It’s Over; and Just Beginning

Today was my friend’s funeral, burial, and funeral luncheon. Ethnic groups, such as the Polish, German, Italian, Irish, and whoever else, always had a huge, hearty lunch. South Omaha tradition dictates and ensures you will not go away hungry. We didn’t. The DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Hall did not disappoint; nor did Mama’s Pizza, who catered delicious Pasta.

Since my friend’s husband called Saturday to inform me his wife passed away, life has been so different. We had lived a thousand lives since then; we have had a million memories since then; and today, reality hit. We will never see our wife/mom/aunt/cousin/niece/friend again. Not until whatever you believe eternity will be.

The Babe and I have had many discussions about what we as individuals want when we pass. We’ve agreed on some things, other things will have further discussion. We need to write these things all down. Our time will come. Children don’t want to guess what we want. We need to tell them.

Many things open opened our eyes with this loss. We’re probably not too far behind. Or maybe one of us? No, we never know for sure. But from now on, we need to be ready, just in case.

Make those lists for our families; talk with people who will plan our funerals; maybe even pre-plan them ourselves; then the kids won’t need to do anything. That will be great for them.

And now, my friend’s family has to get used to life without her. Her husband and kids can no longer call her for advice, to just say hello, or tell her they love her. I experienced that with my dad back in 1988. Mom ise still living, and she’ll be 93 in a matter of days. As her executor, I’ll have a lot to do. It will be the time my brothers and I become orphans. I’ve read about those feelings, and expect we will feel the same.

Tonight? I’m grateful to have had Janet Nichols as my supporter, cheerleader, and friend for the past 43 years. We all were. We need to figure out how to carry on, and we will. Even though we may not like it. Such is life. I pray to make the most of mine, however much time I have left. It’s all we can hope for. Make an impression as a positive while you’re here.

It’s late, and we’ve had another long day. Please be good to each other; have a beautiful rest of the night and make it a good rest of the week. Be kind to people; take care of each other. None of us know when we’ll be called home; try to live each day as if it’s your last. Bless all of you, and know how I appreciate your support. We’re getting a lot of followers, and I’m delighted about that. See you tomorrow!

August 1, Monday, 2022

Hello from the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. This week, I should get lots of inside with my writing time. The low high temp this week will be upper 90’s, with heat indices over 100 almost every day. Not fit for dogs, writers, or mankind.

Our weekend was delightful. Attending Willy Wonka Saturday night was fun. I can’t wait to see what McGuigan Arts Academy comes up with next. Whatever it is, they will do a fine job and surprise their audiences again.

By the end of the month, we will have a book at the printer. Lotta work until then, but it will be worth it. I need to visit libraries and indie bookstores to see if they would stock some. Until you ask, the answer is no. I will be asking around, believe me.

This is the last month I’m doing any work on the VFW Post 2503’s website, Facebook page, and other social media. I’m ready to have some extra time, believe me. The end of summer is a perfect time to transition, but I’ll still volunteer with some select events. I love our Veterans and feel by volunteering, I’m trying to make their sacrifices worth all they’ve been through. We owe them our freedoms. We need to put them to good use. It will make the world a less harsh place. Do good, it will come back in ways you never dreamed. Start small. Then, Go Big or Go Home!

Need to update all our devices with new virus protection, etc. That will take a bit. Working on more editing, and hoping to finish reading a 400 + page book today which I’ve really enjoyed.

What are you doing today? What are you doing to remain positive? What are you doing to pay it forward? And very important; What are you doing for yourself today? Have a great day, and I’ll see you tomorrow. It always works out the way it’s supposed to. Let’s get out there and make it happen!

Fabulous (Baseball) Friday!

Woo Hoo! Our 9U boys won both of their games today! The first game at 8 a.m. was a perfect setting, we faced the sun but it wasn’t too bad at all. The early hour was so nice, cooler than it would have been at noon. For the noon game, we were able to sit in the shade under some nice trees, and there was a cooling breeze. Perfect. The boys were so hot, but the coaches and umps were good about time outs for water breaks. Everyone was healthy and happy at the end, since they won both games. Tomorrow, they play at 1:30 p.m., so it’ll be hotter. We’ll hydrate accordingly, and be ready for the day.

And for right now, we’re so grateful we replaced our air conditioning unit a couple of years ago. The unit was shot, and the furnace had rust in it. The humidifier somehow leaked and the water dripped into the inside of the unit. They just don’t make them like they used to. I think in my lifetime, I’ve put at least five furnace/ac units into houses. The first one converted from an old oil furnace to a gas furnace. The a/c followed the next summer I think. Long time ago!

Next week, I’m digging back into the children’s book and making changes. I have some great suggestions from both a friend in the business and my illustrator Jordan. It should take me a week to make the decisions what to cut out, what to change, and better placement of the illustrations. I didn’t realize I shouldn’t alter the photos by enlarging or shrinking. Now I know. I’m so glad to be this far along. I didn’t make my first deadline, Gavin’s birthday on June 30. I will make the next one.

It’s been a great day. I hope yours was too. Right now, I’ve a headache from the heat. Onto hydration, Tylenol, and rest. Have a great evening. It’s so nice to be home, in the cooled air, with the Babe and Pups. See you tomorrow!

