Another Tuesday in April

Today is the last Tuesday in April, 2023. Where has 1/3 of the year gone? My gosh, we have been through a lot so far. The blog is going great. Over 1085 followers, and it’s still early in the year.

The biggest thing is Mom is dealing with cancer. She had her 13th radiation/chemo treatment yesterday. This is where it becomes more painful; the tissue breaks down and is sore. It’s not the greatest thing, being blind and unable to do any self-checks of skin or the area. She is relying solely on the radiation team to help her. Her choice, and that’s ok.

Mom is nearly half finished with her treatments. She is looking forward to being finished, and is on track to do that on time. The Radiology Oncologist has said if she’s too tired, she can take a day off, but to keep going as much as she can. She is very tired, and has accepted she will be tired and must rest during the day. She is building rest into her schedule.

Matthew McConaughey advertised a live training session on his new venture, “The Art of Livin’.” I watched the first hour of it today, and McConuaghey shares ten points to work on, ten comments that make us think. It was good, so good, I’d recomment everyone watch it. Especially if you want to make changes and improvements in your life. It is worth a listen. And a making a list.

Starting May 1, I’m beginning a challenge from the American Cancer Society. The challenge is to write for 30 minutes a day, each day during May. Pledges are made to the American Cancer Society in your name. I decided to join the challenge because of six of us in our household, my father died of cancer, Mom had cancer once and now has it again, and I’ve been diagnosed and treated successfully. I’m proud and blessed to be a breast cancer survivor. God’s been good to me. I can certainly give back so others can be saved. I’ll activate the fundraising page on Facebook in the next couple days. Anything will be deeply appreciated. Thank you in advance, for your support.

Have a great day, this last Tuesday in April. Be safe out there, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Wacky Wednesday

It was a dark and stormy night in Nebraska last night. Luckily, we were not in the hail and strong winds. Just lots of rain. We were at a Gretna ball field watching Gavin and saw the black clouds jet across the sky. The damage is extensive into Omaha. With the hail, auto repair shops will be busy for the next year. So will roofers, guttering companies, window companies, and the farmers will probably lose a lot this year. Too late to plant new, it’s just a shame. It happens.

Our mom lived in the area hit by hail (again). I swear, the number of roof replacements Mom has done (with insurance) is unreal. It’s a very high roof, square, four gables, and it’s hard to find someone even willing to climb up and look for an estimate. If I were nearly 93, I wouldn’t want to be having to do this over and over. I’d be finding a nice assisted living center somewhere. But then, that’s me.

It’s getting tougher to take Mom out. She’s wobbly, even with the PT and OT she’s having, and I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to handle her alone. Loading and unloading her walker, the stress of watching her, wondering if we’re going to get home in one piece. Not borrowing trouble from tomorrow, you understand, just trying to be cautious.

We can never predict how things will unfold for us. From one day to the next, we can only do the best we can do, remaining positive as we can. We learn something from every experience and every moment we live. Our lives reflect all those lessons and experiences.

Lastly, if you have the opportunity, listen to the eloquent talk Matthew McConaughey gave in Washington, D.C., today. He speaks not as a movie star, he speaks as a hometown boy, a father, a husband, a responsible human, and concerned citizen. He’s speaking in a manner that makes perfect sense. I fully support his ideas and hope something finally comes of it. Time will tell.

In the meantime, hug your loved ones a little harder. Write your representatives. Vote them out if they don’t act. We have the power, we need to use it. Our children are too precious. Have a good evening, see you tomorrow.

“Grief is Messy”

I finally figured out why I feel so out of sorts and am stalled in my writing. I believe it’s because I’m grieving. My brain is saying, “Duh!” And I may be afraid. Afraid of running out of time. Afraid of losing the Babe. And afraid of not being missed after my demise. Foolish woman. I cannot control that. Nor do I want to.

Some of it is real. Some of it is silly. I know logic is nowhere to be found when emotions take over. Yet, to be human is to feel these emotions. To deal with human emotions is to feel all the feels. And grief is one so misunderstood and mis-handled. I know. I’ve done it.

