Progress

I have named my word for the year as Progress. I thought it would make a good foundation for planning the year. And since it’s only the third day of the New Year, we have been mindful of progress. I want to feel like there is progress each and every day.

There is a Chinese saying:

Talk doesn’t cook rice.

Progress is indeed something measurable. Some things, like reducing clutter, are easy to measure. Finishing the laundry (folding and putting it away counts for as progress). Planning without action is not progress. It doesn’t cook rice, either. If I vacuum every couple of days, I’ll have proof of my progress. If I look at the lower wood part of our coffee table and it’s shiny and free of dog hair, I’m making progress. When I look at our kitchen counter that seems to attract stray papers from the mail, and it’s clean, I’ll have made progress. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will.

Little bits at a time. I have to stay positive about it. Some days will work, some days will not, depending on interruptions, the Babe’s schedule, helping Mom. I may have to reschedule tasks; but I will get things done. I also need to go easy on myself. I have to remember habits take at least 21 days to make. I need to celebrate small steps and achievements. We all do.

Relief doesn’t happen immediately. Change doesn’t either. You have to be steadfast and unrelenting. How badly do you want it? How much to you want to finish your novel, your children’s books, your lyrics to a friend’s song, your remodeling projects, your refreshing your decor, your . . . (fill in the blank). How badly?

Stopping OD’ing on sugar is hard. I splurged a bit too much over the holidays. I freely admit it. Now I have to renew the hard work to eat properly. No big deal. Not blaming anyone. I can fix it. Progress can be mine in this area. It can be mine in writing, blogging, and making progress. Yes. It all depends on how much hard work you put in.

What’s the biggest waste of time? Probably video games/apps, etc. followed by Facebook. It’s a deep, complex route of deep, dark caves you can fall into. Often. I do it all the time. That time, spent writing, could be critical to achieving my goals in 2022. I have to be very aware of how I spend time. We all do. Let’s do it together.

Wow! I’m amazed. Mail call today was interesting. I received the natural gas bill, it wasn’t too bad, and I was amazed. Then, the good old State of Nebraska sent an income tax form to fill out; nothing in, most of it goes out, so we’re good. (Cue dun-dun-dun music!)

And here it is! Sarpy County Jury Commission. What? Well, that will certainly put a crimp in my timeline and planning! But maybe I can get some ideas for a book! Wouldn’t that be fun! January 31 – February 25. 8:30 – 4:30 I think. Wow. Four months away from the age you can be to take an age exemption. We’ll make the best of it, boys & girls.

See what we mean by the best laid plans of mice and men? Have a beautiful rest of the day, folks. We’ll see each other tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Judge Not,That You Not Be Judged

I committed a colossal boo-boo yesterday. I wrote the blog, but didn’t publish it last night. How silly of me? I saw my stats were high today, thinking, “What’s going on?” I knew as soon as I saw there were 4 draft articles. Two are real drafts, one was started today, one was from yesterday. At least I have a good answer for the high traffic. Sorry, folks.

What might we leave behind this year that will lighten our load into next year? Blame would be one for me. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand why some things have happened in my life, even why I have thought the way I do. Blame sounds so negative, and we are free to place blame somewhere else – but only once. Once allows you to learn why and how certain behaviors were done done to you, around you, and why they hurt you. Blame is finding the source and giving it credit for negative example, outcomes, etc. Blame is assigned, and you have to let it go. Blame is different than credit, although credit is positive and therefore light. It’s not the burden blame is. Blame is excess baggage that holds you back. Credit propels you forward.

So after admitting out loud and to myself about blame I’m assigning, how & why it happened, I’m putting it away. In it’s bag. Where it needs to stay. I’ve packed my generational part of the trauma and don’t need to know any more about it. Today and tomorrow is what’s on my mind now. Today more than tomorrow. We have five grandchildren in three states, and pray they carry only positive things with them. They hopefully will face their ghosts head on and won’t need to ponder them for so long. I did for a very long time, and finally can put them to rest. I feel lighter, almost like losing the 45 pounds on Keto in the last year. Yes, it’s symbolic, isn’t it?

