Serene Saturday

I woke up early today, and the air is heavy all around. Cloudy, and kind of breezy, but not a cool breeze. I am somewhat achy after the weed pulling yesterday. Just using muscles I forgot I had! So, I’ll take a day off today and focus on straightening up the house. It might be hard, because I feel sort of . . . well, like Lexie does in the header photo. How she slept that way amazes me, and how she didn’t fall out of her chair comes a close second.

I lounged on the couch for about an hour, drinking coffee and reading the latest book I’m reading, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.” I’ve read over 150 pages already, which is a lot for me lately. I chose a work of fiction because psychology and how-to-write books are a little dry right now. This one about Evelyn Hugo is anything but dry. The writing is crisp, moves along nicely. It takes place in older Hollywood, when young girls could travel West in the hopes of being discovered. I pity them for the treatment they received, then came to expect. Harvey Weinstein just perpetrated what went on forever. How disgusting.

I want to go back and read all the books I started and didn’t finish. I have several on my Kindle, and I should finish them, too. And see about putting books about writing on there, as I’m running out of room! The Babe and I still haven’t found someone to help assemble the four bookcases I bought. Hope we find someone soon! With unboxing all my books, I’ll identify many to give away. I’m hoping the library may take some.

I still need to go visit the library in Gretna. I need to become friends with them, as they have a separate children’s library, too. I hope plans continue to combine them into one big building, like a community center. I thought it would happen, but maybe plans are on the back burner now. It will be interesting to see how it develops. The way the community is growing, I would hope they build a center and merge everything soon.

When we were kids, the library held a Reading Club every year. If we read 10 books, we received a certificate stating so. There was no Pizza Hut in those days. Our kids earned pizza for reading, but we didn’t. As Frankie got older, I felt it was important for him to read. He developed a big interest in sports figures.

Bo Jackson was a dual sport athlete. He was amazing. He could run up the outfield wall to catch a near-home run. And in football, he could mow anyone down. He and Michael Jordan were the favorites. I bought a lot of books for him. Nick read anything, but lost interest in it once he got a car. He had to work to support the car, and he was more interested in those things. Becky read constantly, and is having her kids love books too. Every quarter, I send a box of books to both of her kids. So far, so good.

Going to get started on this day, and hope you have a good one, too. I may just curl up with the book all day. And that’s ok, too. Enjoy your weekend! See you tomorrow.

Independence Day, 2021

Freedom is the right to choose; the right to create for yourself the alternatives of choice. Without the exercise of choice, a man is not a man, but a member, an instrument, a thing. Archibald MacLeish

Archibald MacLeish was an American Poet and Writer. I believe he held many positions in his life, from WWI soldier to Secretary of State for Public Affairs under FDR. During WWII he assisted with development of the Office of Strategic Services, a precursor to the CIA. He was a very intelligent man, and worked to promote the arts, culture, and libraries. I love this quote; it’s not only true, but necessary for us to understand the meaning.

As a kid, Mom made all of our decisions. That is perfect when you’re under a certain age. When you get to be a teenager and Mom decides on your clothes with no input, how are you supposed to learn? Gosh, I didn’t get to pick out anything until I bought my own things. Once I learned to sew, I was on my own. No more old lady stuff – at least that’s how it was set in my mind. No freedom, no rights. Once I attained the freedom, the responsibility became mine also. I enjoyed that very much.

I was raised under the idea the man is the head of the house, the woman was the heart. Mom disciplined us, and did pretty much everything a “housewife” did. Dad was the provider and the handyman. I carried that idea with me, along with some kind of antiquated ideas and silly fantasies perpetrated by movies, songs, and television shows, that didn’t serve my first marriage any good. We both thought little of me. By the time I wanted to get life insurance on myself and he said, “No, it’s my money. I don’t need it on you. Your mom will watch the kids.” I knew things would never be the way they should be. No freedom there. Lots of responsibilities, but no gratitude shown by the other grown up in the relationship. I invited him to leave, and the kids stayed with me. Free at last, thank God Almighty! Free at last. And more responsibility. But I craved the freedom.

