Today’s Blog

December 4. My Favorite Day!

Today is my favorite day of the Christmas season. Why? Well, not only are we moving the furniture around to make way for our Christmas tree, it’s also the day of the season we go see Yesterday and Today. The McGuigan Brothers have again added some new twists to the show they have been doing for many years. It’s a new venue, too. They have been talking about the acoustics in their new home, and it sounds extra special. More about that tomorrow.

When approaching the holiday season, some of us ask for the grace of a glad heart. Sometimes, we have to fake it until we make it. In the beginning, we try to fool ourselves. If we’re working to improve our outlook on life, and making gratitude a new way of life, we can get to the point where we’re not faking it anymore. It becomes part of who we are. We come to have a glad heart, and it’s what we need in this world today.

My Zoom call was more like a Doom call. We both had video, and she had sound. I did not. We communicated and decided to talk on the phone on Monday. I will call her at a certain time. That PST vs. CST is weird. I had it backwards, so now, I have it right. Hopefully, Monday will be better. I think it will.

I want to make this holiday season happier for my heart than it has been. Living in the present is what is the best to do. Being happy for the now is what I choose to do. I need to remember the reason for this season, that is my focus. Since we’re doing decorations like I used to, it’ll be a great time to assess what I can donate and what I want to keep. What I really want to keep. No extras.

I have some ideas to make small reading areas around the house. One in our bedroom, one in my office studio, and one in the lower level. Also have places on the deck and the patio. My spots will double as spots to hand quilt; hand sew things; or embroider. All things I love to do, just more organized. I think this will help me get my whole life organized and running smoother. I can always use more organization.

Some of the author groups I’m in talk about how they take books with them wherever they go. I do, and my brothers have similar habits. While our reading material is varied, the end result isn’t. We are entertaining ourselves, we are passing the time in a productive manner, and we are learning something we didn’t know before. Our parents taught us well. Bored? Couldn’t utter the word. If we did, it was, “Go get a book. Pick up the Newspaper. Draw something.”

Dad worked for the newspaper, so it was always in the house. He also loved drawing. He wanted to be a cartoonist. He was quite good. I have his “Learn to Cartoon” books. I think it’s partly why he loved the Charlie Brown cartoons. Especially Snoopy. If Dad laughed, you knew it was funny. Watching the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, he would say, “That damned dog!” while nearly rolling on the floor. It’s a great memory.

It’s time for me to mix up the egg casserole for breakfast tomorrow (back at the Keto), and finish getting ready for the day. I want to locate the boxes of decorations to start with. I’m going to make it a good season. It has to be. I’m accepting no substitutes. More lights! But no ladders for these old folks!

Friday Zooms

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a Zoom meeting. I’m visiting this morning with an illustrator for “Roxie, What Are You Doing?” The artist lives in Oregon. I’m excited, and hoping we have an agreement after our talk. Wish us luck. If it’s meant to be, it will be.

I’m excited yet a little nervous. This is a real risk, and I believe we’re both at the ready spot to take it. I’ve never met her, but in looking at her art online, I have a good feeling. Time will tell. I’m not going to count on writing the rest of December. If I have time to fit it in, I will. Depends on how the meeting goes.

I purchased a beautiful painting on Cyber Monday for our bedroom. It turns out the area over the bed isn’t big enough for the 50 inch square quilt I was going to use. It will work on a different wall but not the original one. It’s beautiful shades of blue, and looks beautiful on the Caribbean Blue wall. Trouble is, the quilt I use on the bed during this time of year is pink, green, black, and gold. I don’t know how this will look. I’m cutting out a snowflake quilt that will look great under the painting, but haven’t started to sew yet. Always something new and creative to do!

There is an accumulation of dog hair (a/k/a fibers of joy) around here. Someone else dropped laundry in our bedroom hamper. Where does it come from? We need to have enough rest, it’s going to be a busy weekend. Yesterday and Today is at the Slowdown in Omaha. It’s a Beatles tribute show we’ve seen every year for probably the last eight years. It’s very good. The backstory for the band tugs at your heart and warms your soul. The absolute love of the music and each other has propelled the McGuigan brothers to local rock star status. We are so lucky to have them!

The Christmas tree may find it’s way upstairs and into a state of decoration, too. Sunday, we have a telethon fundraiser for Moving Veterans Forward. It’s a phenomenal organization which does great things for formerly homeless Veterans. They reach out into the community where the Veterans live. Gratitude is what you witness when a client moves into their own apartment. It’s amazing to see.

