Long Day, Long Week

It’s Saturday. Glad for the weekend.

I haven’t seen one ball game of Gavin’s for a very long time. Today , I get to see two. 9 and 11. I look forward to it, far more than you can probably believe.

My brothers will look after Mom over the weekend. It works well. They are so easy to work with. The three of us are a good care team.

Last weekend, Memorial Day weekend, was the unofficial summer start. We have had a couple of days hot and humid so far, and we will have many more ahead. It’s time. And I have some baseball to catch up on.

It’s so hard to believe Gavin will be 11 this year. He loves baseball, and I love to watch him play. It’s great. Best fun I’ve had in years.

My oldest played Little League ball. He was a skilful player at 10, just like Gavin. His dad coached, but that was when we separated, and his dad refused to pick him up for practice and games. I had to work until 5 every day, and did not get home in time to take him to practice or play games. His dad wouldn’t since it I filed for divorce. His dad was the coach. My son told me he could forgive his dad for everything else but baseball. I’m so happy my grandson doesn’t have that situation.

The rest of the weekend? I will spend time with the Babe. We haven’t seen each other much this week. We have a lot to catch up on. I feel so lucky to do that. There are a lot of husbands who wouldn’t have it if their wife needed to tend to her mom. Mine knows family is everything and knows we all have only one Mom. I’m a lucky woman.

You know, we have a lot of things to do to finish preparing for summer. I’m so sad there will no longer be a specialty nursery in Gretna who raises seed planted Geraniums for summer and poinsettias for Christmas. I should be able to re-start the geraniums every spring, for as long as I want. It will be wonderful to have those same plants, year after year. Such a keepsake.

We have some things to take care of this weekend; hope you get to enjoy yours. Have a great Saturday! See you tomorrow.

Built in 1952, Still Going in 2023!

Some days, it’s going strong, some days it’s a stroll. And that is more than ok.

Spending my birthday today, the way I want. On the patio and on the deck, depending on the sun/heat. Going to find a cake with delicious buttercream frosting. Going to eat all four corners of it. It’s my favorite piece. And of course, ice cream! Thinking about what kind I would like. The possibilities are limitless.

It will be a surprise until I find the perfect thing. An adventure in shopping. Yep. We’re worth it. I’ll stop by and see how Mom is doing; she’s wanting to stay home, only, and not go for a haircut or anything. Mental note to call the beautician. OK, will do. The Babe is cooking steaks on the grill, and that’s just fine by me. It’s all about the cake on your birthday, anyway. I love birthdays, a day to celebrate you. Not like Christmas or Thanksgiving, it’s a day about who entered the world that day.

While your person is recovering after the cancer treatment, and from the cancer treatment, we need to be open for what they feel up to and don’t. It can change from minute to minute. It’s hard when they can’t decide, then they decide isn’t what they really wanted. Their minds are all over the place, and if they’re elderly, they’re worrying they won’t be able to stay in their homes. Yes, it’s an adventure. It gets better, though.

We’ve been so busy with Mom, I have had little chance to think about the significance of turning 71 this year. Life is becoming even more important to me than it was before. It is fragile, yet reinforced. It is long, yet too short. And it goes by too quickly. Ask anyone at any stage of life. We all have stories.

Sharing our stories helps other become informed of what could be ahead of them. No, no two cases are the same, no two patients are the same. Yet, some tips from everyone may be helpful to those who feel adrift at sea. You’re not alone, we’re all ready to listen and offer you and your friend or loved one what we learned and what helped us. We’re stronger together, all playing a part in this journey.

Have a beautiful day today. Help me celebrate today, have an ice cream cone or a cupcake. I appreciate it! And just have fun. See you tomorrow!

And Then?

Of course, after posting granddaughter Kayla’s quilt, here is her brother Cody’s quilt. I love this one! Every little boy should have a puppy quilt. Ask any Grandma. I loved this one, too. Learned some new things, with my new sewing machine. I’m really proud of the techniques I’ve learned over the years. It’s taken many years of practice. I know someday my writing, and my yet to learn artwork will improve with more and more practice.