It was frightening yet exhilirating. I named my slavery and accepted the only way it could change. It took fourteen years for me to meet the Babe; God wasn’t ready for us to be mates yet. Once we were, I looked long and hard at the questions; Would I lose my freedom? Would I become dependent again, and lose my say in decisions? Would this man be offended if I made more money than he?

I gathered the courage to ask the Babe those things out loud. He may have thought I was nuts. But I needed answers. We talked and he was very kind to me when he said, “Why would I do that to you? We are a couple, and I want you for my wife, and I would not take away any freedom from you!” As for being offended if you made more money, he said (in his best Sam Elliott voice), “Have at it, Sweetheart.” I’ve enjoyed my freedoms, hard fought and earned.

Name your slavery. It could be a bad marriage, alcohol, drugs, being a control freak, whatever. Whatever causes you lack of freedom, let it go. Divorce it, go to rehab, go to therapy, set yourself free! Life is meant for us to live freely. We are lucky to live in a nation where we can practice all the inalienable rights set forth in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

Your naming your slavery is your truth that will set you free! I shudder to think where I’d be if I hadn’t named mine. Life is so amazing, I’m so grateful. We have blessings to many to count. Life as a free woman is beautiful and fulfilling.

As you ponder your own personal freedom today, be grateful for the American Soldier, who have fought for centuries to keep us free from aggression from other countries. Our civil liberties are ours just by being American citizens. Let’s give thanks for what we have; thank a soldier. Be kind today. Remember many soldiers with PTSD are dealing with problems from the noise. Be aware many pets are dealing with trauma from the noise also. Two years ago tomorrow, we lost one of our beloved pets from a fireworks related response. Someone left out gate open, Roxie and Lexie ran out, and only Lexie came back. Roxie was killed in traffic two blocks from home.

The grief was crippling. I started blogging regularly to deal with it. I told her story. You listened. And now, we are close to 700 blog posts later. Thank you for reading. We lost Roxie, but we gained all of you. See you tomorrow!

Happy National Dog Day!

This is a day we crazy humans invented to give us a day among others to celebrate our best friends. I’m sure a marketing person somewhere must have had a hand in it, but why not? Just in the 68 years I’ve been on this earth, I have seen a tremendous change in how we treat our pets.

Nine out of ten people from a large family or a farm will tell you the dogs were pets, but weren’t allowed in the house. When we did have a dog, it lived in the basement. She walked outside through the kitchen, and that was it. Those who had pets didn’t visit the vet with them unless something might be really wrong, and if it was terminal, often they took them to the woods and did away with them. I never understood that. But people I know did that. I suppose the expense was an issue? I can’t say. I didn’t like to hear of it.

And then, there was the issue of dogs roaming neighborhoods. They did when I was growing up. Our neighbor, two houses away, had a beautiful Black Doberman Pinscher. Susie was a beautiful dog, but I was scared to death of her. She was so big, and I was afraid of being bitten by any of the loose dogs. I’m glad dogs don’t do that anymore, I was even afraid of stray dogs while walking my babies in the stroller. They would run up and I had nightmares of them mauling my child in the stroller before I could intervene. My ex husband was a letter carrier, and the only dog bite he “suffered” was from a little dog, a bite to the calf. I believe he brought it on himself, but that’s another story.

We had a dog briefly, and it was on a chain tied up, inside our fence, because our mom feared her jumping over the fence and biting a neighbor kid who teased her constantly. One day, she broke the chain, and wouldn’t come in the house. I finally got her in, put her in the basement, Mom called the Humane Society and they came to pick her up. Dutchess, a beautiful German Shepherd, was no longer our dog. I’m sure she was euthanized. Mom had an elaborate ruse she would go to the Army and be a Military Dog in Vietnam. I doubt that happened.