You see, if you continue to place blame, you must be prepared to accept your share of it. Yes. That’s it. Things you did wrong to others. Things you’re being blamed for. Sure, you didn’t know better when you were doing them, but . . . you didn’t know better. You do now. Accept your shortcomings. They came from lack of information. Just like the generation before. Don’t you feel lighter? I do already.

I food cheated more than one day during the holiday, now it’s time to get serious again. Keto, here we come again. Well, at least me. January 1, 2022 will begin a new regimen for sure. New schedule, new habits, new goals. Still planning. Sweets are fabulous and luscious and easy to get hooked on. Over and over. We all do it. And now, it’s time to get over them. It’ll feel good to eat good things again. Lighter. No Baggage. Healthy Food. Healthier Body. More writing. Great things are ahead, aren’t there?

Are your bags packed up with most of the resentment from long ago? Are they ready to go . . . away? They cannot be carried into 2022 if you want to live up to your potential. We can remind each other not to dwell on past hurts or future worries. Today and our goals are all that matter. All else will fall into order. Thank you for reading. See you tomorrow!

All Hallows’ Eve

So the other day when I was at the doctor’s office, he asked if I was giving out treats or not. I said I hadn’t decided yet. He told me they weren’t going to. He said it’s a perfect super spreader of COVID. When you think about it, he’s right. I’ve decided not to pass out any candy, then no one can pass things to us, either. It makes sense in this time of COVID.

Tomorrow is my big day, I’ll start writing 1,667 words a day for the whole month of November. I think it should be attainable. I’m already writing blogs a couple days ahead, then scheduling when to publish them. I love that about Word Press. The only thing is I still need to manually publish to my Jewell Publishing LLC page and my personal page, Kathy Jewell Raabe. It is all ok, at least I’ll pre-schedule the daily blogs, leaving more time for my novel. It’ll take a bit to put my mind back in the story, but we’ll get there.

When we were kids, it was perfectly safe to go out on Halloween, around your neighborhood, and collect candy from every house in the neighborhood. There were a couple houses that were pretty scary, and no one knew them well at all. We avoided that house like the plague. The old nuns told us we needed to dress like the saints, maybe our patron saint, it possible. We were told to especially avoid dressing in devil costumes. They may have even told us it was sinful to do so. Nothing could glorify Satan like the red devil costume.

Our costumes were pretty basic. For many years, my older brother, who was rather small in stature, wore a purchased skeleton costume. It had a hooded face mask that was cloth, and eye holes cut. We hated those plastic masks since we both wore glasses. Couldn’t see a thing through the fog! We had a box of old costumes from Mom’s sisters. An angel smock in white, all sorts of sashes, etc. My kids used many of those, too. Grandma sewed them and they were sturdy. I suppose I gave them to Goodwill after my kids were finished with them.

I’ve told my Halloween horror story many times. Here it goes again. In 1975, when I was very pregnant with my second child Nicholas, we lived in an old neighborhood, on a hill. Most of the neighbors we knew lived down the hill, where there were long staircases up the hill to the houses, then the houses had at least 6 – 10 steps up to the porches and front doors. Did I mention there were fences between many of the yards, and you couldn’t cut across the yards? My Frankie was just four years old and very shy. I held his hand up all 10,000 steps, down them, then up the next 10,000 steps . . . well, you get the picture. I was 24 years old and in good shape. I prayed not to have a Halloween baby all night. He wasn’t born for another week, November 7. What a relief! Gosh, he’ll be 46 next week. Where does the time go?

The days are pretty chilly now and look to be all week. It’s probably time to bring in the outdoor furniture, and batten down the hatches. More evenings by the fireplace, which is our favorite. So relieved we feel better and don’t have any lasting effects from COVID. We have some friends who have lung issues and memory/other issues relating to impatience, general personality changes, and some balance issues. We are very fortunate. More blessings.

On the Keto front of my life, I’ve done a little back-sliding. Quit doing squats and was careless with eating, so I gained 5 pounds. I’m back at it, before it turns into 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50. That is where people get in trouble. I’ll be too busy to think about snacks during November.

