Friday Finales

It’s the middle of September, with some cooler mornings signaling the fact we’ll soon have crisp mornings, and perfect days for jeans and sweaters or sweatshirts. My favorite.

Today was an early start, with a serviceman coming from our furnace/AC company. With a fairly new system, we had the AC and furnace check/maintenance at the same time. We felt so sorry for the serviceman. He’s only in his early 40s and needing double knee replacement His biggest concern? He has no relatives in America (he’s from India), and therefore, no one to care for his dog while he is laid up. What a kind man! I’m thinking of checking with a person we know to see if she knows of any rescue that could help. More later!

I’m still working with my new sewing machine. It’s wonderful, and I’m very glad I bought it. It has a wider “throat” area, between the needle and the far right of the machine than any one I’ve had before. It will be much easier than trying to cram all that fabric through that small area. There are always new things to make life easier. Isn’t that the nice thing about life?

Earlier this week, Nebraska found out they no longer had a head coach in Scott Frost. I feel for the guy, I really do. But the numbers tell another story, and the powers that be decided he needed to leave. Coach Joseph will be taking over in the interim. Such is the life of college football, especially in Nebraska.

In the midst of all of this, kids are used to school now, high school football is again on the nightly news, and cross town rivalries are renewed for another season. I remember it as great fun. My kids didn’t participate when they were in high school, never went to games, etc. Not interested, and eventually they worked all weekend nights. Such a long time ago, but it also feels like yesterday. This amusement park ride called life has many twists and turns, jolts and spins, and fools us all as the years add up. Then we’re a bit achy and stiff in the mornings, and we realize what ages we’ve become, and isn’t is wonderful we still get to live our lives! God’s been good to us.

The quilt blocks are coming along nicely. I cannot wait to hear what Granddaughter Kayla has to say about it. Pictures to follow, when the blocks are all assembled and quilted. I’ve missed this hobby so much!

As the evening winds down with some reruns of Chicago PD, I’m trimming excess fabric from those beautiful quilt blocks, thinking about how awesome my parents have two great grandchildren to carry our family on. I’ll accept every child who calls me Grandma or Miss Kathy. I answer to anything, really. Kids deserve love from everyone.

Enjoy your evening, I hope you get to relax and enjoy this weekend. It’s bound to be beautiful. See you tomorrow!

Super Sunday, 2022

I spent a good deal of the afternoon updating the website for the VFW Post 2503 the Babe is Quartermaster and Honor Guard Captain for. I hadn’t done any maintenance lately, so it was definitely time. Volunteer hours, spent at home on the couch, watching the Kansas City Chiefs game tend to fly by. And now, it’s nearly 6 p.m.

So, when do you take your Christmas tree down? Assuming it’s an artificial one? Mine is still up, but I expect it will be down by Saturday. My son Frankie is coming over for a late Christmas dinner tomorrow. He was working, and we went to our brother in law’s home, so it works out well. It’ll be good to spend some time just with him and see what’s going on in his life. He’s a blessing in my life. Always is happy. Always makes the best of whatever situation is going on. I hope to spend more time talking with him in 2022.

I’m pleased we might have found a new church. We’ll know after a few more visits, and we’ll visit a few more places, too. That’s something I’ve missed greatly, so now, that’s one big question answered. Of course, with my son sharing dinner with us tomorrow, I’ll be picking up the house (and dog sparkles), so I won’t do more than plan our calendar for the week, most likely. There is so much a creative person wants to do and it’s so hard to select exactly which few of a hundred projects can actually be completed.

When I became disabled with my back/spine issues in 2000, I purchased things to do (craft projects) that I know I’d like to do when I’m older. I’m just about to the 70s for the second time in my life, and I’m not old enough yet to do those things. I’m looking forward to unboxing all my collection of books after I deep clean our family room area downstairs, where it leads to the patio, and I want to find a good place to donate the ones I don’t want/can’t keep. I need to find out if the library of quilting books I have can be donated to the local high school or public library for kids to learn these skills that may soon be obsolete.

