What’s My Favorite Thing to Cook?

This prompt is courtesy of my friends at WordPress. When I can’t decide on a topic, we’re just going to take their prompt and run with it.

My favorite has changed over the years. When I was a young Mom, I loved having a peanut butter sandwich and apple slices with my littles. We’d picnic in the backyard, or even go with other neighborhood friends to the Zoo. We’d both load up the wagons and food and Kool Aid, and go to walk the Zoo. It was easier back in the 70s and 80s; it was much smaller.

As time went on and I was alone with my kids, I loved cooking Sunday dinner. Roast, whatever we could afford. My kids were all home and Frankie, the elder of the tribe, made it a point to tell the littles (Nick and Becky) it was important to have dinner as a family. He loved those dinners, and so did I. The kids all did. Before my sons worked, we’d start the day on Sunday with Jazz on the local radio station, and a big breakfast. All four of us sat around and read the newspaper afterwards, too. I miss those days. What I don’t miss is the robbing Peter to pay Paul, the nearly overdrawn checking account every day, and the running out of cash and milk on Tuesday when I didn’t get paid until Friday. That was horribly stressful. And the stress of raising kids, praying you get it right. They were good; they made good choices. I was lucky.

I’ve always loved cooking meals for company, holiday meals for our family, and I believe I’m probably just about done cooking solo for holidays. My back just can’t handle all the standing, etc. I will make sure I have a helper from now on. That’s how things get handed down.

My favorite thing to make is dessert. Cake, pie, bites of candies, brownies, etc. It’s no wonder; I’m a person probably addicted to sugar, so of course I’m great at building desserts. I have a few Keto recipes to reduce the bad stuff. Might get some in before Valentine’s Day for the Babe and me. We don’t normally make a big deal out of it; we know we love each other. Some folks live and die by it. Hallmark wins, and Russell Stover, every time.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another 40 + degree day. We actually sat outside for awhile today. The air was fresh, but a little cool with the bit of wind. Each day gets us closer to spring. Cabin fever has driven the Babe a little stir crazy. He just wants out. Out to enjoy and do something. Soon, my dear. Soon.

My study of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is going well. It’s picked up in the last couple weeks, when I realized I have learned some variation of some concepts before, and that I’ve been on the Artist’s Way for a few years now. I’m looking to broaden the stroke of the brush, though. I’m thinking of adding narratives of my quilt making and of my learning to draw and paint. Why does it have to be only writing? Why can’t I showcase all my creative endeavors? Anything can happen, right? What do you think, would you be interested in seeing all or just the writing? Let me know.

We’re watching Omaha’s Creighton Bluejays v Villanova Basketball game right now. We’ll see each other again tomorrow, ok? Have a great Sunday.

2-3-2023. Friday’s Things.

Yesterday was Ground Hogs day. Phil saw his shadow. Six more weeks of winter. But six weeks is around the Spring Solstice anyway, so what difference does it make? I don’t know how or why this spectacle began, but I suppose it’s fun. I didn’t question as a kids, the nuns taught us about it, and I’m surprised they did. There is no religious significance to the day, at least I don’t recall learning that. What do you know about it?

Yesterday was also the birthday of a very special Veteran I know. Marion Logermen turned 99 years old. He is a WWII Veteran. He was stationed in Italy, and earned a Purple Heart. The Battle of Anzio is one part of the war he witnessed. He is a very kind man, and someone I’ve been lucky to get to know and talk with. It’s folks like him who make it hard to not be as active at the VFW. At this point of winter, and due to his age, we most likely wouldn’t be seeing him anyway. I’ll have to call him and let him know we were thinking of him today.

I worked on the borders of Cody’s quilt today. Didn’t get them all finished, but they should be tomorrow. Hoping to wrap that project up next week. Next week will also include filing taxes, finishing the quilt, and looking at the kid book with fresh eyes after too long. February is turning into such a productive month. Let’s check back again in about 25 days.