Fast forward a few years, and one day, when Mom went to pick up my brother from work at our uncle’s Auto Parts Yard, Tom came to the car with a puppy in his shirt. Someone brought the pup in, and we were supposed to raise the dog until he reached full size, then give him back to the Auto Parts Yard. He would be one of the Junk Yard Dogs.

Our dad named him Charlie Brown. I didn’t like the dog. I acted like Lucy does with Snoopy. My dad loved him. Since it was a male, he did what male dogs did, and I liked him even less. Ugh! He reached full size alright. About six inches off the ground. Although he was touted as a Collie/German Shepherd mix, they forgot to mention there must have been some Beagle in him. He howled like one. Looked like a Collie, but had Beagle legs, was six inches off the ground. I never bonded with him.

After that, I left home, got married at 18, we bought a house, and I still wasn’t a dog fan. Once my husband left when I was 30, the kids wanted a dog. The neighbor’s dog had pups. Best $10 I ever spent. They had a new responsibility, and they loved Shadow. She lived 16 1/2 years. Just after the Babe and I married, we had to put her down. It wasn’t a month later, the Babe decided my daughter Becky and I needed a dog. We adopted Mocho.

Two years later, in 2000, I became disabled, and we got Mollie. They lived long and were my quilting buddies. They loved my basement studio at our old house. I did too, but it had no window. No good! They were with us until about 2013. Wet then were dog-less until the summer of 2014. Adopted Lexie and Roxie. They had a difficult time, as we were engaged in a lot of health problems with the Babe. They were pretty untamed. Our fault. They still were pretty good pets. They loved moving here to Gretna, where they have a huge yard, fenced-in. I have dubbed it “Raabe Ranch.”

How skinny and little they were at 4 weeks. Mom was sick, so we took them early.

We’ve lost our beloved Roxie, and now keep out gates locked to make the yard more secure for Lexie and our beautiful Goldie. Lexie suffered greatly when Roxie was killed by a car. It was unbearable. Despite another health issue, the Babe decided Lexie needed a companion this time. Goldie is now a year old, and such delightful dog. She’s a handful, but we needed her. She brings a lot of joy. The header photo are a family of wild turkeys who passed through the neighbors yard this morning. Our purebred, Yellow Lab Retriever, stood behind me on the deck and barked. She’s one heckuva bird dog, folks! Worth every cent!

Goldie, like me, loves the Babe to pieces. I, however, do not lick his chin. Just sayin’.

So while we continue our love of man’s and woman’s best friends, join us to be happy with our furry friends. It just gets you outside of yourself to care for a pet. I’m happy to watch our girls love their home and Raabe Ranch, and for little Josie to make her mark on Addison’s and Gavin’s hearts. It’s the best experience when they’re healthy, and the worst experience when you lose them. No one, not even your mom can love you that unconditionally their whole life. Let’s hear it for our best friends!

Thank you for reading and celebrating with me today. I appreciate it so much. Keep the mask up, the hand washing continuous, and be kind, courteous, and helpful to everyone around you. We will get through all of this. We need each other. Be careful out there! See you tomorrow.

Wonderful Wednesday

Hi, folks! It’s another sunny summery day in Nebraska. I know we need rain, it’s just so much more beautiful when we can enjoy sunshine. The pups have been in and out, and in and out. They’re just getting warmed up! The header today has a picture of Lexie when we first had her. She weighed 4 pounds and was 4 weeks old. We did get Roxie at the same time, she had a parasite and only weighed 3 1/2 pounds. The mom was sick, so they were placed as soon as possible. They were only on solid food for two days. Lots of love later, we’ve had wonderful companionship with them.

I’ve seen many articles written on forgiveness lately. Not sure if I’m being told something or if it’s a coincidence. It is hard to forgive another who hurt you to the depths of your being. I believe it’s worse when you don’t know why they did what they did to you. In situations like this, I think women tend to overthink and take too much responsibility for doing something wrong. Nothing is further than the truth! You picked the wrong person with which to share that part of you!

