Another Fun Week

It is time I concentrate on our Income Taxes. Again, didn’t we just do these? I thought so!

My header photo on this fine Monday morning is of Cody’s quilt with the pile of threads I plucked from it since Friday, when I discovered I goofed big time on it. It was intense, taking all that thread out, fiber by fiber. With the ripping task finished, I’m ready to work on it tomorrow. But no mention of quilting until I photograph it, going into the box for mailing.

When we’re programmed by people who aren’t open to life and all it offers, we are closed to the outside world. Ideas fall flat from not knowing how to execute them, and the fear of moving into unknown territory. I was not fearful of building my website and writing a blog. I did a lot of research on what to do, why, how, when to do it. It has been steady growth up to the 1,074 followers we have now. Stats do not lie.

One important thing I’ve learned over the last 20 years is I really am much more than I ever believed I was. And no, this is not ego speaking. I had faulty information for many years. Those false facts keep many of us captive for years, if not a lifetime. Don’t let this happen to you for another moment. You deserve better.

When our parents or caretakers pass along faulty ideas about us, it’s not entirely their fault. They passed to us what they received from others. If, like me, you were the one who asked for an explanation of why things were the way they were, you probably pissed them off. When they are followers, they don’t like when someone questions. Especially since no one has the answers. Being different isn’t wrong. It just means you think in a different manner. Follow your heart, not someone else’s. It’s never too late. Today, begin!

Have a beautiful start to the week. Let’s see each other again tomorrow.


Some days no matter what you try to do, things don’t work out too well.

I’m referring to my old friend, technology. We have three laptops, one Chromebook, and two cell phones. I’m changing over from Norton to AVG security. It’ll be a good thing.

I’ve installed it on the phones and one laptop. I did the other laptop today and downloaded the HR Block software for this year. The Babe and I also sorted through the box of papers we need to complete the input for the software. Chomped and ready at the bit.

Got the credit card out to purchase the software for HR Block. It appears they don’t have you pay before downloading. I’m guessing they make you when you complete the forms before filing with the IRS. At least I hope that’s what’s going on. So, I saved the return I started after downloading everything from last year’s return. All the same blah blah info. Done. Saved. Not ready yet, need to tabulate lots of numbers for totals.

OK, all good. Now for the Chromebook. OK, the Google Playstore has the software. Here we are. Password, then. What? It will download later. What in the holy heck does that mean? I’ve not seen this before. Hmmm. OK. Try again. Same result. Wow. Still nothing.

My best hunches haven’t panned out. I know WordPress uses extensions of software. Maybe there’s a secret compartment somewhere to find what I need. Nope. doesn’t appear so. My last resource is my I/T Department at an offsite, secure location. Got a suggestion from my FBIL (Favorite Brother in Law), and I’ll try that tomorrow. I’m just brain dead right now. It will have to be tomorrow.

I had great plans yesterday. I was going to finish the main part of Cody’s quilt; didn’t happen. Tomorrow. First thing. It will be a new day tomorrow. Have a great day and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Givers v. Takers

There are countless memes on Facebook about givers and takers. So many of us experience hurt at the hands of takers. Our mistakes are not in the giving; the mistake is whom we choose to give to. Not everyone has the good intentions we do. Should we hide from human connection? To do so is to stunt our own growth. Yes, there is risk involved. To truly live, we must take risks. It does not mean life should be only in a safe zone, totally predictable.

We can learn to forgive instead of harbor resentment. Resentment harbors in the victim and harms him or her. The act of forgiveness releases the resentment and the victim. It has nothing to do with the wrongdoing or the person who caused the hurt. The act of forgiving is a conscious thing. You don’t have to trust them. It doesn’t mean you’ll be friends. It means you will be free of the resentment.

Freedom from the resentment changes your view of the world and the imperfect people in it. Your cynicism becomes trust. Trust can lead to love, and we all need more of that! Old hurts are best left in the past. Forgiving them leaves them there. Resentment is a thief of the heart. Grudges get heavy to carry around. They cloud your decision making. Doom and gloom reign. Who needs that? I do not understand staying stuck in the muck. When I was there, I was unhappy. It was draining and stifling. I did not want to be one of those mothers who was a martyr.