Finished my third book for the 2023 Reading Challenge. So far, on track! Still coaxing the creative spirit out from the storage shed. I’m really tempted to sign up again for monthly art (painting) projects, but since I didn’t do any of the others I signed up for last year, I just can’t right now. I need something to get me going on it. It will happen.

Once we start committing to our creative journey, it is not selfish to want our own, private time. If we don’t carve that out of our day, we may become resentful. And that’s not healthy at all; not for our spirit, soul, or creativity. Let’s remember that.

If you’ve ever had a martyr in your life, you know how guilt-producing they can be. And you’re not even guilty. That’s how they work. They make everything your fault. You’re always the one who is wrong, at fault, doesn’t know what you’re talking about. They use words like always and never. If you are programmed with that message, it takes a long time to find out it’s not true. And, it’s not only false, it’s abusive. Don’t let them get to you. Don’t let them steal your joy. Create. And make the world a much better place. See you tomorrow.

Shame on ???

When a creative person produces a sculpture, a painting, or writes a novel, their family expresses horror. They try to shame the relative into not creating anymore. The family is often afraid a family secret is let out of the bag.

That is the reason many of us are reluctant to let our family read our book, view our painting, or know what we are creating. It’s just easier, you know? Dysfunctional families really know how to take the wind our sails. We become ashamed of what we were previously proud. Everyone but your own family cheers for you and recognizes your gift.

For some of us, that is how it goes. Fear drives those families and their reactions. Pride and humiliation are a breath apart. They don’t want anyone to know what life is like inside that home that they believe looks so perfect. There is no risk of blowing their cover. There is no risk of anyone asking questions. No risk of anyone finding out. The family is less uncomfortable. But not comfortable enough to be honest with themselves or the world.

When I was in high school, and for years before me, it seems the very worst thing in the world for a family was to have their daughter become pregnant “out of wedlock.” Mind you, no one ever questioned the boy or his family. Only the girl. I even remember being told the girls were the ones who had to keep control of the situation when dating. The myth was boys couldn’t control themselves. And the girls aroused slower, and could stop at any point. Boys, no they couldn’t control themselves. Who thought all that up? Wow!

They decimated those myths. Now no one wants their family secrets revealed. Especially not by some crazy artist-type. A hippie artist, or a beatnik poet, or a revolutionary writer. Keep those family skeletons where they belong; in the closet. But not the closet like the sexuality one. The light is being shone on this remarkable art, and those who do not want to see scold us. “How dare you!”

No, how dare you! The world needs to see this, and know it happens, and it’s ok, and not to feel afraid or singled out or feel you’re the only one. Because you’re not. And we’re not. And people understand.

How much the world has changed! And how much the world accepts now it didn’t before. How good for the world. And it’s people. The artists and authors and photographers and creatives have shown the world as they have not seen it before. How wonderful!

Yes, the bigger our world becomes by expanding our thinking, the better it is for us. Growth is going where we’ve not been before. As we continue this week and concentrate on our personal development, let’s keep our eyes on the future. Let’s not concentrate so much on the future that we miss the present every day. And let’s not keep our eyes on the past. We’re not living there anymore. Make the most of these days, the ones right now.

Enjoy this Tuesday; we’re expecting snow Wednesday. Stay safe out there. See you tomorrow, from the snowy tundra.

Weekend, Day 2, Sunday

The prompt for a blog today is, “What snack would you like to eat right now?

Wow, not a brilliant question to ask a starving woman. Nachos would be good, but no jalapeno peppers. Some nice warm Italian Bread with real butter melted on it would be good. The bread with a grilled steak like only the Babe can make. With a nice salad. That would do it.

More squares sewn together for Cody’s quilt. I’d like to finish the quilt top by mid-week. Photos soon! It will be so cute. It’s tough to sit more than a couple hours to sew or do anything. Baby steps.

