Playing Catch-Up.

With three appointments for Mom this week, a visitation and then funeral for our friend. Everything is behind; the laundry, the Hello Fresh meals from last week need cooked before they spoil, my kid book and other projects are on hold momentarily, and my mind and heart are else-where. This happens to me after losses.

I’ve mentioned before how the Babe and I have lost many people in the last two years. With Janet, now the count is eight in 20 months. They were all ages and walks of life; they were ALS, COVID, Congestive Heart Failure, COPD/Congestive Heart Failure, Kidney Cancer & old age, Sepsis/Lung Infection, Lymphoma, and Cancer/Strokes/Dementia. What a list.

In my grief, I’m thinking and remembering how it was to get through every day after Dad died. It was hard, with him dying December 7th, Christmas on the horizon, and his birthday on January 1. All those events within 30 days of his death really left us scrambling to figure out how to cope.

I’m enjoying seeing all the FB photos posted of Janet with family, friends, and acquaintances. It made realize we didn’t have any photos of us together; all our pictures were of the kids. That’s how things were back in the 80s. No selfies or group selfies. But I have wonderful memories and many reasons to smile.

Today was a late day appointment with Mom, and she’s pretty frustrated. It took such a long time to get there, then to find out, we made a useless trip. Things happen, and she gets really upset. We are indeed the sandwich generation: elderly parents and grandkids. My in-laws are deceased, and Mom is the only one left. She is requiring more care and time the older she becomes. The grand kids are spreading their wings and Mom’s needing hers clipped. How about that?

It’s time to relax and try to get some sleep. I’m so glad I do not have to leave the house tomorrow. Meals are prepared and only need nuking, and I plan to visit my children’s book again. My friend’s grandson Donnie IV may like my book about Roxie and Gavin. He saw his grandpa very sad yesterday. He is too, and will remember yesterday for a long time. He stepped in front of us and called out to Grandpa, giving him hugs and kisses. It was so sweet. This is what makes life worth living, and it’s what keeps us going on.

Have a beautiful evening, and we’ll see each other tomorrow. Be safe out there.

We Create Our Own Nightmares.

Sometimes, that’s the cold, hard truth. We all want our own way. It doesn’t matter if we’re a cranky toddler, an angst-filled teenager, a broken-hearted mid-lifer, an elder of the tribe, or an angry nonagenarian. We all have our moments.

We think we know everything at those moments. How others need to respond to us, the situation, who should do what, how they should do it, and of the result will be exactly what we think it should be. How could it fail? Let me count the ways, my dear.

We think our power is greater than it is; we’re not supposed to manage other’s outcomes. We have no idea what will work for everyone we think is involved. If everyone actually bends to our iron will, things may work out for a time. Before they backfire in our faces. The feeling of power is short-lived. Wow. We didn’t know what’s best. Imagine that?

Coming from an environment where some tried to control others lives, I know for a fact how true this statement is. Those folks don’t admit they’re wrong, nor when you’re right. Sad. Stay in your lane, people! Most often your own best guesses about my life are wrong, just as my ideas about your life are most likely wrong. The exception in cases of deep addiction to alcohol, drugs, or gambling. You need help not only with the substances, or activity, but also with your mental health. Sometimes, it’s necessary to have another help you figure out what to do. You need to care about your recovery more than I do, though. I cannot and will not do the hard work for you.

Me? I sure don’t ever want to quit learning. I’ll never know it all and I wouldn’t want to. Too much responsibility! A better life lies ahead of all of us who realize we need to be our own navigator. It’s even better when you have a co-captain/navigator in your life, a trusted person to travel with you. It’s not necessary, just nice. Appreciate those who love you and help you grow. Thanks a million, Babe.

Watch out for pitfalls and backsliding while learning to let others navigate their own road, when they’re capable. We’ll all make mistakes, there is no way around our being human. Learn from today’s mistakes. And don’t dwell on them. You’re living in the now and the future is ahead of you, not behind.

Today will be beastly hot, not fit for anyone. Drink lots of water, and rest. Outdoor work will still be there tomorrow. We have a heat advisory in our area, and I expect it to remain too hot for anyone. Grateful for the A/C. I have lots of catch-up work for the Post, and for us. Too many unexpected things happened all week. It’s going to be better. I know it will. Be safe, hydrate, and be kind. See you tomorrow!

Good Girls Rarely Make History.

This phrase just jumped out at me while listening to Jennifer Nettles album/CD “Playing With Fire.” I love her voice. I’ve read before she has a voice “to make a man leave his happy home and follow her anywhere.”

The one thing I’m curious about is writing lyrics. It appears to be like poetry, but adding the words to music adds another dimension that words on a page just can’t compete with. Nettles’ song, “Hey Heartbreak” is an anthem telling Heartbreak to leave her door, she’s taking her life back. Powerful words, and great music. Nothing better.