Making Space & Boundaries

That’s what I’m doing. We need to clear out things in our lives that aren’t working anymore. Yes, they were great when we started. When things like volunteering end up being more of a job than contributing to the community. Don’t get me wrong. We took on more things willingly. And now, we need to release some things to come back to the most important relationship we have; the one with each other. In the coming years, we’re aware one of us will leave this world before the other. We want to spend all the time together, just us, just enjoying each other’s company.

So far, one person doesn’t understand we’re doing this to do the things we want/need to do. Reducing our time outside the home to make room for us and the things we have planned doesn’t mean filling up that time to be “on call” for when they decide they want to do something. No, I’m not saying I won’t help this person; I’m saying asking for help would be much better than saying, “Then you can come here and do so and so. . .”

It would have been much better for the person to have asked, “Could you help me out one day a week? Maybe every Wednesdays?” The key here is, their pride keeps them from asking. They are used to giving orders and everyone complies. It leads to all sorts of anger, resentment, and ill-will. Disregarding the fact that others have a busy life is selfish. Someone who will not ask for help cannot ask, in their way of thinking. And, contrary to their saying they’re “Fine, I’m just fine,” they’re not. They’re fearful and upset and angry even though they’ve had a long, productive life.

This is hard for those of us who have disabilities which began in our 40s. We’ve had limitations due to illness and near-death events. We didn’t get to have 85 years before we had limitations of age forced on us. We had limitations of our body failing us and had to put our pride aside at a very young age. Sometimes, it’s hard to have empathy when dealing with someone who thought they had aging beat. It results in ungraceful aging, and negativity.

So if you have this same type of challenging person in your life, know you’re not alone. It’s hard to establish boundaries with them, but we need to. Boundaries keep us all sane and safe. Boundaries keep unwanted things out. Boundaries make our time more accessible for what we want/need to do.

And we can offer assistance to others when needed. It just needs boundaries around it. Then we don’t start something we need to do and have the interruption at 10:30 a.m. of the person who wants (non-emergency) help (different than needing (emergency!) and ruining our day because we haven’t established a boundary.

The meme in the header today first caught my eye because of the beautiful color. Then the words hit me. Yes, the Babe and I are going to intentionally decide how to spend the space we’re creating in our lives. You should too. Continue helping other humans, but do it with intention. And boundaries. You’ll all be happier.

Hydrate in this awful heat! Stay inside with your pets, and fill your day with what you love. I’m doing that very thing! Please, help me get to 1,000 followers who will be notified when a new blog is posted! We’re above 1,000 blog posts published now, I’d love to see our followers get over 1,000 too! We’re hovering around #929. Help a girl out, please! I appreciate it. See you tomorrow. Take care.

July 3, 2022. Sunday.

Last night was pretty loud with fireworks. I imagine they will get worse before they get better. Please, consider your neighbors who may be Veterans with PTSD. The memories they have can be triggered by loud noises. Artillery shells are loud, sudden noises. Pets also have a terrible time, so be considerate of both.

We are nearing 1,000 blogs published; help a girl out by following my blog. It can be on WordPress or through Twitter, or Instagram posts of the blog. I’d love to make 1,000 followers! We have lots of excitement happening in July, and none of it includes loud noises! It will more likely include a celebratory cupcake or two and ice cream. Everyone loves ice cream.

I’m getting some Post things taken care of this morning, later today will be the monthly task of updating all the social media, website, calendars, events, etc. It’s a task I’m turning over sometime in the near future, I hope. I’m managing too many things, I have to let go of several to make room for my stuff; books, etc.

I’m getting pretty good at doing some reading every day. I’m nearly finished with half of Where the Crawdads Sing. It gets better the more I read. I recommend it. And I’m doing this, too:

Today’s task: Get the blue v’s in there. Wish me luck!

This center medallion with end up being an afghan for myself. I’ve made probably 50 over my lifetime, but never one for me or my home. Kids, nieces & nephews, and brothers, but never for me. It’s symbolic in a way. As I need to free my time from other responsibilities, and stop checking that darned phone. Crocheting helps me stop doing the phone check. Sometimes, I try to check the spelling of a word while writing, then I fall down the rabbit hole of FB, etc. We all do it. Now to unlearn it!

As I think of years’ past of the Fourth of July holidays, some were spent with relatives, some not. As a younger kids, if Dad had the day off, I think we were at his brother’s home for a picnic. I remember the watermelon, and one aunt ate the white part of the rind. Anyone else do that? I never heard of it before. And when in high school, we would go to Mom’s sister’s home for a picnic and the first time I ever experienced people doing their own “big” fireworks. It was fun.

After I was married and had kids, we’d go to the local AAA ball team’s 4th of July celebration and fireworks display. I always held the baby, Becky, because she didn’t like the noise, and was sleepy. She’d cry, poor thing! We sat so close, the ashes rained down on us when they fell from the sky. They probably don’t allow that anymore.

And now, I just like for the dogs to be ok. The Babe and I have steak to grill today, and hunker in for another evening of noise. Glad it’ll be over soon. I’m going now to sit and read while the Babe watches this week’s NASCAR race. We’re good just sitting in the same room quietly. Enjoy whatever you do, noisy or quiet, with your relatives or at home, and remember how lucky we are to live here, in the land of the free, because of the brave. See you tomorrow, thanks for reading!

#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!

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!