#991 and Counting!

Today, June 26, 2022, is such a beautiful day outside. We had a fundraiser for Guitars for Vets at Nebraska Brewing Company, in the Omaha area, and at 2 p.m. had a baseball game for Gavin in Papillion. It was busy, but a fun day. Something for everyone for sure.

The kids won their game, which made for a bunch of happy boys. They were really into it. It’s been awhile since they won, and it was deserved. We won’t be to any games this week, so hope they do well in Springfield, Nebraska tomorrow. We have an appointment with a new vet for the girls. She’s our friend, Katie Lackovic. It’ll be fun to see how they do with her.

Each and every day, we need to value. Value the gift of the day. You may be overworked and underpaid, but you’ve received a gift by waking up.

So as I wrote blog #991, I thought how cool it’d be to reach 1000 subscribers every time I publish a blog. That’d be cool! I believe it includes people who actually subscribe by receiving an email when published, and people who follow on other social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’m pretty excited about the prospect, even if they don’t happen at the same time. I never thought that would happen, but with steady work comes steady progress. I’m grateful for all the followers, regardless of where they come from.

This, of course, does not include the weird “Please send me a friend request, blah, blah, blah. Those are a special kind of pesky. Blocking them does no good. They persist. Ugh! The downside of social media.

I have some plans this week, regarding my children’s book. I want to get feedback from several people. I know a couple kindergarten teachers; a grief resource person; my artist; and a couple of other people who have kids and love to read to them. I want some honest feedback to edit it down. It should be fun.

And I have a quilt to continue getting applique pieces copied and cut out. It’s coming along. Christmas should be fun!

I felt like sort of a bum for relaxing and reading yesterday, but I was having some bad rib pain from the scoliosis I have. It did a lot of good. I finished “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.” It was fun to read. I loved the character development the author did. I admire how the author developed the individuals and how they all fit together at the ending. Great story, great problems, great solutions. No wonder it’s sold over a million copies.

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the evening. We will. Relaxing after a busy day is the best. See you tomorrow!

Faults v. Virtues

When you think of yourself, what comes to mind first?

“I could lose 30 pounds.”

“I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.”

“I’m a terrible Mom.”

As a child, we’re often taught not to talk about our abilities. “Don’t be conceited,” they tell us. “It’s not polite.” Especially for a girl. I remember reading in a Catholic Girl (was that the title? don’t remember for sure) Magazine, it was stressing the duty of the girl to remain “pure” in mind, body, and heart. Part of the duty was to praise the boyfriend, and be his lovely assistant in everything, to know their place. We didn’t hear “Good Job!” every time we did something. Some of us were told a “B” wasn’t good enough, it should have been an “A”.

Wow, that was the late 50s and early 60s for you. No more. We weren’t supposed to be smarter than the boys, or stronger, or better at doing anything. Wow. There are many very intelligent women, strong women, who are the best at what they do. How sad we were instructed to dumb ourselves down. How can we live fully is we pretend to be less than what we actually are?

I, for one, hadn’t a clue what I was going to do with the rest of my life after the kids grew up. I didn’t want to hover over them, after all, you have them to send them out into the world. I loved my kids to pieces, and knew I was happiest with them. I couldn’t keep having kids because I didn’t have a life plan.

Making the decision to go to community college was the best thing I ever did. Having a lot of interests made it a little harder to decide what to do. I decided on Medical Secretary. I earned a certificate, but found a job at ConAgra. Lots of on the job training by observing a huge business working. It was amazing.

I took many business classes and was finally offered a programmer trainee position if I completed a certification program for a year. I would have been crazy not to do it. It launched me way further than I could have imagined.

By learning I had value, talents, abilities, I experienced a lot of growth as a person and in my career. I finally knew I did a good job. While I think kids may not need constant praise, I believe some is needed. Too many wounded adults are walking the earth. Many others don’t realize they are. We need to learn to accept our virtues and talents. Otherwise we can be overwhelmed by our faults. Those two sentences from Robert G. Coleman leapt of the page at me this morning. So many of us spend time tabulating our faults. We need to tally our virtues. Take some time doing that today. Do it every day. Be fair. You will discover your worth.

Self deprecation can be funny, we need to laugh at ourselves. Taken too far, it’s not good. It’s only recognizing part of ourselves. We need to recognize all that we are in order to become all we can. Don’t let your faults define you and your legacy. Start today. Appreciate yourself. And make it a habit.