Monday is a Commander’s Christmas Volunteer Party. It should be fun, and we have a great time. I believe the people we work with volunteering are some of the best friends we’ve ever had. And it’s so good to do good with others. Makes life meaningful. I hope you find something meaningful to add to your life. Start your own outreach, it’ll be great! Great things can be accomplished with many hands. Reach yours out today, and know you’re appreciated. Have a beautiful afternoon and I’ll see you tomorrow!

What? Me Worry?

Do people still read Mad Magazine? No, because it ceased publication in 2019. Everyone loved it when I was a kid, even into adulthood. It was intelligent satire, and you had to have some knowledge of current events. They made satire into a fine art. There is a certain finesse to it, and when it sticks the landing, it becomes a classic. The character Alfred E. Neuman had become the symbol of uninformed voters, baseball fans, a supporter of FDR, and many, many others. His catch phrase was “What, me worry?” If you repeat it to people of a certain age, they know immediately who you’re talking about. It’s quite humorous. I always think of good old Alfred when the word worry comes up. Alfred and my mother. And most all mothers worry. Except me.

Mothers can elevate worry to an Olympic sport. They can lie awake all night worrying about things created in their own imaginations. And the horror! They must watch scary movies a lot, because someone always puts an eye out, is dead in a ditch somewhere, and has no one to thank but themselves. They can elevate fear and worry like nobody’s business. Right after the sleepless nights and the crabbiness that goes with it, the guilt is layered up nicely, and placed on your shoulders.

One time in the 80s, I had the nerve to tell Mom, “I don’t lose sleep over my problems, why do you? However it works out is how it works out.” Needless to say, she wasn’t my greatest fan that day. I felt like it was the truth, why should she lose sleep over things she can’t control? Because in her era, good mothers worried themselves sick. Yes, sick. Or at least sleepless. Sad, isn’t it?

Mom’s do worry. I prefer to say, “I have a concern.” Sure, but I don’t lose sleep over whatever it is. That’s not love, it’s codependency. It’s not the sign of a good mom. Most worry is baseless, and a habit of the codependent person. I’ve thought of why people worry. Most don’t want the worst to happen to their loved one. No one does. When it reaches an unhealthy level it becomes trouble. Lots of trouble.

The Mom’s who meddle or intervene and try to solve problems which haven’t happened yet enable their child, regardless of their age. The child (or adult) who allows someone else to solve their issues will continue to have more issues. They will not be able to work out solutions to their own problems. They cannot cope because they haven’t developed their skills. More harm than good is done. It’s a shame, really.

I’ve been codependent; I think anyone who has any relationship with an alcoholic has a good chance of being codependent. It’s not a good place to be, but often the fixing is how a codependent person creates their “normal.” Watching someone you love fail is hard. The strength comes in walking away and letting them handle their own mess. Often we care more than our loved one. When that happens, you’ve lost too much of yourself. You’re only hurting yourself, and not helping your loved one. Take it from me. Walk away. They don’t want to get better yet. You’ll lose yourself before they care.

Learn to let go. Learn to care for yourself instead. First. It’s hard work, but it’s so worth it. Today, I’m going to do some errands. Thank you for reading. I’ll see you tomorrow. Hugs!

December is Here!

Yesterday, I was amazed during my driving home discussion with Addison. She commented, “Grandma, can you believe the year is almost gone? Where did it go?” Sometimes we think our tots and teens don’t realize what’s going on around them. They pay more attention than we think. Keep teaching the lessons and being the example. Their characters are forming even as we talk. Just remember, we’re supposed to be their guardians and adults. We’re not supposed to be their “friends.”

Today’s point to ponder is this:

“God gave us a memory that we might have roses in December.” – James M. Barrie.

God never ceases to amaze me in His creation. Nature is colorful and melodious, and it follows the seasonal schedule God created for it. It helps us measure time, with changing seasons. Nature is gentle when you see a seed sprout in spring, or a baby bird learn to fly. It is a force to be reckoned with when the tornado, hurricane, flood, or blizzard comes. It reflects God and His power. Yet he still lets us exist. We are blessed.

Feelings have many meanings to us. Good and Bad. Some Positive, some Negative. As humans, we have fears. Probably too many fears at any given time. The feelings associated with certain memories may no longer be true. Memories can serve as reminders of pain. A scar on your hand may be the reminder not to touch a hot stove. Pain serves a purpose in your life. Keeping it in it’s place is the trick in living a grateful, giving life. It cannot be the focus for you to learn gratitude or remain grateful. Sometimes, the pain can be the best lesson.