Yesterday, I spent nearly the entire beautiful day outside inside, trying to get two different laptops to work. Oh I could restart them, etc. But they wanlock, ted me to sign on Google, and it wouldn’t allow me. What the heck? Both laptops? I finally was able to get to HR Block on one laptop and do the taxes. Ok, so I’m checking them then filing tomorrow. Like always, I re-check later, and file. Perfect.

Of course, after posting granddaughter Kayla’s quilt, here is her brother Cody’s quilt. I love this one, too! Every little boy should have a puppy quilt. Ask any Grandma. Learned some new things, with my new sewing machine. I’m really proud of the techniques I’ve learned over the years. It’s taken many years of practice. I know someday my writing, and my yet to learn artwork will improve with more and more practice.

Yesterday, I spent nearly the entire beautiful day outside inside, trying to get two different laptops to work. Oh, I could restart them, etc. But they would not let me a simple sign on Google. What the heck? Both laptops? I finally could get to HR Block on one laptop and do the taxes. Ok, so I’m checking them and then filing tomorrow. Like always, I re-check later, and file. Perfect.

Did some stuff yesterday to get ahead of next week, with all the appointments Mom has. It is all fine. Handled. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? Nothing finer in life, my friend!

What do you do when life gets overwhelming? Prayers help, I have learned. A good talk with the Babe is #1 or #2 on the list, depending on what’s going on. Reorganizing helps. Taking a couple of days off and getting enough sleep, eating as you feel about it, and remembering you’re only human. You can do only that.

If we’re religious or not, the Easter story resonates with all of us. How? All of us get do-overs in life. We all know light overpowers the dark, if we want to admit it. It also means love is stronger than hate, and life can win over death. How is that?

Within all of us are the seeds of darkness, or of evil. Evil can overcome any of us when our defenses are down, or when we’re not on our guard. Most of us fear that. Those of us who are adult children of alcoholics can relate to this more than we care to admit. Easter can be the celebration of good triumphing over evil no matter what our religious beliefs. The Easter story is also about what happens to us, if we want to admit it.

How about you? Do you believe Easter is only about everyone else but us? Nope, it doesn’t work that way.

Take care, have a beautiful Monday and remember. It’s about all of us. See you tomorrow.

Thank You . . .

for trusting me with your personal issues, secrets, and heartbreaks. I’m blessed to have friends who trust me with their hearts and heartbreak. That is one of the most valuable gifts there is. I am grateful to receive their trust. Disappointing people by breaking that trust, is something I’d rather not do at all. It has disappointed me when people I thought were trustworthy, were not. It is devastating when that happens.

Shakespeare once said, “In thy face I see the map of honor, truth, and loyalty.”

One of the many things people risk telling each other is how they value putting trust in people they want to have a relationship with. Trusting their word, their faithfulness, and their honesty. Once the heat of the moment cools a bit, and the infatuation settles down, the reality of everyday settles in and you learn about their true trustworthiness. And they learn about yours. This is where people actually become themselves. All the good and bad habits.

If our person isn’t in our corner, what good is the union? Are they there for us? If not, it’s not worth pursuing. If you feel more alone with them than without them, they’re not for you. If another person has no integrity when you meet, it’s doubtful they’ll learn it soon. Being alone is better than not being able to trust. Promises and good intentions are empty unless you can trust them.

We see this on a smaller scale as kids in school. We try to be nice to everyone and treat everyone as our friend. This doesn’t guarantee. Some kids develop other characteristics which contribute to them being untrustworthy. We need to do all we can to help kids in our lives learn the good way. They are watching. Be a good example.

I hope you have a wonderful Friday today. Wherever you go, remember to be a good example. See you tomorrow!


Do you own a new auto?

Have you ever received a recall notice for your vehicle? How did you handle it?

It’s interesting, the feature we don’t like at all is being recalled. The idea to save fuel by shutting the engine off while at a stop sign, traffic light, in line at the bank, etc. is one we disagree with. Pushing a button is supposed to re-start the engine. This feature is not working properly. The recall is to replace the starter and update software. I find this fascinating. The first thing we asked each other was, “Won’t that put a lot of stress on the starter?”