This side of forgiveness is so beautiful. It is a place many never get to live. The Babe lives here. I have learned to forgive. He’s encouraged me. He knows my hurt. God has been so good to me. I recognize when God is teaching me a lesson or telling me what he wants me to do.

Often it is about whom to ask questions of or who to talk with at a conference. It isn’t necessarily confined to spirituality, yet within many of the friendships I developed over the past couple of years, they are regarding writing, sharing stories to heal, and they are based in the spirituality. The credit always goes to God. God puts us in each other’s lives to fulfill purposes. We may not even realize it.

What I do realize is I must get back to slaying the beast that is the tax return for 2021. I am seeking medical and dental deductions at present, and won’t stop until I find some more. It will make a difference between paying and breaking even. Breaking even is quite attractive at this moment. Have a beautiful day. See you tomorrow!

Marveling It’s Monday!

So this is the view from the office today. You can see the streak from an airplane above the trees and there is enough shade yet for the pups to take a nap in. They love being outside! I do too.

Can’t See This Too Much. Fresh Air is the Best Therapy for Your Soul.
The Finch Family Was Rude Last NIght!

However, the neighbor up above on the beam over the table isn’t too nice. While arranging my stuff to work, I discovered we needed a clean up on – well, Table 5? The Finch Family left some gifts for me. Ack! Note to self: Move the table away from the nest to avoid incoming. There, now where were we?

This is such a perfect time of day. It’s just warm enough to be comfortable, especially in the shade. In some ways, I was flashing back to summer mornings when I was a kid in South Omaha. Of course, when I was in 6 – 8 grades, the girls had to go to Mass and sing every morning. Yes, every morning. There was no sleeping in ever at our house. Not weekends, not summer. If we were out too late from the night before, Mom woke us up earlier.

We had no air conditioning the whole time any kids lived at home. Don’t know how Dad, a night worker, slept during the day in that oven of a house. With maybe just a window fan. Anyway, the days were pretty much all alike, kind of like now. Get up, Church, breakfast, change clothes, play. Or read, or whatever you were going to do. Riding bikes was a lot of fun with my friend Peggy. We imagined we had cars, or were part of the Cartwright family on the Ponderosa. It didn’t matter. We used our imaginations and had fun. It’s funny now to think of it. Oh, or be Ricky Nelson’s girlfriend. That was a good one. Swoon!

Goldie, the Office Manager

My productivity took a nose dive yesterday after lunch. When that happens, I need to sit in the recliner with the heating pad on my back. Hate when that happens. Had a nice short nap, and just did some reading the rest of the day. I have four quilts to quilt, three need layering right now. Poppies, Psychedelic Flower, Hibiscus Blocks, and a Wintery Cardinals Quilt I bought last fall. Those are all about the same size, and I’ll only need one King Sized Batting cut in fourths for them all. That makes it so much easier. Hope to get those all layered and pinned this week.

The Babe brought up a good subject. If one of us becomes sick, we probably should have the room ready for the patient. We have a full little apartment downstairs, minus a kitchen, but have a refrigerator, bathroom with a huge shower, and a queen sized futon couch in the craft room. Now, that means I’d need to straighten up the craft room. It is disorganized, and I’ve never finished moving into it. A day or two (depending on how my back holds up) will accomplish the task. I’m hoping to start that this week.

I don’t know that the bed needs sheets on it as of yet, but maybe that’s what he’s going for. I suppose either way, I need to get the bed ready for the Babe, since he’s probably the one who will vacate the upstairs, regardless of who gets sick. Meals on wheels? Room service? I’m not sure. We’ll have to see how he works out that little detail.