A story from the past that served as an excellent lesson for me was about a guy we’ll call Carl. He was the first person I dated after getting divorced. We spent time together when the kids were gone. I refer to him as the best thing and the worst thing that ever happened to me. You see, all those years ago, after being a good Christian girl for all 30 years of my life, I needed to break the rules that ruled my life. I hadn’t dated since high school. I had no idea about the ways of the dating world in 1982.

Carl was a master manipulator who I fell madly in love with. I learned a very hard lesson. He was unfaithful, made promises he had no intention of keeping, and was a gas lighter. I didn’t know what that was while it was happening, but I sure do now. I’m glad to have learned what I did, and the scar tissue hurts if I poke at it. So I won’t go poking at it. For many years, I repeated this type of behavior, not knowing any better. Not a good thing. Old love songs sang of unrequited love, love hurting, and even love stinking. I wouldn’t want to still be believing that. That is where the Babe came in and taught me how wrong I was.

Lessons learned are worth their weight in gold. My bad choices ended about 25 years ago. Thank goodness! Not irritating that scar tissue is key for a positive outlook. A positive outlook enables you to have an attitude of gratitude. The more gratitude, the more your life changes for the good. You don’t repeat terrible mistakes that are bad for you. You learn new methods of dealing with everything.

I’m hoping the season approaching reminds us to prepare to be thoughtful and kind to each other. Christmas is the ultimate expression of love. We have an endless amount to do this month. Give up a few of the to do list items. That should free you up for more enjoyment than work. Take care this busy season. Remember to take it easy some time every day. It’s essential. You and your family will thank each other for it. Enjoy, don’t dread! Thank you for reading today. We’ll see each other tomorrow.

Techie Tuesday

Today will pretty much be computer work nearly all day. I’ll have a break in between, to go pick up Addison from school, after getting my COVID booster. I feel better getting it, especially with the new variant. Enough of this stuff! Let’s get rid of it! It wouldn’t surprise me if we ended up locked down again. The upside to that is I have plenty of writing to do; and I can learn some more quilting techniques. There’s always more to learn, and more to do. I certainly won’t be bored!

Bored is a word we were not allowed to use growing up. I haven’t cared for the grandkids using it. It’s clear this generation has a very different idea of what fun is. Addison was convinced for a long time parks were all decked out with rides, like Disney World. They’ve been there a number of times. She has even danced there. It was a fun trip to see that. Downtown Disney is quite a busy place.

While Disney is touted as the “happiest place on earth,” I watched the crowd a lot and saw lots of kids who cried incessantly. My guess is they were over tired, over stimulated, as were their parents. They’re just not going to eat or sleep when they should. I hope they had fun, though.

To me, parks have always been green spaces. The parks near our home had activities for kids during the summer. We could either walk there or ride our bikes when we were old enough to do so. It was fun to see your school friends there. The days were long, we never vacationed like some people. My best friend Peggy went camping with her folks; I remember her dad built a camper. Seriously, I remember him putting shingles on the sides (our house had a similar outer wall covering it), and they were probably made of asbestos. All the good stuff was back then, you know? Before we knew it was so bad for us.

I had an errand this morning. Afterwards, I stopped at the LQS (Local Quilt Shop) called The Quilted Moose. It has so much beautiful fabric it’s almost overwhelming. All the ladies were talking and it had a nice atmosphere. Talk about doing what they love! They’re looking for help, it would have been a great job when I could still stand up and do stuff all day. My back and lots of other stuff is too damaged to do that now. But it’s a great opportunity for someone.

I’m still mulling over my dream/idea/plan to create Grandma Kathy videos. It’s worth a try. The worst that could happen? Maybe an author’s lawyer sends me a “cease and desist” order? No, I’d seek permission first. It will be an interesting process. You’ll come along, to learn with me, won’t you? Thanks.

I need to make a smoothie for breakfast/lunch in a minute, KETO approved, I think. A mixed berry Ensure, blended with a handful of frozen berries. It’s good, full of protein, and on the menu for me. There’s more Keto foods in my future again, as I work to keep off the 45 pounds I’ve lost so far. Not sure how much further I should go. I can tell you the best feeling is giving away what used to be snug. And my friend is delighted as she’s lost a bunch of weight and gets some still like-new clothes to take with her to Hawaii tomorrow. Have fun, Lora!

As you move through your day, be mindful of creating your own beautiful world around you. It has nothing to do with your bank account or possessions. It has to do with how you look at your world. Some of the poorest people in the world are happy in their hearts. Find the positive. It’s in there somewhere. You notice the shift when you start to see the good part when bad things happen. Gratitude is essential to a happy life. Enjoy today. See you tomorrow!