I have a quilt my grandma hand pieced in the 1920’s, before Mom was born in 1929. I think this quilt needs to be hand quilted, and I’m going to do it. If it takes 100 years to make a quilt, why not? I hope to leave it to our granddaughter in Colorado. I hope it has some meaning to her. I have two other quilts I want to make for this year; one is a snowflake quilt for our king-sized bed; the other is a pieced elephant quilt for our kind-sized bed. I also have a surprise for a friend of mine, and want to look for fun fabrics I may not have in my stash downstairs. If you quilt, it’s all about the fabric search!

My master plan will include time in January to prep for Income Tax Preparation. Although I do ours, this year, I may have business forms to file, too. It’s another thing to learn as we go along. If not, I know a couple of great CPA’s. Networking is everything.

So many people are complaining how bad 2021 was. With the strides we’ve made blogging, writing the novel, getting my Chapter 1 published in the Nebraska Writer’s Guild Anthology 2021, forming my LLC, I’m delighted with my part of 2021. Yes, there were some very bad things. We lost four friends last year; two to COVID, two to service-related illnesses during Vietnam. It really stunk. It would be easy to sink into the mindset of “life sucks.” Guess what?

We cannot let it win. We cannot let negativity reign over hope, trust, belief, and goodness How do you keep that in the forefront?

I look at my friends and family. With all the weddings during and after COVID, my cousin’s daughter and husband are expecting a little girl in February. And some special friends announced their engagement this weekend. Those are events that restore your faith, your hope, and your love. Those are events that remind you there is more positive in life than negative. There is always hope in a baby’s eyes; and a gleam in a couple’s eyes who view their Ever After in each other. I see it in the Babe. I hope he sees it in me. There is no other beyond him. We both wandered about, living our lives and making mistakes, before we met each other. God sure knows what He’s doing, right? Somehow, we find each other. Always.

May all of us have our Ever After. Barbara and Jimmy, a heartfelt congratulations to you both. Life is too short to wait too long. And too fragile to question too much. I nearly talked myself out of the Babe, first real nice guy I’d ever met; he had ischemic heart disease. I was certain he’d die on me. Not yet! No heart attack yet after 25 years! Fear can’t rule these times. Put your trust in each other, and you will not believe the places you will go – together. God Bless You!

Gearing Up for Tomorrow!

Tomorrow, I’m sitting with Moving Veterans Forward Ron Hernandez at a Holiday Market at the VFW Post 2503. Ron will be offering quilts which are made and donated by supporters all over the area. I will be representing Guitars for Vets, selling the guitar pick earrings I had made with their logo on them. They are $10 a pair, or 2 pairs for $15, which is a Holiday Market Special.

I am also representing myself, as Author Kathy Raabe, and Jewell Publishing LLC. I am offering copies of the Nebraska Writers Guild 5th Anthology. It contains stories, poetry, and single chapters of upcoming novels. Mine is a chapter of my upcoming novel. As a Holiday Market Special, the autographed books will be offered for $15. Stop by and visit with us, in Omaha, Nebraska, VFW Post 2503, 90th & Military Road. We’ll be open from 9 – 3 p.m. Get your Christmas Shopping done in one stop!

If you would like to purchase a book directly from me, PM me on Messenger, or email me kathy@kathyraabe.com, and I’ll get you my Paypal information. Let me know if you’d like it autographed, and I’ll happily oblige! Via mail the books will be $15 + $5 handling, totaling $20. An Anthology offers the perfect gift for the reader on your list. Hope to see you or hear from you soon.

As I finish gathering my goods for tomorrow, I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow. We are supposed to have wintry weather overnight, it will be the first time for our area. Just allow extra time, and you’ll be safe along the way. Sunday will be the day to work on decorating the tree now that it’s assembled and lit. I wrapped and mailed the gifts for our little grandchildren in Colorado. Word of caution: if you have an odd sized large box, it’s about another $20 more to mail. My time was running out, so rather than re-box everything, I paid extra. It’s for the kids. They’re who Christmas is for.

See you tomorrow!

Friday Fun

Hello from the home office in Gretna, where the magic happens. This is a day to finish up things for the work week and think of something wonderful to do over the next two days you have off the job, and refresh for next week. It’s a whole new game for us retired folks. Since school has started, though, we need to begin picking up our granddaughter after school on certain days so we can get her home with Gavin. So far, so good, on the school days. I hope they continue. The masks are required, and I think these two are old enough to understand it’s a must if they want to keep in school. I think they missed it a great deal. Our grandson in Virginia will be remote learning until at least November, then it will be reevaluated. Cross your fingers, pray, and wear your mask, people!

