Quilt Festival in Ireland. Many of us made a block with our hand appliqued on it. It was another satisfying world-wide group effort.

The President has wisely given each state it’s own latitude in reopening after the pandemic. We are not even close to being ready to be thinking of that. It is still the safest to stay home. Period. I know it’s difficult for people who are not earning their full salaries, some of our family aren’t working their full number of hours either. We need to be kind, we need to be aware of people who may need someone to talk to, we need to check on our elders and people who live alone, and we need to stay home for now.

I’m going to do some more editing using Pro Writing Aid over the weekend. It’s a really good way to flag if you’ve repeated common words, or need to find a different group of words to describe something. It helps my writing become better. I’m happy with the software and it makes my job easier. What won’t they think of next?

I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha has a world famous zoo, is home to the College World Series, had the Olympic Swimming trials four years ago and was to host them this year. They are rescheduled for 2021. These events help bring in millions of dollars in tax revenues. Not this year. The city will have a massive budget shortfall and has no way to make that up. Trouble is, Federal Relief will not go to the City as an entity. The City does not have the required 500,000 people. It’s a way many cities and towns will slip through the cracks all over the country. There are things we may not even realize yet that will be impacted by this virus.

Hope you have a nice evening. I’m going to go finish cooking dinner now. Thank you for reading today, and I hope to see you tomorrow. I will post earlier. See you then!

COVID-19 Blues

When I opened WordPress this morning, I was greeted with a meme that wished me Happy Anniversary. It was one year ago today I started my website and blog. I established it and wanted to learn more before I dove in headfirst. You see, I don’t swim. At all. Water terrifies me. I can use pool noodles and not hyperventilate, but take them away, and I sink. It’s a fear I’ve never overcome. I’d rather speak in front of an auditorium than try to swim. And I have spoken in front of an auditorium. I emceed a dinner at Metro Community College once about twenty five years ago. Probably a thousand people attended. Bob Boozer was a speaker. I knew nothing about it until the emcee was sick and they called me. What a surprise! I lived to tell about it.

I blogged a couple times between April and July, 2019. When we tragically lost our Roxie was when I started daily (almost). I can see a lot of differences depending on the day, and I’m glad for those of you who continue to follow. As soon as I finish my book and get closer to publishing, I will add website pages, about ordering, what we’re working on, and whatever else that entails. But as of now, we’ve met over two hundred times! That’s a lot of blogging, a lot of reading, writing, and a lot of trying to decide what to talk about. Thank you for bearing with me.

I’m sure you all know how much I love quilting. In ten years, I hope to see the improvement in my writing just as I’ve seen the improvement in my quilting skills. At first, I thought I’d never be able to make a nice quilt. Quilters always feel the need to confession, sort of like the Catholics do. It’s not necessary at all. Most of the time, no one else even notices mistakes. We are often our own worst enemies. Writers are also their own worst enemies, believe me.

As a quilter, a lot of friends have shared this pattern with me. I purchased it, and it arrived a couple days ago. I love the irony there is in this piece. The overs and unders of roll placement, patterned vs. white, and the glaring example of that one piece left on the roll, half covered with glue. What good is that? Who does that? It might make a good raffle prize for the Nebraska Writers Guild Fallish Conference later this year. I’ll have to see if my good intention comes to fruition. It might make a good memory quilt for our youngest grandson, Cody, who was born in January, before all this hoarding started. That remains to be seen.

I just couldn’t resist!

Do any of you have the problem of enjoying too many creative endeavors? Like art, writing, quilting, photography, etc., etc., etc.? I do. It’s a hard thing when you like a lot of things. Even back in the 80s when I took a placement test at the community college to see what areas of interest I had. It’s hard when you like a lot of things. It’s great if you can devote enough time to each facet, but not if you are simply hacking away at each part. I did decide to forgo the art part until I finish the novel. And relax starting another one for at least six months, unless there’s a valid reason to start another novel right away. If a publisher is hounding me for a series, and I must get started quickly. It could happen. Not likely, but I’m new at this, how am I to know?

