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!

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!

Goodreads 2022-2023

I should be on target to finish the 24 books I thought I would this year. Two books a month isn’t bad, next year, I’ll try 36 books and see if I can keep up. Time will tell. How about you? Have you joined or have another way to keep track of what you’ve read?

I am so ready to be finished with RSV. The wheezing I can hear while I’m trying to go to sleep is keeping me awake. No kidding. I need quiet. I’m having a hard time. The Babe can hear me clear across the room, for Pete’s sake! Can you imagine? I still don’t feel that good, and was still woozy today. Hope it’s over because I’m “over it.” I probably sound like Darth Vader.

This week we have to get the Christmas tree out. I have two 9 foot trees, one with lights, one without. We’ll use the prelit one to save some time. Next year, hope to do my own lights, much, much sooner. Like Black Friday. No more late decorating, getting started, and being in a hurry. Yes, next year.

How many times do we all say this? This year will be different. Our business, our diet, our continuing education, it should all be better next year. But will we? I hope so. As soon as Darth Vader leaves our home. It will all be better.

Christmas is hard, it’s hard for many of us. Two parent families and single parents, aging parents and young parents. We all have things to deal with. And we will deal with them the best we can. It’s all we can do. We’ll be stronger next time. Have a beautiful evening as you ponder your first move of the week. We’ll see each other tomorrow.

To Whomever Is In Charge

of the universe:

Where there is any pain, hurt, upset, bad things happening, broken hearts, loss, grief, and all the other terrible stuff humans must endure, let there be music. Specifically, let there be people who play music for their audiences who love what they do, who understand how important their job is. All the hope, healing, and positivity I needed were served up family style last night at Sumter Theater. It was a very hard week with a perfect ending.

Mark Irwin, you were wonderful. The folks around us were talkers, so we couldn’t hear all of your stories, but did glean your story about your last son being born, and that you are going to the studio and record again. I have yet to introduce myself to you, but plan to some day. Our fathers were best of friends when they both worked at the Omaha World Herald for a lifetime each. My dad’s been gone for 34 years, and yours for ten. As you stood talking to someone before you were set up to perform, I had a sort of flashback. You stood with your hands on your hips, talking. In that instant, I saw your dad standing there. No, I’m not a weirdo. Your posture reminded me of him the very few times I ever saw him as a child. I thought you’d like to know that. My dad had so much respect for him.

Let these people gather to teach children their skills and their joy with music, let the children learn and be confident to be onstage at a young age, say 14 1/2, and have the knowledge they can play a Clapton song, and do it darned well. Great job, Ciaran McGuigan. Your skills amaze me, and I cannot wait to see how you progress. Max Meyer, well done! Not only your playing onstage, but you are imparting your knowledge to kids who act as sponges to absorb it all. How awesome!

Evelyn Hill not only belts out a song with a gigantic voice, she dances across the stage to show you she means business! I love to see you perform with the group, wherever they are, whatever they’re doing. Go see her, folks. She’ll knock your socks off.

The sax section was even choreographed a little, good job, guys. The strings! Oh my, both of these sections are what these songs need to be heard as their creators intended. All the sounds help draw out all the feelings the musicians have and can play; and the audience feels it.

Ryan McGuigan, you are always a presence onstage, and last night was no exception. Your performance had not only your usual, but you have a bounce to your step, and an extra happy smile these days. Life must be treating you well. You deserve that.

Matthew McGuigan, your arranging and composition of a new intro for Billy’s song about Cartney was on fire. It had quite a kick to it, and you made all of those songs sound like they should. I love your singing, you should do more!

Billy announced they had an all girl stage crew! Girl Power! Those ladies knew what they were about, and they did it all in fine fashion. Cartney McGuigan managing backstage, Kate, Carly, and the other young lady (so sorry, I didn’t retain your name), you were always right on, in addition to taking care of merch ahead of the show. They all were having a blast, too.

The drummer (another name I didn’t catch) is top-shelf. He rocks it out like no one I’ve seen before. Look forward to seeing you perform again.

Kathy Kersey, Kate, it was good to talk briefly with you, too. You both add a lot to all that goes on there. Thanks for all you do.

And Billy. Once again, you delivered in a huge way. Your music made life brighter and more positive last night. Keep on doing what you’re doing. You keep getting better at it, and I don’t know how. It’s a gift. It’s also a lot of hard work. No one gave this all to you. You, Ryan, and Matthew have worked harder than anyone realizes to be where you are today. And you’re going to keep soaring. And thanks for all you do. Until the next time. Rock On!

Saturday. Reflecting and Remembering.

So, a year ago, this happened. I forgot about it yesterday, but the header photo is of something I have on my window sill above the sink. It’s my reminder of Lenny and Kris and of happier times.

It occurred to me, a year from now, all those grieving the loss of someone right now will be in a different place. The tricky thing is to not let grief make you bitter, retreat into yourself, or worse yet, never speak of your loved one. Mom didn’t want to hear us talk about Dad when she was around. She became angry. We knew Dad wasn’t a saint, but we were not allowed to grieve as a family. It was eye opening when we finally figured it out.

Another thing that helps me heal from anything is music. It heals my soul, which is improving daily. I’ll go back and forth, it’s normal. Some days you feel relief they’re not suffering anymore, some days you’re sad you can’t see them anymore. Let your good memories get you through. And music.

Janet was in the choir at Immaculate Conception Church. She enjoyed that, and said, “My mom always told me singing in church meant you prayed twice.” That was long after I left the area. I believe the words to songs can be prayers for your healing. It’s why I listen sometimes all day long. If I’m low on energy, the Music Channel folks have such variety, I like Jazz or Smooth Jazz. It is usually rock and roll, classic R & R or local artists.

