Monday, Day 8391 of Pandemic

Karen Carpenter’s Song, “Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down,” is a song I think of when’s it’s a rainy Monday. Considering her very sad demise, her death from Anorexia in 1983. We knew little about Anorexia, it’s not a surprise she would sing such a mournful song. For many years, they stigmatized it, along with Bulimia, which is another eating disorder. For years and years this illness went on until she succumbed to it in February 1983. Very sad. And even more sad the more details emerged. I imagine every rainy day and every Monday got her down. Depression was also little talked about illness. I’m glad we’re coming out of the dark ages about such things. It’s something to be grateful for, despite it being gloomy outside.

That said, it’s a beautiful day outside. The sky is of November gloom, like before a snow blows into the heartland. It bothers me, not one bit. I’ve lived here all my life, and the seasons are part of the landscape, so to speak. It’s home. I love the changes.

Yesterday, I was Keto baking like a crazy woman! (Ask the Babe!) I Baked Fluffy Bread, Blueberry Muffins, Blueberry-Almond bagels, and they were fabulous. Lexie stole a couple muffins, gulping them down before making it to the bedroom. There was only a scrap of the foil baking cup left. They were that good, actually. It just makes me laugh. She avoided me for a bit after that. We had a muffin for breakfast, with an Egg Bake Casserole loaded with cheese. It was delicious. I am not hungry a bit.

One thing you notice immediately is the portions are normal size. Americans went to Jumbo Sized food portions and citizens long ago. I’m as guilty as anyone for eating the wrong things. A month ago, it just clicked. I wanted to do something different in the eating and feeling department. So far, don’t feel as tired, but the Jury is still out on that. Age could be a factor, too. I’ve lost about ten pounds, the Babe a little over five. I expect he’ll overtake me soon. Men can lose faster. With the messed up spine I have it’s very difficult to walk for exercise. Many programs are too jarring. My challenge is the working out. Water therapy with warm water is great, but my skin breaks out from the sulfa they used to use. Allergic.

I was feeling all proud and domestic when I poured another cup of coffee while the Babe was in the shower. Then I realized I hadn’t put the egg casserole in the oven yet. Silly me! It was worth waiting for. The Babe takes things like that in stride, not upset in the least he left the house later than he wanted. Folks I have known in my life fly off the handle at goof-ups like that. When you’re retired, things shouldn’t get under your skin.

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At any rate, we’re back on track with the day starting thirty minutes later than expected. It was worth the wait. It’s a good day to curl up and write some chapters, and hope to do that. Thinking of doing tomorrow’s blog later tonight. Isn’t there some NFL game on again tonight? So I can be present yet still working. I decided awhile ago when we learned the Babe be borrowing time with his Agent Orange exposure and Ischemic heart disease. Nothing will keep me from spending as much time as I can with him while he’s right here. Period. I’m not being morose, just realistic. I try hard to give myself little to regret. It’s just better that way. Took a long time to learn that. We just enjoy sitting in the same room together, even in silence. It’s very intimate.

She sleeps against me at night, bless my doggie and her loyalty.

We have a little reading and writing to do this afternoon. Lexie is on guard, looking out the studio office window. No intruders will break the perimeter without the sentry alerting us. Bless her over-protective heart. Goldie checks the other rooms, comes to report and get ear rubs, and plops on an extra office chair mat. All is well at Raabe Ranch. Hope it is with you, too. Be Safe. Be Kind. Let’s all be friends and family again. See you tomorrow.

Woo Hoo, Time Crunch!

First, I need to make a correction. Yesterday I mentioned Detective Herrera was to be buried at the Omaha National Cemetery, I was wrong. He will be buried in Lincoln. He is not only a Lincoln, Nebraska Police Officer, he is also an Army Veteran. This man served us well in many, many ways. Sorry for the confusion on my part.

Today is another rainy, dreary day. I’m starting to get a little down in the dumps, but will make a comeback. It’s going to be better, I just have to make up for lost time and get a some writing done. I’m still working on character origin stories, and so far have Katie’s husband John, her dad, and her mother. In between learning some new things with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and WordPress.

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Now, it’s time to finish homework today and tomorrow. This work is fun, assigning character traits that are negative yet also thinking of how they could be good under the not so good. People are the model for these behaviors. And we all know how interesting they are!

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Do you ever people watch? The Babe does a lot. Sometimes I don’t even notice that he is. He watches interactions between people and is especially honed in on older people and little children. He is always the first one to jump up and help hold the door or otherwise help an older person. He was like this with his mom who had MS. Watching that made me know he’d always look out for me. And he does.

