Happy Birthday, Dad

On this day, in 1924, a baby boy was born to Thomas M. Jewell, Sr and his wife Mary. There was a two-line front page notice of his birth on the front page of the Omaha World Herald, where he worked from 1952 until his retirement in 1988. He passed away from lung cancer in December, 1988. If he were still with us, he would be 99 years old today.!

As a kid, it was always fun relating the story about him being the first New Year’s baby in 1924. They didn’t give people a bunch of gifts back then, just a mention of the news. I think Grandma was about 30 when she had Dad. He was her first child. Others followed, and they were all healthy. Most people in those days had children younger than 30. Glad they were all ok, and Gram was, too.

Sometimes, I wish I could tell Dad all the stuff I’m going to do. I know he’d tell me, “Just keep doing what you’re doing. You’ll get there.” That was a lot of support. It’s what he told me when I told him I wanted to graduate from college. I was about 38 then, and it was just before he died. We had such wonderful talks then. He told me what good kids I had, and not to worry about them, they would turn out ok.

Hey, Dad. I named my Jewell Publishing LLC after you. It was a brilliant idea, seeing how you were a pressman at the local paper. When I was a little girl, I imagined working on the paper as a reporter. I thought it would be so cool to write some stories you would supervise the printing of. Kind of all in the family thing.

I would have to go to college and have a degree, even in 1970. Our family didn’t view college as necessary for a girl. Mom suggested I go to beauty school. I got married. No regrets. My kids were worth it. And I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Management of Human Resources. Within a few years, I couldn’t work anymore. Disability. God laughs when we tell him our plans, doesn’t He?

I believe you would love the Babe as much as I do. You are both kind-hearted men. You were a kind man, but kept it under that fedora you wore. Tommy Bauer and I are friends on this invention called Facebook. He told me how you’d spread sand out at the bottom of the alley so the kids with sleds would naturally stop before they’d jet out into the heavy traffic of F Street. I love hearing things about you I didn’t know. Glad you taught us to problem solve like you did. We all come by it naturally. Lucky us!

I wish you were still here so I could teach you about the Internet and Kindles for books. I know you’d be interested in it all. And I’d be so proud to show you all about it. You’d be amazed at how many books you can have electronically. I know, I prefer print, too. It’s not the same, but has some benefits.

This bright, shiny New Year is unfolding before us. I will publish my book this year. A book for kids. It got lost in this thing called life. I will promote my blog, books, website, and other creativity. I’ve decided I’m going to schedule days for all the things I’m interested in. I need to do something different every day instead of finishing one thing, then go on to something else. My brain doesn’t work that way anymore.

Sometimes I feel guilty for living longer than you did. After working as hard as you did, you were robbed of the rest and relaxation you should have had in your retirement. I do believe we’ll all be together someday. And I can ask you all the questions I have. I could hear your stories and learn all I didn’t know about you.

I’m spending the day with wonderful thoughts of you, Dad. You were such a good father, son, brother, worker, employee, neighbor, and such a kind gentleman. I’ll always remember that about you. You’d love the Babe. In fact, you could have had a part in our lives crossing. I believe in divine intervention.

To all my friends, followers, relatives, fellow authors, humans, creative people, have a Happy New Year. 2023 is our year. Don’t look back. It’s going to be great. Let’s cheer each other on. Be kind. See you tomorrow!

Happy Birthday, Lora!

A good friend of ours is celebrating her 75th birthday today. We’ve been friends for several years at the VFW. We’re no longer volunteering there, so our group meets every now and then. She is hosting several friends this afternoon for her birthday. It’s fun, because for the 70th birthday, she and all her friends from her hometown in Iowa hosted their own 70th birthday parties. They’re a fun group, and they all gather every chance they get.

Since that summer of parties, Lora lost her husband Nugent, an Air Force Veteran, who was quite the dancer. He was a good friend to all of us, and always told us the truth. If we had a problem we were discussing with him, he’d be kind yet tell us his thoughts about what he believes is going on. He’d make sure to tell us, not meaning to hurt our feelings, but we needed to know what the real issue was. That’s a good friend. And so is Lora.

We’ve had a lot of good laughs as a group, and we’e also shared a lot of sorrow. Lora and our friend Kris both became widows the same year. It was devastating to them individually, and as a group of friends, it really reduced the number of males at our table. The Babe is the only one left of the original three. We tease him for being brave, and he just tells us he’s fine. Poor guy now has three women mother-henning him. How would that be? It’s good to have friends. Especially as you age.