Once Bitten Twice Shy?

Wasn’t there a metal band in the 80s who sang a song “Once Bitten Twice Shy?” Through the blessing called GOOGLE, I find it was by White Snake. Yes, my oldest liked Metal and Hair Bands (Bon Jovi & Van Halen), heck I even liked those last two. And now you can hear them all on elevator music. It happens to all of us. My younger son Nick liked the boy bands, Pointer Sister, girl soloists, etc. Daughter? She liked the Death Metal garage band that went onto become the Faint. Yes, the Faint. She had a boyfriend (Mike) who was the lead singer/guitarist. She broke up with him before they got big. Funny how things go along. She now likes Country music, and they have their two beautiful kids, named after western heroes (Cody Wyatt) and a Country singer (Kayla Jolee). I can’t help but wonder what those kids will listen to. Hopefully not rap. Sorry, I just don’t like angry sounding stuff that rattles my fillings. I can even get to like lots of stuff, but not rap. Not in me.

So as I’m off to see if my plot will bite me again, I hope you have a beautiful day today. We have winter ick again, but it won’t last long. The last couple days I think I’ve given in to some of the COVID-19 Blues, and I don’t want to give away any more of my time to him. Not unless I could write a blues song about it like an old, wise, gravelly voiced black man could. With that life experience, it’d be a great song, don’t you think? What a character he would be. I think he could tell a lot of stories about lives he’s lived. But that’s for another time.

And thanks for reading today. I’m glad you were here with me, it’s given me a boost to keep working today. I hope your day is good. Do whatever you wish to. Reward yourself for staying in. We must if we want to emerge on the other side of this with our communities intact. Please don’t think you won’t catch it. You might not, but you could infect me. Or the Babe. Let’s be sensible. Thanks! See you tomorrow.

Thankful Thursday

Hi, friends. Hope you’re staying amused, being productive, and getting done what you need to. I know I’m not. Well, I am, and I’m not. The sun and warm went away this morning, and now we could have freezing rain/snow. After this virus outbreak and quarantine, nothing surprises me. How could it? About the time we think we’ve seen everything, something comes along and trumps the last event. I love talking to my oldest, who will be fifty years old next year. He has a good memory of things from his youth. He actually remembers the awful tunnel at 84th and I-80. Remember it? He remembers going to Brandies when he was three to see Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory displays. He remembers being afraid of some of the characters in Star Wars. It makes me laugh when he wonders what’s wrong with kids nowadays. For those conversations, I am so thankful.

English – the hardest language to learn.

I’m glad I grew up in a family of readers. My parents both read every chance they got. We were good at looking stuff up in the dictionary and encyclopedias. Dad never told us how to spell something. His philosophy was start where you think it should be. Then, if it’s not there, look further until you find it. You’ll become familiar with so many more words. Good advice, although we disliked it at the time. He would be so amazed by PC’s today. I wish he could have lived long enough to have had one. It would have been fun to help him learn how to use it. It’s hard to hear about kids who don’t read, or who don’t like to. It is so much harder when you dislike it. Dad also used to say if you could read you could do anything. There is 100 % truth to that. Directions, reading a recipe, reading a dress pattern, putting together a car, model airplane, whatever you need to do, you usually have to be able to read to accomplish it. I’m thankful to the gift of reading.

And the meme above points out an important thing about reading. For as difficult as English is, you must be able to know read from read, excuse from excuse, and so on. Would that be in language class? I truly don’t remember. Wherever it’s taught, I’m thankful to have learned it.

I sort of led my life backwards, compared to how some of my classmates lived. I married very early, had three kids by the age of 27, and was divorced at 30. I attended college classes for a long, long time and graduated from college in 1995. Twenty-five years after graduating from high school. It’s the only thing I ever regretted, was not being able to graduate from college. Dad told me, “Just keep working at it, you’ll get it done.” He was right. I’m so thankful he gave that advice and that I followed it. It meant a lot to me.