Once we’re finished here, I’m putting my plans into a 3-ring binder to get organized for tomorrow. Each chapter will have a divider, along with notes. Part of the writing has to take you where it goes. The outline/plan/scene descriptions help get you there. I believe it’s a combination of being a pantster (one who writes by the seat of their pants) and an outliner. My book coach, Sam Tyler, helped me see how much easier it was to outline. It lends a structure I didn’t have before.

My first NaNoWriMo in 2019 saw me crank out 40,000 words and I was ready to send it to someone to edit, print, and call it good. I believe most folks who do that don’t find success. I learned so much from Sam and from study on my own I cannot believe it. Sure, I’ll go back and see if I can resurrect what I wrote. Maybe there were too many characters to do them all justice. I went down a path where two brothers were in a moral/physical/and life struggle. One told the other he would kill him if he ever heard of him hurting another character. Truthfully, it scared me. I may need to talk with someone about that. I just find it interesting, and wonder where and how that conflict would have resolved itself. You almost never know what path you will find yourself on when you go the pantster way. I am probably now a Planning Pantster.

Friends, I hope you each find abundance in your lives during this Autumn Harvest season. The colors are so beautiful this time of year. I remember reading stories in our Grand School Literature class about Harvest. Living in Nebraska my whole life, I’m a city girl, but I live in the country now, sort of. Our little town of 4,000 + is seeing a building boom in the last five years. Many housing divisions are set to begin, a large chain grocery store, and several retirement centers are touting their future location. Something for everyone! Building homes, schools, community recreation areas are all great signs. My hope is they really build a new library in our neighborhood. It will be perfect for us (especially ME!).

Be careful out there tonight with your little goblins. I hope you all stay warm enough! Have fun, and we’ll see each other tomorrow! Be Kind.

Renewal Thursday!

There are so many pieces to having a presence on Social Media promoting yourself. Many things, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are free. I’ve seen followers increase lately, and did a couple Facebook Ads, for my author page, business page, and the VFW Post. It’s amazing the traffic that can be brought to your door. We’re trying to keep up all four pages (including my personal account) on a daily basis. It’s fun, but time consuming.

Other parts are the “set and forget” kind. Like my website/blog. It’s where I have followers and folks who read my blogs daily. When I originally set up the website, I paid for two years, since it was cheaper. Best money I ever spent. It’s my consistent practice writing. I’m experimenting with my craft with learning about websites, and making my presence known.

When I logged in earlier this week and saw the message, “Renew Your Subscription,” I stopped and smiled. I’ve stuck with it for two whole years. I’ve learned so much. Mostly what not to do. But I’ve had a lot of fun doing it. With a happy heart, I hit the renew button, entered my credit card info, and thought, “You’ll really be published next time you renew this!” How very exciting!

I’ve published 746 blogs before today. That’s a bunch. Some haven’t been very good, and I know that. It’s all part of the process. It’s all there, good and bad. I can definitely see improvement in content, form, and all that jazz. There is always room for more improvement. I take it day by day. Another month is ending and a brand new, shiny one is on the horizon. I like month’s with 31 days in them. They feel more complete.

The next three months will see me sprucing up the website, adding some information, and hopefully, publishing my kid’s book. More on that a bit later. I’m just going to enjoy the feeling of continuing to create on my website/blog and know it will just get better. And you know, the kid book is about our grandson Gavin and his love for dogs. Especially our special dog, Roxie.

When we lost her, it was an accident, and it hurt us for a very long time. In fact, the only thing I could do when she died was write. I wrote one of my first blogs on a regular basis about her. I think telling Gavin’s grief story can help other children learn something important about loss and coping with it. He is doing very well two years later, and loves Goldie, who is a crazy lab who loves to play catch, and his Josie, who came to live with them a year ago. He is old enough to care for a dog and it’s good responsibility for him. How things have changed!

We have a book launch to attend tonight at 5:30. I think I purchased the book beforehand, so we’ll be picking it up and listen to the presentation the author gives. I want to take it all in, because I’ll be having one before too long myself. It’s all coming together. Good days and bad days, all happening at once. Life is indeed, very good. Have a great evening. See you tomorrow!