If you think about it, wish Lora a happy birthday, and hope for her a year of fun new stuff. Maybe travel. Maybe going dancing. Just hope for her she knows her friends love her and celebrate her. It’s special, having your birthday near Christmas, but not everyone appreciates that. I can understand a little. My birthday and Mother’s day are both in a two week period. When I was a young, married Mom, I had to pick which day I’d rather have a gift for, Mother’s Day or my birthday. I think I picked Mother’s Day. My children’s Dad wasn’t much for gifts. All water under the bridge, now.

This holiday season, make sure to look around the table at the loved ones, make sure to tell them how important they are in your lives. You may not have another chance. Seriously, we’re here but just for a moment, then we’re gone, on to the great beyond. How that must be. When a loved one passes away, I always wonder what their view of Christmas is their first year in heaven. I suspect you see everything, all at once. What’s your idea?

I hope you all have a wonderful day today – we have a birthday girl to celebrate. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow!

Happy Birthday, Nicholas!

Today, Monday, November 7, 2022 is my son Nicholas’ 47th birthday. I hope he has the best day ever. Celebrate the gift of you, my son.

(Written Saturday, November 5, for NaNoWriMo). 

I think communication issues are important to deal with, in everyday life, relationships, and business. We all could do a better job of telling others what we need, what we’re afraid of, what we will do to help someone else out once in a while. 

There is only so much we can do communicating with someone who doesn’t want to. It requires a desire to communicate, a willingness to listen, and to understand. If we do our part, and they don’t do theirs, the fault lies with them, not us. As long as we know we’ve done all we can to communicate, we were as clear as possible; we had a concise message, and were reasonable with our delivery, we cannot be responsible the breakdown. It’s always sad when we’re misunderstood with no hope of resolution. 

At that point in a relationship, where communication is nonexistent, something needs to be done. Staying is a decision, and often not the best one. You may think you’re doing it “for the kids,” but the dysfunction in the family dynamics will affect the children and lead to more dysfunctionality in future generations, if there is one. Many children decide they don’t want families, not realizing the breaking the chains is possible. I know because I’ve done it.

I do not mean this to bash my parents. They provided very well for all of us and did the best they could. People during that era not only worked where their fathers did, but lived their lives as their parents did I’m living proof that doesn’t have to be. 

I’m also living proof that making a break and questioning how it’s always been can be very lonely. When you do things differently, it causes unrest in the status quo. People may ask you why you won’t do things their way. The best answer is, you choose to do things differently. Dysfunctional people will often criticize your choice to not do what worked for them. They may gaslight you. 

A common response is another angry rant. “You think you’re so smart, you think you’re so much better than I am . . .” And so it goes. They don’t realize their absolute control is an illusion. They are used to steering outcomes to where they think there are fewer disturbances made. And here you go, making waves. How dare you?

In my experience, life is quiet. And quiet can be good if you’re used to being told what to do, how to feel, a steady litany of what you do wrong, and that you’ll never amount to anything. Slowly, you can invite people into your inner circle who will communicate with you, who will value you, who will encourage you to be your best, who you are to be. Stop hiding your light under a bushel basket. Share it with those who will appreciate it. Your chosen family can differ from your family of origin. It’s more common than you think. Just remember, you are not alone.

Have a great rest of the day, and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Part 2

Here is a photo of Mom yesterday, last evening to be specific, enjoying the spoils of the day. It was really neat, many of our childhood neighbor kids commented on my post and wished her happy birthday. Thank you all, that was cool!

Today was very busy, I cut and glued two more quilt blocks, hope to do another two tomorrow. I need to step it up to make sure those darling grandkids of mine have their quilts for Christmas. Lots of time, and we’ll get that book laid out, too. I’ll be so glad for fall to arrive. I’m ready for it.

I’m deeper into the Gary Sinise novel “Grateful American.” I think he is a good story teller. He describes the feelings surrounding September 11, 2001, the uncertainty, and the appreciation most had for First Responders and the Military. He actually called the USO many times to see if he could go on a show tour. Finally, they agreed, and there he went.

He describes the sounds, the smell, the feeling of sand pelting you from every direction, and what it was like to see the troops, the lines of men and women surrounding them when they walked from the cargo plane or helicopter to the building where they would meet and greet or perform. It was truly heart warming. It was full of respect, honor, and gratitude. I would suggest we all read this sooner than later.

