Tactical Tuesday

Another cloudy, chilly fall day at the Home Office/Studio in Gretna, Nebraska. In about ten minutes, I’m going to join a zoom class/meeting about the author side of the app Goodreads. It’s supposed to be easy to do, yet, I can’t find anywhere in what I’ve looked at to enter the author side. This should tell me what I need to know. It’s a relatively cheap way to get your books in front of the public. It adds to the excitement the next couple months hold for me.

November will be a very busy month for me; working towards my dream of publishing a book. There is a lot of work; a lot to learn; and a big learning curve, too. The talk was quite good about Goodreads. One more thing to coordinate. Even though I could have spent years finding an agent, getting a publisher to be interested in me, and earn pennies for the writing, I thought it would be much better to become an independent publisher. I get total control over my projects. I’m taking all the blame for when things go wrong, and all the credit when they go right. Cool!

The other evening, the Babe and I were watching a show we love on Netflix (Heartland). One of the characters was reading a book to their baby girl. The Babe looked at me and said, “Someday, that will be your book being read.” How sweet. Sometimes I wonder what we would have accomplished if we would have met years earlier? The trouble with that is we wouldn’t be who we’ve become now. We might not have learned all the hard lessons life teaches. The wonderful thing is what a gift it is to have this wonderful man encouraging me. I’m a lucky woman. And he’s a lucky man, too.

Planning, executing, and achieving is all worth it. I’m steps closer to gaining an audience (both as Grandma Kathy and as Kathy Raabe, Author), and I marvel at the people willing to share their knowledge. It seems to be a thing now to create courses for fellow authors, publishers, etc. I don’t need more things to “do” than all the learning and writing I’m plotting out now. It’s interesting to follow some of these authors and see what they do.

In the meantime, I’ll blog, study, read, and enjoy being inside on these chilly days. I have several months of work ahead of me. I’m looking forward to it, too. Fall, Winter, and early Spring are perfect times for this. Stay with me, and we’ll learn a lot together. Remember, my 70’s will be my most productive decade. And at the end, we’ll have some books to sell. It’s going to be fun. thank you for reading again today, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Serene Saturday

Like any work, change of habit, or recovery from addictions, getting ready to do the work isn’t actually doing the work. Authors joke when they talk (or write!) about writing, they need to know that doesn’t get words on the page. It doesn’t get the right words down on the page. Or words that make sense in the story or scene. NaNoWriMo talks about that all the time. I suppose I should have started prepping earlier. Having COVID the last couple weeks didn’t allow that to happen.

Now that I feel human again, I will start reading some things other writers have shared and review my outline/guide/notes from last year when I was working with Sam Tyler, Book Coach. Plotting tasks to calendar follows next week, and the story should rise from all the notes, intentions, bright ideas, and otherwise faulty thinking. Getting words on the page is the goal. No editing. That will be hard! I constantly edit while writing. Always. The biggest mistake I make typing is the dyslexic twist on things – my brain and fingers are out of sync, and words get the letters mixed up. Or the whole sentence is out of sync. That will be a true test.

I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think the words are always there. I think they are hijacked sometimes because we procrastinate, we make excuses, we place blame on others. I know I do those things. Reasons are legitimate. Excuses are not. Illness is legitimate. Surfing Facebook is not. And we all do it. Just call it by it’s name. You’ll be more responsible to yourself.

For instance, I can clean the bathroom til the cows come home. Dusting? Not so much. I put the furniture polish spray can and dust rag on the TV stand and tell myself, “I’ll do it after I sit down a little while.” I believe my own lies, and procrastinate. In November, I vow to check myself on that bad habit. The house can be cleaner if I do my job. Period. Ouch. Truth hurts sometimes.

Doing this and reporting on it every day makes me accountable not only to myself, but to all of you. So what, you may wonder. No one will follow me if I don’t do as I say, if I am not true to my word. End of writing career. Or at least it will stall getting out of the gate. Not good. I’ve got three years invested already; and as the Babe says, “It’s too much to just quit.” Yes it is. I’m so glad my energy returned, it’s easier to think of writing when energy is available. I’m getting excited about it all.

Did you weigh in on my question yesterday? Doing another NaNoWriMo Drawing this year? Two years ago, you could comment on my daily blog and have one entry per day in my drawing for $50. Would you like to participate this year should I have another one? Let me know what you think. There may be a limit as to how many times during the month you can enter. I’ll have to think about that next week, too. In 2019, my friend Pat Riedmann was the winner.