I’m having a bit of a hard time finishing a book that I want to finish. It’s the third of a series of three written by Colleen Hoover, her “Maybe Someday” series. The first book held my interest in plot turns and twists. In the second book, minor characters from the first book developed, and it explained their relationship. The third book I’m struggling with. I believe it is because I’m much older than the characters and probably the audience. It’s a romance story (which I’m not sure how I feel about the genre). The characters are in their 20s, living on their own, going to school, and learning about life. In my 20’s I was married and having kids.

Is it hard to relate to a story when you are much older or younger than the characters? Is it just a matter of age? What are your thoughts? I am hooked on crime stories but never committed a crime. I’ve never had a ticket or stopped by the police.

What do you think keeps a reader in a story and coming back for more? Please don’t misunderstand; I am not trashing Colleen Hoover’s writing. I’ve read a couple of her books and really liked them. “November 9th,” “It Starts With Us,” and “It Ends With Us.” I know Colleen Hoover has a huge following, and I applaud her. She wrote other novels that I bought. I want to sample a full range of her work. I’d like to read about her career, too.

This will be a full day of more football playoffs and random busy stuff around the house. And when we’re finished? And what snack would we like most? Ice cream. Who doesn’t love that? Have a beautiful Sunday, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Progress Made

In contrast to how I felt last night, I’m thinking this The Artist’s Way is what I missed out on last year when I was struggling with creativity. I needed this when I bought it, but I didn’t pursue it.

I heard the voices of people during my younger years, telling me, “You never have been able to draw faces! The clothes are fine, but you should just forget about drawing.” And so it went for so many people my age when they were kids. Girls were rarely encouraged to go to college; Mom told me I could go but I’d get married before I could finish, and I really shouldn’t waste my time and money. It’s how the world was.

Usually, the negative feedback we’ve had previously in life is what we hear when we’re adults with finally enough time and money to pursue your dreams. In the past five years, I’ve stocked up on supplies. Supplies for all the dreams I want to have. Learning to draw. Learning to Paint. Learning to Write. Building my own Website. What about a blog? Yes, I think a blog is a good idea. We should write every day. And I have for over #178 days now. Not missed a blog. That is pretty cool. I’m proud of that. Some are great, some aren’t so great, but it’s just fun to do.

The first chapter in The Artist’s Way is about Recovering a Sense of Safety. It means protecting our Artist spirit against negativity, which is in our brains and minds and reinforced over and over. We need to be encouraged. We need to play in our ideas, paintings, and words. They will find their way to where they should be. It’s part of the process. Yes, I feel safe. I know I’ll get there. It’s all part of things I need to try out before I die. Hopefully later than sooner.

The name of this website is Kathy Raabe, Author and Creative Soul. I’ve known for some time I am creative. I need to express that in more than one way. Quilting is important to me. I just got back to it after more than a year of concentrating only on writing. I made some progress, but not what I wanted. Considering I’m 70 years old, and I want to learn to draw, paint, and keep quilting, sewing, etc., etc; etc., I need to do all of these things, not just one at a time. I think that is what will make me happiest and produce more creative things.

I will figure out how to schedule my time, and I need to follow my schedule. That needs to become a habit. I will be on my way to that by the time I’m finished with this commitment to Artist’s Way. Thank you, Julia Cameron. I’m so enthused about what I’m creating!

I had the pleasure of visiting with Kimberly Faith Hickman this afternoon. Some extra fabric of mine can be used by the McGuigan Arts Academy for costumes or crafts. I’m delighted to share my stash with them. It will be used and appreciated. Stay tuned folks, it’s going to be an exciting year. See you tomorrow!

Creativity Contract With Myself

To continue with The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I’m finished with the first 25 pages, describing what to do and the key concepts; The Artist’s Date, and The Morning Pages. I think the Artist’s Date will be easier for me to do. I know many people who will let me view their work and talk with them, and receive great inspiration.

I need to review about the morning pages. It really sounds like something I don’t want to do. I need a nice journal to capture those thoughts, whatever they are. Cameron has included a contract in her introduction. She requests people to make a commitment to themselves to complete the course in 12 weeks. Gosh, this will take me into late March! WOW! A lot can happen in 12 weeks.