In addition to the usual juggling of two careers, three kids, and traveling actors, Sinise also discussed his wife’s alcoholism and what it did to their family. He described the in and out of treatments centers dance they did, and the broken promises, the peaks and valleys of the relationship, and finally, the plea of the oldest little girl to “please, just let me be a kid.” It took every bit of tough love he could muster, and finally, finally it began a new life for them. Every day is still up for grabs, there are no guaranteed once a person quits drinking.

Much of life is unpredictable. From day to day, no one really knows what they may face ball tomorrow. We all have to try our best, be good citizens, and hold on to our convictions. We have to be resilient, should our situations change through no fault of our own, we need to be able to execute Plan B. Sometimes in my life, I’ve been down to Plan ZZ! It becomes laughable when I recall some of the outlandish things the kids and I worked through. And that’s a whole different blog.

I hope you all have a good rest of the evening, maybe with a dish or bowl of ice cream. It’s a favorite dessert, perfect for a humid summer night. Tomorrow is another Saturday but a special one – a Nebraska Cornhusker football game in Ireland, against Northwestern. It should make for some good TV. A lot of fans from Nebraska traveled to the Emerald Isle. I bet it’s beautiful.

Read a book this weekend, watch a Netflix series with a good storyline. Make sure you pay attention to character development and plot twists. It’s fun to have a different way to look at a movie, tv show, or Netflix series. I will see you tomorrow.

Happy Birthday Rosemary!

Today is Mom’s birthday! She’s had a steady stream of visitors already. Two neighbors, complete with balloons, cupcakes, cards and a lei for her to wear all day. I brought strawberry croissants from Donut Run in Gretna. They were great.

Mom was born at home in 1929. Grandma told the story of no air-conditioning, sometimes no fans, either. It was 105 degrees that day in August. She swears she didn’t notice the heat once she held her baby girl, her first of four.

Grandma and Grandpa were married six years before Mom came along. It was another six years before Lois was born, another four before Judy was born, and Carol two years after Judy. Poor Grandpa! All those girls and only one bathroom.

Mom was born just a couple months before the Stock Market crashed, and the family was very poor as were most people. All they needed in the world was within walking distance. Groceries, school, the neighborhood “beer joint” Grandpa and Grandma loved to frequent, and school. They went on picnics, played with cousins, all the stuff families still do.

When she grew up, there was no television only radio. The streetcar was the mode of transportation. They all read voraciously, and played outside after all the chores were done. A simple life, occasional movie (picture show, as they called it) and life was good.

World War II erupted, and Mom remembered Victory Gardens, steel drives, women no longer wearing nylon stockings, since the silk became used in parachutes. Toilet paper and soap became premium commodities, and sugar was rationed.

Mom met Dad in 1947, they married in 1948. Dad was called up for Korea in late 1950. Mom was pregnant for the third time (one miscarriage, one died the day after birth), and moved back in with her family. All the changes in life led her back to our home when Dad came home from Korea. Mom has lived in the family home for 73 years. That’s longer than I am old!

I wonder how much longer she’ll live there. I wonder if she’ll ever be compliant with how she uses her walker, finally wear the right kind of shoes (for her own good), and relax instead of having all the anxiety she has.

Not going to happen. The lesson I have from this is the fact I know I don’t get anxious about life events. I don’t but into our kids’ lives and worry about their outcomes. I have faith they will all work out. They always do. How they’re meant to. Sure not for me to decide.

I will consider myself fortunate to live that long, as long as I can still see and hear. If I can only use my hands to quilt, embroider, and crochet, I’ll be a happy old lady. Lord knows I have enough supplies to do all three! And writing. Yes, that, too. What would you like to do as you age? After retirement? Life is meant for enjoying. Do that this evening. And I’ll see you tomorrow. Take care.

August 19. Happy Birthday!

To one of my childhood friends, Karen Wingerson Smolinski. We spent a lot of time together in upper grades of elementary school through high school. Karen, may you have another year of living life well. And stay happy.

Last night, I thought it was dark a little earlier than I noticed the last few nights. Some mornings have a little chill in the air. The air conditioning is feeling too cold for me (what’s new?) but the Babe is always hot. (Also, what’s new?). It’s still going to become torrid again next week, but I’m ready for the nip in the air. It’s time.