I saw something this morning referring to the longer you live, the more friends you lose to death. True, and it’s just how life works. The past five years, we have had many, many friends, FB Friends, lifelong friends, and family pass away. All I can do it remember them with love. I wore a pair of earrings today which were a gift from a best friend in 1988, the year she died. She was in her early 40s and died from lung cancer. Five months later, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and died, too. It was a terrible year for sure. I smiled at the memory of my friend, and thanked her again for such a beautiful pair of earrings. They are lovely!

Pay no attention to the grimace on my face! It was supposed to be a smile. Sort of.

I hope you have a wonderful afternoon today. I hope you have time with a loved one, if you’d like. Enjoy the sun or the rain, whichever is happening. I’m going to have a session reading here in a minute. Hope to see you tomorrow, and it means a lot to me that you stopped by today.

Randomness on a Friday

Meetings last night and this morning led to the Babe and I having lunch out today. It was nice to just sit and be with each other. We both feel better, and I’m having another good day today. I’m so grateful to feel good again; it felt like forever since I did. I think that’s part of the COVID brain-fog. It took awhile to clear. The difference is so vast, I can hardly describe it. The headache is intermittent now, but nothing big.

We’re planning on a crowd for Veterans Day at the VFW Post 2503 in Omaha, Nebraska. If any Veteran is having difficulties with what’s going on around them, we’d love to have them come see us during the week of Veterans Day. We will have resources available for you to use, and an ear to listen. We have many friendly people who would be glad to share your story. The camaraderie of Veterans always amazes me. They have their own language, their own way to communicate, and their own way to keep in touch with each other. It’s a gift to me, being allowed to sit with them and witness their exchanges.

I’m signing up for NaNoWriMo again this year. I skipped last year, but participated two years ago. What fun it was! I am starting to gather my things together, and make sure nothing bothers my MoJo while I write 50K words. It should make a great dent on the novel. It’s fun looking at the plan and gearing up for it again. I’d love to get a week’s worth of blogs pre-written, and not need to be concerned about them. We’ll see how it goes.

Pre-COVID, I had a drawing on December 1. Every day, if people commented, they could leave their contact info, and were entered into a drawing for $50. I’m thinking of doing it again. What do you think? Shall we do it again? With more followers, that could be a cool thing. I’d love to get a bunch of people. What do you say? It could be a lot of fun. Comment your opinion below.

The whole world must have been off work and school today. The sports bar we went to for lunch was beyond packed. Usually, you only see that many people on a Saturday. After being quarantined because the Babe and I had COVID, we were home again for about three weeks. It seemed like forever this time. We talked a lot during that time, and shared how odd we felt, not knowing what to expect. We remembered how life was during the Cuban Missile Crisis; Cuba threatened to launch. President Kennedy told them to think better of doing that. Our Catholic school prayed the rosary in front of the Virgin Mary statue in each classroom, and we learned we’d be gone in a puff of smoke should they launch. Our neighborhood was only twelve miles from the then Strategic Air Command. God Help Us All!

While there is still the danger of a missile or drone attack, we have to absorb it as a risk of living in this world. Sure, something could happen. But it might not, too. I’m betting on not. Hoping the world continues on long past my grandchildren’s lives. Be positive. It’s the only way. Thanks for reading today. See you tomorrow!

Thanksgiving Eve

Are you starting to prep any dishes for Thanksgiving dinner yet? I’m trying a new sweet potato dish. I’m prepping the dish today, and baking it tomorrow. There are all sorts of dishes you can do ahead of time. I’m going to google and find any others I can do ahead.

The dish I’m making will use sliced sweet potatoes (Slice width-wise after boiling and cooling), lay in greased pan, mix cranberries, orange juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, and some other spices, pour over potatoes and bake. Sounds easy. Baked sweet potatoes are great at a steakhouse in place of a regular baked potato. And no one else likes them, so I’m going to save portions of it for later. Yum!!

I’m also making the dressing ahead, and whatever else works out ok. No big deal. Last year, we purchased a new gas range, with five top burners (I love it!) and sure enough, it cooked so much faster than our old electric stoves did. I kid you not. We had to call our daughter and her family to come early. I’m hoping that does not happen again.