My 3 brothers and I all worked for our uncle’s South Omaha Auto Parts Store. The parts came from other suppliers or directly from the yard where junked cars stored by make, model, etc. I worked in the office. Between that experience and growing up in a home where the men could work on their own cars, change their own oil, do their brakes, you pick up terminology here and there. As time went on, they expanded to starters, alternators, and radiators. I did radiator inventory more than once.

As luck would have it, the Babe was a diesel mechanic/lead where he worked. He had an office, and eventually became labor foreman, and facilities manager. He taught me a lot about construction, landscaping, and many other things. One of the most fun things we ever did that I still tease him about today was go downtown to the 24 hour concrete pour for the tallest building in Omaha – the First National Bank Tower Headquarters. For 24 hours, concrete trucks poured their entire load to create for the base of this giant skyscraper. It was interesting to watch, and he’d tell me what they were all doing. He knew a lot of the drivers from his job and had conversations with them later about it.

I would tell him, “You take me to the best places. We do the most fun stuff. Like the time we went to the concrete pour for the First National HQ.” He smiles. I don’t know of other women who like that kind of stuff. I’m grateful for the view on the world I have. It helped me fix stuff when I was a single mom with a house. I’m a lot more mechanically oriented that many women. I like to see things assembled and learn how they work.

I am thrilled to hear of initiatives by folks like Mike Rowe, encouraging kids to go into industries we need people to work with their hands. No matter what, we’ll always need cooks, nurses, mechanics, printers, production managers, butchers, plumbers, electricians, construction people. We shot ourselves in the foot in the 80s by doing away with the “technical” part of community colleges. The theory was:

“You can earn more money sitting down than you can standing up.”

Yes, we need people in work clothes. Those skills are in short supply; encourage your child. We need many of all the careers that exist. Let’s get a good balance.

Hope it’s a good day. Mom’s got an appointment, so we’ll be out for a while. I hope the weather is warm for her. Have a great day, and know spring is just around the corner. See you tomorrow.

If Nothing Changes . . .

Nothing Changes.

You may bemoan your situation. You may absolutely abhor how your spouse treats you, where you live, and the fact you are always broke. Complaining doesn’t help change the situation. Do you have any ideas on how to change it? What do you need to do to change it? Where do you start? When? How?

It’s difficult changing yourself and your circumstances. Many of us prefer to complain rather than change. Fear keeps us from moving and growing. It’s taken me quite a while to figure out what to spend my time with since I’ve retired from the working world. There are so many creative things I want to do starting now.

Being back at my sewing machine working on the kids’ quilts has made me very contented, deep in my soul. Part of the reason is the quilts are for the grandkids. Part is the act of creating plants a satisfaction in me that is the equivalent of music to my ears. I believe it’s the best “high” there is. Nothing like it. Try it. You’ll like it.

Do we want to stay in an environment that stifles us? Chances are we’re not in an environment that encourages growth. Why would you want to change when everyone else is just fine? You’ll upset everyone and create chaos. Don’t let them try to make you feel guilty. If you want change, you deserve change. Go for it.

If something changes, other things may need to change, too. If no one but you do the work around the house, that needs to change. Everyone should help around the house. Yes, even the kids. There are lists of age-appropriate chores for pre-schoolers. Print one off, and we’ll start checking those chores off!

Yes, change is good. It is critical for development. There is a stop to stagnation. It’s necessary for growth. Once you get used to encouraging it, you’ll welcome it. Try it.

Stay safe out there today. We had some winter weather overnight. And we’ve got a date for tomorrow. Take care.

Art + Reading + Quilting, Oh My!

It might be a little early, but sounds as if there could be another bout of bad winter weather this week. One former area weather dude said, “Ice, Ice, Baby.” That does not even sound good. The favorable thing about it is winter is nearly over.

Whatever the weather does, there’s lots to do inside. One thing is, yes . . . Cody’s quilt. Seriously, it takes a lot to trim the threads from the back. The threads are not threads from sewing so much as threads from the woven fabric. They fray a lot while handling them.

My new goal for this week is to actually finish Cody’s quilt. Then it’s tax time at Raabe Ranch. The month of February has been full of breakthroughs, insights, and progress. Lots of good reading and planning. The Babe is now the keeper of all the finance files for at Raabe Ranch. He’s tallying expenses for every month, so we have a running total. 2023 taxes will be easy that way. This is the first year we’ve tried this, so we’ll see how it goes.