Your Story; Tell It How You Like

It’s kind of a gloomy day outside, but it’s still beautiful. Just outside my window are two giant Monarch butterflies and what could be baby hummingbirds. They could be moths, but when butterflies or moths land on a bloom on the Butterfly Bush, their wings stop. These wings flap faster and faster, like hummingbirds. If I went outside, I’d know for sure, but I want to finish writing first. Besides, I could be wrong, maybe they’re just moths. Curious, isn’t it? My story, I’ll tell it how I like, LOL.

We can do that very thing, even on a gloomy day. Instead of being all bummed out and negative, we can be positive and glad for the coolness of early fall. The Babe turned off the sprinkler system over a month ago due to overly high water bills, and it was raining regularly. We can be glad we can pay the bill, and be glad when it returns to normal in the fall and winter. We can watch for the brightly colored Baltimore Orieoles we just discovered this year. They are brilliant on a cloudy day!

I did an experiment over the past ten days. I ran a couple of Facebook Ads. As a result, I scored a bunch more followers for Kathy Raabe, Author and for Jewell Publishing LLC. I’m proud to get my name out there and what I want to do. The blog continues to add followers as well, and I’m getting close to 400! There are a lot of fellow authors who help each other out, and it’s a good way to make a dent in the world. Every little bit helps. In this situation, you can think, “I’ll never get there;” or you can think, “I’m on my way!”

When it’s cloudy out, it’s nice to be lazy, reading a book on the deck or in the recliner. That’s the goal for today, once we get groceries. I really have to psyche myself up to go to the store. It’s just something I really don’t care to do. I did well during the pandemic with ordering online and picking up. Until someone got my card # and purchased something. I will go in person today and shop, giving thanks we can afford food. My story, turned from a chore to a blessing.

Cleaning is something I don’t enjoy, either. We lost our cleaning team about 18 months ago. We clean, but not like they did. With two dogs, it’s tough to stay ahead of the dust and doghair. It’s just part of our lives. They live here, too. While the Babe vacuums, I dust and give thanks for having a home. We’ve worked hard all of our lives for it, and enjoy it with each other. Home is where each other are. Blessed to have a husband who will pitch in and help clean; his mama taught him well! Grateful for that woman, every day.

Oops, Goldie just got sick, poor baby! Sometimes dogs do that, and she seems fine right now. All cleaned up, and although inconvenient, at least it was all on the chair mat, not the carpeting. See? It works in all things. Just think of the little baby face you see playing peek-a-boo in the header pic today. Make it a great day! See you tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Saturday – Recalculating

When you’re driving and following Google Maps or whatever app you use for directions, you’ll maybe know a better route, and as you drive, the voice will tell you the app is “recalculating.” I started this month sure I’d crack open the book about writing a book in 30 days. It must have been an omen. There is a monthly calendar on the front; the month, like September, has 30 days. I was elated!

Forward to today, September 4. I’ve driven right past the book on my end table near my chair. I’ve skipped updating the website for the Post (sorry, folks. Just didn’t have it in me earlier this week. At least now you have the Newsletter to view). I’m hoping by Monday evening, it’ll be back on track, as I will be.

So, as I recalculate my next move, it’s important first to update things on FB, Website, IG, and Twitter for the Post. We have a lot going on this month, and we’ve committed to cook and serve for our Nebraska National Guard gathering on 9/11. We are hosting another Car Show Fundraiser this month for the family of Corporal Deagan, who died in Afghanistan late last month. We are also hosting an event to honor the POW/MIA’s on the third Friday in September. We are a thriving entity, and I’m so happy to be a small part of the outreach we do. Stay tuned!

I know just doing stuff will get me where I want to be. I’m behind and need to get caught up. So, laundry’s in. Going to sort some office stuff when finished here, before I check on the Nebraska game again. The game doesn’t have my interest as it used to. I hope they win, I hope they’re successful, but more important things are on the horizon. Like checking on Mom more often, and making sure she has whatever she wants. Her vision is diminishing more and more, so it’s rare she does any adult coloring anymore. She really misses doing that, maybe we can spend time doing that again. We’ll have to see!