NaNoWriMo successful conclusion is still in sight. I believe 2,971 words per day for the next four days will put me in the “winner’s ” circle. It will be great to be finished. Don’t forget to enter my drawing for the Completion of NaNoWriMo. Just like the posts and comment on each day for the month of November, and you could have sixty chances to win. Use tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday to catch up!! You can read them while you’re in line waiting for Target to open! Be safe out there.

If you are a Black Friday shopper, do you know when it started?? The first recorded use of the term was in 1969, and had nothing to do with shopping. It signified the crash of the gold market on September 24, 1869.

History.com reports the city of Philadelphia coined the phrase to describe the crush of traffic and pedestrians from the suburbs out shopping the day after Thanksgiving. The cops worked twelve hour shifts in an attempt to control the chaos. Poor guys! Shoplifting was rampant. In 1961, the city fathers tried to rebrand the day to be called “Big Friday” since it had a better connotation. Didn’t work. Additionally, some businesses were also open on Friday after Thanksgiving, and many, many people called in sick, thus creating a worker shortage.

So, whatever you do, if you are out and about on Black Friday, take precautions. Hydrate, eat well, and be careful to stay out of the way of anyone who thinks a cheap TV is worth trampling people for. Keep an eye on your belongings, as thieves will mix among the shoppers like always. Be aware of your surrounding. And keep up being grateful for everything you thought of on Thanksgiving.

If you are traveling over the next few days, I hope the bad weather misses you. We got some slushy stuff and a bit of snow last night, so nothing bad. The sidewalks are tricky, but watch where you’re going, you should be fine. Walk carefully. Enter to win. Thank you for taking time to read today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.

Sweet Sunday

Good Sunday Morning!!

Goldie did not have a good night, therefore, neither did Dan. He went to bed before I did. When I was turning out lights, Goldie started crying, and had made the most awful mess in her kennel. In her sleep! Needless to say, I needed help keeping her dirty feet away from cleanup in Aisle 5. And Aisle 7. And Aisle 15. Wow! Such a little body could not produce so much waste!

You could tell she felt bad. She just hung her head. Wasn’t her fault. Dan took her outside for a bit and she just laid at his feet while she just looked up at us. No, sweetie. It wasn’t your fault.

At first we thought maybe she caught something from the other dogs. No, we decided it was the rapid fire treats she received for doing a good job at Puppy School. They may have been liver or something too rich for the amount she ate. Lesson learned, next week we bring our own treats. And skip your noontime feeding. AND begin to offer praise only. We want her well behaved without being a little butterball. She is a great addition to our home, and even Lexie is starting to tolerate her better. That is a huge relief.

I gave both dogs a bath this morning. Wow. What a workout! Lexie and Roxie used to go to Petsmart. The groomer was good with them, but they clearly did not like the dryers. Or the grinding tool for nail trims. Clipping is just fine and it’s less expensive. The groomers prefer grinding I think because it’s an upsell. What do you think??

Goldie wasn’t too sure about the bathtub, but she seemed to be ok after a few minutes. There’s something about a wet puppy that makes it almost impossible to hold but adorable at the same time. She squirmed but didn’t jump out. She let me take her out and bundle her up with towels to dry her. She did really well and I got to cuddle her.

Lexie, the most stubborn dog in the world, acted as if she were a water-hating cat. All four paws spread out, claws out, and I swear she weighed 200 pounds. She got in the water and was obstinate the whole time. Obstinate, isn’t that a great word unless you’re dealing with a being who is obstinate? My mother said I was an obstinate child. It’s a word I’m not too crazy about, but in this case, the word is aptly used.

Lexie didn’t allow me to get parts of her wet, so the soap and rinsing was especially tricky. She probably needs to go to the spa for a day, and get the nail trim too. The cleaning ladies are coming tomorrow, so any lingering mess will be handled, and they’ll get the carpet vacuumed super well. We will be doing carpet cleaning late Monday or early Tuesday, then the house should be rid of any puppy explosion remnants.

How, might you ask, am I doing on NaNoWriMo?? I am at 30,145 words now, and need 2,836 words per day for the next seven days. It’s still doable. Yesterday was a much needed take it easy day for both of us. We can still make it in good order. Let’s stay positive all week about it. I’ll structure my days around it, and should be ready then to edit in December, between decorating the tree that I haven’t purchased yet. I am actually looking forward to it. I’ll let you know in a week, after Goldie sees it.