That last sentence is truth spoken with the utmost love. Really. I have done that more than a few times. Not everyone is a candidate to know you and your insecurities/faults/secrets. They gain your trust (because you’re a trusting person), and use the information to hurt you deeply later. Been there, done that, over and over.

One thing I can tell you, it’s not always the guys fault. They are either a cad or they don’t care. Or they are a cad and they don’t care. We women are by nature sharers. Adult Child of an Alcoholic? You’re probably just following the family tradition of dysfunction. It manifests itself all over your life, and you don’t even drink. The dysfunction is learned behavior, passed down from generation to generation. If you want to change your life, you can learn a new behavior. It took me a long, long time to unlearn behaviors that no longer served my life. Once I learned my truth, life has been so incredible. I believe I was in the dark all those years, struggling with who I was and who I attracted, I wasn’t ready to see I played a part in all of it. Not playing that game anymore.

I’m also reading a lot about creating new habits. It is very hard to do that if you historically have done the opposite, that is, discouraged new habits. Being positive and forward thinking is hard to do, you need a lot of practice. Before I started thinking for myself, I was negative. I thought all people were. I thought all adults were.

I thought love always hurt. That’s what all the music I listened to told me. I saw examples all around me. I came to expect hurt and disappointment in love. Movies always portrayed dramatic arguments between couples, “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” I heartily disagree with that statement. Love Story was the movie people talked about when I married young (19). Now that I’m a grown woman, I’ve learned.

Love is exactly why you have to say you’re sorry.

You will be surprised by what you hear.

Forgiveness is for you, not for them. It doesn’t let them off the hook, it doesn’t mean you have to accept treatment that is abusive, verbally and certainly not physically. Abuse starts out verbal. That’s what kept someone like me under control. I’d go along to get along, never thinking there was a choice. Now I see nothing but choices. Time changes everything. So does knowledge. And self-esteem.

When the Babe’s mom was clearing out her home before going to the nursing home, she made a photo album for each of her kids. It was so fun to look back at the Babe’s life in photos. An ornery little tow headed kid, dimples galore, and such an impish grin. Handsome, strong, young. We all were once. It was beautiful photos of him holding his children the first time, coming home from Vietnam, gathering with his extended family, and the like. When he turned the page to his second marriage, his mom said, “Oh, I should have cut Debbie out of these.”

I told her, “Oh, it’s ok, I have a past, too. I’m with him now, that’s all that matters to me. The Debbie years have been over for quite a while.”

I joked with her when we got to the photos I was in, “Now we’re in the Kathy years!” She laughed. How I miss that beautiful lady. She raised a good man. And his brother. And two good women in his sisters. We don’t see them nearly enough. The Babe’s sister-in-law passed about six months after his mom did. She was adamant we need to seek each other out, keep the connections alive. She was right. Miss her, too.

It’s a good feeling to forgive past loves, past friends, past hurts. It doesn’t mean you forget. You need to remember what people are capable of to forgive them. That keeps you from repeating the mistake. And yes, they were mistakes. Situations that happened are over, please work to put them in their proper places. Forgiveness. A mighty gift you give yourself.

I love the sentiment expressed here!

This is a great sentiment. I would change it to read: “Because I do not want to live without you.” We are both grown enough to know life will go on without each other. One of us will be left alone when one of us dies. That is what we mean by this. I’m delighted to be the last. Trust me, we have words. We get mad at each other. We get over it quickly. We try to live every day like it could be our last together. No regrets that way. It’s never, ever too late!

My wish for all of my single friends: May you find the kind of love you need and want. I know it’s hard. When you least expect it, you will find it. Be open. Protect your heart, though. It will happen. Like you, I was skeptical (maybe even negative). I was never more wrong in my life. You will see. Message or comment to me when it happens for you.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. Keep distancing, masking, washing hands, sanitizing, and being safe. No political agenda here. Just want you all to be healthy. If you are, then I am. And I’ll be one step closer to being able to meet our newest grandson. Yes! Be safe. See you tomorrow!