This year has been almost as difficult as the Pandemic Lockdown was. We’ve lost two good men from our Wednesday group of VFW table-mates. It’s heartwrenching! And then, losing another friend next week, along with Mom taking a nasty fall in her home of 72 years. My brothers and I have taken some steps at making her mobility a little easier. Hoping she can stay there until she goes to heaven. The wonderful neighbors she has help us tremendously. Thanks Juan, Martha, Kenny, Raymond, and David. We couldn’t do this without you!

As I spend the rest of today taking care of business around the house, please know we’ll get back on track. To help with my grief of these losses and my grief about Mom’s world becoming much smaller due to her advancing age, I am wearing my watch that says, “Live a Great Story.” Nugent, Lenny, and Rick all lived great stories. I have an angel pin on my shirt today, too. Grief has to be dealt with. Perhaps I wasn’t dealing so well. We’ll try this. And God will let me know if it’s the right thing. Like yesterday, when Goldie insisted I sit on the deck with her. Then I could write about Rick Tiger. That’s one for future stories. So grateful for messages presented to me.

Grieving is never easy. You have to acknowledge it, go through it, and come out on the other side. No shortcuts. You cannot avoid it.

Have a beautiful rest of the day. Hopefuly, Nebraska will win a game today. Home game. Yes. It would help. Be kind today. We all need it. See you tomorrow!

Timeless Tuesday on a Friday?

OK, Kids, I goofed! This somehow didn’t publish on Tuesday even though I thought it did. Must have been preoccupied.

I’m wearing another bracelet from ZOX. They’re a USA based company I’ve just discovered and I like what I’m seeing.

Since we are all our own worst enemies, we need to also be our own best fans. Many women of my age were discouraged from feeling powerful, independent, and able to get along well in the world.

Being taught to not be better, smarter, or stronger than boys were fell by the wayside during the 70s. I came late to the party. My friends who continued their education and were encouraged differently at home became everything they could be. I was a very late bloomer.

After my third child and being married to someone who refused to grow as a person, I eventually joined the movement. And I want equality for my daughter and for my sons. It was about time all people were equal. We still are not. Women have to pull their weight, and they should not have special dispensation. I was fortunate to have technical training. I did not earn equal to the men at first, I had to leave the company I loved and go to a new place. It made a difference of $8K in my salary. I needed it to continue caring for my family.

I also learned to create my own opportunities if there were none on the horizon. That’s what I’m doing now. I will publish a book or several. I’m getting there!

Tomorrow morning is the funeral for my girlfriend’s husband. We will have a full day. The celebration of Lenny’s life will last into the evening. Pray for my friend Kris. It all becomes more real tomorrow. See you then!

Eventful August, 2021

Does life sometimes happen so fast and furious your head spins? This month has been quite eventful, both in good and bad ways. I feel compelled to examine my goals and replan some things. Life is moving along at a breakneck speed and I am not at the moment. With the loss of our friend last week, it’s kind of got us in a quandry. And we took Saturday and Sunday to get rid of the tree in the yard from last weeks storm and just chill. And that’s good.

A few years ago, on our way from visiting our daughter and family, we stopped just inside the Nebraska State Line to the west. I always look for some small book or trinket to remember where we’ve been. I was drawn to the book shelves, like always. I saw a medium sized book titled, “Voices From the Plains.” Its an anthology for the Nebraska Writers Guild. Until then, I was tinkering in my head with the idea of writing a kids book. I bought the anthology and read about half of it.

Now, three years later, I’ve decided to take the risk of submitting at least one entry for publication in this year’s Voices #5. I will submit the first chapter of my novel for scruitny. There is also a naming contest. Each entry allows a name submission. Cool beans, eh? I’m fortunate to have met some great people and we have befriended each other as time goes by.

My first conference left me feeling like a fish out of water. However, I didn’t give up. I still met a few people; Tammy Marshall, an author from Nebraska is one session I enjoyed. She is now a retired teacher and active writer. She does a newspaper column and has recently published a book, “The Ticker Tape.” I’ve ordered it from Amazon; it’s about a Vietnam Veteran and his experiences after participating in a parade (belated) to welcome Vets home. It is a catalyst that unleashes a series of events. I look forward to reading this story.

The second conference was great! I sat with many women at all different stages of writing. Some experienced, some not, some trying to find their voices. Good people with whom we’ve kept in touch. I look forward to the next one. I prepaid for the last spring conference, which was a zoom conference, and I have not watched the videos. They are no longer available to us, but I just don’t have enough time for it all.