Our Roxie was such a swiper!! Gavin said we should have named her “Swiper!” I had a playmat, like a rug, that we’d put on the coffee table at our other home. Gavin played with his cars on this mat that was printed to look like a city. When he wasn’t looking, she would grab a car and run into the other room with it. She just wanted something of his. Crazy dog! At this house, I had a number of sparkly, sequined birds that she would grab and try to run with. Luckily, she had a soft mouth and didn’t crunch into them. Crazy dog. We do miss her, but Goldie is a wonderful girl. Can’t replace them, but you can have them settle in a new place in your heart.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Not having plans is really having plans. You may plan to do nothing, which is sometimes a great relief. If your families don’t get along or gathering causes an issue, not going is an option. You owe it to your sanity and peace of mind to do something you want to do. Something that is not stressful.

This is it for today. I hope you have a good rest of the day. Sunday’s can be so good. Thank you for reading, leave a comment and like, you’ll have two entries for the $50 Visa Gift Card I’m giving away for NaNoWriMo. Drawing one week from today, December 1, 2019 at NOON. Stay tuned!

Laid Back Saturday

Yes, date night was a success. It starts with a Babe (a/k/a Dan) and his wife, (Moi). We just have fun. If you want an out of the way place that is a dive bar, go to Buck’s. Dan had prime rib, I had a filet. Both were very delicious, and $22, $20, respectively. Typical mid-western full plate of food. Meat, Potatoes, Salad, Hot Veggies. No wonder John Denver wrote, “Thank God, I’m a Country Boy!”

Jimmy Weber, Singing “Thank God, I’m a Country Boy”

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a ringside seat/view of the performers. The venue is pretty small, and you take whatever table is open for dinner and probably end up there for the entertainment. We had a table behind a small wall. Could hear well, but couldn’t see. I still took many photos and videos. Unfortunately, Dan still quite a bit of leg pain when he sits for any amount of time. He toughed it out until the headliner, Ray Scott, did about two songs. We just couldn’t stay any longer. Sorry Ray, maybe next time!

A sweet couple requested a song and were serenaded by Jimmy singing “Wichita Lineman.”

Wichita Lineman

Jimmy and Ken Sitler performed a couple of songs. Ken is a fellow Air Force Veteran with Jimmy and they do make great music together.

Jimmy always opens his shows with the Star Spangled Banner, and ends with “Taps, God is Nigh.” Jimmy and a couple friends wrote some beautiful additions to the original lyrics of Taps and I’ve included it here.

“Taps – God is Nigh”

If you ever get to see these people, go! You will be glad you did. I love music that makes me happy. This did.

Today, it was back to Puppy Training Class, and it was fun. The Babe told me to look at how much all the puppies grew since last week! Goldie went from being the biggest to being the smallest! I wonder what the next week will bring?? This class goes four weeks, and a lot of it seems pretty fast, but it’s to keep the attention of a puppy, then let them all play as reward at the end.

We love having Goldie. That said, it’s really a full time job keeping up with her. She was really tired on the way home and fell asleep on Dan’s chest. I think she had too much fun chasing and playing with the dogs. We’re learning a lot about teaching her things, and it’s a shame we never had the time or resources to do this for the other dogs we’ve had. I hope she continues to learn at the rate she has been. She’ll be a genius dog!

Once we returned home from Puppy training, we had lunch and just relaxed. It was so nice, not having to be anywhere else. The Nebraska Game was good, and now, here we are relaxing some more. I have the feeling next week should fly by – speaking of flying, we need to get a turkey. (Remember WKRP in Cincinnati??) Cooking will be in order.

And starting Friday, the holiday madness will begin. Don’t get bogged down in it. Do what you can do, and leave the rest. Spend time with your family, you will never regret it. Scale back on demands this time of year. Spend time just relaxing and petting your dog. It’s why we have two of them!

What are you looking forward to doing this holiday season?? Comment below, like the post, and I’ll enter you in the NaNoWriMo giveaway I’m having on December 1, 2019. You can increase your chances by catching up on all the blogs for November, you’ll have 60 chances to win!!

Thank you for reading, I appreciate it very much. See you tomorrow!