Tomorrow, I will start. I’d like to see how it goes, getting going on the first week of reading. I think I can catch up on the reading and exercises in time to start the second week. It’s exciting to begin. Speaking of the beginning, I signed up for a series of painting sessions online. It was on a big sale, and I need to find which day of the week will be best for this extra activity. Gosh, that could even be my Art Date once a week.

The Babe is putting together three large book cases so we can finish unpacking after 8 years. More de-cluttering ahead! We can finally donate books we no longer use and have some extra room. No one wants great aunt Martha’s candy dish. You know? No, kids, we won’t make you take it. Not to worry.

It’s only 4 days into the New Year and things are going great! How about for you? We’ll get there, together. Invite your friends along on our journey. We’ll all work on regaining our creativity. Stay safe out there. And we’ll see each other tomorrow.

The Basic Tools

Of Julia Cameron’s way to recover our creativity are these:

The Morning Pages – These are about three handwritten pages about your thoughts as you wake up. I’m not sure what to think about these. I’ll try my best. Usually, the early hours see me drinking coffee with the Babe, and checking Facebook. We also watch Good Morning America. I see I need to add a notepad and plan on writing three pages of musings, sort of brain-dump to get to the good stuff.

Cameron mentions all the petty stuff, the whiny stuff, etc., are what’s keeping us from creating. We need to get the junk out of our minds, to make way for the creativity we are itching to get it out – onto the page, the canvas, the staff (music), and out of our minds.

As we’re getting out our thoughts, our doodles, or whatever we need to, there is the chance our critic/censor will discourage us. After all, we’re not any good. If we were, we would have done it long ago. We would have published, printed, whatever, long before now.

Our censor, wherever the dialogue grew from, can derail our creativity. After a steady diet of negativity, of course it’s easy to give up. But we don’t have to. C’mon! Let’s tell ourselves the truth. Be honest; we need to remember; the Censor is trying to undermine our creativity. Don’t listen to the negativity, concentrate on the good. We need to listen to the Artist Brain, not the Censor Brain.

And The Artist Date – A very special time, often just yourself, where you spend a couple hours with your artist self. I have some ideas of how to spend/how I have spent what I would consider Artist Dates. The first was with McGuigan Arts Academy, at the presentation of “The Ugly Holiday Sweater Soriee. These young creatives, who wrote their own scripts, and perform them, and do a fantastic job at it.

My ideas for Artist Dates right now are:

Spend some time with the leaders at McGuigan Arts Academy and get their insight on creativity. I’m a great fan of their work, I think the discussion could be really eye-opening.

Spend time with Julia McGuigan, who has her own shop where she sells her works. I’d love to get her input on creativity for her art. She’s very good.

Spend time with Jeffrey Koterba, who was an award-winning cartoonist for our local newspaper. He is fantastic. We met in person at the McGuigan Arts Academy performance of the Ugly Christmas Sweaters he saw over my shoulder. I was watching his video on how he crafted his cartoon on Patreon. I’d like to talk to Jeff about his career as an editorial cartoonist. And so many other things. He’s written a book. He grew up in the same neighborhood I did (close enough) as a kid. There will be much to talk about.

Liz Boutin is an artist from the Bellevue area in Nebraska. Her husband was in the Air Force; she was a Red Cross Volunteer in Germany. It was the hospital where terribly injured soldiers came from Iraq. Liz has PTSD. She uses her art to help ease her PTSD. She’s an incredible woman. I count her as a friend.

Taylor Frye Ullom is a friend and the founder of Guitars for Vets in Nebraska. She leads the organization who offers lessons to Veterans with PTSD. I’ve met many of the students, and am happy to see what good Taylor does with this organization. We could spend a long time talking about a lot of things.