From upper left photo, I’m intrigued by this “Live a Great Story,” company. I am putting a 4″ sticker on my car, and will wear my lapel button proudly. It reminds me to use the good silverware, tablecloths, etc. Don’t save it for tomorrows who may never come.

The middle photo was posted by our friend Joyce Tiger today. Her husband Rick, singer and songwriter is hospitalized with COVID and double pneumonia. Prayers will be appreciated. If you’d be so inclined I’ll share the link to the Go Fund Me page created to help with medical expenses. Thank you!

Mission Roll Call is a group to support Veterans who suffer from PTSD. The whole debacle in Afghanistgan is triggering a lot of feelings. Strong feelings. Feelings like no other a civilian ever felt, most likely. Offer to listen, offer to give them a ride, reach out if they’ll accept it. We cannot be losing any who are on the ledge right now. Offer to be a bridge. Don’t give up on them; don’t let them give up on themselves. I’m sharing like crazy right now on the VFW Post 2503 Facebook page; offering help if it’s needed. We’re checking in on our vets who may not be in a good place right now. Encouraging and supporting. That is one thing we need to do. Have compassion for our fellow citizens and human beings. I have a deep love and respect for you all. Let’s talk, ok?

My to do list and my Ryan High School Reunion mug remind me how quickly life can turn on a dime. No more putting off doing what I’ve always wanted to do. At this point in life, it can all be over before we know it. “Those books ain’t gonna publish themselves! Neither will them blogs!”

The last photo is of my new bands supporting causes I believe in. “22 a Day is 22 Too Many.” Sadly true. It hits home in a million ways. I’m seeing so many people hurting right now. The Vietnam Vets know exactly how these Afghanistan Vets feel. They’ve lived it. Thank goodness there is hope for the younger guys and gals. They won’t be ignored for 40 – 50 years. Help is out there. NOW. Let us help you find it.

So many life-altering things happened in the short first sixteen days of August. I shudder to think what else may occur during the next fifteen days. It’s in God’s hands for sure. Enjoy each and every day for what it is, all on it’s own. You have the power to make them great ones, even in the face of adversity. Let’s do this together. Work on making your story a great one. I am. See you tomorrow! I’ll tell you more about something else we took a risk on then!

Some Days

Are just harder than others. It’s nothing in particular, things just don’t flow like they should. And every little thing bothers you. You know what I mean. And some days everything goes perfectly well. I like those days better.

For most of the summer, we’ve not watched the news. Of course, it’s reporting about the Delta Variant of Covid-19. 62,000 new cases are reported daily. Haven’t we been here before? This sounds too familiar. And the government has gone from “Go ahead and get out of the house!” to “Get your shots, get back into masks.” Yes, a messaging problem. And where is the truth? We’ll find it eventually. I think it’s time to click off the power button on the news.

At times, some days it’s hard to write. For the first time in nearly a week, I’m sitting down in the morning to write a blog. All week, it came easy to just write and pre-schedule the posting at 4 a.m. whatever day I want. It’s awesome! In August, I’m going back to writing my novel. I want to just concentrate during the writing time. I’m going over my notes from my work with Sam Tyler, Writing Coach. The mountain of “how to” books is now neatly organized within reach. The space is uncluttered, and I have handy the first chapters for a re-read before I dig in. It will be hard to get back to it, but by blogging ahead and scheduling them, it should work.

One way to keep focused on something is to make sure I eat right. Yes, it’s back to Keto for me. The Babe is intermittent with staying on it, it’s just him. I can’t be mean about it, or nag. That will only make ME frustrated. He has the right to stick with it or not. I’m cooking the way I need to, he’ll join in at home, and do his own thing if he wants.

It was as good as it looks! Keto bread with real butter, two eggs and a handful of cherries.

Probably a salad for lunch, and Meatballs and sauce for dinner, served with Heart of Palm Pasta substitute. We’ve had the fake pasta before, and it’s not bad at all. Takes three hours, slow cooker for sauce to start. Fourth hour, add the meatballs (they’re real!) and cook at least 60-90 minutes more. Done and done. Will post pics tomorrow.