With yet another funeral this week for the Babe’s brother-in-law, I expect lots of feelings. I’ll see the family with their grief, and witness their celebration of a life well lived. There will be stories. And oh, there will be toasts. And there will be tears.

We need to be mindful of grieving. We need to accept all people grieve differently. That said, I remember when my dad died in 1988. I’d lost my best friend earlier that year, had a nasty breakup with someone who wanted to marry, my grandmother died, my former father-in-law died, then Dad. I was a wreck. The hurt was too much for me. I withdrew emotionally. I never wanted to hurt that bad again.

My brothers and I all grieved in inappropriate ways. Alcohol, some used drugs, and we were angry. Dad got robbed. He was a nose to the grindstone worker all his life. He wanted to take a European trip with his Blackhawk Division from the US Army. They were to follow the same path through Europe. They followed Patton the first time. He was so happy about getting the opportunity.

It wasn’t to be. Mom was angry, too. Only she became angry when we tried to talk about Dad. We stuffed our feelings around her. We never have heard her cry about it. And we’ve not heard her say she misses him. To this day, I’m afraid to ask how she feels; does she really miss him? We may never know. We needed to grieve as a family, and we couldn’t. It feels unfinished all these years later.

Since then? I’ve learned so much about grief. I’ve studied it deeply, learning so much. And I’ve told my kids I was sorry about being withdrawn. They don’t remember, but I do. There was chaos for them with my brothers, and we’ve talked about that. Lessons learned all the way around. I’m still learning.

From real life, the movie, “We Are Marshall” is an excellent study of grief. A small engine plan crash killed nearly the entire football team from Marshall University in Alabama. It devastated the town. The team members and coaches who were not on the plane suffered survivor’s guilt. As the story unfolds, the University nixes football but eventually hires a new football coach. Matthew McConaughey plays the new head coach, hired to rebuild the team. The key line in the movie is when the father of one player tells the cheerleader girlfriend, “Grief is messy.” It explains why she must leave and build her life. She must live. In his devastation, he finally goes back to his life, whatever that will look like after his loss.

None of us knows. Until it happens to us, we do not know how we will react. I don’t need to borrow trouble from tomorrow by speculating on how I’ll feel. Or how I’ll survive. Because I will. No doubts about that. The unknown is scarey. All we can do is gain knowledge about what’s unknown in life. Grief is worth studying. Sitting with grieving people is worth it. Expressing yourself is worth a lot. Being an example is great. Healthy grieving is not only critical, it’s necessary. It’s messy.

I feel a little lighter now. Admitting what’s going on is necessary to solve any funk you may find yourselves in. Just remember, I felt emotions. I had to feel them. To find my way through them, I had to admit them. Still, I’m afraid; just not petrified. I will get through whatever comes my way. I have to. There is much left to do, many stories to tell. Accepting our humanness is a mere step in living the life they meant us to.

Have a beautiful day. Cleaning up is in order, and laundry. Normal, everyday stuff. Isn’t is nice? The windows can let in the fresh, spring air. Yes, it’s going to be a great day. See you tomorrow!

What Day Is It Again?

Tell me how these two people in our home can’t remember what day it is. Every day this week, I’ve thought it was a different day. Why is that? It doesn’t even matter to us anymore, since we’re retired. Yesterday, I knew it was Sunday. When I woke this morning, I thought it was Sunday. I heard the weekday newscasters blabbing on and had to ask, “what day is this?” The Babe said, “Monday.” Wow.

The book, “Let Him Go,” is phenomenal. I love the work of Larry Watson, and this is the first book of his I’ve read. It for sure won’t be the last. I should finish it today. I don’t want to see the movie before I’ve finished the book. It’s raw, gritty, and realistic. The year is 1951, and the setting is Montana. We’ve only driven through Montana exiting Yellowstone National Park. I loved it. We learned why it’s called “Big Sky Country.” The air is so fresh. I’d love to go back again. Summer, or just before Memorial Day. The snow can still melt.