Of course, I’m thankful for the Babe. This being quarantined at home tries everyone’s patience, but there still is no one I’d rather be quarantined with. No one else may be able to put up with me, you know? It works two ways. We are watching Netflix, we finished the Ranch, are watching Ozark, it’s really good. I don’t know if we’ll watch the Tiger King or not. There is certainly a lot of hub-bub about it. What do you think? Watch it or skip it? The promos remind me of the Jerry Springer Show. Or Honey Boo Boo. Or hokey stuff like that.

Today hasn’t been that great of a day. The weather change was predicted by the fibromyalgia/arthritis combination and is currently about to put me down for the count. Even with the Super Arthritis Formula 650 mg. Acetometaphine the Babe brought home for me to try. I took two. Haven’t started to work yet and it’s been a couple hours. Wow. How are people who have this fibro stuff supposed to know when they have body aches? It’s a sign of the virus, yet so many of us live with conditions that already cause a lot of pain. How does one tell?

Maybe it’s time to go sit by the fire and read. That’s it, boys and girls. Hope you have a good rest of the evening, and I’ll do the same. Thanks for reading, be grateful, wash your hands, come back tomorrow. I’ll be here, too. And for all that, I’m grateful, too.

This Thursday

As all anatomical auras are, Allison ached at an idea in an anthology of ideas. Allison inched along, acting as if all’s A-#1. An inkspot advanced around an Asian artwork. Allison iced an elbow as aching ebbed. “Always, an energy aching,” as Allison’s extremity acted unquestionably unusable.

Zelda rang the bell. She was not wanting someone to come to the door. Zelda crept the perimeter, holding the crucifix near her head. The magic would come soon. Most would then be forgiven, noted, brought to the jail per the magistrate, following the hearing.

When All Else Fails . . .
Consult a Book of Prompts!

Hoping you are still reading. Did you think I totally lost my mind? My ChromeBook was malfunctioning? Someone changed my keyboard to type gobblygook? None of the above.

Most of the time when sitting down to write my blog, I already have an inspiration of some sort. Either it’s an experience, someone did something funny, aggravating, illegal, or I try to capture a strong feeling that is in my heart and on my mind. There is so much out there to share, and I’m lucky you listen by reading.

Some days, the ideas, words, thoughts, and stories just don’t happen. I would imagine a songwriter or poet experiences much the same. Poetry, I’ve read, forces you to use fewer and more exact words to get your point across, to complete your story, and help the reader use their imagination. A songwriter uses fewer words, also. The music can fill in where words cannot, where they are inadequate or fail to convey what is intended. A beautiful song, thoughtful lyrics, and a melody that sweeps you away, in my mind, is a huge #1 hit. It doesn’t matter how much airtime it gets, how many people buy it, if it strikes me in my heart and soul, it’s done it’s job. I’ll always remember what I felt when I first heard it. That songwriter did their job well.

For the times the words don’t come, when the ideas are elusive, when no words exist for a writer, the feeling keeps nagging, and you are still coming up empty, prompts work sometimes. Prompts like I pictured above, Writer’s Digest presents A Year of Writing Prompts. The second photo lists specific dates and ideas. February 27, Vowel-uable Writing. I wrote the first paragraph all with words that began with vowels, the second paragraph is written with words that began with consonants.

I know my readers are very bright people and have already seen what I just described along with the prompt. The whole idea of this is to get the brain thinking, how can you phrase this with only vowels, are consonants easier (you bet!), do people still use a Thesaurus? I just did. For the first time ever, I think. You could entertain yourself all day doing this. You may come up with some unintelligible sentences, but you would have exercised your brain. This is why I blog every day. If there is no time to work on my book or my quilting or my art, it all goes into my blog. I enjoy it so much.

Yes, I noticed also the prompts are only for 365 days and we have the elusive 366th day this year, since it’s Leap Year, an election year, and we have to even up the Gregorian Calendar. We have used this calendar for over 400 years. The primary motivation for this was primarily religious, to calculate when Easter would be. Lent begins 40 days prior to Easter.