Monday, Monday

It’s amazing when an idea starts to talk to you in your dreams, when you’re in the subconscious stage of waking up, your fleeting thought becomes your great idea. Then you start to think about how to make this great idea happen. I’m at that stage with my idea for Grandma Kathy.

With working on two different projects in two different genres, I’ve studied all the info I can find about promoting two different types of books. As two different authors, even though I’m both of those. This is where Jewell Publishing LLC comes in.

Jewell Publishing LLC is the home to both Grandma Kathy and Kathy Jewell Raabe. Grandma Kathy will write children’s books and read them. I plan to get permission, if necessary, to read other children’s books and upload the videos to YouTube. It’s made me very sad to learn modern parents often don’t have 15 minutes (max) to read to their babies/toddlers before bed. They cannot spare the time. If they don’t have the time to experience this beautiful bond building activity, it makes me sad. I get it, people are busy. Not being critical, I can’t imagine both working full time and having babies/toddlers to raise. I was a stay at home mom until my daughter was three. Then I divorced and became a single mom. I get it.

In business, as well as in life, the key is being dynamic. You have to be. If I were to be critical of young parents who don’t have time to read to their little ones , I’d never sell a book. I’d like to create something useful to young parents with children. If they need a little time to entertain their child while getting them settled at night, why not have them watch a video of a Grandma-type person such as myself, reading a lovely story. It could work, having people download videos of various books, with myself reading them.

Of course, I’d need some tutoring on how to video myself reading, making them available on my website page, Grandma Kathy for free. When it gets to my own books, I’d need to charge for download, in addition to making the physical book available for those who still want them. This blog is my informal announcement of what I plan to do early next year, hopefully during the first quarter. What a way to spend the winter, learning something else new!

I’m working on planning by kid book rollouts, they may be altogether, maybe one, then two together. I need to look at all the options first. But this establishes it as my idea, and what I plan to do. Hey, maybe McGuigan Arts Academy will have a how to class for adults, or folks just getting started, like me! They’re sure great examples of taking risks for great ideas. Thanks, Billy and Kate. You’re all the best!

Risks are in this life for the taking. It’s a great thing to learn. And I’m grateful I learned it. Hope you all have a beautiful evening. We’ll see each other tomorrow, my friends. Keep reading. Or listening. However you get your books. Just take time.

Peaceful Sunday

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

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

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

This is Where I’ll Be This Afternoon!

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

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

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

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

#800 Club!

As I’m sitting in our living room, fireplace blazing, dogs chewing on bones and napping, I happened to look at how many of these blogs we’ve shared. 800! Wow! That’s over two years! I’m grateful to each of you for reading. You’ve stuck by reading good blogs and not so good ones. You keep coming back, regardless of how you feel or how much time you have, and you check out what we have to say. I’m delighted with that.

Over 400 of you are following me; no, not in a creepy stalker way (I hope not!), but but you ask to be notified when we publish a new blog. I’m grateful for that! Feel free, please, to post a comment on the blog at WordPress, not just on the Facebook notification. I do appreciate a comment in the Facebook area; I believe others may open up and comment if someone will just start commenting on the blog itself. PM me if you’re not sure where to start. I’ll answer!

As the month of December is on the horizon, I’m looking forward to decorating our home for Christmas. Even without a lot of “company” during the season, I can still enjoy it. Why not? Sure, it’s a lot of work. Sometimes, we just need to do it and quit analyzing it to death. Mom and her sisters all went crazy with Christmas decorating. Mom still has more than ten trees, all decorated, in the various rooms of the old family home. Some she leaves up all year.

When I was a kid, it was an extravaganza when Mom decorated the house and tree. The fake mantle was always decked out, complete with the sequined Christmas Stocking her mother made for each grandchild. It was a nice thing of Grandma to do that. Mine didn’t have my name on it, so I let my daughter have it. I put her name on with glue and green glitter. She left it when she moved and got divorced, I think. Oh well. She can make her own!

In the 50s and 60s, we had the old antique looking glass ornaments. No plastic whatsoever. Chemically, I believe many of those had mercury and lead in them, but don’t know for sure. It blew my mind how you could see your distorted face in the glass balls. Yes, I was easily entertained. It’s one of the things the Babe loves about me.