Goldie is down for the count. Until tomorrow!!

Fun Friday

Why, you might ask, would a retired person be happy it was Friday, or look forward to a Friday when their week already consists of six Saturdays and a Sunday??

Tonight, the Babe and I are going to a hole in the wall bar and grill in Venice, Nebraska, to have a great dinner and see the entertainment. We bought tickets to see Ray Scott, a country star, and our friend, Jimmy Weber, perform. We’ve seen Jimmy many times and have formed a friendship. They just returned from a Country Cruising 2019 gig where I hear it was a real chore to do all the work.

Those of you who have known me for years may say, “Country?? You???” Yes, me. I’ve always liked Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Martina McBride, Sugarland, and a few others. Over the past few years, Babe and I have gone to see other local groups where Jimmy has been a part of the band, and he really is a good musician, has a good stage presence, and is an all around good person. We had a chance to see him perform in a small venue three years ago, and have been fans/friends ever since. It’s the storytelling kind of music. Real stories. That’s what we like, along with the mastery of the instruments he and his friends have.

We have heard about Ray Scott through Jimmy, and it just seems like we’d enjoy the show, so we’re going to Buck’s tonight. It’ll be an experience for sure. We were there once before and would call it cozy. Great food, so dinner will be involved. Should be a great night.

Left to right:
Jimmy Weber, Buck, Ray Scott
Gonna be a fun night.

To catch up on NaNoWriMo, there are about nine days left to make the goal of 50K words. I’m at a strong 27,627 words right now. Nerd that I am, to hit the target, I need at least 2,445 per day for the next nine days. I was bold to order the t-shirt before I started to write, and I wouldn’t feel right wearing it if I don’t make it. It’s just words. That should make some sort of sense. Of course, vigorous editing must follow the writing.

My workspace this morning.

That is not a lot, considering I’m learning to show, not tell. Big difference, from what I’ve read. I know for sure creative writing is much better than business writing! Learning something new is all part of the process. It’s kind of strange, but I’m not concerned about failure. I’m not concerned if anyone will like it or not. Of course, it’d be great to become a NYT Bestselling Author, but I won’t be disappointed if I don’t “make it big.” I want to sell books, but my next meal does not depend on it, so that probably takes a lot of self-imposed pressure off.

I’m grateful to the people who have read the blog every day. It’s a mental challenge to write about something every single day. Putting things all down in writing makes the thoughts and ideas real. It’s kind of scary to share personal stuff, but I feel in order to be real, I need to. What do you think about all that??

Folks, there have been some things in my life that I look back at and it’s hard to believe they even happened and that we lived to tell about it. Child drowning and recovering, child with ruptured appendix (found up by the liver, not a usual place!) and recovered, unusual benign growth in my spine that grew to about eight inches long and pinched spinal cord, surgery performed on growth, punctured and will not fill up anymore with spinal fluid, recovered with no data on recovery from such a thing, lived to walk again and tell about it. My surgeon took photos and published in a medical journal. I guess you could say I’ve already been published!!

There are remarkable stories in all of these events. And you can’t make this stuff up, folks! Each and every day, I’m so grateful to God that these things did not turn into major tragedies, as they well could have. They were very difficult situations that tested my faith in God, medicine, and miracles. I firmly believe there are miracles around us every day, especially in the field of medicine. Think about it. People are healed by some really miraculous discoveries.

Immunizations have stopped horrible diseases. As a child, I had measles, mumps, and chicken pox. Every kid got them. My kids had chicken pox, one as a baby still in diapers. I remember how horrible it was to be that sick, and not be able to do much for yourself or your child. My little brother had them so bad they were inside his eyelids, he could not walk to the bathroom, and my mom and I took turns rocking him to sleep and holding him. He has some scars from the pox. Not worth the risk. Whooping cough should be a thing of the past. So many people died from it at the turn of the twentieth century until there was a vaccine invented. My former father in law’s mother and twin sisters died of the disease. The surviving children went to an orphanage until their father could get back on his feet and have them back in the home. Unless we know and tell the stories of some past things, we will not fully realize what can happen when we decide we know more than doctors and authorities. For my money, I’ll continue to trust medicine.