Goldie had fun with the snow last week. She would beg to play fetch with her favorite toy, the rope. We stand on the deck and throw it. She goes to where it fell in the yard and brings it back to us. Except for when there are 6 + inches of snow. She waits for the rope, then plays by herself. How? She throws the rope up in the air, then waits for it to fall back under the snow again. She’ll nose it out, and toss it up in the air again. If she feels it with her paw, she’ll pull it across the yard a way, and toss it up when she likes. She’s worn herself out for the last week doing this. Silly dog. She brings a lot of joy to our days.

Hope you all have a great Tuesday. Make sure you get provisions in case you are ice/snow/slush bound on Wednesday and Thursday this week. Be safe out there, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Bright, Sunny Day

Saturday flew by. Feeling better when I woke, I was ready to set the world on fire. Until after taking a shower and getting dressed. Then common sense took me captive, and I decided to set the world on fire another day. Not well enough yet. We didn’t stray too far off the couch, believe me. The Babe has excellent advice: “You’re not well yet. Take another day.” Don’t have to tell this girl twice.

I’ve spent quite a number of hours trimming threads from the back of Cody’s quilt. And I’m still not finished trimming them. The weather was bright and sunny. I love those days. If a person were to keep track, I wonder how many days would be all sun, no clouds, and others all clouds, no sun. Anyone have an idea? Just curious.

It’s a good idea to keep people around you who are on your side. Those who see the best in you. Those who remind you you it’s there, deep inside of you when you forget. Since I’ve started writing, the more people I’ve shared about it, the more who have said, “Keep writing. You have something to say.” Do you know how far that goes in keeping me grounded and moving forward? I think if we all share that kind of encouragement with each other, we’d all keep going towards our creative goals.

We all know people who could use some encouragement just to get through the day. Cancer patients. people coping with loss. People with earth shaking decisions to make. Those who are estranged from their families through no fault of their own. And we sometimes need to stop, evaluate, and be deeply grateful for what goes well in our lives. Doing that has a way of giving us strength to go the extra mile. Gratitude does that for a person. A soul. A being.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately back in the years when we were all kids living at home. Still in school. And the excursions we would go on to visit our aunts’ and uncles’ homes. Dad didn’t accompany us often to see Mom’s family; he was usually just off a long Saturday night, printing the Sunday paper, and settling down for some sleep. One of my little cousins asked one time, “Who is that man who lives with Aunt Rosie?” They didn’t come to our house hardly ever, and Mom would take us around to visit on Sundays. It was funny, what my cousin said. I wondered how many other people wondered if we had a dad or not?

Growing up, I only knew two kids whose parents were divorced. And I didn’t meet them until high school. Now, it’s hard to find people who are married to their child’s other parent. I do not believe people should ever stay together for the sake of the kids. The kids are worse off if you are always arguing with their Dad or Mom. And a hostile home environment is where lots of bad things breed. And bad family traditions are passed down to yet another generation. Think about being the one who breaks tradition. It’s so well worth it.

Start small. Gain confidence. Before you know it, you’ll be going big or going home. You can do it. Again, have a few good people who support your dreams and goals. You’re worth it. Have a beautiful Sunday, and think about who your people are to support you when you decide you need to change something in life; your living situation, your family, your career. They’re all big things; chosen wisely, you can make your whole life better than you’ve ever imagined. Take care. See you tomorrow.

The Last Day of January, 2023

If you live in Nebraska or any state north of there, you know what I’m talking about.

This morning, when I opened the inside door to let the dogs out, the combination door to the outside was frosted over. Not just on the glass, but on all the metal, too. It was about zero degrees out. And don’t touch it with wet fingers – or your tongue.

Yes, it’s that cold out. The possibility for frigid temps, snow, and bad weather exists for another couple of months. We have lots of things to take care of inside until springtime comes along. There are lots of books, projects, and writing to do.

For the first month of 2023, I made a decision for my future. The art/drawing/painting bug has been biting me since I went with my friend Lora last summer to see Van Gogh. I have not started yet, but hope to by March 1. February 1, I’m taking out my kid book again and begin to edit the long passages.