New Stacked Stone on Fireplace. Well Worth It!

Isn’t the new fireplace nice? It’s amazing how changing to stone from ceramic tiles made such a difference. Yes, there is a board standing there until everything dries, it’s not part of the new look. I love that the trades (hopefully) will see a revival. We will always need someone to do this type of work. Electricians, plumbers, concrete finishers, block and brick layers are all desperately needed as are auto mechanics. It’s a shame the mantra of the 1980s, “You can make more money sitting down than you do standing up.” Yes, tech jobs do pay tremendously well. I had one myself. The salary depended on your skills and abilities, not your sex. And now, it suddenly occurs to the educators and others that we need schooling in those areas. Not a surprise, really.

One place I wouldn’t want to work is the United States Post Office. My former husband retired from there over ten years ago. It was a good job, being a letter carrier. He had an old walking route while I was still married to him, and he did a good job. Back in those days, you had to sort your own mail, and bundle it according to your stops. The carriers seemed to know when someone moved, or if you had a wrong apartment number on a letter, they had sense to see that and still deliver the letter instead of returning it. That doesn’t happen now.

Since the Babe and I got married in 1998, we have received weird mail, it’s as if companies made up more people at our address by using our last name in conjunction with my three kids’ first names. Seriously. Frank Raabe is one. No one by that name. Still, we get one every so often. Those mailing list companies make so many assumptions when they’re eager to sell off names and addresses. And we received one for Rebecca Raabe. Nice name, but we have no one by that name either. Sheesh!

This expresses my studio and craft rooms perfectly

There are days when I get irritated at myself for the creative clutter I have. Not enough (yet) to go through each and every item for each and every hobby or interest, but I get irked nonetheless. Sorting and culling the herd will be a winter project. No, it’s not hoarding, but my daughter and sons have commented there are more boxes of stuff to make stuff than of clothes, kitchenware, and decor. See if I’ll have them help us move again! Lol. No, it’s to the assisted living place next move. I mean it.

Speaking of moving, I think Mom holds the world’s record on living in the same house for the longest. She and Dad married in 1948, had an apartment, then moved into the house in which she still lives in 1949. Seventy-one years living in one house. Wow. She was 20 when they moved in. Just think on that. So, in her life, she only lived at three places: growing up, brief apartment living, and our home. At first they rented three rooms upstairs to a couple from Offutt. There was an actual second kitchen upstairs, one room living room, one room bedroom, and they shared the bathroom. Seventy one years in one house has to be a record.

Can you imagine sharing a bathroom with another family? Even when I got married in 1970, furnished apartments were very common. Kitchen, living room, bedroom furniture came with your rent. Good and bad. Someone else’s old lumpy mattress? Often it was like the one we left at home. People didn’t spend what they didn’t have. The hygiene patrol would probably have a heyday with this.

My studio/office/craft room, it’s where the magic happens!

Hope you have a beautiful rest of the day. Take time to appreciate your surroundings. Appreciate yourself, too. I’m off to do laundry and quilt. That Poppy masterpiece may be finished yet. Thanks for reading today. I appreciate the time you spend with me. See you again tomorrow. Be safe. Wear your mask, wash up. Let’s just do what we need to do and get through this. It’s the quickest way to make our own way into the future. Don’t live in fear. Be confident we are only temporarily inconvenienced by wearing masks. It won’t be forever. Use civility. Use compassion. Use kindness.

Wow! It’s Wednesday!

Good morning, everyone! It’s a cold, cloudy Wednesday at my Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Winter just doesn’t want to let loose of her grip on us. That’s ok. Before you gather outside my window to let me know how you feel about that, consider this: When I was in high school, the Prom was held on the first Wednesday of May. Always. The weather should have been beautiful. It wasn’t. We had a late spring snowstorm every time. Enough to mess up the hair, dress hems, and cast a pall over the folks who were able to go. You had to be a Junior/Senior, and someone had to invite you. A boy, to be exact. No group dates, no groups of boys or girls like they do now. No one invited me when I was old enough to go. My senior year, it did not snow. And I went with my then boyfriend, Frank. Never went to Homecoming, but did Prom. It wasn’t that huge of a deal after all. Oh well.