It’s about three in the afternoon, and I had a delightful morning. I spent about four hours prepping two quilt blocks for granddaughter Kayla’s quilt. It’s quite a process. I already ironed the shapes of the pieces onto the back of the fabrics. You cut out 1/4 inch around the piece, then clip the 1/4 inch area slightly all around the piece. Then you an use a small wooden device, pressing back the 1/4 inch seam. A small amount of fabric glue helps keep the pieces under control. I have the pieces pinned to the pieces of fabric that are the quilt blocks, and they look rather nice. They’re pictured above, in the header.

These are photos of the different steps taken to get where we’re siting now. All part of the process. This will be pretty. Just what a little girl deserves.

This is precise, tedious work. It allows me to let my mind go many different places to go while problem solving, planning a narrative, or wondering why some people are like they are. Yes, I wonder about some people, and sometimes wonder what happened to people to make them as they are. Do you ever do that?

Well, it’s been a long day and it’s now time to get dinner started. We plan on a quiet weekend. How about you?

70 & Still Counting!

That would be me! Today is my birthday and it’ll be just another day, according to the Babe’s take on things. Gavin has a game, we’ll go watch, it’ll be laid back and quiet. Kind of like every other day. But I know I’m celebrating while living our regular life.

This morning, I googled “Things that are 70” and got some strange answers. Kurt Russell and Michael Keaton turn 70 this year; so will Angelica Huston. The articles harp getting healthy, and that isn’t lost on me. Thing is, my cholesterol has always been great, BP and other things, too. I backslid about 10 pounds by eating whatever I wanted, and starting Wednesday, I’m getting rid of all the junk (food) in the house and be healthy. Yes, there’s no day like the present to start, but c’mon. It’s my birthday! Wednesday will be fine!

Sometimes our expectations exceed reality. Little children love birthday parties. The thought of friends, food, fun, and gifts gets them giddy with excitement. The thoughts of the same things from a parent’s point of leave them tired, broke, and ready to end the party early. Too much noise! In either case, the reality of the party may fall short of the child’s ideas and even pale compared to the mayhem the parents expected.

As we get older, events are often half as vivid as our expectations – for the better or worse. If we go somewhere expecting to have a bad time, we will most of the time. If we join a new group and know people won’t like us, they probably won’t. Because we don’t give them the chance to know us. Winston Churchill once said:

“This is one of those cases in which the imagination is baffled by the facts.”

Give yourself a gift today, for my birthday. Let go of outcomes you imagine. Have no expectations, but hope for everything. Don’t disappoint yourself before you give yourself a chance. Often, things turn out much better than we can imagine.

Don’t rain on your own parade. Be open to new things. Lighten up. Be open to joyful surprises. After all. It’s my birthday. Anything can happen! Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow!

Another (Manic) Monday?

Manic, defined as: showing wild, apparently deranged, excitement and energy. Let’s not get carried away here, boys and girls. I don’t feel that kind of excitement in my body, but do in my mind. I have a couple things with Mom this week, but other than that, plan to enjoy the deck, patio, and the Babe. Anything else is bonus!

Today is my younger brother Steve’s birthday. He was born when I was in kindergarten. Six days before my sixth birthday. Because of him, my dad’s cousin Joann gave me a beautiful store-bought cake. It was the one with the doll in the center, and she had a beautiful dress. Years later, I made one when I took a cake decorating class. Wonderful memory.

Of course, having an older brother (Tom) in the house meant he giggled when Mom cut our pieces from the back of the cake, exposing the naked doll’s butt. It incensed me. Mom was not happy with him and neither was I.

That is life with brothers. Steve, however, is a very kind man. He was always earnest in school, explaining things in depth. I remember him explaining the castration process on calves at the dinner table when he was in FFA. My dad turned white and scolded him for talking about such things at the dinner table, in front of his sister and mother. I had to laugh, I was married and had a baby. Oh, Dad. In some ways, he was like Archie Bunker, all proper and such. Seriously, he was old school, and the consummate gentleman. I think Steve is, too.

Steve lives near Mom and is a godsend to my brother Tim, and me. The three of us handle her yard care, her appointments, and whatever else she needs done. It’s a team effort, but Steve does the most. Every day, he checks in on her. Thanks, man. Happy Birthday. You’re the best!

I have the resolve this manic Monday morning to separate my categories of file folders, printed writing class information, and the most recent copies of my writing into their own groups. Tomorrow, I’ll go through each pile and decide what is to keep and what is to toss. It’s easier to eat an elephant one bite at a time, you know? Join me, if you’d like. We’ll dine on that elephant this week.