There are many other people, places, and things I want to use as an Artist’s Date. It will be fun. And I should get a lot of ideas on creativity. I haven’t yet explored all the possibilities of an Artist’s Date, but I’m totally open to the possibility of putting myself out there and visit with people who are actual artists. Writers, painters, cartoonists, artists, the Omaha-area is full of them. I’m excited about 2023. Come along with us, we’ll have an adventure in 2023. There are many more folks I know casually who will be great resources for future references. Thank you for your help.

Thank you, loyal followers, and new fans. Let’s all stretch our wings and fly this year. We’ll all have each other to hold ourselves up. Happy 2023. Let’s get out there and create! See you tomorrow. #1023followers!

Basic Principles of Creativity

It’s interesting to me, finally making time to learn “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. As I said yesterday, I’ve been in a slump. I want to be more productive creatively, and I have identified areas I need to change.

Ms. Cameron sets out to list the ten basic principles on page three of the Introduction! Talk about knocking your socks off right in the beginning! While talking about Spiritual Electricity, Ms. Cameron lists these principles: (these are directly from the book, not my words).

  1. Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy.
  2. There is an underlying, in-dwelling creativity force infusing all of life— including ourselves.
  3. When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the creator’s creativity within us and our lives.
  4. We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.
  5. Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God.
  6. The refusal to be creative is self-will and counter to our true nature.
  7. When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to God: good orderly direction.
  8. As we open our creative channel to exploring our creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected.
  9. It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity.
  10. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.

(Back to my ideas, words, and musings.)

I’m greatly enthused by reading these principles. Of course creativity is part of the natural order. Have you ever met a kid that doesn’t pretend to do/be something? They create worlds they are part of, they learn and grow in those creative endeavors. We shouldn’t discourage them. But we do. Everyone eventually is expected to fit in and comply.

The arts are where we can keep that alive. Kids need somewhere to be themselves, who they are meant to be. Music, acting, and art are where they can be. The more they learn, the more they can create. My friends at McGuigan Arts Academy do that very thing, here in Omaha, Nebraska. These folks are helping to water the creative seeds in all the student’s minds. Kids that are all talented and need to be encouraged what to do with it. It’s an amazing thing to see and experience. If you can make it possible for your children to experience classes in the arts, creativity, and growth, please make that possible. I was lucky and had piano lessons. My teacher lived across the street, and she wanted me to play classical music. I was more interested in Rock and Roll music. I quit after 8th grade.

Cameron suggests reading these principles every day. Eventually, we’ll be able to see our progress. Things we notice we didn’t notice before. I’ll take note of what changes in my outlook, the things I notice. I think this is pretty cool. And as for now? The Babe and I have some appointments today, and to navigate whatever Mother Nature left us last night while our family in South Dakota got about another foot of snow. Be safe out there, and we’ll see you tomorrow. Be Safe!

The Artist’s Way

I purchased this book about a year ago. I also purchased “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again,” and “The Listening Path: The Creative Art of Attention.” Julia Cameron wrote, “The Artist’s Way” and stressed recovering different aspects of a child’s life to help us figure out how to be more creative and produce more.

It’s amazing how we hold ourselves back. Once we discover that, how do we move forward? Self-sabotage is easy to fall into. It’s our lack of time. It’s our kids/parents/children/spouses/etc. Many times, it’s us.

Once we learn to recover these precious aspects of life we’ve set aside, we need to find how to reignite many individual senses; Cameron shows us the way there, too. The conclusions we draw are our own.

I have been struggling with my creativity the past few months. I’ve published the blog 172 days consecutively. I don’t want that to stop or falter. It’s writing, it counts. I don’t want to slow or stop that. I need to accomplish more.

I have the binding to sew on my granddaughter Kayla’s quilt I wanted to send for Christmas. Didn’t make it, being sick for 2 weeks with RSV. I started Cody’s quilt today and it will be an easier finish, no appliqued pieces. It’s also smaller. His birthday is January13. He’ll be 3 years old. Getting to be a big boy.

Back to The Artist’s Way. After resigning as a self-conscious author, Cameron says, “Nothing dies harder than a bad idea.” Her “block” was the drama of a suffering artist. Aren’t we all doomed to be starving artists? Isn’t it true you sell nothing until six months after you die? When it doesn’t matter anymore?