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When he watches little children, babies play hide and seek with him, they smile and wave at him, and play hard to get. Kind of like I did. Haha! They are a joy to watch, and you just hope they have a happy and safe environment to grow up in. Such sweetness is missed when you don’t have babies in close contact with you anymore.

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There is nothing so sweet as a baby just learning to smile and respond to you. The whole world usually takes notice. There are, however, some people who don’t stop and gush (like we do) over a stranger’s baby. And that’s ok. Some people may mistake our interest in a bad way. I usually try to tell them our youngest grandkids live far away, and we just have to share the love. We don’t touch or bother them. It’s pretty sweet, really. Most young parents are open to it. Who doesn’t thing their baby is the cutest, smartest, and best?

I’m going to dig in and accomplish a lot today, not just writing, but around the house too. I plan to spend as much time as possible outside next week. The forecast appears to have every day with a sun icon on it. What IS that strange ball of fire in the sky, anyway? It’s going to be great to see it again.

Take care! Be safe. Let’s do this Saturday up right. I appreciate you spending time with me, and I’ll see you tomorrow! Thanks, let’s go do this!

Thankful, Thoughtful Thursday

It is still a dreary morning here at the home office in Gretna, Nebraska. I have a dog in my lap (a 50+ pound dog, by the way), one on the couch, a cup of hot coffee, and you guys out there. It’s been a long time since we had the news on in the morning. The Babe and I have been sitting on the deck for several hours for the past month or so. It’s quite a change for sure.

In fact, the news is now full of wildfires (although one was started by a baby reveal party gone wrong. Shame on them!), and Bob Woodward’s new book, and doom and gloom. Ah, the sky is falling, isn’t it? Or is it?

I wonder if there is any of California left, it seems as if it will burn itself out soon. I feel badly for the people who lose everything. Imagine the payouts the insurance companies will be paying out. And where will they go? What will they do? These are going to be long-term interruptions in people’s lives. Again, how much can the state do to help?

Not only are these concerns, the thing I think about is the air quality. I know what a little bit of smoke does for my asthma, I can’t imagine what that kind of smoke will do to healthy lungs. Health concerns are always near the top of my list. All we can do is pray for everyone out there. My first thought about Oregon fires was too bad the areas being destroyed by looters isn’t in the region of fires. Maybe the fires would calm the chaos that is happening out there. I thought maybe it would help.

Did you notice the difference in my thoughts here so far? I did. Instead of enjoying beauty of the outdoors and the positivity which results from that, we could have news blues. Wow. In a conscious effort to turn that around, I just have to look around me. I’m grateful for the warm, loving home we have. The Babe is off taking our beautiful Addison to school early this morning, she has a Student Council. It’s so neat to see how she is picking and choosing what she wants to spend her time doing. I was such a shy, introverted girl at that age, and I marvel at this young lady and her casual openness.

The Babe and I were talking about when Addison was little, when she’d spend the night, she would always play the same trick on Grandpa. One of the toys we had was a Curious George doll whose face lit up when you squeezed his tummy. Before she would go home, she would come whisper in my ear, telling me she was going to hide George under Grandpa’s pillow so he would see it when he went to bed later that night. He always laughed and she thought she was so sly. Those kids really leave imprints on your heart with such sweet memories.

See the difference? I’m smiling while remembering those sweet times and the warmth of life, the hope for tomorrow that grandkids give us. The world is indeed much more wonderful than the current situation would indicate. Choose hope, and life, and love to be part of your diet, not doom, media and gloom, and hopelessness.

Letting Go is the best!

The good news is I got a good start on my origin stories for characters in my book. I plan to finish it up today, and do the other homework I have for another conference with my book coach, Sam Tyler. She is making me a better writer. She is bringing out the better in my characterizations, describing the scenarios and getting out the backstory where it’s appropriate. It’s well worth it.

I’m off to another day of working on my story, switching out decorations from summer to fall, and enjoying another blessed day with the Babe and the pups. With all the “stuff” there is in life, consumer goods and difficulties, the best cure for the News Blues is gratitude. We are a blue collar middle class couple. We both started late on our retirement plans, we don’t have the million dollars some folks our ages have in their retirement plans. We are comfortable where we are. We worked hard for all we have, as did most people we know. Some have more than others, their opportunities were different.

I was taught if the opportunity isn’t in front of me, I needed to learn to create my own opportunity. I believe every school kid should learn how to do this. Then we will be equal, in opportunities and learning how to utilize them. We have to show up, learn, step up, and rely on our knowledge to make a good life. Hard work never hurt anyone, especially the Babe and me. We are truly blessed.