I’m thinking in another life, I may have lived during the late 1800s in the west. I’ve always wanted to ride horses, something I’ve only done once. Doesn’t matter, I can’t now because of my spine issues. But the fascination is there. I think horses are regal beings and they have an intelligence man can train and form a bond with. I can see myself riding horses at the turn of the century, wearing pants, which would be frowned upon. Yet, I could also wear beautiful dresses when required to. I would be a complex character. Full throttle, yet reserved. I’d better make some notes about this. It could be fun!

We caught Matthew McConaughey on Rachel Ray this morning, talking about his memoir, “Greenlights.” He blew me away with a story. As a kid a contest deemed him “Little Mr. Texas” with a trophy and cowboy hat. His mom hung the pic in the kitchen and every day, she reminded him he was “Little Mr. Texas.” How cool.

Today’s technology let him zoom in on the trophy. The trophy engraving read, “Little Mr. Texas – Runner Up.” WHAT?? He asked Mom. Why did you do this? Because in her mind, he was. And it encouraged him every day of his life. She believed in him, and he learned to believe in himself. How wonderful. What a kid-friendly environment. Encouragement goes a long way. It should be a good read. I’ll let you know.

My Reading is Picking Up. Writers Need to Read. Who Would Have Thought?

It’s been good to sort through all the papers and information I’ve collected in the past year and a half. A lot is being tossed, and I’m grateful I am learning to be more selective in what I devour. There are many slick presentations out there, and I’m glad to steer clear of most of them. One company does scam people, it charges you for shipping on a “free” item, then charges you a membership on some stuff you’ve never seen before. They were slick about their scam, it would appear the website was having difficulty, and flash through the “I Accept” page, then you are stuck. I got a refund until they provided copies of those “I Accept” pages, which I never saw, and were awarded their $$. I cancelled the credit card. It was “” and they have had many complaints. There is an association with Platinum Millennium Publishing. and have been a problem for many writers on Facebook.

There is nearly an entire day out there to achieve something wonderful! I will do more getting rid of stuff I don’t need, and some other fun stuff around the house. Like dusting. We lost our cleaning lady in May, because of COVID, and I miss them. The Babe is wonderful about doing things like vacuuming and mopping the floors. I don’t dust as much as he vacuums. I need to get on it. I promise.

I hope you’re off to a new adventure. I will conquer the dust today, the endless papers, and a sewing project. Along with reading more. I will not stress myself with NaNoWriMo this year. I need to spend time elsewhere. Thank you for your time today, and I’ll see you tomorrow! Be Kind, Be Courteous, Be Thankful. Be Safe. Wear that Mask. Wash Those Hands. We’re in this together. #NotAlone

Summery Saturday

Back in the day, when I was in my 20’s and we first bought a house, washer and dryer, the yard had a clothesline to dry laundry. I loved hanging clothes on the line. Of course, the jeans were stiff, the towels weren’t very soft, and I resorted to drying them for comfort. When our second son was born, I was back out in the spring, hanging diapers to dry in the sun. There was a time in life when a woman’s “worth” was determined by the laundry she hung to dry. I suppose if it was orderly, hung out early, and taken in before dark, you were viewed as orderly, industrious, and efficient. My great aunt once said, “Oh, that Kathy Jewell hangs our a fine wash.” Aunt Anna, you were such a dear, and you were not overly fussy with compliments, so I’m going to take that as the compliment it was meant to be. And I’m proud to have received it.

She was such a fine lady, classy, and the unmarried aunt who lived with Grandma and Grandpa. She worked nearly 50 years at the “phone company,” (boys and girls, back then, there was only ONE phone company!). She could have been a very successful female in the 1990s or 2000s, if she were born 30 years later. Even though she was a supervisor and great employee, there were not the kudos paid to women who worked in the 1950s and 60s as there are now. There was no equality. Women who became pregnant even if married, were fired.

Photo by Pixabay on

Can you believe it? THIS is the closest could come to “baby diapers hanging on line to dry.” Cute baby, but kind of misses the point.

