Happy Birthday to The Babe!

Seventy-two years ago, the moons aligned, the sun was in a perfect spot, and they deemed it; I would celebrate life everyday once we met. The Babe was born. Thanks, Liz and Gene! If I could have custom-ordered a man to love me and my kids, I wouldn’t have known all the qualities to ask for. Yes, parts of this paragraph are exaggerated for effect, but come on, man! It’s my story!

Yes, we’ve repeated the header photo is a repeat of our Birthday dinner(s) with the kids. One vow I have is to take many photos of the two of us. I have a lot of other people in photos, not so many of us together. Might as well do that now, while I can.

We had some nighttime visitors; either of the opossum or racoon variety. Lexie pulled a bunch of baby bunnies from their nest in the ground, inside our back yard. She didn’t harm them (thank you, soft-mouthed Labrador mixed mutts), just moved them. The Babe further moved them beyond our fence-line. I think they were being fought over by the nighttime visitors. Lots of some terrible noise. It may be an early nap for me.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to drop my Bernina off today. It could be as simple as the electrical cord having a short, to the computer component being out. At any rate, I’ll check our the price of a new machine and see what they may give me on a trade-in. I’ve also found dealers for a Janome (wonderful quality) and a Brother. Both have their own dealerships within ten minutes from our home. It will be worth checking around.

About ten years ago, I remember seeing elderly grandmas (in their 80s), bringing in their new $5K machines to take classes. I was temporarily envious of them. I don’t wish to spend that amount of money on a sewing machine, although it should last the rest of my life, you know; another 30 years. It’s one thing Frankie discussed Monday at breakfast. “Will you get enough use out of it?” Since I’ll have more time as I age, it makes sense. I still don’t want to spend $5K, however.

I’d rather use that to publish my books. I will insert my drawings into the kid book manuscript on Wednesday. It should be fun. When we pull the trigger on that, I want to introduce you to my graphic artist, Jordan Ullom. She is incredible. I love her heart and her commitment. She has some solid art experience since graduation last year. I’m as excited for her as I am for myself.

I think I’ll have a full page for her. When I introduce her to you, we’ll also release the two more new pages to the website, The Jewell Publishing LLC page and the Grandma Kathy page. It is a fun time ahead. Thanks for being along for this ride. It’s been a great day with the Babe. Tomorrow I’ll fill you in on my new Brother SE 1900. It’s a gem, I believe. It’ll be fun to learn a new machine. See you tomorrow!

Peaceful Sunday

While some folks are out there shopping for Christmas, we are chilling at home. Our favorite place. Everything we need is right here. It’s great. Being at a point in life where you can be settled is the best. It’s nothing you can buy, it’s nothing you can order from Amazon; it is a feeling inside of you that grows and makes you feel as if things are perfect. They may not be, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s the feeling things are perfect, because you know God is right beside you, guiding you, if you’d just listen. It’s the feeling everything will be all right. Things will work out. You can get through this.

It has nothing to do with age. Watch a toddler. Their whole world may be right in front of them. Given time and example, their imagination can take them anywhere. Read to them, and they will soar. They will learn how it can be enough to sit and read a book on a cold, Sunday afternoon. And it is. That’s what I plan to do later.

My current read is The Sewing Machine. It’s a lovely book. I put it down during the prepping for Thanksgiving then picked it up again yesterday. I was comforted by it, and now I have the feeling I will read a bit today.

This is Where I’ll Be This Afternoon!

And of course, it’s Sunday, so Yellowstone is in our future. The marathons are good to watch to refresh your memory. Hard to remember from season to season what things are referred to later. They’re important to the plot. The writing and acting is superb, in my opinion. I read a story about Rip’s famous scene where he plows into a bunch of bikers motorcycles, all parked in a row. It wasn’t in the script, but he checked with the director, the bikes were not worth much, they were just for show, and would be disposed of later. The reaction of the “bikers” was genuine, they had no idea he was going to run the bikes down. It was a spectacular move, a real Rip moment. How creative and effective!

I wrote some of my novel yesterday. 524 words, but it flowed freely. I was in a time crunch, so that’s all I did. I realized taking a couple weeks off was a good thing to do. Suspending my NaNoWriMo contest was a good thing to do. I needed the mental rest, not the mental fatigue. I’ve printed out all the chapters, and have them in a three ring binder, to begin editing later on. I have some more planning to do with subsequent chapters, and may do some of that later or tomorrow.

I plan to keep writing, counting the words. If I could get to 50K words by 12/31/2021, I’d consider it “won.” It’s just a guide, and I can keep going. We have some Christmas celebrations coming up, and I want to quilt a wall hanging to put up in the stairwell. No ladders will be involved, trust me! And I might start decorating little spaces in the house. It’ll be a good time to go through things again and donate anything I’m not in love with anymore. Great ideas! Slow and sure wins this Grandma’s race.

Have a beautiful day this sunny Sunday. Rest your mind and body. You’ll need it for the work ahead! See you tomorrow.

Announcing . . .