Our dog Lexie is worse than a kid. When she decides to be naughty, she’ll drink out of the big bowl she shares with Goldie. Then she sticks her paw in it to spill it. That’s OK outside, but I frown on that in the kitchen. She knows we love her, she just has to be ornery once in awhile. That’s the Raabe in her. Come bedtime, though, she snuggles right up next to my side, and I’ll often wake to find her head laying on my stomach. I’d like to think it’s because she loves me, not because I’m extra fluffy as a result of quarantine weight gain/ Maybe a little of both?

Lexie is in charge of Security!

I’m off to do some research on Alcoholics Anonymous. I purchased their 75th Anniversary Edition of their Big Book. It reminds me of the Missals we carried in the 60s to Mass in the Catholic Church. It has a ribbon page marker like they had, it’s a plain black cover, and the edges are gilded in red metallic. It’s beautiful. There is a companion book called “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions that I hope to learn a lot from. It is research to figure out how to deal with the family created to write about.

There will be some work on Chapter 10 of the book, too. And embroidery on the little hedge hog picture for baby Cody’s room. Looking forward to the rest of the day. Thank you for spending this time with me, I hope you have some goals for the day, even if it’s to work on your Quarantine Tan. Sunscreen, please! We all should use it. Hope to see you tomorrow, and we’ll see if this day went according to plan! Enjoy!

Booyah Saturday!

Today, I’m naming this Booyah Saturday. Booyah is used to express joy, especially over a well played or victorious moment. Although it pertains to sports, I’m exclaiming it because I just electronically filed our taxes. Woo hoo! Now I can cram all the papers into the appropriate folder and forget about it for another ten months or so. It’s always good to get a refund, too. Yes, it’s a job gathering everything up. In the realm of being grateful, I’m so grateful we have assets and income in retirement. When I think of my grandmothers, they had little to nothing to live on. It had to be terribly hard. Social security isn’t meant to support people, but I’m glad I paid in all those years. We can live decently with that and my pension. Our riches are in our hearts, not in the bank.

Today I’m listening to Bruce Springsteen’s Western Sky. It’s full of good tunes, that has me thinking of the westerns we watched growing up. Of course, Mom was a huge Western fan. But not of John Wayne. Clint Walker, Chuck Connors, Lorne Greene, Richard Boone, and a host of others. I was always fascinated by the dance hall girls, having no clue what their role was in the western towns. Wow. Naive. But it was ok, you know? I just liked their dresses.

This morning I read an internet article about Chuck Connors. It spoke of his cigarette habit of at least 60 cigarettes a day. How many are in a pack? I’ve never smoked, so I really don’t know. Maybe 20? The Babe quit smoking before I met him. Good thing. He also was a very heavy smoker, three packs a day. He could smoke while he was working, as a mechanic. I’m glad he quit right after his father died. We might have had a different outcome had he been such a chain smoker.

It’s fun looking out my studio window to see the houses with kids shooting hoops. They’re getting outside and getting some exercise, good for them. Some houses in my view have changed hands over the past six months. Do you have nicknames for your neighbors if you don’t know their names? We have lived by: “Camper Dude,” “Car Guy,” “Plumber Dude,” “Nails Lady,” “Party House,” and “Fireman.” At our old house, we would sit on the tiny front porch and watch all the families go for a walk at night. They called us, “Porch People.” I loved it.

It is supposed to start raining overnight and possibly snow 1 – 3 inches in Nebraska tomorrow! I hope the Easter Bunny finds your kids and grandkids. I just learned yesterday where the Bunny became involved as a symbol for Easter. Check this out:

At last, this is where the bunny entered into the Easter equation!

I know this social distancing may put a damper on things for big families who congregate. At the same time, it wouldn’t be good to spread anything to the rest of the family. We are not at our peak yet here in Nebraska. We cannot let frustration or boredom undo all of our good efforts thus far. We can do this, people. Keep on. We’ll get there.

The longer we stay in, the more I don’t feel like going out anywhere. I can completely understand how elderly people just end up at home, and get lonely. Although, some personalities need more stimulation and attention than others. The Babe needs to visit with people, or he gets antsy. I would bet some folks who perform are getting antsy not only about their incomes but about performing. That is their life and livelihood. I hope this ends soon for folks like you.