The hardest part of me with a kid book is to learn most parents don’t want a book to last more than about five minutes. They’re too busy to read. That makes me sad, but I can’t change that.

The quilts are coming along nicely. I am learning to accept the fact I only think I can finish things quicker than I do. It’s hard, but it’s better than driving myself crazy. It’s part of learning to accept ourselves. I have to accept every part of myself to let the creative vibes do their thing. The clearer my strong points become, the better to capitalize on them.

I am very much almost right on with my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2023. I started Colleen Hoover’s, “All Your Perfects.” I’m about 1/3 way in so far, and I’m thinking it may only take a day or two to finish it. Some of her books are a little hard to follow; I think that was maybe because I was probably much older than her fans who read the books/trilogy. I’m guessing she also wrote these books earlier in her life. The combination could be why I had some difficulty being interested in the story about very young love, first apartments, first breakups.

I’ve repeatedly read about the more you read, the better you will write. I’m all for that. I do love to read. And learning all throughout life helps us create keys to different parts of ourselves. Some keys open doors we’d rather not open. They can stay closed. The keys that open doors to new adventures, new people, new discoveries. Those are the doors we want to open. They exist to enhance our lives. I think we all want to do this.

We need to stop talking ourselves out of living our dreams. Trying things we’ve always wondered if we could do or not. We are not too old. It is never too late. Start putting our dreams into action. It feels so good! Begin today! See you tomorrow.

Christmas Week, 12/23/2022

On this day, I want to wish my lifelong friend Kris Leavitt, Happy Birthday, as well as FESTIVUS FOR THE REST OF US!

Yesterday was the most frigid day since I can’t remember when. I want to say about 1983, maybe. We stayed in Wednesday night because of the icing that was happening, and were going to stay in yesterday. But we needed to deliver some things to the MVF warehouse. The Babe wanted to have lunch and go to the store. My to do list would have to wait.

I thought the store would be crowded. It wasn’t! A Christmas Miracle! The store staff was all very nice. That would be a tough job, along with anything retail this time of year. Those people all deserve a bonus, you know?

As I’ve said before, it is tough to be on this side of Christmas; a grown family and the littlest grandkids live far away, so it’s tougher to get into the spirit. The header photo is of our two great nieces, children of nephew & niece Alex and Megan. Their little girls, Kenna and Knox, are adorable. The header photo is the family Christmas card this year. While I was out at the dentist a couple days ago, I was remembering having kids that small at Christmas. It occurred to me those are the years Christmas is magical and fun. Having some memories? Me, too.

Come to think of it, I’m also remembering some other memories.

The year everyone had terrible colds, were cranky, had red faces and raw lips from being chapped in the cold temps; 1978; I was 8 months pregnant and miserable; the years we couldn’t afford anything, so I made a lot of gifts; the year we hosted dinner for 28 people. I made Swiss Steak and Baked Potatoes and it was perfect. I also cleaned up, did Santa, and all the Christmas Eve duties, while the kids’ dad went to bed. He was too tired to help. He was angry when the kids woke up at 6 a.m. the next morning. That’s what Christmas Day is about! No, I don’t miss the collateral memories that go with the little kids and an uncooperative husband.

Knowing Alex and Megan as I do, they will do things together, and be more excited than their little ones to wake up early. They will be patient and loving all day, too. The girls’ Aunt Ona will certainly do what an aunt does on Christmas, birthdays, Easter, and whenever the opportunity presents itself. Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Brad will enjoy every minute. Enjoy, Shuck Family! Merry Christmas. We love you all, and hope your memories are wonderful.

Of course, since we did the store and lunch yesterday, it was too late to start the tree. So, today is the tree. Photos tomorrow. Nothing like the last minute. When my kids were little, they always knew we had to wait until Grandma Tomasek’s birthday to put the tree up. December 7. It got a little earlier, December 1. Finally, when I divorced, and we had my house, we’d do it the day after Thanksgiving, when the boys would decorate the outside of the house. I miss those Christmases, too.

Take each of these moments during the Christmas present, and enjoy it as much as possible. The good and the bad. I look forward to the meal we’re hosting, and to seeing the family who are available. We are blessed, and grateful.

Have a great day today, stay warm, finish your shopping, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.