All in all, it helps even time out. In reading this Huffington Post article, I was unaware of skipping a leap year. I don’t recall ever doing it, but is sounds as if it does happen. Read the article here. Why did we not know this before?

All the while I worked as a programmer, coder, systems analyst, and before the Y2K date stuff hit the fan, we used Julian Dates to define our date fields in the programs we used. It’s just what we did. I liked the old COBOL programs we wrote and maintained. I’ve heard many companies are searching for us old, retired COBOL programmers and will pay a good chunk of change to those of us who know what to do with these programs. Done right the coding is a masterpiece. When debugging, it was always one little thing, like a period, that usually caused your program to loop on into infinity and beyond! Some could be out there, still chugging away. Usually it fixed the problem when you either deleted the period, or added it in. Sometimes, when I finally found an elusive error, I would state, “Sometimes, I even amaze myself.” It keeps your ego in the humble zone for sure. I loved being able to write something from scratch or even modify someone else’s program, and make it work, adding an entirely new function. So glad I had a mentor who steered me towards that field of work so I could earn the amount of money I needed to help raise my kids, have a house, retirement, and all the things normal families do. It was a great run.

Thank you so much for reading today, I am appreciative of your time. For not knowing what to write, this prompt took us a few places I would never have expected when I started writing. And in that, dear friends, is where I can say humbly, “Sometimes, I even amaze myself!” And it’s a good thing. See you tomorrow! Have a great afternoon!

SunSum: Sunday Summary

If you want to grow, you need to find these people; and learn with them, and from them (Kathy Raabe)

In my online creativity group @ICreateDaily, LeAura Alderson coined this word today, a day when we summarize our week and report stuff. Stuff meaning either successes or learning points, good things or surprises, and shared information or personal lessons. The whole gist of it is review what you used this week to promote your creativity and do more of it. If you are still not hitting it right, let’s try something different to see if it directs you to your right path. And she does this day after day for a group of us. It’s so cool. I found the group about a year and some months ago. I like it. Lots of creatives making suggestions, promoting each other, and sharing positive things about art, writing, painting, and even bee keeping. Yes, we are learning about bee keeping, too. If you’d like to join, go to FB and look for I Create Daily, and the 30 Day Art Challenge. You’ll get there.

I am well aware they discourage us to use our blogs a” Dear Diary,” but this is funny. A couple weeks ago, the Babe and I went to buy groceries at that large discount store that is everywhere. Yes, WalMart. As we were leaving, he walked towards something that was laying in the driving lane of an aisle. It was a package of Good Value Chocolate Chip Cookies to bake!

“Not run over yet or anything! The seal was still intact!” He was excited. I scoffed at him. Yes, I scoffed. I had a bazillion reasons they should go in the trash bin nearby, but still, they found their way into our refrigerator at Raabe Ranch. I smiled every time I saw them. Just thought I’d see how long it would take him to ask about them.

Today was the day, boys and girls! He asked how to turn on our new gas oven. I showed him. He usually acts helpless like that so I’ll do things for him. Haha, not this time. So bake them, he did. They are dark and crispy. Overdone. But he gets Kudos for trying. And on a day I need to work on my writing, he can watch football with the dogs and have his own snacks.

Now, a poll, if you please. How many of you would have picked the package up, taken it home and baked cookies? How many would have left the package in the parking lot? I’m really curious. Leave a comment and tell me your reaction. I’ll let you all know tomorrow if we have parking lot shoppers here or not. p.s. I did eat one cookie. They’re too crispy for me, so I won’t eat any more.

We are not leaving the house today. It is way too cold and icy in Gretna, Nebraska, to be doing things outside of the comfort of your own home. Stay warm, stay inside, stoke the fire, and Go Kansas City Chiefs! I hope the kid leads them to victory.

Thanks for reading today. I appreciate your time. I will be here again tomorrow, and I hope you will be, too. You need to see how many others would:

Picked up the package of cookies?

or

Left it in the parking lot? Comment below, thank you.

Photo by Marta Dzedyshko from Pexels