The nurses and doctors are the heroes. The nurses spend much more time with patients than a doctor ever does, and she or he may have a better understanding of a patient’s mental state, social needs, and everyday life than the doctor ever is. Don’t forget the male nurses. My nephew Don, who was married last fall, is a nurse in the Emergency Department in Arizona. I’m sure he could write a book about the cases he’s seen. All within HIPAA regs, of course! Prayers for you, Don, you are doing an excellent job.

I did not make any masks yesterday. I need to have one to venture out on Monday. It’s a wellness check required by Medicare. Woo Hoo. More fun than I should be having, I know, but they will start calling me if I don’t keep up. Thank you for visiting and reading today. Stay safe, Happy Easter, and see you here tomorrow!

Thankful Thursday

Hi, guys!

We’ve been outside before the wind picks up to the 50 mph they’re predicting. It was a good time to get the winter layer of dirt off the deck, patio, and few lawn chairs we’ve put out. The rest will come out and be cleaned off after the snow goes away. They’re predicting something frozen for the Easter weekend. It’s ok. It’s not as if we are going anywhere anyhow. Yes, we’ll watch the FB Live of the Service at our Church. It’ll be a good day.

I’m listening to Ray Scott for inspiration music today. And I have to say, I’m hooked. I will snag up all his music today. His voice is unbelievable. So far, I have “Guitar for Sale,” and “Nowhere Near Done.” We saw only a couple songs in person last November at Buck’s Bar. Our friend Jimmy Weber opened for him, but by the time we had several beers and dinner, listened to Jimmy’s set, the Babe wasn’t feeling well. It was when he still had the wound vac to heal the huge wound still open after a heart cath. It was not a good time to stay out late. The Babe apologized all over the place, sweet man that he is. Next time, Ray! I’m loving your work.

Music of the Day. Go Ray Scott!

Our son-in-law is stopping by with his battery charger later. The Babe needs to borrow it to re-charge his riding mower battery. We’re so lucky to have some kids here. I suppose people with no children at all have a network of people who are able to help them. Having kids is no guarantee they will help you when you get older. They may not live nearby. They may also not be able to help. Emotionally or financially. It’s best not to expect things from them that they can’t or won’t do. It saves a lot of hurt. Lord knows we don’t need any more hurt in this world.

Although the Feds have extended the deadline for paying your taxes, the deadline for filing will be in about a week or so. I’ll get finished, just a matter of totaling up all the medical, dental, and drug costs for us retirees. I’m so grateful I have good insurance. It’s been a blessing all through my single Mom life, my married and working life, and the retiree/author life. For all the bad press corporations receive, I cannot badmouth them at all. They have generously reimbursed my tuition for a college education, and have covered my many and unusual long term illnesses. I’m grateful for them.

This morning, as we were having coffee and listening to the news, the topic of unemployment came up. We are so fortunate to not be impacted by that. Of course, our IRAs and other investments have dropped substantially, but we are still getting pensions and are fine. God has been so very good to us, and we’re grateful for that, too.

I don’t know of anything that is so joyful for me as answering the phone to hear grandson Gavin say, “Grandma, I really miss Lexie and Goldie.” They miss him, too. So do Grandpa and I! It’s been way too long since we saw the kids. Addison isn’t a dog kid, so she will never say that. She does say she misses us, however. Grandkids are the bonus round of life, you know? They are so much fun. I can’t wait until Gavin starts to play baseball again this summer. His new team practices all year, but they of course cannot right now. That’s too bad, but necessary at this time.

The Mayor of Omaha had to close all the city parks. Some people (over 200) were gathered at a park the other night at 10 pm for a barbeque (!?) and of course, someone shot three people. One died, two wounded. Pitiful. People have been behaving badly at a few places, and I hope they stay away from everyone now. Yes, it’s hard. But don’t think the rules don’t apply to you. There is always someone, isn’t there? The naughty kid who misbehaved and made everyone in the class have to stay after school. The cheater in high school who stole the test beforehand and aced it, causing everyone’s grades to be tossed out. And now there is the person who gathers at the dog park, the playground equipment, or the baseball field, causing all city parks and trails to be closed. It never fails.

