Thoughtful Thursday

Good morning, from the Home Office of Jewell Publishing, LLC. It’s the home of Authors Kathy Raabe and Grandma Kathy. Isn’t this fun? Lexie, Chief of Security, is listening to music by Rick Tiger this morning. He tells some pretty wonderful stories with his lyrics and music. Real people’s stuff. It’s pretty quiet, just the sound of the music in the background and the keys making keyboard sounds. Once in a while, I hear Lexie snore, and I think of how wonderful this life really is.  

The Babe went off to accomplish some things at the VFW Post, and I have the time and freedom to write what’s in my heart today, that is until Goldie wakes up to play catch again. Spring is really greening up nicely. Even though it does every year, it’s still amazing to see it happen. We have the best seat in the house from either the patio or the deck. Ground level or second story treehouse view.

As the squirrels run their routes from branch to branch, tree to tree, the Blue Jays caw and frolic. They hang out all year. With the leaves coming in, they’re harder to see but easier to hear. I think the sound echoes as if in a canyon. The squirrels are pretty well hidden by the end of May. We feed the Finches, and a lively group dines frequently. Goldie loves to lie in the grass in the shade. It must be cool for her. What hair she doesn’t shed in the house covers her the rest of the time. And I’m sure it’s warm.

I’m thinking about what to plant this year. I do annuals in pots outside. I have some succulents to plant in pots and take in when summer is over. Hoping I get all that done before my back tells me to stop. There will be other days, too. Some to sit quietly and look for Baltimore Orioles after watering the pots every morning. Some to write as I’m doing now. It’s funny how certain habits span the years, isn’t it? I usually do those things in the mornings. Afternoons are for reading or hand sewing, embroidery, or something like that. Maybe a nap.

It reminds me of the days when I had small children and was a stay at home Mom. By 10 a.m. each day, the house was spotless, cleaned, dusted, vacuumed. I’d take the kids for a walk. I wore out a couple strollers. Not the umbrella kind, the old-fashioned heavier ones with the sunshade top. I never wanted those babies to get a sunburn. It was still in the era of baby oil suntans and no one knew about skin cancer. I had one great tan in my life; I wasn’t pasty Irish-white; I actually was a shade of tan. I worked at it. The summer before Frankie turned two, 1973. His dad was home from the Army and early afternoon, I let Frankie play in the baby pool I filled every morning. When he was ready for a nap, I dumped the pool out and put him to bed. He’d sleep a couple hours. I laid in the sun under his bedroom windows, so I’d hear him if he woke up. I was the only one home during the day, and it was safe.

Hot pants and halter tops were a big deal then, and I had both. I’d lost 40 pounds while his dad was in Germany. I kept it off for a while. Until I actually ate normal food again. Yo-Yo’s were common, and not healthy. I believe most of humanity does that; you know? We are so fortunate to have the food supply we have; no one should go hungry. No one should have an unhealthy diet. But being human, here we are. We think we “deserve” a treat. We do. Just not every day. It just takes a slide from healthy eating to start an avalanche of weight gain.

Back in October, after eating well and too much at home during the quarantine, we both gained weight. By October, I didn’t feel like myself. I didn’t like whoever I was feeling like and asked our Internal Med Doc if Keto was safe for folks of our age and the Babe’s Ischemic Heart Disease. He said, “YES!”

Of course, men always lose weight faster than women do. The Babe did well, then has stalled now. I’ve lost 30 pounds and kind of stalled, too. I’m going to get back on track and we will see what the summer brings us. I’d love to lose another 30, but will be happy with 20. If the Babe loses more, he may be a candidate to reduce the type of meds he takes. Wouldn’t that be a bonus? I love when that happens!

Think on your wonderful memories today. Own up to your areas that need improvement. We all need to do that. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Patient. We’re almost to the end of our COVID measures. A little longer. We will make it! Thank you for reading. We will see each other tomorrow. Have a beautiful outdoors day!

Sunny Sunday

On windy days like this, I wonder how the pioneers handled the constant prairie wind. In the spring it seems to never end. A breeze would be appreciated, instead of the constant 35 mph near-gale force wind we have. Other than that, the grass is greening up and I haven’t asked the Babe (yet) to move three very small hydrangeas from the enclosure he built last year. I can tell they will be large plants and I think they need more sun than they received last year.

