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!

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.

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.

#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!

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!

Grief. Confusing?

Yes, it is. There are several stages, and you may rock back and forth between them. One minute, you may recall wonderful memories, and suddenly, painful memories rear their ugly head. The feelings are contradictory, and totally normal. The key is to learn how to navigate among them. Ignoring them does not work. I tried.

Applying alcohol or drugs to the pain is counterproductive and causes other problems. My siblings and I tried that (no drugs for me, just alcohol and withdrawing), along with never talking about Dad. Mom usually became angry when we did. Years later, we individually compared notes, and learned a lot. We also learned to share the happy memories and enjoy talking about him. It’s much healthier and we could move on then.

The thing is, the feeling of choice for many people is anger. All that does is try to blanket fear. That doesn’t work, either. Fear is usually unfounded, unless it’s a twelve foot grizzly bear in the Montana wilderness growling in your face. Then fear is very justified.

Fears originate from the unknown. Often folks who are fearful think they need to execute every move according to their rigid plan. Our plans, foiled by life, often are useless. Yes, knowing what your life work is and achieving the education and experiences to realize that plan is great. Sometimes, the plan, spoiled by life events like death, loss of financial support, unexpected pregnancy, and a host of other things, does not work out.

That doesn’t make you or me a failure. You will feel grief. Your plan cannot work right now, but maybe later. Maybe you need a better plan, a different timetable or different source of revenue.And yes, you can be angry with the situation. Remaining that way will affect your life in very negative ways. You will become negative. Getting through the anger is hard work, but worth it.

Feeling guilt for things said or not said, things done or not done is also normal. Those are mistaken sentiments, especially if you feel, “I should have . . . ” or if you feel as if “I’m being punished because I . . . “. God doesn’t play with us like that. He wants to comfort us.

At long last, the frustration, exhaustion and fog lifts and we can accept the change the loss has caused in our life. It is our life, and it won’t be the same. Sure, we’ll still be sad from time to time. We won’t find ourselves lost in it, though. Life goes on. We need to live ours while we have the opportunity.

Acceptance does not mean forgetting the loved one or the dream. It means putting it in a place where you can remember without pain or anger. Acceptance means the loss is a fact in life. An ultimate fact. And you have healed your way there.

Thank you for reading about something most of us would rather avoid. Living again is the best result of all. See you tomorrow!