As I’m thinking back to days I willingly hung diapers out on the line, I’m wondering what Aunt Anna would have to say about my writing. She would insist on truth, I believe. And perfect grammar. And being dignified. That I be a complete lady. And that I thank God for the gifts He’s given me. The being a complete lady may not ring entirely true, I mean, the language could be unladylike at times. Sorry, Auntie. But I do thank God. Frequently. Often. Every day.

And the next thing, aside from having my own website, blog, and Author Facebook page, is I’m starting up pages on Twitter and Instagram for my Author news. There may be a little personal news on there, where it’s pertinent to my writing. I’m glad to take the leap into the exposure needed now to make a bigger impact on the world, so more may find my musings, books, articles, and photos. Of course, I know not a damned thing I’m doing. (Sorry, Aunt Anna. Yes, I’ll light a candle in Church).

The idea is, not only will a newly posted blog create a post on my author page (Kathy Raabe, Author), it will also post on Twitter and Instagram. Here’s crossing my fingers, making the magic happen yet again, and making the post available on two more platforms. Yay!

Yes, Doubters, Haters, and Critics Need Not Pay Attention

And it’s kind of fun working with it until it might make some sense. I need to do the same for the VFW Post once we establish a new website. That’s another project, I’m working on with my brother in law, Brad, from Image Masters. (Think, “Jake, from State Farm.”)

Hopefully, there will be time to work out my Chapter 2 of “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons” today and tomorrow. It’s time to send more work to my Book Coach Sam Tyler. We will continue our working relationship on a month to month until we agree I can go it alone. Right now, I need guidance. It’s good I found it early, rather than have to scrap 80K words.

Besides writing, I’d like to accomplish more on that quilt I’ve been working on forever. Next week will be more workers in the house, we’re having LVT flooring (Laminate Vinyl Tile) laid in the kitchen, entry, and two upstairs bathrooms. Assembling strong young men to move the marble topped huge kitchen table AND the matching marble topped server from the kitchen to the living room. Same strong young men welcomed a couple days later to move very heavy furniture back in place. Photos to follow of finished projects. The Babe is really happy beautifying our space, and it’s so nice. Partners, it’s what we are. Blessed.

The Babe. Most Thoughtful Guy.

So yesterday, the Babe stopped at the store after I met him for lunch. He bought my favorite guilty pleasure, a Midnight Milky Way. The dark chocolate really makes this taste delicious. It was such a sweet surprise. Thanks, Babe! Be thoughtful. Be Courteous. Be Kind. Be Safe. We need to treat each other well, even strangers. Wash up and Wear your mask.

I watched the interview Matthew McConaughey did with Dr. Fauci yesterday. It was very well done. Thoughtful and full of good information. Rumors put to rest, and common sense in the house. They said what I have been saying. Yes, we need to wear masks. To get the spread under control, and to stop having peaks and valleys in numbers. It does no good if we keep peaking. We need to keep falling to get to a safe place. The temporary inconvenience will be worth it, once we can open everything for good. We’ll never get there if we don’t all pay attention. Complying is something Americans don’t like to do. But I don’t want to spread illness to a cancer patient, grandma, my grandbabies, or young parent either. Think beyond yourself. Watch the video here.

Thank you for reading today. I’ll see you all tomorrow, and please share with a friend, won’t you? Or share on your Twitter or Instagram. I appreciate it.

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 244th birthday to our great nation. While 244 is long in terms of human age, it’s relatively young for a country. We are an amazing country. We are a republic. A republic is a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.

Our unusual form of government has no equal. Our expectation has been we elect someone who represents our ideas of how the government should govern us. We cast our votes, and see who won. In my lifetime, it appears the quality of candidates has changed dramatically, and often, people are elected who may not do the best job. Without getting political, I want us to remember no president is right all the time nor wrong all the time. It’s the luck of the draw sometimes. We have to hope for the best when our candidate doesn’t get elected. We perhaps can make our opinion heard more loudly in Congress or the Senate, where we elect someone from our own state for a two year (Congress) or four year (Senate) term to more closely represent what we choose for our futures. Either way, there is always the next election, and we have to put up with an opposing candidate now and then. It’s part of being a grownup citizen who has the privilege of voting in our great country. Let’s be civil with each other when we don’t agree when the other guy (or woman) gets elected. We owe that civility to each other as citizens of this great nation. Let’s not ruin our unity by bickering anymore. Please.