Dad would wait until later in the month (probably mid-December) to get our live tree. Sometime as a kid, my grandma had a silver aluminum tree with the light wheel. A good friend of our folks, Alice and Jack, always got spectacular flocked trees, usually in white. Wow. Blew my mind. One year, she gave me a little mint green Kodak camera. I took photos of my little brothers, my dad, anyone who would sit still. Of course, the thrill came from waiting for them to develop from the camera store. You couldn’t just drop them by Walgreens. Click on the blue to check out the history of Walgreens, I found it interesting.

Grandpa Jewell had a Drug Store, Sundries, and Prescriptions. He had a pharmacist, Cliff Chase. Back then, much of the prescriptions were compounded. Mom said the Jewell family didn’t celebrate Christmas until she married Dad. Grandpa always kept the store open in case there was a sick child who needed medicine. Grandpa finally closed his store by 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, then re-opened the day after Christmas. Quite a feat, I think.

So, just like the Dad in A Christmas Story, mine had to haggle with the salesman. He always went alone, and teased us unmercifully about not being able to find one. One year, he convinced me we had to put it up and drill a hole into the ceiling so the top would be in my closet. Of course, I believed him. He would never lie! He was the King of Dad Jokes, before there were Dad Jokes!

After much grousing, he would set the tree up in the stand, and let the branches fall. Sometimes, they fell completely off, since he was also the King of buying Charlie Brown trees. He’d drill a hold into the skinny trunk, then put glue in the hole. He’d whittle the end of the branch until it fit. Once it dried, you never knew. Well, Mom did. She never let him forget it. We laughed as we grew older. When the Grinch came out as a thing, his favorite phrase was, “Bah Humbug.” Truer stuff never happened. My older brother and him exchanged a gift wrapped in paper with “Bah Humbug” all over it.

As I return to my novel for today, I am warmed by the memories of Christmas instilled in us by Mom and her sisters. My cousins all know what I mean by Christmas addictions. They’ve all lost their mom’s, so if they’d like to have their memories jogged, I’m sure Mom would love a visit for you all to view her tree addiction. I mean collection. It’s from where we all came! Thanks for reading today, our #800 Blog! See you all tomorrow!

Black Friday

Black Friday seems to have been around since the 1980s, but I’ve never participated in it. Maybe at the most some online purchasing, but I won’t fight a crowd. Not to buy stuff. I’m just not into shopping that much. I’m more apt to go to Menard’s or Lowe’s, and buy plants for the yard, or some cute birdhouses and such. Pretty simplistic.

After the dinner yesterday, it was nicely quiet in the house. We just enjoyed each other’s company. Grateful for being so blessed. And enjoying the day while the Babe does some office work at the Post, and does a funeral for the Honor Guard. That family thought their Thanksgiving would probably be different than it was. The year my Grandfather died on Christmas Eve, we sure didn’t plan on his death and funeral three days later. This New Yorker cartoon sums up the yesterday pretty well. It just tickled me a lot. Humor is always in style, you know?

Be Careful What You Wish For

As I’m all cozy and warm in the house, I hope everyone is warm and safe our on their shopping sprees. It’s time for a plate of leftovers, then a nap. Crazy as it was yesterday, I’m so glad for the quiet today.

Tomorrow, I hope to get a new normal going. I need to get back to the book, then make space to quilt. Hope you had a great day, either crazy and busy or quiet and serene. See what tomorrow brings, and make sure to hug your loved ones. See you tomorrow!

Thanksgiving Day 2021

Wherever you are in the world today, I wish you a beautiful day of giving thanks for where we are, who is with us, and what we’re able to do today. The Babe and I have been up since 5:15 a.m., getting the turkey in the oven and taming the eight pound bag of potatoes. I’m trying crock pot mashed potatoes this year, it sounds like they’ll be yummy. And it might make less dishes. I don’t care about the dishes, as the Babe is a wonderful partner in the kitchen. He always has been. Thanks to his Mama for raising him up as she did. The duties are light when there are two of us to cleanup. The kids would help if we wanted them to. When you have multiple stops to make on a holiday, it helps to know you can leave when you need to.

Today, I’m grateful and appreciate being able to buy what we need for a special meal with family. When I was a single Mom, it was hard to buy special things. No, we had enough to eat, but it was very close many times. I don’t know if my kids ever knew about things like that, I really wanted them to just be concerned about being kids. My wish for all of you is you have enough, and know you are enough. Be proud where you are on your journey. You’ll get there.

I’m trading the Chromebook for a cookbook today, and going to enjoy our daughter Tracy, TJ, Addison, and Gavin, and son Frankie at dinner today. It’ll be nice to be able to gather again. Hope your day is full of love and friendship. Thanks for stopping by today, we’ll see each other again tomorrow.