How lucky, the Babe and I have tickets to another Billy McGuigan show, this one: Pop Rock Orchestra. Remember, back in the day? You could hear the orchestra in the background of most songs. Strings and horns add so much to guitars, keyboards, and drums. Try it, you’ll love it! I know a lot of great music will envelop me tonight, like a giant hug, and I’ll feel better. The hard week we just finished will be a distant memory, and we’ll be stronger again. We’ll have new things to tackle this week. Music is the cure for much of what ails us. C’mon down to Sumter Amphitheater tonight. Starts @7:30 p.m.

Have a lovely evening, I know I will! See you tomorrow.

Making Space & Boundaries

That’s what I’m doing. We need to clear out things in our lives that aren’t working anymore. Yes, they were great when we started. When things like volunteering end up being more of a job than contributing to the community. Don’t get me wrong. We took on more things willingly. And now, we need to release some things to come back to the most important relationship we have; the one with each other. In the coming years, we’re aware one of us will leave this world before the other. We want to spend all the time together, just us, just enjoying each other’s company.

So far, one person doesn’t understand we’re doing this to do the things we want/need to do. Reducing our time outside the home to make room for us and the things we have planned doesn’t mean filling up that time to be “on call” for when they decide they want to do something. No, I’m not saying I won’t help this person; I’m saying asking for help would be much better than saying, “Then you can come here and do so and so. . .”

It would have been much better for the person to have asked, “Could you help me out one day a week? Maybe every Wednesdays?” The key here is, their pride keeps them from asking. They are used to giving orders and everyone complies. It leads to all sorts of anger, resentment, and ill-will. Disregarding the fact that others have a busy life is selfish. Someone who will not ask for help cannot ask, in their way of thinking. And, contrary to their saying they’re “Fine, I’m just fine,” they’re not. They’re fearful and upset and angry even though they’ve had a long, productive life.

This is hard for those of us who have disabilities which began in our 40s. We’ve had limitations due to illness and near-death events. We didn’t get to have 85 years before we had limitations of age forced on us. We had limitations of our body failing us and had to put our pride aside at a very young age. Sometimes, it’s hard to have empathy when dealing with someone who thought they had aging beat. It results in ungraceful aging, and negativity.

So if you have this same type of challenging person in your life, know you’re not alone. It’s hard to establish boundaries with them, but we need to. Boundaries keep us all sane and safe. Boundaries keep unwanted things out. Boundaries make our time more accessible for what we want/need to do.

And we can offer assistance to others when needed. It just needs boundaries around it. Then we don’t start something we need to do and have the interruption at 10:30 a.m. of the person who wants (non-emergency) help (different than needing (emergency!) and ruining our day because we haven’t established a boundary.

The meme in the header today first caught my eye because of the beautiful color. Then the words hit me. Yes, the Babe and I are going to intentionally decide how to spend the space we’re creating in our lives. You should too. Continue helping other humans, but do it with intention. And boundaries. You’ll all be happier.

Hydrate in this awful heat! Stay inside with your pets, and fill your day with what you love. I’m doing that very thing! Please, help me get to 1,000 followers who will be notified when a new blog is posted! We’re above 1,000 blog posts published now, I’d love to see our followers get over 1,000 too! We’re hovering around #929. Help a girl out, please! I appreciate it. See you tomorrow. Take care.

Reminiscing. Class of 1970.

For the first time today, I went to the First Friday of the Month Luncheon for my graduating class. There were enough to fill one long table @ Sortino’s Pizzaria. Pizza pleases everyone, so why not? It was great fun to sit and listen to people I knew from school all those years ago.

And, since I was introverted, I felt some of that today. It’s hard for me to talk about what I’ve done with my life. Thanks to be homie Gwen for mentioning I’m a writer. The thing of it is, though, I want to continue getting to know these people, who all took time out of their lives to gather and remember. The end of the month, we have a guided tour of the new public school built on the property our school occupied. It should be a good time, then food and beverages later, with everyone who wants to attend. I do want to see the school, it’s an opportunity to see what goes on now in a school. Looking forward to it.

Relationship building is important to me. It’s even more important at this part of life; our seventh decade on this planet, still learning how to maneuver through this crazy thing called life. Whatever you choose to put in front of you as the driving force for your existence, select and do it. Volunteering for a reputable organization is important to the Babe and me. The VFW Post 2503, one who has survived the closures so far, is the main one. Through work there, we met the folks at Guitars for Vets, Moving Veterans Forward, and 50 Mile March. A group of top notch people, who are committed to bettering the lives of our brave veterans who are suffering from homelessness and/or PTSD. Help is there, and we feel committed to promote it.

I’ve resumed Hello Fresh meals this week. We took a little time off from their delivery to use up the Omaha Steaks package of meat we won at a raffle. It was a little weird to cook with our own ingredients again, but I could get used to it. There is something about not having to walk the aisles in the store that I’m happy to give up, the loading the car, unloading the car, putting everything way. I’d be exhausted after each trip to the store. I can use the extra couple hours a week to write, or read about writing. It’s turned into my “life.”

So the kid’s book is out for review by a couple people, and I’ve gotten some pretty good feedback so far. It’s coming along. This weekend will be for working on my crochet project for me (part 2 arrived this week, so I need to get moving); normal blogging and stuff; and putting more things from my old sewing machine cabinet away in their new places. More nostalgia to come.

Visit with old friends and make new ones. Whatever separated us in high school is over long ago. We forge ahead in this life, learning, improving, and loving more as we go along. Remember that as you go about your weekend. Take care of you, too. And we’ll see each other tomorrow.