Good Advice.

I heard this on Facebook this morning. Matthew McConaughey is really a pretty smart guy for an actor. Give him a listen here. We will always have work to do, as he says. There will always be someone or something we need to keep in check, aside from ourselves. But we can all work to keep ourselves where we need to be. We need to work together, whether it’s about COVID-19 or about social justice. Let’s breach the divide. Gather instead of scatter. We need to exchange intelligent ideas and proposals to cure what ails us. Reparations and tearing down statues does nothing in my opinion. It just makes one side more dug in with their opinions, and adds to the frustration of trying to find common ground.

With that said, has diversity gone so far where we honor this and that, and forget to honor what this country stands for? It does not stand for one group of citizens over another. We have equal rights, but now some groups have special favor. That is wrong. Have you ever studied the Constitution in school? I have to say I haven’t since high school. That’s my bad. You can pick up a copy at your Congressman’s office. Google it. Look it up at the library (my age is showing there!). Read it. Talk about it. Talk about the truths in it. Talk about the intent of it. Humans have just enough selfishness in every one of us, we’d love to have it favor us. Our group. Our Ethnicity. Our sex. Our sexual preference. Our religion. Our group of immigrants.

That is not how it works. It works by us listening and hearing each other. It works by us explaining patiently what is right and just and true. If we are wrong, we need to apologize. If we are right, we need to help teach the others what we know. Stop acting like spoiled brats. Be better than that.

Happy 4th of July!

I’m wearing a mask from now on when I shop. It’s about the only place I go unless it’s to the VFW. I feel safe there, as the volunteers work very hard to keep the place clean and sanitized. I’m mad as heck, we had a new grandchild in January, and have not been able to go meet him in Colorado yet. Colorado has stopped their re-opening. My daughter feels it’s too risky yet for us to come visit. I understand the risk. I’m not going to be careless so when she feels it is safe, we can go out there. I could be obstinate and balk about the masks, but I’m choosing to endure them so I can have the pleasure of meeting little Cody Wyatt. I want this pandemic to end so I can hold this little guy before he’s 25! Choose to endure rather than complain about your rights being violated.

The book, Personality Isn’t Permanent has a lot of insight for me. It talks of the past, and we often want to change it. (Kind of like removing statues, etc.) We need to see where we’ve been in order to not repeat the behavior. We also need to leave the past alone and learn how to react to it differently. That’s on us. Those past indiscretions are long gone and over, and we are grateful they no longer exist. We see our past and do not want to repeat it. We think of how we once behaved as we learned from others, not thinking of what we wanted for our goal.

We may not recognize the person we once were. A person petrified of public speaking can learn to speak in front of a crowd. When I was in high school, I did not participate in Drama, Speech, Debate, or try out for the plays we had simply because I was painfully shy and could not speak in front of people. As Club Presidents, we had to appear before the Freshman Class and talk about our clubs, in case someone wanted to join. I’ll never forget it. It was awful.

I stepped up, my heart pounding in my ears, my hands and knees shaking from fright. I opened my mouth, and nothing came out. Nothing at all. I swallowed hard and tried to speak again. Nothing. It felt like twenty minutes, but after a couple more tries, I just walked away. My eyes filled with tears, and my face burned. I wish they had prepared those of us who couldn’t speak in front of people before they threw us to the wolves. I remembered that for a long time.

About twelve years later, I was taking classes from UNOs College of Continuing Education, and a required class was “Public Speaking.” I already changed personality wise and finally had the confidence to take the class. I did well. Then I joined Toastmasters. It was a group of business people who met over lunch downtown. People were from Union Pacific, State of Nebraska, The Courthouse, First National Bank, and me from ConAgra. It was the best thing I ever did.