Folks, you’ve been with me from the beginning. Today we are celebrating two milestones. This is post #500. This is huge. But the other announcement is bigger and better!

You all are the first to know I have found the perfect artist for my children’s book. Introducing Cartney McGuigan! I am over the moon to be able to have a young artist to work with, one that shows a lot of promise. We’ve both never done this, so it will be an adventure. Here is Cartney’s bio.

Cartney McGuigan is thrilled to be the illustrator for “Roxie, What Are You Doing?”. She is currently a senior in high school and plans to go into acting after graduation. Cartney enjoys singing, dancing, and drawing. If it’s artistic, she’ll do it! She has participated in a varsity show choir at her school for three years and will be an art instructor at the McGuigan Arts Academy this summer. Most recently, Cartney created a show logo for a production of Paul Williams Songbook in California and also specializes in custom artwork for any occasion. Her work can be purchased in Car’ts Art Mart on Etsy and also in Billy McGuigan’s online merchandise store.

A Sample of Cartney’s Art

Cartney, I’m excited to learn with you. We will have the support of the McGuigan Arts Academy, and they specialize in things “we’ve never done before.” I’m honored we have their support. It’s going to be such a fun project. We’re going to do meetings to check out each other’s telling of the story, and I will reduce my word count as the pictures tell the story of Roxie and Gavin. It’s going to be a wonderful experience. Cartney, oh the things we’ll do, and we will learn alongside each other. One creative inspiring another. What can be better?

Celebrate with Cartney and me today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow. We have more life stories and observations to share. As we progress, we’ll share Cartney creating her sketches and talk about the inspirations she has. It’ll be fun for all of us. Take care and be safe out there.

A Cozy Wednesday

How lucky are we? Not only do we get a new furnace today, it will be over fifty degrees today while it is installed. We will be without water, but that’s ok. I got a few pitchers of water from the refrigerator dispenser, so we should be good.

At the moment, I’m seeing four workmen, two trucks full of equipment, and a big box sitting in the driveway. It has a rendering of Dave Lennox on it; the guy in overalls, a shirt and tie, and a Peaky Blinders cap. The dogs are in the bedroom, and I hope they’ll be good. I figure once the trucks are unloaded I can release the hounds. They’re not protesting too badly yet.

My kids book is coming along nicely. We’ve received a ballpark estimate on printing, which appears manageable. We met with our illustrator yesterday, you’ll be hearing more about her later. I had several people critique it for me, and they have great ideas. Writers are good people. Who said they can’t be social? Not me.

You already know how I love books. I love the feel of them, the smell of them, the way they look proudly displayed, and I now love actually creating them. In due time, they will all be printed. And I have to say, the printing industry itself is one I’ve been enmeshed in for my whole life.

My dad worked at our local newspaper for my entire life. He started in September, 1952, when I was four months old. He worked at the daily paper at night, and eventually, he picked up one day shift at the local small weekly paper, too. For years, he would come home from the night job, get a couple hours sleep, then get up, and go work all day as a pressman. He would be home, exhausted, around 4 p.m. He would have dinner, then go to his full time night job, and arrive home around 4 a.m. On Thursday, he slept as long as he could. I don’t know how he did it, but I know he did it to provide for our family.

Dad taught us many things from his work. My brothers and I always feel the paper in a book. Glossy paper is one of the finest feeling papers in the world. The color seems to jump off the page. It’s costly, but beautiful. I may have taught my kids the same thing. It’s hard for books to compete with electronics. Many kids just are not interested in spending all that time reading. They’d rather play video games. I do find it sad, but the world has changed.

Fonts became important to me when I started work after my divorce. We had IBM Selectric Typewriters (this was the 80’s), and no one had desktops yet. I’m not sure if they even existed yet. I never became a secretary, I was a Compensation Clerk, although I had many secretarial duties. I was so glad to get away from them and begin software design and maintenance. Lots of paperwork there. I always vowed if we programmers had a secretary, I would treat her well because many people don’t. Surprise! I was doomed to do my own typing my entire career. The secretary jobs were phased out. We all did our own emails, etc. No big deal.

In early desktop dealings at work, we had “dumb computers.” We cranked out code, business reports, information galore, and compiled the programs, which converted the English in COBOL to Assembler, which then “ran.” Major files were updated. Reports were printed. Invoices, Paychecks, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, it all was important to know. It really wasn’t so much the writing code and making it “worked,” it was the business knowledge that became most sought after. If you could code and knew the business, you were good at your job.

And now, I’ve sort of circled the block, and I’m composing my stories and producing copy to read. I’m grateful to my parents for making readers of us. I think it’s important to being a well rounded person. I’m excited to join in the millions of authors who have written and been printed. I’m not there yet, but I’ll get there.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention today is our grandson Cody’s first birthday. I hope he has a great day, and he gets a lot of good cake. Hmmmm, birthday cake! The best thing about the parties!

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate your time. I cannot believe how early we have this blog finished today! On to more work! (or a nap). Another positive out of having to get a new furnace, etc. Who would have thought it? I’ll see you tomorrow. Be Safe out there.