Have you ever waited and waited for something your whole life and then been disappointed? We all have. When I drive past the Gretna High School, I think back on how the athletes and cheerleaders seemed like their lives were perfect. They weren’t, but we didn’t know that. It was the height of wishing your life was different than whatever it was for you. Sad. I’ve not experienced that disappointment after my first marriage ended in divorce after twelve years. I wanted it to end, and I filed. I don’t think he ever really got it. The only part of the marriage was happy was about my kids. I loved being pregnant and wondering if it was a boy or girl. They were such a gift from God. No ultrasounds were done back then unless your doctor might be concerned about something, and even then, I think it was rare to see the sex of the baby. The happiness continued until the baby was about two years old. Something told me I had to let them learn their independence even at that age. I didn’t want to be a Mom who managed everything or hovered. My mom was like that, and I didn’t want to be. My three were responsible for their own stuff. After the divorce, they learned they had to help with chores or we’d never get to go to Blockbuster, get carry out, or have a fun night. I miss those days, but not the poverty. We were broke-ass-poor. That bad. Yes.

Ours was more frequent

Speaking of Beanie Weenies! This was the only dish my dad made. My kids laughed because Grandpa would take a kitchen towel and tuck it inside his belt, and use it for an apron. They giggled when he cut up the hot dogs and opened the Van Camp Pork & Beans. What a gourmet cook he was. They loved his concoction. It was the best. My little brothers had this often after I left home and Mom was gone in the evenings. Yep, Dad was great for making the best of a bad situation.

LOL! I’ll bet he is

I love cartoons like this. It takes a place like heaven, which I would think was quiet as a Church except for the choir singing, and does this. Until Michael Jordan arrives, Kobe will be bugging the angels for quite a long time. Then Jordan will show him!

Some of you have asked how my son has recovered from the apartment fire last October that left him and his roommate homeless and with only the clothes on their backs. They are doing ok. They were able to get the “stuff” for daily living and although devastated, Frankie is grateful he wasn’t home. If he hadn’t been at work, that was the time he took a nap everyday. He may not have made it out alive. He is the best at rolling with life’s punches. As his mom, I marvel at how he adjusts and looks forward. Never looks back. His employer, Union Pizza and Sports Bar, on 156 & Maple in Omaha, Nebraska has been incredible. They have offered every kind of help there is, and are sincere in the offers. They are a small business, but are a great place to work. And great food. Stop on out, you won’t be disappointed. They also run Two Fine Irishmen, and Voodoo Lounge, both in West Omaha.

Shoopy has it right.

I finished the book I was reading, The River People by Margaret Lukas, fellow Nebraska Writers Guild Member. It is the first in a series about the women who lived on the river long before this Nebraska Territory was settled and populated, and before women were treated as more than property. It is excellent. Thank you, Margaret, for this tale of fighting dying. It is very inspiring.

I’m looking forward to the Nebraska Writers Guild Spring Conference in April, 2020. It will be the third conference I have attended, and I intend to learn even more from this one than the last two. I look back to one year ago, when I started my novel, and how much I’ve learned. Holy Moly! It is unreal first how much there is to learn, then which things are the most important in the beginning, the middle, and the end of the journey to getting published. Glad I learned about vanity publishing, so I still have a nest egg to spend on publishing my book. The NWG is so great in teaching members how to use Social Media as a place to promote yourself.

Self promotion is hard to me to even fathom. As a good Catholic girl, calling attention to myself was never something that was acceptable. I am still kind of shy talking about myself, but I’ve learned if I don’t tell you about me, you won’t care what I do, it’ll be self-defeating. Can’t have that happen. Can I take rejection? Sure, in fact, I think I’m pretty good at accepting when things don’t work out. My ego isn’t fragile. Do I want you being rude about it? No, I don’t think that’s necessary for either of us. Just say, “Sorry, no,” and walk away. No need for anything else.

I can see by my Cubs clock on the studio wall it’s noon. Time to spend time with the Babe before we pick up Addison from school and go to the VFW for our weekly dinner night. More time with good friends. I love Wednesdays! Thank you for reading. I hope you come back again tomorrow. I’ll be here. I appreciate your support!