Now that we planned the menu for the week, it’s time to go to another task, and get to the flowers who need tending before the day gets away from me. Let’s get it done on Monday. Maybe it will be manic after all. Take care of yourselves, and we’ll see you tomorrow!

I assembled it myself! I think I need a second one.

Happy Birthday, Rebecca!

Today is a happy day. Imagine my surprise after giving birth and hearing the Doctor tell me, “It’s a girl!” I have three brothers. I have two sons. I know how to take care of boys, they were who I babysat the most. And I have a girl? I became thrilled. Pink bows, ruffly dresses, and sunhats.

Have you MET my daughter? Probably not, she did keep up with her brothers, played with Tonka trucks in our backyard, played in the manure I fertilized the tomato plants with, (while wearing a minty green dress), and she took the fish heads her brother cut off to pretend they were running away saying, “Yipe, Yipe, Yipe, Yipe, Yipe!” She has the best sense of humor. She’s lived in Colorado for twenty-one years, is married to Brian, and has a little girl and boy; Kayla and Cody.

In watching my daughter, I learned independence. I marveled at how she was matter of factly ready to press ahead. When she went to school, she was happy and made friends easily. She is a person with a lot of drive; she went to tech school for radiology, and is currently working as a mammogram tech. I’m proud of her, and her family. The little’s are very close together, but she was older when they married. They prefer not to have photos on the Internet, so I honor that request. But they’re all a handsome family. I’m so blessed!

Today, I’m working on finding on photographs to match the pages in my children’s book, “Roxie, WHAT Are You Doing?” We have a cool idea on how to illustrate the story using pictures, I think it’ll be fun. It’s as fun looking through puppy photos as it is looking through baby photos!

I’m off to get at least part of them, and hopefully, there will be more tomorrow. Take care out there, and be safe. The mask ordinance is back in Omaha, a state official tried to get it stopped, but they weren’t successful. Let’s be safe. Do what we need to do. Take care, have a beautiful day, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Monday Musings

Good Morning! After a beautiful day yesterday, it’s rainy and overcast again at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. At least we planted most of the flowers yesterday. Now, I shouldn’t have to water for the next couple of days. The best thing about today?

Today is the Babe’s birthday. Silly me, I forgot to get a card. I can correct that error and will shortly. The pups are fast asleep and the Babe is off doing work at the Post. We’ll meet for lunch later, and do whatever he decides he wants to do. We’ve really gotten hooked on the Netflix series, “Heartland.” It’s a family program (rare these days) and a sweet story line. It is about a ranch that helps traumatized horses. Almost a Horse Whisperer. The scenery is beautiful (filmed in Canada) and the horses are magnificent animals. It’s a great break from news, reruns, and shows with no value (in our humble opinions).

I love reading old quotes. Winston Churchill said, “This is one of those cases in which the imagination is baffled by the facts.” Think on that for a while. Have you ever known someone who will hold their version as “fact” even when presented with the real facts? We all have. Too many people believe their own slanted version of the truth, clutching at it long after the truth is told.

Expectations very often far exceed the reality of a situation. Events like Prom, Birthday, Graduation, and other life milestones can pale in comparison to the real event. A five year old may anticipate his or her birthday party as a glorious event, and focus on games, food, gifts, and the like. A parent may look at it differently, especially if they are short on funds. Planning, purchasing, and clean up may be overwhelming.

Have you ever looked forward to something and been disappointed when it’s over? Have you dreaded going somewhere and been surprised afterwards that you had a great time? We do this a lot. We’ve turned into bigger home-bodies than we were before the pandemic. Sometimes I have to force myself to go out during the week. I can always find something to do here at home.

We can all practice loosening up our expectations. If we expect to have a lousy time, it may come true because of our attitude. We need to be open to good surprises. Don’t expect more than can be provided. Everything and everyone has limitations. Just open yourself to enjoy!

Let’s all lower expectations but not our standards. Also easier said than done. Our happiness begins and ends with us, not an event that comes along once a year. If we are constantly rescuing people, we need to look within us and back away from “feeling needed.” It’s a wonderful idea, but can be devastating if the one who feels needed is constantly carrying the load for the other adult in the relationship. You should be equals, each contributing and taking turns caring for each other. This is what adults do. Not slack off because you manipulate your way into someone’s life.

Go out and have yourselves a wonderful day. I plan to. I have the Post website to update and add events. It’ll be a busy afternoon here in Gretna. Be Kind. Be Careful. Be Safe. Thank you for reading today, and we’ll see you tomorrow!