All Hallows’ Eve

So the other day when I was at the doctor’s office, he asked if I was giving out treats or not. I said I hadn’t decided yet. He told me they weren’t going to. He said it’s a perfect super spreader of COVID. When you think about it, he’s right. I’ve decided not to pass out any candy, then no one can pass things to us, either. It makes sense in this time of COVID.

Tomorrow is my big day, I’ll start writing 1,667 words a day for the whole month of November. I think it should be attainable. I’m already writing blogs a couple days ahead, then scheduling when to publish them. I love that about Word Press. The only thing is I still need to manually publish to my Jewell Publishing LLC page and my personal page, Kathy Jewell Raabe. It is all ok, at least I’ll pre-schedule the daily blogs, leaving more time for my novel. It’ll take a bit to put my mind back in the story, but we’ll get there.

When we were kids, it was perfectly safe to go out on Halloween, around your neighborhood, and collect candy from every house in the neighborhood. There were a couple houses that were pretty scary, and no one knew them well at all. We avoided that house like the plague. The old nuns told us we needed to dress like the saints, maybe our patron saint, it possible. We were told to especially avoid dressing in devil costumes. They may have even told us it was sinful to do so. Nothing could glorify Satan like the red devil costume.

Our costumes were pretty basic. For many years, my older brother, who was rather small in stature, wore a purchased skeleton costume. It had a hooded face mask that was cloth, and eye holes cut. We hated those plastic masks since we both wore glasses. Couldn’t see a thing through the fog! We had a box of old costumes from Mom’s sisters. An angel smock in white, all sorts of sashes, etc. My kids used many of those, too. Grandma sewed them and they were sturdy. I suppose I gave them to Goodwill after my kids were finished with them.

I’ve told my Halloween horror story many times. Here it goes again. In 1975, when I was very pregnant with my second child Nicholas, we lived in an old neighborhood, on a hill. Most of the neighbors we knew lived down the hill, where there were long staircases up the hill to the houses, then the houses had at least 6 – 10 steps up to the porches and front doors. Did I mention there were fences between many of the yards, and you couldn’t cut across the yards? My Frankie was just four years old and very shy. I held his hand up all 10,000 steps, down them, then up the next 10,000 steps . . . well, you get the picture. I was 24 years old and in good shape. I prayed not to have a Halloween baby all night. He wasn’t born for another week, November 7. What a relief! Gosh, he’ll be 46 next week. Where does the time go?

The days are pretty chilly now and look to be all week. It’s probably time to bring in the outdoor furniture, and batten down the hatches. More evenings by the fireplace, which is our favorite. So relieved we feel better and don’t have any lasting effects from COVID. We have some friends who have lung issues and memory/other issues relating to impatience, general personality changes, and some balance issues. We are very fortunate. More blessings.

On the Keto front of my life, I’ve done a little back-sliding. Quit doing squats and was careless with eating, so I gained 5 pounds. I’m back at it, before it turns into 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50. That is where people get in trouble. I’ll be too busy to think about snacks during November.

Once we’re finished here, I’m putting my plans into a 3-ring binder to get organized for tomorrow. Each chapter will have a divider, along with notes. Part of the writing has to take you where it goes. The outline/plan/scene descriptions help get you there. I believe it’s a combination of being a pantster (one who writes by the seat of their pants) and an outliner. My book coach, Sam Tyler, helped me see how much easier it was to outline. It lends a structure I didn’t have before.

My first NaNoWriMo in 2019 saw me crank out 40,000 words and I was ready to send it to someone to edit, print, and call it good. I believe most folks who do that don’t find success. I learned so much from Sam and from study on my own I cannot believe it. Sure, I’ll go back and see if I can resurrect what I wrote. Maybe there were too many characters to do them all justice. I went down a path where two brothers were in a moral/physical/and life struggle. One told the other he would kill him if he ever heard of him hurting another character. Truthfully, it scared me. I may need to talk with someone about that. I just find it interesting, and wonder where and how that conflict would have resolved itself. You almost never know what path you will find yourself on when you go the pantster way. I am probably now a Planning Pantster.