I believe some day I will write words for a song. I have experienced a lot of themes. Bone crushing lonely Saturday nights, before I met the Babe. I think when you’ve lived through those, you can pretty much get through anything. Loss of good health is another thing that tests your mettle. Not having an adult in your home to help you is another kind of lonely and hopelessness. If I hadn’t had my kids, I may not have made it through. But we did. All those experiences are back in the vault of my memories. I will do something with them in the future. You cannot make up the things every day people make it through. No one could believe it all happened. But it did. And I’m still here!

This is where my overwhelming sense of gratitude grows from. I could not have lived through these things without hope, faith, and especially love. God is in charge. I no longer try to affect outcomes; I pray, “However you decide, God. I’m along for the ride. Tell me what you’re teaching me now.” Many years ago, I prayed, “Please make my husband be kinder to the kids,” and learned it doesn’t work that way. The prayer became, “Show me what you want me to do to improve this situation.” Boy, did He!

I was the quintessential “good girl.” I was obedient, always followed the rules, never expressed my opinion, deferred always to my first husband, and didn’t rock the boat. Never again! The book I will finish reading today has stirred many memories of how women’s role in society has changed. In the Victorian era, women were not allowed to study things like math or science. It was believed their delicate makeup would be upset if they used their minds too much. Hogwash!

When I was a Programmer Trainee in 1987, I asked a question that was quite technical in nature. The boss that was training me said, “That’s too technical for you.” I asked someone else later who said, “He probably didn’t know the answer.” I finally got the explanation but not from who should have answered me. My first review after transferring to another department of I/T included, “You are way more skilled than he would give you credit for. He kept you down.” How about that?

Truth of the matter is, there were not very many women in the field in the late 80s. Most were men, and I had to learn to go to lunch with them, hang out with them, and not be relegated to the “secretarial staff.” It’s a hard stop to be in, but you have to make the best of it. Thank God it has changed! We need to remain equal. We were made to be equal. I never broke out in hysterics from debugging an old COBOL program. Nonsense!

And while I may not go down in history as a “bad girl” I know that would have been one who talked back, (I was just asking questions no one liked), wanted to take a class only boys took (I wanted to take Mechanical Drawing. The nun who enrolled me that year said “absolutely NOT! You’re too shy!”), and “You’ll probably never finish college, even if you attend. Go to beauty school or nursing school or become a teacher.” No offers of financial help were ever discussed. How was that supposed to happen?

In the 1950s, the thing that made a girl “bad” was being one who smoked, hung out with the boys, one who stole boyfriends, and had sex before marriage. The worse thing was if your daughter “had to get married.” The scorn! In the late 60s and 70s, it mattered no more. Now, often people live together for years, have multiple children, then get married if they even do. I’m glad young teens are no longer forced into marriage. It used to be the air was clean and sex was dirty. Now, the air is dirty and sex is clean. In my opinion, God made male and female to enjoy each other in every way possible. There is nothing better than a caring lover. That, along with commitment, love, faith, and trust in each other transcends to a beautiful life together. I have that with the Babe. I wish it on my friends to know what that is.

Does that make me a bad girl? Oh well! I’ve been called worse! When I was single for so long, I used to say, “If I could be guilty of half of what people have thought I’ve done, I’d be having a great time!”

Have a great time today! Be good to yourself and to each other. Show respect and kindness everywhere you go. You’ll receive it back tenfold. Do it out of goodness, not out of what you may get from it. Let’s see each other again tomorrow!

Help a girl out, we’re around #946 followers. Help me get to #1000! It’ll be fun! Thank you!

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!

Thursday’s Thinking.

Do you have a place of comfort in your home? Not necessarily your bed (mine is great – firm mattress, I can let my spine decompress like nobody’s business), but somewhere you can sit and reflect. Maybe you have a spot where you can just consider your day, your life, your direction. Even for a retired person, this is necessary to keep living life, not just existing.

My thoughts go back to our grandparents. German on one side, Irish on the other. All very hard workers. Our dad’s parents had their own business, a drug and sundries store. Something for everyone. Dad told me a story once when I was telling him how hard it was with my oldest, who wanted to be our playing past dark, when it was time for bed. He could see the other kids outside, no supervision, riding their big wheels on the sidewalk of our busy street. Luckily, he obeyed me, didn’t try to go outside, he was a good kid.