Have a beautiful day. It’s lovely outside in the shade. Going to check the plants now. Be safe. See you tomorrow.

Monday Morn

Have you ever had a consumer complaint against a company regarding payment that lingered on for nearly a year? Hope that never happens to any of you. I just finally got it resolved this morning.

I was a customer of Phillips 66 Gasoline company since 1988. Some of you weren’t even born yet! But yes, never an issue. In the last year with gas prices escalating, I paid special attention to our monthly bills. The Babe and I used the same account, and I paid the balance off every month. Last year, July of 2021, the bills went up over $100 a month. Now, they’re even higher, although we now each pay at the pump as we individually fill up whichever vehicle we’re driving.

In July, I paid the bill through First National Bank’s Bill Pay feature. Always reliable. Late last summer, the oil company switched from in-house credit to Synchrony Credit. Not good. Not good at all.

At first, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. The only way to resolve anything was phone only. And hold on forever until you’re sure you’re on IGNORE, not HOLD. That puts you in an immediate bad mood, holding on for 20 minutes. I secured what was needed from my bank – numerous times. I got the credit, then a month or two later, bam. They added the amount of $214 + change back on to my account, saying I didn’t provide them with what was needed. Wow.

I can tell you, they no longer care how long you’ve been a customer. They no longer care you cut up your credit card. They often cut your call off in the middle of talking. You have to start over with the hold/ignore cycle. Aggravating as heck.

I received a message from Synchrony again I needed to provide more information. I called the number, finally with an extension number, and talked to a lady I could understand. Bonus! She actually investigated my account and told me they applied it to my BP VISA card. Which I’ve never had. At last! They made a boo-boo! Vindicated, after all this time! I was about ready to celebrate a one year anniversary with that $214.++ balance. (Sarcasm font used).

Cue Etta James’ At Last. Finally! I found a decent customer service rep.

As we go throughout the rest of the day, let’s be pleasant with customer service reps. While searching for “service” stock photos, mostly baristas appear. Isn’t that crazy, what we’ve become? You won’t see a clerk at a department store as an example, either. My, how things have changed. A lot of years have passed between seeing Grandma Jewell standing behind the glass candy display counter at the family drug and sundries store, and Mr. Chase working in the pharmacy, compounding drugs. Grandma knew every kid in South Omaha. And they respected her, too. She was just that way. What fond memories I have of her!

I’m off to a meeting now, hope you all have a wonderful Monday. I’m having one, it will just get better. Make it a sunny day where you are. See you tomorrow!

Sometimes . . .

I couldn’t tell you what I love more; watching Gavin play baseball, or watching his dad, TJ coach his team. It would be like trying to choose my favorite child. The team played very well last night; their first game of a tournament weekend. TJ was not only coach, but head cheerleader, encouraging each kid and their unique talents; Chief Medic, tending to head bumps, re-injuring an elbow; and helping a little guy stop his nose bleed so he could continue pitching; and equipment manager, gathering it all up after the game so he’s ready for the 10 a.m. game today. That man can do it all!

You can tell the boys look up to their coach. They are learning not only how to pitch, field, bat, and the rules of the game, they are learning how to be young men. They are learning to concentrate on this game, the one right now, not dwelling on yesterday’s mistakes. Their coach has a different approach, he appears firm but fair, plays everyone, and corrects their form as needed. Before the game last night, he told them, “Just play better than you did Tuesday.” Tuesday night was a terribly off night for everyone, all at once. They did! Crossing my fingers on today.

I’m excited to go this afternoon to my class about using my new sewing machine. I’m not only learning about something new, I’m opening another door towards creativity. Hoping to get back to making things to wear (in my spare time.)

I look forward to this day, and learning. The Babe just texted. Gavin’s game is on, with a 15 minute rain delay. I hope he has a great game. He’s learning about the strategy of resting his arm when he’s the pitcher. Dad calculates carefully how much Gavin can pitch, and he plays other positions in between. He’s great at first base, catcher, but seems a little bored at second, the outfield, and third. You can just see the improvement since the first game, and that is because the boys are learning, and growing as players, under the guidance of their coach. So proud of him. Our family is so blessed.

Time to get in front of the new sewing machine. May you all have a wonderful Saturday. We’re planning to. See you tomorrow!

#963 and Counting.

Good Saturday evening, from the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. It’s been a long but great day.