Nothing could be further from the truth. The whole thing about finding your creativity is a spiritual thing. And I get that. It has nothing to do with religion. It is you paying attention, noting the feelings, the reactions of others, and of potting it together. I hope to read some on it today, and explore what I can do to get my mojo back.

Also, I signed up for an online learn at your own pace art classes. I know, super busy already, but if I don’t jump in with both feet, I’ll finish nothing. Let’s keep each other on task and honest. Much more the rest of the week. I love blank slates and calendars. The sky is the limit right about now! Have a great day, and see you tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Dad

On this day, in 1924, a baby boy was born to Thomas M. Jewell, Sr and his wife Mary. There was a two-line front page notice of his birth on the front page of the Omaha World Herald, where he worked from 1952 until his retirement in 1988. He passed away from lung cancer in December, 1988. If he were still with us, he would be 99 years old today.!

As a kid, it was always fun relating the story about him being the first New Year’s baby in 1924. They didn’t give people a bunch of gifts back then, just a mention of the news. I think Grandma was about 30 when she had Dad. He was her first child. Others followed, and they were all healthy. Most people in those days had children younger than 30. Glad they were all ok, and Gram was, too.

Sometimes, I wish I could tell Dad all the stuff I’m going to do. I know he’d tell me, “Just keep doing what you’re doing. You’ll get there.” That was a lot of support. It’s what he told me when I told him I wanted to graduate from college. I was about 38 then, and it was just before he died. We had such wonderful talks then. He told me what good kids I had, and not to worry about them, they would turn out ok.

Hey, Dad. I named my Jewell Publishing LLC after you. It was a brilliant idea, seeing how you were a pressman at the local paper. When I was a little girl, I imagined working on the paper as a reporter. I thought it would be so cool to write some stories you would supervise the printing of. Kind of all in the family thing.

I would have to go to college and have a degree, even in 1970. Our family didn’t view college as necessary for a girl. Mom suggested I go to beauty school. I got married. No regrets. My kids were worth it. And I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Management of Human Resources. Within a few years, I couldn’t work anymore. Disability. God laughs when we tell him our plans, doesn’t He?

I believe you would love the Babe as much as I do. You are both kind-hearted men. You were a kind man, but kept it under that fedora you wore. Tommy Bauer and I are friends on this invention called Facebook. He told me how you’d spread sand out at the bottom of the alley so the kids with sleds would naturally stop before they’d jet out into the heavy traffic of F Street. I love hearing things about you I didn’t know. Glad you taught us to problem solve like you did. We all come by it naturally. Lucky us!

I wish you were still here so I could teach you about the Internet and Kindles for books. I know you’d be interested in it all. And I’d be so proud to show you all about it. You’d be amazed at how many books you can have electronically. I know, I prefer print, too. It’s not the same, but has some benefits.

This bright, shiny New Year is unfolding before us. I will publish my book this year. A book for kids. It got lost in this thing called life. I will promote my blog, books, website, and other creativity. I’ve decided I’m going to schedule days for all the things I’m interested in. I need to do something different every day instead of finishing one thing, then go on to something else. My brain doesn’t work that way anymore.

Sometimes I feel guilty for living longer than you did. After working as hard as you did, you were robbed of the rest and relaxation you should have had in your retirement. I do believe we’ll all be together someday. And I can ask you all the questions I have. I could hear your stories and learn all I didn’t know about you.

I’m spending the day with wonderful thoughts of you, Dad. You were such a good father, son, brother, worker, employee, neighbor, and such a kind gentleman. I’ll always remember that about you. You’d love the Babe. In fact, you could have had a part in our lives crossing. I believe in divine intervention.

To all my friends, followers, relatives, fellow authors, humans, creative people, have a Happy New Year. 2023 is our year. Don’t look back. It’s going to be great. Let’s cheer each other on. Be kind. See you tomorrow!