Dad told me it wasn’t anything new. When he was a kid, he and his siblings were babysat by Great Grandma Hurley while his mother worked evenings at the drugstore. Never met the woman, but she ruled with an iron fist. She had to. She was widowed and didn’t have much. Her family lived with her, which was common in those days. Dad said he also wanted to be out with the kids. He didn’t dare cross his Grandma. She had a shillelagh, which she would use to bop them on the head when they were in need of an attitude adjustment. It got their attention. She died while my dad and his brothers were all away at the war. They were not allowed to come home for her funeral.

The more we think no one has done what we’re doing in these times, the more the similarities leap out at me. What has changed? Well, Grandma Hurley would not be bopping a kid on the head with her shillelagh. And our mom’s Great Uncle Roy walked with a regular cane. When he wanted the nieces to come talk with him, he would use the curved handle of his cane to hook them by the arm or leg. They laughed. Mom and her sisters always fell for it. What’s changed? Well, now everyone is on red alert about children being molested, accosted by pedophiles right in their own homes. It needs to come out of the dark.

That has gone on forever, it’s just now we talk about it. We need to. We need to help children through these terrible events and keep them safe. I believe we are teaching children to be aware, stand up for themselves, and tell a safe adult when things are not right.

I feel so lucky that as kids, we didn’t have to worry about anyone hurting us. We rode our bikes around, roller skated, walked to the library, and other stuff kids do. We loved going to the air-conditioned library when it was blistering hot outside. It was an oasis from the oppressive heat. And of course, there were wonderful books there. Great time, well spent. Thanks Mom!

Author Jennifer Chaverini is someone I’ve followed because of the theme of her books, The Elm Creek Quilters. Alex Anderson had a quilting show I started to watch when I started on my LTD. I was depressed, and I really was inspired by watching her create quilts. I made many purchases of thread, fabric, patterns, lots of stuff. I now have a full room of stuff for making quilts. There are other hobbies covered there, too.

Ms. Chaverini now writes historical fiction. She’s covered Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, and other women’s story throughout history. I just started “Enchantress of Numbers,” about the famous poet Lord Byron’s daughter, who was highly educated in math and science. That never happened in the 1800s. I’m only in the prologue.

Funny, authors debate the use of prologues to set the backstory. Most say not to use it. Could this very long prologue serve as the first chapter? I’ll have to let you know. Not having knowledge about that era and how social mores were so strict, I think it’s necessary to set the tone. More on that later.

I’m shooting for a productive day today. How about you? I like this new way of looking at my to-do list. Of course, there is a huge list of stuff that comes to mind that I want to do. I can cross it off when I write down what we’ve accomplished. I like seeing the done list grow and the to-do list shrink. It’s motivating.

Have a beautiful day, folks. Let’s keep going for more followers! We have jumped up to 938 readers as of publishing time yesterday. Let’s keep going! Love it! Thanks for going on this journey with me. I appreciate the company. Take care, 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.

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (?)

Happy Wednesday! I just saw a meme that read:

Make today so fantastic that yesterday gets jealous!”

So, at first read, I didn’t care for it because of the word jealous. Jealousy is the cause of a lot of bad things; mistrust, unhealthy competition, rage, relationships ending, and lots of other bad stuff. As young Catholics, we were taught jealousy is sinful. In a lot of ways, I believe jealousy is unnecessary among well-adjusted adults. Key words: well-adjusted.

In relationships if someone goes to great lengths to make their partner jealous, the whole thing is doomed. Games should not be played there at all. Period. A well-adjusted adult is secure in their knowledge of what they have to offer. Ideally, trust should be paramount in any relationship. Yes, many of us have trust issues. I did, until I met the Babe. He’s pretty much up front about everything. No worries. He has female friends; I have male friends. Not even a second thought about anything inappropriate. We’re lucky to have that with each other. Nothing makes a person feel more confident than absolute trust being placed in your hands by the one you love.

Mom and I went to a luncheon today, and new/old/schoolmate Steve Paschang was present again. It’s weird talking to someone who was in a class two years ahead of you in high school. Once you graduate high school, go through life, and make your place in the world, it’s amazing how we all blend together. It’s funny now we all realize those things we valued as children are not that important. As you get older, nationalities, races, educational levels, all fade. We’re all more the same than we are different. Nothing to disagree about if your take politics out of the equation, which I insist on here and on my FB things. We just don’t need the hassle.

It’s been another different kind of day, didn’t get much done, there is still tomorrow. Oh, I heard back from the DeGroot group; I did not advance for consideration for a grant for writing. It’s ok, though. I entered, did it a little scared, and didn’t make it. No lives lost. I feel by just entering I won. I could never have done this 50 years ago.

Life is a series of steps from one stage to another; many are similar at the stages, many are not. The trick is to keep moving. I’m moving right now out to the couch and pick up my crocheting. And fight the urge for a nap. It’s a comfortable life, this retired life is. I hope you enjoy yours as I do. Let’s see each other again 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!

#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!