Got my flowers panted in all their containers today and carried them to where they’ll live. Watered them after carrying to where they’ll stay. Lighter to carry. It was wonderful to be outside from about 8:30 a.m. until about 11:00 a.m., not a care in the world. No thought what time it was. No thought about having to hurry and go do an errand or meet someone. I could concentrate on whatever I wanted. Note to self: need to do that some more. It was great.

I neatly trimmed all the therapeutic sewing I did yesterday (the threads were terrible). I’ll probably press them tomorrow. This is how I need to approach getting stuff done daily. There is a certain grand feeling of accomplishment just doing a lot of little things and having them stack up to bigger things.

The Babe is home tomorrow, it will be the first time in a couple weeks he is. And Monday is Memorial Day at the Post. We will attend. The Babe has several ceremonies to attend with the Honor Guard. It’s all in a day with the VFW. Memorial Day is one of my favorites. The reason? We stop to thank the spirits of the heroes that went before us. We wouldn’t have such a peaceful life as we do if we weren’t free, thanks to them. I hope if the time comes in the future, there are people to step up and fight the good fight.

This newly minted 70-year-old woman is feeling every bit of her age right now. Lots of hard work I’m not used to; but it felt so good. Right now, I’m retiring to the couch with a good book to think about what we’ll do tomorrow. I hope you have a beautiful evening. See you tomorrow!

Happy Birthday to The Babe!

Seventy-two years ago, the moons aligned, the sun was in a perfect spot, and they deemed it; I would celebrate life everyday once we met. The Babe was born. Thanks, Liz and Gene! If I could have custom-ordered a man to love me and my kids, I wouldn’t have known all the qualities to ask for. Yes, parts of this paragraph are exaggerated for effect, but come on, man! It’s my story!

Yes, we’ve repeated the header photo is a repeat of our Birthday dinner(s) with the kids. One vow I have is to take many photos of the two of us. I have a lot of other people in photos, not so many of us together. Might as well do that now, while I can.

We had some nighttime visitors; either of the opossum or racoon variety. Lexie pulled a bunch of baby bunnies from their nest in the ground, inside our back yard. She didn’t harm them (thank you, soft-mouthed Labrador mixed mutts), just moved them. The Babe further moved them beyond our fence-line. I think they were being fought over by the nighttime visitors. Lots of some terrible noise. It may be an early nap for me.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to drop my Bernina off today. It could be as simple as the electrical cord having a short, to the computer component being out. At any rate, I’ll check our the price of a new machine and see what they may give me on a trade-in. I’ve also found dealers for a Janome (wonderful quality) and a Brother. Both have their own dealerships within ten minutes from our home. It will be worth checking around.

About ten years ago, I remember seeing elderly grandmas (in their 80s), bringing in their new $5K machines to take classes. I was temporarily envious of them. I don’t wish to spend that amount of money on a sewing machine, although it should last the rest of my life, you know; another 30 years. It’s one thing Frankie discussed Monday at breakfast. “Will you get enough use out of it?” Since I’ll have more time as I age, it makes sense. I still don’t want to spend $5K, however.

I’d rather use that to publish my books. I will insert my drawings into the kid book manuscript on Wednesday. It should be fun. When we pull the trigger on that, I want to introduce you to my graphic artist, Jordan Ullom. She is incredible. I love her heart and her commitment. She has some solid art experience since graduation last year. I’m as excited for her as I am for myself.

I think I’ll have a full page for her. When I introduce her to you, we’ll also release the two more new pages to the website, The Jewell Publishing LLC page and the Grandma Kathy page. It is a fun time ahead. Thanks for being along for this ride. It’s been a great day with the Babe. Tomorrow I’ll fill you in on my new Brother SE 1900. It’s a gem, I believe. It’ll be fun to learn a new machine. See you tomorrow!

#952 and Counting!

We quote Oliver Wendell Holmes as saying:

“As life is action and passion, it is required of man that he should share the action and passion of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived.”

How many people do we know who dare not pursue their passion? Whether it’s writing, playing guitar, racing cars, photography, motorcycle drag racing, or simply expressing their opinion? Too many, if we’re truthful. We may even be some of them. So what do we do?

Before I published very many blogs, I was pretty timid about getting out here in the blog-o-sphere. I read a few I enjoyed; Quilters Pat Sloan and Bonnie Hunter; and Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond. They told stories as they shared beautiful quilts and how to do what they do. Ree Drummond shared stories of Marlboro Man (her husband) and her children. We’ve been cyber friends for a long time now. I’ve refined my quilting techniques and learned to cook in different ways. They are quite successful, drawing readers into their worlds and showing a part of life I had not considered.