Enjoy your day. The rain will pass. We will have sunshine again. Thank you for reading, I appreciate it very much. Be safe, be kind, be aware. Let’s keep distancing and wearing our masks, it’s the least we can do. And yes, the days I wear my mask many hours, my face breaks out, too. So, even Grandma’s have maskne. What a deal. See you tomorrow! I look forward to it!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

As a child, I grew up with my brothers attending a Catholic school and Church. Back in the late 1950s, we made our First Holy Communion, at about the age of seven. Second grade. That’s pretty young, as I think back, and as I think about kids today. Just before the big day, we experienced the other Sacrament that goes hand in hand with it; our First Confession. Wow.

Confession is where you go to the priest, back then it was in the confessional, where you didn’t see the priest, and confess your sins and the number of times we committed the omission. At the time, the Catechism graphics that accompanied the sin was milk bottles. Just like we had our little morning milk break from little glass bottles. They were pictured with a few splotches on them, indicating venial sin. Those weren’t terrible, a white lie, talking back to your parents, talking smack about someone, those kind of minor offenses that marred our characters. A black milk bottle indicated a mortal sin.

I cannot imagine the horror Monsignor Aughney felt when a seven year old confessed a mortal sin. Mortal sins were the game changers, the show stoppers, the back the truck up, let me get absolution kind of sins. Adultery. Murder. Sinful Thoughts. Those were always such hot beds, the nuns mentioned adultery, but never explained it. Murder was easy, easily explained. Sinful thoughts might have been sexual in nature, I cannot see a seven year old sinning that way. At least, not one that has been raised in a household like we were raised.

Our folks were really good people, they worked hard, they sacrificed for us, they taught us about God. They did a good job. We all grew up ok, the usual bumps along the road. The old nuns would call kids out in the classroom sometimes, “Michael M., you need to go to confession!” It was always a boy, being chastised in class. Maybe a stockade would have been less embarrassing. I wonder if the nuns confessed when they beat the snot out of Michael M. for jacking around and talking during class. Any Sister Mary’s out there? Please comment below, just curious.

I no longer attend Mass or use confession as a way to cleanse my soul. I believe the term is “fallen away.” It’s ok, I know God loves me and Jesus saved me, and the Holy Spirit inspires me. I no longer think I need to be killed by the Communists in order to get to heaven. Martyrdom never appealed to me, but as a kid, we were taught about it early. In between offering up little inconveniences and collecting pennies and nickels for the Pagan Baby Fund.

That said, it doesn’t hurt me to “examine my conscience” once in awhile, and tell God I’m sorry for this or that. You can check yourself without having to leave the house. The Catholics still believe in the need for Confession and telling your sins to the priest. I give them straight to Jesus, who to me is the go-to guy for giving it to God. Or I can go direct. Either way, God forgives my indiscretions, whatever they may be. I still haven’t hit adultery or murder, so I’m relieved about that. I have no desire to do either, trust me.

As I got older, gossipping and assassination of character qualified as “murder of another’s character.” A stretch? Maybe, but it makes you think. Even now, being discourteous, being rude, cutting in line, screaming in a policeman’s face at a “rally,” these are all things we do that are not right or helpful to us or society in any way. Practicing discrimination is wrong. I don’t know what sin it is, I just know it’s wrong. Don’t do it. Say you’re sorry. Intolerance of anyone because of race, color, or creed isn’t just illegal in the United States, it’s a sin against humanity. We need to stop and ask forgiveness.

Disrespect for older people or anyone in authority falls under “Honoring they Father and Mother.” If you disrespect Mom and Dad, you will disrespect your elders and police officers. It’s all wrong. I still find myself thinking, “I respect my mother as my mother, so I’m not starting an argument with her over her negativity.” I choose instead to remove myself from the negativity. Problem solved, and I’ve been kindly quiet about it.

A long time ago, while the Babe and I attended Countryside Community Church, in Omaha, Reverend J. Keith Cook gave a sermon about the Ten Commandments. In my whole life, no one ever mentioned the Ten Commandments serve as the basis for all of our laws today. When you think about it, it’s true. Don’t kill. Don’t steal. Honor your parents. Don’t want what your neighbor wants. Honor God, keeping his Day Holy. As a society, we haven’t done that in decades!

I’m going to switch gears here and work on my book homework for awhile, before Gavin gets here. Pizza’s on the menu for lunch, I’m going to let him make them if he wants. This Grandma loves that kid, to the moon and back. Be kind. Be courteous. Be respectful. Wash your hands! Wear a mask! Help me out, can’t meet my grandson in Colorado until we’re safer from the Coronavirus. Thanks for reading today. Think about how we can all be better citizens and souls. I’ll see you back here tomorrow. Be careful out there.

Let’s Be Courteous! We All Need It!