Friends, I hope you each find abundance in your lives during this Autumn Harvest season. The colors are so beautiful this time of year. I remember reading stories in our Grand School Literature class about Harvest. Living in Nebraska my whole life, I’m a city girl, but I live in the country now, sort of. Our little town of 4,000 + is seeing a building boom in the last five years. Many housing divisions are set to begin, a large chain grocery store, and several retirement centers are touting their future location. Something for everyone! Building homes, schools, community recreation areas are all great signs. My hope is they really build a new library in our neighborhood. It will be perfect for us (especially ME!).

Be careful out there tonight with your little goblins. I hope you all stay warm enough! Have fun, and we’ll see each other tomorrow! Be Kind.

It’s Been a Week.

We rode high from the outstanding success of our awards ceremony at the Post Sunday. We raised $2,020 for Nebraska COPS; a donation of $3,500 from ABATE and our Car Shows/Raffles fundraising produced $2,240 checks for both Guitars for Vets and Moving Veterans Forward. Life smacked my family with a giant, undeserved comeuppance at 4 a.m. Monday morning. No cause for alarm cousins. Just know mom fell and hit her head. She is ok, nothing at all broken.

Very lucky, for being ** years old; and truthfully, she looks like hell.One brother lives across the street. He and his wonderful partner called 911 and he went to the ER. He texted my younger brother and me; and took the day off and cared for her the rest of the day once she could go home. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday with her, going to her doctor and adjusting some things. No more canes for stability, she has to use a walker. Therapy at the house, too. Help her build some strength up. All normal stuff in the life of an elderly person.

Mom has been an exception to every rule since Dad died 33 years ago. She just picked up and went on with life. She worked, volunteered, learned, traveled, and did a lot of thing. Like hand feed an elephant at the zoo. Like babysit a baby orang and gorilla when their mama’s rejected them. If we couldn’t find her at home, she’d be at the zoo. Her stroke and reduced vision took that from her a few years ago. She gave up driving on her own; she knew it was no longer safe for her or others. She gave us a gift there.

I’ve decided to tell you about the rest of the week after I catch up around the house and the Post website. It’s got to be done to get the balance back as well as we can. Mom will lose a little independence, but she’s still at home, where she’s lived since 1949. Yes, you read that right. 1949. Bless her heart! Prayers gratefully accepted!

If you have your parents, call them. Tell them how you love them. Help keep them in their home as long as possible. It all takes work, but you will be glad you did it. They will thank you. Be Kind today. Be Grateful today. Make a difference today. See you tomorrow!

P.S. No, the photo is not of our mom!

Thankful Thursday

It’s been pretty busy here at Raabe Ranch today. I had a great book talk with Sam Tyler, my coach this morning. I’m feeling a little sad because we agreed to take December “off,” and resume in January 2021. By now, I feel I’ve learned enough of what I didn’t know before that I can proceed on my own, with good guidance from a couple of books certain authors have written to guide other writers in their trade. Changes are hard, and I know we have become friends along the way. That is the best benefit.

I finished with shopping for the VFW Post donation to the homeless vets being served through Moving Veterans Forward. I’ll accompany the founder and CEO, Ron Hernandez, and a couple other people to deliver the goods where they will do the most good. It will be another lesson in the story of life. Some are sad, some are happy. Some show impressive growth, others bear substantial loss.

I mentioned yesterday about facing mortality, as Michael J Fox talks about his retirement from acting after his last couple of years of struggles with health issues. In the past five to ten years, we have lost a bunch of friends and family, mostly from cancer. As I went through my Facebook friends list, deciding on who to invite to like my author page, I am struck by how many of those people were no longer with us. The old-fashioned address book is even worse.

I think of all the people I’ve loved, liked, and had fun with. Fun friends from school, church, groups we’ve belonged to, and friends of friends. It’s a whole unique group of people you collect throughout your life, and if they’ve been with you for a long time, they really become part of you, and you become part of them. Friends, wonderful friends, are worth so much. It’s a pleasure being a part of their lives, just as it’s a pleasure to have them in your life. The world is so much better with them.

Today, start making the most of however much time you have left on this earth. I don’t care if you’re 15 or 95. You can make the most of the rest of your life by starting now. Start today. Be positive. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Grateful. Always leave home on a pleasant note. You never know how life can change in eight or ten hours. Be free of regrets. It makes a tremendous difference in your life.

Although it is late, I appreciate you reading. Tomorrow’s blog will be later in the day, too. The delivery of goods to homeless shelters for Veterans is going to be quite a story. There, but by the grace of God, go I. See you tomorrow. Stay safe out there.