When I researched how an independent author/publisher can put themselves “out there,” blogging was an option. Because of Pat Sloan and her beautiful website, showcasing quilts in a way that made me want to make them all, I became acquainted with WordPress. The rest is history, in a way. It appeared to have an excellent product, and with an I/T background, how hard could it be? It’s very user friendly, and I’ve learned something I enjoy. Bonus!

As I finally get back to this, it is very late in the evening; we’ve had a late meeting at the Post. I took Mom to get her hair done, and the sun is magnificent in the West. Every day ends well, doesn’t it? I’m reaching out yet again into the universe and giving the blogging universe, which is part of the writing universe, a whirl. And I’m still here. I’ll still be here tomorrow, too, to continue this journey. I hope you’ll be along then, to continue this trip with me. Hope we go to a fun place. Until tomorrow, be safe out there. See you soon!

Shhh! She’s Fixing the World!

The little lady in this header photograph today may not have access to enough bandages to fix the entire world. Do enough even exist? Will this cause a supply chain issue? Gosh, maybe she should stop. I mean, it’s a gigantic job. And she’s pretty young. Too little to go far alone. Why crush her dream?

Current attention spans aside, she may become bored and stop on her own. No need to crush her dream. It’s so important to let little children dream big. Not that they’ll be the next Bruce Springsteen, Shel Silverstein, or Pete Rose. (Yes, he should be in the hall of fame!) Big dreams help kids investigate how to achieve those dreams. Whether he or she needs music lessons and knowledge, writing lessons and practice, or baseball coaching one on one. Or science instruction, study, experiments. Let them dream and achieve.

Whether they’re male or female, we need to let them find their own way. Then they can fix the world around them. They learn to take ideas and make reality from them. Through creative things, they can heal the world. And show others how to do so. Art and music touch our hearts and make them feel better, from the inside out. All healing goes that way. Inside out. Anyone who heals from trauma and brokenness, including broken heartedness, knows the strength you feel upon healing. That is how we fix the world. One person at a time.

I cannot pass Mother’s Day without wishing the Mom’s out there to have a good day. It can be a hard day. Parts of mine are hard, parts are not. I don’t think this is unusual. Although things didn’t quite go as I would have liked, I would never trade my kids for anything. Raising them were some of the happiest years of my life. Living with their father wasn’t.

I believe a large group of women who serve as bonus mothers who deserve kudos. They’re the women who love their partner’s children because they belong to him. And they love the children. And the children love them back. I’m a lucky step-mom myself. I gained steps when they were adults. The Babe’s two children fit exactly in between my three. Making five kids spanning 7 years. We laugh and say it would have been all over if we’d met when they were little. That’s a lot of kids all in the same age groups!

It would have worked, and our kid’s lives would have been more integrated than now. They don’t really know each other. It’s impossible to get them all together. It’s ok. We get to enjoy them all separately. And we love them, different as they all are. We are blessed beyond our wildest dreams. It hasn’t always been this way. It took years individually and together to get here. Take heart, things are possible you can’t imagine right now. And the hard work is worth it.

Tomorrow will be the day I pick back up to get my studio/office back in order. We had two lovely days off, where all we did was see our grandson play ball, and today, where we spent time together at home, ate, took a nap, and had coffee on the deck in the chill of morning. It’s our favorite place in the summer. From zero dark thirty until the sun rises above the treeline, we talk, sit, and rock in our rocking chairs. It’s a daily vacation. Then we live our lives for the rest of the day.

Have a beautiful evening. Be positive. Keep ahead of the bad feelings. Make sure you talk with someone if you can’t come back from feelings of negativity, worthlessness, and not caring. We are human and we have to care. We have to be cared about. It’s what we’re made for. I care. We can walk together to get you where you need to be.

Superb Sunday 4/24/2022

Wow. Sometimes I forget things. We all do. I’ve forgotten haircut appointments and scheduled phone calls. The worst thing I forget? Like most people of a certain age, forgotten to take my prescription medications.

With the chronic. Pain I have, that’s not good. I don’t take opioids and CBD products don’t work. So, it’s live with it and understand how to work through the pain. It takes a lot many days. Today, I did not want to get out of bed. Once the coffee, meds, and hot shower kicked in, it was all systems go.

We had ball games for Gavin today. His skills are improving every game. It’s hard when the kids as a team make mistakes. You can tell all the kids are growing as players and as humans. The catcher called time out and walked up to give Gavin a pep talk. It was such a proud moment! Gavin got back in the zone and the game continued. Since it was a tournament today, the first game was a win, the second a loss. The kids’ collective heart broke. Until next week, boys. Fresh game, new team, new challenges.