That said, I do ask a lot of questions. I don’t blindly follow their advice. Our internist explains the why when he prescribes something or wants us to follow a certain protocol. I trust this professional’s advice because I believe that twenty some years ago, he did an EKG on Dan due to some complaints he had. Our doc didn’t like the results. He was immediately put in the hospital and they did Babe’s first heart cath. I do believe he would have had a widowmaker heart attack if the visit never would have happened. I believe his life was saved and I’m the beneficiary of a very deep love and friendship. We are both so blessed.

Going to need a nap today to be out late tonight. We believe we’ll be able to keep our eyes open until the show’s over. Life is indeed, very, very good. Thank you for reading, and we’ll see each other tomorrow. Full report on our date night, with photos.

Like, comment, and you ‘ll be entered in my NaNoWriMo giveaway. Drawing December 1, 2019 at NOON. I hope you’re the winner!

Thoughtful Thursday

This day is pretty blustery compared to the last two. It will be like this for a few days, so we’d better get used to it.

I usually start days like this with big intentions. Anyone with chronic anything will understand this. If you don’t move too much, it doesn’t seem too bad, so you should be able to get through several tasks and still be ok to do more. Blustery days, when the barometric pressure goes wild, are so hard to overcome.

And I refuse to give up hand sewing, embroidery, and other things that make time pass while creating something beautiful. It’s just not in my DNA. And typing doesn’t help, nor does hand writing. But we persist, don’t we??

The thing of it is, I just hate to give up on anything. Especially myself. It’s not too great to wait until you retire and then find you can’t do what you were waiting to do. So do it anyway, unless it will cause you or someone else danger, harm, or a terrible injury. Chances are, it won’t. Hang Gliding would, hand sewing wouldn’t. My orthopedic surgeons have provided me with devices and other aids to still live my life. The aches kind of add to the triumph in a way. It means I didn’t give up. I didn’t cave. Sometimes you need extra rest or ice, or acetaminophen. But you will have another try at it, maybe allowing extra time, frequent breaks, or putting it away for a bit. Giving up is totally different than deciding that you have had enough. Huge difference. Think about that and comment if you’d like.

And that brings me to Goldie, the young blonde the Babe decided would come home with us about a month ago. She is delightful. She is a very smart dog, like one I’ve never seen. It must have to do with her breeding and the family who raised her to ten weeks of age.

When Babe takes her out first thing in the morning, they walk out the front door, and into the yard. While doing her business, Babe picks up the newspaper from the driveway. I swear on all that is holy, Goldie now walks out and picks up the newspaper, gives it to Dan, and goes to do her business. Totally uncoached. She just learned by watching. It is pretty cool the things she is learning. They are diligently working on homework for the next puppy class on Saturday. What a great team they are!!

She sits at Dan’s feet and sleeps sometimes. She truly is a good girl.

As this blustery day continues, it’s easy to let the grey skies and cold wind make your mood the same way. Don’t let the weather win. If it takes happy music in the background, play some happy music. The people who truly have a challenge are those who cannot drive themselves anywhere to get out of the house when they need to.

I see this a lot with my mother. She is a great worrier, the best worrier that ever worried her way through any crisis, real or imagined. I tend to not worry. By that I don’t mean I’m not concerned about a situation, but I don’t let my thoughts get all out of control by adding my imagination to the facts, creating the worst possible scenarios. She does. She doesn’t see that this type of thinking/worrying doesn’t help an unknown situation. It destroys things. I read once a Mark Twain saying. “I have survived many terrible ordeals. Most of which, only happened in my mind.”

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, Mom wanted me to meet her friend who had a different stage of breast cancer, and who had a much different journey than mine was. She had a double mastectomy, chemo, and radiation. She was quite ill. She has been ill for a long time. I chose to not meet Mom’s friend. I wanted to take my own journey with my husband and our kids and grandkids. I didn’t need to worry about what could happen. I knew God would be good to me, regardless of the outcome. I was so blessed.

I had a lumpectomy, followed by radiation treatment, followed by medication. I’ve addressed how those affected me in another post, Simply Sunday, on October 20, 2019. Meanwhile, our extended family (stepkids, grandkids) were all in a much greater and much harder cancer fight. Dan’s former wife Sandy, the mother of his children, had lung cancer, Stage 4. She e was given about six months with treatment. She had two and a half years with treatment, support, and love of a huge extended family. She looked cancer in it’s face and stood up to it. She did a wonderful job. The most important thing to her was time with the kids and grandkids. We became friends, good friends. I was blessed to know her as I did, and miss her. I know the Babe will always love her too, and that’s ok.