And, amongst those ranks are the people who do what is right, what is the next right thing to do, and follows the rules and directions. There are, fortunately more of us than the other kind. Continue being a good citizen, ok? That is how we will all survive this quarantine and the aftermath. Do what’s right. Be grateful. Learn to smell the roses while being cautious of the thorns. Thank you for reading today. I deeply appreciate it, and hope to see you again tomorrow. I’ll be here. See you then.

Windy Wednesday

It’s another seventy degree day outside but the wind is awful! My Bon Jovi hair just gets all over so I can’t see what I’m doing! It could calm down a little, just saying. Not sure what we’ll do once the Babe gets home with our late lunch/early dinner. Probably relax and sort through some more papers for medical deductions. I love using H & R Block, I’ve used it ever since I quit using pencil and paper to do taxes. Always did my own, and now it’s our own. It was kind of exciting to remove the word “Retired” and replace it with “Author”. Doing so and putting in the costs out of pocket to get started has shown me at a loss of $3400, and that’s ok. Chromebook, Website/Blog startup costs, it’s all good. I would expect that.

Gotta love computers. Due to the diligence of my brother in law Brad, I have a dual backup hard drive, for photos, documents, etc. One of the drives went bad, so he coached me through replacing it. For a girl, I think I did ok! But it still has some sort of issue. So, we’re mailing it off to South Dakota. Every family needs a Brad. He’s one of my favorite Geeks! He knows that’s a compliment! Thanks, Brad.

Package ready for mailing from the Home Office in Gretna, NE,
to the I/T department in Sioux Falls, SD

I was looking for receipts from all my writing expenses this year. I came upon these two books. One is for me to fill in, as Grandma talking to the two biological grandkids who are mine. Kayla and Cody will get this later on in their lives, and I hope they appreciate it. It will be fun to answer all the questions written on every page. The book on the right is a journal I got in DC last spring. It was a happy family occasion, and a good memory of the event.

Left, I’m going to fill this for Baby Cody and his big sister Kayla.
They’re biological grandkids, and maybe they’d like to learn about their maternal Grandma someday.
Right, A journal from the United States Secret Service gift shop at an undisclosed location in downtown Washington, DC
I bought it at our son Blake’s promotion ceremony nearly a year ago.
The 160 printed pages here are my novel.
Time to re-read it again before writing more.
I get goosebumps looking at it!

Out of necessity, the reading may have to wait a day or two. It appears now the CDC is recommending we wear cloth masks when we go out in public. I need to make a couple for the Babe and me. We should have some pretty good selections, being a quilter with a healthy fabric stash, I doubt I’ll miss it in a month or two. I’m all about staying healthy as we wait out this beast called COVID-19. Off to cut and sew masks to keep you healthy. And you’ll do the same for us, I’m sure! Thank you.

Before I start reading my novel again, to check if it makes sense and flows well, I have to say this is the cumbersome part of writing. You need to make sure it still flows well. I cannot do that by reading the screens over and over again, especially when I’ve moved paragraphs where I think I want them. My first chapter is driven by the characters all interacting, some happy and some not. The difference between that and narrative is huge. I have to thank my friend Sam for telling me I was telling, not showing. Funny how a rookie writer gets caught up in what they are doing, and not really doing what they are supposed to do. Thanks, Sam!

I wish either of our Grandmothers were still with us, just to tell us about the Spanish Flu Pandemic. I think as humans we may have become pretty smug, thinking the world was over things like that. Guess again! As long as people will consume food from wet markets, the danger is there. The WHO needs to instruct some of these nations that certain things may not be such a great idea anymore. Too many things can go wrong, and you can see how it affects everyone.

Thank you for reading today. I hope you enjoyed the blog, and I hope you come back tomorrow. I’ll be here. See you then.