As I watched today, I recalled all the games we’ve watched for the grandkids. Grandson Joell out in Maryland played little league, and we were able to see some of his games. It was a lot of fun, too. Unfortunately, he took a hit in the face by a crazy pitch and decided he’d like swimming better. He is a competition swimmer and does very well. He secured his first job recently, as a swim instructor for younger kids at his swim club. How awesome! He let go of something and found his own niche in the world. I love how the parents orchestrated both of the boys finding what they love and are supportive of their dreams. That makes all the difference in the world. Same goes for Addison with her Competition Dance and High School Dance Team.

Tomorrow, I’m beginning the journey again. Order of business is to organize my information for a free week long Children’s Book Challenge Week. I want to be prepared every day when class begins at noon at ends at 2 p.m. I should get some great information as I work with my illustrator in the next couple of months. Jordan is quite busy and should have something for me to review in a couple of weeks.

I am excited to get back to the serious work of writing. The first step, along with the Children’s Book Challenge, is to straighten up my studio/office. No more untouched quilt kits making me feel guilty. I will only allow things in the studio/office which are being worked with. All else will be in the basement level studio. It should allow for a lot of creativity to flow. I look forward to that.

Tomorrow is another brand new, shiny opportunity to have a beautiful day, create something, and do some good. What are you going to do that will make you happy and make a difference in the world around you? Have a good rest of the evening, and see you tomorrow!

Beauty/Loveableness/Teens

It’s said beauty is in the beholder’s eye. I suppose that is true. As I’ve grown older, my definition of beauty changed dramatically. I suppose as a teenager I found my idea of beauty in fashion magazines, teen magazines, and had a skewed idea of beauty. It was anything but me. I think most girls my age felt this way, although I did not know that. We just didn’t have those kinds of discussions.

As I remained dateless after the age of 16, I thought no one would love me. Images of Twiggy and Goldie Hawn as the “Sock it to Me” girl made me believe I would never be thin enough for someone to love. It reinforced the message from Madison Avenue, my mom, and what I saw around me. Everyone but me was beautiful and loveable. I felt fat and ugly. And not very smart. Little did I know I actually had a pretty face, beautiful eyes (hidden by pop bottle lenses of the 60s) and was the right size of a normal human teenage girl. (The other day, a friend commented, “I wish I was the weight I was when I first thought I was fat.” Amen, sister!)

I lost all that. While my first husband was gone in the Army (Europe in an office, not in Vietnam), I crash dieted my way to less than 130 pounds. Starved myself, lost 50 pounds, and wore hot pants and shorts for the only time in my life. It was hard to maintain. I went back to a normal weight again, and felt fat. I wasted how sad so much of my life on feeling like that. Who the heck cares? I did, way too much.

I’d gain 35-40 pounds during each pregnancy when some doctors only wanted a 20 pound weight gain. I suspect many babies did not have the great start they deserved during this era. Mine were all healthy from the get go, thankfully. I’ve yo-yo’d my way during the rest of life. I was at an unhealthy plateau for a long time, until COVID let me to realize I wasn’t comfortable. I lost about 40 – 45 pounds, feel great, and haven’t KETO’d since.

By charts, etc., I should weigh less. I’m not sure that’s going to happen. For my health, it would be a little better, but the rest of my health numbers, etc are great. No high cholesterol, blood pressure under control, and I have various specialty docs I see for chronic pain. My knees don’t require injections every 90 days any more. I’m good, by most standards.

My idea of beauty now? It’s never found in a celebrity or the pages of a magazine. It’s found in the smiling, wrinkled face of a grandmother; the wisdom of a toddler who talks constantly; the excitement of a person discovering their talents after a lifetime of doing for others. It’s in nature; it is in wildlife; and it is in the every day, commonplace things. It is in the beholder’s eye. The heart of the beholder. The mind of the beholder. It’s a tween telling you they like spending time with you. When you tease your grand kid about silly things they did when they were young, they smile. It’s there! It’s everywhere.

As I finish up the cleaning from yesterday, I’ll see the beauty and show gratitude for taking care of our home. I’ll see it in our dogs. I’ll see it in the book I’m reading. It is everywhere. I’m going to soak it all in, and be grateful for learning what is truly beautiful. Check it out for yourself. Let’s see each other tomorrow. Be safe out there!