Our butterfly bush is beautiful! The butterflies are just starting to swarm on it. All colors, all sizes. It’s cool to see them while writing. These old eyes sure need a break from the constant screen-images. It’s odd, without the iPhone, I’m relying again on Chromebook and laptop. My big fear 3 weeks ago was I’d lose all the contacts for the events I’m planning for the VFW Post, and all would be lost. Not so!

While it hasn’t been without flaws, the Sunday Car Show will is a go on August 1st, and all I have left to do it set up the Silent Auction items and create/print the bid sheets. That should be a little later and into the day tomorrow. And it’d be great to sneak in some more ideas to blog about/with next week. We’ll get there, baby steps.

Those Canadian wild fires are sending smoke our way again. This morning, it was very hazy it’s now cleared quite a bit, but I’m sure the smoke will be back. My brother in law in South Dakota said they left windows open yesterday while at work, and their interior smelled just like smoke. Hate when that happens! I remembered my inhaler today. Love when that happens!

However you spend the rest of the day, make it a good one. Make it a positive one. Hold the door for someone. Smile at them. Take the time to say, “Good Morning,” or “Good Afternoon.” It will give you a pause from your thoughts for a moment. You’ll like it. One person at a time, we can make the day better for all of us. See you tomorrow!

Thankful Tuesday

It’s a pretty day here at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Someone tuckered the dogs out (thanks, Babe!), and I slept in until 7, so I’m feeling rested. An old high school friend just contacted me. She is coming in from Wisconsin and staying in Gretna with her sister for our 50 + 1 HS Reunion. Of COURSE I’ll pick you up on my way past your sister’s to get to I-80. Outstanding!

Friends getting together will be very important this year. I haven’t attended a reunion since the 25th one – right before I had a mobility threatening issue with my spine, spinal cord, and all that. It was before I met the Babe. It was after another of my successive bad breakups, given my history of poor decisions about male friends. Then, in 1996, it all changed. Thanks again, Babe!

If I recall correctly, our class was intact for five years. We lost one classmate to cancer early, in the 5 – 10-year span, and I believe one to a car accident. Nothing too close. 25 years later, many have succumbed to cancer, accidents, heart attacks, and other things that people pass away from. We are all in the 69 – 71 age categories. Many have chronic illnesses. Many have life altering sicknesses. We are getting old. Our group has lost some very kind people; some spouses have died, and one woman who was a great volleyball player and friend of many, nurse to hundreds of people. Some will have canes, walkers, and electric scooters. But our hearts will still be young. The key to a happy life.

I believe we will all chat with each other. I believe we will all wish each other well. I believe we will all include each other by the end of the evening. What we won’t do is still have a “cool kid” group; a “band nerd” group; and a group of people who just don’t belong anywhere. I am positive I was the last group. It may have been self inflicted, as I had no self esteem and thought a girl’s goal in life was simply to marry and have kids. If you would have told me where these last 50 + 1 years would take me, I’d consider you a liar or a tall taleteller. If I were to select my high school category at this age, looking back, I’d be a late bloomer. It explains these vast opportunities I learned to create, and the risks I’m taking now that I’ve never done before. (Thank you, Billy McGuigan. You have taught me well). I’ve become the Queen of “Why NOT?” before my very eyes. Who is that woman, looking back at me from the mirror? It’s the real me. Living my own truth. Oh the places we’ve gone. What we’ve learned!

The trials and tribulations of growing up are now in their proper place; I’m looking forward to August 6, at the Field Club in Omaha, for our 50 + 1 class reunion. I’m looking to rekindling friendships, and acquaintences, too. We’re going to have a great time. Our faces will hurt from smiling. It’ll be a good hurt. The kind we should all have at this age. Ghosts of the past are buried, we can all be genuine and honest with each other. Let’s have a great time, classmates!

I’ll see you tomorrow, and we’ll do some more studying about kidlit. My illustrator Cartney and I have a schedule to follow with our work, and August 2, after our VFW Post 2503 Car Show, I’m resurrecting my novel, “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons.” The studio/office needs some serious straightening up. All things in good time!