One thing I didn’t want to do was shout out my triumphs when she had news that was not so good. I still don’t want to boast about surviving, because you never know if something worse is ahead. I’m content to be grateful to God for being cancer free at this time. Always, at this time.

Now, this is not idle worry. I know the odds. I know the chance of it coming back. It could at twenty-five years. It doesn’t steal my time and make me worry about it. My dad was very calm about things until he knew what he was dealing with. I’d like to think I inherited that from him and I believe I did. For that, I’m grateful.

Submit a comment, like the post, and you’ll receive two chances for my NaNoWriMo giveaway of a $50 Visa Gift Card. Drawing is December 1, 2019 at NOON. Join us tomorrow, and we’ll have fun again then. Make your own sunshine. Be grateful.

Two Within Twenty Four Hours

With last night’s late blog, and my starting much earlier this morning, you’ll be getting 4 chances to register within a twenty four hour period. Take advantage of it while you can! You can comment here, at the end, scroll way past the ending, and you’ll see a box for “Leave a Comment.” That is where you can comment.

I must share with you the photo Tracy took of Gavin with us last night. He was so happy we were at his concert. He must be deep in thought because he said, “I’m so lucky to have you two for grandparents,” and said that the last time we were together. Of course, some naysayers will say, “He’s just sucking up for Christmas gifts!”

I beg to differ with you. Isn’t that a nice phrase? Rather than becoming uncivil with a comment, one may choose to “Beg to differ.” And there were no hurt feelings or name calling involved. Let’s try and think “Beg to differ” instead of “Those stupid Republicans,” or “Those damned Democrats!” Let’s be above name calling and be civil.

Anyway, while begging to differ with you, I say I do believe some kids really do realize when they are lucky. And it doesn’t have to do with material things, they can actually feel the love someone gives them. And they appreciate it. And kids are honest, they will tell you what they believe. I love their honesty. It’s so pure.

So, call me crazy, I know Gavin meant what he said. He wasn’t schmoozing.

Gavin after his “The Giving Tree” program last night.

I’m still thinking about the message from the tree decorations my mom bought yesterday and the fact I’m getting a new Christmas tree for home this year, AND the fact that Gavin’s program was about The Giving Tree. I do believe there is a message there for me. I believe it’s telling me something about Christmas, giving, and the past. Maybe like Marley (In The Christmas Carol) I’m weighted down by something in the past about Christmases. Maybe I’m not giving as much of myself where I should be doing so. Maybe the best thing I can give myself is a different outlook on things.

One thing I want to do is concentrate on the real meaning of Christmas. It has nothing to do with Black Friday (I honestly do not know when that became a thing!), with last minute bottom lines, how much money businesses make this shopping season, and with who wins the next debate. Those things don’t warm my soul or make me feel good.

So what is it I should do?? Be generous with the Red Kettles I see at shopping centers.

Be willing to help someone out. I am finishing a project for someone who is unable to. I will make time to finish their project for them. In keeping my word to another human being, I am helping others a lot.

Learn to graciously say, “I just can’t do this.” No explanation. Sometimes you need to know when to turn things down that you can’t possibly do and still function well. The wisdom to know the difference is worth our weight in gold.

There is a great deal of wisdom existing in the world, and I think some comes from out of the mouths of children. Their innocence is unbelievable at times, yet they can be wise beyond their years. Many little children are exposed to things they never should be.

When my oldest son was in kindergarten, a classmate came over to play. They played house within sight of me. I heard the little girl give a detailed explanation of a scenario. “You didn’t come home from work, and I went out with my friends to a movie, dinner, and drinks. You got mad I wasn’t home and I’m not going to tell you where I was.” This was really way too old for a kindergartener. I don’t like how it makes me feel at my age right now!

Sometimes, I wonder what happened to this little girl. She was a good kid but came from a really dysfunctional family. Alcoholism in spades, generational and it was severe. A lot of us had difficulties in our childhoods, and may still be shaking off the past. This year is the time to find out how to shed it for all time. The rest of our life doesn’t have to be how the first part was, especially if it was bad. It was there to shape us and teach us what to do or not do.