Now, I’m hoping when my books are launched, I’ll be able to talk with different groups at bookstores, libraries, and anyone who may be interested. Your goals are the key for how your personality changes. Your personality is shaped by your purpose. At one time, my purpose was a stay at home mom. I lived and breathed that. Then it changed to that of a business woman. I became that woman during a time when women could be openly discriminated against. It appeared to some people I had no kids because they didn’t call me with trivial issues and I didn’t talk about them all the time. I didn’t have time, I had so much to learn! Things are not that harsh now. I was lucky to study programming and analysis, so I became a technical person. My pay was strictly based on performance and tech knowledge. I could compete and earn a good living. I’m grateful for that.

The best job is a retired Grandma! I’m rocking that every chance I get. I enjoy a lot of things, and writing is now at the top of the list, even ahead of quilting. I didn’t think I’d ever let that drop out of first place. I hope to have it off the back burner once I’m published. Thanks for spending time with me today. I appreciate it, and look forward to seeing you again tomorrow. Be safe. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. I’ll be doing that, too.

Fabulous Friday

I just viewed a funny video of Chris Farley, rolling down a hill, over and over, with the months of the year in large capital letter. May is where he lands. Wondering what in the heck is going on there. It’s funny, but is a good visual for what is going on in our lives. I also watched GMA this morning. They had a graduation speech given by the actor Matthew McConaughey. He has released a video earlier this week concerning how we are so divided, masks vs no masks, and how he marvelously explains that science needs to catch up to what is going on with the Coronavirus research. We do not have time to fight two wars. One war is the COVID-19. The other war is with each other. We need to unite and stop fighting each other. Science will never catch up if we are divided. Here is the first video.

I think this is very well explained and thought out. I think it needs to be said. Let’s drop the name calling and the divide and just work together to fight the virus and be safe. We may not know what comes next, but I’d rather been safe than sorry. Wouldn’t you? We need to be kind, be good to each other, and pray for our nation. Let’s unite in the purpose we are collectively fighting. Let’s beat this thing, and let’s NOT have us beat ourselves while we’re arguing and acting disagreeable with each other. We are our own worst enemy. Let’s have science catch up and do what it needs to do to and keep us safe. Finger pointing and brazen selfishness has no place in this. Let’s work together, not against each other.

The other thing worth spending your time on is this commencement speech video. As someone who graduated 50 years ago this May 28, I have to say I’m inspired by this speech as well. There are many valid points made and would help all of us be more focused on living our best lives and doing good for not only ourselves and our families, but for our neighborhoods and the world as well. Think! Be inspired. I loved how he said to be proud of the uniqueness of their situations. Wear it proudly. No prom, no graduation. It’s going to be more important how you conduct yourselves in the future.

I find throughout life, there were times that didn’t go as well as I thought they would. That is life. It happens for all of us. When it does, and it will, refer to something inspiring, like these videos. Refer to something that will encourage you to put the losses into perspective, remember the lesson, and try again. I never realized how important it was. I can say I’m proud of the lessons learned in my life, and I know I earned where I am in life now. I was taught to work hard for what you want and do the best job you can. Don’t leave your work for someone else. Some of us learn that better than others. Even now, I’d rather not have something if it meant giving up something like family, integrity, or self-respect. I have made many mistakes in life. I learned from them all. If you have a graduate this May, remind them of these things six months from now. And six years from now. It all bears repeating.

It will finally be nice and sunny outside today and the Babe is going to lay some sod near our little flower garden in the back. It will be nice and no more washouts by the air conditioner. Big rains produce a lot of runoff and it just needs to have good turf to drain off. These are things you have to do repeatedly during home ownership. Mundane tasks but they are so important. A lot of life is like that, and help retain order. I have a couple more mundane things to do, then going down to the cutting room to re-pin a quilt I stopped pinning last week. It’ll be a task before I look at the empty flowerpots that are going to the patio later today. Getting ready to buy some annuals and perennials.

Are you planning on planting any flowers this weekend? Comment below and let me know how it goes. If you follow my blog, you’ll receive a notice every time we post a new blog. You’ll also be on the mailing list for when I send news about the projects I’m working on. More editing and story enhancements this weekend. I appreciate you stopping by today. Enjoy those videos. For an actor, he really is sensible about things. I hope you return tomorrow, I’ll be here. Stay safe!