It took me quite awhile to learn I could have “down” time, I didn’t have to be constantly busy. When I was a stay at home Mom, I felt very alone. We lived in an old neighborhood, it was hard to meet people my own age. Once the kids started school, I did meet some really nice women and had good friends. We often took the kids places together, we had Zoo passes for families, and made a day of it.

Most of the girlfriends I had in high school all went to college. Everywhere I looked, women’s lives were changing. Working away from the home was even the topic in the women’s magazines I read. Not as many recipes or projects to knit, sew, or crochet. I felt I had to justify my existence by accomplishing a lot every day. I refinished woodwork, I made many, many of the Christmas gifts we gave, and the house was ridiculously clean by 10 a.m. every day.

All that activity and no down time. As a single mom, add schooling to working full time and raising my family. I needed a degree for a better salary. The example Mom gave was do more, do it faster, do it better. It was her way of coping with her life, and therefore, it’s how I coped with mine. No one ever told her yet she can slow down. She is not aging gracefully, but goes kicking and screaming along the way. The changes of aging are not being accepted. We have nothing to prove to anyone anymore. Perfection is often a lie. Wearing ourselves out so we fall in bed at night was the order of each day, only to rise the next day to do it all over again the next day.

When I was forced into early retirement due to disability, I fell into a funk and took time to adjust to being able to work anymore. I felt put out to pasture at 48. I went on Medicare at 50. That really deepened my funk. The Babe and I were married. I volunteered for about ten years, and filled the void. Eventually, it led to taking up writing. I was still evolving, still growing, still living. I learned to relax. The Babe taught me to procrastinate. It actually feels powerful to choose putting something off until the next day. I do it when I’m tired. No more frantic activity for this woman. Things are much less “immediate” to me now. Yes, some things take precedence, but unless a life depends on me sweeping the kitchen floor, it can wait. I’m more important than a clean floor.

So many of us lose ourselves trying to attain perfection. And we never get there because it’s impossible. Working harder is not the answer. Having balance in your life is. Living your own truth is the only way to find peace. Admit to who you are, what you want to do, and how you can grow. We grow by learning all of our lives. We’re always on the path to becoming, whether 19 or 91. Forget being busy for busyness sake. Do what you do for the right reasons now, not reasons that make no sense anymore. Yesterdays wounds should not dictate your present and future life.

Be Kind to yourself today. Be patient with yourself today. Take a break today. You deserve it. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow. Have a beautiful Sunday.

Suddenly It’s Sunday Again!

Wow! What a week! It’s been the longest short week I’ve had for quite a long time. It was a great one, though. How about for all of you? I hope you’re all well and able to enjoy this beautiful Sunday, wherever you are.

The Babe and I had a big list of stuff to do this week. Probably 75% of it was done. But even at that, washing windows was not in the cards with all the much needed rain. Probably this week. I once had a house with 36 windows. They were old, cheap combination windows I cleaned twice a year. What a job! Now, instead of having to take the parts out, I can take out the screens, and use a product that hooks to your garden hose. You can clean the window, switch the product off, then rinse. Five minutes, then give the screen a shot of suds and rinsing, it’s all clean and ready to put back in when dry. Since we have a ranch style home, you can squeedge the water off or dry with a cloth. You can see again!

We went to the Post this morning for the first Sunday breakfast in a long time, and we enjoyed a good meal for $8. They did well, and it shuts down at Noon. We had breakfasts once a month for quite awhile, then stopped because not a lot of people were coming up, and that was before COVID. Good call to start them again. A new group of helpers makes the work go well.

Today, I will put the finishing touches on my stories of origin. It’s been a fun project and I’ve learned a lot. This has also been the week to unveil the new VFW Post 2503 website. The Babe’s brother in law Brad is a web designer, among other things, and he put it together for us. I’ve learned a lot more about WordPress this week, so that time has been so worth it. It’s been a fun as well as frustrating week. My stubbornness has kept me from calling him for help in figuring things out. Some things I still needed help with, but it took me back to my working days and the triumph of trouble shooting problems. A victory when you figure stuff out, for sure.

There will be a learning curve to keep going, and it’s ok. I’ve actually improved my website too, in case you didn’t notice. The new “Home” page has a bit about me and my headshot. I’ll need a new one since my COVID hair has grown almost shoulder length. I decided to keep the hair. I’ve missed it. I’ve had long hair most of my life, it’s sort of a signature. So what if it’s gray. No one cares anymore. Part of my brand, actually. “It’s Not Too Late, and I’m Not Too Old.”