In the next week, many people will be gathering for their Thanksgiving dinners and “Thanksmas” and whatever else may be scheduled. Some will be happy gatherings, some may not. Whichever yours is, be sure you stop and think about what you have to be thankful for. Sometimes, it is hard to think of things. Just remember that there is good everywhere. We just need to look for it. There have been times in life when things have gone so wrong that I was thankful for the fact my car started. Period. Presently, my life is so abundantly blessed it’s hard to find things that are so wrong they will ruin my day.

Today, I’m grateful for Gavin, Joell, Addison and Kayla. They’re the best grandkids I could ever hope for. I’m grateful for a man like Dan who encourages me to be myself. It’s a relationship that is perfect for me. I’m grateful that my children grew into good grownups, and that they are independent in their lives. All mothers probably wish they could see their grown kids more often, I am no exception.

I’m so grateful that we have the home and environment we have. It’s a very contented, happy place. Our two dogs add considerably to it.

Think of what you are thankful for. Really think. You may even surprise yourself. Leave a comment on these things. Give us a like and you are on your way to chances to win the $50 Visa Gift Card. It will be given away on December 01, 2019, drawing will be at NOON. Thank you for reading, and please, come back tomorrow!

This Too Shall Pass

It’s all going to be all OK. I know it is. Just have to get through the next two and a half weeks.

You know the feelings you have when you’ve been dealing with things out of the ordinary (say, medical/health issues)? It’s been a very long six weeks, and this tough exterior is starting to crack. Yes, as together as we all think we are, we’re but mere humans and we get worn out, worn down, and wobegon. Don’t you just love the word wobegon? It brings to mind hearing Garrison Keillor and his stories told, painstakingly slow, as only he can. They were worth waiting for every word. He can make me laugh. That’s what I’m in need of right now, laughter.

I get a tremendous kick out of reading things that make me laugh out loud. Babe (Dan) just looks at me, then I say, “You’ve just got to listen to this.” Then I proceed to read sometimes an entire page to him from what I’m reading. Sometimes he’ll laugh, sometimes not. He never says anything, he just listens. That’s the Babe, always listening. It is one of his finer qualities, for which I’m eternally grateful. He’s patient while I carry on.

I am also listening to Peanuts Greatest Hits, by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. This is on purpose, it’s some of the greatest Jazz there is. Jazz always lifts my spirits. And even more so with Snoopy on guitar, Schroeder on piano, and Pig Pen on bass.

In two and a half weeks, I’ll be hearing the Christmas tunes while I’m working on my novel. Last year, I didn’t put up a Christmas tree. Things weren’t going great and I just didn’t have any Christmas cheer. First time since I left home. It is way different when your kids are all gone, and no one wants anything but cash or gift cards. Sure, it’s easier, but nothing can make a person feel as good as picking out something with the gift receiver in mind. It is a good feeling. I miss the whole activity, shopping, wrapping, watching the person open the gift. Hopefully you get it right and they love it.

In the past, we have adopted kids through our church to shop for. Samaritan’s Purse had a very good program. When our granddaughter Addison went to Sunday School, we did that, and filled a red box for a little boy and a red box for a little girl. The photos and email’s about those children really make you think about how very fortunate we all really are.

Aside from Garrison Keillor, another humorous author I love to read is Bill Bryson. It all started with the movie, A Walk in the Woods. I read the book after seeing the movie, and the first half of the book, I laughed until I couldn’t stop. It was addicting. The Babe had a lot of passages read to him from that book. The second half of the book educated me about the National Parks and many things about these beautiful places I did not know. My family was all about learning from reading. I really appreciate that about that crazy bunch of people I grew up around. Always an adventure with them and a book.

The key to any reading experience at this point in time is time and quiet. With a puppy in the house, that’s about impossible. She explores a lot, and the doors to Babe’s office and my studio remain closed, as do the bathroom door, our bedroom door, and the laundry room door when I remember. Otherwise, the familiar search for Goldie, making sure she’s not squatting somewhere she shouldn’t, and saying, “What are you chewing on?” The Babe is doing great with taking care of her, it’s really lifting his spirits. That is so necessary for healing.

So for now, this is my circus and these are my monkeys, so to speak. It is a beautiful sunny day. I will find a stack of beautiful, happy music to hear while I write today, and all will be well, here at my little part of Lake Wobegon. It’s OK to visit there, but I don’t want to stay too long. That just isn’t me.