The newest blog for the day is under “Today’s Blog” and a collection of all my blogs is available on the “Blogs at a Glance” page. There is a page to “Contact” me, and I’d sure like my followers to fill that out. I’ll keep e-mails to a minimum when they start, trust me! I haven’t published yet, but I’ll have your contact information for when I need it. I’d appreciate your help with that.

The other thing you could do under comments, is suggest a topic for the daily blog. If there is some part of writing you have questions about, I’d be glad to try and answer them. You’ll be helping me a great deal.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

I have to say, I’m scouring the free photo sites and looking for typewriter photos. I marvel at how big they are now. I hated typing on an old manual typewriter, the very old kind, because I had to address envelopes for advertising. The darned shift hold wasn’t in too good of shape, so it would type off center of the line. Arghhh! Had to throw them away, the boss wouldn’t let me erase it and white out hadn’t been invented yet. It was embarrassing!

I have to say, owning one of these typewriters would be fun for messing around, but I’m personally very happy with the ease of computer software. It’s awesome. Easy to correct. I don’t know how many words I can type, but wow, it’s way better than the hunt and peck method most people seem to use now. I cannot imagine typing an entire 80K novel using the hunt and peck method!

Photo by Logan Fisher on Pexels.com

I love these Aspen trees in Colorado. This is the perfect time of year out there. Well, summer can be, too. I have never been there in the snow, or a blizzard, so I can’t speak to that. Our daughter Becky moved there in 2001, and it’s our favorite place to go, even before she lived there.

This afternoon will be spent re-reading my character origin stories, and maybe actually reading a book for pleasure. The deck is just perfect right now, so I plan to enjoy it. How will you spend your day?

Thank you for spending part of it with me. I’ll be here again tomorrow, and I hope to see you, too. Have hope in your hearts, we all need it now more than ever. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Safe. And definitely, Be Aware of all around you.

Rainy to Sunny Wednesday

We’ve had all sorts of weather already today. Rain, chilly breeze, and now it’s partly sunny day. Great week is on tap. We have a wedding on Friday, so the weather will cooperate for the beautiful bride and her groom. This couple was fortunate, their wedding and reception was not postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19. Her sister’s was, and they will have their reception next month. It all works out.

We’re kind of wondering what to do with ourselves. Gavin’s Mom took vacation from today until next Thursday, so we won’t get to have him today or next week. Hard to believe school is starting. He and his sister attend Papillion/LaVista schools, so they are taking the plunge, right back to a full schedule, onsite, masked, no lockers for older kids. I think they need it, psychologically. They need the safety of school, the friendships, the learning to get along with others in a large group, and the learning you can only have in a classroom. The impromptu discussions that happen randomly are important to learning, too. Sometimes you get more from those than from textbooks. My only hope is for all students and teachers, staff, aids, resource officers and the like to have a safe year.

Tomorrow is my conference with my book coach. I shared my list of books I’ve purchased randomly to learn about writing, publishing, Legalities of self-publishing, etc. The list is about 30 books. So much to learn! I also have a GREAT COURSES class on writing. I forgot I had it, I only watched the one I bought about drawing. Time to rotate the writing one out to the DVD player.

Way back in the old days, before we knew about COVID-19, I ordered some cute paint by number canvases. Didn’t realize they came from China. Never got them, I emailed them frequently to let them know I had not received what I paid for yet. Finally, this week, they arrived. I think they look like a lot of fun. These will be a winter project for sure. Here they are:

This is for my granddaughter Kayla’s room.
This one is for our home.

It’s the time of year again the butterfly bush is huge right outside my studio window. The Painted Lady butterflies are beautiful! It makes me feel calm, sometimes there are ten or more lighting on it. Such a sight. We have a bush that is nearly as large as the butterfly bush. It has large leaves, had a few little white flowers in the spring. The fall and winter isn’t supposed to have red berries. We’ll see what it does this year. It may end up transplanted to the back, near the Wetlands. The Hydrangeas are almost large enough to place in the front flower bed as well. We’ll see how the Babe feels about it. Fall is the best time to transplant all this stuff, I think.

Today is a take it as it comes day. I’m going to work on my quilt again. It should go well. Hopefully, photos tomorrow! Stay safe out there, wash up and mask up. The kids need us to all cooperate, so they can learn, feel safe, and get on with their education. Be Kind, Be Thoughtful, Be Courteous. Your day will go much better. See you tomorrow!

Oh Honey, You Have No Idea!